Friday assorted links


The time will never be better. Obama will be gone in January.

Not really related, it says the Daily Mail shares stories found in Chinese media. The doll story is rather old, they even did a fictional comedy movie about five or 10 years ago on this theme. Such dolls would come in handy commuting in DC's I-66, which has restricted lanes limited to carpools.

4. Wait, don't tell me!

"About one man in a million can cut it as a physicist, if your IQ is below 150 then just forget it."
Physicists are people who didn't make the cut at Engineering School entrance examinations. Most of them are subpar or even worse.

Not necessarily true. While Jim's comment is exaggerated , the most brilliant Physicists I knew as peers had absolutely no interest in Engineering. One went on to win a Nobel prize .
I read this less as about Physics but more about the sociology of science . Read about the community's resistance to outsiders for eg the Velikovsky case, irrespective of the accuracy or not of the science involved. Kuhn, BarryBarnes havewrittenabout the scientific community. In its own way it is similar to a religion with its priesthood and its practices,

"... get this- he was a kook, and his ideas were found wanting."

"Velikovsky is neither crank nor charlatan—although, to state my opinion and to quote one of my colleagues, he is at least gloriously wrong... Velikovsky would rebuild the science of celestial mechanics to save the literal accuracy of ancient legends." -- Stephen Jay Gould

When I was young, I wanted to be a physicist, I had read a lot about Brazilians like Lattes (pion) and Mario Schenberg (Urca Effect) and foreigners like Einsten and Feynman. My father made it clear I could live under his roof or I could disgrace our family, but I could not do both. Maturity eventually showed me he was right.

No, it is not.

6. Oh she has a plan alright. All those folks who generously donated to her fund will be handed a bunch of tax dollars to do something. She will have a bunch of eager fools in place to micromanage everything. And when things look similar to Libya instead of Singapore she will blame Republicans. And the media.

Don't Cry for Me Argentina....

I much preferred the Obama trolls the last couple times around. They were at least entertaining.

As I read that there are many "plans" that reduce to a few principles. If say Executive departments should examine their efforts for cost/benefit and ROI, and forward solutions on that basis, to the budget, every one of those bullet points falls out.

To take one example:

"We need a bold agenda to revitalize our aging water infrastructure and make it more sustainable and energy efficient. Clinton will work to harness both public and private resources to support these efforts. "

So whichever department that is tries to do a good job, cost/benefit, ROI.

To step back, derek, the problem we have is that US government fights itself on the basics. Someone says they want to make a good effort, and the push back is that no you shouldn't even try because government is bad. If we want to survive as a nation, this has to pass.

"the push back is that no you shouldn’t even try because government is bad"

You either did not read the article or did not understand it. If someone says they are going to do 1,000 different things but not spend any money on them or take on any of the difficulties that prevented other people from doing them, they're not serious and they're not going to do them.

6. I suppose it's true, daughters do marry their fathers.

But they cheat on them with their brothers. We are talking about people from Massachusetts, right?

#1 So, an English-language Kiev newspaper is an objective source on the Ukraine conflict? Or, it doesn't matter: they may be s.o.b.s, but they are our s.o.b.s. We need to go to war with Russia, or otherwise they take Tallin next - and then, there is no telling where they'll strike: Vilnius? Riga? Even Kaunas??? What's a limited nuclear exchange compared to the treasures of Tallin? Expansion of NATO eastward looks wiser and wiser by the day...

Why Die for Danzig?

"Expansion of NATO eastward looks wiser and wiser by the day…"

On the contrary, Putin's egomania and adventurism proves it was the correct course.

It did not go far enough. If Ukraine was a NATO county as of say 2010, Crimea would still be part of Ukraine.

Putin picks on the weak. NATO, even with Obama and Merkel in charge, is not weak.

Oh, please, Bob, not you too!

What do you mean? He's obviously a very insecure person in general.

That's with hindsight. In 1939, the strategic picture looked favorably upon the Britain and France. I think they went to war believing that, with the British blockade and the Maginot Line, they would hem in and starve Germany into submission. They were wrong, of course - but who knew you could send tanks through the Ardennes!?

It didn't look that favorable. The British Army consisted of about 13 guys in 1940, and when Churchill toured the Maginot Line shortly before the war was declared, he did not come away reassured. The French Army, though large and dug in pretty well, was lacking in equipment, discipline, morale, and, as they would later learn when the fighting started, leadership.

