Friday assorted links

1. My favorite things Swiss, redux.  These days I would add Peter Zumthor and the Vitra design museum outside of Basel.

2. Theatre of Harmonic Social Motion, a short essay by Anthony Morley.  What are the invisible hand mechanisms governing science?

3. When do unions oppose the minimum wage?

4. 3 a.m. interview with philosopher David Estlund.

5. How did the Brexit idea rise to prominence?

6. Big hack and theft at Ethereum, ongoing story, a big setback for “this kind of stuff.”  (Can I call it that?)  Here is Izabella Kaminska.


#1a: Louis Agassiz The Swiss who imagined glaciations by looking at boulders. He emigrated to the US, became Harvard professor, got funding to create a natural science museum, founding member of the US National Academy of intelligent and crafty Swiss.

#1 From this lowbrows perspective, Heidi is a great couple of books and Albert Anker must rank among the great painters.

And what the heck, how about a shout-out for Katharina Rosenberger. Not sure if her stuff actually works or even if its a spoof of avant garde music, but its great fun to listen to and it would be great if "video opera" caught on.

Is there an idea -- currently unfashionable -- that could shake the U.S. the way Brexit is shaking Britain? Leaving NATO, maybe?

Is leaving NATO really all that unfashionable in the age of Trump? If not, is it any more unfashionable than Trump proposals such as exiting NAFTA and/or completely sealing us off from Mexico?

Thought the most direct analogue would be the prospect of secession.

Brexit is much larger than anything Trump has talked about, but smaller than secession, I would think.

An American exit from NATO would probably have much more dramatic geopolitical consequences than Brexit, even if it wouldn't have the same perceptible effect on Americans' day-to-day lives that Brexit will on Brits. I think American exit from NAFTA would have a more comparable domestic effect, though that would still be significantly less dramatic.

No, the most direct analogue would be the end of institutional features which put policy questions beyond democratic influences. A series of measures to curb stomp the judiciary and the legal academy would be equivalent.

In the legal academy there are a few who recommend a new Constitutional Convention

How about the UN? Less to lose there.

They have the Security Council seat and the Veto. As shown in Libya that can actually determine war and peace.

#5 It comes down to the fact that Britons are waking up to the fact that over immigration is leading to the dissolution of their culture. I read recently that there are 80 Sharia courts in England to undermine British courts.

I am not sure how their version of "multiculturalism" works. Are these legal, governmental, courts? Or legal, voluntary, mediation?

I think the second is hard to stop in a free society.

Sharia courts help Muslims stay true to Sharia law, a legal system derived from the Koran and the rulings of Islamic scholars, known as fatwas.Their rulings are advisory and carry no legal weight under British law.
They're voluntary associations so what could be the problem ?

For Pakistani and Bangladeshi women who live in ethnic colonies, they constitute a parallel justice system. They're led by men of course who most of the time have no training except in Islamic studies. Islamic law is deeply unfair to women and does not grant them equality. Many of their rulings pertain to marriage and divorce. Sharia courts can easily conflict with basic tenets of British law. For example a woman complaining her husband beats her, forces her to have sex and has other wives (abroad, say back in Pakistan) may not be granted a divorce but instead may get the answer " why did you marry such a man"

Critics of Sharia courts almost invariably find themselves accused of Islamophobia.

I get how voluntary associations can go wrong. Jim Jones tried to hide an alternative justice system in the jungle. But I think the right path is to emphasize the priority of rule of law, that anyone oppressed should find refuge in the law.

English law is there as a recourse but in practice the woman is wholly dependent on her community in her ethnic colony. Going outside Sharia for redress, she runs the risk of being ostracized by her community with little support outside it.
In addition as we saw in Rotherham, the police are often reluctant to investigate crimes that may be accepted as cultural norms by some cultures for fear of appearing biased towards minorities.
Leftist thought is also drawn towards the assumption that all cultures are equal. This often leads to the conclusion that some peoples and communities can be exempt from the norms of universal human rights.

They are free to set up the own mode of arbitration, sure.

Unfortunately, many Muslim women in the UK are so removed from society that they don't even know they have a civil alternative to these mediaeval misogynists.

And far too often, any Muslim woman who does insist on her rights in a UK courts ends up murdered or slapped about by her "community". The police aren't interested in Muslim domestic violence; "more than our job to inflame community tensions, guv'nor..."

