Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snips of Science, Tech and Politics


Think I'm kidding about "sousveillance" and people-power vision? Now citizen protesters have drones! This video shows the view from a Polish RoboKopter with video camera. Getting an aerial view is the next step in compelling DIY citizen video.



== Antimatter and FTL Neutrinos? ==
 
The world's largest atom smasher, designed as a portal to a new view of physics, has produced its first peek at the unexpected: bits of matter that don't mirror the behavior of their antimatter counterparts.  This could alter our understanding of matter and anti-matter...or provide a clue to why our cosmos is only made (largely) of one kind.

And yes, there’s been a lot of interest in the recent neutrino experiments in Italy. Does a recent result that replicates the “faster-than-light finding” actually prove it??

Well, I remain skeptical.

1- this new result comes from the same pair of facilities in the alps and Italy; it's not a confirmation.

2- it's very hard to synch the clocks.  Show me you’ve done that and measured the distance properly.

3-  if neutrinos traveled FTL with any consistency they would have arrived months before the light from supernova 1987a, instead of right on time. A hundred thousand light-year journey. Any systematic exceeding of the speed of light would be noticed!

One suggestion that would explain the 1987a results, yet allow something anomalous over the very short, initial distance from Switzerland to Italy? It’s been suggested that perhaps some neutrinos bump out of our "brane" just after being made, then settle back in and travel normally. Very sci fi-ish idea.

== Political matters ==

The IRS has opened new enforcement offices overseas, beefed up staffing and expanded cooperation with foreign governments. A similar disclosure program in 2009 has so far netted $2.2 billion in back taxes, penalties and fines, from people with accounts in 140 countries.

Between the two disclosure programs, a total of 30,000 tax cheats have come clean. "The world has clearly changed," IRS Commissioner Shulman said. "We have pierced international bank secrecy laws, and we're making a serious dent in offshore tax evasion... Unlike a few years ago, it's very clear now that there's a real price to be paid for people who think they can hide offshore and not pay their taxes."

You’ll be hearing the “class war” refrain for years. Gather some capsule, one-sentence answers:

* Across 6000 years, 99% of human cultures were pyramid-shaped, and the owner-lords were the ones who oppressed both freedom and competitive markets. Try reading Adam Smith!  So why this effort to demonize every elite EXCEPT the lords?

* Only one generation of human beings did not know “class warfare” - the Post-World War II generation that lived in the miracle that FDR built - a vigorous capitalist-entrepreneurial market and booming middle class... amid the flattest non-pyramidal social order ever seen. The first time ever that self-made millionaires outnumbered the inheritance brats.

Sure, some FDR regulations were excessive. But just try to argue with those results.  The crux: as the anti-FDR cult grew ever-more vituperative and bitter toward America's most popular president ever, it tore down everything he built... all three of those vital metrics of US national health have diametrically reversed.  And this is good for America... how?

Why are people who make grand pronouncements so unwilling to let their opinions change, when shown the failure of their predictions?

* Ask your "ostrich" friends: "Tell us how to avoid “class war” now that 400 families own a greater share of our wealth than 50% of Americans. Is there some disparity that would finally make you worry? When they own more than 75%...Perhaps more than 90%? WHEN will you admit that we’ve returned to the normal condition that reigned in 99% of human cultures? Then will you admit that FDR wasn’t Satan, or that our parents in the "greatest generation" weren't complete idiots, after all?"

All right, some of that sounds “liberal.” I guess I’ll be accused of that leaning even more, after my next posting about Ayn Rand.  But I promise, I’ll skewer some on the other side, soon!  Also remember this. Libertarians - especially Ayn Rand followers - are not "right-wingers." They have their own perspective and I'll show that it is a very close cousin of ... Marxism.


== The Abortion fight ... and the Bible ==

Mississippi voters recently defeated a ballot initiative proclaiming that life begins at conception. Here's an eye-opening letter in the LA Times by Sandy Smith... and one wonders why this wasn't brought up till now!

"I don't know what Bible the folks in Mississippi are reading, but it's not one I'm familiar with. The New Testament has no references at all to a fetus, but the Old Testament is very specific. If a man kills another man, he must pay with his life; if he kills an animal, he must offer restitution. But, according to Exodus 21:22: "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows." A fetus was considered potential property."

I say again, the whole and entire purpose of the anti-abortion crusade was to give the right a "moral high ground" against foes who seem much more giving and Jesus-like. It lets them say "saving babies trumps all other things that would've made that hippie Jesus side with the left! That one issue makes Jesus side with us!"  An extremely effective polemical trick.

== A Bit of History ==

An interesting word introduced to our comments section blogmunity by a new member: Seisachtheia was a set of laws instituted by the Athenian lawmaker Solon (c. 638 BC–558 BC) in order to rectify the widespread serfdom and slaves that had run rampant in Athens by the 6th century BC, by debit relief.

Under the pre-existing legal status, according to the account of the Constitution of the Athenians attributed to Aristotle, debtors unable to repay their creditors would surrender their land to them, then becoming hektemoroi, i.e. serfs who cultivated what used to be their own land and gave one sixth of produce to their creditors. Should the debt exceed the perceived value of debtor's total assets, then the debtor and his family would become the creditor's slaves as well. The same would result if a man defaulted on a debt whose collateral was the debtor's personal freedom.

Solon's law changed all that.  Forbidding slavery due to debt and freeing those who had been so enslaved.  Athenian slavery still existed, but under terms more gentle than Sparta, by far.

118 comments:

Corey said...

"One suggestion that would explain the 1987a results, yet allow something anomalous over the very short, initial distance from Switzerland to Italy? It’s been suggested that perhaps some neutrinos bump out of our "brane" just after being made, then settle back in and travel normally. Very sci fi-ish idea"

Sci fi-ish?

That's basically a classic conception of warp drive :)


If it was even possible for a particle to do that... wouldn't that open some interesting possibilities...

Kennethos said...

David:
Tell me you didn't just highlight a pro-abortion letter to the LA Times full of logical fallacies?! Having just finished "Transparent Society," you seemed smarter than that.
So Sandy Smith talks about the word "fetus" not appearing in the New Testament...just like "atom" and "nuclear power" don't appear in 1st century documents. Wow. Funny... "baby", "child" and "infant" do appear. Citing property sections of the Law, which look only at economic realities of life, and ignoring everything else? Guess the "left wing" does what it accuses the "right wing" of doing. I'm just wishing Sandy had acknowledged what verses do address this sensitive subject, which was then handled insensitively, and foolishly.
You give an outward appearance of striving for understanding, but times like this, your lack of awareness is astonishing. I expected something more enlightened out of you, and am disappointed.

David Brin said...

It has been the rallying cry of the Occupy movement for the past two months - but is the US really split 99% v 1%? As poverty and inequality reach record levels, how much richer have the rich got? This animation explains what the key data says about the state of America today.
http://www.commondreams.org/video/2011/11/16-0

http://www.commondreams.org/
video/2011/11/16-0

David Brin said...

Kennethos... instead of shooting the messenger, how about this. Act like a scholar and actually refute Smith's assertion. Show us in detail the portions of scripture that ban abortion.

Are they like the portions cited against homosexuality? Ambiguous and not particularly emphasized?

Should we listen to people who cherry pick which parts of Leviticus they call LAW and which parts they choose to call "archaic and wiped out by Paul"?

Let's see. The anathema of pork is repeated perhaps fifty times, unambiguously, relentlessly and Jesus said "not one jot" of the law was changed by him.

Seriously, I respect you, man. I await those specific passages... and a reason why cherry-picking is ... well... kosher.

Jacob said...

Regarding Abortion...

