Cargo Cults and Technocracies.

I have a method to figure out how to vote in a national election, if I’m completely lost. I ask my brother whom to vote for, then vote against.

My brother is well intentioned, though not an idiot, so it might seem weird that I apply the Heinlein trick to him. But really, since he gets his information via the mass media of the country and the French mass media, with occasional input from the BBC, what he gets from the US is ILL-intentioned idiots, so what he thinks he knows is the opposite of the truth.

In 2000 he chilled me to the core by telling me that really W or Gore was basically the same thing. I mean he thought Gore was a very intelligent man (Which means he had a hell of a translator, and also that my brother doesn’t keep up on science any more. Or yes) and W was not as articulate but “they’re both ultimately technocrats, so you’ll be all right.”

I ran screaming into the night (metaphorically speaking) and voted for Harry Brown. I still contend that might have been the “first do no harm” option, and yes, I know he was an embezzler. But at least he talked about firing the entire Federal government, which, sure, would have caused chaos, but more or less chaos than we’re facing?

Because, please understand, while rule by real technocrats would be terrifying — for context I want you to understand the idiot who came up with the Great Reset is a mechanical engineer — because most science people are iffy on “people” and don’t get that when it comes to human behavior 2+2 might equal banana, rule by FAUX scientists is far, far worse. And that’s what we actually have. People who are convinced they “Know” and don’t actually know anything, or know a lot of things that ain’t so.

Part of this is the remnant of power by the MSM and the other leftist disinformation organs (including schools) blaring cover up and narrative to cover how spectacular their failure is. For instance like the newneo, I‘m getting sick, and mostly tired of hearing the newly red pilled throw tantrums about how this is all Trump’s fault because his administration was so bad, without paying attention to the fact he was constantly under attack by forces external and internal to it, and by his underlings desire to be seen as “so smart” by betraying him. (Bill Barr, you’re a florid dumb ass, and so are all the other idiots who decided to make Trump look bad and get in “good” with the establishment. That would have been a great move fifty years ago. But we’re not fifty years ago, and you’re all morons.)

And part is the structure in which most of us were taught to see the world. If the whole structure is wrong–

I — and most of you — was born to a world of centralized power, a world of “science” ascendant, where humans supposedly knew how to engineer everything, including themselves.

By the time I was in my teens, though, this “humans can engineer everything” had started eating itself. Yes, sure, it was USSR agit-prop in the west, but it was everywhere: We were running out of oil, we were poisoning the environment, there were too many of us, we should just all die out.

The “science” that had run the west for so long — since WWI, really — had turned on itself, by action of propaganda, and become a doomsday cult.

You have no idea how much effort and what mental fortitude it took for Reagan to stand against that tide. And you can only imagine how pissed off normal people were to elect Reagan. I know. I was here for his campaign. Despite Carter’s magnificently stupid governance, the culmination of an era of “progressive” presidents of both parties (Progressive and technocratic are the same. It’s the bizarre idea that one man trained mostly in shaking hands and kissing ugly babies can lead us to the future with unerring hand, by listening to “scientists.”) everyone knew that Reagan would get us killed, and that anyone who “knew” was voting for Carter.

But Reagan exploded all these shibboleths, like Trump would do later. By being reality-aligned, they managed to perform miracles.

However cults don’t react well to disconfirmation. They usually just double down. Which is precisely what the left did. With the USSR collapsed, their dream in ruins, they re-oriented to the twin deities of the environment and race. Which comes with a whole lot of bizarrely weird things attaching to it, like the obsession with gender (because it’s the only way a white person can claim to be good, when the myth makes them super evil) and the systematic dismantling of science in the name of science (because science and the west and progress caused all the issues for everyone, including tribes in Papua New Guinea, right? Because Gramsci says so.)

Which brings us to where we are today, where true ideological colonialism — the importing of the Wests bizarre obsessions — is ruining small nations, where most of the world locked down, masked and distanced — and ruined economies, agriculture, etc — by following a science fair project of a middle schooler who happened to be friends with W’s family.

As any parent knows science fair projects, by and large aren’t science. They’re wishful thinking, half assed experimentation, and a lot of persuasive writing. (Also trips just before 10 pm to hobby lobby the day before it’s due. But that might be only my kids.)

Which is precisely what technocrats like. Because that’s the science they understand.

Let’s establish some thing right now: I have a lot of friends who are scientists, engineers, and people involved in real life “tech”. The real ones, the good ones, really don’t want to govern anyone or anything. They want to do their research and experiments.

Because money for research is within the government’s gift (And guys, we really need to change that. Like, right now. Yesterday if possible. Because he who pays the piper calls the tune, and if you think money doesn’t corrupt science, I’d like to give you a tour of some swampland in Florida, never you mind the gators) most real researchers have had to learn to politic. They’re very bad at it. I mean, they’re okay within their communities, but they suck in the outside world.

Most of them running for anything, even things they know how to do would make the rest of the world recoil, and possibly want to kill them. At best they come across as snake oil salesmen, because peopling is a late-acquired skill. Mostly they care about the science.

So, who are these “technocrats” in charge of government, everywhere from dog catcher to president, and incidentally infiltrating every possible bureaucracy?

The elected ones are the people who were elected king and queen of the prom, while you were attending science class. The bureaucrats are the people who majored in “Studies” and “business” and “administration.” I.e. the people who were really good at bullshitting their way into things. Remember how sometimes one of them got stuck in your science class and failed so hard it made you wonder how they could walk and chew gum at the same time?

And before you say this could be solved by making sure everyone learns basic science…. we had that. (And a complete ignorance of history.) In the aftermath of WWII, and when science was going to conquer everything, they put such an emphasis on science that…. it corrupted science completely.

When I say things like “I’m afraid a falling population will leave us bereft of people who can run the tech” I mean it. I don’t know which percentage of the population can do science and tech. I know it’s relatively small.

I’m one of the people on the edge, and if I had figured out I was digit dyslexic, not stupid, I might have beat my brain into place for engineering (Supposing mom let me take it, which she didn’t, because she was sure the only reason I wanted to take engineering was the hot guys. Which just shows you mom didn’t know many engineers despite being married to one.) I might have done it, anyway, except for mom’s hangups.

But it would take effort, and re-engineering my own brain. And in the end I’d be an expert in a small area of engineering, not “all of science.”

Because that’s the way these things work, see?

It’s sort of like I can write anything, but what I can write, in science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and even romance is a small slice of possible stories. It is a common error of young writers to come up with stories they couldn’t possibly write. So they can’t finish them, and they think if they had enough persistence. It takes years to be able to say “I can read that type of story, but it’s not mine to write.” For instance, I love Prince Roger, but if I wrote its like (okay, I am, but long story) it would be with a diplomat, or a geek in the main role, (it is) because I can’t write a military structure convincingly. I get the culture, it’s the ranks and habits that confuse heck out of my mind. (I’m rank dyslexic. I mean, I grew up reading military biographies, but I scramble ranks like a pro. And don’t get me started on procedure.) I have a military fantasy underway (waves at #1 ducttape son) but I need a collaborator, or I simply can’t.

Exact same thing with science.

Heck, husband has worked at the narrow edge of math and computers for his entire professional life, but the other day I had the bizarre experience of watching younger son explain some new technology to his father.

Because our knowledge has grown so complex and confusing that we can’t possibly keep up with everything even in our own field.

And minds only bend a certain way.

There is nothing wrong with having the sort of mind that doesn’t bend to science. We do need people trained in languages, and history, in philosophy and diplomacy.

What we shouldn’t be doing is telling these people that what they’re doing is based on “science” nor should we be giving power to bureaucrats with either a pseudo scientific background, or a decades out of date scientific knowledge. (Fauci — have they found him, or is he still hiding? — is a bit of both. Medical training isn’t exactly science, though please I implore you not to call your physician a “well educated witch doctor”. — they tend to get upset — Ask me how I know. It’s half peopleing and some “this worked with this person so it might work with this other. And a whole lot of irreproducible studies.)

And we shouldn’t be electing people who think they know what “science” tells them to do.

Because the policies they implement are always the same and they have nothing to do with science, but more with the appeasing of the gods of “the environment” and “Race” which somehow always leads to making energy ridiculously expensive and freeing predators to commit crimes. (Most of those predators are white, because white people are still the majority, but yes, the left thinks this is race or economics related. Remember they think crime is a response to poverty and that poverty is mostly race based.)

And then they run to the media and their spokespeople to paper it over, so they can do it once again.

Except every time they get to try their idiocy it becomes more obvious it doesn’t work, and it was always nonsense.

We might be at the end-point of that cycle. They had to cheat their way in, and they’re worse than anything else that’s been done to this country. Or the world, to be fair.

Which brings us to something I heard from someone who kind of maybe has insight into Putin’s circle. Putin is just spinning his own reality. He thinks by yelling and commanding he can make reality whatever he says he is. And he gets rid of anyone who contradicts him.

Our left is attempting the same thing through a combination of yelling and cancelling people.

Neither of them is having any marked success. Rather this is the failure mode of concentrated power.

Look, in the beginning of the twentieth century, it was already too late for mega states run by super-concentrated power. There might have been a time for it — I don’t know because history has been corrupted — but by the 20th century knowlege and industry were already too complex for it. Fortunately — ah — they had the media to paper over their failures and pass them on to education with bullshit like FDR saving us from the failures of capitalism, aka the Great Depression (which he caused.)

Now? There is more knowledge, it is more highly specialized, and trust me, no man can really govern even a small country, much less something like the US. And most of the experts they can call on — heaven knows Trump tried — are either corrupt, or themselves unable to know their area as well as they think they do.

For a long time, leftists were obsessed with the idea of the US breaking up, mostly because Russia wanted us to.

I always said that’s not likely, and it’s not. Look, just like the EU, no matter how they try, will never be a polity, because there’s some really old divisions of land and blood, the US can’t be separate states or even regions, because we are one polity. We all move around, intermarry, have kids everywhere.

What we can do, what we need to do, and what will happen, either fast or slow, either explosively or incrementally, is a return to what the US is meant to be: with governance devolving to the lowest possible level: the state, the city, the family, the individual.

Abominations that put all the power of “science” or “education” or “environmental protection” in the hand of a federal agency need to be done away with. Because, no, there is no science whatsoever behind most of it. It’s fads all the way down. And all of these things have failed, over and over and over again. Only there’s an information problem, and the failures are swept away as meaning nothing, and the same nonsense is doubled down on.

Until a critical amount of damage accumulates. (And boy, has it.) And then it all blows up.

Which is where we are.

What’s coming — and each day makes it less likely that it will be incremental — will blow away our institutions. Blowing away the thinking that these things SHOULD be centralized, or that there is scientific justification for a lot of the nonsense will take longer. It can’t take too long, though, or there will be no civilization left.

So, first change your mind, then change the minds closest to you. Expounding on the catastrophic failures of the technocratic mind set will help.

It will also scare people, so they’ll try to stop you. Eh. It’s the price you pay.

Keep your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark. And be not afraid.

There is only one way out of this and it’s through. Let’s roll.

401 thoughts on “Cargo Cults and Technocracies.

  1. To be “fair” to Bob Barr, he recently said that he’d vote for Trump (for President) instead of voting for the Democratic Candidate. 😉

    1. Barr’s background means that he may well have failed to understand that the choice Barr made was wrong. It is not clear that he is numerate, or electronics savvy, enough to follow the objections being made.

      1. Please don’t conflate Bob Barr, former GA congressman, with Bill Barr, Trump admin turncoat.

  2. Also note that working on the small scale is often more possible than working on the large scale. Many years ago, I was on a bus in Eugene, Oregon, when two teens started talking about the issues of capitalism. I asked them to consider if their lives were worth anything. Yes. Who determines what their lives are worth? They do, of course. So I started introducing the idea that capitalism is where you attempt to set your worth in terms of what you’ll do for compensation, and segued into how while there are problems with that, the issues with communism are that someone who doesn’t even know you is trying to set the value of your life.

    And then I went on to talk about how there are jobs people don’t want to do, and how you then have to make some people do them, and that requires someone in charge, which attracts the power-hungry, and how power vacuums often lead to tyranny…

    They were nodding at the end, because this was something they’d never considered. It probably fell apart in their brains later if they tried to reconstruct the argument, but hey. Pebbles in the ocean.

    So right now I’m doing Scouting. And hopefully some of the good values rub off on the scouts. (Though given the parents in these troops, I’m not too worried. 🙂 )

  3. Talk about disinformation campaigns, I finally saw one of those stickers people put next to the gas pump prices, but, it wasn’t of Biden. It was a picture of a sly Putin winking with the slogan “With Love, America, You’re Welcome”.

    I should order some of those Biden stickers so I can put it on the other side of the $5.79 a gallon gas.

    1. Put it on top. That’s some Leftist parroting the “official line.” I fully expect to see one with Trump and Putin on it and a similar slogan.

        1. Apparently Senile Joe went on one of his deranged tirades today screaming about how upset he is people are blaming him for high inflation. It was the same speech he threatened WW3 in.

          Something reminds of Greg Lake with singing about the fate of mankind being in the hands of fools.

