Thursday, August 22, 2019
  2/3 and Boris

An interesting shift shows up in the public statements of UK vs EU, as seen in the pattern of headlines at Politico.eu. I'm super-cautious about believing public statements, but nevertheless:

1. It appears that Germany now wants to help Boris achieve Brexit, and other EU leaders are pulling in the same direction.

2. Only Corbyn is firmly opposed to Brexit now.

3. It also appears that Boris is actually SERIOUS about achieving Brexit. He has eliminated some obstacles that prevented British businesses from negotiating new contracts with their EU counterparts.

Must admit that 3 surprised me. I was assuming that Boris, like Trump, was a useless noisemaker. I was apparently wrong.

But the EU change isn't surprising. Bullies give way when they realize their victims are SERIOUS about resisting. May was not serious. She spent three years fucking around with endless meaningless details, solely concerned with pleasing one or two MPs who were crucial to her narrow plurality. She was only working for herself, not for the country.

It's the 2/3 rule again. Leaders who GET SHIT DONE don't need to worry about preserving narrow pluralities and coalitions. Leaders who GET SHIT DONE have the firm support of 2/3 of the country, an overwhelming majority.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019
  HIstorically disastrous

A black-robed demon in Mexico has "legalized" cocaine, for EXACTLY TWO PEOPLE. The TWO plaintiffs in the case are now authorized to use, possess and transport cocaine, and NOBODY ELSE is authorized.

The article describes the decision as historic. More like historically disastrous.

STOP AND THINK.

If these two people are able to deal in cocaine legally, either

(1) These two people will instantly become the biggest drug lords in the world

or

(2) These two people will immediately be killed by the existing drug lords.

Those are the choices. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

Aside from consequences, this decision is the EXACT OPPOSITE OF LAW. The entire sole point of a law is that it applies to everyone. A privilege given to a few people is just pre-civilized brute force.

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  Constants and variables 138, old and pointless edition

More unnecessary and useless research on gestures vs speech.

Look, this is EXTREMELY OLD KNOWLEDGE. For instance, the 1866 Manual of Signals written for the Army Signal Corps covers the same ground in a systematic way.

Constant: Every living thing communicates. Therefore the genes controlling communication must be the same for all living things, with added bells** and whistles in some species and added smell-sprays and radio broadcasts in others.

This "new" study doesn't even begin to work on the question it claims to ask.

Variable: Why are humans especially good at sending and receiving and remembering long sequences of musical chords, [aka speech] when no other mammal does it? Why is our peculiar talent shared with birds, who are not close to us genetically? How was this bird-like variation on the communication gene preserved through thousands of mammals who didn't use it, only to suddenly surface in humans? Horizontal gene transfer?

= = = = =

** The wordplay on whistles was intended, but bells raise a question. Nearly all of the signaling devices "invented" by humans were first invented by plants and animals. Whistles, guns, radio, flashes... but bells? I can't think of anything that naturally uses a clapper in a reson.... WHOOOPS. That's called a LARYNX. Or even more literally a UVULA. Sorry, Nature. I should know better than to doubt you even for a moment.


Time for a song!

Hey there Captain, do you see?
There is a clapper in a chamber!


No that's not what it is at all.
That's a signaller people call a LARYNX.

I see.
But it still looks like a clapper in a chamber
To me!


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  Ten-time winner

The usual drably predictable shit, the usual ten-time winner. In this case the comments worked out rather neatly:



Why in the holy FUCK do we continue wasting money and police effort over and over and over and over? Why don't the police STRIKE for better enforcement of laws by the OTHER parts of the system?

Cops are doing their job splendidly. The rest of the system is totally failing, thanks to NYC Copkiller Condon serving Bloomberg loyally.

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  Major change in direction

Via Reuters:
Planned Parenthood said on Monday it was withdrawing from a federal program subsidizing reproductive healthcare for low-income women after the Trump administration banned participants in the program from referring women to abortion providers… the policy [also] requires financial and physical separation between facilities funded by Title X and those where actual abortions are performed.”
This looks like a major win for the pro-life side, because PP gave up and OBEYED THE LAW.

Normally PP just roars forward at full speed, knowing with 100% certainty that all lawyers and black-robed demons will instantly break through all momentary fake obstacles placed by pesky little fake legislatures or fake governors or fake presidents.

