Paging Dr Percy 2
When I wrote this earlier today ...
Every electron, photon, wave and molecule that moves information from one place to another is susceptible to NSA.
... I was thinking about air molecules moving as part of a sound wave, since NSA uses IR laser reflections to detect the sound from conversations inside a building.
I was NOT thinking about this type of molecule and this type of movement....
Israel has so far identified 42 people shedding poliovirus in their faeces. ... Israel’s effective sewage-surveillance systems were able to detect the virus before any clinical cases occurred, but in Europe, only a handful of countries monitor sewage.
No, this is not from TheOnion, and it's not from Spotlight or Stormfront. It's from Nature, and I have no reason to doubt it. Sounds like EU and NSA are falling behind and need to get their respective asses, or ass-surveillance systems, in gear. Israel beats the pants off everyone else in advanced tyranny. As usual.
Dead serious: This is an evil landmark. Western governments passed beyond the imaginings of 'political paranoia' at least 25 years ago. No matter how hard you try to develop a semi-rational conspiracy theory, you'll quickly find that reality is vastly worse than you imagined. This development has finally passed beyond the imaginings of true schizophrenics. If you walked around saying "The Jews are capturing and analyzing my poop", you'd be slammed in the nuthouse. But you'd be right.
¶ 5:58 PM
Ashlee Lillis, an NC State Ph.D. candidate in marine sciences, wondered how the tiny oysters knew when to drop down and start looking for a home. Scientists know that larval oysters and other bivalves, like clams, respond to some chemical and physical signals in seawater, but Lillis wondered if the sound of the reef played a role.
“When you’re as small as these larvae, even if you’re only 10 or 15 feet up in a water column you wouldn’t have any real sense of where you were in terms of the seafloor beneath you,” Lillis says. “But an ocean reef has very loud, distinct sounds associated with it. They’re noisy enough to be heard by scuba divers and snorkelers. Even though oysters don’t have ears and hear like we do, they might be able to sense the vibration from the sounds of the reef.”
...The team first made underwater sound recordings of oyster reefs and the open seafloor. Then they tested larval oysters in the wild and in the lab to determine if the settlement rates increased when they were exposed to reef sounds versus those from further out. The team found an increased settlement rate in both the lab and the wild when the larvae were exposed to reef sounds.
Molluscs are extremely strong in the vision department; cephalopod eyes and visual processing systems are at least as good as mammalian. But they don't have anything like ears, and until now there's been no indication that they take any sort of auditory input. The fact that oyster larvae prefer a recording of the "right" sound to other recordings shows that they're not just picking up crude amplitude of vibration; they must be hearing in some fairly sophisticated way and processing the vibrations.
Grand blueprint time! Genes determine goals, not structures. It's already clear that vision is one of the universal purposes; now hearing moves closer to universality.
Expensive and unusable
Local radio mentioned that the 'Montlake Spite House' in Seattle is for sale at about $400k. I hadn't heard of it, so looked it up. Turns out to be only one example of a rare but geographically widespread species.
Most spite houses are built when Landowner A refuses to buy a small strip of land held by Landowner B. Landowner B then puts up an expensive and unusable building that blocks the frontage or view of Landowner A. The Montlake Spite House is atypical: skinny at one end but wide at the other, and clearly meant to be livable. More likely whimsical than spiteful.
At the same time I happened to be reading a Collectible Automobile article on DeSoto, which was probably a Spite Car. By the usual story, Walter Chrysler was trying to get Dillon Read to sell him the Dodge Brothers company. He created two new brands calculated to bracket the Dodge price range, Plymouth just below and DeSoto just above. Dillon Read saw the threat and sold out.
Spite Houses and Spite Cars are fairly rare, but Spite Laws are universal. The Fed gov't functions on pure spite. Omnibus bills and poison pills are the opposite of old-fashioned logrolling. Under logrolling, you get your milk subsidy and I get my bridge. Under spiterolling, you can't have your milk subsidy and I can't have my bridge. Occasionally one of these blocking devices accidentally pops out of Congress like a parasite wasp popping out of an unfortunate cicada, and we get a Spite Law.
I've been trying to make sense of Romneycare. It doesn't make sense as a left-wing effort to help the poor, and it doesn't make sense as a right-wing attempt to help the rich. Neither faction wanted it. It only makes sense as a Spite Law built by Joe Lieberman. Somebody dared to oppose him, so the parasite wasp pops out of Congress and eats the country.
¶ 8:24 AM
As the histrionics about NSA spying continue, the important question remains untouched.
Tech types have been aware for decades that NSA monitors everything. Everything means everything. Every fucking thing. Not everything legally permissible. Don't be silly. NSA doesn't use laws. Just everything.
Every electron, photon, wave and molecule that moves information from one place to another is susceptible to NSA. They may not succeed in catching everything, and they don't have the time or manpower to decipher or analyze everything, but they are making a thorough and exhaustive effort to catch everything.
This is parallel to the idiocy surrounding human genetics. We have an endless series of "studies" claiming to indicate that some particular skill or tendency is innate or learned. None of these "studies" are needed, and most are flat wrong. The separated twins studies back in the '50s already gave us all the info we need. Every human taste, talent and tendency is partly innate. Every single one, from strong legs to weak math skills to preferring red-haired females with slightly crossed eyes to hating clocks that represent 4 as IIII instead of IV. No need to "study" tiny pieces of a broad and simple fact that has already been determined.
In both cases the MEANINGFUL question is elsewhere.
With genetics, the MEANINGFUL question is how we USE these tastes and talents to maintain a strong civilization. We can deal with destructive tendencies or deficient skills more effectively and efficiently if we understand DEEPLY AND FIRMLY that they are mainly innate. We shouldn't waste time on "education" that can't possibly educate. We shouldn't waste time on "punishment" that can't possibly punish.
With spying, the MEANINGFUL question is how government USES its unlimited knowledge. Does it use the information to catch terrorists? No. Does it use the information to help citizens? No. (Quick example: the Romneycare website wouldn't have any problems if it could pick up the NSA's data stream. You wouldn't need to enter any facts about your life or health or income.) Does it use the information to assist local police in catching criminals? Obviously not. Local police are still on their own.
Strikes me that we can learn from the old video of a Brazilian pianist that UK Telegraph has been mysteriously presenting this week. After realizing that the orchestra is not playing the same concerto she had prepared to play, she goes through all sorts of dramatics and hysterics..... then at the moment where the piano enters, her HANDS know exactly what to do. Her HANDS hit the keyboard and proceed through a flawless performance because her HANDS were not participating in the weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Stop the histrionics. Don't worry about facts and epistemology. Just let your HANDS do what they're ready to do. You might be surprised.
Unique and positive
Looks like the Repooflicans are finally starting** to notice the real problems with Romneycare. They're picking up the situation AFTER all major news media have already hit the story accurately and severely. CBS, NBC, even the New York Times!!!!! have soundly whipped the administration.
This is unique in two ways.
First the obvious violation of Team Spirit. When those D-team media attack a D-team president, it's serious.
Second, I can't remember a previous instance when Satan's media agreed precisely with my own experience. As an old white male with frugal habits, I'm way outside their target demo. I don't borrow, gamble, drive, fly, watch TV, or use a cellphone. Thus very few "news" stories even touch my life. When a story does intersect my experience, it's either ancient news (like the Snowden NSA "revelations") or absurdly wrong (all "science" stories.)
**Note on Finally Starting: At least the Rs in Congress are hitting the subject delicately and cautiously. However, the local and state Repoofs still haven't caught on. I got an email from the state Rs this morning with subject line "A salute to Republican women", and snail mail from them on ZERO TAXES as tiresomely usual. A state legislator hosted a talk show today, concentrating solely on the website glitches. Not very convincing. I have to conclude that the professional Rs are completely disconnected from the self-employed constituency, and can't hear or empathize with our problems. Why? Because the professional Rs all WORK FOR THE FUCKING GOVERNMENT, that's why.
¶ 7:03 AM
The Prince of Wales used his keynote speech at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum in London this evening to warn of the political and economic dangers of climate change...
"The tragic conflict in Syria provides a terrifyingly graphic example, where a severe drought for the last seven years has decimated Syria's rural economy. Driving many farmers off their fields and into cities where, already, food was in short supply.
Hey microwit! Ever hear of Seven Lean Years and Seven Fat Years? Those folks HAVE heard of it, and they're accustomed to living it. They've been thinking about it and writing about it since 2800 fucking BC. Britain doesn't know about drought cycles because it's always more or less rainy, and of course Chuckie's Gaian faith declares that all knowledge of natural CYCLES is deadly heresy. For a Gaian, AND for a Goldman-style capitalist, everything is unidirectional and exponential, everything moves inexorably toward infinity or zero.
"This depletion of natural capital, inexplicably, little reported in the media, was a significant contributor to the social tension that exploded with such desperate results."
He said Islamic banking, or alternative banking, could provide the answers where conventional banking could not, given Islam's emphasis on the "moral economy".