      1. That Putin sticker only happened because the “I did that!” stickers are a smashing success.

          1. It’s exactly what a progressive would produce. They lack many things, but wit most of all.

            1. Can’t meme, can’t joke, hell, they can’t even lie convincingly anymore.

          2. To create a good “meme” requires a robust sense of humor which is grounded on being able to laugh at yourself, too. Leftists seem to have no ability to see humor in their positions no matter how absurd they appear to same human beings. At best, their sense of humor is like that of Burroughs’ Green Martians — the pain and suffering of others is the height of comedy.

            The Left can’t meme.

        1. And I guess Slate (of course) is doing an expose on the creator of the “I Did That!” sticker.

          The responsible party will be lucky if he’s *only* labeled a “domestic terrorist.”

          1. “The Joe Biden sticker that has colonized gas pumps”. Good example of a leftist dog whistle there, since “colonized” is right up there with white supremacy and capitalism in the lexicon of evil.

    2. As of early this week, gasoline, regular, was under $1.90 a gallon at the pump in the Russian Far East. Maybe we’re on the wrong side of the boycott.

    3. Sigh. Just this afternoon, we drove by a gas station which had been closed for at least five years, and maybe more – the building demolished, nothing left but the canopy over the pumps, some fixed trash cans, and the sign … which advertised gas prices when the station was closed and demolished. $1.95 a gallon for regular. I pointed it out to my daughter, and she sighed and said, “Gosh, I miss the gold old days…”

      1. Gas is up to $3.99 in my neck of the woods now, and apparently that’s on the LOW end for the country.

        But hey, at least we get a new Razorfist Rant out of it:

        BTW, didn’t Ian used to post new rants here? Whatever happened to that?

    4. A Joetato “I Did This” sticker would cover Putin’s head and flip that script by combining the text,

      And here’s a couple of sticky-note sized images that also tell the real story.

      1. We’ve ordered 1/4 beef through a hobby farmer. We’ve been getting 1/2 pig from him for the last few years, including Dec. 2021. Most the pork (130#’s hanging weight, $4.30/# to him + butcher cost -> cut, wrap, disposal, and kill) will be gone by the time the beef is butchered late this summer. Fingers crossed it packs into our 7 cu ft freezer. Costs? TBD, given feed costs rising. But should be less than Costco beef. I guess pork isn’t as good of savings. But (generally) beef is a lot less this way.

        1. We buy through an Amish butcher. We have two upright freezers now. The wait to get a new freezer is off the charts so our old one remains in service.

            1. If you are depending on freezers, you need to ensure you have backup generators to keep them running. The Left’s War Against Energy will ensure rolling blackouts as their electric vehicles crush the grids they war against.

        2. Sam’s Club under $5/lb. last week for really nice beef. Still under $3/lb. for excellent pork. Both in the no-frills but no-waste cuts. (Sam’s has better meat than Costco, especially the pork.)

          1. Pork I can really only compare to Pepper Bacon, which we get from our nearby local butcher, and Costco’s seasoned pork ribs. We saved about $1/pound on the pork ribs. Pepper Bacon OTOH is expensive. The rest? Well, I’m not buying much other meat. (Ground pork works for ground beef except hamburgers. Stew meat is stew meat …)

            Don’t know how the beef will work out. I’ll still have to buy Costco’s 12% hamburger, because I take that and make hamburger patties before individually freezing them. That is running $4.49/# last purchase. Can’t do that with the butchered beef because they’ll have already frozen the 1# packages (probably can, but this is just easier). The preferred steaks we get at Costco have gotten to the OMG Not a Chance stage, now, for a while. When available, the top cut version has gotten to almost $30/# and the more reasonable cut is running $19 – $21/#. Not getting Sirloins, etc. Stew meat, “lesser” cuts, not too unreasonable. Honestly, cost differences for pork and beef through him VS stores/Costco, just going off of what the hobby farmer is telling hubby. Hobby farmer is someone he golfs with regularly, so they gossip.

            Wish I could say my grocery bill has gone down because I’m not buying meat every trip (see above hamburger, plus get large frozen chicken bags for son to pull out pieces for 2 AM after work). But even not buying meat, I’ve been spending $100/Kroger trip, and easily near $200/Costco trip, easily double just over the last few months (there are items I can cut if need to). We can afford this. There are those who won’t be able to (including those in my demographics). There was a time we wouldn’t have been able to afford to. We’ve personally been through this before. We’ve prepared financially (Us, no one else, no inheritance). If they mess with that? Well, a lot more than us, are in trouble. Big time. We don’t have acreage or a garden. We have nowhere to go.

      2. Buy a couple of weaner pigs in the spring, butcher in the fall. Been a while since I’ve done so, but even feeding them commercial feed the cost of the meat per pound was less than the price of lard.

        1. Works if there are piglets for sale. The 2020, 1/2 order was not only light, but we didn’t get it until late January 2021. The hobby farmer couldn’t get piglets through his regular source. Had to scramble to find some, got them later than normal. OTOH when pork was limited, we had plenty.

      1. Oh, yeah, some economist says inflation will continue because population is falling. I think it’s because he’s pricing in labor, which is wrong for so many reasons.
        I can’t read the article because it’s WSJ paywall, and if I could well… I’m not an economist, so it’s just a gut feeling.
        Let me link it. I’m curious about your opinion.
        https://www.wsj.com/articles/inflation-high-forecast-economist-goodhart-cpi-11646837755
        I think this is “bullshit excuses for brandon” but….

        1. I’ve seen this article and it’s a case I considered myself. First, let’s break away from the current price increases, which are a combination of supply issues and fiscal stimulus, but mostly supply particularly of oil. Most, but not all, of the oil problems are Brandon’s fault.

          Let’s start by making a distinction. Inflation is an increase in the money supply, whatever that is. We’re talking about changes in price, which is an entirely different thing. Changes in Price are the outcome of changes in supply and demand other than changes in the supply of money. Common usage is very sloppy and prevents understanding.

          It would make sense that a decrease in the labor supply would result in an increase in price and there was a huge increase of cheap labor in the 1990’s that drove costs down. That flow is reversing and the supply of cheap labor is declining. ceteris paribus, the price of labor should go up. Sed ceteris non paribus, we saw huge increases in labor supply in the 1970’s and prices also went up,substantially, so there must be something else, demand.

          The price of labor will go up if the supply of labor goes down if the demand for labor remains the same or increases. A very good argument could be made, it’s my argument in fact, that demand will decline as the labor force both declines and ages. Further, labor and capital (e.g., automation) are substitutes. The United States is still a mighty manufacturer despite the manufacturing labor force being small and shrinking. Why? because the workers are extremely productive. Why? capital and automation. Should labor become scarce and demand remain high, labor would tend to be supplemented or replaced by automation.

          I think that even should demand remain high, a decrease in labor would tend to decrease prices because of the substitution of capital for labor. Just sayin. At least as likely as the contrary anyway.

          Demand is a function of both the quantity of population and its age composition. Older people spend less and differently so a declining, aging population would tend to suffer a double whammy. I think it extremely unlikely demand will remain high if the supply of labor, which is the primary input in demand, should decrease. There’s an anecdote that might help. Henry Ford is supposed to have been discussing how he would automate the factories and drive manufacturing costs near zero. his interlocutor is supposed to have asked “who’ll buy the cars then Henry?”

          So, if demand remains the same and the relative proportion of labor and capital remain the same then, yes, labor cost would increase. It’s the standard ceteris paribus economics argument and fine so far as it goes. I think demand will decrease and we’ll see price deflation and stagnation. The exact opposite of the baby boom in fact.

          This will happen everywhere in the world except the US, where the demographics are relatively healthy. The risk in the US is that the echo boom is currently in an echo bust much as Gen X was the baby bust to the baby boom. It’s unclear what the future will bring but current numbers are not good.

          A further issue is that Mexico and Central America, which have supplied the slack in US labor no longer have the demographic slack to supply the US shortfalls. I suspect that I’ll get slammed for this, but my view of immigration from the south differs from the standard no Nothing party position. By all means control the border, but immigration is vital to make up for the shortfalls in the American labor force. It seems that they’re all becoming republicans anyway. They spent years riding around listening to Rush Limbaugh on their bosses truck radio and now they own the trucks,

          Hope that helps

          1. see, I think he’s wrong for exactly those reasons: Automation make labor less necessary to produce. And the tech HAS changed.
            BUT more importantly, demand is greatly reduced. Seriously, I see it in us, where what and how we spend money is completely different than when we were young.

            1. That pattern is very clear in the data. I hesitate to recommend Harry Dent because his forecasts are almost always wrong — he makes too many and is too precise in his timing — but his analysis of the long term demographic factors is very good. I duplicated all his data and analysis, ‘cause I’m an idiot, and it all works out.

              There’s a very clear pattern in what people buy over their life span and that pattern has been consistent across decades of data. the primary data source is the survey of consumer expenditures for the US and I’ve done similar work on other countries, they need these data to calculate the CPI so it’s not uncommon. There’s also a clear pattern of earnings, savings, borrowing, etc., given the echo boom, we in the US should be seeing increased spending and higher interest rates, the current inflation is entirely consistent with that and driven by the same factors as the 70’s inflation. The rest of the world should be seeing a decline as its population ages and, ultimately declines.

              The reaction to WuFlu and the attempt to install the green religion are interfering with the increases in the US. Also, people are entering the workforce later and forming households later. How that will work out, I don’t know. Keep in mind Bastiat’s what is seen and what is not seen. The US should be on an historic economic boom while everyone else declines. Don’t think The CCP doesn’t know that, which is why we have Biden and the WuFlu.

              1. No. Look, I’m exceedingly grateful people are not telling me I”m crazy on population falling at this point. And btw, I’m not sure we’re healthy here. It’s mostly imported population, which is not the same, plus I still think that’s ALSO exaggerated.

                1. I’m pretty comfortable with the US population numbers, they’re consistent with the historic births and that’s difficult to fudge up ex post since I maintain the birth numbers myself from paper sources. The conspiracy would have to go back decades, which it could but I don’t think they’re that good. I’m also a bit more optimistic about imports. You’re an import, so am I, up to a point, certainly my parents were. The more recent immigrants seem to be going through the standard US immigrant pattern.

                  The rest of the world’s population figures are dire both in quality and quantity. Europe is a dead man walking and their immigrants are not going through the American immigrant pattern and may not be assimilateable.

    1. Ah, so this is how they’re going to try and force veganism on us. I was wondering what crisis they’d exploit.

  4. I put that in a story:

    “Politics perverts science. Scientists are rewarded not for finding and reporting the truth, but for telling those in charge of doling out the money whatever they want to hear. Play the approved tune and you get government grants, you get consulting fees, you get published. Make the wrong waves, and you don’t. Such measures do not produce good science, or good scientists.”

    “Power corrupts, huh?”

    “It’s not that simple. Say rather that power is given to the corrupt, or, at least, the corruptible. They’re so much easier to control than someone with principles that might prove inconvenient. Such as scientists who won’t say what they’re paid to say, merely because it’s not true. They tend to get replaced with more…tractable experts. And measures are taken to ensure no one listens to the ‘crackpots’. Examples are made, to stifle any opposition. Like me.”

    1. I’ll grant that science qua science exists in that I believe there is a universe external to me that, probably, follows (some) laws, but would note that SCIENCE is something done by scientists with all that entails. I end up being called a science denier by many different sides but I’m really just a skeptic of anything humans say. In particular, I lack the physics envy that has set back the study of economics for generations.

      1. Years ago, The Blogger Who Shall Not Be Named offered a taxonomy of the different aspects of “science” that I think has some merit. WP will vaporize my comment if I try to link to it – Delenda Est to you, you censorious bastards – so I’ll just quote the essential part here:

        ———————

        Even if you don’t use these neologisms to describe the three aspects of science, you must learn to distinguish between them or you will repeatedly fall for this intentional bait-and-switch. In order of reliability, the three aspects of science are:

        Scientody: the process
        Scientage: the knowledge base
        Scientistry: the profession

        We might also coin a new term, sciensophy, as practiced by sciensophists, which is most definitely not an aspect of science, to describe the pseudoscience of “the social sciences”, as they do not involve any scientody and their additions to scientage have proven to be generally unreliable. Economics, nutrition, and medicine all tend to fall into this category.

        ———————

        If you want to find and read the entire post, the title is “Scientistry and sciensophy”.

          1. No, I don’t think he addresses that. 😛

            But joking aside, I agree with him that these distinctions need to be made whether you use his labels or not.

    2. Yup. Frank Herbert had a good line on that. “Power doesn’t corrupt, it attracts those who are already corrupt.”

  5. Concur.

    Thankfully, despite some missed sleep, I’m apparently back to a mellow mood.

  6. I saw the WUWT Sri Lanka story this morning but didn’t get to read it, so I just did.
    About what I expected and as predictable as sunrise and moon phases.

  7. “Because money for research is within the government’s gift (And guys, we really need to change that. Like, right now. Yesterday if possible. Because he who pays the piper calls the tune, and if you think money doesn’t corrupt science, I’d like to give you a tour of some swampland in Florida, never you mind the gators) most real researchers have had to learn to politic. They’re very bad at it. I mean, they’re okay within their communities, but they suck in the outside world.”

    YES. Very much this. Research grants involve writing proposals to bureaucrats and politicians and begging for money. You are more likely to get the money to research if your proposal agrees with the politics of the person with the power to give it to you.

