Saturday, April 30, 2016

Cab Thoughts 4/30/16

I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer. -Douglas Adams, author (11 Mar 1952-2001)

Aubrey McClendon who founded Chesapeake Energy wrote seven-figure checks to groups such as the Sierra Club to run a campaign called “There Is No Such Thing As Clean Coal.”
The objective was to shut down coal production in America. Why? Greens hate coal because of carbon fears, and McClendon was one of the leading producers of natural gas. ‎His motive was transparent: Kill coal so that power had to come from natural gas that emits fewer greenhouse gases. He gets rich while helping save the world. Fracking and horizontal drilling exploded the supplies of oil and natural gas, and gas prices fell from $13 to $3 per million Btu. Natgas was no longer just a “bridge fuel” but the energy source of the 21st century.
So the greens then aimed their campaign against fracking and natural gas. They blocked pipelines and drilling, claimed fracking emits more methane into the environment and had President Obama pass new EPA regulations to cripple McClendon’s industry.
Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, announced that his group would no longer take McClendon’s money and would now wage war against natural gas.
The supporter was the "bridge" to his own destruction.

A study by Broda and Romalis show that the prices of the items in the market basket that low-income families buy have increased less than the prices of the items in the basket that high-income families buy. It shows that the increase in income inequality in the United States has been dramatically overstated and, in fact, that income inequality might have fallen between 1994 and 2005. Second, one reason prices rose less for low-income people is that they were buying goods from China.
The debate over the current administration's use of "administrative lawmaking"--something that is clearly an oxymoron that every citizen should recognize and oppose--has brought forward an analogy, admittedly oversized but true nonetheless, from old, The Star Chamber. Star Chamber regulations offered yet another avenue for extralegal legislation, and they therefore became one of the reasons for the court’s demise.  Of course, some of these regulations were valuable. Coming, however, from an unrepresentative body that exercised power outside the law, they seemed both heavy handed and incompatible with liberty.  As Parliament explained when it abolished the Star Chamber in 1641, the “decrees of that court” had been “found to be an intolerable burden to the subjects and the means to introduce an arbitrary power and government.” 
Who is..... Sergio Ricossa?
“A bureaucratic organization is an organization that cannot correct its behavior by learning from its errors.”--Michel Crozier concluding his study of French bureaucracy . Sounds like a definition of "stupid."

Barack Obama has sharply criticized David Cameron for the UK’s role in allowing Libya to become a “shit show” after the fall of the dictator Muammar Gaddafi, in an unprecedented attack on a British leader by a serving US President.  Mr Obama said that following a successful military intervention to aid rebels during the 2011 Arab Spring revolt, Libya was left to spiral out of control – due largely to the inaction of America’s European allies. In a candid US magazine interview, Mr Obama said: “When I go back and I ask myself what went wrong… there’s room for criticism, because I had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up.” Unprecedented--pun intended. Just a groundbreaker--as in "harrowing."

How are things? Security-wise, I mean. If Mrs. Clinton is casual about her server security, does it mean much? Here is a list of recent important public breaches:
1. The September 2007 successful hacking of the DHS and DOD networks.
2. The October 2007 hacking of more 1,000 computers at the Oak Ridge National Labs
3. The January 2008 hacking and theft of information from the CIA that involved at least four different incidents
4. The high-profile reporting in March 2008 by U.S. government officials that American, European and Japanese companies were experiencing unprecedented industrial cyber-espionage resulting in the theft of intellectual property worth billions of dollars.
5. The summer 2008 hacking and downloading of the data bases of both the Republican and the Democratic presidential campaigns by foreign intruders.
6. The November 2008 hacking of classified networks at DOD and Centcom by foreign intruders.
You would think a conscientious politician would be careful.

Most human rights experts agree that the worst abuses of Haitian children involve young people called retavecs, or poor children who work as house servants for urban families. Their parents hope that host families will feed and educate their children, but some hosts physically and sexually abuse the resavecs. Experts estimate that 300,000 Haitian children are living as slaves. There seems to be a lot of bitterness in the West over the history of slavery but relative quiet regarding the present existence of it.

The individual and the State are always involved in a tug-of-war. Property rights are at the rope's center. This is a nice summary of the anti-state argument from Herbert’s June 7th, 1906, lecture at Oxford University, “Mr. Spencer and the Great Machine”: Our task is to make it clear to the whole nation that a great principle, that which involves the free use of faculties, the independence of every life, the self-guidance and self-ownership, the very manhood of all of us, that commands and constrains us to preserve the inviolability of property for all its owners, whoever they may be.  The inviolability of property is not simply the material interest of one class that happens today to possess it; it is the supreme interest of all classes.  True material prosperity can only be won by the great body of the nation through the widest measure of liberty – not the half and half, not the mock system, that exists at present. Create the largest and most generous system of liberty, create – as you will do with it – the vital energizing spirit of liberty, and in a few short years the working classes could cease to be the propertyless class; would become with their great natural qualities the largest property owners in the country.

