Monday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Permission?
  2. LRA and Mr Washington. Related thoughts here.
  3. Uhm, what’s the problem? I don’t get it … that saying is very very old.
  4. Romney and Cain.
  5. Akin to a bank run? Oh, joy.
  6. CLASS. I’d like to hear the rational justification for a long term program being “made solvent” by 5 years of payments prior to payouts.
  7. Broken tenure.
  8. 9 books every geek has read … so what’s missing?
  9. Stimulus and the limits of policy.
  10. Mr Obama following Mr Nixon?
  11. Yikes.
  12. I shouldn’t think so. I can’t imagine even Democrats would vote for him.
  13. Skewering more ingrained notions? The Red Cardinal rehabilitated?
  14. Clever.

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23 comments

  1. Uhm, what’s the problem? I don’t get it … that saying is very very old.

    LOL, really? How does being very very old make it appropriate to say?

    Romney and Cain.

    I think the difference is that Romney cynically changes positions as convenient while Cain is just a sloppy thinker. I’m sure Romney can defend either side of the issue well while Cain doesn’t seem to have thought about it much. It’s funny in a way, because in his confusion he originally articulated what would be the conservative defense of being pro-choice if it were “allowed” by the base — that it shouldn’t be up to the government to decide whether a woman can get an abortion, even if you oppose it personally.

    9 books every geek has read … so what’s missing?

    I’m a geek but I don’t like fantasy! Anyway, geeks should have read at least A Brief History of Time and probably some of Dawkins’s work as well. It’s absurd for a geek to be a theist in this day and age. But maybe that goes back to the fantasy thing. 🙂

    I shouldn’t think so. I can’t imagine even Democrats would vote for him.

    Little chance he’s the nominee, but I’d vote for pretty much anybody who’s not a Republican.

  2. Mark says:

    JA,

    LOL, really? How does being very very old make it appropriate to say

    Really, I don’t see how it is inappropriate. You haven’t helped. And truly, you really don’t/can’t see any difference between noting a well known classic phrase and making a similar original personal phrase.

    Regarding R&C, do you agree or disagree with the writer that the press treatment is different?

    Why Dawkins vs Gould? And D&D wasn’t “about” fantasy, it was about world building and simulation.

  3. Boonton says:

    1.Permission?

    Poor measurements dont really say much about warming, though. Just say a weather station is in a poor location and its equipment is broken and not as reliable as it should be when it comes to taking air temp. Even so if the data measurements indicate a long term warming then then there probably is a warming trend. For any given measurement, your error is essentially random so over many measurements readings that are warmer than true will be balanced by readings that are colder than true.

    Its interesting that there’s more tornados than in the past but fewer reports of tornados touching down and doing actual damage to lives and property…but two variables I’d wonder about here are:

    1. To what degree have people changed in regards to location…have we gotten better at not building in areas that get hit a lot by tornados?

    2. To what degree might we have been overreporting tornado damage in the past? For example, how easy was it decades ago to bring down a big tree near your house and claim a tornado did it while today the insurance companies have radar tracks and investigators who are better and more aggressive about that sort of fraud, hence today tornado damage reports are mostly about tornado damage.

  4. Really, I don’t see how it is inappropriate. You haven’t helped.

    I’m pretty sure it’s never appropriate to use the term “whore” in public. The saying in general also plays into the whole Madonna/whore dichotomy that men have used on women for centuries, too, but you’re probably not interested in the whole feminist critique of such concepts.

    Regarding R&C, do you agree or disagree with the writer that the press treatment is different?

    Reading comprehension, Mark. 🙂 The writer is talking about CONSERVATIVES’ double standard, not the press’s. As for the press, they like narratives. Romney flip-flopping is like Bush saying something stupid. It gets more press than someone else doing it because it feeds the narrative.

    Why Dawkins vs Gould?

    We’ve been through this. Gould rationalizes.

    And D&D wasn’t “about” fantasy, it was about world building and simulation.

    I was referring more to Tolkien, but D&D probably appeals to people who like fantasy too.