It's a crying shame that the Democrats aren't working towards Science based alternatives to Abortion. For a small fraction of the cost of our military conflicts, we could Research our way to Transferring rather than Aborting a Fetus. Give it a generation (30 years) at a few billion a year, and there is a real possibility to forever end the Need to decide between the life of a child (Pro-Choice) and the freedom/self determination of women (Pro-Life).

Frankly the Democrats should be working on this Outside of Government (to avoid Republican resistance).

David Brin said...

Jacob, you ignore the fact that
(1) democrats have pushed the measures that have most reduced the RATE of abortion, making it a high priority.

(2) If reducing the number of abortions were high priority, why is the right so insistent upon approaches to sex education that - while indignation-friendly - do NOT work at helping to prevent unwanted pregnancies? Unambiguously, those methods correlate with much higher rates (in red counties) of teen sex, teen pregnancy, domestic violence and... yes... abortion.

(3) Science? You expect the right to actually back... science? Are you Rip Van Winkle? The days of science friendly conservatism passed away with Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley.

(I miss them! Heck I miss Ronald Reagan, whose positions would have got him howled off the stage at today's republican debates.)

Carl M. said...

Paul and John (in Revelations) condemn homosexuality. Christians dropped the kosher laws due to Peter's vision in Acts. (Whether this was a correct interpretation is subject to debate.) The kosher prohibition on eating blood was reaffirmed in the New Testament (in Acts).

Abortion is more subject to debate. Either side can cite proof texts. Here's one of the better arguments on the subject:
http://www.amazon.com/When-Does-Human-Life-Begin/dp/0578069148/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1321747093&sr=8-4

Jacob said...

Hi David,

1) I do not ignore your valid statement. It just isn't a counter in my mind. That behavior simply isn't enough for single issue Pro-Life voters. Thus I problem solve a way to address the core issue of the movement. I aim my sights at 75% of the movement rather than the extreme elements within.

2) This is a significant portion of voters within the Pro-Life camp that are friendly to Sex Education that you mention. You bring an aspect of the Pro-Life movement that is trying to control behavior independent of actually preventing Abortions. I would reveal this behavior manipulation and message on it repeatedly. I don't want to go into detail unless you don't understand. But use that brilliant imagination of yours to explore possibilities.

3) Well I did say it should be done outside of government Because they would resist. So had this, also valid concern, covered.

Carl M. said...

BTW, the strongest argument to me on the pro life side is Frank Herbert's Destination Void.

rewinn said...

@Kennethos
"... "baby", "child" and "infant" do appear..."

Abortion has nothing to do with infanticide.

Abortion was perfectly legal in the time and place of Jesus, at least up to "quickening" which, oddly enough (and probably merely by coincedence) is roughly the Roe v. Wade rule. If Jesus had intended to change Jewish law on that subject, He would have said so and YOU would be able to quote him on the subject.

You didn't. He didn't.

---

@Carl M - rather than cite to a book that seems rather silly in its attempt to place a human-invented category on a biological process, why not summarize the argument in your own words?

---

@Jacob - there ALREADY is a science-based solution to the abortion problem: keep your nose out of other people's business.

Solomon said...

Why does abortion matter again? Because people have souls, according to an ancient collection of mutually exclusive stories?

And there exist arguments within this ancient book about abortion that conflict with each other?

I just don't get it. Does not seem like a sound philosophy to me. If a fetus can't live on its own, and the mother is the one spending her body to make it into a baby, why doesn't she get to choose whether to finish it? Especially before the third trimester, it's not like the non-baby will care, or could; it has no frame of reference for caring about anything. It is completely worthless to itself and to society except as a resource drain, and is wholly dependent upon someone who actually is worth something to society.
It's like if your wife had her brain fried and was on ridiculously expensive life support and also needed your kidney, and would be for the conceivable future. And then a bunch of total strangers put you in jail for not giving that kidney and not paying for that life support. Their reasoning? They think your wife's essence goes to a weird, not awesome but not horrible place if you let her die earlier than she could.

Anti-abortion believers remind me of the more rabid robot-lovers or PETA members. Except at least PETA can justify their reasoning with facts about biodiversity and evolutionary biology...not by citing a fictional book that only has faith-based credibility.

Jacob said...

Hi Solomon,

I'd like to try to address your points. Hopefully you'll appreciate the rational approach. I'll completely leave out the fetus and bible. Within what I believe your philosophy to be, abortion matters for two main reasons.

The first is as an enlightened democratic society society we want to work towards solutions that as many people agree with as is reasonable. If plan A and B leave significant portions of the population unhappy, we should look for and experiment with plans C, D, E, and so on. This is the carebear side of the coin. I consider it the lesser argument given your posting.

The more relevant aspect is the damaged caused by the ongoing "Life Vs Choice" struggle. I assert that Americans are being manipulated by political powers. The result of them being used is damaging our representative democracy in significant ways. I would prefer that the energy be channeled into "Life vs Choice" go towards other causes. It is likely that the other manipulations would occur, but those can be combated with rationality and solutions as well. It seems foolish not to try to get Americans thinking about real issues.

I'm not even specifically arguing for my plan in this post. Any will do so long as we can end "Life vs Choice" within a generation or two. Hopefully less.

Seisactheia said...

The reforms of Solon are very interesting, and my inner-Classicist is overjoyed that the reference was recognized (although I am not surprised, considering the content of the post that drew my attention to your blog!) I've also always loved the word- it literally means the shaking off of burdens, and that's a surprisingly useful word to have (I also plan one day to buy a nice big sailboat and name it that, if I ever have money.)

It's also a pretty apt reference in these days, I think.

rewinn said...

But @Jacob, your proposed technological solution is to FORCE WOMEN to have a technological intervention to extract the fertilized egg, just to please people who have no business sticking their noses in other people's uterusses.

Rest assured, that won't work. Women, as a whole, will not quietly give that power to government.

Jacob said...

Hi Rewinn,

I am talking about substitution not a forced procedure. Rather than going in to have it 'terminated then removed', they go in to have it 'removed'. I don't see a all caps forced action there.

It can be dressed up as more than it is, but I think that is somewhat disingenuous.

I'd also like to repeat that this idea doesn't have to be 'THE' solution. It is just important that we keep working until we can find one that does work.

Rob said...

The idea of quickening, I recall, was explicitly cited in the reasoning for the decision in Roe v. Wade. A lot of the basis for that decision went back all the way to ancient times for the sake of comparisons

I read the decision almost 20 years ago, though, so I could be wrong.

Carl M. said...

The science fiction case against abortion:

http://www.holisticpolitics.org/Abortion/ScienceFiction.php

No religion involved.

LarryHart said...

Seisactheia:

I've also always loved the word [Seisactheia]- it literally means the shaking off of burdens, and that's a surprisingly useful word to have...

It's also a pretty apt reference in these days, I think.


In my own way, that's what I meant by "A man without hope is a man without fear."

LarryHart said...

Back to a tangent I discussed here some months back--last night, with the relatives beginning to come in for Thanksgiving, I had another conversation that solidified my conviction that when most people talk about "too lazy to work", what they really mean is "unwilling to abide a boss." Which is a funny thing for rugged-individualist America-boosters to complain about in others.

Tim H. said...

My favored solution to abortion would be to bend society to one where no one would have second thoughts about a child's well being. If this conflicts with the pursuit of profit, well, would you kill for a few dollars more?

Virgil said...

I can't fix a lot of the things you discuss here, but I do have a plan to restore the middle class world wide if I can find a way to see it implemented.

---



Reason 1.
“His point was that if the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade,” the CEO recalled.

Click here to read the article.

Reason 2.
“We have been seeing wage inflation over the past several months,’’ said Chris Ruffle, who helps manage $19 billion as China co-chairman of Martin Currie Ltd. Rising salaries may prompt businesses that operate plants in China to move to lower-cost countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia, Ruffle said.

http://keepamericaatwork.com/?p=202864

Solution 1. – This will allow for global trade that benefits all rather than free trade agreements that benefit a few and destroy America.
It is OK to grow, raise or manufacture your products here in America and sell them to other countries and the same applies to those countries.

