Monday assorted links


3. Is there a source where we can track the prices of Renaissance works over the centuries?

Eg: How has the valuation of Mona Lisa changed from 1517 till date? (in constant dollars)

The Louvre was the sole owner of "la Joconde" since Da Vinci's death. François 1er bought it for 4000 écus (12kg of gold), so around $500k in today's terms. A hefty price at that time.

In Europe in 1492 the amount of gold on Europe was somewhere well south of 2000 tonnes of gold, maybe not much more than 1000 tonnes.

Today we are getting close to 190,000 total tonnes mined, the vast majority of which is still accessible.

Many economists have showed that gold was pretty much a good hedge against inflation throughout history. I won't be off by a large factor.

2. Slumber: "Unlike that other blogger who cowardly hides behind the controversial claims of his alter ego, Sumner will affirm that everything I say is true." Oh, my!

5. Who, or what, is the alter ego? They allow almost anyone (anyone?) to mount a horse in dressage, but impose strict rules on what the rider may mount. I favor equal treatment of rider and mount: either impose strict rules on who may mount, or let the rider choose her mount.

1. We can already predict that all this will be costly to maintain for taxpayers with no real benefits in terms of quality of life.

6. Did they also take pictures of the children the U.S. government can not apparently keep track of?

4. Should we take it as a given that advances in "offensive" military technology will generally outpace advances in "defensive" technology? If so, should that make us pessimistic about the future of human civilization?

'If so, should that make us pessimistic about the future of human civilization?'

Depends on how one views a MAD world, mainly.

But it is fascinating to read the end of that article, and to see several different viewpoints in policing being represented - 'For instance it says law enforcement could counter “illegal protests” by setting fire to banners from a long distance.

It also says protest leaders could be targeted by setting fire to their clothing or hair which, the document says, would mean they lose “the rhythms of their speech and powers of persuasion”.

But one Beijing police officer said he would prefer to stick to more traditional crowd-control methods such as tear gas, rubber bullets or electrical stun guns, such as tasers.

“The laser burn will leave a permanent scar,” he said. He said it would be a “horrid sight” that risked causing panic or transforming a peaceful protest into a riot.'

#6. Have ridden both horses and mules. Mules are smarter, in my experience.

3. Vasari is no guide to anything economic. What a bizarre metric. His prejudices, based on his own artistic tastes, now look just that. Any evidence his prejudices were shared widely? This paper just looks like desperation. Of course there was competition, of course there was a short list, of course there was favouritism. You really think a C21st analysis of C15th prices can reveal something useful? This reeks of the arrogance of economists.

6.) in draft after draft of my writing, I find nuts and bolts that I cannot keep. Too much of my research must be placed in the trash, like a reggae band that is no longer my favorite.

4. 1,000 shots that powerful from a battery that small? I doubt it.

I assume that "like in a cell phone" meant the tech, not the size.

Assume a burly 10wH battery (size of two phablet batteries or old-style laptop batteries) and it works out to about 80w of power over the two-second pulse.

Still dubious about ignition at half a mile, let alone "instant carbonization and setting you on fire" because that's not how clothing fires normally work.

Also dubious about spread and fragility if it's even "real"-real; beam-spread and atmospheric conditions make you lose on-target power.

I'll believe any of it when independent sources confirm it.

The whole thing is 6-7 pounds. Maybe that is without a battery. Powerful batteries are heavy. And large. I don't have any idea how much power it would take to light fuel on fire through its tank, but I doubt 80w would do it. Especially at any distance.

"but I doubt 80w would do it. Especially at any distance."

A typical hair dryer is around 1,500 watts, so this seems highly unlikely. Currently the US military is experimenting with ship mounted 60 kW lasers.

A magnifying glass used in sunlight to start a fire is probably only focusing a couple of watts. So if a laser is 80 watts that's 40 times the energy. Lasers are much better at cutting through steel than wet stuff, but even if it was fired at an angle where it could directly hit a typical car's fuel tank it is going to be hard to cut through and then it's going to have trouble setting the fuel on fire. Hollywood styles explosions seem very unlikely.

