Chaos Manor View, Monday, August 31, 2015
“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
“This is known as ‘bad luck’.”
– Robert A. Heinlein
After this great glaciation, a succession of smaller glaciations has followed, each separated by about 100,000 years from its predecessor, according to changes in the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit (a fact first discovered by the astronomer Johannes Kepler, 1571-1630). These periods of time when large areas of the Earth are covered by ice sheets are called “ice ages.” The last of the ice ages in human experience (often referred to as the Ice Age) reached its maximum roughly 20,000 years ago, and then gave way to warming. Sea level rose in two major steps, one centered near 14,000 years and the other near 11,500 years. However, between these two periods of rapid melting there was a pause in melting and sea level rise, known as the “Younger Dryas” period. During the Younger Dryas the climate system went back into almost fully glacial conditions, after having offered balmy conditions for more than 1000 years. The reasons for these large swings in climate change are not yet well understood.
It almost makes one giddy, the way that the country club Republican establishment is reacting: the three most popular Republicans at the moment are Trump, a black surgeon who has never held public office, and a woman entrepreneur-manager who lost disastrously in her only political venture when she ran for US Senate in California. You’d think the people who ran Bob Dole against sitting President Clinton would have learned something; a few have, but most have apparently not. They do nor see a sea-change in American working voters. Perhaps they should.
Subject: Unemployment rate
Jerry, you wrote on Saturday that anybody who’s not actively looking for work is considered to have left the workforce and is no longer counted as being unemployed. It’s worse than that, and has been for decades.
As far back as the 1970s, the federal definition of unemployed has been “receiving unemployment benefits.” That means that if your benefits run out, you’re no longer counted because that allows them to keep the official numbers down and make themselves look like they’re doing a better job.
And of course that’s right; and note how long you get unemployment compensation. By the time you run out you have a lot of reasons to think you’re not employable, a lesson that it is an exceedingly bad thing for Americans to learn. You might try an entry level very low paid job in some new vocation, but that’s got a problem too: many of those jobs go to illegal aliens willing to live very parsimoniously and work for quite low pay. They will likely never be promoted to a career path job, which will probably now go to an intern from the front office.
The situation is grim.
Trump, Unemployment etc.
Loved your recent article on Donald Trump. Compared to so much of what’s out there, an unusually rational and grounded analysis.
As far as what the ‘real’ unemployment rate is, this link seems pretty solid, I think.
It’s funny – mainstream discourse seems evenly divided between ‘liberals’, who argue for an intrusive nanny state and enforced equality (except of course for our government mandarins, because some animals are more equal than others), and on the other side, ‘conservatives’ who argue for ‘stand back and let the big dog eat’ policies – they will even argue that a rich man bribing a public official to let them loot the public treasury is the basis of capitalism (after all, if you could not outbid for the services of a public official, that’s just the market too bad).
Where is that old time balanced sanity, that recognizes that people aren’t born equal, that the market and individual talent and effort are important – but that markets are not God, and that there are core aspects of a society – law, policy, truth – that should not be for sale to the highest bidder? When did that go away?
And I can only point out that for twenty years I have been saying we sow the wind; now we reap.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich: Donald Trump could be GOP nominee
In a roundtable discussion with political reporters and analysts on ABC’s “This Week,” former House speaker Newt Gingrich said what others may be thinking.
Gingrich told guest host Martha Raddatz that Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman, real estate mogul and novice politician, could, in fact, become the Republican presidential nominee.
I have not talked to Newt for a while, and he may just be speculating; but he is a very astute observer of American politics, and one of the smartest people I know; even his speculations are worth taking seriously. I have often said his proper office is Postmaster General, but that requires a bit of history: at one time the Postmaster General was a Cabinet Officer (fifth in rank after State, Treasury, War, and Attorney General), and served largely as an advisor to the President and the operating cabinet; an ideal post for a political advisor whose opinions could not be ignored but need not automatically be accepted. But in the original idea of the Constitution the Cabinet was far more important than it is now.
Trump has the chops to scare the hell out of the establishment. This is a Good Thing.
I put the needless spaces after amazon.com in the first link above because some new program truncates the links; the truncated links work, but since they are a randomly generated abbreviation and give you no idea of what the link is to or where it goes. I suspect that won’t work either. My intent was to link you to the Amazon page for the abridged edition of Korzybski’s book. I wish this abbreviation thing would go die a horrid death. It has caused me no end of frustration and work. The reason you read Korzybski is to catch some of his techniques in action; they will dawn on you, but it takes time.