This time PP was NOT CONFIDENT OF TOTAL SUCCESS, so it voluntarily obeyed the law. For a moment anyway. Undoubtedly this is just a smoke screen to distract the peskies while the next major attack is prepared.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019
  Not so strange after all.

Listening to the powerful dramatization of the Neck Verse by Hix's anonymous actors in 'Strange as it Seems', packed with empathy for the poor and downtrodden.



Benefit of clergy.

Sudden question: WHY did they exempt clergy from punishment? It's a peculiar ancient custom, impossible for secular moderns to understand.

Sudden answer: It wasn't because the clergy could read. That was just the marker. The benefit was provided because the clergy heard confession.

Priests knew everyone's secrets. They could reveal everyone's secrets if they were threatened with any loss of privilege.

Sudden insight: And that's why our Web Lords are also exempt, why the SEC and FTC and DOJ and FCC can't touch them.

Zuck knows all of our secrets because he built the confessional and requires us to attend daily. We can't receive full sacraments unless we use Devices that confess all to Zuck.

Elon knows the secrets of his cultists because his rosaries on wheels are constantly reporting location and driver behavior as part of the "machine learning" for the heaven of FSD, which will not arrive until the Second Coding when Lord Elon resurrects as the Holy Emperor Of The Terraformed And Gloriously Carbon-Free Mars Kingdom.

Bezos knows the secrets of his customers, Kalanick knows the secrets of his riders, and so on.

Not so strange after all.

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  Aquifery quakes

Via ZH, an article by DoomPorn champ Michael Snyder.

Unusual patterns of quakes in Okla and Kansas. Some of these quakes are normal. The cluster west of Enid is on a geological hotspot that always produces small quakes. The group north of Enid is not normal.

The article focuses on the group around Hutchinson, also not normal. This looks to me like the result of an aquifer changing its pattern, either suddenly growing or suddenly shrinking. Given the distinctly wet spring, I'd bet on growing.

I made a blinkyGIF to show how this pattern sits on the edge of the Ogallala. The group of quakes is circled in red on one step of the GIF.



Hutchinson and those Okla quakes are all on a known salty area. Connection unknown but interesting correlation.



Spokane had a swarm of quakes in 2000, centered on our aquifer. In that case the likely culprit was a decrease in aquifer volume caused by the quick shutdown of about 30k septic tanks in the Valley. That's a lot of flow, diverted to the sewers and thence to the river within a few years. Thanks, EPA!
 
  What is fraud?

Random and stupid thoughts.

The financial twits are full of the latest "whistleblowing", exposing bad accounting practices at GE and Disney.

Is this fraud? Not really. It doesn't steal money from anyone. It might give a wrong impression to big investors, but big investors can afford to form their own impressions using objective data. If hedge funds aren't doing their own checking before spending a few billion, too fucking bad.

How about Tesla? When Elon promises full autonomy but can't possibly deliver because full autonomy is physically impossible, is that fraud? Not really. The cultists are happy to spend the extra money because they're not really buying a car. They're buying Gaian indulgences with wheels. Spending more for an indulgence buys more glory and salvation. The real harm is the partial autonomy itself, because it deprives drivers of skill. If the cultists were paying for FSD and receiving nothing, they'd be better off.

Let's take it down to a much lower level. Last year I had a contractor build a sidewalk from the porch to the street, partly because I'm getting too old to shovel snow off grass, and partly for a pointless and misplaced sense of neighborhood pride. I ordered the sidewalk plus porch repair, but the contractor never did the porch repair. Is that fraud? Not really. It's just an overpriced sidewalk. I still got the easier shoveling and the pride.

The only case where you can unambiguously define fraud is payment in advance for work not done. Most such cases are small and not worth the trouble of prosecuting. Some are understood to be charity, not purchase.

What's worth prosecuting? Paying for benefit and receiving actual harm.

I mentioned two "frauds" yesterday in the context of early radio: JB Brinkley's goat glands and Aimee MacPherson's religious cult. Aimee was performing a positive service for her customers. Prayer gives confidence, and prayer accompanied by a talisman is even better. Confidence is a great healer. Brinkley was giving confidence, but he was also doing real harm. Surgery is always harmful, and only worth doing when the benefits are likely to be much greater than the harm. His surgery was sloppy and inexpert.

