Wednesday assorted links

by on December 14, 2016 at 12:45 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Brett December 14, 2016 at 12:50 pm

7. I think Musk has supported Democrats before this, but it’s probably a good move on his part. There are Senate Republicans (Shelby) who would love to slash Commercial Crew funding, and of course a Republican-dominated congress in general means the continuity of solar power credits and electric car credits are potentially at risk. If Musk could just be the last person Trump talks to before making a space-related decision, then it’s good.

2 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Musk is in a weird position politically. Solar City is a slow-motion robbery of the public till. Tesla is roughly neutral, with subsidies probably helping competitors more than it. SpaceX is public enemy #1 for the traditional space contractors and their government friends.

But Musk and Thiel are old pals, and Gingrich has always been very pro-space and pro-competition in space markets, so the prospects on that front are better than they’ve been in decades.

I suspect Musk is like Werner Von Braun. He’d support Attila the Hun if it got him his Mars colony. PayPal, Solar City, and Tesla are just a means to an end for him.

3 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm

If Trump cares at all about space, and I have no reason to suspect that he really does, the one thing Musk can offer him that NASA can’t is a realistic prospect for a manned Mars mission while he’s still in office.

There’s no way NASA could do that, but Musk could maybe pull it off. And even if he failed, it would cost a small fraction of what NASA would spend while also delivering nothing.

4 A Black Man December 14, 2016 at 2:52 pm

Trump does not strike me as a guy who would go in for a project like a manned mission to Mars, at least not one paid for by tax payers. The best you can expect from him is to greenlight private efforts and help clearing the regulatory for those efforts. IIRC, someone asked him about Mars at a debate and his answer was something like “After we fix the rods we can talk about Mars.”

5 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 3:08 pm

I kind of agree, but he’d do an awful lot of good by keeping the government powers that be out of the way and ensuring fair and open bidding for launch services. And his advisers point in that direction.

The thing is that Musk is credibly offering all this for a much lower price than is feasible via business-as-usual, and Bezos is also out there with similar proposals and credibility. So for once, there are options besides sending dump-trucks of money to Lockheed-Martin.

6 Hazel Meade December 14, 2016 at 3:53 pm

His motto is “Make America Great Again”

There is nothing that would enhance national prestige more than a mission to Mars.

I have no idea what sort of person Trump is, but in addition to the national prestige and the ego boost, the space program does actually fund a shit ton of jobs, and not just for computer scientists – rocket construction employs a lot of welders and metal workers and electricians and technicians.

7 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 4:23 pm

“There is nothing that would enhance national prestige more than a mission to Mars.”

It’s important to note that we are already buying a mission to Mars. We just plan to take several decades and spend hundreds of billions on it. And it will likely never succeed.

Musk is offering something much faster, much cheaper, and much more capable. And there’s reason to believe his offer is credible. Bezos is in a similar position technically, not really focused on Mars, and with more and less credibility on different parts of his plan. Bezos, for example, is not short money.

8 msgkings December 14, 2016 at 4:46 pm

You guys are missing it, all you gotta do to get Trump on board with a Mars mission is say “untapped casino market” 🙂

9 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm

I have fought the urge to suggest the Trump Valles Marineris Resort & Casino. The golf course would need to be heavy on sand traps, but the view would be great.

10 gab December 14, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Golf course on Mars? You could hit it a mile there (or at least half a mile)

11 Jeff R. December 14, 2016 at 5:42 pm


Good one. Don’t forget: your drives and irons will go 30% further on Mars, due to lower gravity and thinner atmosphere. He can build the only 500-yard par 3 in the solar system.

12 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 6:05 pm

The thinner atmosphere actually hurts. Golf balls generate lift – that’s what the dimples are for. However, and I believe this has actually been studied, the lower gravity wins out and drives would go farther on Mars.

Now, if you built your golf course inside on Mars, and pressurized it to one Earth atmosphere, things get more complicated.

