Friday assorted links


Number three is a great thought, whether or not it's a great idea


Unfortunately, sometimes we want the president to be able to make that decision quickly. And we'd want him thinking clearly and not distracted.

It sounds like the author thinks that out of the blue a president is going to decide to nuke a bunch of Russian cities, and hasn't really put a lot of thought into how a nuclear war might really start.

It's from 1981. Where it was fashionable among the intelligentsia to think that Reagan was one bad hair day away from starting nuclear armageddon.

When it was fashionable...

Story was published in 1981 Bulletin of Atomic Scientists but the suggestion was floated when we were figuring out what the hell would our procedures be for starting a nuclear war. I think (I'm not a nuclear historian) that if there was a specific president in mind, it would have been Eisenhower. (Alex Wellerstein--who is a nuclear historian--talked about this on an episode of Radiolab. Recommended, and I think he may be precise on the presidential administration timing. )

I stand corrected. Thanks for the info.

I think it is only a thought experiment, and as that it really depends on these stories of shocked officers, which I doubt.

3b is funny and very Japanese. Like battling kites.

Sounds like something a Professor would come up with.

I did not read the link, but for nukes, there is the issue of "use it or lose it" decision times.

USA/Russia, we actually have a fairly decent window of time.

IIRC, Taiwan had a nuke program, and we convinced them to drop it. The main issue was a 30 second decision window to "use it or lose it."

And this is an issue because there have been false alarms before with nuclear attacks being detected that actually were the moon, or flocks of geese or whatever. (US had a new super powerful radar that 'detected' a massive attack that was the moon.)

This is why the Iran nukes are such a big deal if it ends in regional nuclear arms race with neighbors.

If the Soviets found out about that scheme, I would predict the chances of nuclear war to go up, not down. Maybe not for an ICBM attack, but for a quick first strike from submarines when the President has much less time to overcome his aversion to murder.

Yes, its a very stupid idea.

Let's review the problems:

1) the guy might resist enough to slow down the response to make a decapitation attack successful.

2) the actual capsule might be hard to find, dislodge, etc.

3) Kidnapping the person or isolating them for only 10 minutes would be enough to insure a successful first strike.

Although I personally don't believe the kind of person who becomes president would shy away from stabbing a guy to death if he thought it was important

Yeah, the whole scenario takes a pretty dim view on our ability to elect leaders that are capable of making difficult decisions.

That's... not at all where I was going with that lol

#2 - Enya?

#3....They put out an actual dragnet on that drone. BTW, I still watch Dragnet episodes, preferring TV shows with policemen I can admire.

4. Raising the tax on alcoholic beverages would be tragic. [hic]

And, according to the article, negatively effect the sex life of millions.

Love the Quietus

3. Truman's advisers (and presumably Truman) believed the Japanese would surrender when Ttruman threatened to use an atomic bomb. Of course, the Japanese didn't surrender, putting Truman in the impossible position of choosing between losing credibility or actually using the bomb to maintain credibility The lesson is don't make threats. Yet, it seems threats are always the response to a crisis, threats of intervention (not the use of an atomic bomb) being the recurring threat, with predicable if unfortunate results.

Of course, threats aren't limited to international crises. I negotiate business transactions, and often am subject to threats, not of bodily harm (although that's actually happened - the threat, not the bodily harm) but of the "take it or leave it" variety. It's a terrible strategy, yet it's often employed with predictable if unfortunate results. .

There was never a threat prior to its use on Hiroshima. Truman couldn't very well threaten to drop a bomb the US didn't admit existed before they day it was dropped on Hiroshima.

Yeah, I think Truman and his advisers didn't believe they would have to drop the second bomb. And they were worried the Japanese would still refuse to surrender, because there wasn't a third bomb. (Technically a third and fourth if you count the test bomb.)

Brian, the last sentence of the Postdam declaration (signed by Churchill and Truman, but not Stalin, who at that time was not at war with Japan), 11 days before Hiroshima, was "The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction." This sentence was well noticed, and everyone understood it was an allusion to a new and very destructive weapon.