= = = = =

Later note: I wasn't really trying to fit this into a subject, just rambling... but it does fit the theme of economics as a verb.

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  Impressively depressive

Strether at NakedCapitalism has put together an impressively depressive chart.

He's asking whether the alleged "manufacturing renaissance" actually happened. The answer is a resounding NO. All categories of mfg have decreased since 2002. The categories usually cited by the optimists have declined worst of all, as in 50% down since 2002.

Must admit my own optimism is gone. 8 years ago I was saying that we could turn things around if we chose to. Now I doubt it. Other countries have shown it's possible. Russia has done it. People haven't changed, and the need for products hasn't changed. But I can't see any possible way that USA STRONG could turn around.

Specifically, the blasphemous "leftists" with their Green "New Deal" are pushing in exactly the wrong direction. They want to eliminate ALL physical work and replace it with welfare. They want education to consist of memorizing the 57 "genders".

The satanic "conservatives" aren't even pretending to seek change in industry or education. They want the entire economy to belong to Bezos because Bezos is the Holy God Of Tax Evasion And Share Value. This is already happening without any effort. They want education to consist of memorizing the Peloponnesian Wars.

Neither "side" wants to take any of the steps needed to rebuild the infrastructure FOR physical industry, and rebuild the skills FOR physical industry.

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Monday, August 19, 2019
  Forgotten advice

Looking for info on old telegraphs, ran into an interesting moment of political transition in 1847.

From Illustrated London News, p 113 in the PDF.
The systems once common to all nations, by which they each endeavoured to gain advantages at the expense of others, without rendering any in return, are dying out of themselves. The modern principle rather is that it is better to have rich communities to trade with than poor ones. For ages the British Parliament, on principle, endeavoured to keep down manufactures and trade in the Colonies of North America; and most fortunate is it for us that it wholly failed. As a rich and powerful State, America returns us more in every way than if she was the most obedient of settlements, bound to us by the red tape of Downing-street.
It's too bad we've forgotten this realization. We rigorously enforce Graybill on all of our neighbors and "partners", ruthlessly destroying all industries and resources that compete with Saudi oil or offend the psychopathic blood-fetish of Lord Bibi and Lord Adelson. We want our colonies to be poor and chaotic, and we also want the non-NYC parts of USA to be poor and chaotic.

China and Russia are following this old British realization. China helps its African colonies to grow richer so they can provide better minerals and crops to China.

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  How do you know it's Soros?

I was fooled too many times by "color revolutions", so I tried to pin down the Soroleths.

It comes down to three criteria. None are absolute, but taken together they form a pretty good leth.

Number 3 is the clincher.

1. If the protest is covered heavily and steadily by Sorosian media, it's Soros. By comparison, the Yellowvests have been largely ignored.

2. If the protesters are in a country that is doing pretty well, or a section of a country that is prosperous compared to the rest, it's Soros. Catalunya and Hong Kong are comparatively prosperous. The Yellowvests represent poor parts of France.

3. If the protesters are fighting over an obscure issue that doesn't affect their real lives, it's Soros. Obscure issues = the name of Macedonia or an extradition law or "global warming". The Yellowvests were fighting over taxes that ruined their already precarious livelihood.

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  Mobius day 2

Keeping to the theme....

What if Maduro is the real CIA agent?

He's doing everything that the CIA normally accomplishes through its puppets. Like Yeltsin, he's destroying the economy and culture and letting crime run rampant.

He hasn't been assassinated or overthrown. Our supposed agent Guaido failed, thus strengthening Maduro's hold on destructive power. Maduro didn't arrest or prosecute Guaido, which a proper leader of a proper nation would have done instantly.

Russia and China are not trying very hard to help him. This could be because of his natural incompetence, but it could also be from his INSTRUCTED incompetence.

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  Mobius day!

Like other out-of-shape codgers, I have trouble keeping pants up. On this morning's store trip the pants seemed unusually steady, staying in place without any adjustment at all.

As I waited for the return bus, I realized the accidental solution: The belt is mobiused. Somehow the clasp side got twisted 180 degrees, and the twist was nicely clamping inward just above the iliac crest, maintaining just enough pressure to halt the usual slide.