However, indoor golf courses on Mars are probably not feasible in the near term. Google shows no matches for that sentence, perhaps not surprisingly.

13 Anonymous December 14, 2016 at 6:08 pm


Also add that “men are from mars…..’ . trump knows which gender he owes his election to.

14 anon December 14, 2016 at 6:28 pm

A bored PHD student once did the math:

> If we assume that velocity of the club head is 55.8 m/sec (125 mph), mass of the golf ball is .0459 kg, and mass of the club head is 0.195 kg, then the initial velocity of the golf ball is 82.7 m/sec (185 mph)…With an initial golf ball velocity of 82.7 m/sec and launch angle of 12 degrees, the distance traveled by a golf ball on Mars would be 748 meters or 818 yards!

The assumptions seem match what really good golfers can do. One thing to note is that the launch angle is what works best on earth, on mars it might make sense to go for a larger angle.

15 Private Obvious December 14, 2016 at 10:13 pm

As a presumed target for supposed boasting of US national prestige, I will point out that US robotic exploration of mars is pretty impressive, but sending people there? Spending more to send things that function worse than robots? That’s the opposite of impressive. It’s really stupid.

Although if the US committed to a crewed mars mission that saved money by not bringing the astronauts back and let volunteers die on the red planet when their supplies ran out, it would not increase my estimation of US national intelligence, but it probably would increase my opinion of how ballsy they are.

16 Lord Action December 15, 2016 at 8:38 am

I’m somewhat unusual in arguing that space science and robot exploration is not worth the money, but that colonization is.

If space is just some collection of cool facts obscure academics can write papers about, then it’s not worth a $20b annual budget. There are more efficient ways of generating scientific papers.

If space is a place where we can go and live and work (and I think that’s becoming increasingly obvious), than all this robot stuff is at best a weak precursor, and at worst a distraction taking money and focus from the real goal.

17 Private Obvious December 15, 2016 at 4:33 pm

Lord Action, it is becoming increasingly difficult for humans to pay for themselves in environments such as a electronics assembly factories where they can breath the air survive the radiation environment without shielding. Human beings are never going to “work” in space or on other bodies of the solar system. At least not in the physics sense where they apply force to move an object, with the exception of emergencies or where human work is heavily subsidized, such as on the international space station.

Robots are the only way humans are going to have the support they need to live off-world, unless putting humans in space is only going to be an extremely expensive make work program / form of population control.

18 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Shares in his company went down quite a lot when the extent of his Mars colonization ambitions were expressed some months ago.

Risk aversion? Or is it unlikely that the globe will allow a private company to be in charge of that, and investors are pretty aware of that.

Now, if he could make and sell some related equipment along the way, fantastic. Obviously, he will have to expect to earn a profit in the process or there will be no money for his projects.

19 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm

“Shares in his company went down quite a lot when the extent of his Mars colonization ambitions were expressed some months ago.”

Which company? SpaceX isn’t public. Tesla has barely moved in two years. Solar City is also flat.

“Risk aversion? Or is it unlikely that the globe will allow a private company to be in charge of that, and investors are pretty aware of that.”

Well, clearly the biggest risk is that government will kill the idea in the crib. The election is reason for hope, however. As is the likely tiny budget compared to government efforts.

20 Art Deco December 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Well, clearly the biggest risk is that government will kill the idea in the crib.

That’s not a risk. A colony on Mars is a boondoggle.

21 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 3:12 pm

“That’s not a risk. A colony on Mars is a boondoggle.”

At this point, it’s private money, so it’s not your boondoggle to worry about.

22 Hazel Meade December 14, 2016 at 4:00 pm

A colony on Mars is an epic monument to Musk’s ego. When you’re that rich, what else is there left to do with your money?

(Or, it could be an epic monument to Trump’s ego…. *ahem* are you listening, Donald?)

23 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 4:34 pm

I think the take was that Solar City prices fell a lot on questioning Musk’s general capacity or judgment on the basis of some statements about Mars colonization thoughts.