I read it as the device, *not* the battery, is capable of 1000 shots - similar to the limitation on how many rounds a gun barrel (especially sniper) is 'good' for. Once an organic material is carbonized, it becomes IR opaque, hence an IR laser is limited to surface damage. If I make an article of clothing out of nitrocellulose, then who would be surprised that heating it might cause a fire? I have zero idea whether 800m is plausible, I would assume that to mean possibly at say, 80,000 ft altitude. That is, these numbers are not "typical" but "best case". And of course this is an offensive rather than defensive weapon, since lasers have enormous difficulty propagating in the presence of humidity and especially precipitation or fog. Not to mention the fact that (IR) reflective surfaces will be quite resistant...I had/have eye damage from a laser I played with in high school back in the 1960's (table top optics experiments). While distances were feet not hundreds of meters, it is true that both lasing efficiency and battery power has increased substantially since then. To my (ignorant) way of thinking, this will be a fairly ineffective terrorist weapon, only useful in very special circumstances. Who wants to carry a weapon that is unreliable (except in very special circumstances)?

(I wasn't clear that) heating plastic might not only cause surface carbonization but melting, which would be a problem for plastic (fuel) tanks. I am dubious that a single weapon would be a problem for a large fuel facility, but IDK. The obvious target is sensors, which while hard to hit, will likely be destroyed if hit. Reflective foil, I'd guess, will be a very effective counter to this technology. Of course, with stationary targets, a thin reflective skin might be vulnerable. Glass is not particularly IR transparent, it'll also be a problem. Kinda reminds me of the bows & arrows US troops supposedly used back in VIet Nam. Special circumstance. Of course, a butter knife is a "special circumstance" weapon, too.

Thanks, Li. 1,000 shots for the gun, not the battery is likely the right interpretation.

Even thought the comment about the 1,000 shots is in the same paragraph that mentions the battery. The author should have put the 1,000 shots information in the paragraph about the gun's weight. (Assuming you are correct about the interpretation.)

#1 nothing about the investment return of a smart city. will the Google guys be cheaper ( more efficient) than existing bureaucracies? for example, data and brains may lead to save 50 watt/hr per person, but how much does it cost to save energy?

Ps I had a good laugh at the libertarian seatsteadings. they already exist but people don't want to go there for work, just go on vacation for sex, drugs and alcohol.

The most important things in life - younger women; older whisky; faster cars; more money; and disconsolate liberals.

And watching my wife take it from mandingo! Can't forget that one!

Eat a dick!

What if you could incorporate sex drugs and alcohol into your work?

You'd probably be working in Hollywood?

Might want to ask Trump that one.

#1 - I think they will be "shaping up" for quite a while.

North America has too few cities. I'm always puzzled why these radical strategies have to be pursued in already crowded and economically distorted areas with tons of legacy government.

Entrepreneurial people used to build cities from the ground up in the frontier. There's no more frontier but there's still lots of empty land available for development. But entrepeneurs these days don't seem to want to venture away from their affinity networks and good restaurants.

6. Will Rachel Maddow cry on air while doing a segment on this piece?

Rachel Maddow should be shipped off to Mesopotamia and bukkake’d by ISIS.

4. I guess I'm the only one bothered with Tyler using a Stark Trek reference for an article referencing Star Wars.

I'm wondering whether it was a genuine mistake, or some kind of subtle Straussian snub to Star Trek fans. Or maybe he just actually thinks the technology is more reminiscent of Star Trek than Star Wars, regardless of what the author of the linked piece thinks. We can never know for sure.

Never a dull moment at MR.

#4 I would burn Red China with nuclear fire.

I would put you in jail to be ass-raped.

5. They should not let this happen, it would destroy equestrian as we know it.

Anyone who has ever been around mules knows that they would quickly dominate if allowed to compete, mules are like awesome donkeys who do horse stuff better than horses. Heck mares tend to prefer jack donkeys to stallions if they are unmolested and given the opportunity. If there was more interest in racing mules, they could probably produce ones that go faster than any modern horse and in these ridiculously crowded Triple Crown races the intelligence of even a three year old mule would be a huge advantage.

The chief drawback, which cloning will eliminate is lucrative lost foaling opportunities for female thoroughbreds.

4. "Stun"? More like "Set phasers to 'crispy'".

1) I want to know what James C Scott thinks about this.

On the one hand, we have the promise of a proven tech company (though not exactly in this field) applying its resources to a longstanding problem.

On the other hand, we have a long history of failed Utopias, including failed urban Utopias such as Brasilia. The quote from Doctoroff, who heads Sidewalk: ”There's chaos out there. Together we can bring order.” makes me think this is going to be another failure. It seems like cities are about harnessing chaos rather than creating order, though in fairness I don't think I could give a serious account of what the difference is.

Scott Slumber and Tyrone sound like they could be friends.

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