Note, however, that Chuckie focuses on NATURAL CAPITAL and omits HUMAN CAPITAL, which is THE big problem in Britain and America. Our capitalists have turned exclusively to manipulating currency and pure numbers, and have completely lost the human part of the picture. Our businesses have returned to plain old slavery, with the slaves conveniently placed in China and Bangladesh. Islamic economics focuses powerfully on human labor as the creator of value. That's the whole point of prohibiting interest: to insure that return on an investment is solely based on real value.
Britain is set to become the first non-Muslim country to sell a bond that can be bought by Islamic investors in a bid to encourage massive new investment into the City. David Cameron will say in a speech on Tuesday at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London that the Treasury is drawing up plans to issue a £200m Sukuk, a form of debt that complies with Islamic financial law. The new sharia-compliant gilt will enable Britain to become the first non-Muslim country to tap the growing pool of Islamic investments that is forecast to top £1.3 trillion by next year.
(1) Tapping new investors is only a small part of the advantage. The big part is the plain fact that Islamic economics works, while the US/UK/EU Goldman System fails. (Of course Goldman economics succeeds magnificently for Goldman. The parasite destroys the host country to enrich itself.)
(2) When you disconnect the bond's return from LIBOR and those other Goldman-invented measurements and derivatives and options and futures and indexes and puts and calls, you also disconnect the power of Goldman. LIBOR was invented solely to provide a single control knob for the entire banking system, a knob that Goldman turns.
(3) When you treat government more like a business with the goal of producing a natural profit, you end up with a government that can do its proper job. When you keep a reserve and stay on the savings side of the ledger, you're not vulnerable to Goldman's crashes and commands. Failed governments operate solely on the borrowing side, which means they must obey their creditors instead of their people. Polistra has discussed this in detail before.
Islam requires investments to be based on real profit or increase from a real enterprise, not on abstract counterfeit numbers that Goldman can dial up or down. I can't find details on the nature of the 'enterprise' for this sukuk; it could be just a gimmick so the big Qatar sultan types can give lip service to sharia. Unfortunately there's a lot of gimmickry in these things. But if this sukUK isn't fake, it's an interesting start toward a sane economic system in one of the craziest countries on Earth. Now let's have MORE SANITY, PLEASE.
Another comparisonFew days ago I compared the productivity of the Romneycare website to a small (government-owned) business where I worked many years ago. Basically the R-care website is turning out as many completed forms per day as a small hotel.
Another comparison. According to one of the corporate spokesmen interrogated by Congress, the final end-to-end test of the R-care website involved 200 users. The test failed, but they went ahead and released the system. You don't need a comparison to see how violently absurd this is, but let's make one anyway.
Poser graphics is a tiny piece of the overall graphics industry. Lots of people [including me] make a little bit of money, and a few people make a full-time living at it. These 'big players' work in teams via email, turning out complicated human figures or clothing items. Each released item will typically sell a few thousand copies at somewhere around $10 each. How do these 'big players' run their testing? They have a stable of enrolled testers who agree to perform detailed testing and reporting on new products, in return for a free copy of the final item. How big is the stable? About 200 testers.
So these artists, engaged in esthetically satisfying but absolutely frivolous work that cannot possibly save lives or kill people, have the same number of testers as Romneycare, which is an absolutely critical smashing of an already broken health care system of an entire nation, affecting 300 million people in various ways, with life-and-death consequences for the millions of people who can no longer afford health care after their policies were smashed by the so-called alleged accused reputed "AFFORDABLE" so-called alleged accused reputed "CARE" unquote Act of 2010. Not proportionally the same number of testers, but exactly the same number of testers.
¶ 9:39 AM
Wonder if that was a microburst?
Pretty good windstorm last night. I slept through the whole thing for once. Why? Because wind came from an unusual direction.
99% of big winds around Spokane are from WSW, and this neighborhood is wide open to WSW winds. Last night's storm was from ENE, and this neighborhood is behind a hill from that direction.
Avista's outage map shows who was not protected, and it's a highly unusual pattern:
The north-facing side of the rich South Hill got intensely whacked. So intense that I wonder if they had something quasi-tornadic in that spot.
Worth reading!This article by a Connecticut insider answers many of the big puzzles about Romneycare. It's a little hard to read because ,of ;weird punctuation ,but if you "sort" of squint ,past ,the ,strang,e , ...comma's and ,apo'strophe's ;you'll find "it sat"isfying.
Basic point: Why didn't Obama do Medicare For All? It wasn't because of pressure from the insurers. They liked the idea of an infinite monopoly but they also saw big problems in the details. So they were lukewarm. Who was red-hot? Joe Lieberman. And if Lieberman is for you, nothing can be against you.
It's all about raw imperial personal ego. Nothing more, nothing less. Joe wanted Romneycare. Therefore Romneycare happened.
After a bit of thinking: No, the basic question about Obama still remains. He had the country with him in 2010, and Lieberman had only Lieberman on his side. He didn't have either party's machinery backing him up, because he had pissed off both parties. No matter how formidable the senator, a President can always run over a senator. Why didn't Obama call out Lieberman and use public force and party force to do the right thing?
A bit more thinking: Got it. No mystery. Joe is a Jew. Jews Never Lose.
¶ 4:10 AM
Hundreds of thousands of people in Washington state are receiving letters in the mail from their insurers, informing them "your health insurance plan will no longer be available" under the Affordable Care Act.
This is despite a promise President Obama repeated campaigning for his health care reform plan, where he stated, "if you like your plan, you can keep it."
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler admits the promise was broken, but for good reason.
"It's a bit of a trade off," said Kreidler. "Yeah, you're not going to be able to keep this plan that was probably inadequate and maybe a lousy plan, and now you're going to have a new plan that is much more robust in its coverage."
Kreidler explains that part of the Affordable Care Act forced insurance companies to raise standards for their policies, requiring coverage for so-called essential benefits, like prescriptions, emergency services, and maternity.
Lesus, what a fucking snide-ass monster.
Probably inadequate? No, I had a perfectly adequate plan that I could afford. Now you've forced me to take a plan that costs $200 more. You have increased my living expenses by TWENTY PERCENT. You are STEALING MONEY FROM MY POCKET to finance a pile of ratshit that I WILL NEVER USE.
Maybe a lousy plan? No, it was fine. It's a plan from Group Health, where you, Comrade Satan Shithead Kreidler, allegedly "worked" as an optometrist for 20 years. You're insulting your old employer, satanic dickhead asshole.
Much more robust? It covers MATERNITY AND CHILD DENTAL SERVICES, which I can't possibly ever need under any possible conceivable circumstances. The old "non-robust" "lousy" plan covered exactly the events I'm likely to need, and it was affordable.
Fuck you up the ass, you snide sniveling sneering contemptuous fuckhead bully. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. I will piss on your fucking grave. I will dance on your fucking grave.
= = = = =
Later, after a LONG HARD WALK cooled me down slightly: Why aren't the Repooflicans taking advantage of this wild rage? About 200,000 people in Wash are in the same position, and similar proportions in other states. Everyone who has been paying for individual coverage is getting royally fucked. This demographic group, and the subject of the rage, should be Repooflican home territory. National Repoofs, terminally stupid as always, are continuing to focus on the website problems, which are temporary and don't really affect a natural Repoof constituency.
¶ 7:46 AM
Rather amazing bit of statistical streakiness:
The Romans, who saw the numerical world in terms of 5 and 2, would have appreciated this. We've dropped the factors, keeping only the decadal product as a marker.
¶ 4:40 AM
The Aussie government has staunchly rejected arguments that climate change is causing the wildfires ravaging eastern parts of the country following a record hot start to the spring season.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the link as 'complete hogwash' in an interview with News Corp's Australian newspapers.
Abbott argues that Australia has experienced wildfires for more than 200 years of European settlement and had suffered worse fires in the past.
This week, he accused Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, of ‘talking through her hat’ when she referred to the Australian wildfires as the world ‘paying the price of carbon’ in the atmosphere.
‘They are desperate to find anything that they think might pass as ammunition for their cause,’ Abbott said, referring to people who link the fires to global warming and who criticize his government's climate change policies.
FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY, FINALLY!
A NATIONAL LEADER who is fully sane, and willing to speak truth to the wackos!!!! We have a few other leaders who seem to be embracing sanity in a quiet practical way, but without renouncing the Official Religion of Genocide.
This is the 95 Theses moment that all fact-loving people have been waiting for.
Aptronym alert!This story is especially neat because it's not the aptronym you'd expect.... but it's an even better aptronym.
Holly VanVoorhis was 7 when she asked her dad, landscape architect and Park Board member Ken VanVoorhis, if she could help him design a park. He let his daughter tinker in his drafting software until she’d designed a heart-shaped tree park.
“Immediately she said, ‘Where can we plant this in Spokane?’ ” said Holly’s mother, Mitzi VanVoorhis.
She begged and begged her parents to let her build her park, even asking a neighbor if she could plant the trees in their backyard.
Finally, after a few weeks of Holly bothering her parents, her dad called then-Mayor Mary Verner to set up an appointment. ...
Verner encouraged Holly to pursue the project and introduced her to the city Urban Forester,
Aha! City forester must be Myrtle Birch or Jack Pine, right?
