Wednesday, July 12, 2017


The tricky thing about separating church and state is that the state is a kind of church.--Richman

Hegel's dialectic described a historical conflict of inescapably interconnected ideas passes through progressive stages of perfection until the historical process reaches its end. “History” ends as the evolution of ideas to Pure Perfection. Marx and his friend and longtime collaborator, Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) accepted without reservation Hegel’s formulation of the dialectical process. What they rejected was that it was a dialectical process of ideas. Rather than ideas determining actions, beliefs, and modes of life, they argued it was the modes of production and the material conditions of life that determine ideas, beliefs, and thoughts.

Across ethnicities and economic status, girls outperform boys on English in standardized tests. More than half of black boys scored in the lowest category on the English portion of the test, trailing their female counterparts. The gap spans all grade levels. Boys in high school score better than those in grade school, but girls outperform them by consistent margins at every age. And a higher family income does not appear to even things out.
In international reading comprehension exams, girls best boys in nearly every country and at nearly every age. In cultures as varied as Finland’s and Japan’s, girls still score better on standardized tests.
(On average, Black students in the twelfth grade read at a level comparable to eighth grade Whites.)

Bastiat in his writings raised the question of income inequality and asks if conflict is necessarily inevitable. Is there a distinction between income and wealth differences brought about by what today are called ‘predatory’ institutions and processes from those income and wealth differences brought about by market institutions and processes? Do both necessarily breed conflict? "Social war is spoken of as being as natural and inevitable, which is bound to be brought on by the alleged radical hostility between the people and the bourgeoisie and which is similar to the strife that in all countries has brought the aristocracy and democracy to blows.  But, once again, is the comparison accurate?  Can one assimilate wealth obtained by force to that acquired through work?  And if the people consider any rise in status, even the natural rise generated by industry, thrift and the exercise of every virtue to be an obstacle to be overturned, what motive, stimulus or raison d’ĂȘtre will there be left to human activity and foresight?"
The last sentence is worth thinking about:And if the people consider any rise in status, even the natural rise generated by industry, thrift and the exercise of every virtue to be an obstacle to be overturned, what motive, stimulus or raison d’ĂȘtre will there be left to human activity and foresight?"

Bones found in a cave at Jebel Irhoud in Morocco appear to add 100,000 years to the history of modern human fossils.
In the late 1960s, Richard Leakey and his fellow paleoanthropologists found Homo sapiens fossils from the Kibish Formation of Ethiopia, dated at the time as 130,000 years old. In 2003, in Herto, Ethiopia, anthropologists said they found older Homo sapiens, about 160,000 years old. Two years later, a reanalysis of the Kibish specimens added 35,000 years, pushing fossil evidence of Homo sapiens to just under 200,000 years ago.
Jebel Irhoud fossils are roughly 100,000 years older than any previously described modern human bones.

Who is....Nicholas Kristof?

An interesting notion from  Thomas Wilson: The capitalist era for all of its defects has been one of the rare and precious periods in human history when the individual has enjoyed a high degree of liberty and respect.  Freedom of speech and of the press, freedom of worship, freedom from arbitrary arrest – all these privileges have been enjoyed by rich and poor, and have been exercised not least by those critics who held them to be of no account.  As a ruling class, the capitalists have clearly behaved in a very different way from other ruling classes, such as the Nazis in Germany or the Communists in Russia.  The capitalists, indeed, have consisted of a large number of scattered individuals who competed with each other and rarely acted as a disciplined group.

Ex-acting CIA Director Mike Morrell:
“On the question of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Russians here, there is smoke, but there is no fire, at all. … There’s no little campfire, there’s no little candle, there’s no spark.”

"In "What Monkeys Can Teach Us About Fairness" (June 4) Nicholas Kristof recounts what happens when human experimenters arbitrarily give some monkeys cucumber slices while giving other monkeys more highly prized grapes.  When the monkeys receiving the cucumbers see other monkeys getting grapes, they react with disgust.  From this experiment Mr. Kristof correctly concludes that monkeys care about fairness.  But Mr. Kristof then draws a further conclusion, namely, that the monkeys’ disgust is sparked by the ‘income’ differences.  This latter conclusion is unjustified. What is unfair about this distribution of cucumbers and grapes is that it is completely arbitrary.  It’s connected in no way to any differences in effort or contribution on the part of the monkeys." (Bordeaux)
So the author believes that income differences are arbitrarily created?

"...there are at least two principled ways to defend Trump’s decision to exit Paris. First is the weak scientific case that links global warming and other planetary maladies to increases in carbon dioxide levels. There are simply too many other forces that can account for shifts in temperature and the various environmental calamities that befall the world. Second, the economic impulses underlying the Paris Accords entail a massive financial commitment, including huge government subsidies for wind and solar energy, which have yet to prove themselves viable."--Epstein
Epstein argues that these points are simple and reasonable and should be stated by Trump straightforwardly. His failure to do so is a failure in leadership. "By failing to state a case for his policy, the President has disarmed his allies." One motive I have never heard is that Trump simply thinks it is a bad economic deal for the U.S..