A moment later, a Tesla drove by! First Tesla 3 I've ever seen. Immediate stroboscopic impression: it looks old. The paint is chipped in a way that I normally see on 1970s cars.

Appropriate sighting for Mobius Day.

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  Keeping the tools oiled

A quick thought about stagecraft and Shared Lies and Epstein. This wasn't obvious at first, but now that the media pattern is clear, the Shared Lie is clear.

Basic rule: When the media wants us to argue about the details, we can be sure the details don't matter. We should be looking at a different question. We can't always determine what the proper question is, but we can be sure the proper question ISN'T the one we're supposed to argue about.

This was immediately clear with the Skripal stageplay. The media (even incuding RT) gave us lots of alternate details about how and why the Skripals were poisoned. Nobody was asking WHETHER the Skripals were poisoned. Obvious conclusion: There was no poison at all. The whole thing was a stageplay. The only independent witness said he had seen the Skripals APPEARING unconscious, so that's the only fact we can be sure of.

With Epstein, at first the media was presenting only one story with no conflicting details, so this rule didn't seem to apply.

After WaPo gave us the "conflicting" "fact" about the hyoid bone, which normally points to strangulation, we knew where we were supposed to argue. We are required to assume as unarguable background info the "fact" that Epstein is dead.

In this case we don't have any independent witnesses. We're told that the jailers and cellmates were asleep or elsewhere, which guarantees that any story told by jailers and cellmates can be dismissed.

So the Shared Lie is the "fact" that Epstein is dead. We'll never know the truth about anything related to Deepstate, so this is a pointless exercise..... but I like to keep my logic tools sharpened and oiled.

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Sunday, August 18, 2019
  More glial gladness

Via ScienceDaily, another BIG finding about how the nervous system works.

After neurologists took off their theory goggles 20 years ago, all sorts of strange and wondrous things started to appear.

Theory said that the glia were just 'glue' and packing material between neurons. No reason to look for functions in styrofoam peanuts.

It turns out that the glial cells do a lot MORE than neurons. Some of them maintain and clean up neurons. Some of them build new neurons. Some are gardeners, pruning unproductive neurons.

And some perform part of the sensing task.

This new finding truly DISRUPTS our understanding of the sense of touch.

The abstract is sparse, so I paid $30 for the whole article. Most of the text describes the gene-splicing methodology of the measurement, which is way over my head. If there's anything dramatic in those parts, I wouldn't know it.

The parts about electrical function are within my ken, and there's plenty dramatic in those parts.
We provide evidence for a specialized glial cell type that builds a sensory organ in the skin, initiating the sensation of pain. The nociceptive Schwann cells display a mesh-like network of cytoplasmic sheaths around nerves in the subepidermal border with radial processes entering into the epidermis abutting to unmyelinated nociceptive nerves.
The Schwann cells form a mesh, with connections to neurons.

They transduce nociceptive stimuli into electrical signals that translate into [pain responses by the mouse]. The nociceptive nerve endings in skin also gate responses to various noxious stimuli. Hence, nociceptive nerves and nociceptive Schwann cells form a nociceptive glio-neural complex with two sensor-receptor cell types, the glia and the nerve, both likely influencing the sensation of pain.

Both response and adaptation were very rapid, resulting in similar responses in the subsequent stimuli. The cells tracked the maximum frequency of stimuli that we could generate (60 Hz).

Releasing the force also depolarized the cells. Thus, nociceptive Schwann cells responded to both positive and negative changes in force but much less to sustained force.
So the glial cells are acting as two-way triggers for the neurons, telling the neurons when something has happened. When something pushes on the skin or something pulls away, it's time for the neuron to wake up and do its particular thing.



Question: Are all the senses made this way, with glia serving as the high-pass or low-pass filters and rectifiers and lenses, and neurons serving as the raw sensor? It's certainly true in the retina where glial cells filter and focus specific colors onto the retinal sensors. This setup hasn't been seen yet in the cochlea, but I wouldn't be surprised if it appears. Deiters Cells, though not classed as glia, surround the hair cells in a similar net-like way, with projections from one hair cell to the next.

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  Letter of Marque returned to sender

Bravo for Gibraltar!