Verner encouraged Holly to pursue the project and introduced her to the city Urban Forester, Angel Spell.
See what I mean?
... and on Tuesday the Urban Forestry Program will plant the 10th tree in the heart to mark the 10th anniversary of the first tree planted in the Susie Forest. A group of Boy Scouts started Tuesday’s task on Saturday, digging a hole where the last tree will go.
“These are the projects and these are the events that make my job so amazing,” Spell said. “It gives all these people here connection to each other, connection to these trees, connection to nature, and it’s all because of Holly’s idea.”
Do LED bulbs protect incandescent bulbs?
Thoroughly random and probably invalid thought.
I sternly resisted the replacement of incandescents by CFLs because it was done by official force. Incandescents were STOLEN and replaced by poison pods that could kill you.
I don't have a problem with efficiency and energy-saving, as long as it's not commanded at gunpoint. So when LED bulbs came down to a reasonable price (and claimed to be at least partly American-made) I bought two of them. Their real appeal for an old coot is not the slight increase in efficiency but the huge decrease in replacement. As I get older, the process of standing on a chair, taking off delicate glass shades and unscrewing bulbs becomes more accident-prone.
I bought them in March, seven months ago. One LED went in the kitchen and one in the living room ceiling fixture.
Here's the odd part: Since March I haven't needed to replace any bulbs at all. One incandescent is still in the living-room fixture along with the LED, because the LED is directional and the incandescent 'fills out' the room. Previously, the bulbs in that fixture needed replacing every 3 months or so, because it's on 16 hrs/day. Another incandescent in a lamp at the other end of the living room also needed replacing every 4 months, because that lamp is my 'night light'. By now I should have replaced each of those bulbs at least once.
The separate 'night-light' lamp has to be just an unrelated statistical stretch; it's only on when the LEDs are off. But I can imagine a ballast-like action for the incandescent that shares a socket with the LED. Maybe the LED is surging before the incandescent starts to draw current, dropping the voltage briefly.
= = = = =
Update Jan 6, 2014: Still no replacement. That's 9 months for a pair of bulbs that typically lasted 3 or 4 months before the LEDs were added to the mix.
= = = = =
Update May 17, 2014: The 40-w bulb that shares a socket with the LED finally burned out today. That's 14 months, turned on 16 hrs/day, totalling about 7000 hours. The desk lamp 40 still hasn't failed.
Update Oct 25: the bulb that shares with LED burned again. 5 months, back to the old pattern. So the hypothesis is also burned out. I just happened to install two extremely good bulbs at about the same time that I switched to the LED!
11, 17, 33
Polistra was thinking about life cycles of the annoying aphids, and decided to examine a more obvious life cycle. Why do cicadas pick 17? Assuming the cicada had already decided on a multi-year larval stage, there must have been some 'tuning' on the epigenes to hit 17 as an optimum. But optimum by what standard?
Obvious first guess: it's about halfway between 11 and 22. 17 should be the point of least synchrony with 11-year sunspot cycles, providing the best rotation among weather conditions, and the best rotation among predators whose populations respond directly to weather conditions.
The graph shows the rotation fairly well but not dramatically. Green (static) graph represents a century of 11-year sunspot cycles. Red (changing) graph represents red-eyed cicada cycles of various lengths, labeled in the upper corner of the picture.
Complicating the hypothesis: 17 is also half of 34, which is a stronger weather cycle than 11. This could put the emergence of cicadas in permanent sync with big storms, or in permanent sync with just-right seasons. Is that good or bad?
¶ 5:47 AM
Thursday, October 24, 2013
[Annual feature. This is the fourth time I've noted it here. Aphid Day in 2010 was the first of Oct; in 2011 it was the end of Oct; in 2012 the first of Oct; now in 2013 it's the last part of Oct. More or less periodic in those four years. Makes me wonder if we're seeing alternate populations of a critter with a two-year life cycle. Looked it up; probably not. Aphids are poorly understood. They do all sorts of complicated and strange things, including two-layer birthing and cloning a male from a female in order to mate! But this particular aphid doesn't wait two years between matings.]
= = = = =
Every year in Spokane the end of summer is marked by the swarming of tiny white-winged flies.
Insects don't waste much time in adulthood; lots of bugs live several years as larvae and only a few days as adults.
These flies take it to an extreme. Adults are minimally equipped to get in the air and reproduce. They don't have as much brain power as other flies, nor do they have hard shells. Instead of flying purposefully, they drift with the wind like seeds, and die as soon as they bump into anything even at near-zero drifting speed. Result: for a couple of days, your face and clothes are covered with semi-liquid insects.
Despite their lack of navigation, they must have some kind of superior instinct or 'community intelligence', because picking the last warm day is much harder than picking the first warm day of spring. Termites and ants don't need to calculate their swarming day; they only need a simple neuron to detect when temperature rises past a certain threshold, plus an emitted pheromone to trigger the avalanche.
But how do these flies determine that today is not just warm, but the last warmth for their generation? They must be sensing something besides temperature.
At any rate, they serve as a reliable sign for us, even if our supercomputers can't match their calculations.
Latest NSA 'scandal' is listening to the calls of Reichsführerin Merkel. Why is this a 'scandal'? Much as I enjoy the piling on, and much as I've been waiting for 30 years to see if anyone else in the world would FUCKING NOTICE what NSA does, I can't join the pile this time.
Look. If you started a spy agency from scratch in a supposedly non-dictatorial country, you'd ferociously avoid spying on your own people, because that's the quickest way to lose your credibility. You'd also avoid spying on ordinary people in other countries.
You'd focus on the LEADERS OF HOSTILE COUNTRIES, and the LEADERS OF COUNTRIES THAT HAD HISTORICALLY MADE TROUBLE. This is EXACTLY WHAT SPIES ARE SUPPOSED TO WATCH.
And your list of COUNTRIES THAT HISTORICALLY MADE TROUBLE would start with Germany. You'd observe that every time the Krauts unite in one nation they start stomping stomping stomping stomping stomping stomping stomping stomping to take over the world by extreme force. You'd observe that Krauts reunited in 1990, and since then they've been stomping all over the rest of Europe. Therefore you'd want to keep a VERY SHARP EYE on Kraut leaders. You'd want to tap Reichsführerin Merkel's phone.
¶ 5:02 PM
Watching C-Span hearings on Romneycare website failures. One of the witnesses said that they have handled about 4000 paper applications, which are the only for-sure applications.
4000 in 24 days. That's about 160 people per day.
We've paid over a billion dollars for this mess, and it yields 160 forms per day.
160 paper registrations per day is the same scale of activity as a small hotel. When I worked in a hotel-like facility on the OU campus, we checked in and out a similar number, generally between 100 and 200 per day. We had 6 people working the desk (2 per shift) and another 6 back-office employees to file the cards, send out bills, etc. This check-in process took only a small part of our work time. We had plenty of time to chat, study and watch TV. Our wages in modern dollars were about 20k per person: 12 people * 20k = 240,000 per year.
So Romneycare is producing at the same rate as the OU conference center, and costing 4000 times as much.
Amazing. But that's only part of the amazingness. If this super-fast productivity continues, we'll be able to insure all of those famous "47 million uninsured" in a mere 677 years. So we just have to wait till 2690 AD, and all our health care problems will be solved.
¶ 10:38 AM
In econblog circles there's a productive dialog on the basic question: Is economics a science? Krugman has a surprisingly sensible answer. He says econ is a science, but many economists are priests, not scientists.
Mote and beam, of course. Krugman himself is The High Priest of Infinite Stimulus. More more more more more more more more more more spending is The Holy Answer To All Questions. (I suspect he knows this about himself at some level; he has more insight than most Experts.)
I've hit this question many times, with a solidly negative answer. Let's look at it again from the Grand Blueprint perspective, from the distinction between living purpose and non-living predictability.
Economics is an attempt to measure and describe a uniquely live activity: Creating value.
Non-living things move back and forth and exchange places under the influence of wind and gravity. That's not economic activity.
All living things know what value is. Bacteria move toward good 'smells' and away from bad 'smells'. They place high value on edible material and low value on inedible material. I'd call that a prerequisite for economic activity.
Real economic activity begins with bugs and birds selecting pretty or tasty objects as courtship tokens. That's the first instance of exchanging things based on value, with a living purpose or goal in mind.
Humans take this to the next level in trading and barter. A trader selects and presents things to maximize their attractiveness, in order to exchange them for things that he considers superior. In selecting and presenting, he is increasing extrinsic (perceived) value but not intrinsic value.
Real intrinsic value gets created when the farmer applies labor and care to seeds and soil and eggs. Living purpose takes care of the rest, giving us edible fruits and leaves and meat.
Finally, the most advanced form of human purpose starts with raw stuff and carves it or bakes it or melts it or ties it together to make new intrinsic value, objects that didn't exist in Nature and weren't created by natural growth.
Value can be recalibrated via feedback loops, increasing and decreasing with perceived supply
and perceived demand; but value can only be created by selection, natural growth, or manufacture.