Golden oldie:

From all indications, someone or some group is killing scientist associated with the Iranian nuclear program. At least four have been murd...

Tumor Biology's former publisher, Springer, announced the journal was retracting 107 papers all at once, after finding that the peer-review process had been compromised. More, the journal’s editorial board, as published online, contains the names of several scientists who say they have no relationship whatsoever with the journal—including German Nobel laureate Harald zur Hausen. Until a few months ago, the board’s membership list even included a researcher who passed away in 2013.

"China's government said it would raise coal power capacity by as much as 20% by 2020, ensuring a continuing strong role for the commodity in the country's energy sector despite a pledge to bring down pollution levels. In a new five-year plan for electricity ... the National Energy Administration said it would raise coal-fired power capacity from around 900 gigawatts last year to as high as 1,100 gigawatts by 2020." (wsj)

This unfortunate Winners girl who was arrested for a gov't leak has a very obvious profile on the internet. This is a sample: @kanyewest you should make a shirt that says, "being white is terrorism."

Business is always presented as being in opposition to workers when, in fact, both are intertwined. Their interdependence is almost never noted--except with solar energy companies. A number of editorials have appeared criticizing Trump's Paris position for limiting solar company subsidies which will harm solar workers.

It’s worth remembering that anytime someone says that the gap between rich and poor is increasing, what he usually means is that rich people are getting richer faster than poor people are getting richer – not that any group is becoming worse off overall.--Nye

There is an interesting social phenomenon where at a restaurant someone graciously picks up the check for the entire table and one guest, who thinks the tip inadequate, adds to it. So he appears gracious--indeed more gracious--at a low cost. Many of the editorialist guys--like Keith Olbermann--remind me of that guy.

There is an argument that Trump's withdrawal from the Paris accord was symbolic. Since there were no regulations in the treaty, there was no real enforcement possible and the treaty was, itself, symbolic. Thus Trump struck back symbolically. This is not an unreasonable position and, if true, makes Trump even more of a worry as he seems to be intent upon offending as many people as possible, seemingly unnecessarily. But, if this tempest has any value as it has actually focused discussion on the global warming question, this is the one little fact to remember: Despite the incredible effort the U.S. has made in decreasing its carbon output--Americans  decreased emissions by 2.6 percent in 2015 as the use of coal declined and researchers expect to see a decrease in emissions of 1.7 percent in 2016--with or without Paris, fossil fuels remain the foundation for modern civilization. According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels accounted for 83% of world energy in 2015, down only slightly from 85% in 1990.

An article from the WSJ with this beginning observation,
"The business case for the Paris agreement has nothing to do with climate change. It goes like this: It is better to be part of any confab than outside of it. Like saluting the flag or bowing your head in church, there is no cost to being insincere, but there is a cost to not going along."
And this ending,

"And yet, regardless of Mr. Trump’s Paris decision, only one large national economy has been reporting sizable emissions declines, thanks to fracking. The same economy may soon also be able to take credit for slowing China’s prodigious emissions growth thanks to natural gas exports to displace Chinese coal. That country is the U.S. under the unthinkable monster Donald Trump. Whatever evolution toward a lower-carbon energy system takes place in the future, it will also certainly be driven overwhelmingly by technology and markets, not policy."

A recent survey found that 20 percent of drivers had used a prescription drug in the past two days—mostly sedatives, antidepressants, and painkillers. But according to several surveys, the most common drug used by drivers is marijuana. In the Governors Highway Safety Association report, over one-third of the drugs found were some form of marijuana. The second-largest category was some sort of amphetamines, at 9.3 percent.

In its quest to expand its global reach, Tencent Holdings has quietly become China’s top corporate investor in Silicon Valley, pouring money into everything from electric cars to moonshot ventures such as space tourism and asteroid mining. (wsj)

While Daymond John was building his clothing line FUBU, which would evolve into a $6 billion brand, the entrepreneur was living on the tips he made waiting tables at Red Lobster. "I was working at Red Lobster for five years as a waiter as I was running this business," the Shark Tank star said at the iConic conference in New York City on Wednesday. At first "it was 40 hours at Red Lobster and six hours at FUBU. Then it was 30 hours at Red Lobster and 20 hours at FUBU, because money started to come in." Even after FUBU started to take off, John continued waiting tables. He wouldn't do things any differently if he could, he told the audience on Wednesday: "Don't quit your day job. [...] Let's say I was making an average of $40,000 a year," he continued. "After five years, that's $200,000 of salary. I would have had to sell $1 million more worth of FUBU product to bring home the $200,000, but I didn't have to do that. I just had to sacrifice time."
And he would not have to sell that extra portion of his company for financing.

AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaannnnnnddddddd......a bar graph:

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