Solution 2. - This will protect the people of each country by ensuring that only the local people are hired to fill the positions that are created.
It is OK to open retail or manufacturing branches in other countries to offset the shipping problems as long as you hire the locals to work in those countries.

Solution 3. – Violators of this rule will be charged with Treason and prosecuted accordingly.
It is NOT OK to put the people in your country out of work, send the growing, raising or manufacturing to another country and then import those products back into your country.

Virgil Bierschwale

Bierschwale for Senate 2012
http://www.VirgilBierschwale.com

Keep America At Work
http://www.KeepAmericaAtWork.com

Dementus Chikan said...

I'm afraid @Jacob's idea for turning abortion into removal and storage is fraught with peril.

1. What happens when the warehouses are full and older fetuses and zygotes have to be destroyed in order to make room for the new ones? A corollary to this is who is held responsible when there is a power outage or other problem that destroys them?

2. Are we waiting for loving families to adopt one of these stored potential babies and have them implanted and born? If so, what happens to the many living children who are already waiting for adoption?

3. Are we also waiting for technology to bring these fetuses to term outside a biological womb? Who owns those children? Who pays for the raising of those children? What if the government decides to bring the children to term, put them into training camps, and have a ready-made army?

I don't agree that @Jacob's solution is a solution. It's another thing altogether and fraught with its own dilemmas. It certainly won't end the outrage by religious groups, and may cause more once they begin arguing that postponing the life isn't part of God's plan. Transplanting a fetus from the womb to a storage facility only transplants the problem.

Dementus Chikan said...

Interesting that signing in with my Google account above used my "Dementus" alias name instead of my real name on the account. No, I don't usually hide behind pseudonyms (I'm not at the level of a Publius or the like :) )

--
Michael Lewis
https://plus.google.com/u/0/105981042146938165148/about

rewinn said...

@Jacob -
"...Rather than going in to have it 'terminated then removed', they go in to have it 'removed'. I don't see a all caps forced action there..."

Your lack of vision may be because you don't have a uterus.

I'm not saying you're not entitled to an opinion because you're male; I'm saying that you don't see how this appears to a woman because you're a male.

Think through what you are proposing a little first: a pregnant woman who wants to give up her issue to adoption ALREADY has that option; no new technology is required ... you just wait a few months. If what you are proposing is that the government fully fund prenatal care, birth care, orphanages, adoptions and health care for neonates ... well I am TOTALLY in favor of that ... and I welcome your support. It just doesn't require any science fiction choices.

On the other hand, a pregnant woman who does NOT want to take the adoption option will see YOUR proposal as HUGE government interference in her personal life. What evidence is there that most women seeking abortions have not thought about the matter long and hard? It may seem to YOU that the question is simply one of having the government insert gadget B into a woman's vagina and pressing a button, but most women in that position will see it otherwise.

Perhaps they are wrong and you are right. @Jacob, they may be wrong to feel that way, but they do. Since your entire proposal rests upon the concept that political battles should be quieted, the simple human fact that your proposal will only rouse the quite righteous anger of 51% of America's population dooms it.
It may be a good idea to develop such a technology, for those who want the choice. Let me capitalize the word CHOICE: some women will take that choice. But to FORCE that choice upon them is sticking your nose someplace it has never been invited.

In addition, under your proposal:

1. Horomonal forms of birth control would still be criminal; a woman taking the Pill or using an IUD would require a visit to a government-approved doctor basically every time she has sex. A man who doesn't ensure that she does so would be an accessory to attempted murder.
2. Abortions due to gross defects of the fetus, e.g. aencephaly, would become rescues of a very cruel sort ... letting them "live" in pain until they died.
3. The "rescued" fertilized eggs would go into the freezer until they eventually decayed. Don't think for one second that there would be a legion of volunteers to accept implantation; we ALREADY have a surplus of embryos on ice.
4. There is *already* a HUGE incentive for developing technologies to support premies; it's not progressing very quickly back to the point of fertilized eggs because it is VERY HARD, not because there's a shortage of funds.

Finally, let me not condemn thought-experiments as such; it can be helpful to think through proposals such as @Jacob has made and therefore it is a good thing to make them. Who knows? it may form the basis of a nice short story or novel.

rewinn said...

@CarlM - I read your
"science fiction case against abortion..."

... and it is basically the fear of mad scientists. This is a valid fear, but it is also the case against all medicine and indeed all science. Its motto is E luce ad tenebras.

Its primary and decisive intellectual refutation is, of course, empowering women to make their own choices.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you. You are an exceptional writer on par with Robert Heinlein and if you are still reading this please stop removing my comments that completely destroy your arguments.

LarryHart said...

Dementus Chikan:

I'm afraid @Jacob's idea for turning abortion into removal and storage is fraught with peril.

1. What happens when the warehouses are full and older fetuses and zygotes have to be destroyed in order to make room for the new ones? A corollary to this is who is held responsible when there is a power outage or other problem that destroys them?


I might have read it wrong, but I thought Jacob was talking about replacing abortion with transplantation into another, willing surrogate mother.

LarryHart said...


Interesting that signing in with my Google account above used my "Dementus" alias name instead of my real name on the account. No, I don't usually hide behind pseudonyms.


I've had the same thing. If I am signed into Google when I post, I show up as "Calendar Boy".

Paul451 said...

rewinn,
"But @Jacob, your proposed technological solution is to FORCE WOMEN to have a technological intervention to extract the fertilized egg, just to please people who have no business sticking their noses in other people's uterusses."

But abortion itself is a medical intervention. Jacob's magic foetal transfer machine would merely substitute for the existing abortion procedure(s).

Jacob,
When you are elected king for a day, with the power to cause the research of your foetus-transplant idea, may I, merest servant, humbly suggest an alternative: the Pause.

Apparently, some marsupials like kangaroos can pause the development of a joey in the pouch during a drought, until times improve (which might be years.)

Something similar would give most women a brilliant alternative to abortion. You take a drug to "Pause" the pregnancy. While Paused, you can't get pregnant, so it serves as birth control, and when you decide you are ready for children, you take another drug or hormone to unPause and continue.

(Obviously, there's a limit on how far along the pregnancy can be, you don't want to be 7 months pregnant for ten years... If the drug is safe to take when not pregnant, then it could be used as a morning-after pill. Easier to remember than birth control.)

(undle: A Paused foetus.)

Paul451 said...

Dementus,
"What if the government decides to bring the children to term, put them into training camps, and have a ready-made army?"

That would be awesome!

Paul451 said...

Rewinn,
"In addition, under your proposal:
1. Horomonal forms of birth control would still be criminal;"


Errr, I think you need to go back and read Jacob's original post. You're seriously projecting here.

(gaticil: Do not take Gaticil if pregnant or planning to become pregnant.)

rewinn said...

Sorry, @Paul451, but you are mistaken. Go re-read @Jacob's proposal in light of the actual, current definition of "abortion" championed by every major leader of the anti-abortion movement and the Republican party: that life begins at conception, and terminating the development of the egg post-conception is abortion. Some of the leaders are honest enough to state outright that their definition makes hormonal contraception an abortion, some may simply not have thought it through, and there is a third category but I forget what it is.

As for the argument that @Jacob's magic machine merely substitutes one intervention for another, I can only suggest you re-read what I wrote about that: women may be wrong in your view to see no difference between an abortion and a transference, but they do ... which dooms @Jacob's expressed purpose to end the political conflict.

As I stated, @Jacob offers an interesting thought-experiment but working it through reveals that his criticism of Democrats for not investing in a magic Transfer machine is ill founded. And why should the Dems be tagged for this failure when Reps could fund it just as easily? Indeed, instead of an expensive Magic Transfer Machine, why not start with free contraception for all women?

