Expect more of ‘this.’

Xu Xianqin, Vice-Minister of Rites, overseeing the imperial civil service exam circa 1587, during the Ming Dynasty. Credit: Public domain.

Like it or not, history shows that taxes and bureaucracy are cornerstones of democracy

Article In Phys.Org by Field Museum of Natural History.

It is actually a reasonable article about a study that on its face makes sense though I believe it to be one that could be easily spun. It is a quantitative analysis of essentially qualitative factors, this is done by assigning numerical scores to identifiable attributes for multiple, ancient civilizations. You can then run analysis from simple to complex and use the scoring to make a point. Having done this sort of thing the problem is that it is very easy to bias the output especially when the results (as they all too often do) come out showing no clear message.

But as I said the basic discussion is not bad and appears balanced but the top level spin put on it by the articles title is spin. And then using images of Imperial Chinese Bureacracy and Festivals seems extremely Propagandistic. While the ancient Chinese Imperial Dynasties varied in many ways and had some good in them more by accident than intent, they were autocratic and ruthless to a one and to a fault.

This is the sort of soft propaganda one gets with things like the Confucius institute A CCP run propaganda arm, the Biden administration is giving free reign in academia to put their thumb on the scales with this sort of authorship, along with the woke fellow travelers who seem to feel that this sort of spin is necessary.

I would not protest this article, even its title so much if I felt that there was a reasonable, rational, balanced, look at the path from the past to now in modern academia especially in the west. The problem is that there are only so many minutes in a day so many moments of attention that can be paid to anything. If this sort of soft propaganda and equivalent takes up mind space, and is not counter balanced by a strong base of what current civilization owes to the West and to Industrial Anglo Sphere then the intent is to create a totally false impression of reality.

The rest of the world was not an empty bowl waiting to be filled from the west, representatives of the west did bad things. But the Christian West was always on an upward path. None of the eastern empires had advanced in any consistent and appreciable way for centuries or millennia and that had nothing to do with resources, everything to do with culture, religion, conquest and autocratic rule, none of that the peoples fault, all geography and circumstance. But pulling down the smallish bit of humanity that managed to break free and start the ball rolling uphill is chillingly evil.

Unspeakable Truths…

Unspeakable Truths about Racial Inequality in America

by Glenn Loury in Quillette

Read it, it says things I cannot and says them better and from a stronger place than I ever could. There is a great tragedy occurring in this country and it is not the one the lying liars pontificate endlessly from their platforms.

CPU’s the Universe and Everything

The image from an interesting article on the ultimate in cloud computing. Hubble image of the asymptotic giant branch star U Camelopardalis. This star, nearing the end of its life, is losing mass as it coughs out shells of gas. Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA and H. Olofsson (Onsala Space Observatory).

Seems like there must have been a mash up of astrophysics/cosmology/cybernetics a couple of weeks ago there have been a series of articles about computers and the universe. One series pointing out that once could conceive of using the AGB stars in their ‘dusting mode’ (above) as a computing engine.

But on the other side there have been a couple of articles that touch on the metaphysical (philosophical basis of reality) concept that we and our universe, are one vast simulation.

…Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom’s philosophical thought experiment that the universe is a computer simulation. If that were true, then fundamental physical laws should reveal that the universe consists of individual chunks of space-time, like pixels in a video game. “If we live in a simulation, our world has to be discrete,”….

From: New machine learning theory raises questions about nature of science

….a discrete field theory, which views the universe as composed of individual bits and differs from the theories that people normally create. While scientists typically devise overarching concepts of how the physical world behaves, computers just assemble a collection of data points…..

From: New machine learning theory raises questions about nature of science

…A novel computer algorithm, or set of rules, that accurately predicts the orbits of planets in the solar system….

… devised by a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), applies machine learning, the form of artificial intelligence (AI) that learns from experience, to develop the predictions.

Qin (pronounced Chin) created a computer program into which he fed data from past observations of the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and the dwarf planet Ceres. This program, along with an additional program known as a ‘serving algorithm,’ then made accurate predictions of the orbits of other planets in the solar system without using Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation. “Essentially, I bypassed all the fundamental ingredients of physics. I go directly from data to data,” Qin said. “There is no law of physics in the middle…

…”Usually in physics, you make observations, create a theory based on those observations, and then use that theory to predict new observations,” said PPPL physicist Hong Qin, author of a paper detailing the concept in Scientific Reports. “What I’m doing is replacing this process with a type of black box that can produce accurate predictions without using a traditional theory or law.”…

From: New machine learning theory raises questions about nature of science

Ok so now I am going to go a bit sideways and you may want to just go on about your internet day. But while I laude Qin and his team I have a bit of an issue with what he claims re the basis is Philosophy. Not the claim that the discrete field theory sparked his concept exploration. But that the actual system he developed has anything to say about that metaphysical theory.