Via Reuters:
Gibraltar refused on Sunday a U.S. request to seize the Iranian tanker caught in a stand-off between Tehran and the West, as the stationary vessel raised an Iranian flag ahead of its expected departure from the British territory.
We are the Pirate Nation. We're attempting to use Britain and Gibraltar as our privateers. Britain happily goes along, even though Britain was the victim of our privateers in earlier centuries. But Gibraltar, nominally part of UK, refuses to honor the Letter of Marque.

Also bravo to Reuters for getting the facts right.
The two vessels have since become pawns in a bigger game, feeding into wider hostilities since the United States last year pulled out of an international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear programme, and reimposed economic sanctions.
Most other media are pulling the old Rodney King video trick, leaving out the start of the fight to make it look like Persia started it.

Update from Reuters a few hours later: The tanker has DEPARTED from Gibraltar. Now I'm breathing a little easier. It's always better to GET THE FUCK OUT. I didn't like the way Persia was leaving the ship in place, vulnerable to further Sorosian trickery. Bravo for FAIT ACCOMPLI.

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  More inancienation

Yet another innovation that is actually an inancienation.

Via Eurekalert:
In medicine, "chronotherapy" considers the body clock when deciding the best time to give a medicine or treatment. This new research suggests that a similar approach could be adopted for future agricultural practice, with crop treatments being applied at times that are most appropriate for certain species of weed or crop.
Wow! Impressive! Farmers never considered "chronotherapy" before. This is a brand new totally unprecedented unexpected fresh innovation! Maybe sometime in the far-distant future we will figure out how plants respond to complex quantum mechanisms like the orbit of the earth around the sun, or the orbit of the moon? Could the earth's orbit produce changes in unknown variables like temperature? Could those changes in unknown variables somehow have unknown effects on plants? Nah. Only CO2 produces changes in temperature. Anything else is DENIALISM ASTROLOGY PSEUDOSCIENCE KKK TRUMP HITLER.

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  Amazing!

Every year Spokane Transit makes major adjustments to its routes. Until this year, those adjustments always made life harder for this part of town. This year's change was proposed to be the worst of all, removing a route entirely from this neighborhood. Apparently I wasn't the only one who complained, and AMAZINGLY they listened to the complaints! They left the routes in place!

Thanks, STA, for staying your hand and letting some Deplorables live for a while longer.

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Saturday, August 17, 2019
  Putin = NIcholas 1 again

From Shaffner's Telegraph Companion, 1854. p595 of the PDF.

Article about an expedition aimed at building a world-circling telegraph system.
But at the same time, while at Yakoutsk we find the best example of those happy consequences of this accommodating disposition of the Russians, it is here also, that in comparing the Russian conquest of the aboriginal inhabitants of the country with the conquests of other nations of which history affords us ample examples, we discover the more essential moral causes of the different results that the sequel of their several wars has produced.

The Spaniards, whose conquests form the greatest contrasts with those of the Russians, carried before them the cross, for which they opened a passage by the sword, and by worse means, carrying on exterminating war against all who submitted not blindly to their authority, and embraced not the faith which was to them a religion of blood with no other moral than that which recognised the right of the strong to commit every kind of violence against the weak.

The Russians, wiser, and better endowed with the true spirit of the religion they profess, have carried with them also the same emblem of peace and good will from Heaven towards man. But the means by which they have opened the passage for the symbol of their faith, and by which they have planted it in new soils, has been justice and equal rights, for the firm establishment of which their tolerant spirit has been the pledge.

Thus, while the Spaniards lighted the flames of war and hatred which are far from being extinguished even at this day, and afterwards converted to Christianity only in name the feeble remains of the people whom they nearly destroyed, the Russians have by their humanity subdued and reclaimed whole nations of far more barbarous races than any which the Spaniards encountered, and added them to the number of which their empire consists, and to whom their laws and their protection extend.


Russia isn't always nice. But history rhymes.
 
  The real innovation

Here's a thought that seems valid at the moment....

What is the real innovation in the Innovative Disruptors?

Nothing they do is new.

Amazon is running exactly the same business that Sears and Penneys were running for 150 years. Order by mail, pay with credit, deliver. Sears started with paper mail and railroads, shifted to telephones and trucks by 1950. Amazon is still using telephones and trucks.