"that’s why it allowed them to join NATO!"

Yeah, "allowed".

Like they were consulted or had a choice.

I, too, allowed Ukraine to join NATO yet I am not given enough credit for my moderation and my foresighted policies.

"Never fight a war you can’t win"

You ought to tell your pal Putin that.

Stop hiding the truth, NATO created ISIS at Obama's request.

Are you sure? I was positive he got the Nobel Peace Prize. In a fit of tragic irony.

That prize is what allowed him to wander into the middle east and catch them all unawares. And then he created ISIS.

Why Die for Danzig?

Because if you are not willing to do so, more of you will die in the end.

How many French lives were lost because the Rhineland was permitted to be re-occupied? A battalion could have forced a German retreat.

Right. First it's the Donbass. Next Eastern Europe. Then Western Europe. Then Africa, China, South America, Canada. And there we are: the US, alone against 7 billion Russian imperialists.

God. Don't you know that Putin and Germany are decidedly not friends right now? Stop defending them.

Why indeed. Send someone else to die!

Some commenters will hopefully see in the callers of link 2 themselves, except for physics instead of economics.

“The Commenter writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

#6...Not to be abnormally cynical, but Clinton's advisors are probably telling her that, as long as they see Trump as imploding, do not say anything specific. The same goes if they think she is more than likely to win. This is probably very good advice.

In Canada, for example, the CBC has a segment on The National called Trudeau Tracker. It's a very serious but fair ongoing analysis of how far the campaign promises of the Liberal Party are being implemented now that they're in power. A good way to avoid a Clinton Tracker type show is to not leave any tracks, so to speak, or promise generalities hazy on criteria that can be assessed. What John Cochrane wants is probably worth a pretty good chuckle or two for Clinton's advisors.

There are only two problems with this. 1) Clinton will have a very hard time delivering anything big because her opponents hate her and will undermine her initiatives at every chance they, assuming the last 8 years are any indicator. 2) America doesn't do "very serious but fair".

If she can't accomplish anything because everyone hates her then she shouldn't promise to accomplish things, right?

And Feynman's 125 IQ?

He time he spent in Brazil did wonders for him (it is no coincidence he was awarded the Nobel Prize after teaching in Brazil). Not all physicists can teach in Brazil though .

A glorious chapter about his time in Brazil and his drumming in his biography....But the Nobel was for Quantum electrodynamics, done many years earlier. Pity you were inspired by him and Einstein and still thought it would be a disgrace to go into Physics.

But Brazil choosing him signaled to the scientific community that his status should raised and his work was self-recommending. It is not hard to imagine an alternative universe where Brazil chose Thomas Galloway instead and he got the Nobel Prize.

No, it is not. Brazil is glorious like the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps. As our Independence Anthems aptly says,
"Congratulations, O Brazilians,

Already, with viril garb

From the Universe among Nations

Shines brightly that of Brazil.

From the Universe among Nations

From the Universe among Nations

Shines brightly that of Brazil."

Yes, I have read his autobiographical books, when I was a teen–one wouldn’t book have been enough, you know. I am aware of his Brazilian adventures, introducing Portuguese to the Brazilian academy, playing “frigideira”, teaching Brazilians to think instead of reciting their lessons, discussing love before Brazilian movie cameras and being always right. Evidently, Mr. Feynman was very witty if maybe a little to prone to exaggeration and his scientific accomplishments are probably not completly unworth a modicum of interest in their own way.

Feynman has a good story about rote learning in Brazil. TR, do you know it? In a nutshell, Feynman was disgusted by the rote learning found in Brazil (and in Greece, and in the Philippines, and pretty much all Third World countries for that matter) where the slightest deviation of a problem would stump the class of aspiring physicists, because they had memorized just a specific answer to a specific problem. Finally, one bright student showed he could solve problems that were not memorized examples. Feynman congratulated this student, praising his versatility publicly as an example of what a good Brazilian physics student should be. But the student sheepishly said: 'Sir, I'm not from Brazil, I'm originally from Germany and my family moved here'. LOL! Ordem e Progresso!

Yes, I have read his autobiographical books, when I was a teen–one wouldn’t book have been enough, you know. I am aware of his Brazilian adventures, introducing Portuguese to the Brazilian academy, playing “frigideira”, teaching Brazilians to think instead of reciting their lessons, discussing love before Brazilian movie cameras and being always right. Evidently, Mr. Feynman was very witty if maybe a little to prone to exaggeration and his scientific accomplishments are probably not completly unworth a modicum of interest in their own way.