Taking nothing away from the team what I see seems like a straightforward application of machine learning. In fact a relatively simple one though I would laude the whole idea of applying it to physics in general. A very interesting though, like many interesting insights, oddly obvious is retrospect. (Sorry for the repeated Though clauses…I absolutely see this as fascinating insight…and possibly extremely important…it just seems like D’oh in retrospect.)

As physics is very much aligned with mathematics (I think because the discovery of each was feedback on the other) and mathematics and cybernetics are also deeply intwined it should come as no surprise that computer systems designed to create black box solutions, when fed the right kind of data, will create a black box model of physical phenomena.

The output of science are tools that allow us to predict finite things about the universe we live in, repeatably and accurately. These tools are often used by engineers to enable technologyy that make life better for everyone.

But in many ways this is an engineers (relatively narrow) viewpoint. To some large degree an engineer does not care why the tool works, only that it does and how accurately. Counter to that, a strength of the theory based + mathematical model approach is that it gives you a tool to link the rest of reality to the ‘discrete’ piece you are working on right now. A jumping off point or a linking point to other theories that allows us to move onto other problems and link the

And/But (you knew it was coming) i wonder if this has anything to do with discrete field theory per se. Maybe if the learning algorithm used had that in it this would show something of that nature, but otherwise I do not see this as showing anything in particular other than the ability of learning systems which are in some sense continuous not discrete systems to develop predictive models directly from the data (as Qin says) rather than through the labor intensive methods of theory extraction and proof that has been the basis for scientific exploration since it first evolved in the Middle Ages.

Again BUT, it has been getting harder to develop these ‘deep’ theories. Look at the colliders and other tools that physicists use these days to probe the depths of our reality. In this world there are many things, like Qin’s next test with Nuclear Fusion, where an engineering model might be much more valuable than a ‘theory of this’ if it can be captured and used in a fraction of the time.

It’s all good, fascinating, wonderful…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Of ratchets and slopes, slippery or otherwise

Crossbow and the crank/ratchet for cocking it medieval period, WikiCommons

As commented on before I pay attention to Scott Adams of Dilbert fame as an interesting thinker with a fairly well defined but undefinable political gestalt. Uber liberal realist Trump supporter is maybe the best description.

One of his mantra’s is that Slippery Slopes are Not a Thing.

The following is my interpretation of his position.

A point of view/policy item with a broad ‘option space’ and supporters on both ends, say like gun control, will slide in a direction that is acceptable to the general polity (something like the Overton Window) until some point it will no longer be acceptable. Those who wish to push the policy towards one end or the other will eventually meet resistance and be unable to move the policy further ‘their way’ until some change occurs. That change may move the policy ‘back’ or ‘forward’ but it is acceptability that controls. This says that the idea of a ‘slippery slope ‘with its imagery of reaching a point where you lose control and slide to some end point it false on its face.

Having thought about this I agree with the premise in a general sense.

Two, I think important, quibbles:

1) That in a highly emotional and very dynamic situation such as one might have in the ancient Demos of Greece, or say a Constitutional Congress, a French State Committee…, the slippery slope appears to me to be a real threat. The whole of the polity is in the fight as it were and there is no stable base of opinion to dampen high flights of rhetoric and emotion. In such situations you have a tendency to move to the end state without the intermediary and if this is then enforced on the outside world the results are likely to be calamitous if the topic is one with a high degree of emotional attachment with the broader public. The Demos were tiny isolated city states and they killed a few important people and destroyed themselves but it was in the end fairly evolutionary. The US constitution was very conservative in its basis and while the result was ‘liberal’ it was not that crazy and was in line with most of the populous, plus it was a huge area with a tiny population, where malcontents could often go west if they wanted. The French Revolution was a bloody multi decadal disaster because it didn’t have any other damper than time and blood….To a large degree I don’t see this as that active other than in a Social Network Today…to some degree it explains some of the crap that goes on in odd corners of the web.

