Friday assorted links


2. Ahh, so human beings behave irrationally because we are presented with lots of choices. When choosing between 2 / 3 options, the preferences become a lot clear. #EarthShattering

We had two choices for President. Not sure America made the rational choice.


4. Lesson teachers must teach lessons. And the lesson teachers have dominated our foreign policy especially in the middle east. Indeed, Trump's top foreign policy adviser, John Bolton, is the prince of the lesson teachers, starting with his obsession with teaching a lesson to the Iranians. Unfortunately, lesson teaching in foreign policy merely heightens the potential for violence and instability and prolongs the suffering. What's essential in foreign policy are attainable goals, short term, medium term, and long term, the most important short term goal the peace on which to build medium and long term goals. Lesson teachers must teach lessons, that's their mission in life, but it's counter-productive.

Broad sanctions don't seem very effective at stopping rogue governments, and they do a lot of harm to the ordinary people of the country.

That said, it may be biased to look at only cases where sanctions were imposed. Bad behavior may be deterred by the threat of sanctions (and that's harder to measure).

That said, the proposed plan sounds like a mess. It relies too much on trustworthy actors to carry it out effectively, and typically that doesn't happen (it's a bit reminiscent of the Oil-for-food program for Iraq--remember how that turned out?).

Too many moving parts, but that’s a feature for TC.

Nothing like punishing a country on behest of Israel. That spells legitimacy to normal Iranians. Kind of like Iraqis greeting US troops with roses in Baghdad...dumb-ass neocons at it again with optimistic, linear great ideas.

Many moving parts is also a feature of reality, something a lot of commenters like Rich Berger who think they understand it all in their little world.

...and centrally planned, foreign intervention, feel good, do-gooder, "good intentioned", sunk cost sinkhole great ideas that rely on oversimplified, over-optimistic assumption have a great track record also?

Speaking of good ideas and good intentions:

"Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran"

-John "Resist" McCain

Fact: America has invaded more countries than Haiti yet America has done much better economically and politically than Haiti.

Fact: China's centrally planned economy has done much, much better than Somalia's free market, anything goes economy.

Fact: You got pwned on the interwebs again. Now go home and cry on your little anime pillow and kvetch with your fellow 4chan losers. can't argue with facts and logic.

"It relies too much on trustworthy actors to carry it out effectively..." What? Surely the UN will be 100% on board with an Israeli plan to control the Iranian oil market. What puzzles me is, will this happen before or after they deny Israel's right to exist?

What if America's policy toward China back in the 1970s and 1980s were one of lesson teaching, so that China firms would be allowed to produce goods for American firms only if China did what America demanded that China do; otherwise, America would teach China a lesson by, for example, denying payment by the American firms for the goods produced by China firms. What would China be like today if America's policy toward China had been based on lesson teaching rather than mutual cooperation and respect. Would China have devoted the past 40 years to investing in productive capital and engaging with America and the West as trading partners, or would China have rejected the lesson teaching and devoted the past 40 years to investing in armaments to protect China from interference in its sovereignty by the American lesson teachers?

You should use the word "lesson" more often - so far you have used the word "lesson" 13 times in 9 sentences, which is clearly not enough for such a beautiful word. You should shoot for at least 2 per sentence.

Btw, Xzibit approves of your writing.

For those who have not followed the details of the U.S.-China trade negotiations, the parties are at a stalemate not because China won't agree to purchase more American-made goods (they have agreed), but because China has refused America's demand that America have veto power over China's fiscal policy. The absurdity of the demand is matched only by the ignorance of those demanding it. Why would China, a sovereign nation, allow another country to set its fiscal policy? Of course, the point of the demand is to stop China from investing in productive capital, including infrastructure, which has catapulted China to the China miracle, while America deindustrializes and its infrastructure deteriorates. MAGA has been swapped for MCLGA (make China less great again) as the strategy for competing with China.

3: If I am an simple auto mechanic how can I stay afloat in this flood of fake news? To suggest I merely check the url is fanciful. Only superseded in sillyness by the suggestion of independent fact checking for every page I land on.

If you can fix cars, surely you know that correlation doesn't imply causality, and the causal arrow in this case probably runs in the other direction. Or maybe you just know that complex, tortured statistics, as interpreted by journalists, almost always results in garbage interpretations that fit nicely with the priors of whoever is on the case.

Shorter version: Don't trust any News source, they are all biased. Just assume the truth is probably somewhere in the opposite direction of their bias.

If you follow Alex Jones at Infowars, QAnon's twitter feed, and Russia Today you will be better informed than the mindless liberals that read the New York Times or Washington Post. Trust me on this.

4. A plan that only an intellectual would love. I think Trump has a better plan.

#4 was crazy: an Iranian economist based in DC telling the Jerusalem Post in an op-ed how Iranian oil money can be held in escrow and invested for the Iranian people, when and if they reform. Too complicated. Trump's 'better plan' might be to simply nuke 'em. After all he has no real estate in that part of the world.