Bob said...

We have to figure out a way of breaking through to the ostriches before its to late. The current roster of Republican candidates are the writing on the wall. The air raid sirens of history are going off and no I don't think I'm exaggerating. Not after the train wreck of the Bush Administration culminating in what came so close to total financial collapse. In your wildest nightmares did you ever think we could fall to this level of presidential candidates? And the thing is people like this get elected to state level offices all the time. Additionally we have the complete inability of the Democratic party to offer any alternative that confronts the victory of concentrated wealth. They seem completely overwhelmed on multiple levels. There must be rhetorical techniques for getting through to closed minds. For centuries Rhetoric was a central part of higher education. Now I see why. I rejected this for long time but I'm starting to think a 3rd party is the only answer. There are too many people who wouldn't vote for the "other" party under any circumstances. Blues and Greens?

duncan cairncross said...

An idea about “fixing” the free enterprise system.

The problem with the free enterprise system is that it has positive feedback and those with money tend to get more money leading to money concentrating in a small number of individuals,

this also leads to the money tending to set and slow down as it’s owners don’t need to use it quickly.

Estate Duty (Aka Death taxes) is one way of trying to break this cycle however it is not very effective.

I would suggest a variant,

Maximum Bequest Tax

The idea is that you can will your money and it only becomes liable for taxation if the amount going to an individual benefactor is greater than say $5M

This will encourage the rich to spread their wealth wider and will help to break the concentration problem.

If you really really want to leave your money to one individual then you can do it – but now you pay the tax!

Along with this Maximum Bequest Tax I would also make all wills public documents (after probate) this will help in achieving a greater degree of transparency in the important question of – who owns things

Anonymous said...

Duncan's idea is a version of the banning of primogeniture in early post revolution america.

db from brussels

Tim H. said...

Worth a look:
http://thisishistorictimes.com/2011/11/police-states-of-america/
Courtesy of stupidevilbastard.com
"nouser", interesting, but useless habit in a cat.

LarryHart said...

Duncan cairncross:

Along with this Maximum Bequest Tax I would also make all wills public documents (after probate) this will help in achieving a greater degree of transparency in the important question of – who owns things


I believe that wills already ARE public documents. The intracacies of TRUST FUNDS, however, are not. If I put a billion dollars into a corporation whose charter is to pay out (probably more than) $50 million a year as dividends to the stockholders, and then set my daughter up as stockholder...as long as the corporation isn't publicly traded, there's no requirment that any of this information is public.

Seems to me that if the situation is "us vs them", i.e., "the rich" vs "the government", then the rich will always have some means of circumventing the rules. Is there a Gordian-knot-breaking "Watchmen"-like game-changing way of changing that dynamic? Is there some way of encouraging an "us AND them" menatlity between "the rich" and "SOCIETY" (rather than "government") by which the wealthy contribute to the well-being of the society that nutures their ambitions AND they feel as if they get fair value for that contribution?

LarryHart said...

What I mean above is...is there a way to restore the notion that "What's good for General Motors is good for the USA, and what's good for the USA is good for General Motors"?

Not just as a jingoistic slogan, but as an actual paradigm with staying power?

LarryHart said...

My personal life and that of the world at large keep in synch.

Of the economy at large, Paul Krugman writes today:

So why did those “technocrats” push so hard for the euro, disregarding many warnings from economists? Partly it was the dream of European unification, which the Continent’s elite found so alluring that its members waved away practical objections. And partly it was a leap of economic faith, the hope — driven by the will to believe, despite vast evidence to the contrary — that everything would work out as long as nations practiced the Victorian virtues of price stability and fiscal prudence.

Sad to say, things did not work out as promised. But rather than adjusting to reality, those supposed technocrats just doubled down — insisting, for example, that Greece could avoid default through savage austerity, when anyone who actually did the math knew better.


Meanwhile, in my own professional life, the company I work for which just announced outsourcing of several I.T. groups released a survey of satisfaction (from the business units) with I.T. services. The level of satisfaction has been dropping every year since 2008, which was coincidentally when the outsourcing began. The response, predictably is Krugman's "doubling down"--to outsource HARDER.

At both the micro and macro levels, I think what we're seeing writ large is the failure of the Republican vision of (I wish I could remember who coined this term) "faith-based economics".

DFB said...

I immediately thought of Transparent Society when I saw videos from the UC Davis pepper spray incident this weekend.

Specifically, two videos posted to BoingBoing. http://boingboing.net/2011/11/18/police-pepper-spraying-arrest.html#previouspost

The end of the first video shows a sea of cameras taking video of the campus police retreating. Judging by the number of youtube videos online, those folks presumably all captured the preceeding events.

sociotard said...

This country does in fact have a serious deficit problem. But the reality is that the deficit was caused by two wars - unpaid for. It was caused by huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country. It was caused by a recession as result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the causes of the deficit, I will be damned if we're going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor. That's wrong
--Sen Benie Sanders (I-VT), Senate Budget Committee, 11-18-2011

Tacitus2 said...

I don't want to wade fully into the abortion question, but a couple of observations.

1.I think fetal transplantation is beyond our current technology. Early embryo 'surrogate mother' stuff is far from perfect, and the longer you leave baby in there the more fraught with peril any messin' becomes. We demand perfection, or at least results comparable to the old fashioned method.

2. A person with an optimistic frame of mind would look at the recent MS vote on abortion and conclude that even those with the reddest of necks concede that you can't practically legislate morality.

I am sure that Bob did not knowingly do so in his invocation of Blues and Greens, but these were two notorious political factions in Byzantine times that went at each other murderously. Nominally based on the colors of their favored Chariot racing teams. Nascar meets the Bloods and Crips.

And Sen. Saunders, if you are an occasional drop in, please don't ignore the looming disaster of our underfunded entitlements. It is the booming at the door of our economy. No, not the good kind of boom, the kind made by persistant battering rams.

Tacitus

Steve said...

David,

I am a physician and a conservative. You accuse the right of waging war upon science and medicine. I don't see it. I see poor understanding and junk science employed by BOTH sides of the spectrum within the political arena. I do however feel genuinely demonized by the left. Both as a member of the notorious 1% - whom your OWS brethren aim to rob, and in some instances have advocated killing (and then robbing) - and as a small business owner and health care provider. Depending on which leftist politician or activist you are listening to at the moment, my supposed misdeeds might range from denying care to the indigent, insurance fraud, doing unnecessary procedures to line my pockets, or just generally earning an income which doesn't meet with their approval. These are used as justifications for a policy agenda which is extremely hostile to my practice as I run it. So I have to disagree with you on that point. While you try to paint a picture of conservatism as at war with medicine, from my point of view it's the left that has me wondering what kind of care I'll be delivering in ten years, not anything the right or foxnews are up to.

I also think you took way to much offense to 300, judging by your rebuttal. Firstly, it was a tale told from the Spartan perspective, so no surprise the Spartan-shit-don't-stink tone. Secondly, I think the 9' tall Xerxes might have been an indication that we weren't witnessing an attempt at historical accuracy.

Bob said...

Steve: Nobody (i at least) would begrudge you the right to make a lot of money. Millions. But two points 1) There is a big difference between working hard through a small business and accumulating say 10 million dollars and somebody accumulating billions of dollars through financial speculation or redistributing profits from employees or shareholders to their own pockets. Beyond a certain point great wealth is a winner take all effect, luck, Ie the result of something outside of the persons control or legalized theft. Your interests are much less defended by a system that rewards the top 400 with assets equal to more than the lower 150 Million than one optimized for and by a broad middle class.
Not enough room here to address the Medical economy in enough detail. I dont know how we are going to solve this mess. Even though you have my sympathies i wish I was in the French medical system and from what i have read so would you probably.