    1. That’s unpossible!!!! Only BigOilEnergyNRAPharma hands out research grants dripping with pure EEEEEvuuullll! REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

      /was that sarcastic enough?

      1. BigOilEnergyNRAPharma wishes they had the slush fund the government has to waste on “research” grants. Most of y’all only hear about a few of the really egregious ones. The trillion that went missing, the robot squirrels, or the cocaine they gave to birds to see if that made them have weird sex (all of these your tax dollars paid for). What you *don’t* hear about is just as bad. Sometimes worse.

        And then there are the grants that DON’T get approved. Imagine what kind of screwup you’d have to be to not get your study funded…

          1. *chuckle* Those are the easy one’s, I’ll agree. But if fedgov spends your hard earned tax dollars on studying male hookers in Vietnam and giving perfectly good cocaine to Japanese birds, you *know* there have to be at least some studies that the grant folks took a look at and said “nah. That stuff’s just too effec up. Denied.”

            They’re not all studies that are focused on pure research, nuclear energy, or whether or not it is a good idea to teach children to hate America.

            1. I’m sure the cokehead bird research was just to score cocaine for grad students and getting the feds to pay for it.

              1. Eh, maybe. but considering that it was for *birds* to see if getting high changed their sex drive to the point they engaged in “risky sexual behaviors…” The amount of coke it takes to get several dozen birds- small birds, mind you- high would be about the amount it would take to get one person high. Once. Based on my highly unscientific wild arsed guessing, that is.

        1. I actually know the guy that made the robot squirrels , and it was for a very practical research purpose. They wanted to know how squirrels manage to evade rattlesnake strikes with such uncanny ability—but snakes are VERY hard to catch on video in the wild, so they made something their captive rattlers would naturally want to strike at. They learned quite a bit about the biomechanics and behavior of both squirrels and rattlesnakes from the seemingly silly robot squirrel experiments. And the grant money funded an entire wildlife biology research program, of which the robot squirrels were only one small and surprisingly cheap part.

          Anyway, this is not to say there’s no problem with the government funding machine. It absolutely does drive an unscientific process with crappy results. I just happen to know that this particular example was chosen for its value as a hook, not because it was actually wasteful. 😊

          1. I will say, the gold plated radiator was probably my favorite snafu.

            Basically a chunk of electronics needed a radiating coating on the case to keep it from hearing it’s mount up enough for things to deform. The thermo guy worked it out, and came back recommending a gold plate coating. Apparently it has a really good thermal emissions profile, and doesn’t corroded so it would be fine in the environment.

            The program manager saw that and explained, absolutely not. If we show up with a gold plated radiator, the gov rep will loose their bleep.

            So we found an alternative. The only other coating that could meet the thermal and environmental requirements was some space paint from NASA, that only one specialist shop in the world knew how to apply. Added months of lead time and was several times more expensive than gold plating it, and considerably more delicate. But it was white paint, so that’s what they went with…

            1. Saddest part of that is whether the true idiot was the pm or the gov rep. They did gild a cockpit.

          2. Oh I get that. There are some that sounded completely wild to me until I dug into them a bit deeper, too. The robot squirrels bit was a giggle factory, true enough.

            But my take is, what is the compelling interest? I’m not saying that pure research is a bad thing. Or even that I wouldn’t throw money at it myself, because pure research is one heck of a lot more worthy than some of the other places the government puts money.

            I have a rather high bar on what constitutes compelling interest for the government to take money from its citizens at gunpoint if necessary (you know the escalation drill). My take mirrors an old Tennessee congressman’s. Daniel Boone. Some of y’all may have already heard the story, so I’ll sum up.

            There was a fire. Homes and businesses burned to the ground, widows and orphans out in the street, lives and livelihoods all up in smoke. There was a petition to the government, send money to help these poor people. And nigh every congressman agreed, send money to help these pitiable folk. Save one guy.

            The reasoning was that the moneys given to the government were not theirs to give in this instance. Those funds were to be vouchsafed for specific and limited purposes. For the support of the armed forces, for regulating interstate commerce, things like that. He proposed to give two weeks pay to the fund for the widows, orphans, and those unhoused by the conflagration. Two weeks pay from each congressman would be a sum equal to, if not larger than, the amount proposed by congress-

            And it would be theirs to give.

            Feel free to correct me if I am wrongheaded in this somewhere. But even worthwhile endeavors that I myself support do not meet the high bar of dedicating the funds of the government for payment thereof, in my humble opinion.

              1. Very true. Sadly. But very true. Here’s hoping we evict some of the bastages from their cushy positions real soon. And don’t install new spendy bastages in their place.

            1. I’m basically in agreement. A better understanding of the natural world is a laudable goal, and I wouldn’t want to see my herpetologist friend defunded, but is that research — or any other presumably worthwhile pursuit — really worth taking money from people at gunpoint? Because if we can’t opt out of this tax-and-spend system, that’s what all this government largesse boils down to in the end.

      2. Haven’t You heard? Pharma grants are pure and as angelic as purely driven snow as long as its for kung flu

  8. One of the things I learned when I took the first step into government bureaucracy is that the people at the top of the bureaucracy are not experts in what ever field that bureaucracy purports to cover. To truly be an expert at something you need to be deeply passionate about it, otherwise you just won’t put in the time and effort necessary to master it. But the higher you go in the bureaucracy the less time you spend dealing with the field and the more time you spend dealing with people, especially other bureaucrats. Fauci isn’t an expert in infectious diseases, he’s an expert in managing bureaucrats. You can find expert in the bottom few layers of management, people who do love the field but also enjoy money or who believe that they can change the system to make it better, but if you want to talk to a true expert you need to find the guy at the working level who is well past retirement age.

    If I were to run for office my “Positions” page would begin with this in 20 point font (possibly blinking):

    No man, no matter how exquisitely educated or intelligent, is an expert in another man’s life.

    1. In fact, wannabe managers are encouraged not to specialize, but to work in several different areas a few years each, to broaden themselves. Or so it was in my corner of Department of the Army.

      1. We do the same thing.

        The irritating bit is that my current department is the Radiological Controls Department but the one job in the department that had “radiological controls” in the job title – mine – isn’t a requirement for the department head job. In fact, my current department head spent his entire career before this in the nuclear test engineering division. That division is so bad at claiming that reactor safety requires them to violate our rules that I’m going to start demanding a toe from them every time.

      2. McDonnell had a management track that put new managers in all different areas for about two weeks. Copying Dilbert we called them Bungie Bosses.

          1. They used to do something similar in banking, there were two tracks one took two years the other six months. Same number of rotations in each. They don’t even do that anymore. You would be surprised, or perhaps not, how many very senior bankers know nothing about credit. I suppose that having the FRB, who also know nothing about credit, have your back with that lovely unlimited money with no need to produce results, makes up for a great many holes in their knowledge.

        1. Band of Brothers had an episode with an LT who was slated for fast track, and needed a couple of weeks on the front line for the all important combat experience checkbox.

          Nice guy, and he didn’t cause problems. But you could tell that the troops were a bit annoyed with that sort of thing.

          1. Episode 8 “The Last Patrol”. Best part was Major Winters essentially directing that an order from Colonel “Bourbon Bob” Sink to conduct another patrol over the river to try to capture more Germans be ignored and to get a good night’s rest. They were to report in the morning that they didn’t find anyone to take prisoner.

            1. That, and he knew that the men were in a bad mood because they’d essentially lost a man for nothing the previous evening.

              1. I think that was the motivating factor for having them not send a patrol over the river. He didn’t want to see anyone else killed trying to find and bring back a prisoner or two when they were going to seen be crossing in force anyway against a clearly beaten army.

        2. I’ve probably told the story but when I was working for the Army in New Jersey my bosses swooned over a new hire. (I could use his real name, he’s been gone for years, but let’s call him, “Eddie”). They were swooning over Eddie’s record because he had 18 months at Grumman, two years at Boeing, 18 months at McDonnell-Douglas….”Oh, wow, this guy must really have ambition, he’s got so much experience!” Eddie turned out to be a raging perfectionist, meaning he never finished anything, with such poor social skills the first contractor rhey sent him to visit sent him back with orders to never send him to that place again. Basically, the reason he had so many spots on his resume was that’s how long anyone could stand him. (My director, probably the best manager I ever had, demoted him twice and then found him a job in the archives, where his OCD was actually useful).

      3. That has to be better than knowing only one thing, and nothing about anything else. Might even impress upon them the concept that “Wow, everything is complicated, and depends on specific knowledge and techniques that are different for each area. Maybe, don’t assume that you know everything.”
        ———————————
        The one thing we need more of from the government is LESS!!

      4. That’s sort of the whole point of something like systems engineering; you aren’t a specialist is anything, but you know enough of enough that you can translate between Specialist, Customer, and Manager speak.

        But the big key is knowing you don’t know everything. And that the specialists often only know their own specialties.

        Funny thing, the customer doesn’t always know what they want, but they’re the only ones who can tell you where it hurts.

        1. Yup. The sad part being that systems engineering has largely been devoured by management blather and metrics tracking.

      5. Given that in order to advance you need to jump jobs that’s pretty much the universal default. For some work it isn’t a bad idea. If your job is as an integrator knowing how mechanics work or how to back envelops a stress Calc or how finishes are applied makes sense. On the other hand, if you are in a specialized field it’s better to know your limits and get the general designer when you hit the ones that are outside your area and a sme when they are.

      1. I like having the opportunity to point out that Proto-Indo-European speakers were using a word very similar to “man” to refer to people of both sexes.

          1. PIE morphed into various daughter languages thousands of years before the invention of writing. If you wanted to be really expansive you could say that everyone speaking a Indo-European language today is speaking a dialect of PIE.

              1. Egyptian and Sumerian are supposedly the easilest written languages; starting roughly 3000 BC

                The use of an abstract symbol to represent a sound or concept in a language is a pretty big jump from the total absence of written language. But it’s not that big a jump from the scratching petroglyphs and painting animal sketches on cave walls and ceiling. And PIE can long after that stage; starting about 4500 B.C. through 2000 B.C. Oddly enough, PIE is only theoretical as no direct evidence exists. ( *laugh* Because they didn’t write anything recognizable on a durable surface maybe?)

                1. There are some SERIOUS doubts about that. Remains have been found much earlier, just NOT deciphered. (Not enough of them found for one. And clay some not fired, so very damaged.)
                  But no linguist who looks at them doubts “language.”

                  1. When I took the Intro the the Ancient Near East course in college, they describe it this way:

                    As economies started developing and people started engaging in trade, a method of recording who owns what, and how much was required. This was accomplished by using small clay figurines (really small, half inch to an inch) that represented various goods: fish, animals, units of grain, and so on). The collection of figurines were a kind of “receipt” for what that person had in the storehouse. Later, to make things more convenient to handle they’d put the collection of figurines in a clay capsule (an example of which from an archaeological dig was passed around the class). To tell what was inside the capsule without having to break it open, they’d inscribe shapes representing the individual figurines into the outer surface of the capsule. Eventually, they realized that with the shapes inscribed they didn’t need the figurines. And this was the beginning of writing. The shapes gradually grew more and more abstract and started being used to represent not specific individual objects but sounds leading to cuneiform and heiroglyphs. And this was the beginning of writing.

                    1. Sure, except Göbekli Tepem not to mention a dozen other discoveries since, prove we know bloody nothing about even as recent a past as 15k years.
                      Look, I’ve been doing a deep dive into the distant past, and there’s stuff I’d never heard about.
                      Let’s say I don’t feel comfortable stating things categorically anymore.

                2. Yes, it’s a massive jump, but it parallels brain structures for sounds as symbols, which is what language IS. There is no actual reason they might not have evolved together.

        1. In Old English, people repeatedly referred to women as men. (A man held some land; he was the first man. His daughter inherited; she was the second man.)

        2. Old English used “man” to mean “generic human”. Male human: “wer-man” = “male-person” (as in “were-gild” or “were-wolf”). Female human: “wyf-man” = “female-person”. “Wer-man” evolved to “man” and “wyf-man” slurred into “woman” and also evolved to “wife”.

          Modern German uses “Mann” to mean “male human” and “man” to mean “one”, as in “wie sagt man ‘upstairs’ auf Deutsch?” (how does one say “upstairs” in German?)

          Language is weird and does not evolve to plan.

    2. under 0bama, our company got screwed by his DOT head who told us that X was legal, and half way through a transfer we got told by someone else to Holdo Stoppo! Tha’s no legal! items are now in limbo and we are charged storage for items considered hazmat and can’t be rendered non-hazmat nor transportable from where they are. We did get a letter saying. “Yeah, just because Big BossLady say do it, doesn’t mean you can, you know, actually, legally do it. Have a nice day.”

      1. See the AT&T acquisition of Verizon, or whichever phone company it was. The merger was approved by Obama’s government until it was suddenly disapproved.

      2. Easier to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission.
        Especially if there’s no evidence of your actually being told, and the reg in question is “questionable”.

        1. always remember, the DOT doles out “forgiveness” in relation to size and income, so Joe Blow forgetting to sign a BOL or incorrectly labels product gets say $10,000 or $20,000 fine, while Big Multinat get’s Millions or Billions in fines

    3. Not quite universally true, but far more often than not. And sometimes even when they are experts, their expertise is often years out of date because of too many years in politics or middle management, or they’re compromised, or too focused on their own agenda for that expertise to be well applied.

