Wednesday, June 14, 2017


"We are all part of the equilibrium."--Bob Tollison

MS-13, a group that was started by Central American immigrants in Los Angeles in the 1980s, is known for its ruthless and violent tactics. Most of the founding members were from El Salvador and fled to the U.S. during the country’s civil war that lasted 12 years, from 1980-92. Since then the gang’s membership has increased to at least 10,000 members in the United States and more than 30,000 worldwide, according to the FBI and Treasury Department.
The AG implied the U.S. may classify them a terrorist organization. Government always expands itself or its definitions.

On ignorance: "The classical argument for tol­erance formulated by John Milton and John Locke and restated by John Stuart Mill and Walter Bagehot rests, of course, on the recog­nition of this ignorance of ours. It is a special application of general considerations to which a nonrationalist insight into the working of our mind opens the doors. We shall find throughout this book that, though we are usually not aware of it, all institutions of free­dom are adaptations to this funda­mental fact of ignorance, adapted to deal with chances and probabili­ties, not certainty. Certainty we cannot achieve in human affairs, and it is for this reason that, to make the best use of what knowl­edge we have, we must adhere to rules which experience has shown to serve best on the whole, though we do not know what will be the consequences of obeying them in the particular instance."--Hayek

Quite a brilliant observation by Otham: Our concern with the advantages of the butcher, the brewer, and the baker is not the love of our neighbors.  Exchange does not require such love.  Commerce, however, is impossible when I am indifferent to the concerns of my trading partner.  In a more aristocratic age, tradespeople were an object of scorn precisely because of the servility that the market imposed on them.  Gentlemen possessed the luxury of satisfying their needs while maintaining indifference to others.  The tradesman, in contrast, could not afford hauteur because he was dependent on the satisfaction of others’ interests for the gratification of his own needs.

Blaine Amendments are named for the Republican Speaker of the House and 1884 presidential nominee James G. Blaine. Protestants resented Catholic immigrants founding parochial schools that taught Catholicism as forthrightly as public schools taught Protestantism with prayers, hymn singing and readings from the King James version of the Bible. Each public school was, in Horace Mann's approving words, a "nursery of piety" — Protestant piety. Hoping that anti-Catholicism would propel him into the presidency, in 1875 Blaine unsuccessfully proposed amending the U.S. Constitution to stipulate that no public money could go to schools "under the control of any religious sect." But 37 states put versions of his amendment into their constitutions, and Congress required its inclusion in the constitutions of states entering the union. Blaine was Secretary of State and ran against Cleveland for the Presidency in the unfortunately famous "Ma, Ma, Where's my Pa, Gone to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha," / “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion” election.

Whispers of historical wisdom: The stability of a system may be undermined by attempts to stabilize its elements.
Who are....­the Parthians?

Anyone who experienced or read of the price controls of the 1970s would, of course, be opposed to such vanity of government but memory is short.  From Bordeaux (with apologies to those of you who worship turtles): "people continue to believe the myth that the state makes goods and services less valuable by holding prices down by diktat, and that the state makes other goods and services more valuable by pushing prices and wages up by diktat.  Such beliefs about price ceilings and price floors are no more credible than is a belief that the universe was created 4,000 years ago or that the earth sits stationary atop a tower of turtles.

The professor of a class called Global Politics of Human Rights at Arizona State decided to offer her students the option of staging a mass Trump protest in lieu of taking their final exam.

This is good news from the WashPo: President Trump called to congratulate Turkish President ­Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a referendum greatly expanding his powers, despite a more circumspect State Department response to Sunday’s vote, which international election observers declared unfair.

Apple is reportedly building three new iPhones, though the one with the most new features might not launch until a couple of months after the others.

The surface area of Great Britain is 93,628 mi².  Madagascar's surface area is 226,658 mi². That tiny Great Britain certainly was influential. Probably white privilege.

Golden oldie:
A recent NYT editorial summarized their objections to the current Republican agenda and opined that their philosophy was responsible for the...

Salty diet makes you hungry, not thirsty. Science Daily reports: "In a study carried out during a simulated mission to Mars, an international group of scientists has found exactly the opposite to be true. 'Cosmonauts' who ate more salt retained more water, "weren't as thirsty and needed more energy." So if you don't want to gain weight on your trip to Mars, don't eat salty chips. If you don't want to gain weight at home, maybe you should stay away from them as well.
Probably disinformation.