Skex said...

One thought on neutrinos moving faster than the Speed of light and the super nova.

What if only some neutrinos moved faster under specific circumstance?

As far as any discrepancy between the timing of the super nova and the neutrinos arriving given the time scales involved, any neutrinos traveling faster than C would most likely have passed the Earth long before humans evolved much less had the technology to measure it.

I will note one annoyance I've had with the coverage of the events that I heard repeated on NPR last week.

The idea that extraordinary ideas require extraordinary evidence to support them.

No extraordinary ideas require ordinary evidence to support them and once there is evidence supporting they cease to be extraordinary.

I can understand a degree of skepticism at this point at least until someone finds a way to independently test this finding. But haven't there been problems fitting Relativity in at the quantum level anyway?

Tacitus2 said...

Oh, I guess it is Sanders not Saunders. Although he does more than a bit resemble The Colonel.

Steve. Welcome. Conservative (and physician) compadres are always needed. Be sure and pace yourself. Little steps, little steps.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Steve:

I do however feel genuinely demonized by the left. Both as a member of the notorious 1% - whom your OWS brethren aim to rob, and in some instances have advocated killing (and then robbing)...


Steve, as a liberal and a supporter of the message coming from OWS, I myself feel demonized by the entire mainstream media machine (including what you no doubt consider the "liberal" media). So, you know, welcome to the club.

Dr Brin will probably be along soon to tell you that your views are welcome here. I don't think anyone who posts here regularly is out to demonize you. I do have to wonder if you're getting that "kill and rob you" image from FOX News, since I don't think (for example) the UC-Davis protestors being pepper-sprayed at point blank range by Imperial Storm Troopers* were saying anything about robbing or killing you.

Examine your premises, please. I've got a nine-year-old daughter at home and in preparation for a parent/student/teacher conference, I've been reading one of her young-adult novels. One of the "mean girl" characters likes to stir up trouble with the other girls by letting slip comments she "overheard" such as "I heard Anna call you a fat pig," or "Y'know, Danielle said she thinks you're stupid." I've actually been using that example as a teachable moment to warn her about the way people say things like "OWS hates America" or "OWS is anti-Semitic" or "OWS wants to kill rich people and confiscate their wealth." The fact that inuendo is oft-repeated tends to make it sound plausible, but it doesn't make it factual.

* "And these blast points--too accurate for sand people. Only Imperial Storm Troopers are this precise."

LarryHart said...

Tacitus to Sen. Bernie Sanders:

And Sen. [Sanders], if you are an occasional drop in, please don't ignore the looming disaster of our underfunded entitlements.


The thing is, where you see the problem as "entitlements", I see the problem as "underfunded".

I agree with you (I think) that We The People should get the government we pay for. Where I disagree is that we, like the companies who think cost-cutting is everything--should only "pay for" the cheapest possible. We The People LIKE many of our government services, and there's nothing wrong with paying taxes to cover those.

The lawmakers who have pledged to never ever under any circumstances to raise government revenue are not the solution to the problem. They are the problem.

If you don't believe me, replace the word "entitlements" with the word "foreign wars", and see how it works out for your position.

Skex said...

Steve,

I'm not certain that as a doctor you actually qualify as a member of the group OWS refers to as the 1%.

As a Doctor you still likely meet my qualification for being a member of the working class.

That qualification being "you have to get your ass out of bed and go to work to pay your bills"

I think OWS's gripe is more with the .001% but "we're the 99.99 percent" just isn't as catchy.

I mean seriously unless you make enough to buy a couple congress critters you really aren't the target of OWS.

Tacitus2 said...

LarryHart
Without commenting on the merits and demerits of our three most recent military excursions I will observe that:

1.Our participation in wars is not always optional.

2.Sometimes in the short run the outcome looks different that it does down the road a stretch.

I am something of an isolationist myself, but you need to readjust a lot of thinking to accomodate this world view.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Skex:

I mean seriously unless you make enough to buy a couple congress critters you really aren't the target of OWS.


That's the problem in a nutshell.

It's not about hating rich people for being rich. It's about protesting when they use their money and influence to corrupt the political system.

It's the difference between a team winning the World Series because they're the most skilled at the game, vs a team winning year after year because they bribe the umpires. The latter case would produce howls of outrage from the other teams and/or the fans. Those other teams or fans would NOT be correctly characterized as envious of the winner, wanting to confiscate what he had earned.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Without commenting on the merits and demerits of our three most recent military excursions I will observe that:

1.Our participation in wars is not always optional.

2.Sometimes in the short run the outcome looks different that it does down the road a stretch.


Not disagreeing at all. I'm no knee-jerk pacifist, and while I was NEVER in favor of Iraq, I DID see the need to go into Afghanistan in 2001, and I think Lybia worked out better than anyone could expect.

Beside both of our points, I know.

My point is that when a war is necessary (as we both agree does happen), you don't demand that it be accomplished within the constraints of a balanced budget. You recognize that some goals are worth borrowing money in order to achieve. Republicans are generally on board with that assessment as long as we're talking about war.

I'm just saying that the same rationale applies to other things than war. The social safety net is one, and recession-fighting is another. A case for one of those things might not be the same as a case for the other, but I think can defend both.

Again, the point isn't that you'll agree with me on the specifics. The point is that when you say this:

...please don't ignore the looming disaster of our underfunded entitlements. It is the booming at the door of our economy. No, not the good kind of boom, the kind made by persistant battering rams.


and imply that the self-evident required response is to cut funding for the entitlements, I'd argue that you can instead pretend you're talking about war (necessary war, say WWII) and think about what you would suggest be done in that case. Almost certainly it would not be "cut spending on the war". Rather it would either be "raise taxes" or "allow more borrowing". All I'm saying is that there are circumstances in which that same logic applies to non-war functions.

LarryHart said...

Anyone remember this line from "The Simpsons"...the episode with Poochie:

"And when are they going to get to the fireworks factory?"


And by that, I mean...When are we going to get the Ayn Rand column?

:)

Tony Fisk said...

LarryHart asked:

.is there a way to restore the notion that "What's good for General Motors is good for the USA, and what's good for the USA is good for General Motors"?

I think one way is a form of transparency: locate and highlight the benefits of win-win symbiosis. 'Build it and they will come' goes the saying... (although the occasional application of the cattle prod is sometimes tempting)

On outsourcing: my former employer was coming to the regrettable conclusion that outsourcing IT to places like India could be done at a third of the cost, and a quarter of the productivity (that isn't to say that Indians are useless: the problem comes from communications across culture and distance. I suspect as much head banging was going on in Hyberabad as here)

"And when are they going to get to the fireworks factory?"

I thought the abortion references were going to set off a few firecrackers. Apparently not. (PS: I've never read Rand. Nor, from the comments here, have I any intention of doing so. Life being too short etc.)

Tom Craver said...

What if neutrinos are long (at least 20 meters = 60ns) in one dimension, and their flavors oscillate along that length?

Physicists assuming that neutrinos must be point-like "particles" would assume that they pass through their detectors instantaneously, and so be puzzled when they happen to detect the muon flavor on the rear of the neutrino at CERN, and 60ns too soon on the front at Gran Sasso.

(I considered the possibility that they might just be detecting two different batches of particles that change flavor between the detectors, but the most recent experiment supposedly rules that out by spacing 5ns neutrino packets 500ns apart.)

Tony Fisk said...

In order of reasonability:

A good, reasoned commentary on the UC Davis 'bug spray' incident.

This photo sums it up as well.

... Just a moment!

What's this about legislation in Russia outlawing gay/lesbian expression?

A native of St Petersburg who dare not speak their name.

Anonymous said...

Steve our conservative vistor... David Brin speaking up as anonymous from Brussels, tire and having little time, let me say just this. Like all decent conservatives these days, you are clinging to old loyalties, even though you know that the American right has gone insane.

