Saturday assorted links

1. A nuclear-powered cruise missile.

2. Thread on Kashmir stability.

3. Arnold Kling + Martin Gurri.

4. “It was found that both attorneys and physicians are disciplined at a rate at least seven times that of CPAs. While the majority of disciplinary actions are for misconduct directly related to the professional practice, nearly 14% of sanctions were the result of “social crimes” such as failure to pay child support or student loans, driving under the influence, and general unprofessional conduct.”  Link here.

5. “Mud is a family business; it has been for more than half a century. For decades, baseball’s official rule book has required that every ball be rubbed before being used in a game. Bintliff’s mud is the only substance allowed.

6. Science fiction patents.


1. Is that what blew up this week? Ah well, I'm sure a beautiful letter will mitigate the risk.

Or perhaps an attempt to “civilize” slash tame Russia should be made. Maybe turn Russia into a kind of European ally — and she is a half European power anyhow — so that at least she’s not an adversary. There are after all bigger problems on the world stage...

Proof of the Trump-Epstein conspiracy

Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide on 8/10/19.

8 + 10 + 19 = 37

The name Bill Barr has 8 letters.

37 + 8 = 45

Donald Trump is the 45th President.

The signs are there. Don't let the media fool you


No doubt the Clintons did it.

Well said.

Yeah, the Clintons probably whacked him.

Trump got scared of what Epstein knew about him and Katie Johnson. He had Barr take Jeff off suicide watch to put in the final hit, but he miscalculated. This isn't going to go away. #TrumpBodyCount

Possibly but the report I saw said it was a liquid fuel rocket.

6. I thought this was going to a link to this Metafilter info from Aug. 5 'The United States Navy has filed a series of patents for technologies that have a whiff of the science fictional about them. These include room temperature superconductors, a high power electromagnetic field generator, and a Hybrid Underwater Aerospace Craft craft that uses an "inertial mass reduction device" for locomotion. All of the patents are written by Salvatore Cezar Pais, who might be a real person. Does this have anything to do with the Navy's UFO sightings?'

Government patents are a bad idea and a mess.

What do you have in mind, Thiago? The demise, or faux-demise, of Mr Epstein?

I am not Mr. Ribeiro. No, I am not talking about Mr. Epstein. I am talking about Indian aggression.

Also, dearieme, what do you mean 'faux-demise'?

2. I have a paper in production which should clarify these issues. In brief, my hypothesis was that global media consumption offers an insight into national character. Analyzing Hulu usage statistics for India as a whole, and Kashmir in particular, we discovered a familiar pattern. While classic Mission Impossible is the most popular television in India, Kashmir prefers Friends by a 3:1 margin. This is a clear danger sign, first documented in Brazil and Paraguay. Paraguayan MI fans are vigilant in protecting their democracy, but complacent Friends fans in Brazil let their nation deteriorate as they worry about Rachel and Ross. Be vigilant Kashmir!

It is not true at all! Most Brazilians don't like Friends. Also there has been no deterioration whatsoever. Quite the opposite. Brazilians have delivered themselves from a communist dictatorship.

#4. Another piece of evidence that CPAs are boring people. :-)

#6 - Sci-Fi patents, well known in the field, but, should you try and get a patent on keeping a head alive, as happened in the 1980s, akin to that Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi movie, you'll find that after you get your patent there's such a public outcry that the US Patent Office will try and revoke the patent (based on a true story).

#2...I don't know what the answer is to keeping a lid on border disputes, such as Kashmir and the enduring Korea/ Japan dispute, but ignoring them is not the answer. I know John Bolton's answer will be to invade Iran.

I think America should be much more assertive. We should make the Asians understand it is either our way or the highway.

#1...This idea is insane. Are you telling me we should trust these missiles not to fall to Earth occasionally unplanned? We consistently overestimate our technical abilities. Having nuclear weapons flying constantly overhead is mind altering.

5: Good article, I remember reading about baseball mud decades ago -- it may very well have been the 1981 SI article that's cited by this article. This new article provides a lot more information however, with price and quantity stated, a photo of the proprietor, and seemingly tell-tale amounts of information about the secret source of the mud.

How hard would it be to tail Bintliff and find his secret location? But perhaps he is pursuing a strategy of limit pricing, keeping his price (and the rents that he collects from his knowledge of the secret) low enough that it's not worth it for a potential competitor to try to locate the secret spot? $12K per year is not very much but there are also the minor league teams and the NFL; still his gross revenue might be below six figures.

MLB and Rawlings might be well-advised to keep pursuing a synthetic solution. Who knows what rising sea levels, climate change, or changes in watershed runoff might do to the quality of that mud?

The secret mud location reminds me of Uncle Milton's Ant Farms: where do they get the ants? Milton Levine had a secret location in the Mojave Desert and paid his ant pickers a penny an ant, as shown in this classic episode of Videolog, a hyper-local hyper-mini documentary series filmed by Huell Howser for public TV in Los Angeles. This video is an update 20 years later but it crucially starts with the original Videolog episode, which is much better than the update:

I should add that there seems to be competition in the world of ant farms, maybe these competitors found alternative sources of ants?

And "ant farm" is trademarked by Uncle Milton. But "formicaria" were patented years earlier:

I conjecture that those earlier companies didn't have a secret ant source as good as Uncle Milton's.