Golden oldie:

In 1996, after three hours, world chess champion Garry Kasparov lost the first game of a six-game match against Deep Blue, an IBM computer capable of evaluating 200 million moves per second. Kasparov had previously defeated Deep Thought, the prototype for Deep Blue developed by IBM researchers in 1989, but he and other chess grandmasters had, on occasion, lost to computers in games that lasted an hour or less. In 1997, a rematch took place between Kasparov and an enhanced Deep Blue. Kasparov won the first game, the computer the second, with the next three games a draw. On May 11, 1997, Deep Blue came out on top with a surprising sixth game win–and the $700,000 match prize.
In 2003, Kasparov battled another computer program, “Deep Junior.” The match ended in a tie. Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005.
Kasparov was born in 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan. He became the Soviet Union’s junior chess champion at age 13 and in 1985, at age 22, the youngest world champ ever when he beat legendary Soviet player Anatoly Karpov. He was and is considered by many to be the greatest chess player in the history of the game. That includes Fischer.

The Beatles went to director Stanley Kubrick and pitched him to do Lord of the Rings with them. "It was something John was driving and J.R.R. Tolkien still had the film rights at that stage, but he didn't like the idea of the Beatles doing it. So he killed it," said Jackson.

Argument over NAFTA and free trade is likely coming with Trump's ascendency. It will be interesting, especially since NAFTA was done under Bill Clinton's presidency and Hillary will probably have to defend the concept because, like her candidacy, it is probably familial. Or venereal. Or something.
The economist Sergio Ricossa has died at age 88, after a long illness. This is a comment on his philosophy: Marx was horrified by seeing that "every person speculates on creating a new need in another... The increase in the quantity of objects is therefore accompanied by an extension of the realm of the alien powers to which man is subjected, and every new product represents a new potentiality of mutual swindling and mutual plundering". What "perfectionists" (so Ricossa called them), either from the left or from the right, cannot stand is precisely innovators multiplying goods and services available for all individuals, and people autonomously deciding if they like it or not. The "seigneurial mentality" finds economic change vulgar, and consumers irrational. "Imperfectionists", on the other hand, are happy to have the common people give it a go.
Ricossa identifies a "seigneurial mindset" that considers market relationships as essentially debased and ill-mannered. For Ricossa, this mindset goes hand-in-hand with a hubristic attitude that considers the rise of an immutable order free of change (and exchange) as desirable and possible. The seigneurial mindset considers "the pursuit of utility" in striking contrast to "the quest for the true and righteous" and sees profit-seeking as inherently corrupt. 

Historians of the future, when they look back on our times, may be completely baffled when trying to understand how Western civilization welcomed vast numbers of people hostile to the fundamental values of Western civilization, people who had been taught that they have a right to kill those who do not share their beliefs.--Sowell
Documents from the United States Department of the Army reveal that in April 2015, 400 soldiers in the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, were subjected to a “white privilege” briefing, including a PowerPoint presentation instructing the attendees: “Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual …”
“Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans.” It alleged that there are unspecified “powerful forces everywhere” keeping different kinds of people from being valued, accepted, and appreciated, but “we act as if it doesn’t exist.” This alleged privilege creates a “yawning divide” in income, wealth, and dignity. 
The material described a mythical African woman who isn’t aware that she’s black until she comes to America, encounters “white racism” and discovers the U.S. is “organized according to race.”
The writers of the New Left are never specific about what will replace capitalism. Instead, they view it as obvious that tearing down existing institutions will be sufficient to bring about utopia. Because the capitalist system is the source of all evil, once you destroy it, only good will remain.
This approach gives the New Left the ability on offense to attribute every imperfection in society to existing institutions, especially markets. On defense, the New Left itself offers no program with specifics that might be attacked.--Rodger Scruton
Harrow: n: A device consisting of a heavy framework having several disks or teeth in a row, which is dragged across ploughed land to smooth or break up the soil, to remove weeds or cover seeds; a harrow plow. An excruciating verb: To drag a harrow over; to break up with a harrow.
To traumatize or disturb; to frighten or torment.
The headless horseman harrowed Ichabod Crane as he tried to reach the bridge.
To break or tear, as with a harrow; to wound; to lacerate; to torment or distress; to vex.
Feminist Glaciology! The Abstract from a paper titled "A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research:" Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.
And Feminist Physics! “(Baby) Steps Toward Feminist Physics” has appeared written by Barbara L. Whitten, a peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

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