The mantra? The Loyalty incantation? "Well, at least the left is worse!"

Ah but in order to do this, you must erect a strawman, a bogeyman version of what liberals and democrats and most of those opposing Fox and the Murdochs and the Saudies are like.

But I tell you this directly. Your blue neighbors do NOT believe the insane things that you recite... that you claim they believe. Not even 95% of the OWS believe such things.

You are following a party line mantra. Please write down all the things that Glen Beck tells you that "liberals believe..." then ASK SOME!

You are following a pied piper strawman.

Tony Fisk said...

The last being a definition for 'hative'

'prabi': something that may be the truth

sociotard said...

For fun photoshop work, the republican clown college

https://secure.flickr.com/photos/30835791@N07/sets/72157614241935013/detail/

Rob said...

It's the difference between a team winning the World Series because they're the most skilled at the game, vs a team winning year after year because they bribe the umpires.

I think of the grievance more like the losing team throwing the game, placing bets on their own losses, collecting on those bets, and then bribing the Baseball Commissioner not to investigate too closely. Remember the Chicago "Black Sox"?

sociotard said...

Interesting interview with my state rep. Evidently the Republicans are not as averse to negotiation as I thought.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-04/simpson-signals-he-s-open-to-compromise-on-taxes-transcript-.html#

LarryHart said...

sociotard:

Re Alan Simpson...I saw a segment on "Sixty Minutes" a few nights ago which featured Grover Norquist, and he came off as the root of all evil. ('Course someone who agreed with him wouldn't see it that way).

And Simpson was the hero of the piece, just for being a Republican who seems to have no use for Norquist.

LarryHart said...

Oh, that's a different "Simpson" you're talking about.

Well, still...

rewinn said...

This week's winning graphic: Awesome Money diagram from xkcd.
(Use your browser's "magnify" feature liberally ;-)

Robert said...

You beat me to it, my friend. I spent the last hour going over that graphic. It is amazing. And if President Obama pulled out that graphic to explain how Republicans want to tax the lower 50% and then show how little they possess compared to the upper 50%... along with how much oil companies and the like make... well, people might comprehend it better. Maybe.

I definitely found my topic for reviewing for tonight. =^-^=

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Webcomic Reviews

Skex said...

My question is why the hell we're talking about "entitlement" reform in the first place.

Last time I checked Social Security, medicare and medicaid aren't a part of the general budget and are financed through their own regressive taxes, you know the little bits on your pay stub about FICA and Medicare/medicaid.

You want Social Security reform? Start by removing the cap so the rich pay their fair share into that pot.

TwinBeam said...

Skex -

Social Security is "flat", up to the cap, not regressive - and once you consider that Social Security benefits are taxed, the system is in the net progressive.

Up to the cap, that seems "fair", if your definition of fair has anything to do with "impartial" or "equitable".

The only way to keep Social Security "fair" and eliminate the cap, would be to eliminate the cap on benefits. Do we really want a system that ends up paying millions a year to some retirees?

Especially when hard economic times can suddenly remove a disproportionately large chunk of the tax base actually supporting those retirement programs?

And of course, there are also entitlement programs that are mostly funded by taxes on the rich, who will never see a penny from those programs.

Overall the entitlement system is progressive. You might argue that Social Security needs to be MORE progressive, but to call it regressive is to insult those who created it. Do you REALLY want to get between Brin and his infatuation with FDR?

rewinn said...

@TwinBeam - "flat up to the cap" is just a longwinged way of saying "regressive".

The issue of "fairness" is an entirely different one from that of "regressive vs. progressive". It has been argued for thousands of years and has yet to be susceptible to a definitive resolution - it probably never will be. Yet we can tell one thing for sure: this is not fair.

It's also not sustainable, which is a third issue often forgotten.

LarryHart said...

Skex:

My question is why the hell we're talking about "entitlement" reform in the first place.


The same reason we talk about "death taxes" and "bureaucrats" and "The Democrat Party". Because the terms poll well for Republicans.


Last time I checked Social Security, medicare and medicaid aren't a part of the general budget and are financed through their own regressive taxes, you know the little bits on your pay stub about FICA and Medicare/medicaid.


More than that. Social Security as established in 1935 WAS pay-as-you-go. But during the Reagan years, FICA taxes were actually DOUBLED for the specific purpose of building up a trust fund to pay benefits to baby boomers who would otherwise bankrupt the system.

What's happening now is that we're reaching the point where that surplus is not being built up so much, and will begin to be drawn down, exactly as intended. THAT's what Republicans mean when they say Social Security is "broke".

And you are right, this all takes place in its own budget, independent of the national debt. So when Republicans talk about how deficit-reduction requires slashing Social Secuirty benefits, they're lying again.

But there's maybe one way in which it would be kinda/sorta true that slashing Social Security would help with deficit reduction. The US Treasury has borrowed the money in the SS trust fund, so the fund is actually full of US Treasury Notes, not dollar bills. This in itself is not a bad thing, nor is it helpful to characterize US Treasury Notes as "just pieces of paper." They're actually the soundest of investments you can make. BUT...suppose Social Security simply goes away. Does that mean the Treasury doesn't have to PAY BACK those notes? I'm guessing that this scenario is what has the deficit-hawks salivating over slashing benefits. "Saving money" by essentially welching on an existing obligation.

rewinn said...

Sousveillance/People-Powered vision may be changing the way we think and make political decisions (...and everything else ...) in a more visually-oriented and interactive direction. The idea "cops pepperspraying peaceful protestors is wrong" is strong, and images illustrating the concept are stronger, but what is can lead to rapid promotion of the concept is to encourage and empower creating and distributing new images, each worth much more than 1000 words, through tools such as: Pepper Spraying Cop.

Stefan Jones said...

The money borrowed from the Social Security fund to help balance the budget was an incredible deal for Congress, politically, since it meant that they didn't have to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay the bills.

Now the GOP wants to stiff the people who really need Social Security and Medicare. And they have the gall to call for MORE tax cuts on the wealthy.

To spur investment. Yeah, right. Like that worked. Well, it worked for the Investor Class. Everyone else (including the brown-nosing delusional free-market fan boys, even though they don't realize it) is getting screwed.

If this raises your hackles and makes your nostrils flare, go look at that XKCD graph.

Anonymous said...

Amusing juxtaposition:

In my browser just below Stafan Jones' "To spur investment. Yeah, right. Like that worked. Well, it worked for the Investor Class ..." comment the following ad text appeared:

"What could happen to the stock market if Republicans take back the White House? If you hae a $500,000 portfolio, you should download the latest report by [blah blah blah]. It tells you what we think may happen in the 2012 elections and why. This must-read report includes research and analysis right now. Don't miss it!"


Not sure if someone with a portfolio worth at least 1/2 mil is in Stefan Jones' idea of "investor class" but it's probably a pretty good bet.

--ToddR

TwinBeam said...

@Rewinn.

If you want to consider Social Security benefits as forced savings into an annuity-like program (with interest income fixed at roughly the inflation rate), then it makes no sense to talk about it as if it is taxation - there's simply a limit on how much you are "allowed" to deposit (tax-deferred) into the program.

Only if you think of Social Security as a free benefits program paid for by taxation of others, that only incidentally happens to give more benefits to those who paid more taxes over the years, does it look regressive because the maximum tax is capped, and when it isn't running a deficit it reduces the need for income taxes.

The former is how it is generally positioned to "participants". I happen to find the latter more realistic, but most who complain about SocSec being "regressive" also seem to like to think of it as the former.

rewinn said...

@Twinbeam:
Social Security is an insurance program funded by taxes.

That's why neither of your analogies work, and why it is "fair" under most systems of fairness to fund it with a progressive tax, e.g. pop the cap.

rewinn said...