2: Not bad, but rather than trying to draw analogies with the statistical concepts of within-group and between-group variance, I think he'd be better off using more directly applicable models from political science or sociology. Because it's not just the quantitative similarities or differences that matter: they're merely the superficial indicators of what's truly going on namely the various groups' cultures and social affiliation or alienation from each other.

I'm reminded of how, when Virginia attempted to secede from the US in 1861, part of the state refused and seceded from the secessionists. It took a military campaign to settle the issue (with Robert E. Lee being defeated by of all people George McClellan) but they did succeed and formed a new separate state, West Virginia that stayed in the Union.

Still, he's correct that we want to pay attention to groups similarities and differences from each other, as well as their degree of integration or segregation. Tyler could've linked to this article (in the guise of a quiz) about identify, polarization, and partisanship in the US, which does not make one optimistic:

It does not explain similar separatist demand by Sikhs in Punjab - Punjab had plenty of within group variance and sikhs were well integrated till that point.
Internal factors - dissatisfaction with development -are voiced by religious leaders (they don't have to fix anything). External factors - funding from Pakistan and other muslim nations foster separatist movement. Note most civil wars today are with Muslim groups with Saudi Arabia and other muslim nations providing the money. During cold war US or USSR were doing the same and most civil wars ended with cold war ending. The whole theory here suffers from "illusion of validity" bias.

Punjab had plenty of within group variance and sikhs were well integrated till that point.

The old (British) Punjab, even what was left in India had been split into multiple states in the 1960s. The Punjab that erupted in violence in the 80s was quite homogeneous, heavily majority Sikh. Add to that there was a connection to a diaspora in Canada that had no emotional attachment to the idea of modern India and was rich enough and committed enough to support separatism in its spiritual homeland.

#1) "[Russia's nuclear-powered cruise missile] is designed to evade U.S. defenses, flying for hours or even days to exploit holes in missile defense networks that most weapons can’t reach."

I'm old enough to remember being told that it would never be feasible to have a missile defense system capable of shooting down Russian nuclear weapons. Is that still the case or do we actually have a missile defense that can stop Russian attacks with some reasonable probability? If not, then why would Russia spend money on a new missile if its old ones are still capable of penetrating US defenses?

Secondly, the conventional wisdom is that the Soviet Union collapsed because its weak economy couldn't afford to keep up with the US in an arms race. They wen't broke trying. Although Russia may have made some economic gains by shedding some of its centralized economic planning, it still remains a poor country. Why would they re-engage now in an arms race? Was the conventional wisdom wrong or is Putin just repeating the mistakes of the past? Putin may be ruthless, but he does not strike me as stupid. Maybe, he reads 21st Century America as unwilling or politically incapable of outspending the Russians this time around??

Who says Russia needs to spend a lot? After all, if you believe conventional wisdom, they had a big impact on the last election with a rather modest budget. Or at least created the perception that they did. Perhaps there is a similar goal here.

Even though ICBMs can't reliably be defended against, we can at least see them coming. That's not necessarily true for cruise missiles, which can fly close to the ground and evade detection.

Also, most ICBMs are only accurate to within a few hundred meters. Cruise missiles are typically much more accurate.

So, a cruise missile being described has significant new features beyond being able to penetrate existing defenses. Whether they're worth the cost of development is another matter.

An ICBM mostly follows a ballistic trajectory after the boost phase, and thus one can predict where its going to be before it gets there.

But a cruise missile does not have to be predictable as it remains powered.

The advantage of the ICBM over a cruise missile is its much greater velocity. Which perhaps is why the arms race in cruise missiles is trending toward hypersonic speeds.

Then again, a "cruise missile" could be a stealthy submarine which, although slow, can remain undetected until it's too late.

But perhaps the most effective delivery system would be to sneak nuclear weapons into a potential enemy's territory in shipping containers, and just hide them in major cities where they can be remotely detonated. Perhaps without revealing who placed the nuke, or who detonated it.

Hasn't practically everyone declared the "internet of things" to be the manifest future?

2. It did not take long to see where that thread was going: justification for Indian settlements in Kashmir dressed up as scientific analysis.

Sure, but the current status quo allows Kashmiris to settle anywhere in India while other Indians are not allowed to settle in Kashmir.

If you believe Kashmir is not a part of India and should not be a part of India, "corrective" action to fix this asymmetry will seem unjust to you, but almost all Indians other than those that live in the Kashmir valley consider the valley to be a part of India and think they have done right by Kashmir. (The Indian army occupied Kashmir as a result of secessionism and militancy, not the other way round.)

justification for Indian settlements in Kashmir

Huh. I guess immigration really is replacement.

CPA's, much harder to fuck up...

Most of the work they do doesn’t have a true outcome, so it is hard to tell when they aren’t doing work up to professional standards. Unless a client is convicted of tax evasion or a company goes bankrupt, nobody is really checking the quality of a CPA’s work, the PCAOB notwithstanding.

Richard Feynman on nuclear rockets and scifi patents. I think he even owns the scifi-patent on nuclear rockets

Regarding the mud; why is it so cheap? It’s a useful product with a single source of supply. Surely he could charge $200 a container and still maintain his customer base. I understand not wanting to go too high, since a key part of the business model is being left in peace, but $100 per can seems low.

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