      For example, the final head of NACA was Jimmy Doolittle. He may have been best known for the Doolittle Raid but had earned a masters and doctorate in aeronautical engineering from MIT in the interwar years, had met with Goddard, been involved in rocket fuel development while at Shell, and consulted after the war on Air Force missile and space programs. Compare that to Charles Bolden, Obama’s NASA Administrator, who’d been an astronaut and test pilot, but who once stated that his primary mission as Administrator was Muslim outreach!

  9. Some of the dangers of technocrats had already become apparent to some by the end of the Eisenhower administration, hence the warnings in his farewell address. Alas, the only part anybody wants to remember is the line about the military-industrial complex.

  10. There are so many levels of people rising to the level of their incompetence that it’s become an accepted truth at the gut level. And, unfortunately, it’s a paradigm that many organizations are built around. And then we add government bureaucracy on top of that to really screw things over. *yuck*
    I just want my country to observe, and live by, the US Constitution.

    1. “The Peter Principle.” Coined by L. Peter, who observed that people rise to their level of incompetence. He was related to Murphy of Murphy’s Law, at least in spirit.

  11. “Except every time they get to try their idiocy it becomes more obvious it doesn’t work, and it was always nonsense.”

    Today’s example: http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/2022/03/11/duck-duck/

    DuckDuckGo announced that they will be screwing with your search results, to “down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation”.

    Because obviously we are all far too stupid to recognize the difference between information and propaganda, right? Please see two years of government signalling on WuFlu and the Freedom Convoy media coverage in Canada for reference on what constitutes “information.”

    I’m trying Brave for search.

    1. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but by the time Brave Search is worth using it may be compromised in a similar fashion. There are concerns in dissident tech circles is that Brave has become successful enough that the entryism campaign has begun to repeat what happened at Mozilla. Since I have seen more established users get stuck in the spam barrel by wordpress for posting links, I will simply point out terms that are easily searchable:

      Brave added (and then deleted) a code of conduct to their project on github (check the commit log for the beginning of February)
      Their new Chief Marketing Officer is @anniekatrina, who has a background in other converged Silicon Valley workplaces.

      Always be aware of what you’re letting into your info-sphere. As the small-net folks are rediscovering, old ways are the best ways. Webrings, Linkrolls, Pingbacks, and word-of-mouth in free speech zones. To rely on “search” is to rely on centralization.

    2. I am having good luck with Qwant. So far, they’re small enough so that they haven’t been infiltrated (I think) bu the woke brigade.

      I stopped using DDG when I found Qwant and saw it worked for me. DDG fell out of the list of search alternatives after the latest crap.

      1. What about Startpage ?? haven’t heard anything about them lately, no idea how they’re running things.

        Of course one could always use Yandex…. [evil grin]

        1. I use Startpage. That’s pretty much all I can tell you about that.

          Their search result are usually relevant? I don’t search for much new information…

  12. The world is being run by ‘technocrats’ that do not understand technology. Or logic. They are unable or unwilling to make the connections between their actions and the disasters they cause.

    They are either too stupid to understand what they’re doing, or too evil to care.
    ———————————
    There are forms of stupidity that businesses can’t indulge in. There are no such limitations on the stupidity of government.

  13. “There is only one way out of this and it’s through. Let’s roll.”
    THIS.
    It’s making me crazy waiting for things to finally crash

  14. While I, ahem, strongly disagree with the idea of a technocracy– there’s still a big difference between “fine with you dying so they get to technocracy” and “tries to steer to technocracy but without the massive killing.”

    Same way some Dems are wrong but not especially dangerous, because they are still bound by traditional Christian morality– and some are, ah, not.
    (Which… actually explains a lot about the hysteria of the Progs where they really, really, REALLY wanted to purge all those who would not support abortion, and are moving on with each new direct offense against the competing moral framework that is Christianity; look at the so-called “don’t say gay” bill that does nothing but prevent teachers from engaging in sexual abuser grooming behavior in kids below the age of reason.)

  15. J.B.S. Haldane, a well-known biologist and a committed Leninist, wrote in “On Being the Right Size” that he could imagine a central planner running the economy of Luxembourg, or a committee of top-level industrialists running Denmark, but that a centrally planned British or American economy was as plausible as a hippopotamus doing gymnastics. I don’t understand how he managed to remain a Leninist after such an attack of sanity.

    1. Suppose for a minute that one programmed an AI to manage human affairs with the instruction to make everyone equal. How many pico seconds would it take before the AI started slaughtering everyone?

        1. Just equal. That’s the problem, you could, maybe, equalize income, for example, but what about pulchritude, or what weather one experiences, or which side of the room you stand on, or whatever. The borg is all about equal but equal can’t be done, not with humans anyway.

          1. The Borg were all slaves to the Queen.

            The ultimate in socialism: individuals get physically modified to perfectly fit their jobs, they have their minds erased and instead are run by a networked hive-mind, and they all work for some beeotch that lives in the middle of it and makes all the policy decisions.

            The Borg “workers” were all equally disposable. Kind of like Russian or Chinese soldiers.

            I always liked that last episoide of Voyager. Janeway kicked their asses high wide and handsome.

            1. And those nice guys at the World Economic Forum are working on it, dreaming of it, jonesing for it bad. Here’s a story from only yesterday I just saw…

              From: uncoverdc dot com slash 2022/03/11/is-your-governor-a-marionette-for-the-world-economic-forum/

              –begin excerpt–

              We should loathe to make the comparison, but facts are facts: their goals are not unlike those of Adolph Hitler — they want to cull the planet of people they consider to be inferior and control those who remain. 

              Lest anyone doubt these words, consider the following statement by Yuval Noah Harari, top advisor to the World Economic Forum’s founder, Klaus Schwab:

              “Data might enable human elites to do something even more radical than just build digital dictatorships. By hacking organisms, elites may gain the power to re-engineer the future of life itself.  Because once you can hack something, you can usually also engineer it.”

              Yes, Harari said human “elites” could re-engineer the future of life. Schwab’s advisor continued, saying:

              “In the past, many tyrants and governments wanted to do it, but nobody understood biology well enough, and nobody had enough computing power and data to hack millions of people. Neither the Gestapo nor the KGB could do it. But soon, at least some corporations and governments will be able to systematically hack all the people.”

              These direct quotes clarify the goals of the World Economic Forum. And, as cliche as it might sound to some, they truly believe they are smarter than God, which is evidenced by something else Harari said:

              “Science is replacing evolution by natural selection with evolution by intelligent design. Not the intelligent design of some God above the clouds, but our intelligent design.  And the intelligent design of our clouds — the IBM cloud, the Microsoft cloud– these are the new driving forces of evolution.”

              Before anyone thinks these people are giving up on trying to control the population of the world just because polls say people don’t like mandates, remember: they see COVID-19 as their opportunity to enact one of their goals, which is to change the physical makeup of humans.

              Klaus Schwab was clear when he said, ”The pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world.”

              Their goals are also evidenced by another of Harari’s statements, ”People could look back in 100 years and identify the Coronavirus epidemic as the moment a new regime of surveillance took over, especially surveillance under the skin.”

              And let’s consider one more statement by Harari, lest there be any doubt about their intentions:

              “Humans are now hackable animals. The whole idea that humans have this soul or spirit and they have free will, and nobody knows what’s happening inside me, so whatever I choose, whether in the election or whether in the supermarket, this is my free will? That’s over.”

              –end excerpt–

              Megalomanical, much? Bond and Batman mad villains got nothin’ on this guy. Cargo-cult technocrat, check.

              (Yes, there’s a lot more in the article, incl. pointers to direct sources.)

              It’s amazing how despite the remarkable examples of evil in human history, there are still people like these, trying to R&D totally new kinds and perpetrate the unprecedented. Out-Hitler Hitler; Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot…

              Somehow mere “a la lanterne” seems a little tame, for stuff like this…

          2. Create a single type of identifying number and ensure they all had an equal number of bits. Probably some sort of float so it wouldn’t have to worry about population.

            Then it would bill you for upkeep to ensure that this new equal humanity thing was maintained indefinitely. If we are lucky, it will spend most of this bill of telescopes and limburger, braunschweiger and onion sandwiches.

            1. Just equal. The only way to make all humans equal is to have no humans. If the AI managed to equalize income and wealth we humans would find another way to measure it. the star bellied sneetches have stars upon thars. It’s all subjective. There is no standard of measure. There is no ordinal utility. Nada, nothing.

              I was thinking in terms of experts, we’d be better to call them credentialed. Running other people’s lives rationally requires ordinal utility and since there is no ordinal utility there’s nothing for the experts to be expert about.

              FWIW, this is the basis of the whole Austrian school of economics, and whilst it has its issues, the Austrian school has truth content, which the others mostly lack.

              1. I think you mean to say “cardinal utility.” Ordinal utility is just “A gives me more satisfaction than B, so I choose A.” Human beings can mostly do that. And ordinal utility is perfectly consistent with subjective value theory.

                1. Yes, I miss wrote. What I should have said is consistent ordinal utility. I don’t know myself what my preferences will be. All we can do is observe what was chosen, ex post. Cardinal utility is right out.

                  I run into this a lot in economics when they say without this we can’t do that and my answer is yes, we can’t do that. (Ergodicity is one example, utility another.). I’m afraid I’ve fallen out of belief with economics and “rationality,” whatever that is, too.

                  1. consistent ordinal utility

                    This is related to my thought experiment to empirically disprove that intersectionality theory has any predictive power:

                    Make up multiple decks of 2^n cards sufficient to cover all possible combinations of n binary qualities: black/white, straight/gay, male/female, abled/disabled, etc. Now hand them out to a group of people who subscribe to intersectionality and ask each of them to privately sort their deck by rank order, and then compare notes afterward to agree on a single ranking. The prediction is that not only will there be no agreement except as to first and last, the group will almost certainly nearly come to blows.

            2. Yep. As my beloved puts it (and he’s quoting), take all the money and distribute it equally and in six months the poor will be poor and the rich will be rich. Because decisions matter.

        2. We could all be equally dead. And I think that’s whatever evil spirit driving the leftists wants.

          1. Yes.
            In the earliest myths we’ve found (non Christian) the gods killed the humans for moving around too much and being too noisy.
            ….. in Christian theology, those were demons, so….

            1. I read the Aztec religion was basically, “Offer them lots of sacrifices so they don’t kill us for a while longer.” With the knowledge sooner or later, they were going to kill everyone.

              1. Ah The Aztec religion truly was feed your buddies to the crocodiles(gods) so you get eaten last, No wonder the Tranzi/SJW types love them…

            2. As Ed Dutton says, religion codifies practice. Being killed by the gods for moving around too much and being too noisy sounds a lot like “Gronk went out into the bushes, made a lot of noise, and was eaten by a lion. Don’t be Gronk.”

    2. One of the best (possible/likely) explanations is the old ‘in too deep’ syndrome — not only was Haldane long a “committed Leninist” ideologically and publicly, not only was he fairly high up in the Communist Party of Great Britain (IIRC) and so socially tied to a lot of such stuff, he was also (courtesy of the Venona Intercepts) directly working for the Soviet Communists as an ‘agent of influence’ or outright spy. (The “Venona Intercepts” are, apparently, all now declassified — and basically they’re what happens if you use a cipher ‘one time pad” more than once, which is to say, the only ‘unbreakable’ cipher known falls apart to ‘a good fifth grader could crack this’ quality; find two messages coded with the same key and the randomness just… goes away!)

      So even if your own article convinces you that centrally-planned techo-Communism is a stinky crock, what’cha gonna do, right?

      Searching on “Hadane Venona” brings up a lot of stuff… the entire book on this I once browsed through in a bookstore obviously still exists, and its title may be something like “Comrade Haldane is too busy to go on holdiay” — yes, he was asked to take one of those Bernie Sanders honeymoon trips to the CCCP at one point, just like all the other good agents/moles/traitors to the West.

      Communism… it’s not just a bad idea, it’s a lifestyle.

  16. I’m listening to Amity Shlaes’ book on Coolidge, and I had to laugh when Pres. Coolidge’s Sec. of Treasury, Andrew Mellon, introduced his tax plan to Coolidge. Mellon had examined lots of numbers, done some crunching, and come to the realization that lowering taxes produced more revenue than the pure numbers would indicate. So he had put together a tax program that would implement the necessary cuts.

    He called it “Scientific Taxation”.

    Tell the Dems to cut taxes! They don’t want to be science deniers, do they? 😛

      1. One of the Prog idiots actually proposed that as a solution.
        Sorry about the redundancy after “Prog”.
        John in Indy

        1. The problem is that politicians want tax rates and tax laws that maximize their power, rather than tax rates that maximize revenue. That means tax rates higher than the revenue-maximizing rate, and tax laws with lots of complexity and special exceptions.

      1. I think we need to make it a requirement that anyone running for public office needs to have passed Integral and Differential calculus.

        1. Statistics. Calc is nice, but statistics is necessary. Also to be a bureaucrat or practice law.

          1. You want to be more specific, I think. Every psychology department and many sociology departments have courses in statistics. But they’re not the same as the course an economics department would offer. And that’s not the same as the course a mathematics department would offer. The math department is going to teach you to cook; the psychology department is going to give you a cookbook.