Or Brits waking up to the fact that it's an elite project to remove public policy from democratic influences.

I think it is incorrect to say "to undermine British courts".

More likely, it's "to regulate certain areas of family law except for when it contravenes British law, in which case they have zero power".

1 - My favorite thing Swiss: Freedom. The Swiss arguably are the are most free (small government, neutral - no foreign wars) people on the Planet. The Swiss are totally free and almost every citizen is armed with an assault rifle, high capacity magazines and hundreds of rounds of full metal jacket military ammunition. Coincidence? I'm not certain.

Swiss scenery/physical beauty is also a valuable asset.

Ever tried to buy ammo in Switzerland?

If I were so fortunate as to live in Switzerland, I would not feel the need to bear arms.

Never been there. I have had significant difficulty/shortages buying .22 cal. ammo in NY; and in America: TN, LA. That is the best-selling rifle round.

Has there been a terrorist attack in Switzerland? Likely not: the GOP and NRA are not over there.

The mysterious .22 shortage of the last few years does seem at last to be clearing up.

As Axa implies, you can do much in Switzerland with a shooting permit.

It might actually be an example of a good policy we cannot have, for purely political reasons. At least I think the Swiss Militia plus permit system would (should) be Constitutional here.

It was Constitutional, no permit, "shall not be infringed", . . . here until they rescinded the Second Amendment.

FYI - In America - outside the SSR's: CA, CT, IL, NY, etc. - millions of Americans legally own civilian, M-16 and M-14 knock-offs, high capacity magazines, and unrestricted ammunition purchases. Inside the SSR's, hundreds of thousands (now-illegally) own such weapons. Two clauses in the US Constitution prohibit ex post facto laws, but who's counting?

The US numbers hugely eclipse Switzerland. There are in the US 200 million guns and 12 trillion rounds of ammo; average gun-related murders 8,000 a year, of which 248 were committed by rifles suddenly jumping up and opening fire.

A dispassionate, sane review of the facts would reveal it's not 248 conglomerations of machined steel and coil springs, and 5,000,000 NRA members that kill people, it's the Q'ran and Muslims. But, that contradicts the progressive agenda: fundamentally change (translated: ruin) America and our way of life.

I can't take anyone seriously who does not take 1934 federal law and almost a century of precedent seriously.

But other than that, classic. You like the Swiss system UNTIL we remind you how sensible it is.

I doubt there are 100,000 rounds of ammo per household in this country, at least not that in private ownership.

Dylan Roof is Muslim? Elliot Rodgers? Seung-Hui Cho?

#1...Bruno Ganz, Max Picard, Siegfried Giedion, Blaise Cendrars.

#3 They oppose the min wage when they hire protesters to stand outside of Walmart

Or when it would put them on equal footing with non-union workers.

Swiss composer: Othmar Schoeck.

@#6 - Ethereum hack - the problems started with a recursive function call in some library routine. As any student of CSci knows, anything you can do recursively, you can do with a simple Do loop with a counter and break condition. It makes the code easier to read and the speed penalty is almost nothing, and in fact you use less memory. Moral of the story in Ethereum: avoid recursive calls and always double check your library. Then again, as Ethereum is young, it's prone to this type of mishap.

An old hand would know that no real software of any useful complexity can be proven correct. It is a subset of the more general "an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." In this case for bugs.

The nice thing about transactions under Law is that they don't need correct software. It helps, but Visa and PayPal know they have to be better than any error or incursion. They are liable.

I thought that there were some problems that need recursion instead of looping. I also thought that recursion, not looping, was the more computationally intensive method.

Depends on the problem. Very silly to castigate recursion and makes no sense to say not to use it. More careful coding, testing and code review is the moral.

Each recursion call is likely to be more computationally intensive, but it can be overall faster, depending on the task and data at hand. For a project like Ethereum, saying that small differences in speed don't matter is naive. In fact memory is so cheap now, the trade-off between using more memory vs speed in solving a computer problem is easy to make.

Different programmers, different problems, different answers. I sometimes use recursion, I most often use loops. The little play "three words" solution for Mongolia in Python would have been cuter with recursion, but with higher execution cost. Stack frames are expensive.

> as Ethereum is young, it’s prone to this type of mishap.