Up to here we're looking at concrete and observable processes. Living purpose is not part of most scientific discussions because most "scientists" don't know what life is. Still, it's perfectly observable. An economist who stayed within these bounds could be doing something like science. Problem is, modern economists don't stop there.
Modern economists talk about Efficient Markets and recommend things like stimulus and options and derivatives and QE. Those activities do not belong to the realm of concrete and observable processes. They are pure numerical manipulation.
QE doesn't add value through any of those stages of human or animal purpose. It just moves numbers around in order to STOP normal economic activity that would be expressed in varying interest rates. It breaks the loop. It's not only fake, it PREVENTS the creation and exchange of real value.
Quite simply, QE is perpetual motion. Real science showed long ago that perpetual motion is just a waste of time and activity.
Economists can't see this, which means they are quacks.
The Obama administration is scrambling on multiple fronts to salvage the Obamacare web site and change the negative narrative for the president’s signature health care law.... On Wednesday the CEOs of several health insurance companies will head to the White House to meet with adviser....
Okay, let's change the narrative. Everyone with a brain could see from the start that Romneycare was bound to fail, if you define failure to mean "making things worse". It's the worst of both worlds. It hugely expands all the broken and evil parts of American health care, and does nothing at all to solve the well-known problems. You didn't need to know ANY FUCKING DETAILS. The basic scheme was designed to guarantee perfect monopoly to the insurers who already had a partial monopoly. From this one fact, you could be sure that everything would get worse. Basic economics.
By governmental standards this is success, not failure. Starving the poor and enriching the rich is success, not failure.
The idiot partisan votebots on "both" "sides" guaranteed that Romneycare would happen. "Both" "sides" worked with a shared lie as always. The shared lie, that Romneycare is socialized medicine, served "both" purposes. R-label votebots could rail against its "Marxist" tendencies, and D-label votebots could sing hymns to its "fairness".
Failure of the website was not predictable from basic principles. The government has lots of similarly purposed websites, and most of them work pretty well. You could assume that the same people who designed those good-enough websites would design this one. Clearly that didn't happen!
Now the R-label votebots are saying that Romneycare was a trojan horse, meant to fail so that "Marxist" Obama can implant real socialized medicine.
Nope, that doesn't work.
(1) First, though Obama grew up in a Marxist household, his performance as President has been perfectly consistent from the 2008 campaign through the present. He works for Wall Street, just like Bush, McCain and Romney. Every single move he makes is obviously aimed to starve the masses and enrich the rich. Everything he does, including Romneycare, is successful for Goldman's purposes.
(2) Second, Obama had no conventional political reason to implement something as horrible as Romneycare. In 2009 he had a real mandate to FIX the medical system, and the way to FIX it is single-payer plus lawsuit reform. Medicare for all. This is not a matter of opinion or theory, it's an experimentally determined fact. We have 120 years of experimentation by various countries, and the conclusion is clear by now. Single-payer systems work. Insurance-based monopolies like US (whether partial before Romneycare or total after Romneycare) do not work. Fully socialized systems like UK do not work.
(3) Third, the R-label votebots called Romneycare "socialized medicine." If it is "socialized medicine", it's not a "gambit to reach socialized medicine." Can't have it both ways.
(4) Fourth, nobody uses a trojan horse in modern American politics. All systems are intended to starve the poor and enrich the rich, and no system is ever repealed or removed. If some rich people are displeased by some aspect of a system, the government will add new epicycle bureaucracies to please those factions, thus making the system even more expensive and unwieldy. (I emphasize modern because it wasn't always this way. Repealing or simplifying systems was possible until about 40 years ago.)
Paging Dr Percy..... Paging Dr Percy..... Stat!NPR discusses a truly obnoxious and satanic feature of Romneycare which hasn't been advertised much yet. President Romney wants all medical practices to 'get together' in big clinics so you can see your doctor, your soul-stealing Stalinist shrink, your dentist, your optician, etc all together in a nice togetherly TEAM.
This is EXACTLY what Walker Percy was predicting in 'Love in the Ruins', specifically in the climactic Grand Rounds on Mr Ives scene. Everything all mushed together in one place so you can't possibly escape from evil. You can't select. You have two choices: Participate in Satan's togetherly niceness or die.
¶ 6:01 PM
From the mouths
Broadcast journalists sometimes show unexpected wisdom when they're just filling time. They tend to be stupid when discussing Heavy Topics.
This morning a local drive-time show was picking up the taped forecast from weather guy Mark Peterson. Weather guy is cheerful this week because he's the messenger of beautiful weather. "Today we'll reach 68. Tomorrow just a scosh cooler at 64."
One of the drive-timers then said:
"A scosh is different, of course, if you're talking about Fahrenheit or Centigrade."
Unexpected wisdom. Comparing official and natural measurements is wise, and it's something you don't hear from Official Commentators.
In more detail: A scosh, or a smidgen, or an oodle, or a shitload, is constant regardless of official system; so the Fahrenheit equivalent of a scosh is different from the Centigrade equivalent of a scosh.
Sidenote 1: I'll bet today will be Aphid Day. Earlier I wasn't sure we'd get an Aphid Day this fall, because I didn't think we would get close to 70. Will update later, but wanted to place the bet now. [Later: Nope. A few of the aphids showed around sunset, but not a proper swarm yet.]
Sidenote 2: Peterson often shows a solid understanding of Reality vs Official Systems, and expresses it in a wonderfully terse way. Recently he said "Rain yesterday: a tenth of an inch at the airport. More at your place." Exactly. Spokane's Official Weather is measured at the airport where NOBODY lives. The airport's readings are always significantly different from the inhabited parts of Spokane. No matter where 'your place' is, it's going to have a higher temperature and less wind and more rain than the airport. Peterson said it all in four words.
Sidenote 3: In this Fibber episode Fibber formalizes and tabulates the system of natural units. He's talking with the little girl next door Teeny:
Teeny: Mister, what's a scad? Willie Toops says his uncle has scads of money and I can't argue with him because I don't know how much a scad is.
Fibber: You know what an oodle is, sis?
Teeny: No, but everybody says my dog has oodles of fleas.
Fibber: Exactly. There are several scads in an oodle; plenty of oodles to a gob; lots of gobs to a heap; batches of heaps to a load; and multifarious loads to a galore. Understand?
Teeny: Well, no.
Fibber: Well, let's put it this way. Suppose you had several oodles of peanuts. Somebody gives you a heap more. How many scads would you have?
Teeny: Loads, I betcha.
Fibber: Loads of scads, or lots of gobs, or a batch of heaps.
¶ 6:09 AM
Monday, October 21, 2013
Canine cases, Danbo Declension
Languages vary hugely, but there are some fairly distinct asymptotes or pivot points. In syntax and noun forms, the asymptote is NGDA. Nominative, genitive, dative, accusative. Many languages have inflections to denote other relationships between an object and the world, but as a language develops it tends to simplify down to NGDA and stay there. Even after the case endings dissolve or merge, NGDA still remains firmly marked in word order.
Why is NGDA optimal? It describes the basic relationships in any social structure, whether we're talking about dogs or humans or bees. When you have NGDA you have a society and vice versa.
No need to model.
Science 2.0 describes an analog way of modeling complex processes. Much as I appreciate analog and concrete ways of doing things, this one probably won't help. The originator suggests that it could serve to model stock market crashes.
No. Stock market crashes are not 'non-linear' or 'chaotic' processes, they are CRIMINAL processes, ordered and commanded by a criminal syndicate. When Goldman needs a crash, Goldman makes a crash. That is all.
The solution is simple. How do you reach ZERO PROBLEMS? Eliminate the object that creates problems. When I perceived the risk of trees falling on my house, I didn't try to predict the probability of falling; I didn't buy Pine Default Swaps; I had the trees cut down. When my own elderly memory was starting to create problems with a cabinet door, I didn't try to monitor or predict the door; I didn't buy Door Headbump Futures; I removed the door.
Same with markets. The stock market, with its associated speculators, is a constant and deadly danger to society, with absolutely no conceivable benefits under any imaginable circumstances.
REMOVE IT. ZERO MARKET = ZERO PROBLEMS.
Normal Politicians Party
Mentioning Nethercutt in connection with Foley's death led to a thought.
Nethercutt is a good example of a Normal American Politician. Extrovert with great social skills, likes to manipulate and maneuver, likes to have power derived from pleasing real people. This type probably doesn't fit any traditional category of 'ideal human' or 'saint', but it's a type that has served pretty well in Parliamentary systems over many centuries.
The DC government has grown so destructive and suicidal in the last 30 years that many Normal American Politicians can't stand it. They move up through levels of power in the states, decide to move into Congress, and then quit in disgust after a couple terms.
Some politicians thrive in DC. These politicians are comfortable with suicidal insanity by definition.
By now we have a pretty good collection of Normal Politicians Who Can't Stand DC.
Maybe this collection should form a party and run together against the wackos who love suicidal insanity. They would recruit enough decent state politicians to fill out a complete national ticket for one election: 435 Lower Nuthouse and 33 Upper Nuthouse candidates. They would offer: "Elect all of us at once. We'll bring back regular functional politics, with all its ordinary corruption and silliness. We'll take bribes from companies in our own districts, but we won't take bribes from any foreigner or financier."