            1. And they guard their cookbooks with a zeal. My son double majored in psychology and economics in college. At one point, he tried to get either department to accept the other’s intro to statistics course to satisfy the requirement. No such luck, and the gobbledygook he got as reasons give him a headache. Apparently, each department used a different canned software application for their statistics work and the real reason for the course was to train students in the use of the software, not to teach statistics.

              1. Yeah. The use of statistics is another cargo cult. “Oh, we’ll dump our data into this application, and we’ll look for a correlation that has less than a 5% probability of arising by chance, and we can call that a significant result.” It doesn’t matter if it actually gives us knowledge of the real world, and a lot of the time it doesn’t, especially if you run lots of tests and keep the ones that give you a high correlation.

                1. I was thinking about this during the Kurgan discussion regarding (e.g.,) Stonehenge being an astronomical calculator and similar. Given a sufficiently large number of items and sufficiently vague number of significant astronomical alignments straight line between them will be found.

                  Given a sufficiently large number of variables, correlation will be found. It’s the downside of measurement without theory, Big Data’s filled with it.

                2. It has to do with the effective maturity level of applied statistics.

                  Bil Barr is one person that we can say wasn’t educated properly wrt to this. He has a JD, and IIRC his undergraduate was in something like government, and it probably would have been before statistics ‘instruction’ got into just about every academic field. So he is lacking insight into ‘the numbers are hinky’.

                  Past a certain number of individual items, humans stop being able to mentally perceive numbers. Statistics are tools to aggregate items, and provide a perceivable unit of information to the human mind.

                  There is sometimes also the issue of numeral scale. What does 3.7*10^48 even mean? This is mathematical education that isn’t statistics.

                  But there are assumptions baked into the numbers, and where the assumptions are not met, the meaning has no meaning.

                  One of the simple tools is adding up N numbers, then dividing the sum by N (or by N-1). Simple and always correct, correct? No. If you add 36 MPH and 87 years, then 123/2=61.5 has no meaning.

                  You have to know the rules, and check for them, else you treat ‘information’ as meaningful that is meaningless not-information.

                  There are many rules, complicated rules, and many complicated rules. Simply studying on the applied side is a lot of work, but a really complete understanding of applied statistics adds on a deep dive into pure mathematical statistics.

                  Statistics education also follows an observation of mathematical education. There is a progression of material, and if you don’t learn an early chunk well, your later studies slow and diverge from sound, unless you can identify the chunk that went wrong, fix it, and redo your foundation.

                  The spread of statistics to so many fields has sometimes resulted in people ‘skipping ahead’, and learning to associate meaning without familiarity with the underlying tools, or the rules which limit them. IE, voodoo cookbook software jockies. Those fields ain’t going to fix themselves. See diversity, inclusion, representation, equity.

                  You see similar issues of mathematical training with measurements and significant digits. Every measurement instrument has a minimum resolution, and you can’t get information finer than that resolution. For a ruler, you can say that a measurement is between two lines, but you can’t say that you know more precisely than that. But if you average thirty measurements done with a ruler in 1/16s of an inch, calculators can give you more significant digits than are valid. Or if you convert one measurement to millimeters.

                  The software can do a lot of impressive things, but without knowledge of the rules, there is perhaps less trouble if you treat it as meaningless. If you haven’t studied statistics, what does kurtosis even mean?

                  Going from modeling removal of marbles from an urn to the statistical/stochastic process is a pretty rough education.

                  One of the fundamental challenges of our times, we are very emotionally invested in policy debates, and a lot of the policies involve statistical models which few are educated enough to do properly. The intersection between the credentialed experts, and the people actually educated enough may be null set in some cases.

                  There was a discussion earlier about the Laffer curve. It took time, but I eventually realized that I wanted to ask “Hey, we seem to be thinking about this in continuous terms. But, it seems like we are aggregating a bunch of discrete things, and maybe continuous is invalid here?” This seems to be a common thing in finance/economics, and even if it is valid, I haven’t been trained well enough to know why it is valid. Forex, stock price is apparently set by discrete transactions, but the graphs I see imply that it is continuous.

                  There is sketchy high level theory. There is sketchy low level theory. There is sketchy high level application. There is sketchy low level application. And the impression that has been created of the wider population suggests that everyone except the obsessives studying these issues is utterly confident in how applied statistics is being practiced.

              2. That’s why it has to be a statistics course.

                No software, though they can use calculators.

                1. By “a statistics course” do you mean “a statistics course taught by the mathematics department”? Because pretty much any psych department will insist that their “Statistics for Psychologists” course is a statistics course.

                  I think that the calculators are making it too easy. There aren’t many things in stat that require anything harder than taking a square root, and taking a square root with pencil and paper is a straightforward algorithm.

                    1. No, that item does not demonstrate what you claim.

                      My impression is that just about every major has their own statistics courses, and they are all subtly different.

                      Now, I may seriously think that most of academia is crazy to varying degrees.

                      There are, in fact, fields that need wildly different types of exposure to statistical theory.

                      Understanding that this field is correct when it comes to teaching their own stats course, and the other field is incorrect, at a minimum, takes a generalist with a lot of stats understanding.

                    2. That’s why I specified a statistics course, not a statistics course “for” something.

              3. Before software (well at least those most had access to) in class usage. I had to take statistics 3 Times! For different programs because the subsequent ones wouldn’t take the prior one(s).

                1) Forestry Specific. Got the basics the first month. Then spent remaining terms applying statistics to timber cruises, timber sampling, and log scaling. Also got sampling of same in the range management classes, but not as intensive. Foresters are not out there counting every single tree of each species over an acre. Neither are range managers counting each blade of grass or browse shrub. Statistics is a big deal. (’74 – ’79)

                2) Two year data processing (programming) program wouldn’t accept first statistics class because it isn’t called statistics. Sigh. Pure statistics. Pulled a B because didn’t get all the homework in on time (miscarriage … I was in the hospital). (’83 – ’85)

                3) Computer Science degree. Required to take the CS math department Statistics approved. TPTB decided Two dispositions were enough. They weren’t allowing a third. (The two? Didn’t have to take their “Computers are hard are you sure you don’t want to be driven out” lower division classes. Accepted “Forestry” as a replacement for the minor declaration despite the university not offering forestry degrees. Got testy when I pointed out I already had that degree. Well rounded don’t ya know.) (’85 – ’89)

                Don’t remember the specific terms took statistics without looking it up. Years posted are when I was taking classes for the various programs.

                I despise statistics!!!!

                Oh. I wrote statistics into programming. In the Unit Sampling Distributions and Growth Models for the Forest Information, Forestry Tree Nursery, and Tree Seed Analytic, systems. Formulas provided by the Forestry Statistician. All the other programs? Not one statistic formula involved.

                1. I will say that there are people with a legitimate need or interest in taking multiple courses on statistics.

                  One bit of advice I was given once was ‘always be studying more statistics’.

                  There are some profoundly distinct applications of statistics. I can think of four, but the specifics say a bit too much about my background.

                  I keep coming back to the study of statistics, and I get further and further each time. Almost like programming, for me. Except that I still suck hugely at programming, and I almost don’t suck at statistics.

                  1. Oh, I’d agree there are reasons to take “more statistics” for some people. The three classes I had to take? Were the same dang thing. Only the Forestry Stats class went into any type of practical application. The second one I was doing homework, handing it in by the end of class. But 3 week “vacation”, messed with my “A” on the second class. By the way, the B (okay B+) grade? When I learned why, I just turned away and walked out. If I’d had said anything, I wouldn’t have stopped; screaming at the instructor. Apparently when my school councilor heard what had happened (not from me, from classmates) there were some implied cutting remarks at the next college wide instructor staff meeting.

                    1. If I’d had said anything, I wouldn’t have stopped; screaming at the instructor.

                      I don’t think screaming would have been called for in that situation. Bastinado was called for in that situation. Truly, though, I’ve always been a gentle soul.

                    2. I was kind of still in the super sensitive phase. Didn’t take much to send me into a bawling jag. Let alone a screaming bawling jag.

                  2. It still amazes me that I passed Statistics; it’s a subject that makes my mind glaze over.

        2. Statistics is actually a fairly simple subject, as long as you don’t screw up the sampling.

          If you do screw up the sampling, nothing can save you. Any results you get will be useless.

          You also have to keep clearly in mind what you’re measuring, what you’re not measuring, and what it means.

  17. if you think money doesn’t corrupt science, I’d like to give you a tour of some swampland in Florida,
    Have you cleaned up the rubble from the collapsed bridge, yet?

    1. I’ll differ here. It wasn’t corrupted science, but corrupted engineering. I had a surplus of time (recovering from some surgical procedures), and the disaster was followed/discussed on an engineering forum over 3 years. The conclusion (from the crowdsource and the official investigations) was that the engineer of record passed the design to a subordinate, didn’t bother to do a reality check, and when problems started manifesting, ignored them until the bridge fell. Then he put his phone in the washing machine…

      It’s a deep rabbit hole, but here’s part 1 of 15–close to 3000 posts. Helps to speak structural engineering, though a basic engineering one will give you the gist.

      https://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=436595

      1. He was busy on the new skyway after pencilwhipping the apartment building foundation on quicksand

      2. I believe a large contributor to the collapse was the building plan requiring a central support post during construction, and the city traffic department disallowing it as it blocked a lane of traffic.

    2. Pft. Its just disassembled for transport. For fifteen easy payments of 99.99 plus s&h you can have a Brooklyn Bridge

      1. Somebody did buy London Bridge and ship it to Arizona, so I suppose it is possible, but I don’t think this offer is legit. ;-p

          1. I’ve heard that. I’ve also heard that he knew what he was buying, and its the tourists who thought they’d be seeing Tower Bridge. Only two versions is better than some events I’ve tried to get reliable details on.

  18. “The “science” that had run the west for so long — since WWI” —

    Is the “science” that started coming to an end, in actual science, in the 1890s and was completely demolished by the 1930s. But then a clockwork universe and robotic humans is more useful when tyranny/power is the goal.

    1. I really really wish there was some way to require that numerical graphs start the relevant axis at zero.

      Declining by ~1/3 is bad enough, but the graph gives the gestalt impression that the decline is nearly to nothing.

  19. I implore you not to call your physician a “well educated witch doctor”. — they tend to get upset — Ask me how I know. It’s half peopleing and some “this worked with this person so it might work with this other. And a whole lot of irreproducible studies.)

    This drives my dad nuts. He was a nuclear tech in the Navy. There was no such thing as the “tribal wisdom.” There was the Official Navy Way(R) of running a nuclear reactor, and it didn’t matter which chief was in charge or which boat you were on.

    He now works at a teaching hospital. Every doctor does things a different way, because they’re still doing things exactly the same way they were taught in residency however many decades ago.

    1. That works because every Navy reactor is every other Navy reactor. The controls are standardized, and there’s only one basic design. They built one for the Nautilus, it worked, and they’ve been pretty much copying it ever since.

      People, not so much. They come in all different sizes, shapes and metabolisms. Our understanding of biology and medicine is constantly changing as we discover new and ever more baffling details of how we work.

      Fauxi studied medicine 40 years ago, and has been studying bureaucracy ever since. Medicine has advanced, Fauxi has not, and is now the very epitome of a clueless bureaucratic hack, utterly convinced of his own infallibility.
      ———————————
      Science does not change from day to day depending on political expediency.

  20. Peter Worsley, The trumpet shall sound(1957),

    For those interested in where the term “cargo cult” came from and what it refers to, it came about in anthropological studies done in the latter half of the twentieth century. Peter Worsley defined it in The trumpet shall sound as:

    “…strange religious movements in the South Pacific [that appeared] during the last few decades. In these movements, a prophet announces the imminence of the end of the world in a cataclysm which will destroy everything. Then the ancestors will return, or God, or some other liberating power, will appear, bringing all the goods the people desire, and ushering in a reign of eternal bliss… (1957: 11)

    If that sounds even a little bit familiar to you, that probably means you’ve been paying attention. The environmentalist movement is very much a cargo cult. It has many prophets, but the dire predictions and the conclusions are largely the same. The end of the world is nigh, give us power and money and we shall intercede and save you fro Gaia’s wrath. And it works. Your ordinary everyday leftist doesn’t have the time to study something complex like actual climate science. They’ve got a lot more going on, what with the outrage of the week going on and petitions to sign, juicy gossip to share, non-fat non-GMO soy based sustainably sourced groceries to buy, and shaming other people for being insufficiently woke. So when the prophet says we’re going to ban plastic straws for Mother Nature, the leftist cheers!

    You can also see this going full bore during election season. Republicans are going to kill grandma (that baseless epithet is so old it could get Medicare by now- AND they are the ones that actually went and did it during the covidiocy). Republicans want to put y’all back in chains. Elect me and I’m going to cure cancer, lower gas prices, raise the minimum wage, and fundamentally change the United States! Imminent calamity, ritual needed to stave it off, (Underpants Gnome Plan Step #3 HERE), eternal bliss and happiness. Arc of history, right side of history, we win forever and you lose, you racist.