If you check early September here, you’ll see that massive drop:

But I cannot find the specific statement which was purported to have caused this drop. Also, maybe something else explained it and someone was draws conclusions. But it was on the internet, so it must be true!

24 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 4:43 pm

I have no idea what you are talking about. There was no drop.

Solar City was flat through September. It certainly didn’t experience any drop around the 27th. Which you would see if you looked at any chart.

Not that that means anything, as the connection you’re trying to make is pretty remote. Solar City’s actual flat performance isn’t a positive comment on SpaceX or Mars either.

25 chuck martel December 14, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Is this Musk fellow the reincarnation of Isaac Newton or what? What exclusive knowledge does he possess that makes him so important? It seems that there’s a little more P.T. Barnum in the guy than Galileo.

26 msgkings December 14, 2016 at 4:47 pm

@Hazel: exactly. Promise to put “TRUMP” on the rocket in big gold letters, and name the colony TrumpTown, and you’re golden.

27 msgkings December 14, 2016 at 4:49 pm

@chuck: more like Howard Hughes than Barnum, big business guy pushing the envelope in (aero)space.

28 Troll me December 15, 2016 at 12:44 am

Check the graph again, you clearly missed something.

29 Lord Action December 15, 2016 at 8:34 am
30 Lord Action December 15, 2016 at 8:46 am
31 Ricardo December 15, 2016 at 11:35 am

“At this point, it’s private money, so it’s not your boondoggle to worry about.”

In Musk’s latest speech, he acknowledged that any Mars colony is going to need state funding because the costs are beyond what could be feasibly raised from rich donors (let’s be clear: they will be donors, not “investors”).

32 Lord Action December 15, 2016 at 11:57 am

He acknowledged state funding was likely needed if this was to go quickly. It’s $10b over ten years or so. That’s within the realm of private investment. And NASA will burn through that every six months, so the benchmark is not a tough one to beat.

For sure, if he gets Trump to fully embrace it, we’re taking public money and a legitimate debate. I view that as rather unlikely, but perhaps more possible than it’s been for recent presidents. For the first time, a president could realistically get something done while he is still in office.

33 Econchic December 14, 2016 at 1:04 pm

All vegetarians know #1 has always been true. #2 is somewhat surprising. #7 makes me me raise the value I assign to Elon Musk.

34 Ray Lopez December 14, 2016 at 1:20 pm

@#1 – you could say TC is full of beans… but he’s not a bean counter. I’m a fan of Annibale Carracci’s The Bean Eater.

35 Brian Donohue December 14, 2016 at 4:14 pm


The dietary problems of you and Annibale and Econchic don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

36 msgkings December 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm

Forget it, Brian, it’s LopezTown

37 ricardo December 14, 2016 at 8:12 pm
38 Sieben December 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm

And cardboard fills you up more than either of those! Add this to a long list of diets that “work” by making you uncomfortably bloated.

39 Econchic December 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm

If beans make you bloated is because you are cooking them wrong. You have to start by conditioning your stomach for months by eating only properly cooked beans before you can eat can or restaurant beans.
How to cook beans properly you ask? You place the beans on a bowl with water for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours (I started with 48 hours and change the water at the 24 hour mark). And after all the froth is form and you have cleaned in out of the beans, then you cook them on a pressure cooker. The 48 hour water bath gets rid of the transparent film around the bean that is the source of the bloating.
Hope it helps!

40 mkt42 December 14, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Indeed, and I find fruit to be more filling than meat or beans. It’s not clear that this constitutes news, except to the extent that the researchers have scientifically verified what we already observed informally.

41 Massimo December 14, 2016 at 1:12 pm

So sorry to know about Raico. The group of people that were with Rothbard when he invented modern anarchocapitalism fusing the subjective theory of value with American individual anarchism and the Caledonian Enlightment is shrinking every year. Walter Block should write a book about those years in the early ’60 in New York.

I copy here one of Raico classical piece, on Truman and Hiroshima:

42 Art Deco December 14, 2016 at 1:21 pm

I assume his family will miss him.