>Trump's 'better plan' might be to simply nuke 'em.

You keep saying that, but he certainly doesn't seem to have the same appetite for starting new wars in new countries the way Obama did.

Funny that.

Obama's intentions were honorable and the wars he started or continued were just.

What new war did Obama start?

I remember seeing that at one time, he was bombing 7 different countries. That's more than W did.

Trump's plan seems to be to get himself and Junior hauled off to jail. At least if he chooses not resign. I love me some impeachment and cream, don't you?

6. Says Boaz Barak: "Entering the event horizon should not feel particularly special (a condition physicists colorfully refer to as “no drama”). Indeed, as far as I know, it is theoretically possible that 10 years from now a black hole would be created in our solar system with a radius larger than 100 light years. If this future event will happen, this means that we are already in a black hole event horizon even though we don’t know it."

Could any contemporary cosmographer, astrophysicist, physicist, or mathematician devise a helpful thought experiment suggesting that our hurling planet smacked into the event horizon of a black hole long, long ago (extra points to the theorist who can plot the likely points where and when our poor planet encountered this phenomenon: was it c. 65 million years ago? c. 2 million years ago? c. 6000 years ago? only 500 years ago? sometime only in the past century?)?

#6, yeah, the blog post was not helpful. At first, it seemed the author was addressing a lay audience (references to "Flatland" is always a give away that this is the case) then the author switched gears with the "we're maybe already in a black hole" and finally made noise about the famous Hawking bet and added how we are a Hilbert space with 1 extra dimension than reality (i.e., reality is 2D not 3D). Weird stuff.

Bonus trivia: if no information is ever lost in any radiation, might it be possible to reconstruct early images of the earth, somewhere? Maybe how the earth (and all radiation, optical, microwave, etc) looked 10, 100, 1000 or one million years ago? It would be a great way to solve crime as well as come to definite answers about famous figures in history: did they really do what was said they did? What really happened in 0 CE, 630 CE, and September 22, 1827 AD?

..."I’m a beginner to physics,..."

No kidding ; guess what we would have been deluged with if the guy was "well-versed" in Physics.

4. Correct me if I'm wrong - but in most cases I remember when the World Bank gave financial advices it resulted in catastrophic failure for the receipent country's economy, like in Latin America. Why would Iran want to become an experiment for an institution that - as far as I know - has no established track records in keeping economies on the track? Even stagnation or a controlled recession sounds better than that.

Are you saying you doubt that the Jerusalem Post has the best interests of Iranians at heart?

Are you saying the Iranian author who wrote the op-ed published in the Jerusalem Post was an Israeli double agent?

We are told that da Joos are a crafty lot.

#3: With hindsight, the Times should have avoided terms like “landmark” and “breathtaking,” and should probably have avoided mentioning specific results at all.

Disagree. All the best unbiased reporting techniques use subjective terms to tell the reader how to think.

3. The sanest article from Slate in years.

Indeed. It harkens back to the days when Slate published good journalistic pieces.

What happened to Slate? I used to read them 2006-2009 and thought they were great, but then stopped because I generally read online news less due to lack of time. I came back right around the turn of 2013 into 2014, and it was complete garbage which, as I continued to read it for the next year and a half, only got worse and worse, with the usual left-wing Brooklyn hipster articles about cultural appropriation controversies, etc. What tipped them over the edge? The 2012 election? The Zimmerman trial? I ask because I've seen this happen to far too many publications which, back in the mid-2000s, appeared great.

2. A case of Parroto efficiency ?

5. Music: The art form that has not improved in 300 years.

Not a Beethoven guy I guess?

False. Beiber and Taylor Swift have more likes than Beethoven or Bach. Music is that good these days. I feel sorry for older generations that put up with bad music. They really missed out.

5 sounds rushed to me. I prefer Horowitz

4. Let's assume this convoluted plan gets implemented without a hitch and the actors with power to decide prices and buyers act honestly, it ignores the history of Iran and how its people feel about having their national natural resource controlled by foreigners.

One of the grievances that lead to the nationalization of oil in the 50s was the perception (fair or unfair) of oppression in having the Brits control oil production and export and the share of that income that went to Iran.

This plan will bring back echoes of that dark time.

I could be wrong. The Iranian people, with their high baseline level of antisemitism, may welcome this Israeli plan with open arms.

Are we really imposing extreme economic hardship on the Iranians? They keep reporting higher and higher PPP GDP per capita, as high as Mexico's and above the world average. If that's punishment, we're not very effective at it.

Regarding #4, note that the highest ranked female chess player is 88th in the world. The idea that in any mental competition, women will be about half of the very top participants, has been disproven.

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