¶ 6:13 AM
Variables and constants 5
Brief thought on "austerity", after reading some Krugmanite shit like this:
We live in extraordinary times where our country’s economic stability and global competitiveness is under perpetual threat by those we have placed in office. Families and students are feeling the sharp edge of broken policy and austerity economics.
Constants and variables, fuckhead.
What's constant? Insane federal regs based on the suicidal leftist idea that all humans are identical.
What's variable? Federal payments intended to compensate for the insane federal regs. Even at the max, these payments don't come anywhere near the cost of the insane regs. Now that Congress has finally and SANELY started to cut the payments, local schools are feeling the pinch.
In engineering terms, the load is constant and the power source is discharging.
Both political "sides" are focusing only on the battery. The Krugmanite "progressives" insist on more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more batteries, and the Randian "conservatives" want to remove all the batteries. Both wrong. Focus on the load. Part of it is needed for normal public education, but 1/3 of it is suicidal, planted by black-robed Soviet saboteurs in a deliberate and calculated attempt to SMASH civilization.
Correct solution: Remove the unnecessary part of the load. Disobey federal regulations unless the feds pay 100% of the cost.
¶ 5:21 AM
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Something happened. What?
Last night I was awakened after 3 hrs of sleep by a strange dream about a huge gathering of cop cars in front of the house. After awakening fully I looked around; didn't hear anything, didn't see anything. Assumed the dream was just a story, and dropped back into slumberland.
After daylight I noticed a vague tireprint just above the curb in the front yard. Not a big divot as you'd expect from an out-of-control car, just an impression in the frost. It was gone after the sun warmed up.
Later I checked the police log and found a cluster of Malicious Mischief and Disorderly Person reports in this neighborhood, which is highly unusual. One of them was on this street at exactly the same time I woke up; but it didn't specify the address or even W or E. This street on the East side is a common crime location.
So something was going on around here, maybe a sirenless police stop in front of my house. No definite indications of damage or vandalism. Puzzling and frustrating to see so many indirect signs without a definite picture of what happened!
Full moon at work. This one is especially strong.
¶ 5:29 PM
Why do I use the word 'genocidal' so much? 2A "study" by a monster named Aaron Lotz has reached the "conclusion" that human longevity is the main variable controlling "loss of biodiversity". The countries where humans live longest are also the countries that record the most endangered species and the most invasive species.
If this is a valid correlation, which it probably isn't, the source is instantly obvious. Countries with good medical care and low human infant mortality are also countries with lots of paid scientists and paid researchers. It takes lots of paid satans to worry about "endangered species."
Naturally, or I should say unnaturally, the monster called "Lotz" is incapable of seeing this obvious connection. Instead, the monster assumes ... are you ready for a shock shock shock? EVIL KKKARBON! Wowie zowie! I couldn't have guessed in a trillion thousand hundred papillion dozen years! This is the surprisingest surprisingest surprise in the history of the universe!
Plain fucking fact: Nearly all REAL extinctions of big animals were caused by humans, but not through any weird religious theology about EVIL KKKARBON. They were caused directly and simply by uncontrolled hunting and fishing. If there are any REAL extinctions going on now, they are more likely to be happening in poor countries where hunting is a desperate need, and where the rulers are too busy getting rich off foreign NGOs to worry about feeding their people or restricting hunting.
Of course this basic obvious thought is unthinkable for a monster called Lotz. Savile Broadcasting interviewed the monster called Lotz this morning. At the end of the interview, the monster called Lotz said:
"Certainly some people live off the grid and don't have very much impact on the planet."
Lesus save us. Lohammed save us. Luddha save us.
Has this monster ever NOTICED how people live off the grid? They live OUT IN THE WILDERNESS, directly impacting wild animals, HUNTING and FISHING and FORAGING on wild plants. They don't worry about game rangers.
Off-the-grid people are THE SAME FUCKING PEOPLE who caused most extinctions before.
¶ 5:22 AM
Why do I use the word 'genocidal' so much? 1
Following on this rant on Commie hatred of GMO crops. Point was: Commies hate the idea of breeding and altering plants with modern technology, but love the idea of breeding and altering humans with modern technology.
A similar conflict shows in this Savile Broadcasting piece on problems with invasive pests in trees. Commies are deeply concerned with "alien Asian invaders" that "native varieties haven't coevolved with."
Good concern. Can't argue with this concern, though I suspect a good dose of DDT would take care of the insect pests quickly if Commies hadn't prohibited DDT. It's good to keep native varieties thriving, and it's good to repel alien invaders.
Well then, the same idea should apply to human varieties, right? WRONG! If that isn't obvious, examine the comments in this Guardian article on a Brit government attempt to make migrants feel unwelcome.
Any attempt to protect native human varieties against invaders that we "haven't coevolved with" is MAXIMUM SIN! EVIL! WE MUST BE COMPLETELY VULNERABLE! WE MUST SACRIFICE OURSELVES FOR THE SACRED IDEA OF DIE-VERSITY! KILL US ALL NOW! LET THE INVADER HAVE THE LAND!
¶ 5:02 AM
Friday, October 18, 2013
Tom Foley died. Most of the commentary is in terms of ideology, but ideology really isn't the point. Foley lost the '94 election because he had moved too far into the role of Speaker, and had lost touch with his district.
I saw him fairly often in those years because his local office happened to be in the same building where I worked. When he was in town, he was always rushing around, never shaking hands with businessmen or kissing babies.
Nethercutt replaced Foley and took special care to stay local. He avoided moving up the leadership ladder and always made time for local radio, always shook hands and kissed babies. He left politics after three terms, clearly disgusted with the direction DC politics was taking.
I'm sure Boehner's constituents must feel the same way that we felt about Foley, whether they agree with his ideology or not.
Representatives were not meant to become Speaker. The Speaker was supposed to be a purely national figure, something like a low-grade Prime Minister, appointed by the Lower Nuthouse from leading citizens.
I might draw an analogy at the international level. The US was not meant to be an empire. It was supposed to be just another nation, and the peculiar demands of empire have caused the whole national government to turn into an imperial monstrosity. It needs to be removed and replaced with a more 'local' government that shakes hands and kisses babies. But that ain't gonna happen.
Further thought here.
Semi-relevant sidenote: Ever notice that Foley and Bing Crosby looked alike and had similar manners and voices? (In speaking anyway; I don't know if Foley was a good singer.) There are several other specimens of the same type in Spokane, especially around Gonzaga. Seems to be a particular Irish type that clustered here.
¶ 1:20 PM
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Truth in labeling
Wash state has a referendum on the ballot this year to require labeling of GMO food. The state Atty General is bringing a complaint against one of the organizations on the anti-labeling side, charging it with failing to label its membership correctly.
This is indeed a problem. Ad hoc 'organizations' always form temporarily on both sides of these referenda, and these 'organizations' always have vague misty names like Americans for Niceness or Seattle for a Good World or We Love Puppies and Angels or Grocery Manufacturers Association.
Especially the last one. Grocery Manufacturers Association.... Wow! How could anyone tell what it's for, or which side of this dispute it's on, or who belongs to it? Purely abstract name, made up of focus-grouped phonemes.
Yes, that's the one the Atty Genl is complaining about. The Grocery Manufacturers Association is failing to describe its purposes and members.
Lesus Q. Christ.
= = = = =
There's a broader irony here. Though everyone has gotten into the fake-name act by now, the trick was invented by Commies, and Commies are still the specialists in fake labels. They never require honesty in labeling by their own side. It's perfectly OK for hard-line mass-murdering genocidal Pol-Pot-worshiping Maoist Cadres to describe themselves as "Episcopal Church" or "American Civil Liberties Union" or "Scientists." But it's not OK for recently hybridized crops to go without labels. All food crops and livestock have been carefully bred and hybridized for at least 5000 years, but we urgently need to know which food items have been hybridized using modern methods. Modern hybrids, with genes transported by mechanisms under human command, are EVIL and must have WARNING LABELS. Older hybrids, with genes transported by viruses or mice or crows, are ORGANIC and WONDERFUL and need no labels.
And we can get even broader. Which ideology has always favored 'mechanisms under human command' for selecting and altering humans? Yes, boys and girls. Lenin's ideology. And which ideology CANNOT TOLERATE 'mechanisms under human command' for selecting and altering corn and cattle? Yes, boys and girls. Lenin's ideology. So: Modern breeding methods for humans are REQUIRED, but modern breeding methods for everything else are PROHIBITED.
¶ 8:30 AM
Proficiency vs efficiency
Been reading some old books on banking, trying to trace the trends of abstraction and speculation vs healthy deposit-and-loan. The wavelength of these cycles is shorter than I had imagined, with frequent bubbles and frequent returns to sanity. Nothing new about TBTF banks or gov't bailouts of TBTF banks, either.
The current bubble is vastly larger than earlier bubbles in geographical terms, but fairly ordinary in temporal terms; 10 years between bubble and re-regulation is fairly typical. We haven't reached the 10-year point yet, so we can't say for sure that this bubble will go unfixed forever.
