Wednesday assorted links


No, the latest poll shows McMullin in the lead, but the forth will die down by election day.

I meant "froth", of course. And the Emerson College poll shows McMullin leading, which was not included among the polls in the fivethirtyeight article.

There has been much hope in Brazil that Mr. McMullin may get elected. He seems to be the kind of man who can lead the cretion of a kinder, gentler nation. It is not the kind of leader America needs, but it is the kind of leader she deserves.

Latest Rasmussen poll has Trump up by 3 over McMullin.

Within margin of error, but a reversal over the last Rasmussen poll.

Are these the rigged polls, or not?

The ones reviewed by fivethirtyeight?

#3 - I did not see the twist coming ahead of time

Additional twist: centaur chess, as far as anyone can tell, died years ago. Not a very long lifetime. What does this imply about the US military's assurances that there will always be 'a man in the loop'?

#3 - This "Mr. Work" gives credence to the saying military intelligence is an oxymoron, if he first found out about centaurs from TC's book?! And like Rick Hyatt says, centaurs are already being equaled by pure chess playing programs without a human in the loop. - RL

"Mr. Work, 63, first proposed the concept when he led a Washington think tank, the Center for a New American Security. His inspiration, he said, was not found in typical sources of military strategy — Sun Tzu or Clausewitz, for instance — but in the work of Tyler Cowen, a blogger and economist at George Mason University. In his 2013 book, “Average Is Over,” Mr. Cowen briefly mentioned how two average human chess players, working with three regular computers, were able to beat both human chess champions and chess-playing supercomputers.
It was a revelation for Mr. Work. You could “use the tactical ingenuity of the computer to improve the strategic ingenuity of the human,” he said

6. A very nice tribute. More than once I have complimented Boettke for his intellectual honesty, his willingness to support what opponents refer to as "depression economics" (in his tribute to Tollison, Boettke refers to critics of "Australian economics", indicating both Tollison's and Boettke's sense of humor), his willingness to say things that others might find ridiculous (such as that he can support "depression economics" because he has tenure). Of course, Boettke is a radical, along with many if not all of his colleagues, no less a radical than those who plotted the Russian Revolution: radicals on the left and radicals on the right are more alike than different. I should clarify that, while I may admire Boettke for his candor, I don't agree with his radical views any more than I would agree with any radical's views, on the left or on the right. But I am a cradle Episcopalean, which means I believe in moderation in everything.

#3. Wow, Tyler Cowen initiated a worldwide robotic arms race?!

Probably at the behest of the Koch Brother$!

Nah, these days Prof. Cowen is enjoying the largesse of another billionaire.

People like Prof. Cowen can be noted by their flexibility in who they take money from - NYT or Bloomberg or wherever he ends up next (Vox comes to mind), while ensuring that what he writes meets his rigorous standards of not disturbing the status quo desired by the person writing the checks.

It's just a game at this level.

#4: I had no reason to know or care about this guy until people posted pictures of his bulbous head. I once saw a guy with a head like that, but it was somewhat pointed at the top, like the Coneheads. It must be awful going through life with a gigantic head.

There's that and then there is the fact he is only running to try and harm Trump. That's a dick move that will hurt him as much as his gigantic head. No matter how upset you are with your party, voting for a dick is still voting for a dick. At least by voting pothead of the old commie, you can say you're fighting the man or something. Voting for big head just means you're a dick too.

> There’s that and then there is the fact he is only running to try and harm Trump.

On the contrary, he cannot possibly hurt the chances of Trump, and has the best chance to win of any third party candidate in ~50 years. It's only ~1% or so, but given the stakes, it might well be worth the shot.

He can't hurt Trump because there is no split of the current Trump + McMullin vote share that leads to Hillary winning. In order for a third party candidate who is only running in a single state to be a spoiler, the opposing party candidate has to have >33% of the vote share, which Hillary has absolutely no chance of getting in Utah. And since McMullin is only running in Utah, losing it can not result in a Hillary victory, only in a tie with no winner.

If no-one wins a simple majority of electoral college votes, the decision moves to the congress. Congress can then choose any candidate who won at least a single state. So, if McMullin wins Utah, and Hillary and Trump both stay under 270, the Republican congress can choose to elect McMullin.

LOL. 40-yo bachelors who've never held an executive position and still have student loans don't have a lot of favors to dole out.

He would be the weakest president in US history, without even a figment of a mandate for any of his desired policies. To even get elected, he would probably have to whore out pretty much every bit of political influence the executive branch has to the Republican congress.

The only reason I can see congress electing him would be if that was preferable to the house over whatever it is that Clinton and Trump bring. I don't know if that is true.

Figment of a mandate? Mandates are a figment of your imagination.