2) More important than 1) is the fact that the ratchet is IMO real. That once a law or regulation is in place it tends to create a new baseline and constituency. If the issue is fairly hot there will be pushback but in general people are for stability and a law or regulation will become entrenched. It only takes time for that to then be the jumping off point for a new effort to extend whatever policy. This may not be very logical on its face but it is a reality and is one of the reasons that any human system tends to atrophy with time. So the party who tends to desire more law and regulation have a tendency to have the edge here and they will turn the crank on the ratchet whenever they get the chance.

While England is not the US in any sense one should look at it as a bit of a case study, though the lack of the 2nd Amendment is a huge factor. A century ago guns were rare more because of their cost than anything else. Then regulation started to build up. Because of no 2A and it was very gradual there was not much push back. Today not only is any kind of firearm in private possession effectively illegal so are any edged/pointed device inclusive of scissors. The ratchet is real…the slippery slope is a thing only in very constrained cases.

We need a Base or our dreams are fantasy shading into terror.

As limited and degraded as man undeniably is, he yet remains “the proof by contraries” of the divine Prototype and of all that this Prototype implies and determines in relation to man. Not to acknowledge what surpasses us and not to wish to surpass ourselves: … is the very definition of Lucifer. The opposite, or rather the primordial … attitude is this: to think only in reference to what surpasses us and to live for the sake of surpassing ourselves; to seek greatness where this is to be found and not on the plane of the individual and his rebellious pettiness. In order to return to true greatness, man must first of all agree to pay the debt of his pettiness and to remain small on the plane where he cannot help being small; the sense of what is objective on the one hand and of the absolute on the other does not go without a certain abnegation, and it is this abnegation precisely that allows us to be completely faithful to our human vocation.

Logic and Transcendence: A New Translation with Selected Letters
© 2009 World Wisdom, Inc. pg 14, The contradiction of Relativism

OK, so I’m addicted to philosophy right now. Directed here by One Cosmos, a autodidactic philosopher and deeply anti-psychological psychologist of the once great state of California.

While some philosophers and metaphysicians can be opaque in the extreme others are as one should expect extremely good writers with depth and clarity that is remarkable. Others are opaque but readable because what you ‘get’ seems true and sensible and the opacity is often in their use of old words, Greek or Latin words to try and de conflict their meaning from the everyday words that have been so poisoned by intentional obfuscation. The above book is of near preternatural clarity type. I have found another writer, Voeglin the type that makes you want to work at it.

Our space science Economy has assets

An artist’s depiction of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft at work at the asteroid Bennu. (Image: © NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe could make a 2nd stop at infamous asteroid Apophis, at Space.com, and noted in several space related blogs, eMags. This sounds like a fantastic use of a remarkable space asset.

The Japanese asteroid prospector Hayabusa2 dropped off its samples from Ryugu at Earth and is on its way for more exploration last year: Farewell, Ryugu! Japan’s Hayabusa2 Probe Leaves Asteroid for Journey Home

These craft and others such as craft like the voyagers continue to return immensely valuable data long after their primary mission is complete. One of the things NASA and other space science organizations struggle with is supporting these ships long after the original funding timeline is past. This is a great problem to have and by and large the money is found since these are very cheap deep space projects in the big picture.

So my title, the economy of ‘outer space’ is all about data, science, prospecting right now. These are valuable assets that we need to support to provide returns orders of magnitude greater than the cost in the sense of other ways of getting that data, data that is both live affirming in its fascination and valuable as part of the bedrock of our understanding of the universe.

Cheers

The Woke Purge is Beginning

From Maggies Farm: The Woke Purge is Beginning in total because it’s short and very clear:

“ Parler being dumped by Amazon Web Services wasn’t the first shot. Gab was in 2018. Gab is still around, though it is private now and subscription only. That may be the future for Parler and others like it which fill a need.

But going private isn’t the only solution, there are other solutions. But private is probably bes. However, being aware and adept at meeting the Progressive/Leftist challenges to free speech is essential. I am particularly fond of The Mises Institute’s approach.