One book goes deeply into error-checking methods, reminding me of some tricks I had used in my long-forgotten bookkeeping days....
Humans and machines are both good at making errors, but humans are still unbeatable at catching errors. This detective work was the fun part of bookkeeping, especially when the error was made by someone else. Not so much fun when it was my own error! Note the author's tone of regret at the loss of "the accounting genius" and the replacement of proficiency by efficiency.
¶ 5:00 AM
Sort of related to my earlier ramblings on living purpose vs non-living non-purpose. We like to imagine that we are actively deciding what to do at every moment. We like to pretend that our 'decisions' have wide variations that wouldn't have existed if we had picked other courses.
Lately I've noticed the precise predictability of my daily routine. Since I stopped working regular hours a long time ago, I don't watch the clock, but two pieces of technology mark time for me. One technology is the AM radio, which is usually turned on for tinnitus-masking background and fake 'companionship'; the other tech is the computer's screen saver.
Breakfast is a bowl of ramen, which feels partly variable. Sometimes I gobble fast, sometimes I stop for a while to think and read. Despite that, the computer's screen saver is always fading out just as I sit back down after eating. The time between leaving the computer and returning to the computer is 15 minutes on the dot, no matter how 'variable' the process feels.
My walks to Safeway also feel partly variable. I use the bus to carry me up a steep hill, then walk the whole way on the downhill return trip. The bus is fairly consistent, so arrival at Safeway always happens at the same time. After that, shopping and paying feel variable. Depends on what I'm buying and depends on delays in the checkout line. The homeward walk also feels variable; sometimes I have to stop for heavy traffic, sometimes I'm more energetic. Despite all of that, about 80% of the time I enter the front door on the same word in the talk show's standard intro.
Evening shower seems fully variable. I go into the bathroom when I feel like it; sometimes stop to think for a while; do things in various sequences. Despite the apparent 'variability', about 80% of the time I return to the living room just as the local talk show host is finishing her musical intro.
Am I really in control of what I do? External markers shout NO!
Goldman crack corn, I don't care
Noted a news item about the ongoing bankruptcy of my publisher. Latest development is that their creditors, represented by JPMorgan, have seized all their copyrights, and the publisher is suing to get the copyrights back.
A few of those copyrights are mine. Or were mine until JPMorgan snatched them. More significantly, JPMorgan has also snatched part of my annual income.
Do I get perturbed? No. Welllllllll, not hugely perturbed.
Why? Because unlike the publisher, and unlike this miserable fucked beyond-insane beyond-Satan former so-called alleged quote "country", I've learned to function on the savings side of the ledger. I no longer need their income, so it doesn't matter .... well, it doesn't matter quite as much ... that JPMorgan owns the products of my brain and labor. Also, I understand that JPMorgan is Chosen and thus deserves to own more than everything. JPMorgan's Chosen birthright entitles it to own everything that exists, plus an infinite amount of "value" counterfeited by its Chosen servants who control the knobs on the Chosen government counterfeit machine.
Supposedly I've reached the level of fuck-you-money:
Trying to convince myself, but it doesn't work. No matter how hard you try, you can't escape the bloody talons of Goldman. You stay out of debt, live cautiously, save ferociously, avoid the stock market.... Nope, Goldman still snatches your property and steals your income. It's the only law of nature, the law of the Chosen.
¶ 9:50 AM
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Probably a misobservation again, but here goes....
What happened to the basic skill of asking questions? In the last decade or so, I've noticed a lot of completely useless questions. Poor questions can get especially dramatic in the context of a graphics forum, but it's the same basic problem in verbal situations like callers on Money-Talk radio shows, or people asking the bus driver where the bus goes.
Often the trouble is what might be called 'coyness', where the questioner is trying to keep his actual purposes hidden while finding how to do something or how to get somewhere. When you hear a sentence starting with "Let's say" or "For example", it's probably going to get coy.
The problem with coyness is that your example or metaphor often includes a bad assumption, a bad connection between what you want and what you say. You don't know how to do X, therefore you especially don't know how to form good metaphors or examples about doing X.
In the bus context, you're trying to reach the DSHS (Welfare) office at Ash and Boone, so you ask the driver if this bus goes to Cannon Park which is nearby. Well, the bus that gets close to Cannon Park might not** go anywhere near DSHS. You've only assumed that it has to go that way.
I didn't observe this 'coyness' problem in earlier decades. When I was teaching electronics, I often answered incomplete questions that showed several stages of ignorance, but the question never included a poorly constructed example that had to be disassembled first. I could always start from the question itself and build the student's knowledge up to the necessary point.
Is this semi-competent self-protective attitude a consequence of the web's deep intrusiveness? Habits acquired from watching lawyer shows on TV? I don't know.
You could state a rule of thumb: Examples belong in answers, not in questions.
= = = = =
**Footnote: I didn't look it up on the route maps first. Actually the bus that goes to Cannon Park does pass right by DSHS, which means I unwittingly created a bad example of a bad example, thus proving the main point neatly. If you don't know the fact, you aren't going to create good examples about the fact.
¶ 10:02 AM
Variables and constants 4Washington Post has been carrying and even extending Snowden's info, treating it with all the severity it deserves, not pulling any punches. This is a strong indication that something big has changed in the world of journalism.
Variables and constants:
Before this, WP had a consistent 'transfer function' that could be mapped in a simple table.
No matter what R does, Impeach! No matter what D does, Wonderful!
The function was established in the Watergate story, where Nixon precisely copied the behavior of Kennedy and Johnson. WP ignored dirty tricks when done by JFK and LBJ, and blasted the exact same dirty tricks across the world when done by Nixon. Until now, the function continued without exception. Party was the sole input. Behavior was disconnected.
Now we have a partial change, making a somewhat more complex truth table.
When party is R, behavior is still disconnected. For all behavior, output = Impeach! But when party is D, behavior matters. Bad behavior by D is now relevant.
¶ 5:42 AM
Monday, October 14, 2013
Economics closed, mofo.
Economics is supposed to be a science. The job of a science is to gather and analyze facts and construct theories. We justify paying people to do science because good theories (like Newton's laws or Ohm's law) can help us make things and prepare for the future.
Robert Shiller is an economist. We know this because he just received a Nobel Prize for economics. NPR Marketplace just now played a quote from Robert Shiller about the probability of federal default.
"It'll probably be OK, but I can't predict the future."
Today is Monday. He's talking about Thursday. He can't predict Thursday from Monday.
Therefore: Economics is NOT a science and all of its practitioners should be disbarred and ignored, just as we ignore astrologers. Closed, mofo.
QED. Of course we already knew this, but it's ever so nice to have a perfect disproof directly from the horse's ass.
Compare: How would real sciences handle a three-day prediction?
Meteorology: Thursday will be dry and cool. Low 35, high 60.
Botany: By Thursday, the deciduous trees will have dropped 40% of their leaves.
Both of those scientists are dealing with VASTLY more complex systems than the federal default. Each system has an exactly infinite number of variables, while federal default depends on exactly three bizarre Satanic pseudo-human thingamajigs (Reid, Boehner, Obama) whose behavior in nearly identical circumstances is known from previous years.
¶ 4:16 PM
What time is it? Tsunami o'clock!
The western part of Wash will be holding a tsunami practice drill at 10:17 AM on 10/17 (Thursday). Local radio news mentioned this, even though it's not strictly relevant to us, and included a clip of the tsunami siren.
The siren is a Westminster chime! It's the most familiar two segments of the chime, technically speaking parts 4 and 5 of the pattern.
If you weren't aware of this, what would you think? "Oh, there's the half-hour. Must be 10:30. No, wait, my clock says 10:17. Better set it to 10:30 since the church clock is usuaTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMPTHUMP! CRASH! SPLASH! GLUB GLUB GLUB"
A long video on the Shakeout.org site gives clear instructions for handling a quake, with good explanations of the reasons.... but the recommendation is only valid for people working in a downtown area with skyscraper-type buildings that can drop cornices or windows. It urges you to stay inside a building and find cover. In a residential area, correct advice is the exact opposite, but the clip doesn't say this. Houses can fall. Sky can't fall. Get outside.
Later: Aha. The Westminster is one of the patterns available on the standard 'EOWS' sirens, and it's specifically meant to be used for benign testing, as in "Just making some noise, folks. Don't get excited." Having a distinct testing sound is an excellent idea, but the news piece didn't mention this.
¶ 6:58 AM
Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Utrecht Medical Center in the Netherlands report in the new study that a class of specialized cells in the stomach reverts to stem cells more often than they thought.
“We already knew that these cells, which are called chief cells, can change back into stem cells to make temporary repairs in significant stomach injuries, such as a cut or damage from infection,” said Jason Mills.
If a significant injury is introduced in cell cultures or in animal models, more chief cells become stem cells, making it possible to fix the damage. “Chief cells normally are big factories with elaborate networks of tubing and secretory mechanisms for making and secreting digestive juices,” said Mills. “That all has to be dismantled and recycled so the chief cell can become a stem cell. It’s a remarkable change.”