End of the day, the thing that dictates policy outcomes is the location of the status quo relative to the policy preferences of the 41 votes needed for a filibuster filibuster, the median majority party members, the president, and the 2/3rd needed to override a veto. That's mostly it. Ask Bill Clinton about those honeymoons even when your party controls both chambers.

It was a dick move to tell your supporters that the election is rigged. Is Trump deliberately trying to depress turnout by suggesting that one'e time on election day is better spent going hunting? I mean why bother...

Another knot-head with Trump Derangement Syndrome. Let's assume Trump is Hitler. That does not change the fact that Mellon Head is a giant douche bag and so are his voters.

Let's back that up, and start with your Hitler Derangement Syndrome. There are no bad people after all, only politically incorrect people that other people get excited about.

I see, the people voting against Hitler ("let's assume Trump is Hitler") are douchbags because they are voting against Hitler. OK, then.

I've always seen him as more Mussolini that Hitler.

He's neither, he's Berlusconi but far less capable and a whole lot meaner.

Trump's losing with or without Utah. So who cares how they vote. At least it sends a strong signal to the Republicans that they can't nominate another Trump and expect even hard core Republican voters to go along.

Oh, the irony of talking about dick moves by someone other than Trump. The ultimate dick move was a total clown running for the nomination when the Republicans had the strongest field of candidates in a generation and were facing either a very unpopular Clinton or a socialist.

2012 was the Democrats' year. Romney did about as well as he could. 2016 was the Republicans' year and they're probably going to lose in a landslide. Who's the bigger dick?

It was not a strong field of Republican candidates, as evidenced by how they got routed by Trump.

In the first debate, Hillary kicked Trump's ass all over the debate stage. None of those Republican can point to anything in the same ballpark.

The idea that these Republicans that Trump trounced could have beaten Hillary is pretty thin, IMO.

I dunno, Brian, some of them would have had trouble too like Carson for example. But any of the others would not have been dealing with #NeverTrump and all that. Hillary is the second most disliked candidate ever. Trump is first. For their flaws, none of the other Reps running were that disliked. Sure they wouldn't have the deplorables all fired up, but they'd be much closer to beating the deeply loathed Clinton. aMichael is right, this year is a Rep own goal.

You need to read up on your social choice theory. A first past the post voting system is a terrible method for selecting a candidate when you have multiple strong candidates who split up the vote, leaving room for someone with minority support and big name recognition to "win" with 20 to 30% of the vote.

At the start of the primary, long before anyone really thought Trump had a chance, even left leaning academics were saying that this was a strong field of candidates. I don't see how Rubio, Walker, Bush, Kasich, Fiorina, or Paul could possibly be doing worst than Trump is doing right now. Even Christie with the bridge scandal would be doing better than Trump. As msgkings points out, Clinton's favorability ratings are the worst of any modern day candidates, except for Trump's!

Genius move on the part of Republican voters if it's true that they really wanted him.

And which debate were you watching? Hillary really isn't that great of a debater. If anyone was kicking Trump's butt, it was himself.

I'm so embarrassed for my party.

It's not just me that's saying this year was in the Republican's favor. And this isn't even accounting for Clinton's unfavorability!

#3 would incentivize the strategy of infiltrating the drone operations base or cutting off its supplies. As the Pentagon abandons combat-readiness goals for politically correct goals, it looks to robotics to fill the gap. I think the idea of sterile, no-boots-on-the-ground warfare will ultimately be proved a fantasy.

Better than a living nightmare

Any context for your unmoored statement?

I`ll stand in for Cliff, who may have been set off an automated satellite pro-security system whose anti-1984 sensing device might have honed in on his IP address and exchanged all carbon and water intensive objects in his vicinity to a highly exited pool of subatomic particles.

I`m not so stupid as to be express concern for where we could go, if everyone is too afraid to be called paranoid or just afraid of whoever does related research to express any concerns about it. .

I couldn't tell if he was saying drone warfare was better than boots on the ground, or what.

I guess it depends if you're more worried about the living nightmare involved in inflicting pain, suffering and destruction on foreign people you neither know nor care about (sadly), to the living nightmare of living in a state which used military robots to eradicate any sign of opposition.

Similar incentives as "the air war". Be it Korea, Vietnam, or the Gulf Wars, the US has always owned the air, but that was never enough to ensure victory. Boots on the ground ultimately decide the outcome of wars.

Only if there's no political will to Dresden the whole joint.

You still have to go in and occupy the place unless you're just going to kill everything that moves. Hard to imagine that scenario, even with Democrats, crazed with blood-lust at the thought of a baker somewhere not baking a gay couple's wedding cake.