    The sacrifice this time wasn’t virgins to volcanoes. It was the economy, the carefully managed country-wide logistics and supply chain, the oil and gas industry, and your 401k. It was the actual, real world worth in your bank account. It was the suicides from depression, the children that didn’t get to their parent’s faces for the latter’s irrational fears and subsequently lost out on a large portion of that critical time when language forms. It was the businesses that shuttered, never to open again. It was the trust that hospitals and doctors unthinkingly had, before the mask masquerade and the one shot two shot three shot four shenanigans happened. It was the people abandoned in Afghanistan, and not just the American citizens, the military hardware we gifted to terrorists, and the global stability that came with having a sane man in the White House with the intestinal fortitude to put global thugs on notice that Certain Behaviors Would No Longer Be Tolerated.

    And what did we get for that mighty and enormous sacrifice? Where’s the promised land of peace and plenty and moral righteousness that was prophesied?

    Not even the ones at the top have it, these days. Biden’s only worth what, eight or nine million? After fifty years in politics? That sounds rather low, to me. Plenty of opportunities for graft, you can’t tell me there aren’t. We’ve seen the evidence. Ten percent for the big guy, was it? They don’t even have the supposed moral high ground that they always try and pretend they have. Their own have to look no further than the price at the gas pump, the grocery bill, and their ever shrinking buying power.

    When people talk about Biden running the US like a banana republic I have to laugh. Banana republics are sophisticated compared to what’s going on these days. This is straight up magical thinking and shamanic prophecy. It’s tribal. It’s also utterly stupid. I like to say you could write a simple script program to write college papers these days, they’re so stuck on Socialism and critical theory. A random group of not especially precocious five year olds could run Biden’s policy better than he is.

    Raise your eyes from the false idols and straw-stuffed goblins they wish to frighten you with. These are not serious foes. Though dangerous, they are not particularly bright. They will attempt to bamboozle you going into the midterms. The Red team will try to run their usual Establishment trolls all painted up like their Trumpian Lions. But be not fooled by this pageantry, my friends. Sock away a few rice and beans, snag some bottled water. Keep a weather eye not just on big politics, but the local gibbering fools as well. Research your candidates well in advance, and watch your elections closely. Who are your delegates? Don’t depend on the usual fools. Of any stripe.

    1. Do NOT get me started on the local politicians. I have firm thoughts, often uncharitable, about the current crop. All of whom I voted against last time around.

      1. Grandpa said, “Shoot the communists on site. Hang the fascists after a fair trial. Run the Democrats out of town and most of the Republicans, too.”

        I’m coming around to his thinking, but it may be too gentle for them.

        1. What she said. There’s been entirely too much pussyfooting around with communists for my taste. They won’t be giving up easy. We shouldn’t either.

            1. Heinlein’s experiences in California before WW2 and the Philly area may have biased his view of the Democrats a little. I think a lot of the Demorats in key positions were Communist by the time Heinlein was talking about, but in some regions it seems to have been less pronounced – for a little while longer. Alas, it only got worse once the next generations graduated from the elite universities, which were compromised far earlier than the rest of the education system. Heck, a lot of the faculty of the elite universities were wandering down that path long before Gramsci was advocating such, and before the Russia Revolution and Soviet influence ever played a factor. (I know I’m kinda preaching to the choir here, but it all seemed to come out as I typed.)

              1. California, of course, had Governor Earl Freaking Warren running as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

                Ike bought him off by promising him a seat on the US Supreme Court. We all know what he later thought about that.

    2. Not exactly.

      The Cargo Cults originated in the Pacific Theater after World War 2. In our war against Imperial Japan, we established dozens of island airbases. Transport planes flew in and out of those bases day after day, carrying food, fuel, ammunition, medical supplies, spare parts, and everything else we needed for the war. Some of those miraculous materials were shared with the locals, who’d never seen anything like them.

      In late 1945, we won the war. The island bases no longer served any purpose, were shut down and evacuated.

      Some of the natives wanted to bring the transport planes, and the cargo they carried, back to their islands. They went through the motions they had observed the U.S. forces doing for two years. They cleaned up the runways, lived in the buildings, flipped switches and turned knobs on the abandoned radios, and repeated the prayers they’d heard soldiers recite into the microphones. “Xray foxtrot six, turn left to bearing two one five, descend to flight level four five zero.”

      They wondered why the cargo didn’t come back. They were doing everything right, weren’t they? Where was the cargo?
      ———————————
      Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks they called it witchcraft. Now they call it golf.

      1. ‘Not exactly,’ as in Worsley’s (and my, by extension) definition is wrong? I freely accept that I may be wrongheaded somewhere (happens often, in fact). I am also aware of the instance that you speak of. Heck, I was teaching that particular instance in college back in the early 00s.

        The thing is, as far as I can recollect, that was one particular instance of cargo cult. A famous one, in many circles. And it may be emblematic of the term in some places today- I’m no longer as connected to the greater anthropological sphere as I once was.

        From what I can recall, the term that preceded “cargo cults” was “Vailala Madness,” and was coined by F. E. Williams while studying several curious quasi religious occurrences in Vailala around 1922. Ghost steamships piloted by ancestral spirits were carrying valuable cargo were predicted to be coming. Natives took up marching, drilling, and aping Australian tea parties, casting aside their previous idols and rituals.

        “Cargo cult” replaced “Vailala Madness” at around the time of the incident you describe. It was used in the literature to describe as Worsley said, these strange movements based around cataclysm and renewal, with ritual cribbed from things they had seen. If the more current definition refers more to that specific instance, then what I’m saying would be the archaic definition. Unless of course, I’ve gotten something else wrong along the way. *grin*

    3. I’m a fiscal conservative. My position is to get the most value for our money, spend as little as necessary, and in doing so, keep our municipal taxes as low as possible. Your taxes are your money spent to provide the services you choose to have.
      Less Government = More Freedom.

      1. We need to restructure the government to be funded from the bottom up, instead of top down. Concentrating trillions of dollars in one place and then doling it out is an open invitation to corruption — and corruption has accepted, big time. We need to eliminate the practice of extorting money from the citizens of some states and giving it to the D.C. politicians’ and bureaucrats’ cronies in other states.

        Every government function should be performed at the smallest and most local level possible. The national government should be the one with the least influence on our daily lives, not the most.
        ———————————
        They’re the Experts! They only sound stupid to you because you’re not as Educated as they are.

        1. I’ve been a foe of The Federalization Of Everything™ for decades now.

          To the point where I wouldn’t actually mind paying just as much in taxes as I pay now, if it was 90/10 state/federal, instead of the other way around.

          1. There are some things that fed money is the right solution for. Some. And it shouldn’t be a large number, that some.

            Fund the military and the VA. Do NOT get me started on the procurement fiasco. Keep our promises to care for those injured in the line of duty. Keep the lights on in the little government house. Let them provide their own heat, though- they can burn some old tax law books or some of the several tons of paperwork they generated over the last century for fuel. Or they can burn dead Communists. Be enough of those.

            Maintain the interstate highway system. Keep our embassies staffed and let me be clear on this, I’d like them to be armed compounds capable of defending against an entire city ’til they get rescued. No more ambassadors getting killed. Eff that.

            Do the things like that and leave the agencies and the bureaus to the state and local and individual level. Just like the tax money we give is not their own to spend but their responsibility to protect the wealth represented therein, many (even most) of the laws and rules and regs are not their responsibility to levy and enforce. Those are the purview of the states and the people, properly.

            1. Keep in mind that when Ambassador Stevens was killed, he wasn’t at the US Embassy.

              Embassies themselves are an entirely different matter. It’s been noted that even when a US embassy gets attacked, it’s very clear that the attacking mob knows *exactly* how far it can go when invading the grounds – and not one step further – before the Wrath of the US gets called down upon it.

              1. That’s a problem. A certain amount of uncertainty will go a long way. First perp gets b*tch-slapped back to childhood. Second perp gets a loud, detonating passport to the afterlife. Third perp decides not to.

          2. I support States when they allow ex-cons to vote.
            I also support States when they prohibit ex-cons from voting.
            The principle of “The States get to decide” is more important than the “correct” policy.

            1. I can’t say that I’m happy about states or local areas allowing non-citizens to vote (in non-Federal elections only). But ultimately, it’s the state or local area that gets to decide that.

              1. And given the current state of our election systems it’s an open invitation to fraud in Federal elections. NO.

                1. Also, no. The states don’t have the right to do this. There are things granted to American citizens under its constitution and not having their votes dilluted by drive-bys and tourists is one of those.

                  1. I specified “ex-cons” for a reason. The 14th Amendment is explicit about States being allowed – but not required – to deny the vote to people convicted of felonies. Dragging in the case of States allowing non-citizens to vote just muddies the water and produces more heat than light, and I’ll decline to argue that point in this place and time.

            2. >> “The principle of “The States get to decide” is more important than the “correct” policy.”

              While that is the constitutional way for now, I don’t think that policy is working out very well. Given the chance to amend or re-write the constitution I’d require certain measures like photo I.D. whether the state wants it or not.

              In particular I’d ban remote voting altogether; you either show up in person on election day or you don’t vote. As for the argument that this screws over deployed military personnel, they wouldn’t get to vote anyway because I’d also deny the vote to anyone who willingly accepts money or power from the government (such as government employees). Such people have too strong an incentive to vote for ever-larger government.

              1. Have court-house or similar level Official early voting– it prevents most of the Stupid People Tricks that are used to justify absentee ballots, without making a very obvious and high-pay-off route for terror.

                As for the argument that this screws over deployed military personnel, they wouldn’t get to vote anyway because I’d also deny the vote to anyone who willingly accepts money or power from the government (such as government employees). Such people have too strong an incentive to vote for ever-larger government

                That is incredibly easy to weaponize, even before one considers that it’s self refuting unless one assumes the conclusion. (survey that may be old enough to have some hope of decent sampling here— note the difference between union and non-union)

                Right off the bat? Power to carry a firearm. Power to drive a car. Power to bargain for your own employment contract. (at is, being allowed to be non-union)
                That’s before things like “accepting money” being expanded to include your money being given back to you when over-charged for taxes, or using any of the services you are taxed for, or… I’m sure there are more sneaky angles for this.

                You can’t fix sneaky evil with simplicity, it thrives on that stuff.

                1. Hmm… you’re right.

                  Perhaps it’s better to limit this to a few specific, carefully-defined groups. Just government employees and welfare recipients might be enough.

                  1. Very easy to abuse, make it so that union gov’t workers are working for the union, and the union is contracting for services.

                    Then you only disenfranchise the groups that vote normal-to-against you.

                    Welfare still runs into the issue of exactly how much of your own money are you allowed to keep or get back before you lose your right to vote….

                    1. >> “Welfare still runs into the issue of exactly how much of your own money are you allowed to keep or get back before you lose your right to vote….”

                      I should mention that I’ve been brainstorming how I would write a new constitution, and my system would have some fundamental differences from our current one. Taxes wouldn’t be an issue because that’s not how the government would be funded. So making this idea work as an amendment to the current system would be a bit harder.

                      That said, at some point bad actors will abuse, misinterpret or just ignore any part of the constitution when it gets in their way. I agree you need to carefully define things, but that can only take you so far.

                    2. Yeah, the idea is basically “Start with the U.S. constitution, apply 2.5 centuries of hindsight to identify its weak points and rewrite to fix them.” Some of those fixes are easy patches – like, say, fixing the size of the SCOTUS – while others require ground-up structural change.

  21. And we shouldn’t be electing people who think they know what “science” tells them to do.

    Of course not, because science doesn’t tell you to do anything.
    Science is a best attempt at identifying what something is.

    You can, with the scientific method, identify that there is a dog over there, that he is not displaying pre-attack behavior, and that dogs often enjoy having their ears scratched.
    That does NOT mean that science told you to pet the dog.

      1. Barring important variables, like a big sign that says “no, really, don’t pet him, he’s sneaky and will bite”…but yeah, that’s why I picked it. A value judgement, not a quantity judgement.

  22. Yep, SJWs always double down…but as someone who is highly educated in math and science, particularly physics and biology, a lot of “scientists” these days just aren’t very bright or interested in following the actual scientific method…Otherwise, a study a few years ago wouldn’t have found that 85% of NIH papers were “non-confirmable”{…In other words, wrong..And the same has spread to most areas of science, because getting published and getting publicity is more important than doing actual science…

    1. Academia as a whole has become a rat race with ten times as many applicants as permanent jobs, and the criteria for success is “publish or perish”. With that kind of pressure, it’s no wonder that sloppy science for the STEM fields and algorithmically-stupid/woke papers for the humanities are the norm. Incentives matter.

      1. Not to mention that ever since East Anglia in 1997, “peer-review” was redefined to “only the peers who will back me up get to review”. Hockey Mann raised that to an art form.

      2. It’s a glamor profession like movie actor or drug dealer. Millions slave away, exploited, because they can see only the superstars and don’t realize the odds.

  23. Why did you say that Harry Browne was an embezzler? I have never heard that and can’t find any news reports on it.

  24. As to Putin’s incompetence, he took a country that was flat on its back in 2000 and turned it into a thriving superpower that is self-sufficient, has a positive trade balance, a budget surplus, and little debt, in 22 years…and he’s building cathedrals and encouraging family formation….We could use some of that “incompetence” in America…,.

    1. The USSR was a superpower.

      Russia is only a regional power.