This is a space in which I’m uniquely informed and aware. I’ve been seeing this slowly developing for years, and it’s been a growing concern. I’ve been told for years “oh it will never get that bad” and now it really is that bad. Many said Net Neutrality was necessary because the provider of the pipes would throttle, reduce and limit ability for sites and apps to work. Ironically, the purported supporters of Net Neutrality are the very same businesses who are throttling free speech – you know, the free speech they felt Net Neutrality was required to prevent OTHERS FROM THROTTLING THEM. Except, they will argue, ‘this is different’. It’s not. And Net Neutrality would have given these tech oligarchs more power to do this very kind of thing.

That said, because all this has happened slowly at first, then suddenly (due to the Capitol incident), Hemingway’s description of bankruptcy fits these moves restricting the freedoms on speech very well. When it’s taken, unlike bankruptcy – which is usually noticeable, this is going largely unnoticed and unmentioned. Or, at least, it’s being done in a manner many consider ‘acceptable’. Because the main beneficiaries are the very groups doing damage to free speech – the tech oligopolists. Who know ‘better than you’ about how things should be done, how you should live your life, and what you can or should say.

Don’t get me wrong. Tech in’t bad. Social media isn’t bad. It’s not inherently evil. It is ambivalent to morality. But individuals themselves can be good or bad, and as a result can have overbearing and long-lasting impacts on our realities. I’m sure Gutenberg was not loved by leaders of the day and “War of the Worlds” certainly sent many scurrying to talk of the damage radio can do. TV was described as a “vast wasteland” and Bill Gates felt there was little commercial value to the internet.

What is happening now requires individual awareness and action. It does NOT require fighting or violence. Just intelligence and smart, cordial and meaningful action. The Progessives are just starting, in my view. I don’t believe violence will help solve issues – it will be used to justify positions. But being louder, smarter and more aware will make a difference.Posted by Bulldog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 17:06 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)
. “

Freedom vs Liberty

We talk a lot about freedom but it seems to me that this is a word that has a lost its gravitas in the current era. Maybe the older more difficult word liberty is the one we should use when we talk about fundamentals.

Freedom starts with that word Free, which may have had a noble meaning once but essentially triggers the ‘free stuff’ consumer sales instinct today. Free education, Free care, Free food, Free….whatever it is you think someone should have a right to for whatever reason.

The very word Free has been degraded to a economic term that means ‘worth less’ or worthless. One could see this as intentional neo-marxist thought war. It is certainly one of the reasons that a lot of low info types don’t realize that what they are asking for is has a great cost. Gov’t Free stuff is not free.

The word Liberty still has its gravitas. When you say you have liberty of conscience, liberty of person, liberty of property, liberty of word, liberty of action, you are saying things that seem to have weight and maybe make you and others think.

The US was set up as a nation of individual liberty, the individual sovereign over the government, the state strictly limited in its ability to interfere with the individual.

Giving up Freedom of speech to some seems almost trivial, it was free after all right? But if you are saying the government is effectively limiting your liberty of conscience, word and action, I think even those with a limited understanding of the issue might think again.

My read on the Capital crud storm

So I got a concerned eMail from an aunt in England after the crud storm in DC yesterday. Below is my way longer than she probably wanted explanation of what was going on after pointing out that the ‘broke’ media over reported something while casting the worst possible light on it. Below that is a take on the political posturing that led up to it.

The reality is that 4 years ago the Democratic Party screwed up and did not cheat sufficiently to beat the groundswell of support that carried Trump to the presidency. The apparatchiks who thought they had a lock on the future of the country were horrified.

They started a low level insurgency in the gov’t and in the streets where of municipalities where they had absolute hold. Make no mistake, up until yesterday every place you heard about that was having street protests and really riots and violence were in deeply Democratic centers where the mayors and councils could neuter the police and had already neutered the ability of the people to push back.

This last time the Democratic Party was prepared for the Trump support and overwhelmed it. To my mind it looks like cheating put Biden over the top, but that is hard to prove since it would have been a passively cellular network of cheating in densely populated centers they already controlled. Suppressing Trump votes (which were still huge by historical standards) and expanding their own. Much of the issue both pro and con were changing the rules due to ‘COVID’ and a huge concerted drive by both sides to expand the vote, providing a jungle of confusion regarding the reality.