Pity he was a crank.

43 Decimal December 14, 2016 at 2:25 pm

most are, one way or another

44 Art Deco December 14, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Most who? No, my grandmother was not a crank.

45 Thiago Ribeiro December 14, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Mine was, but she was also the kindest person ever born. It must count for something.

46 A Black Man December 14, 2016 at 1:25 pm

#1 “The meals were prepared by the experienced kitchen staff at the department, but were blinded when served by the study responsible to the subjects.” So beans help with weight loss, but you go blind.

47 ClickByCommenter December 14, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Perhaps the kitchen staff were blinded? Probably for insolence.

48 сass December 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm

” Klein on Schelling’s politics.”
Wrong link (to your local machine)

49 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 1:44 pm

If Musk really wants to colonize Mars, sufficient transparency (cooperation, even? could major Chinese investors take a 10% stake perhaps, on condition of similar arrangements being allowed in equivalent Chinese firms?) … will be needed in order to not kick off something retarded.

In the meantime, he can get large subsidies (good for his profits) while providing jobs (what Trump wants) and quieting the environmentalists who are likely to be upset about some other moves.

50 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm

The idea that a crack team of government accountants and the obligation to cooperate with the Chinese would improve SpaceX execution is hilarious.

Besides, it’s a serious misread of Trump. If he was going to do something splashy in space, it would be to Make America Great Again. The last thing he needs in that mission is Chinese cooperation.

51 Harun December 14, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Musk would be wise to drop in some hints that China is willing to fund this if USA is not.

Then Trump will pay up.

52 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Trump would also benefit from apparent competition, especially since he could win it in a highly visible manner. But I suspect that’s a very unlikely scenario. China goes in for big infrastructure projects and may want to do something scientific and prestigious, but maybe the CEPC is more their speed.

53 Turkey Vulture December 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm

A privately-financed U.S. vs. publicly-financed China Mars race would be pretty awesome. I am rooting for it, however unlikely it may be.

54 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Maybe they could have multinational teams competing instead of it all being framed in such a nationalist manner?

Remember when folks were renting access to Russian spaceships and there was much talk of harnessing the power of competition within a cooperative framework?

55 Lord Action December 14, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Private is better than National, which is in turn better than Multinational, in almost all respects if you actually want to accomplish the goal in a cost-effective manner.

I think your fear, expressed below, that China would blow up an American Mars base to avoid a burgeoning planetary monopoly is far-fetched in the extreme.

56 Troll me December 15, 2016 at 12:51 am

I’m not really concerned about cost. I’m talking about trying to avoid an intergalactic war of the future, as a function of how the first colonization of another planet proceeds.

So …. there’s this idea that private markets take on most activities where you can earn a profit.

But where’s the portfolio return to avoiding an intergalactic war 500,000 years hence?

Or even 100 years hence. If the US has enough hardware on Mars to destroy any incoming colony of another country or group of countries, then this is basically irreversible. People who make decisions outside of the private sector relating to stuff involved in getting to Mars could hardly be naive about such concerns. But Musk might just be.

57 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 4:39 pm

I’m not talking about program efficiency.

I’m talking about major powers wondering if they might have to blow stuff up to stop a single world power from maintaining a monopoly of any sort on another planet.

So, then, stuff that builds confidence that it’s not going there.

Would you trust the Chinese with a 10 or 20 year head start in Mars colonization? Turn the tables and consider what responses might seem reasonable in full consideration of the risks of doing nothing.

There are a lot of wrong ways to do this and not many right ways. Among other things, ideological oppositions and nationalism are not a good basis for moving forward on this, unless perhaps within some organizational structure which ensures that tensions tend to be constructive rather than potentially apocalyptic.

58 GoneWithTheWind December 14, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Musk is a billionaire and he made it all mining money from government coffers. He won’t go to Mars but he will get a lot of our tax money by pushing the scam that he will go to Mars.