"maybe a little to prone"
I mean, "a little too prone".

The reason I decided not to be a physics genius after undergrad in physics is because I thought if by chance I didn't become one, (only 99.999% at the time) I'd be an engineer .

It is not plan, of cause.
So, who have relatively good plans? I could recall Modi campaign. And there - India has some obvious problems to solve.
For US there could be hardly such a plan.
Now if any plan could be?

If to counter Trump - there are several ( some could be found in Tyler papers ):
increase efforts in automation - there will be more insourcing in manufacturing etc.
increase efforts with electric cars ( less oil import )
increase efforts with self driving - there will be less congestion on roads.

but those suggestions require much more understanding of tech things, which Clinton, I think, lacks almost completely.

So not having a plan - is just a rational thing for current establishment ( I don't think that Trump has plan either - so just some set of counter words are enough)

And even if any of these people suggested a plan - it looks like few voters would realistically bother.
so we have a game theoretic 'tragedy of elites of rich countries'

#6, this seems more a criticism of modern presidential campaigning than a HRC problem specifically. after all, legislating is done mostly by the legislature, but we act as though the president is the be-all-end-all. every president has a "plan" we elect them on, and then reality sets in.

it seems to me a little intellectually dishonest to use this as an argument against HRC *now*. you might as well criticize her for using platitudes (HOW DARE A POLITICIAN?!?).

He was asked to review her economic plan

And the review is that there is no plan

6. Bizarre, and bordering on incoherent. Is Cochrane losing it?

To summarize Cochrane's points:

- Lots of details with no priorities. (a fine point)
- No cost estimates (not a bad criticism, but doesn't account for the realities of a political campaign)

Here's where things start to get weird - I assume he started drinking?

- No discussion of how she'll accomplish these goals (since when do policy statements come with accompanying legislative strategies? Sharing that information is not only unrealistic, as it's a dynamic process, but would be extremely counterproductive)
- Having policy goals is an unfair repudiation of your predecessors, who didn't accomplish those goals (what? I assume this is where the 1st whiskey starting hitting him)
- By identifying problems that haven't been fixed, Hillary is implying that only she can fix them (2nd whiskey)
- Plans are printed out documents. Because this is on a website, it isn't a plan. (Fucking smashed)

I assume he starts to sober up a little now:
- If people focus on details, they can't accomplish anything (Maybe sobering up? I mean it's a terrible opinion, but it's not insane)
- Because the policy positions don't have a detailed explanation of how they'll be enacted, they're meaningless. (His attempt to salvage the article the next morning?)

One of the worst pieces of reasoning I've read in a long, long time. I am not a Hillary fan, but good god.

Yes, the analysis is asinine. And presumably it could be applied to almost any president who publicly shared any policy goals in his campaign. Except to Trump's, because he has literally almost no policy ideas--except giving Ukraine to Russia.

Cowen: "Judged as a debate, Fama, I mean Cochrane, wins."

My take on Russia is rather different that Ash's. I have been forecasting an August war for the last several months.

Consider some data points. Putin has unexpectedly fired Sergei Ivanov, a close ally and former defense minister. This just as troops are mobilizing. Now why might that be? The WSJ:

“Putin finds it more comfortable to work with people who don’t ask extra questions, who don’t speak to him as an equal,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, an analyst at the Center for Political Technologies, a think tank in Moscow.

What kind of questions might a former defense minister have put to Putin on the eve of an invasion that would get the minister fired? Thoughts, anyone? Let's not see all the same hands.

And more, Russian Build-Up In and Around Ukraine: August 12, 2016

This line is special: "These new deployments [in recent days] constitute a significant expansion of Russia's force projection capabilities and may signal preparations for a large-scale military conflict."

I also encourage you to go to the link and take a close look at the units being mobilized on the map. A lot are naval and air units. I am not aware the Ukrainians have meaningful air and naval capabilities. The only folks with that kind of capability in the region are the Americans. Therefore, the Russians are mobilizing to deter US or NATO intervention. Why would NATO intervene, unless Russia is preparing for a 'large scale conflict'. So what do we mean by a 'large scale conflict'? I think we mean a large foray into Ukraine, maybe all of it. In any event, something big enough that Putin thinks he needs to actively deter NATO, on the one hand, and big enough to cause a parting of the ways with a long time ally with expertise in military matters--right at the opening of hostilities.