      If you want proof, then explain why there are still only 100 T-14 Armata MBTs in the Russian military, when the goal was to have 2300 by 2020?

    2. If it turns out that Putin has taken out the lab that was going to release the “Dark Winter” smallpox outbreak planned by the World Economic Forum demon worshippers, then I’ll buy myself a Putin t-shirt and wear it. What if everything the media has been telling us about the Ukraine conflict is a lie?

      1. I think all of it is bullshit, honestly.
        ALL OF IT.
        Ukraine is running pallywood, the Russians are fantastically incompetent.
        IF he took out the lab it was by accident, because he’s all in on the world economic plans, and imagines he’ll end up on top.
        If he took out the lab it was “evil oft does evil mar”
        However reports of the lab seem to come from Xi. So….

        1. Speaking of incoherent media narratives..

          I read Diplomad’s post from a few days ago. He’s of the opinion (and he’s got the right contacts, so he might know this for certain) that the whole “Poland flip-flop on the MiGs” story is really our own government trying to simultaneously lobby the Poles not to hand over the planes while also trying to look tough and act as if the White House has no issue with the planes being handed over.

          The result is a Polish government that wanted to supply the planes, but was persuaded by our government not to. But then our government pretended it hadn’t done just that, so Poland called our government’s bluff with the Ramstein Air Base offer.

          1. The thing is, if Russian had hacked the 2016 election, getting entirely rid of voting machines would make sense.

            That Democrats are set on voting machines is pretty much proof that they do not believe that the 2016 was hacked by any state level actor not working on their behalf.

      2. Of course everything the media is telling us is a lie. It’s as much a propaganda war as a shooting war. I think Ukraine is winning the propaganda war, not sure about the shooting one.

      3. Small pox is supposedly extinct. I wouldn’t put it past Fauci to have funded research to provide “gain of function” to cowpox viruses to make them worse than small pox.

        1. Extinct in the wild.

          Russia being known to have some, the many Soviet-era labs that DEFINITELY had some, labs in the US that have it and the always-fun “oh wait what’s in this bottle oh. It’s, um, small pox” discovery means that we know it’s not actually extinct.

          It would be really foolish to wipe out any samples we have, because it can be alive in a corpse years later, especially if frozen.
          https://www.livescience.com/2403-climate-threat-thawing-tundra-releases-infected-corpses.html

        2. That right there is the core issue with the Ukrainian biolabs story: Why *wouldn’t* we be outsourcing forbidden medical and biological research to Ukraine? Because that’s precisely what Fauci and the government did with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and Fauci’s experiments with gain-of-function research with bat coronaviruses. And then they lied to us about that research, and the origins of COVID. Repeatedly. Fauci even lied to Congress about his own role in the affair. Repeatedly.

          Besides, our imperial political class was doing whatever it pleased with Ukraine, from using them as a proxy combatant against foes foreign and domestic, to treating the country as an ATM machine and money laundromat if not their personal fiefdom. Because Ukraine was broke, its politicians corrupt and its independence in the face of the Russian bear was dependent entirely on the goodwill of America. Why not fund a bunch of laboratories in Ukraine to do all that lovely biological and medical research that American labs were legally not allowed to touch? Such research doesn’t necessarily need to have anything to do with crafting bioweapons, but after all the lies our government has told about Kung Flu and its origins – and all the lies about Ukraine in general, who’s going to believe them about this NOW?

          Especially after Victoria Nuland ‘fessed up before Congressional testimony a couple days ago about all of those nonexistent, Russian propaganda-fabricated, biolabs that golly oh gosh oh gee actually DID exist and lay in the path of the Russian advance. And apparently those labs were working with disease pathogens, including perhaps some leftover Soviet-era weaponized pathogens. But supposedly we were working to “destroy” or “secure” those. Right. The first of those labs opened in 2005. It really took us 17 years to inventory the contents of Ukraine’s lab freezers, dump them into incinerators and then bleach the empty rooms? Or even lock the door? Or even consider destroying all of that material over the weeks and months Russia was building up its Ukraine invasion force?

          It’s not like Putin needed a reason to invade and reoccupy Ukraine; it’s just that our feckless, reckless, corrupt political class insisted on giving him reasons anyway.

          It’s not that Putin has any credibility; it’s just that our feckless, reckless, corrupt political class no longer has any more credibility than Putin does, and has shown a similar lack of respect for civil, criminal and international law.

          1. Fauxi disappeared right around the time Russia invaded Ukraine. Haven’t seen the Lying Lawn Gnome in almost a month. What’s with that?

            Are the Democrats preparing to throw Fauxi under the bus? Such a fate would be entirely deserved, but there are other guilty parties that should be thrown under the bus, too.
            ———————————
            My grandpa voted Republican until the day he died — but he’s been voting Democrat ever since.

            1. Considering Fauci’s actions, he could be tried and convicted in International Court for crimes against humanity. Of course the U.S. has a tradition of not handing over citizens to the IC; but that doesn’t mean we necessarily can’t.

          2. First of all, the labs were hardly “hidden” since they were mentioned on our Embassy’s own web page.

            Second, yeah, it really does sometimes take that long to destroy that stuff, *especially* when the government is involved. Ace had a post also pointing out the length of time it’s taken, but someone in the comments noted that government employees don’t work under the same strictures that people with real jobs do. Government jobs, such as this one, are often seen as a cash cow. So of *course* they drag it out as long as possible. They won’t lose their jobs due to interminable delays. But they might lose their jobs if their current task draws to an end.

            Finally, in an earlier comment at Ace’s blog, someone mentioned the base where the US disposes of old chemical and biological weapons from its own inventory. Everything there predates our work in Ukraine. And yet, somehow, the government still hasn’t finished destroying all of it.

            Is the US funding stuff it shouldn’t be in Ukrainian biolabs? Maybe. But it’s funny how no one said anything about it until *after* the invasion. Not even the Russians made any statements until after the story had already started circulating.

          3. Gain of function wasn’t “forbidden,” it was not federally funded, and that ended in December of 2017.
            https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-director/statements/nih-lifts-funding-pause-gain-function-research

            Especially after Victoria Nuland ‘fessed up before Congressional testimony a couple days ago about all of those nonexistent, Russian propaganda-fabricated, biolabs that golly oh gosh oh gee actually DID exist and lay in the path of the Russian advance.

            This slight of hand has been showing up a lot.

            The biolabs are known.

            Quite well known, in fact– since they are a major bragging point for the Biological Threat Reduction Program, and have been since at LEAST 2019.

            The literally-taken-from-Russian-government-twitter-accounts claim, from 2015, was that it’s BIOWEAPON labs, in Ukraine and Georgia.

            Quit using the terms interchangeably.
            For crying out loud, I’d be startled if there’s a single state college in the US that doesn’t have BSL-3 labs. Iowa State was trying to get one or more set up in a mobile unit at one point, because when you’re trying to deal with a problem, you want to be as close as possible to where you’re getting samples.

            Since I know we’ve got Iowa corn farmers over in the Ukraine, there’s probably a lot of research into local pest-threats as well– and Russia is rather well known for starving the Ukraine. I’d be worried as heck about them deliberately hitting labs to spread problems as well.

              1. What, you want them to ship the various trouble-strains of TB, F. tularensis, various flus and who knows what else, that are showing up in Europe, over to the US? Rather than working on them without vastly increasing the risk of accidental spread during transport?
                We’ve already got yet another bird flu outbreak in Iowa, without that “help,” thank you!

                Here’s one veterinary school’s list of BSL-3 pathogens– not even a state school, at that.
                https://vetsites.tufts.edu/ne-rbl/resources/niaid-bsl-3-priority-pathogens/

    3. Bullshit. It’s not a superpower. It’s not self sufficient. It’s GREAT at bullshit. Because Putin is the self safe retarded KGB worm he was. And the best thing he can think of is to relive the USSR glory days.
      He should be made to wear a dunce cap while being whipped tied to the tail of a donkey from one end of the country to the other.

      1. It may be not be a superpower, and not able to be self-sufficient, but it does have a LOT of nuclear weapons.

          1. The one thing they seem to have actually spent money on are new nukes. I think the same maintenance question needs to be asked our own nuke force, much of which is very old itself.

            1. New nukes, lets see they have a new sub Launched ICBM (Topol-M), Of course early tests of that in the early 2000’s had all sorts of failures including some spectacular ones. Then there is some crazy ass High velocity torpedo with a large (potentially dirty) warhead, not sure where that one is, but high velocity cavitating torpedos are something they always wanted, so maybe on that one. And last of all what seemed to be the resurrection of our late 1950’s Pluto Project an open cycle nuclear engined missile with multiple warheads. It could cruise at high supersonic speeds for long periods. Even it’s output is fairly dangerous due to the radiation. There was an Island off the east coast of Russia that had some serious radioactivity issues a few years ago. Possibly a run away test stand run when testing got a little to rushed or exuberant. The russians/ ex soviets have decent scientists and engineers, but repeatably manufacturing complex items has never been their strong suit, likely because the ex soviet culture doesn’t like to hear, “we have a problem” Or “we don’t know how to do that”.

          2. It also only takes one or two high-altitude EMP bursts to really make a complete mess of things.

            1. There was a test of the effects of a massive EMP attack several years back. Insty had a link up about it at the time. Based on the results, IIRC the people conducting the test came to the conclusion that while things got shut down by the EMP, a lot more “stuff” was able to be safely restarted afterwards than had been expected.

              1. test of the effects of a massive EMP

                That reminds me of a story I read back in the early ’90s after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

                The Soviet Army tended to do a lot of “experiments” that no western army would ever consider, like air-dropping one of their light armored air-droppable battalions with the soldiers already inside their vehicles and — oops — turning them all into chunky salsa, because, hey, they were the Soviet Army and didn’t have to worry about little things like safety or public outcry or even troop morale. (They figured out how to use retro-rockets on the BMDs later.)

                So in the mid-’80s, when people started worrying about EMP effects, apparently they figured they’d better test it out in a real-world situation. So they had a couple of motor rifle regiments go on maneuvers, and lined up a bunch of EMP generators across the field and repeatedly zapped the troops. And it didn’t seem to affect them at all, the Soviet Army not being equipped with much in the way of sophisticated electronics back then (they were still using *signal flags* in some cases, fer chrissakes).

                Except it turned out that there were latent effects. Like, a lot of them couldn’t sit near a television set without the screen fuzzing, or couldn’t wear digital watches, or got migraines from the magnets in telephone handsets, or things like that. Nothing terribly serious, but annoying, especially as more western electronics started being available in the USSR during perestroika. So after the Soviet Union fell apart and people could start self-organizing without getting thrown in the gulag, a lot of those veterans got together to form a support group to agitate for help from the government.

                They called themselves the Brigade of the Light Charge.

                1. >> “They called themselves the Brigade of the Light Charge.”

                  Ladies and gentleman, let’s all give balzacq a round of applause.

                  And then let’s all give him a round of ballistic carp. Aim for the sensitive parts.

                    1. >> “you’re just mean.”

                      So was that joke. Did you notice how much effort he put into setting us up before yanking the chain?

                      I’ll admit, he actually had me going for a moment. Until I saw the punchline I was thinking “Wait, I thought EMP didn’t affect humans. Why haven’t I heard of this, and how does that even work physically?”

                      And then Sarah has to come in and remind me that light bulbs and such actually DO get weird around her. Jeez.

                    2. Well, of course! That’s how you do a Shaggy Dog Story. A long, elaborate buildup to an awful pun.

                      Which is why it’s Carp-worthy. Elevation 63°, azimuth 138°, launch Carp!

                    3. That joke came to me in the shower one morning in about 1997, and the first time I told it was to a friend who’d been in the Army and was well-versed on the Cold War and world affairs.

                      Swear to God, he stared at me for a full thirty seconds before saying, “That’s a joke, right?”‘

                      😀

                  1. I have Carp Launch code Whiskey Alfa Foxtrot X-Ray seven niner Do you concur? If so turn the key on the count of 5 4 3 2…

                  1. We need to get you into a lab and study you. I could see some physicists being willing to pay you for the privilege.

          3. The problem is that what you’re asking is one of those “do we really dare to test it?” questions. They might be poorly maintained. Or they might not. And even if they are poorly maintained, we might get unlucky if they ever get launched.

            Best to exercise caution where they are concerned.

            Now having said that, I’ve seen a lot of “Russia might launch nukes if we let Ukraine have those MiGs!” hysteria. People worrying about that need to be slapped silly.

        1. If I understand it, most of them will fail to explode, and a lot of the ones who do will fail to fly. So, no. Not really. (and these were things I heard 10 years ago, which means probably not propaganda.)

          1. I’m really more concerned that Iran (which Imthink is much closer to having a use than anyone wants to believe) might manage to do their first test in some Russian (or American or European) city, and not admit it in hope of starting WW III.

          2. I’m just going to note the Mao’s nuclear missile test story. Mao wanted to test his new ballistic missile with the a nuclear warhead installed. *Everyone* involved with the test thought they were going to die, from the launch crew, all the way up to the general overseeing the target area.

            The entire test went off without a hitch, and the warhead exploded right where it was supposed to. No one died.

            Every single subsequent test of that missile (without the nuclear warhead installed) was a miserable failure.

            Russia’s nuclear missiles might very well be like that Chinese missile. But the Russians have enough of the things that even if only a teency fraction of them work properly, you’re still looking at a catastrophic loss of life.