59 XVO December 14, 2016 at 4:02 pm

PayPal mined money from government coffers? How?

60 Troll me December 14, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Similar to how they buy Coke and BMWs, but investment, not consumption.

61 Doug December 14, 2016 at 2:11 pm

#1 ” In the study, 43 young men were served three different meals in which patties – consisting of either beans/peas or veal/pork – were a key element”

This study’s a little disingenuous. Veal and (most cuts of) pork are some of the fattiest meats. Fixed for a specific number of calories, lean meats are going to be much more filling. They should have done the experiment with fish, chicken breast or eye round beef.

62 Joel December 14, 2016 at 3:28 pm

I agree a lean meat would have worked a lot better for comparison.

To make matters much worse it wasn’t meat vs beans/peas. If you look at the sample meals meat had a lot of potatoes, while the high protein legume meal had no potatoes. The Low protein legume group had a similar amount of potatoes and did poorly. The meat meal could have had equivalent amount of fiber by adding say broccoli, peas, etc. The fact that a meal with the same calories and protein is more filling if it has more fiber should of surprise to nobody.

63 XVO December 14, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Freaking fast carbs, what a stupid study.

64 Hazel Meade December 14, 2016 at 4:09 pm

Agree. Nobody is advocating a meat-and-potatoes diet. They are advocating low-carb meat-and-vegetables diets.

65 Donald Pretari December 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm

#1…I’m pretty sure that full feeling after eating beans and peas is just the extra production of gas, which eventually has to go somewhere.

66 Turkey Vulture December 14, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Honestly started singing “Beans, beans, the musical fruit” in my head when I read the link.

67 So Much For Subtlety December 14, 2016 at 6:54 pm

No one has brought up Blazing Saddles yet? That is what is wrong with the younger generation. No understanding of the classics.

68 ricardo December 14, 2016 at 8:14 pm

First thing that came to mind, but I decided to stay classy and go with spaghetti westerns (above somewhere).

Beans, beans, good for the heart.

69 Donald Pretari December 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm

#7…I can just hear Trump saying “We choose to send a man to Mars before the end of the decade.” Too bad I can’t choose the crew.

70 Thiago Ribeiro December 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm

Brazil has chosen to send an artificial satellite to space before the end of next decade.
Why does Flamengo play Fluminense? We choose to send an artificial satellite to space. We choose to send an artificial satellite to space before the end of next decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we’re willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.

71 JWatts December 14, 2016 at 4:24 pm

“Brazil has chosen to send an artificial satellite to space before the end of next decade.”

Well that would allow them to catch up with Iran and North Korea I suppose. But it doesn’t seem like a very ambitious schedule.

“not because they are easy, but because they are hard”

Sending a satellite into space was hard in the 1950’s, now it’s something a despotic and poor country with a population of 25 million can do. Brazil should set it’s goals a little higher.

72 Thiago Ribeiro December 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm

If Brazil were despotic, we surely would have done more things in the space field — think of the Soviets and their food lines and shining Sputniks and Czar Bombs. One can’t eat Sputniks! The Soviet Union is long gone, but we still are here. We prefer to invest our money in projects that better the common man’s lot in life and further our goal of creating a wolkd order where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace . The current schedule is another evidence of the overwhelming farsightedness and moral superiority of our leaders. And of course the learning curve is somewhat steeper if you don’t hire SS officers like Herr von Braum. If we have done it, our Jews, the ones we didn’t send back to die in Europe, like Americans did, would have protested vehemently, I fear. I guess moral superiority can be a burden sometimes, a big responsability. Well, we do not shrink from this respinsability, we welcome it. I do not believe that any of us Brazilians would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. We built this city upon a hill with rock’ n roll.

73 msgkings December 14, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Gotta be less obvious when you troll, that last line is a giveaway.