We're talking a big bite of the Ukrainian apple.

Um, how many years? Russia did in fact invade Ukraine just two Augusts ago. Russia invasions occurred during the 2008 Olympics (Georgia) and after the Sochi Olympics (2014).

What do you mean, "there would be no point in doing so."? Putin wants to re-assemble Greater Russia. That's the point.

Russia is a conservative power, not a revisionist one.

Are you high? Conservative powers don't invade their neighbors and annex portions of their territory. Russia is a revisionist power; specifically it seeks to revise the consequences of the end of the Cold War.

Russia is more than powerful enough to re-annex Belarus and Kazakhstan. Why hasn’t it done so?

Because it doesn't need or want to. It's already officially in a two-state union with Belarus, and Belorussian president Lukashenko is a staunch client/ally of Putin. Kazakhstan is also run by a "democratically elected" authoritarian and is a fellow member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Krim is not Ukraine anymore.

De facto, no. De jure, yes. Russia's annexation isn't internationally recognized.

#1 on Ukraine - This week's news, from the business section of the link: "Obscure Dutch firm bests two rivals for giant gas field" - Aug. 11, 2016 - "But the move has ignited some controversy: The company, Yuzgaz BV, has not yet disclosed its investors, feeding speculation that people affiliated with the country’s history of corrupt gas deals could be somehow involved." -

Fellow US citizens: is this a country you wish to have enter NATO? Go to war over? Maybe even nuclear war? Hell, I'm Greek and I don't recommend the US aid either Greece or Turkey, and yet some of you wish to bait the Russian bear over Ukraine? Unreal. Diplomacy yes, but hard aid? No way. No more so than the Philippines for that matter, or Greece as I say (which is in the top 10 for military arms purchases, they actually have three or four fairly modern albeit somewhat defective German submarines).

6. This got me curious. So I broke out my old policy-pile playbook: "Putting People First". And lo! deja-vu. Little has changed. Some minor tweaks to the program: All acronyms have been lengthened, Asperger's and Alzheimer's now get equal billing with AIDS, Head Start is upgraded to Early Head Start, Bill's $20B/yr Rebuild America Fund is reborn as Hillary's $25B/yr National Infrastructure Bank -- all in all, much of a muchness to '92. New issues in need of of policy assault include, oddly, all of Bill's big accomplishments.
So are you better off now than you were 24 years ago?
Uh, I think I'll just have the wall, thanks.

It is different. Even Krugman had said in the early 1990's that America didn't need infrastructure investment then (and that that information superhighway thing probably would never catch on anyway). Now America needs it. Also, some things that are better left unmentioned happened between 1992 (or 2000) and 2016, you know.

The doll story is truly heartbreaking. So many women selectively aborted, and this is the consequence.

What is the dating market like for women in China?

I don't know what is going on with the Ukraine situation, although Ash's points mostly look not unreasonable. However, I can report that it appears that Putin may be cracking down/tightening up in Moscow. This is based on personal information from my wife, Marina, who is currently visiting her mother there. On her arrival, her luggage was very seriously searched. This has not happened previously, but can easily be written off. However, when she got to the hotel she regularly stays in, where they know her well, they told her that she should be careful about what she says as the place is now bugged. I was asked not to say anything about politics on the phone. All of this may be local anecdotal stuff, and I have seen no reports in western media about this sort of thing. But that is the news I have.

Regarding Brazil, I do not know about physics there, but it has long been a center of serious high-powered mathematics, people like Peixoto and others. It may have slipped some in more recent years, but still appears to be punching above its weight based on income and general ed levels.

Brazil have discovered the pion, the Urca effect and radio transmission, but peasants destroyed the device because they thought it was the devil talking.

I am being censored by the soulless minions of orthodox.

#6. So Cochrane doesn't like Clinton. OK.

Is he claiming that Trump's "plan" is a good idea? Is TC claiming that?

Obviously not. If you read the linked post you would know because he says that specifically.

The article on "autodidact physicists" reminds me very strongly of some of the crackpot ideas that some people have about accounting and finance. They come about it honestly, they just have never formally studied. Many of their questions are perfectly reasonable - for someone who doesn't know those questions were seriously debated two or more centuries ago.

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