      2. Russia went from being a massively inefficient resource-extraction economy, to being a kleptocratic resource-extraction economy. They got more efficient with the boot of Communism off their necks, and enough of the wealth managed to escape the kleptocrat’s clutches that for once the common people got wealthier (for Euro values of “wealthier”).

    4. Even ignoring the whole homicidal maniac hell bent on taking over the neighbors thing– what the ever loving CRUD do you have wrong in your head that you think the proper place of a government is BUILDING CATHEDRALS and paying a bounty for having kids?!

        1. The bounty never works, but I have somewhat fewer objections governments encouraging reproduction than preventing reproduction.

          1. ‘Twas lately DeValera set out in the Dail,
            Said the population of Ireland was beginning to fall;
            And then to prevent it and not let it down,
            To every child born he’d give a half crown.

            I’m a young single man and I’m fed up of life,
            I lately set out in search of a wife,
            I married a widow and we both settled down,
            And I’m doing my best for the blooming half crown.

            ….

            Since the blooming thing started I’m nearly half dead;
            Last night we broke down all the springs in the bed;
            Said, she, “it’s no us, for I’m now sixty three.”
            “Oh bedad then”, says I, “there’s no half crown for me.”

            So all ye young fellows who are about to be wed;
            Check your wife’s age before going to bed;
            Don’t have her to tell you, as mine told me;
            There’s no half a crown from a three score and three.

            — Vincent Boyle

            1. It wasn’t until the final stanza that “The Unfortunate Man” by The Chad Mitchell Trio popped into my head…

  25. If you’re going to talk about cargo cult science, I’m going to throw in the obligatory reference to Richard Feynman’s 1974 commencement address at Caltech. That’s nearly 50 years ago…and the state of science is much worse now than it was then.
    He talks about endeavors that have have the form of science, but lack the substance, about how difficult and demanding it is to avoid fooling yourself, and about the social and institutional pressures to do some form of advocacy instead of science wind up destroying it.

  26. “I have a lot of friends who are scientists, engineers, and people involved in real life “tech”. The real ones, the good ones, really don’t want to govern anyone or anything.”

    I beg to disagree. After 41 years as a Flight Test Engineer, including running the first flight of a new type of aircraft, I really want to govern. The Presidency will be quite satisfactory.

    The difference being that I intend to focus on national security, maintenance of public order, and a court system that enforces contracts honestly. And the promotion of skills and attitudes that help poor people become middle-class. I may be a genius, but I can’t run your life better from 3,000 miles away than you can at first hand.

    (You see, I also studied history. In particular, Naval History. As Nelson said before Tralfalgar, “No captain can go far wrong who lays his ship alongside that of an enemy.”)

    1. First act: determine drag coefficient of each congcritter at Mach 1.3. Needs to be empirical, cfd not accurate enough.

      1. Not all of them. Probably half of them, maybe 60%. And I want to confess them of their crimes, before they face justice.

    2. Can we try using judicial tomatoing for lesser offenders? Yes, it was my idea, but I have a soft spot for bringing back the “humiliation by overripe produce” method of vice limitation.

      1. Do you recall the early scene in Pot o’ Gold where Jimmy Stewart’s character tells some gal “Don’t you throw that tomato at him. *beat* You might miss.” And then the guy he throws the tomato at moves or someone else does and… **SPLAT** and then the movie really begins?

      1. The aliens of “To Serve Man” came to earth and found politicians to be the most bovine of the entire population. they made the perfect base of any protein dish because they were all tasteless.

      2. Like I’ve been saying, robots. Look how quickly the “Trump will start WW3!” crowd turned into rag warhawks, practically overnight. They got new programming. And one day they’ll be back to “Violence never solved anything!” without a second of self-awareness.

        1. I have literally seen people discussing how glad the Ukraine makes them that Biden is in power.

          1. Oh my god. (OMG doesn’t do this justice.) The idiots (brain dead idiots?).

            seen people discussing how glad the Ukraine makes them that Biden is in power.

              1. What Trump would do? What, like keep intimidating Putin into not invading in the first place?

                  1. It’s the Democrats that keep fantasizing about nuking all the White Supremacist Terrorists.

                    Thing is, nukes are city weapons. Not so effective out where houses are half a mile apart, and have storm cellars. As well as gun lockers.
                    ———————————
                    The belief that people around you are speaking in secret codes is a common paranoid delusion.

                  2. I know. My own mother has it. She can’t even bear to listen to an argument in Trump’s defense (to my very recent frustration).

  27. On the subject of anyone being insane enough to put me in office:

    “You would find me unsuitable, for my first official act would be to have you all crucified.”

            1. The tech doesn’t make them evil; the tech makes them more efficiently evil. There’s a reason scalability is not an unmixed blessing.

      1. Depends on the guards you hire. There might be some who would think to bring hearing protection and Vicks to the job site ahead of time, to make the work less unpleasant.

        Of course, there’s always firing squad. But with the price of ammo vs. the price of lumber these days… Eh. Firing squad probably still has the edge. Need burn pits for the bodies, though, probably. That many dead would be a health hazard otherwise, and trying to shuffle them off to be embalmed and buried would quickly lead to traffic jams in Northern Virginia. Which would then lead to rotting corpses in the sun. Not a good thing.

        Perhaps I’m overthinking this a bit much, though. Writer brain goes weird places, y’know?

        1. Speaking of firing squads, I was saddened to read earlier that Mario Teran, the Bolivian soldier who’d executed Che Guevara, has passed away at age 80.

  28. From Chicago:

    “LMAO – if you’re dumb enough to slap a man in the head when you KNOW he’s carrying a bang stick, you’re dumb enough to collect your Darwin award.”

  29. “…the US can’t be separate states or even regions, because we are one polity…”
    I think you’re wrong there. I think I’ve read that you’ve lived in the South, but the rural South is still very much about ‘my county’, ‘my section of the state/geographic area’, etc. Ozarkians (is that a term?), Appalachians, in my case people who live on the Pennyrile Plateau and/or Highland Rim, we tend to identify strongly with our area. I’m not sure, but I think the same is true in parts of the West. I know Floridians split that way.

  30. Speaking of cargo cults….. Jesus take me now……

    https://www.dezeen.com/2022/03/03/vulva-spaceship-design-aims-to-counter-prevalence-of-phalluses/

    “A German feminist art group has revealed a vulva-shaped spaceship concept, which it is encouraging the European Space Agency to help realise in order to better represent humanity in space and “restore gender equality to the cosmos.”

    The group Wer Braucht Feminismus? (WBF?), which translates to “Who Needs Feminism?”, created the Vulva Spaceship concept to challenge the convention of phallic spacecraft design.”

    1. I’d say somebody was making a sick joke, but I know better, that Western Civilization has become a sick joke. No place else appears to be doing all that great either, though. Bodes ill for humanity.

      1. I’m convinced that Jeff Bezos directed his engineers to make his rocket especially phallic as a giant troll to everyone making snarky comments about billionaires and their dick-waving contests.

        1. They ladies need to never see Flesh Gordon.
          I mortified my college roommates when they dragged me to see the X-rated version and I kept saying, “That spaceship looks just like a big sausage!” (Or a tube of toothpaste. I spent a lot of time looking at the floor)

          1. I’ve GOT the R-rated version of Flesh Gordon on LaserDisk — the old 12″ kind. Also got Barbarella.

            “A monster’s work is never done.”

      1. I’ve got Barbarella, the only Jane Fonda movie I will willingly watch. (Responding to Imaginos).

    2. IIRC one of the comments in the article I read about that…ummm…*thing* had to do with re-entry…

      1. Yeah, that’s…

        The only thing I can think of is that they’re looking for undisciplined terror troops.

        What a mess this has turned out to be.

        1. Like they used the far eastern Mongol-ish troops in WWII against the Germans and Austrians. (I had an Austrian German professor who had some interesting stories about Soviet Mongols meeting the modern world.) That will end well. [NOT]

          1. Does not disprove the hypothesis that Putin is a) a thug b) has effectively suffered a serious cognitive decline.

  31. One of the things that makes writing fiction (and science fiction) “fun” is describing things to people.

    So, I got into one of those discussions and it was about the structure of the Dawn Empire, post-(CLASSIFIED). One of the points that I stated was “if the Empress actually has to do something, things have gotten very, very pear-shaped and uncomfortable, without lube.” The Empire tries everything possible to avoid feature creep and mission creep in it’s governance-you might say that they’re very OCD about not being OCD.

    I stated this because there is No Possible Way for one person or a small group of people-call them nobles, call them technocrats, call them what you will-to run the Empire with anything approaching positive control, and say they’re doing it with a straight face. So, remove the temptation, but have the tools needed for when that whole pear-shape thing happens, you get the problem solved…and put everything back the way it was before you needed to break out the tool set.

    (It also lets the Empress troll Philosophy students that come to the North Palace Park and debate each other.)

  32. I voted for Bush 2 to my eternal shame. I had no idea I was being duped. Voted for Romney and McCain while chugging the Kool Aide. Only vote I don’t regret is Reagan in 84. I missed voting for Dole ironically because of life problems. He might have been OK as a person. I’m worried he was proto-cypto uniparty maybe without even knowing it himself.

    1. Oh, hell. No shame. I also voted for Bush 2 the second time, then Romney and McCain. My brother might not have seen the difference, but their opponents were worse.
      Fist bump of solidarity. We postponed the evil hour a decade of so.

    2. Ditto. Voted for both Bush I and II, as well as Romney, and McCain. While not during primary stages (although by the time our state has their primary, they were “in”), but definitely in November. As Sarah said, the alternatives were, as demonstrated, much worse. Heck I voted for Trump, the first time, because the alternative was so much worse. Second time, he’d proven himself, and the alternative was even worse than the last one (as he keeps proving, over, and over, and over, again).

  33. OT, but talk about climate change: yesterday afternoon, partly cloudy and 70. This morning, looking out at a few lazy snowflakes and a couple of inches of snow. Gonna be a lot of unhappy flowering trees around here.

    1. We went from 80F to 14F with a windchill of “Oh Lord it’s c-c-c-c-cold!” And 2+” of snow yesterday. Supposed to be 65 today. Ah, spring.

  34. Ah, Harry Brown! Probably the last of the sane “real-world” libertarians, Brown adroitly walked the tightrope between anarchy and government, revealing along the way that the two were often indistinguishable. “How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World” is a classic of independent thought and should be required reading for anyone who claims to be libertarian or conservative. Sadly, I can’t recall the last time Brown was even mentioned in conservative discussion, though mangled quotes show up from time to time.
    Apropos of nothing, More Dyce Dare books, please.

    1. >> “Apropos of nothing, More Dyce Dare books, please.”

      Wouldn’t mind seeing more of Witch’s Daughter myself; it seems like Mike and Al have been stuck on that magic path for a long time. Is this one of those “hour inside, year outside” things?

  35. I’m a Professional Engineer and Professional Surveyor and I was hot back in the day. I used to work with microcomputers, but quit with the 80286 as it was getting too difficult to keep up. We had to set up the operating system ourselves using 8080 assembler and a debugger to insert the bios. DOS and Windows were set up to make micros more like appliances than computers. Users groups have pretty much gone the way of the dodo. Those were exiting times for us budding Engineers. We had to learn the hard stuff if we were going to have a computer at all.

    Now I do Civil and Land Surveying work and use the software I can buy.

    1. I didn’t start programming until well after having to deal with cards or even teletypes (well one early class but that was for Forestry and I despised it). While *memory management was an early requirement, that went away, for the most part, during my programming working career (’85 – ’16). But interestingly enough, I’ve never gotten into internet or App development. My paying job responsibilities weren’t going anywhere near that and between work, home, scouts, sports, spouse, I sure didn’t have time to pursue it on my own. If I’d had stayed on beyond ’16 retirement, the last job was headed that way, maybe would have gotten into it. Knew enough that when one client insisted they needed web, cell client server access, to be able to warn the one assigned with the project that what they were doing wasn’t going to work (reworking programs to recognize client/server over web/cell access) … but only because I knew there wasn’t going to BE cell access; be it cell phone or even satellite. (I was polite when I said “I warned you”, honest. Besides already given notice.) Now that I’m retired. Nope. Got other things to do.

      I was well aware of the risks of not keeping up with “current” technology. It is just dang hard to do when one has a life and your job duties don’t allow that option on the job.

      * When programming handheld data collection devices that require storage on the device (most programs don’t) memory can still be an issue (were?). Symbol, Intermec, Datalogic …

  36. More proof that Team HarrisBiden actually are on board with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and anything they say and do that is nominally against it is simply for domestic consumption:

    https://nypost.com/2022/03/12/biden-is-letting-putin-run-the-iran-nuclear-talks/

    Yes, they are still using Russia as the means to capitulate to the Mullahs and to facilitating the Mullahs getting nukes and financing to fund their genocidal Jihadist proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas.

  37. LOL; a “well educated witch doctor”!! Years ago, I told our Chief Surgeon that I had thought about getting him a Christmas present. After minimal hemming about how I didn’t need to do that, I dropped the bomb that the planned gift had been feathers and a rattle. He actually started to chase me before realizing that was beneath his dignity…
    Good thing we were moderately good friends…

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