Elon is making electric cars, which were common in 1910. His electric cars go faster than the originals, but have the same disadvantages of slow charge time and limited range, plus new bonus features like exploding without warning and involuntary crashes into obstacles.

Elon's other fake developments are equally old, generally around 150 years old. Previous versions worked. Elon's version fails.

Uber is a taxi service that you can call by phone. The only difference between Uber and REAL taxis is that you can call a REAL taxi by landline or cellphone, while you can ONLY call Uber by cellphone. This isn't an innovation, it's a limitation.

Facebook, Twitter, etc, are cults. They draw people in with promises of freedom and power, and then capture their minds.

= = = = =

Here's the real innovation: EVADING LAWS AND TAXES.

The Silicon Valley mob figured out that the web is the same as the post office or the phone system EXCEPT that the web is unregulated.

When you run an old business model through the web, you can get away with all sorts of tricks and frauds and dodges that would be enforceably illegal in the old mail and phone systems.

It's like money-laundering.

The same process happened in the first era of radio, from 1920 to 1934. Cult leaders like Aimee McPherson and fake doctors like JR Brinkley grew fast using the unregulated airwaves. When the Federal Radio Commission clamped down, some of these operators were jailed and others faded away.

Operating without laws, the Valley mob was able to grow BIG in record time. Now that it's BIG, it can evade laws the old-fashioned way by purchasing legislatures. So far there's no sign of a new FRC for the web.

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  Blockoleth

Listening to an interview with McAfee. He says a lot of uniquely realistic things about life. He talks all the time about privacy and freedom, but he sells Bitcoin.

Exact opposites. Bitcoin places you directly inside NSA.

Is he too dumb to realize it? Well, he's supposedly the original programmer of his eponymous antivirus system. Serious programmers recognize the fraudulent nature of blockchain, and a programmer who worked specifically with viruses should recognize it even more sharply.

Either he's faking the programming experience, or he's a false prophet.

This particular type of falseness is not new, as I noted before. The populists of 1880 to 1910, led by Jennings Bryan, were false prophets. They diagnosed the problem correctly, but recommended moving toward a Nixonian floating currency and toward increasing debt. They claimed to hate the banks but served the banks.

A real populist starts first by BREAKING the power of banks, not increasing it. Deepstate has three legs: Banks, Intel plus data, and Leftist activists. These legs were built in the 1890s and continue to the present. The banks are the foundation. Intel and activists are auxiliaries.

FDR started by breaking the banks. He's our only true populist.

= = = = =

Later and better thought: There's a third possibility. McAfee simply doesn't give a fuck about consistency. He's a REALIST. He knows that nobody uses logic, nobody listens, nobody analyzes. Discussion and persuasion are perfectly futile, though they may be fun for the participants. Bitcoin is a way to make money, so he uses it.

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Friday, August 16, 2019
  A better alt-universe question.

In previous item I cited an interesting alt-universe question, then mentioned an unrelated alt-universe question that had been on my mind.

Let's try again with a more appropriate response to the original.

The original alt-universe question from a tech venture capitalist type:

HONEST (not sarcastic): I would LOVE to see the counterfactual world—in a parallel universe (from 1971 to today)—where the price of money, “free markets” and all capital allocation was not distorted by handful of academic decision makers.

Excellent question, gathering the whole problem into one sentence.

Did we have a realistic chance of avoiding Nixon's massive sabotage? As I mentioned in previous item, our offshoring was well under way before Nixon broke real value.

Who recognized the problem in 1958 and could have offered a solution? George Romney.

He was the only sober man in a position of power at that time. Everyone else was passed out, incapable of good judgment. Being the only sober man at a party where everyone else is unconscious has advantages.

He was also firmly committed to SAVING instead of DEBT. Mormon training helped, plus Nash tradition. Nash had made it through the '30s without failing because it avoided debt.

He also had the advantage of Mormon eldership training, which gave him an unusual ability to bring conflicting parties together. He used both his soberness and his negotiating skills to pull Nash up from 'struggling independent' to nearly part of the Big Three, almost knocking Chrysler out of the ring.

At that point someone persuaded him to go into politics. He ran for Mich governor and did the same thing there, fixing problems that nobody had fixed before.

