Tuesday assorted links


#2 Perhaps not the right place but could someone explain to me once again why it was necessary to send Matt damian to the cold planet in Interstellar?

Oyf a mayse fregt men keyn kashye nisht.

They had twelve ships/pilots and chose as many targets. Three (including Damon's) were near the big black hole. I am not sure the selection process for who got what planet, but it was pretty arbitrary.

As far as why anyone was sent, some mysterious blight that produced nitrogen instead of oxygen was consuming all of the monoculture food crops on Planet Earth.

If I remember correctly, Earth didn't know the conditions of the various planets. They sent the explorers blind. If the planet was habitable, the explorers would signal back. If it wasn't habitable, they were supposed to die silently, I guess. Since Earth was becoming uninhabitable, it was a last-ditch effort to find a refuge.

OK I get that part but why did you need a manned landing in order to observe and then signal that the planet was habitable? Seems a smart phone could make just as many observations from the ground and you wouldn't have anywhere near the need to worry about all the life support and supplies a manned mission would require.

Maybe they needed manned missions to find the planets?

They wanted to be sure that a human could survive there, and the signal processing was unsure, so instead of beaming back lots of data...and hoping the data made it, they would beam back just a "yes or no"

#4 well from the abstract I must say that it only makes the party culture seem about as bad as I had thought. But then, that was already fairly bad.

Also I think the term "culture" is dangerous here. It makes it sound as if the violence is a social construct. It's more likely that the brakes on violence are socially constructed. If so, the problem with college parties is not their culture, but their lack of it.

How is "What happens at the party, stays at the party" not a cultural belief?

28% increase. But what is the baseline level?

Culture is as once famously defined simply the way we do things around here. The paper indicates that that is frightening state

Yep. The result is as I expected because parties of that kind are venues that make sex and lawlessness both more common compared to the other times. I have no idea what the absolute numbers are.

#5 is claims that, to fanboys who read the suplemental books, the worlds of Tolkien and Star Wars are actually very depressing, both being about how the misery and chaos are the norm.

I can't speak mcuh about the second half of the post, as I am no true Star Wars fan. But the first half misses a big point: Tolkein was a Christian. To him, the efforts of wordly peoples (not just Men) are *always* inadequate. But any effort made in good faith are never truly fruitless, because Tolkein thinks that God is spinning all of that -- triumph and tragedy alike -- into his Plan.

I don't know about Star Wars. But I expect it is driven by something more urgent: without war and chaos, there can be no grand epic action adventure, and thus no profits.

Right. "And he lived happily ever after to the end of his days" makes for a satisfying ending for audiences, but not for studio executives who want to push out profitable sequels. The result is something less space opera and more soap opera.

#7...Indeed. In early 2009, I plied Edward with numerous questions about the economic conditions in Europe on his blog and in messages. Edward always responded with detailed answers, although he certainly needn't have. The questions were such as "What would happen if Greece left the EU?" "Didn't the wealthier countries realize that there was going to be a transfer of wealth of unknown amount to the poorer countries, depending upon the vagaries?" "Was migration to other EU countries intended to be the solution to unemployment in EU countries?" Etc. Easy questions. People make fun of Facebook friendships, but I was honored that Edward accepted my friendship on FB. Sad.

#3 - Fritz Maytag deserves a Nobel in some category.

Someone just paid a billion to acquire Balast Point, which stuck me as a tad high. Good beer is not that hard to find, or make.

If lawn signs work then a freeway sign should be a big win.


Of course, that's in California where Republican votes don't count. Not in the primary and not in the general.

The juxtaposition of 5a and 5b is interesting. Should we all be voting Palpatine to avoid generations-long warfare?


Speaking of California, there is a very interesting ballot initiative afoot to require all politicians to wear the logos of their top 10 donors on their suit when in Assembly and display them in all political advertising. They compare it to NASCAR drivers wearing the logos of their sponsors: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/26/john-cox-california-entrepreneur-proposes-donor-lo/?page=all

How does Matt Damon survive on Mars without the help of government?

6b seems a good thing to try

#5 (Tolkien & The Force): Between this, and the post the other day from the psychiatrist about how many miserable people there are, I'm starting to feel a tad concerned over Tyler's mental well-being.

A pity about Hugh. I always greatly enjoyed reading his long essays- essays I first discovered through a link from Marginal Revolution.

An interstellar ship is going to cost a lot more than 2.5 times the cost of a Mars mission.

Wormholes, no?

If you can build an interstellar ship at all, wouldn't making a thousand nuclear missiles and kill a planet through nuclear winter be way more efficient than building a Death Star or Death Star Artillery Planet?

I mean we can already nuke the world to death, but building anything close to an Hyperspace capable X-Wing is beyond reality...

Re: previously on IMF quota http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2015/12/wednesday-assorted-links-37.html#comments

The old quota values I calculated seems to be correct

%WGDP %AIIB %IMF Country





China's voting rights will rise to 6%, from 3.8% and IMF resources will double to about $660bn (£440bn).


India's voting rights will rise to 2.6% from the current 2.3%.

China's quota is still way below its % world GDP of 15% . On the other hand there was no mention about Russia whose
quota is above its %WGDP.


Only a surprise to those who haven't partied before. This is average for those who will soon eat beans paid by their SNAP allowance.

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