  5. Mark says:

    JA,

    Romney cynically changes positions as convenient

    I’m curious. How do you distinguish between Romney cynically changing positions and Obama doing so?

  6. Boonton says:

    9.Stimulus and the limits of policy.

    It’s not really a limit. You’re going down the highway at 40 mph, you need to make better time. You apply the gas and speed up to 50mph but there happens to be a strong headwind operating against you so you go back to 45 mph. You’re not at a limit unless the vehicle has no more power to apply against the air. If you haven’t floored the gas yet, then you’re free to push down harder on the gas and get back up to 50 mph.

    An oil price spike may result in dampening stumulus, but unless you’ve tapped out the economy’s spare capacity you haven’t hit anywhere near the limit.

    What are the signs?
    1. Unemployment falling.
    2. Inflation rising
    3. Interest rates rising.

    Nope we are nowhere near the limit and we need to push the stimulus wherever we can find it given the disloyal opposition whose interests are in a weak economy.

  7. Boonton says:

    How do you distinguish between Romney cynically changing positions and Obama doing so?

    Kind of like how you distinguish between taking a shot of vodka and drinking a whole bottle. If you are still unsure, try both and see if its still hard to distinguish.

  8. How do you distinguish between Romney cynically changing positions and Obama doing so?

    As Boonton alluded to, it’s quantity rather than quality. All politicians flip-flop, but some do it much more than others. Romney does it more often and on bigger issues: abortion, TARP, the stimulus, health care reform, etc.

  9. Mark says:

    JA,

    Reading comprehension, Mark

    Right back at you. And where are those “conservatives” reporting their analysis and criticisms? Hmmm, the press. Odd that.

    I’m pretty sure it’s never appropriate to use the term “whore” in public.

    :rolleyes: That’s! the problem> Whatever.

    Gould rationalizes.

    Bullcrap. You’re cherry picking. Gould wrote a monthly column for more than a few decades … the essays you’d flag as problematic “rationalizes” on are few and far between, i.e., the exception not the rule. Again, is that your criteria. Mr Gould has written one or two essays amongst several hundred that you take exception to and for that you dismiss him?

  10. Mark says:

    JA,

    All politicians flip-flop, but some do it much more than others.

    Yes. Obama does it more than most others too. The question is not about whether politicians flip-flop but by what criteria you tag it with the adjective “cynical” … i.e., why are Romney’s flip flops cynical and not Obama’s.

  11. Right back at you. And where are those “conservatives” reporting their analysis and criticisms? Hmmm, the press. Odd that.

    Okaaaay.

    Bullcrap. You’re cherry picking. Gould wrote a monthly column for more than a few decades … the essays you’d flag as problematic “rationalizes” on are few and far between, i.e., the exception not the rule. Again, is that your criteria. Mr Gould has written one or two essays amongst several hundred that you take exception to and for that you dismiss him?

    I thought we were talking about books.

    Yes. Obama does it more than most others too. The question is not about whether politicians flip-flop but by what criteria you tag it with the adjective “cynical” … i.e., why are Romney’s flip flops cynical and not Obama’s.

    I disagree that Obama does it more than most others, but I’d agree that they are cynical.

  12. Mark says:

    JA,
    Of course that misses the point. Why would any book nominated for a “geek canon” have anything at all with a backwoods irrelevant field like evolution? Nothing either Gould or Dawkins wrote have any sort of scope or relevance what make a geek like the Hofstadter book.

  13. I don’t see how anyone who likes Hofstadter could not like The Selfish Gene. More generally, any geek worth his or her salt should at least have a grounding in cosmology (Hawking) and biology (Dawkins.)

  14. How could a geek possibly consider evolution “backwoods irrelevant??” Only someone who’s on the wrong side of the culture wars could even have that thought.

    It’s like being a programmer and considering basic algorithms ‘backwoods irrelevant.”

  15. Mark says:

    JA,

    How could a geek possibly consider evolution “backwoods irrelevant??”