What is going on now is a knock on to that. The reality is that the laws regarding our national elections (in a republic of very differently governed states) are Byzantine in their complexity. What I think few have realized until this last 2 months is that the system has no real way of dealing with systemic breakdown in voting which is highly state centric. While the ‘news’ says that the thousands of accusations of fraud have been ‘proven’ invalid nothing like that has happened. Except in a few trivial cases nothing has actually reached the point of presenting proof. In every significant case the court has refused to take the case because:1) The protest should have been made before the election, once the election happened the protest is void (even though there was no time before the election to know what was happening.) 2) The person(s) making the protest had no standing because they were not directly harmed. 3) The court did not have jurisdiction and thus even if they took the case could not remedy any fault found. 4) The court did not have any remedy period…which is essentially what the US Supreme Court said when the States protested other States patently fraudulent election results.

The above and Trumps refusal to back down is what triggered yesterday which was very peaceful until an idiot shot an unarmed protestor in the capital building where she in fact had something of a right (as a citizen) to be. It should also be noted that this was a Potemkin affair, the Mayor (deep rabid Democrat) pulled the police and closed things down to enable violent rioting (that did not happen.) Also pulled the police from the capital and the protective services essentially did not push back when the crowds started building up. Then the politicos went into deep political posturing for the cameras thus providing all sorts of wonderful propaganda fodder for the ‘new.’

Should the invasion have happened, no. Did Trump make it possible, yes. Did his opposition PULL the crowds in for propaganda purposes, YES. Did the capital burn down or suffer any significant damage, NO.

What you see is the marxist left pulling the liberal idiots into their grip so that they can start stripping the country of its assets as they have been doing in the UK for the last couple of decades (from my view over the pond.)

An interesting blog piece on the background I discussed above from Mark Tapscott at Instapundit:

“….. the more fundamental question is whether Congress has the authority to set aside a state’s Electoral College votes. In my view, there are two key aspects of the question:

First, is there sufficient evidence of fraud in states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and others to justify the decisions of Republican senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri to register objections to the acceptance of their Electoral College votes? I haven’t had the opportunity to review all of the evidence for all of the allegations, but, as explained, for example, in this
“American Thought Leaders” interview on The Epoch Times with the Data Integrity Group, the evidence of vote manipulation in multiple states is substantial and cries out for a critical investigation.

Second, Congress has an absolute right to set aside the Electoral College votes, according to President Abraham Lincoln, who
told Congress on February 9, 1865, that “the two Houses of Congress, convened under the twelfth article of the Constitution, have complete power to exclude from counting all electoral votes deemed by them to be illegal, and it is not competent for the Executive to defeat or obstruct that power by a veto …”

The
process seen in Wednesday’s Joint Session, interrupted as it was by the riot around and within the Capitol, was conducted as prescribed in the Constitution. Each properly framed and submitted objection to the acceptance of a state’s certified Electoral College votes gets two hours of debate in the Senate and the House, at the end of which members of both chambers vote on whether to accept or reject the objection.

Congress considered objections in 1969 (the “faithless elector” of North Carolina) and 2005 (Democrat objection to awarding Ohio’s votes to President George W. Bush) under this process and rejected the propositions. But Congress could have accepted the objections, which would have left Electoral College votes on the floor.

This reality should not surprise anybody who is familiar with the manner in which the Founders wrote the Constitution as a “legislative supremacy” document. So long as the Senate and House are of one will, Congress has, as Willmoore Kendal and George Carey
wrote, “all of the ultimate weapons in any showdown with either of the other two branches.”

Congress doesn’t like a program or action favored by the President? Congress can defund it. To cite but two examples: Congress doesn’t like how the Supreme Court is ruling? Congress can change the composition of the Court. If Congress has the will, the Founders gave it the power to do pretty much as it pleases so long as it respects the Bill of Rights.

Bottom Line: There is substantial evidence that Congress could have relied upon,
had it chosen to do so, in deciding to exclude the Electoral College votes of any of the challenged states Wednesday and thereby made either Joe Biden or Donald Trump our next Chief Executive.

Had I been a senator or representative Wednesday, I would have voted to uphold the challenges presented for Arizona and Pennsylvania (as well as those planned prior to the riot for Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada), on the basis of the Data Integrity Group’s statistical analysis, not because doing so would have given Trump another four years in office, but because somebody ought to go to jail after pulling off what is likely the biggest election theft in American history.

Either we have honest elections or we don’t.

UPDATE: Thanks to reader CptNerd for
this link to much easier to read version of the full Lincoln quote. I used the Congressional Globe link because the whole page makes interesting, though difficult to decipher in places, reading.”

Nuff said…