Hugely newsworthy for three separate reasons:
(1) The discovery happened partly in America, which means the death-loving Embryonic Stem Cell forces are losing their iron grip on American science. Research on the real solution is now both fundable and publishable. Good sign of positive change.
(2) Basic implication is obvious: Everyone has their own highly productive and easily convertible stem cells that can be gathered directly with endoscopic tools.
(3) Another destroyer for evolution theories. Let's imagine how these chief cells "evolved". A cosmic ray penetrates the stomach of some early animal, and happens to hit just the right combination of genes to turn the cell into a "big factory with an elaborate network of tubing". Entirely possible. Oops! How did the stomach function without a complete set of those cells? Well, let that slide. Now we just need to have cosmic rays happen to hit the exact same combination of genes in millions of other cells, to create a stomach that can generate its own acids and enzymes. Now that the animal can eat and digest food, which it couldn't before... Oops, we'll let that slide. Now we need to have more cosmic rays cleverly finding just the right combination of genes in those factory cells, so that the factory cells know how to turn themselves back into generic cells. Now that we've got that, we need to have more cosmic rays happen to hit just the right combination of genes in most of those millions of chief cells, so the chief cells will know when to return to generic form in response to chemical signals from other cells when those other cells were injured by sharp stuff coming into the stomach. Now that we've got that, we need to have more cosmic rays hitting just the right combination of genes in those other cells so they will emit chemical signals when they're injured, and the signals must be the same ones that the chief cells understand. Oops! We just said they already knew how to emit signals, even though the signals were useless until the chief cells learned how to read the signals. Well, let that slide............
See how easy it is? It's all happenstance. No other possibility.
[Sidenote: Yes, I know the cosmic rays really need to be hitting the nuclei of egg cells or sperm cells so that the next generation will exhibit the changes. That doesn't affect the overall unlikeliness of the process, nor does it remove the X-before-Y AND Y-before-X contradictions.]
First thought, second thought
The sales end of Romneycare seems to be having serioustech problems, beyond the usual startup strain. It's taking info from users and giving the info to insurers in faulty form, with bad addresses and all sorts of missing data.
First thought: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. EAT IT, MONOPOLY INSURERS. YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE GETTING MILLIONS OF NEW FORCED CUSTOMERS WITH NO SALES EXPENSE. HA HA HA HA HA. JOKE'S ON YOU, ASSHOLES.
Second thought: The Post Office has been using computerized addresses since the '70s, and they have a complex but well-formed set of systems for handling variations in addresses.
For many years Repooflicans have been saying "You don't want health care to work as badly as the Post Office, do you?" I always thought that was a PHENOMENALLY STUPID comparison because even before Romneycare American health care was INFINITELY LESS competent, INFINITELY LESS customer-oriented and INFINITELY LESS friendly than the Post Office. Hospitals and doctors kill 200,000 Americans each year through mistakes. Somewhere around 5% of patients are harmed by medication errors. USPS never kills anyone, and has a much lower error rate in general. The comparison only tells me that the Repooflican yappers who make the comparison are superrich fuckheads who live in a privately owned bubble with private armies of doctors and private armies of illegal immigrant slaves. They have never experienced the horrible service of a proletarian hospital or the competent service of a postman or PO clerk.
Now the stupidity becomes perfectly literal. The Romneycare tax-funded salesman system is failing to use the Post Office's OWN address-determining system!
¶ 12:54 PM
Rattle rattle rattle
First hard frost today. Seems earlier than the past few years, and the pattern is sharper than usual. Generally Oct is in the 60s with a few 70s. This year had a step-function from summer into fall; 90s steadily through August then down to 50s.
This morning all the trees are talking about the hard frost. As I walked, cones and leaves dropped around me every few seconds. Clunk, click, clunk, rattle....
Plants are not passive. They have their own slow-moving intelligence.
The seasonal step-pattern leaves the aphids with no clear swarm signal. Normally they mark the end of the 60s and 70s, informing us that winter is ready. No 60s and 70s this year, so you can't find the end of the 60s and 70s! I saw a few aphids last night. Maybe they'll mount a weak and slow swarm without a proper signal.
Revolt of the non-living
Successful systems of ALL kinds require two qualities:
(2) Negative feedback.
Life invented these qualities. Or the Creator of Life invented them, if you prefer to think in those terms. In either case, they don't exist in the pre-life parts of the universe.
Life works because it's decoupled and loopy. Every module at every level, from mitochondria to cells to organs to individuals to hives, has its own loops, and each module has a strictly limited influence on other modules.
Half-formed thought: Human history has led to a wide variety of overlaid systems, each of which succeeded when it reached maximum Life, maximum decoupling and loopiness. Recently we've been running in reverse, turning many of those systems back toward a non-life condition with tight coupling and no feedback. In most cases we still have 'living' examples of each system, and the 'living' systems are usually growing and succeeding. But in some areas the 'living' examples are in danger from the power connections of the 'non-living' examples.
Yes, that's vague and sort of private-language-ish. See if some examples will clarify.
= = = = =
Religion. Decentralized churches are growing, centralized are shrinking. Who's growing? Islam and Baptist and Pentecostal. What do those belief systems LACK? They lack a Pope or an Archbishop of Canterbury or a Grand Pooh-bah. They are highly fragmented, with local and ethnic branches growing independently on the same belief base. A local church or ethnic branch may go bad (too loose or too tight), but it doesn't infect the other branches.
When you have a Pope or an A of C, you have O'Sullivan's Law writ large. A bad Pope like Miss Francine has total control, and all of her followers must remain loyal, must find a way to defend her apostasy. Everyone is required to catch the Popette's moral disease.
[Sidenote: The fact that decentralized and growing religions are also strict religions is a positive indication that most humans are morally healthy and resilient. Most of us understand why we need religion, and choose a religion that gives us what we need.]
= = = = =
Banking. TBTF says it all. Centralize, securitize, commoditize. Independent banks, tied together by clearing-houses and limited in their scope by strict laws, work well. One bank may become unprofitable, and may even fail, but its failure can be absorbed by the rest of the system. When the restrictions disappear and one Goldman controls everything, governments have to let Goldman do whatever it wants.
= = = = =
Computing. The personal computer has always been a threat to the old centralizers. Genuinely personal computer power reached a peak around 2000. Each desktop unit had its own CPU and its own storage for both programs and data. The punch-card boys never enjoyed losing their power, and now the 'Cloud' has finally brought them back into total control. Programs and data are now central, and each desktop or handheld unit is just a TTY. Punch-card boys are happy, and their friends in NSA and GCHQ are delirious.
¶ 5:53 AM
More revolutionary revisions!
Miss Francine, who was briefly known as Pope Francis, isn't content to destroy the church by eliminating those old obsolete laws and scriptures. Now she/he/it has changed the main character who stands at the base of the former Christian religion.
We eagerly await the rest of her/his/its revisions. Will the Sacred Blood now become the Sacred Transmission Fluid? Stigmata become Holy Flat Tires? Crown of Thorns become Sacred Bird Poop On Windshield? Resurrection become Concours-Grade Restoration?
Oh well. After you destroy the basics, details don't matter.
¶ 3:42 AM
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Didn't play then either
This morning The Economist has an article on how the DC shutdown 'plays in Peoria'. Good coverage of ordinary people, and especially good understanding of gerrymandering. (Brit journalists often fail to pick up the dirty realities of American politics.)
Fibber and Molly were the main source of the 'plays in Peoria' theme. They grew up in Peoria, played in vaudeville, then on radio. Fibber (Jim Jordan) made a strict rule for the writers of his radio series: If it couldn't happen in Peoria, it won't happen on the show. He especially wanted to avoid inside jokes that would only be meaningful to Hollywood fatcats or NY intellectuals**. This restriction makes Fibber episodes a good reference for common culture: if you hear a word or idiom or topic, you can be sure most Americans understood it.
I always have some Fibber episodes on my bedtime playlist. I've recently bought a set of episodes from the late '50s that hadn't been in the usual circulation before. Nice to get 'new' stuff from a reliable source of entertainment.
Last night I was listening to a 'new' episode from 1955 in which Fibber writes an outraged letter to his Congressman. The show's writers rarely dipped into partisan politics, but this time they were pissed enough to sternly denounce a bill that would shut down all education funding until the budget was balanced.
Sounds familiar. A shutdown didn't play in Peoria in 1955, doesn't play now!
**Footnote: Chief writer Don Quinn left in '48 to do Halls Of Ivy. In this grotesquely condescending and unctuously smarmy 1951 interview he makes it painfully clear that he chafed under Fibber's restriction, that he felt Infinitely Intellectually Superior to those horrid midwestern Amerikkkans, and that he HATED HATED HATED having to obey Bourgeois Capitalist Imperialist Running Dog Slobs.
Why no Service Cats?
Why don't you ever hear about a Service Cat for the Disabled? Here's why.
Dog: Oh! You need help! How can I help? Please let me help!
Cat: You're defective. I'm outta here.