From the Department of Throwing Gasoline On A Fire:
Dork Tower Figures Out Frank Miller's OWS Rant.

Hey. It's Dork Tower!

Paul451 said...

Rewinn,
"women may be wrong in your view to see no difference between an abortion and a transference, but they do ... "

What women? You're the only person in the entire world protesting against Jacob's idea. Like I said, you are massively projecting.

"his criticism of Democrats for not investing in a magic Transfer machine is ill founded. And why should the Dems be tagged for this failure when Reps could fund it just as easily?"

His what? Now I'm not sure if you are projecting, trolling, or mocking me? Where did Jacob turn this into partisan criticism?

(scobles: Pluralisation of Robert Scoble's surname that appears in the title of every single article about him. Worst seen, "Scobles's".)

Paul451 said...

Skex,
"I will note one annoyance I've had with the coverage of the events that I heard repeated on NPR last week. The idea that extraordinary ideas require extraordinary evidence to support them."

It's the old Carl Sagan line. It's weird to see someone who hasn't heard it a thousand times.

"No extraordinary ideas require ordinary evidence to support them and once there is evidence supporting they cease to be extraordinary."

The full version is about the "bullshit" filter that's built into science. It goes something like:

I'm sitting at a table in a dining commons, and a fellow scientist says he has 10 pounds of salt in his lab. That's mundane. I can believe him without further evidence.

And if I'm sitting at a table in a dining commons, and a fellow scientist says he has 10 pounds of gold in his lab. That's extraordinary. I should be skeptical and want to see it before I believe him.

But suppose I'm sitting at a table in a dining commons, and a fellow scientist says he has 10 pounds of Einsteinium in his lab, an element that has a half-life of milliseconds and has only ever been produced in microscopic amounts. That's bullshit. I should walk away in disgust.

Therefore, if you have ten pounds of Einsteinium in your lab, you should expect to have to work hard to turn your claim into a mere extraordinary one. Whining about how unfair it is, is pointless. This is just how science works, and more importantly, how science needs to work.

Paul451 said...

TwinBeam,
"[...] Social Security [...] Do we really want a system that ends up paying millions a year to some retirees?"

Why is that a bad thing? (Genuine question. I don't know much about the US SS system, except that it's weird.)

(stines: Convoluted hybrid system created out of fear of much simpler socialist systems. AKA, The Nightmare Room.)

rewinn said...

@Paul451 wrote:
"...Where did Jacob turn this into partisan criticism?"

Jacob wrote:
"Regarding Abortion...

It's a crying shame that the Democrats aren't working towards Science based alternatives to Abortion...."


@Paul451 wrote:
"...What women? You're the only person in the entire world protesting against Jacob's idea. Like I said, you are massively projecting."
1. I'm not "protesting"; I specifically stated that thought experiments such as his are valuable. My evaluation that it will fail of its intended purpose has suffered no evidence to the contrary, and you offer none.
2. "What women" indeed? AFAIK, there are no women here. I will put up cash money that the average reaction of ten randomly selected American women will match mine. Wanna bet?
3. As for "the only person in the entire world" ... I am neither Dementus nor LarryHart.
4. As for "projecting" ...You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

I do not use mockery here. Well, maybe that last bit was a little bit.

Tony Fisk said...

Is there a full res version of that XCKD money graph anywhere?

Stefan Jones said...

I have a half a million in my stock & bond portfolio, and I'm nowhere near being in the Investor Class.

By that, I meant folks who make essentially all of their money through speculation. The players at the great casino.

There's already too damn much money sloshing around the financial sector. It's stupid money, in search of short-term payoffs. It gets invested in debt and debt insurance and debt insurance insurance, rather than in productive enterprises.

Our civilization is facing environmental crisis and energy crisis; stupid money will never fix these, because the payout would be over generations.

Tony Fisk said...

*sigh* I hear Anne McCaffrey has died.

Tacitus2 said...

Here's a question. And I do not know the answer.

Real Clear Politics has a running poll of congressional approval/disapproval. It is based on multiple national polls with the real partisan crap screened out.

Current approval rating is 12.3%. It has been as low recently as 11.3%.

Can they hit single digits?

I mean, really. There has to be a small core of employees and relatives, a few polls that allow "I dunno" as an option, and a certain number of folks who just were not listening carefully to the questions.

Here in WI we are in an ongoing cycle where all three branches of government are increasingly being "delegitimised". All snickering about lousy congresscritters aside, this is a perilous path, especially as the nation-and even we here-seem to be increasingly polarized...

Tacitus

Jacob said...

(As they have already, lots of travel this week will delay my responses.)

Hi Dementus Chikan (Or Michael if you prefer),

LarryHart is correct that I didn not intend Storage. I agree with your assessment that it is fraught with its own dilemmas.

Regarding adoption, do we have anyone here who can speak on it with authority? It is my understand that there aren't many healthy babies waiting to be adopted. I thought most children in the system were there because of some combination of age, behavior problems, and/or health conditions.
I simply don't know though. Note: I believe it is the responsibility of those who would prevent Abortion to see for the fiscial and social responsibility of saving that life. If they are unable or unwilling to provide the homes and money required, abortion makes sense to me as Quality of Life is very important to me.

Hi Paul,

I rather like the idea of the Pause. I do think we'd need alternatives to satisfy the Pro-Life voters on situations where a Paused woman breaks up with the father. But does not mean that your idea is not valid.

I did let some critism of the Democrats slip in. I think thats totally appropriate as they should be making efforts to disrupt the manipulation of Republican voters by their so called Leaders. However, you are correct about rewinn Projecting. It did so quite a bit. Just not in that area.

Hi Tactitus,

It is beyond our current technology. Thats why I was advocating for Research on a large scale across decades. We shouldn't implement it until comparable results are achievable, but we should work towards a solution.

What do you mean by point 2? Government is made of two basic things: accomplishing Task (Roads, Water, Defense) and legislating morality (Don't Murder, Steal, Rape, Pollute, sell tainted meat.) Can you clairfy this point?

Tacitus2 said...

Jacob

You have me a little concerned about those decades of research on moving fetuses about. You can really only go so far with animal models........

Ah, point 2. Hmmm, I had to go back and re-read the thread, then remember what I was thinking.

"quotation marks" around the word morality would have conveyed it better. Murder, theft etc all by their nature unquestionably involve other parties. What people do in private, themselves is more what I was adressing. There are many dry counties in the deep south. People drink alcohol there at about the same rate as everywhere else.

Now you can argue that there are some corrosive side effects to some behaviours, lets use legalizing drugs as a safer test case. I suppose I don't care all that much if somebody is a layabout drinking (in a dry county) or doing drugs, but I think the effects on society might be different. Or maybe not, it is another subject for discussion.

Happy travels...turkey and spuds?

Tacitus

Jacob said...

Hi rewinn,

I'm about to address your postings. I'm going to be a little brutal as I believe you should do better. Please don't take my attacks on your arguments as an attack on yourself.

- To call 'keep your nose out of other people's business a Pro-Science solution makes me wonder if you even know what Science is. That is a social solution and you did not distinguish why it should apply here. Its a non-solution as well. If you were murder or steal from someone, society is not going to accept it as valid.

- FORCE is a right wing tactic. Do you realize how much like Glenn Beck you sound? I am trying to increase the freedom of women by giving them an option that Red American can accept. They have few options outside of cities.

- Adoption instead of Transference is not always going to work. I would recommend it over Transference when it would work though. I would increase the freedom of Choice for women who do not see Adoption as an option they would select.

- (Projecting) I am not against any form of Sex Education or pregnancy prevention. I assert that many Pro-Life voters feel the same. It it action taken after the pregnancy that they object to. It is that which I'd like to problem solve on. We should drive a wedge between reasonable Pro-Life Voters and those that want to control the behavior of others. Argue my ideas not other peoples.