Setting aside the issue of whether "prompt and utter destruction" was a threat to use something like an atomic bomb, from Truman's perspective using the atomic bomb cost less than continued conventional bombing that was currently taking place so it was hardly an impossible position. The lesson is don't make threats you don't want to carry out, and be very cautious if your opponent is making a threat they might actually be willing to carry out.

If you want to argue that there was some long term cost to using the atomic bomb like an arms race, be explicit about it. I would take the view that the arms race would happen anyway.

Tyler linking to the Quietus... now I've seen everything! One of the best music magazines on the internet.

For others seeking more "intelligent" takes on music, l would recommend Factmag and ResidentAdvisor's year-end lists (they're still not all released yet).

Ignore anyone who recommends Pitchfork (actually, proceed to make fun of them).

Obviously completely ignore the mainstream rags like RollingStone, etc.

To add - highly recommend listening to the #1 album on the Quietus list (Jlin - Dark Energy). Footwork, as a genre, is a bit unkind to newcomers, but when you have time to digest it and fully understand the complexity of the sounds, you really appreciate it.

Based on the Quietus list, my assessment is that there are currently a few genres of "intelligent" music: soundscapy electronics, death metal, extremely ironic hiphop, and a little bit of extremely ironic pop music.

My other observation is that when reviewers describe these recordings, they almost exclusively make reference to 20th century artists such as Velvet Underground, Miles Davis, Pere Ubu, and Tackhead.

#6 - a simpler explanation for the increase in 1099 forms is the tightening of regulations over the past decade, increasing the number of vendors covered and requiring most to be filed electronically. Ask any accountant.

Yeah, that study seems bizarre. They don't mention that the requirements for filing 1099's were significantly changed over that time period. Furthermore, Obamacare dropped the threshold from filing after 2010.

"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACAP), enacted in 2010, increased the 1099 filing requirements to include any payment of $600 or more for goods or services rendered from any single vendor."

#4: I'm reeeeeeeeeeeealy skeptical that a small increase in the alcohol tax could reduce STDs by 24%. I mean, the link between the two is plausible and probably even true, but 24% is ridiculous

Scientific research: drinking tequila may help in weight loss. My research, not so much with Scotch and beer chasers.

Anyhow, taxes should solely be imposed to raise revenues for necessary expenditures, not to cure STD's.

And so you read the paper and isolated the identification error?

I'm obviously too lazy and drunk for that.

But I'd still bet a large amount of money they're wrong

But to be serious, anytime someone says that a fractional increase in the cost of a good causes a massive change in an outcome that's only fractionally related to that good, I'm going to call bullshit.

Now, if someone wants to tell me that 90% of STD cases are a result of drunken hookups and a small change in the tax rate dropped drinking by 30%, ok, I'll listen. But otherwise, again, bullshit

STD is correlated to increase sex.

Thus, if you raise taxes on booze, you may coincidentally reduce STDs but also reduce sex.

sounds like a loss of utility.

Sex existed long before alcohol. Alcohol tax may reduce drunken sex, not necessarily sex.

Mathematics existed long before computers, but the advent of computers has increased the number of math problems solved dramatically.

You can only get gonorrhea through unprotected sex, and people are more likely to have unprotected sex when drunk, so...

(yes I know it is theoretically possible to get gonorrhea other ways but this isn't an practical concern for people who have typical amounts of sex partners)

As a self employed individuals where my clients are major corporations I never receive 1040s for all my income.

I imagine it is worse for smaller firms. I do not file the tax paperwork for the salesmen I pay commissions.

*Mild shudder at the idea of 'smart listeners'*

A link sugestion:
The course entitled “How to pose elegantly in front of the camera” is one of many offered by Institute Sarita, a modern-day version of European finishing schools that caters to Chinese nouveaux riche. Other courses offered by the school, located in the trendy Sanlitun district of Beijing, include how to raise children, proper table manners and luxury brand pronunciation.


Future's Dirty Sprite 2 made the list. What's with well educated white people pretending to see and enjoy the deep meaning in druggy Southern rap? This is club music for teenagers and 20 somethings.

b-boomer hipster signaling, nothing more.

Comments for this post are closed