Yeah, I had forgotten how the "kill the Iraqis because our Saudi friends attacked us" crowd was peaceful and hated wars. Oh, God, this people is real.

Those people can speak for themselves. President Peace Prize has five wars going on right now.

#5: If you think any of this will actually amount to a hill o' beans, you're more optimistic than I am.

What, the Paul Romer at the World Bank story? It was a fluff piece, and "shaking things up" at the World Bank hardly sounds impossible.

#5: Why does the World Bank still exist?


Newton's First Law? "Lex I: Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum, nisi quatenus a viribus impressis cogitur statum illum mutare." (objects in motion stay in motion; bureaucracies created stay created)

To stimulate the peaceful development of societies around the world.

To keep existing.

3. Ever since crude intelligence came into military tech, the human role as been incrementally reduced. Pilots fly by wire, a missile "lock" is a missile saying "I can do this." Or "let me go, boss."

I guess it is a bit surprising that humans on the battlefield could be obsoleted in my lifetime, or very near it. I didn't see that coming. Neither did Hollywood, or if they did Robocop and Terminator were inferior anthropomorphic examples with which we could relate. A war movie that's nothing but cheap and disposable drone against cheap and disposable drone isn't going to have the human arc.

Is anyone doing good near-future science fiction on this? A nation that sends only drones to a country much like Iraq could win by taking out all opposing military tech .. but then what? If you haven't killed any soldiers, just drones, is it harder to convince a population that they just lost?

Shorter term it will be flying bombs that can ID an AK-47 against insurgent training camps, and that won't be pretty for the insurgents.

I don`t think they'd try to occupy a country by drones per se, so much as use the drones in support of psychological and other warfare to favour some party to the conflict assumed to be more likely to do what you want them to do (perhaps they have similar values or objectives, can be easily bought, or are easily intimidated or servile ...)

Imagine, for example, a tacit strategy of sending drone battalions in support of militants who oppose whatever regime dares to criticize Murika or equip their armed forces with non-Murikan weapons or some such thing.

In the short term for sure, but the thing about science fiction is that you extrapolate from the present to an extreme version in the future. Humans trying to live while robots do all the fighting is once such extreme. Maybe robots banned from driving in US cities but licensed to kill overseas?

Shorter term invaders set up secure bases, perimeters patrolled by drones, sending out sorties of more drones? This is also a future I didn't see coming.

#6..."It was a revelation for Mr. Work. You could “use the tactical ingenuity of the computer to improve the strategic ingenuity of the human,” he said."

" improve the strategic ingenuity of the human..." He must be referring to a species I'm unaware of. At least he didn't have an epiphany. It's about time someone compared Prof. Cowen to Sun Tzu and Clausewitz. Good work ,Mr. Work. Let them fly off to find our enemies wherever they be.

#3...Pardon me.

The #3 comments thread was upstream Don...unless you are the kind of guy, like Henry Kissinger, who only references himself. ;-) Like seeing a room full of luminaries when dining alone in Versailles Hall of Mirrors...

Is that true about Kissinger?

3. Centaur warfare in the American military

Australian researchers are way ahead of the Pentagon when it comes to kill bot technology:

"Initially, the bots worked under human supervision, with a researcher on a wifi connected boat, confirming that the bot had identified a crown-of-thorns starfish before it delivered the blow. Eventually, though, the researchers were confident that they could remove the human element and leave the bots to their own devices."

"Eventually, though, the researchers were confident that they could remove the human element and leave the bots to their own devices."
Haven't those guys ever watched a movie?! It seems like the tagline for a Terminator prequel (note to self: pitch the idea of a Terminator prequel).

You're not Brazilian at all, are you....

"3 3. Centaur warfare in the American military"

"Then came the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. That day, it took just six hours for the United States military to disregard decades of legal and ethical norms and order unrestricted submarine warfare against Japan. American submarines went on to devastate Japan’s civilian merchant fleet during World War II, in a campaign that was later acknowledged to be tantamount to a war crime."

Well that's a classic NYT's post ignoring the other side of the story. The Japanese started unrestricted attacks on the US merchant marine immediately following Pearl Harbor. It was months before the US responded in kind.

"Over a seven-day period, from December 18 to 24, 1941, nine Japanese submarines positioned at strategic points along the U.S. west coast attacked eight American merchant ships, of which two were sunk and two damaged.

The nine subs were strategically located–based on prewar intelligence–to give them the best opportunity to attack the shipping lanes most commonly used by American merchantmen. "

That bit on the end struck me too.

And since when has the blockade of Japan been acknowledged to be tantamount to a war crime?

Naturally, under the second amendment, people will need their own attack bots.

How else are we supposed to resist tyranny if the state has attack bots that could shut down any movement in seconds or minutes without our own attack bots to resist such tyranny?

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