There was no Ethereum mishap. Some people poorly wrote a contract called the DAO using Ethereum.

#1 Favorit Thing German: Vitra Design Museum

#3-They oppose the minimum wage when they have to pay it to their workers.

#5 - Pace Craswell, the intersection of concern over immigration and concern over control by Brussels is precisely English exceptionalism and John Bull nationalism.

It's hardly English exceptionalism given that those concerns seem to be shared by large sections of European electorates, if not by their governments. Indeed, if recent polling is to be believed, the EU is less popular in France than in the UK.

Who cares if it is or is not 'exceptionalism' or 'nationalism'? One can maintain a customs union, military alliance, joint coast guard and point-of-entry inspectorate without the other paraphenalia of the EU. More extensive engagement in the realm of securing the financial sector or allowing work permits cross border might be notably beneficial for mini-states like Estonia or Luxembourg, not for countries whose economies and labor markets exceed a certain threshold in their dimensions. The mini-states can pursue their interests through bilateral agreements with larger neighbors.

As is, trade treaties have grown into monstrous carbuncles which do not have much to do with trade and the frontier agency subsidiary to the EU is ineffectual. Adding to that, fertility problems have made staffing the military a challenge. They're not getting the basics done but they're doing horrid damage to local economies with the idiot Euro currency and to local societies with the immigration regime. It's a reasonable inference that's because Europe's ruling strata care about each other, not their peasants.

Tyler do you dislike Greece that much? Did your study abroad year in Germany turned you into a Hellenophobe?

You haven't got a single blog post of your "Favourite things Greece" (I already know one: Plato) even though you have one for all European countries (even countries in the Balkans!)

Tsk, tsk. Hater.

The two congenial things about Greece are the climate and the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Otherwise, the place is contemptible.

Another very good Guardian article on the referendum debacle (which stands in stark contrast to much of their commentary). If Remain loses it will be because the intellectual leaders of the left have completely lost touch with the lives of many of those who vote for them:

And a very good article in the Telegraph, which again stands in contrast to much of their commentary, making a principled case for Brexit:

because the intellectual leaders of the left have completely lost touch with the lives of many of those who vote for them:

Are you going to make the case for us all that Michael Foot was 'in touch with the lives' of the people who voted for his confederates? Prior to 1935, the leadership of the Labour Party was held by men with a vernacular background. Since that time, only James Callaghan and Neil Kinnock could be so described. (Most of the Conservative leaders since 1965 could be so described, the exceptions being David Cameron and William Hague).

Zumthor is good, although rather unambitious, if a local architect who knows exactly how to profit from millions of years of local geology and 10,000 years of agriculture and happy botany can be called unambitious. Also, Adrienne von Speyr's autobiography, along with many of her quotes on the boundless love of God, are magnificent, Senancour wrote a novel that specialists in the pre-Dickensian novel consider to be magnificent also, von Balthasar, who recently passed away, was, possibly, the best read European of his day, and, to get personal, 5 of my favorite minutes on Youtube are the scene (possibly Austrian) that begins a few seconds before the accordion riff (lovely a propos sleigh bells!) that begins Meglio Sta Sera (in the second Clouseau movie) and ends with the end of that like-able song - thousands of happy details in five HD minutes, and to think (about the fact that) that the director probably never pulled anything remotely similar off again is philosophically instructive in a way that Welles, who understood so much, and who really should have directed a Pink Panther movie, Fake or not, would probably not have wanted to understand, at least for most of his life.

MIE: Mosquito-repelling TV

Regarding Switzerland, the play by Durrenmatt is "The Physicists," not "The Physicisans." It is excellent.

On the matter of guns and Switzerland, it is one of the four highest guns per capita nations. However it is not at all like the US on this issue, despite the fantasies of gun nuts here. The guns are tied to the universal draft for men who are required to keep rifles in their homes to be suitably locked up until needed if the men must come to defend Switzerland, really the militia side of the Second Amendment, now discarded by SCOUS since its stupid Heller decision. Aside from these guns, there is very strict gun control in Switzerland, especially of hand guns, which are the guns most frequently used for both homicides and suicides in the US.


Jean Tinguely is my favourite swiss artist, and certainly the best swiss artiest from the second half of the 20th century.

Arp's wife, Sophie Taeuber Arp was also an excellent artist.

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