¶ 5:25 AM
I've previously expressed frustration with Gove, the British ed minister. His goals are admirable and his focus on discipline is wonderfully correct, but his focus on rote learning is wrong.
Now we have an even more frustrating 'manifesto' by one of Gove's associates, Dominic Cummings. His diagnosis of the terminal illness of education is spot on. It's a very old illness, and every attempt to cure it has been swallowed and co-opted by the Satanic black hole of educrats. I heard my father cussing educrats in the '50s, I ran up against them in my own teaching in the '80s, and now Cummings takes his turn.
Of course the problem was around long before my father. Here is an extended quote from an 1899 book on Manual Training by William Hailmann. I transcribed instead of pasting a screencap as usual, because I want this to be searchable. Hailmann gives the same old diagnosis, followed by the CORRECT prescription.
The traditional school... puts an end to 'full life' in the development of the child. It seals hermetically the sources of the vitalizing stream that was meant to feed the child's soul with sparkling waters of personal experience and personal purpose. And then it dribbles into the captive soul in measured drops the stale waters of a spiritless conventionalism, of a distant past and far-away environments.
What wonder if the children learn little, and this little so slowly and painfully. What wonder if what they do learn lacks the warmth of life and is of little value to them in the concerns of practical life.
This is the situation which the so-called new education would change. It would keep the sources of fresh inflowing experience open and bring in new tributaries.
The business of life is adaptation to environment, to nature, to the universe. This implies knowledge and control of self and surroundings. The business of education is to lead the child to these things with the greatest possible economy of effort. The child should learn to rely implicitly on his power to see, say and do. He should acquire in these matters the habit of success, a calm sense of power, a firm conviction of mastership.
This is possible only if head and hand have been trained simultaneously and in unison; and for this manual training is indispensable. Manual training leads the student to use skill and knowledge in his geographical, historical, literary and scientific studies, in such a way that facts and relations, principles and formulas, become his living possession through rational doing, through their eager application in interesting creative work, rather than as a residue of tedious verbal repetition.
Why is Cummings so wildly frustrating? Because his diagnosis is so painstakingly complete and accurate, and some of his prescription is appropriate. (Get rid of teacher unions, get rid of educrats, open the system to charter and private.) But his purpose is fatally wrong.
Cummings says that social mobility is almost entirely dependent on genetics, so there's really no point in expecting education to help most kids. Education should be aimed primarily at the elites, the Mensa types who will Save The World By Pure Thought And Computer Modeling.
JESUS H. FUCKING CHRIST. DEAD WRONG ON ALL COUNTS.
CONSTANTS AND VARIABLES, FUCKHEAD.First: Social mobility has drastically decreased in recent years, while human genes haven't changed. This should tell you that something external has changed. And the something external is no fucking mystery. We have ALREADY placed 100% of social value on the Mensa elites. We have OBLITERATED all value-adding jobs that non-elites can do. We have either shipped those jobs to China or robotized them. In short, we've eliminated HANDS from the economy.
Second: Public education wouldn't affect Cummings and his Mensa tribe because they are NOT IN THE FUCKING PUBLIC SCHOOLS. They are in Yeshivas or Country Day Schools, or they are home-schooled by armies of private tutors. They have an ideal constant, and won't be touched by this variable. If you build it they won't come.
Third: Pure Thought And Computer Modeling are PRECISELY why we've gotten into the current mess. We've relied on models for criminal Climate "Science", for nutrition, for business decisions, for government decisions, and ABOVE ALL for derivatives, options, lightspeed trading and QE counterfeiting. We don't need MORE modeling, we need PRECISELY ZERO modeling. Using models should be a shoot-on-sight capital offense.
If universal education had focused on hands instead of heads, we'd have the economic and intellectual force needed to reject formulas and models. Our factories would still be running because we wouldn't have allowed the modelers to take over business and government. Our ordinary non-Mensans would still have jobs that paid enough to buy what they made.
Man in a boxPomeroy at RealClearScience discusses a new and fairly obvious 'study' that invalidates most modern research on diet and nutrition. Apparently most modern research relies on self-reporting of caloric intake, and most people underestimate their caloric intake.
No duh, as they say.
A century ago, diet research was more properly scientific because University Ethics Committees hadn't yet been invented. Dietetics was a branch of Home Ec, which was a hard science, relying on carefully measured experiments. Now dietetics is a social "science", running on poorly monitored surveys. Example of the old way from Food and Dietetics, written in 1907 by Alice Peloubet Norton, prof of Home Ec at Chicago:
Wait! What? A female college professor in 1907? No! No! Impossible! Everyone knows that wyymmmyyyns were barefoot and pregnant in 1907!
In fact most profs in Home Ec and related fields, and many profs in biology and geography, were female. When Home Ec was killed by feminists a major employment opportunity for female academics was also killed. Of course that's the sole purpose of feminism: to guarantee that woemooooons can only be placed in situations where they will fail, thus "justifying" the need for government subsidies and Die-Versity Laws.
Here's how calorie requirements were determined in 1907: Atwater's full-body calorimeter. Put a man in a sealed box, leave him there for a few days, have him do exercises on command, and record all inputs and outputs. Food, poop, oxygen, CO2, temperature, physical work, everything.
The Box seen from outside, with part of the extensive lab around it:
And the inside:
And here are some recommended intakes resulting from Atwater's Man In A Box and similar experiments in Britain and Germany. Maybe we should use these recommendations instead of modern ones, since they were derived by real science, and also because 1907 people were lean and trim.
Incidentally, dietaries meant prescribed or recommended diets, and proteid isn't a misprint. The word changed from proteid to protein later, just as hominid more recently changed to hominin. No particular reasod for either change; just keeping the hoi polloi confusen.
Alfred would understand
The Nobel wackos have done something bizarre this year. Normally the Peace Prize is awarded to the most loyal servant of Stalin, the most effective mass murderer, the most unimaginably crazy psychopathic alien. This time the committee has accidentally followed the will of Alfred Nobel explicitly and literally. Nobel regretted inventing dynamite and wanted to insure that people wouldn't use weapons to make war. Nerve gas was a weapon Nobel would have understood.
Of course even Nobel's original purpose was backwards. The plain and simple fact is that big weapons do prevent some kinds of war. When a government has a weapon that its internal and external enemies can't match, and when the gov't has shown a willingness to use the weapon, its enemies won't attack. This mainly prevents internal rebellions, but nevertheless it prevents some death and destruction that would occur otherwise.
¶ 3:21 AM
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Which is better?
Local schools and media have been running nonstop memorial activity for two weeks after a couple of high-school kids died in a car accident.
It wasn't that way in the '60s. I'm thinking about an inconspicuous girl named Lana. She was absent for a couple weeks, then the teacher announced a new seating arrangement that filled in the chair Lana had occupied. Someone asked why. "Because she died." Oh.
And that was it. No ceremonies, no Grief Counselors, no teddy-bears on fences, no media coverage. Just revise the seating chart.
Which is better? I suspect the optimum is somewhere between.
Sidenote: We were tacitly led to believe that Lana had died from some unspecified illness, but I wasn't convinced. She hadn't seemed ill, she had seemed blank, like her soul had died long before her body. Lots of fathers in those days were drunken brutes. I don't know if that was the case with Lana, but the picture was unfortunately familiar.
That's another big difference between the two eras: today's parents and kids seem to get along in an amazingly positive way. Might be totally unprecedented in human history. I hope this generation gets a chance to take over before we fuck everything up.
¶ 6:41 AM
Continuing yesterday's theme.
African media are emphasizing this story today. An obscure NGO has done a detailed report on UN failures in Africa:
Transparency International said in a report Wednesday that the United Nations has failed to make tackling corruption in U.N. peacekeeping operations a priority, leading to cases of bribery, fraud, theft and exploitation of natural resources and resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars.
The report cites examples dating back to 2000 when peacekeepers in Sierra Leone were alleged to be smuggling diamonds...
There is external corruption in the host nation which is "likely to be endemic" and where greater efforts are needed to keep it from becoming embedded, he said, and there is corruption within the peacekeeping force which needs stronger oversight than the U.N. has today.
U.N. Undersecretary-General for Management Yukio Takasu said before the report's release that the U.N. monitors abuse of power, illegalities and corruption, and it has very tight financial controls and inspectors in peacekeeping operations.
Right, Yukio. The report is Not Receivable. Just let Satan monitor Satan, like the banks monitor the banks. Self-regulation is always perfect.
Nothing new in the report. The Alger Hiss Organization has been operating the same way since 1946. Fact-loving Americans have been trying to call attention to it since 1946. Satan's media has been coating us with tinfoil since 1946.
Now it's heartening to watch the Southern nations calling attention to the same old facts. Satan's media hasn't yet tinfoiled those countries, so their message can reach the public for a few moments. Through the Cold War era most African countries adhered to the Russian side, which meant they also obeyed the UN. Now that the South is feeling more independent, with Brazil as a leader and China as a sponsor, the UN is losing much of its reliable voting bloc.
Graphical note: I was trying to make iconic African spears, but they look more like X-Acto Knives in this context!
¶ 4:20 AM
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.