According to the WSJ, the Navy said it didn’t send one of its aircraft carriers directly toward North Korea amid growing tensions with Pyongyang, despite representations by President Trump and his top defense advisers that it was on its way.
Bluffing and intimidation are reasonable tactics in the world--but not if your opponent is nuts.

An interesting idea from Loasby: Since each organisation embodies a particular cluster of ideas, we might derive from [Karl] Popper’s advice to let our ideas die instead of ourselves the recommendation to let organisations die, as an aid to the growth of knowledge.
"let our ideas die instead of ourselves....."

One of the clear problems--one apparently not understood by the last two administrations--is that failure in the marketplace is often a sign of success of the market if not the individual business. So a failure in the market is not necessarily a failure of the market.

In studies of simulated patient emergencies, doctors and nurses working in the neonatal intensive care unit were less effective in teamwork and communication, and in their diagnostic and technical skills, after an actor, playing a parent, made a rude remark about the quality of the hospital.

Theodore Dreiser wrote his book Sister Carrie in an eight-month stretch in 1899-1900. His wife and his friend, fellow journalist Arthur Henry, helped him eliminate or soften some of the material that, it was felt, would make the book too distasteful for prospective publishers. The first one approached, Harper and Brothers, still found the writing "neither firm enough nor sufficiently delicate to depict without offense to the reader the continued illicit relations of the heroine." Dreiser was twenty-eight and Sister Carrie was his first book: he cut 40,000 words and made more changes -- including a new ending. When a second publisher, Doubleday, Page and Company was approached, junior partner Walter Page offered a verbal contract for the reworked manuscript, a deal that senior partner Frank Doubleday found highly distasteful but binding. Unable to cancel the deal, Doubleday effectively suppressed the book by refusing to advertise it: only 456 copies were sold, earning Dreiser $68.40 and triggering a nervous breakdown that kept him from novel writing for a decade. (Though there was perhaps a silver lining: while returning from England in 1912, Dreiser was too poor to afford the Titanic, and sailed a few days earlier on a less expensive boat.) (steve king)

In 56 B.C. Caesar, Crassus and Pompey met in Lucca to patch up their alliance. So high were the stakes that a couple of hundred of senators trooped up there too, plus no doubt the ancient equivalent of the press corps. A deal was made. Pompey and Crassus were to have the consulship in 55 BC, they were to prolong Caesar’s command in Gaul, and after his consulship Crassus was to become governor of Syria and from there to fight against the Parthians.
And so indeed it happened, for a bit. But things went wrong soon after. Crassus went to fight the Parthians in 53 BC but suffered a major defeat at Carrhae, near the Turkish/Syrian border (Crassus’ severed head was said to have been used as a prop in a Parthian performance of Euripides’ Bacchae). And Caesar and Pompey quickly moved further apart, ending up head to head in civil war in 49 BC.
I do not believe the Romans ever defeated the Parthians.

A ripening observation network exists for the accurate timing of harvests in the champagne region.
Twice a week, just as the grapes start to change color (véraison), samples are taken from some 450 control plots spread throughout the Champagne area. The selected clusters are then checked for rate of color change; average weight; estimated sugar and total acidity content; also for any incidence of grey rot.
The results are transmitted the same day via internet, so allowing the Comité Champagne to establish reference values for each parcel of vines, together with mean average values (potential alcohol levels and natural acidity) for each department and grape variety.
A data summary is then notified to the technical officers concerned, starting with the regional heads of the AVC (Association Viticole Champenoise). This enables them to attend the pre-harvest meeting with a very clear idea of when picking should start in their respective communes.   
It is the pulp that contains the organoleptic compounds and elements required for effervescence (sugar, acidity, etc); and only pulp alone can deliver the desired clear, pale juice, bearing in mind that 3/4 of Champagne wines are made from black grapes. Pulp extraction is specifically designed to avoid coloring or staining the musts when pressing black-skinned grapes.
Pickers have roughly a three-week window in which to work – beyond that point the grapes will be past their best. Just to complicate matters, all Champagne grapes reach their peak of ripeness at about the same time.
Some 120,000 pickers work in teams (‘hordons’ in French) of four per hectare, of which nearly 100,000 are given bed and board by the Winegrowers and Champagne Houses.

AAAaaaaannnnnddddd......a bar graph:

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