After three terms of success, someone persuaded him to run for president. At that point his sober and accurate judgment bumped into a bigger enemy than GM. When he proposed pulling out of Vietnam, Deepstate destroyed him.

Alt-universe: What if Romney had been a little more sneaky, or had resisted Deepstate's blackmail more effectively? He would have pulled out of Vietnam, turned the country from debt to saving, and countered the threat posed by resurgent Japan and China.

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  Two alt-universes

An interesting alt-universe question from a tech venture capitalist type:

HONEST (not sarcastic): I would LOVE to see the counterfactual world—in a parallel universe (from 1971 to today)—where the price of money, “free markets” and all capital allocation was not distorted by handful of academic decision makers.

The question puts all the elements together. Unfortunately the responses didn't seem to understand the subject.

1971 is a huge inflection point for real-value economics. That's when Nixon broke the gold standard and invited China to take over our economy.

What would we look like now? Possibly like Germany, where industry remained in control and grew to fit the times, instead of surrendering to China.

The hypothetical is tricky because other things wouldn't have changed. Germany adjusted its education system to follow the Russian skills-first model. Our ed system at that point still had some skill training, but was rapidly trending toward pure memorized delusions thanks to our idiotic reverse reaction to Sputnik. Would it have turned around to fit the needs of industry? I doubt it.

Also, our offshoring didn't really start in '71, it started in '58. By '71 some corporations had tasted the blood of dead Deplorables and the ecstatic joy of exterminating Negative Externalities. Nixon certainly made the slaughter easier, but it was well under way.

= = = = =

I'd like to pose an alt-universe question about technology. I've covered the ground before, but never quite asked the question.

The telegraph began as a personal communication device around 1832. Wheatstone and Cooke were developing a system inside London, aiming to serve most households. Dial telegraphs, including Breguet's version shown here, required no special skill or talent. Just turn the crank to the next letter, then turn again, and so on. Other early systems had piano-like keyboards and printed output.




The personal system failed to catch on, for reasons that are unclear from available texts, and I've read most of them! In the rest of Europe and US and Asia, development started with government systems using Morse keys or elaborate printing machines. Service and skill were centralized in storefronts or railroad depots. Britain then followed the trend.



What would the world look like if personal text-based communication, with printed output, had developed steadily since 1832, instead of re-starting in 1987? Telephones and (wired) radio would have happened much sooner, and something like a computer would also have developed faster, in a household setting instead of a giant government setting.

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  Ground-effect boombox cars? Nothing new.

I've made a tradition of noticing Bantams. Here's one I hadn't seen before, from 1933:



Note that the speaker was 'baffled against the bottom of the car', letting the pavement distribute the sound.
 
  Wiggling is fine, but....

This is clearly a fad in modern education.
Marching, wiggling and tapping a beat aids young children to develop their self-regulation skills and improve school readiness, as shown in newly-published QUT early childhood research.

Associate Professor Kate Williams designed a low-cost preschool program focussing exclusively on rhythm and movement activities linked to pathways in the brain to support attentional and emotional development.
When I look through DonorsChoose.org, about 75% of the requests are for 'wiggle seating'. I skip over those and support only specific job-related training projects like cooking and soldering.

But the wiggly stuff has a purpose, especially when it's PATTERNED. Job-related educators 100 years ago turned wiggly stuff into long and precise sequences of moves, building neurons in the hippocampus as well as muscles in the arms and legs.

From Popular Educator in 1918, p223 in the PDF:



Fairy queens and snowflakes and rainbows! Ideal for modern times!

Sarcasm aside, the real point is the PRECISE AND MATHEMATICAL RHYTHM. 8 counts, 16 counts, 32 counts. Step - step - step - dip. Step - step - step - turn. These kids were learning multiplication the easy way, and learning teamwork and cooperation at the same time.

The required music for this dance was the Colombia Waltz, played by the Blue and White Marimba Band. (Youtube has EVERYTHING.)

= = = = =

Irrelevant sidenote: 1918 teachers had one little technical advantage over 2019 teachers, because they were using analog phonographs. The article recommends setting the speed control on the windup phono to 'two points from slow'. Modern MP3 players sometimes have a speed adjustment, but it works by chopping the audio, resulting in poor sound.

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Location: Spokane

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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