    Of what possible relevance is the evolution of meat to a geek? What gadgets can you build with evolution? GA algorithms are inspired but particulars of the Cambrian explosion are interesting in what way?

    Again, evolution is a backwater field of biology. You know it. I know it. You just won’t admit it.

  16. Mark says:

    JA,
    Cosmology? Man you dive for the fringe right off.

  17. Of what possible relevance is the evolution of meat to a geek?

    A geek wants to understand stuff. Evolution is the “how” of living stuff.

    What gadgets can you build with evolution? GA algorithms are inspired but particulars of the Cambrian explosion are interesting in what way?

    Maybe the difference between us is that you are thinking like an applied geek and I’m thinking like a theoretical geek.

    Cosmology? Man you dive for the fringe right off.

    Huh?

  18. Mark says:

    JA,

    I thought we were talking about books.

    Aha! I see the problem. You’ve never even read Gould’s books and are basing your criticism on completely external factors. His books are compilations/collections of his columns in the Smithsonian.

    I disagree that Obama does it more than most others, but I’d agree that they are cynical.

    Interesting. So basically “cynical” is a throwaway insult. Essentially are arguing that all politicians flip-flops are (with likely very few exceptions) done to pander votes and therefore cynical. So the adjective is superfluous but added because insulting conservatives is fun.

  19. Mark says:

    JA,

    It’s like being a programmer and considering basic algorithms ‘backwoods irrelevant.”

    Bullcrap. I’ve never used a GA algorithm to solve any real world problems/projects and you haven’t either.

  20. Aha! I see the problem. You’ve never even read Gould’s books and are basing your criticism on completely external factors. His books are compilations/collections of his columns in the Smithsonian.

    I read one back in my teens. The rest is based on writings about his writing.

    Interesting. So basically “cynical” is a throwaway insult. Essentially are arguing that all politicians flip-flops are (with likely very few exceptions) done to pander votes and therefore cynical. So the adjective is superfluous but added because insulting conservatives is fun.

    Huh? I used it not as a random insult but to explain how he was different from Cain. Cain was not originally being cynical, Romney was. Cain is more conservative than Romney and Obama, so basically your point is wrong.

    Bullcrap. I’ve never used a GA algorithm to solve any real world problems/projects and you haven’t either.

    Never said otherwise, although to be fair I have used some AI techniques that are GA-like. (Machine learning.)

  21. Mark says:

    JA,

    I read one back in my teens. The rest is based on writings about his writing.

    And do the complaints registered in the “writings about his writings” jibe with your recollection. I’m guessing not.

    Machine learning comes in a lot of variants. GA algorithms are unusual in the genre as compared to simulated annealing variants and expert systems. What features did you borrow from GA?

  22. Mark says:

    JA,

    A geek wants to understand stuff.

    I agree. A generic geek is scientifically highly literate. Why those two particular science books have any relevance is quite beyond me. Hofstadter’s book for example isn’t “about” any single topic, instead it (using its own words) “braids” music, mind, math and ideas in an interesting way punctuated by his inventive and frankly quite surprising Achilles/Tortoise dialogs.

    Take your example of cosmology (or evolution). The core of physics is mechanics, e&m, optics, and quantum mechanics. A geek should have basic knowledge of these. None of that you get reading popular scientific accounts of cosmology. Similarly for Dawkins, a geek will know about mitosis/meiosis, dna-rna, osmosis, cellular transport, other cellular technologies (atp/energetics) and so on. Why one particular popular science account of evolution is important is again, not clear.

    Here’s the problem with the Hawking book … I would think a geek would already know all of that stuff from schooling. He’s not the audience for the popular science fare. It’s like the response to the old Apple slogan “A computer for the rest of us” to which the stock response is/was “sorry, I’m ‘one of them'” pointing out the geek is not the “rest of us” for whom computer tech needs to be dumbed down and simplified.

  23. I like to know both how things work and how they came about.

    Also, A Selfish Gene in particular goes along well with Hofstadter because of the whole idea of memetics.