74 Thiago Ribeiro December 14, 2016 at 5:27 pm

I trying to preach the message of Prophet Bandarra in a way you Americans can understand.
“To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” — 1Corinthians 9:22 (Corinthians is, in fact, the name of an important Brazilian soccer team)

75 Massimo December 15, 2016 at 2:58 am

Just a curiosity, Thiago, your leaders of renown moral superiority are the socialists like Lula or the corporativists like Temer? Or both, being Brasilian a sufficient blessing?

76 Thiago Ribeiro December 15, 2016 at 3:52 am

Seriously, it is silly anti-Brazilian propaganda. Exactly what Mr. Lula socialized? His boldest program was to give families with children a few farthings a month so they don’t starve — something all civilized countries have done for years. Brazil probably was more “Socialist” under military rule with the big failed infrastructure projects like Transamazonic highway road and the Nuclear Project and the big state companies and capital controls than it has ever been under Mr. Lula rule. Also his policies helped Brazil to weather the 2008 world economic crisis and delivered almos unprecedent growth. His successors’ failures are not his own. And it is unfair to call Mr. Temer a “corporativist” when he is spearheading the boldest project of economic liberalization and budget-balancing Brazil has ever seen.

Being Braziliamn isvnecessary but not sufficient a blessing, however evidently, as Mr. Cecil Rhodes used to say about the English, we Brazilians hit the jackpot of life, being Brazilian is reward enough.

77 Donald Pretari December 14, 2016 at 3:18 pm

#7…Trump…”Or, if not ready, in that general direction. But before the end of the decade, for sure.”

78 Donald Pretari December 14, 2016 at 3:21 pm

#4…I hate to keep pointing this out, but it’s the found city of Cahokia.

79 Thiago Ribeiro December 14, 2016 at 3:33 pm

It once was lost but now is found.

80 anon December 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Before all your Mars talk came up, I was thinking this morning about long-term on-earth isolation experiments, and why they capture no one’s fancy.

It should be a prerequisite to create an isolated, including biologically isolated, system on earth. You can test your theory with full ability to rescue your crew. It is engineering complete and humane.

Like “Ascension” but public and transparent.

My conclusion is that we don’t do that because we aren’t serious, and that includes any handwaving you may do about “pioneers take risks.”

On Trump’s panel, he’s pulling a Gore meeting, a Romney dinner. Look forward to him doing old fashioned infrastructure instead.

81 anon December 14, 2016 at 3:42 pm

I did not know that the Russians did a 520 day experiment

A good start.

82 anon December 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm

NASA did a year in tents. Maybe good for the psychology, but lacking for colony-span biological processes.

83 Hazel Meade December 14, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Uhhh … Biosphere 2?

84 anon December 14, 2016 at 4:37 pm

As I say below, that one failed. Steve Bannon trivia question, etc.

It is good that tests are increasing. This is much more an isolation problem than a space flight problem.

85 anon December 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm

As an aside, Biosphere II was not so bad in concept, but the greenhouse design was terrible. It made energy exchange impossible to accurately measure, was gas permiable, and had way too much soil of unknown content.

You want a steel enclosure, in a salt cave, with hydroponics. Then you can learn if you are ready for a better life in the offworld colonies!

86 mkt42 December 14, 2016 at 3:42 pm

#4: Tyler’s laconic description doesn’t do the article justice. I’ve read plenty about the Cahokia mounds so I figured why should I bother to click? But the article is worth reading for two reasons: there have been recent new discoveries there. And the articles puts the reader into the trenches, literally, describing not just the history and archeology of the site but also describing exactly what it is that the archeologists especially the students do.

87 PD Shaw December 14, 2016 at 4:46 pm

I wasn’t aware that there had been borings taken on the property in an attempt to disprove the “major flood” hypothesis of decline. I didn’t find this to be very convincing. It doesn’t disprove that there were major floods, or the analysis taken from sediment samples from a nearby lake. At most, it proves that the major floods did not reach the points being sampled, but it is also possible that the location did not preserve evidence of past major flooding events. There was a reason that the samples were taken from the lake.