The reason I keep mentioning General Semantics and Korzybski is that the world has gone mad (https://goo.gl/i3oZ1S article/the-timothy-hunt-witch-hunt/) https://goo.gl/i3oZ1Sarticle/the-timothy-hunt-witch-hunt/ and while General Semantics is not a necessary treatment, it is often sufficient to restore some sanity. It may be too late to restore England to sanity – witness the Hunt affair – but perhaps continual effort at reminding Americans that our view of the identity of someone is only a map, and the map is not the territory, etc., etc. And yes I find it somewhat childish to use the General Semantics tricks (like etc., etc.) but apparently the British science press needs some drastic lessons in words, language, and meaning.
Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Korzybski is trying to teach you a new way of thinking, and his little exercises are his way of reminding you to remind yourself of principles like identity and levels of abstraction. They are simple stunts, and some critics find them laughable, but of course they were not intended to be used in public. They were used in his lectures, and they are somewhat built into some of his writing. But enough on that.
Dark Matter on Wired.
What does the data say?
<snip>In models using cold, collisionless dark matter—WIMPs—the dark matter is very dense at the middle of galaxies. It appears that those predicted densities are much higher than what’s observed.
What might be going on is that something a little more complex is happening in the dark sector, and that complexity is causing these slight disagreements between theory and observation at places where the dark matter is really clumped or starts congregating, like in the centers of galaxies or the centers of galaxy clusters.<snip>
And the maps are still maps; of the territory we infer much, but we observe little, and what we observe we strain to make fit our maps; to the extent we now with a straight face say that 80% of the universe cannot be observed, but our maps are good. Note that when asked about the data, we are told about the high level abstraction maps; a very common confusion. The data say no such thing: indeed, there is no data about dark matter. It is all an abstraction derived from an abstraction, which is true of much scientific theory; but his answer is not about the data. He said nothing about the data.
Let’s Abolish Social Science.
Surprising good sense from Michael Lind.
We don’t observe much repeatable science but we get a lot of one-time significance at the 5% level. Perhaps abolishing the social science would be a bit extreme, but given their contribution to knowledge compared to their budgets, perhaps not too much so.
Settled? Does that mean we can close all of the research labs since we already know everything? For some reason I doubt that. As far as I can see “settled” and “science” do not go well together.
An efficient hybrid solar generation node — perhaps most economically used from orbit? : http://goo.gl/S2399X
I missed this from a couple days ago — a 21 degree variable in calibration for reading ancient ocean temperatures (published from your Alma Mater, I think?): http://goo.gl/McbCk This much error in one independent indicator is enough, IMO, to invalidate most models that use it, and gives me reason to doubt any other interpreted sensor/indicator.
But the science is settled! Unless you wear the wrong shirt when presenting your accomplishments, but that’s England.
Will there ever again be an England
I would like to hope that one day there will again be an England, though I often doubt it. But if John, your correspondent, had read the article he would have seen that the toy was confiscated at Dublin airport: “A Dublin Airport spokeswoman said the family surrendered the item after it was spotted at security because replica guns are prohibited.”, “Safety of passengers and security compliance is a priority at Dublin Airport.”
Can you tell John B. Robb the link to his essay doesn’t work? I hope you can find time to comment on his post; he basically continues the discussion as I was hoping someone would offer sensible comments, worthy of publishing, after you published our exchange. =) ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ Most Respectfully,
Joshua Jordan, KSC
Peter Schramm, RIP
I knew Peter as an undergraduate at Claremont, one of the students of Harry Jaffe and Martin Diamond; he was a close friend of Bill Allen, one of my brightest students, and when they got an offer of a grant to found an academic journal, I helped them find a way to accept the money through a non-profit institution, and contributed to it. They didn’t get any more grants, alas, so it only lasted a few issues, but the donor knew that would happen: he thought it would be good experience for them.
Peter went on to many things. I only saw him infrequently after I left Pepperdine. I did speak to his Ashbrook Institute at least once, and I sometimes saw him at Philadelphia Society meetings before I became involved with BYTE and the whirligig experience of high tech in the formative years of computing. We were not close, but I shall miss him. http://goo.gl/pJFdFO
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.