88 carlospln December 14, 2016 at 9:40 pm

V engaging article about a place I used to ride my bicycle through as a youth growing up in mid 20thC America.

89 ohwilleke December 15, 2016 at 3:29 am

I did a more sweeping, if less personal, examination of the context of this culture in New World pre-history in 2012 when some major discoveries were announced which can be found at

This fits this city into a narrative of 5,000 years of New World civilization and suggests some, admittedly conjectural links between this and many of the other most advanced civilizations of the Americas.

90 carolospln December 15, 2016 at 2:51 pm

V interesting, ohwilleke.

Thanks for posting.

91 Hazel Meade December 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm

#7. A manned mission to Mars would Make America Great Again.

92 Thiago Ribeiro December 14, 2016 at 3:49 pm

I remember Hugo Chávez said Mars probably was ruined by Capitalism. Can we make Mars Great Again? What about Venezuela?

93 rayward December 14, 2016 at 3:56 pm

5. That Mr. Schelling would die as Donald Trump is about to become president must be the irony of the year. It’s often stated that our nuclear strategy has been based on mutual assured destruction (MAD). That’s false. It was based on communication of shared goals, the shared goal being avoidance of a nuclear calamity. Of course, Mr. Trump believes he is a master negotiator. His most well-known tactic in business is default (or bankruptcy), or more precisely the threat of it, which during the presidential campaign he said he would use as president to gain an advantage in negotiations with America’s creditors. I suppose it could be called the nuclear option since America’s default on its debt would do irreparable damage to America’s credit, just as a first strike nuclear attack by America or the Soviet Union would do irreparable damage to America, the Soviet Union, and the rest of the world. Schelling devoted most of his career to what Cowen and other economists refer to as “game theory”, which is just another term for negotiation strategy; economists, being economists, are about as familiar with negotiation strategy as I am with econometrics. I’m certainly not as smart as Schelling, but I have devoted my career to negotiating complex commercial transactions, and (as Schelling made clear) knowing my adversary and what my adversary wanted was key to a successful transaction. Trump claims to be expert at negotiations, but the nuclear option he has used with his creditors and business partners is likely to do irreparable damage to us and the world. How such an ignoramus could be elected president must have appalled Mr. Schelling.

94 chuck martel December 14, 2016 at 5:48 pm

Bad analogy. US bankruptcy laws don’t apply to foreign relations.

95 rayward December 14, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Mr. Martel restores my faith in Americans, who have been accused of being angry, mean even, but it’s not true, they’re just stupid.

96 chuck martel December 14, 2016 at 8:50 pm

“When a country fails to pay its creditors on time, it is said to go into “default”, the national equivalent of going bankrupt. But sovereign defaults are quite different from business bankruptcies as it is far harder for creditors to repossess the assets of a sovereign entity than to repossess the assets of a company…..Critically, there is no international law or court for settling sovereign defaults, which helps explain why they are so varied in length and severity. More international regulation has been proposed—including powers to prevent minority holders from hijacking the process—but such conditions ultimately remain up to the issuing country. The first bond issuances since the new proposals (by Kazakhstan and Vietnam) include these clauses. Other countries might follow suit, but this doesn’t resolve the $900 billion of bonds outstanding that were issued under the old rules.”

97 mulp December 14, 2016 at 9:59 pm

But most bonds are issued in the US or UK, so US courts are involved in the biggest government debt defaults.

98 Todd Kreider December 14, 2016 at 10:07 pm

“That’s false. It was based on communication of shared goals, the shared goal being avoidance of a nuclear calamity.”

Not in the 50s it wasn’t.

99 Todd Kreider December 14, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Schelling asks if nuclear weapons would have been used earlier in the Korean war “would Thatcher have used them in the Falklands?”

You can’t make this stuff up.

OK, he was 84 when he wrote that so he gets a pass.

100 Art Farnsley December 14, 2016 at 5:02 pm

My first summer out of college (1983) I got to attend an Advancing Liberty seminar at Trinity College in Hartford. Randy Barnett and George Smith were both there, but I especially remember Ralph Raico. His first teaching job was at my alma mater Wabash College and he was one of the first academics I knew who was openly gay. He had a huge influence on a lot of young libertarians trying to figure out their place in the world.

101 Matthew Young December 14, 2016 at 5:15 pm

1: I have noticed the effect as pertains to beans.

102 John December 14, 2016 at 7:29 pm

So sorry to hear about Ralph Raico. I attended a FEE seminar around 10 years ago as a college undergraduate and have very fond memories of sitting in on his lectures, and listening to him talk late into the night on the porch about Rothbard and the Circle Bastiat group of the 50s/60s.

103 December 15, 2016 at 2:07 am

#1 Fullness might be in the wrong place. Try not to overdose on beans.

104 Axa December 15, 2016 at 8:16 am

#7: The engineers working for Elon Musk are very creative. But the accountants working for him are even more creative. The issue with Tesla reporting using Non-GAAP numbers is a big red flag. Mars travel is sexy, but economics is what controls what engineers can build or not.

I remember an opinion piece on Musk earlier this year: “Men that start revolutions are not the men that reap benefits for those revolutions” or something similar. Perhaps the Tesla name is cursed. Thanks to Mr. Musk for making a lot of people dream and work on electric cars. However, profits may go to someone else.

105 Lord Action December 15, 2016 at 8:44 am

GAAP versus non-GAAP! Shocking! I’m sure no-one ever noticed that awful trick, that they are unique in the investment world, and that it makes a really big difference!

There are some bad things about Tesla: Subsidies distort the electric car market. We live in a long-term fossil-fuel abundant world, and that’s going to make it tough for batteries to compete. We haven’t seen evidence that they are good large-scale manufacturers yet.

But a lot of the stuff people complain about is small potatoes.

106 Axa December 15, 2016 at 9:32 am

I don’t evaluate Tesla for their products but as a potential investor. The CEO seems more focused on Space-X that consolidating the already running Tesla. If the Space-X gamble pays, what do Tesla or Solar City equity owners win? Being right in identifying Mr. Musk as an intelligent and capable individual? I prefer money.

107 Lord Action December 15, 2016 at 9:54 am

Oh, for sure, that’s a real issue. Musk cares about SpaceX and the rest of this stuff is window dressing.

It’s like having Steve Jobs as your CEO. He’s brilliant and unusual, but you cannot trust him to have your interests at heart. Unless, in Musk’s case, you want a Mars colony real bad…

I’m just saying a focus on non-GAAP accounting is downright normal. It’s not weird at all, and it’s certainly not a red flag.

108 Lord Action December 15, 2016 at 10:13 am

FWIW, I’d say as a Tesla investor, you’re probably better off with 20% of Musk’s attention than you would be going out on the market and looking for a new CEO. Would you be better off with 100% of his attention? Sure, but that’s not for sale.

As a Solar City investor, are you better off with 3% of his attention? Well, maybe not. Arguably the SCTY acquisition is a good face-saving way of removing Musk from that CEO role. Better for Solar City, better for Tesla, and better for SpaceX.

I don’t go in for stock picking; I own all this stuff through index funds. So take it for what it’s worth.

109 chuck martel December 15, 2016 at 10:36 am

What would happen if all stock investments were made via index funds?

110 Lord Action December 15, 2016 at 10:47 am

You’d need some fraction of the market to be actively managed to have good price discovery. It’s possible that fraction could be quite small.

People worry about it, but mostly people fake worry about it to shill for active management.

111 Thiago Ribeiro December 15, 2016 at 10:01 am

Maybe we can raise their status. I heard workers react better to status-raising than money. Maybe shareholders are like that, too.

112 Axa December 15, 2016 at 11:17 am

hahahahaha, it seems that’s precisely the current situation. Retail investors are enjoying status of being right or being part of the future while they endure share dilution.

113 Thiago Ribeiro December 15, 2016 at 11:27 am

See? Who needs money?

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