- (Projecting) I would not have a baby suffer from a birth defect. You are being a bastard to suggest I would. That is a tiny minority of nutcases that do. Argue my ideas not other peoples.

- Going to assume the freezer idea wasn't directed at me as it was never my suggestion.

- (There is already a HUGE incentive for developing such tech.) Excellent point. I can't imagine it would hurt to spend more in hopes of speeding it up. Life vs Choice is quite damaging to our society.

- (Doesn't end Culture War) Your assertion is wrong. I may be incorrect in this people such as yourself seem want to help the solidarity of the Republicans. I would have thought of that as out of character for you. Oh Well. I specifically said we should work on this to drive a wedge between the sane and insane factions of the Pro-Life movement. Its primary goal is to save lives. Its secondary goal is to reduce culture war.

In conclusion, I don't think you understand the value inherent in the Pro-Choice movement. It is to give women control over their own lives and body. That freedom need not necessitate the death of a fetus. We should work towards solutions that allow for both Life and Freedom.

Jacob said...

Hi Tacitus,

I agree with your concerns. (Or at least what I imagine them to be.) I believe in bold visions and cautious pursuit of those visions. You may recall that I'm a deficit hawk. Efficiency and effectiveness are extremely important to me.

That does lean into other big areas of discussion. However, its quite related to this topic. I believe Life vs Choice is so contentious because either side greatly affects the other's. Thus I look for solutions where the woman has freedom and the child has life.

Robert said...

So, Jacob, where do you draw the line for what fetuses to keep and the ones not to keep? If a child would be born with Down Syndrome, would those not be transferred? What if they would have a malformed limb? Or a cleft lip/palate? Or mental retardation? What if they have a higher risk of coming down with cancer or heart disease? Where is the line?

And what of those people who want a child but want a child of their own blood and genetics? They can spend tens of thousands of dollars on fertility measures... and in some cases some of these women end up with multiple viable fetuses. Do you disallow fertility therapy since there are plenty of "unwanted fetuses" and thus they're required to have one of the Unwanted because they can't conceive without help? Or do you take their extras and pass them around as well (and have them become part of the Unwanted as well)?

What of the legality of genetics? If a woman has a recessive trait that breeds into the child and causes some disease, would the family who received the Unwanted be able to sue? After all, they received a child that was diseased because of this person. Wouldn't that woman thus be liable for the "genetic contamination" caused by "abandoning" her child to the Transference system?

What of the ethical and moral aspects of this? What of the sociocultural aspects? This isn't nearly as easy as you consider it to be. And the solution is quite simple: free birth control for all women who want it. It would reduce pregnancies significantly unless a pregnancy was desired. As such, abortions would likewise be reduced because their need would be reduced. And this would be a hell of a lot cheaper than either abortions or Transference.

Rob H.

Jacob said...

Hi Rob H.

As I see it, we are allowing a group of individuals who support Life to accomplish their goal of taking responsibility for the child. Therefore they would choose which subset they are willing to support financially and socially. If they prove unwilling to put up the money or homes, then as an Individual I would tend to favor Abortion to a hard life.

Note this line shifts based on the success and charitably of a culture. The only hard lines I would draw are sentient life and the unlikely case of a subgroup in mass saving their own group should be saved in the future. (Which is questionable but runs heavily into the theme of self determination.)

I'm quite Pro-Science. Again I believe if a portion of the population wants to save those extra viable fetuses, they should be allowed to IF they will take responsibility for the life (not just birth) of the child.

For suing... If that were reasonable, could I sue a church if God made my own child imperfect? (chuckles) Note I my entire mind set on helping Pro-Life voters is to make sure they take complete Responsibility until a fetus becomes an independent adult. So I wouldn't support suing.

I'm totally in favor better Birth Control. I'd prefer Paul's Pause idea to be implemented there. It would be nice if Women didn't have to experience periods until they were trying to get pregnant.

Most significant change has significant ramifications and
unintended consequences. I certainly never suggested it would be easy. I see major negatives to allowing Life Vs Choice to continue for generations. As someone interested in progress/reform I want to try alternatives to what I consider a bad situation. Disruption and Change can be bad but it can also be good. I would happily accept a dozen failed attempts at resolving this and other issues if we keep trying. I believe we can find an Answer or at least a better solution than I current one.

Paul451 said...

Tony,
Re: xkcd Money.
Just go to the home page. Then click on the comic itself to load Randall's zoom-engine.

http://xkcd.com/980/

(I don't know why people link to the img file for webcomics rather than the page the comic is on.)

Tacitus2,
The problem with Congressional (dis)approval polls is that the effect goes away when you ask about the performance of the local congressman by name.

People hate congress, but they love their congressman.

(Happy Turkey festival thing to US posters.)

Tacitus2 said...

Paul of the Three Digits

http://www.pollwatchdaily.com/2011/08/09/poll-finds-record-drop-in-the-number-of-americans-who-say-their-lawmaker-should-be-re-elected/

This is a couple of years old but I am sure the trend is continuing.

Tacitus

Stefan Jones said...

Diversion:

My mother corrupted a Mennonite friend. Led her right into temptation.

Said friend was visiting my parents. Her daughter had recently had a difficult delivery, and my mother offered to look up pre-eclampsia and eclampsia on the web.

Paraphrasing: "Oh, I'm not sure, computers are tools of the devil."

Well, my mom persisted, and found a good article or two, and printed them out.

Then she Googled up satellite maps of ______'s home and her sister's home. Aaannnnnd before you know it _____ was looking up directions on making clay ovens, and found a clay oven enthusiast web site.

"Don't tell my family I was doing this." said ___ before she left.

I suspect she'll be making solo trips to the library now and then.

rewinn said...

@Jacob wrote:
"I'm going to be a little brutal as I believe you should do better..."

NEW RULE: when you find yourself writing something like that, you are about to write angrily and badly.

It is best to ignore angry, bad writing.

The main problem with your wall of text (...other than its being a W.O.T. ...) is its absence of facts in support of your opinions. If you want to make your writing GOOD, pick one point and support it with at least one fact (or at least a factual claim).

rewinn said...

@Stefan Jones' story is completely reminiscent of one of Asimov's "Foundation" shorts, in which a theocracy rejects the Foundations blasphemous atomic transmutation technology. A clever trader/spy gets his foot in the door by offering not the technology, but the gold it produces. Once seduced by the gold, the hierarchy is motivated to find a way to justify the technology ... IIRC the trader offered to accept the supernatural sinfulness on his own head.
IRL people don't want computer/communications technology; what they want is getting or sharing information/entertainment; perhaps the sinfulness of the technology itself may be left on the head of the designers/developers (...who typically are guilty of a multitude of sins anyway).

Robert said...

@Paul: I guarantee you that if such a technology was developed, the anti-abortionists would claim the very act of transferring a child to another woman once the fetus has developed past the egg stage would result in the child being born without a soul, or somesuch nonsense about how This. Cannot. Be. Allowed.

Because the anti-abortion debate was never about the life of the unborn child. It was about the right of a woman to live her life as she sees fit. This is why rather than allowing women to have free birth control and proper sex education, the anti-abortion crowd is for "abstinence education" and forcing women to have children so to ensure they lose their ability to live their life freely. It is a form of slavery.

Facts show that abstinence programs are ineffectual. And yet anti-abortionists push these programs. Why? Because they WANT women to become pregnant at a young age so they are forced to drop out of school, work hard to barely make ends meet, and live in ignorance and squalor so they can more easily be taken advantage of.

I have long stated this belief: an anti-abortionist has NO right to claim to be pro-life until they offer to pay for a woman's insurance, maternity clothing, and extra bills through her pregnancy, and upon her giving birth supports that child with insurance, clothing and some food until the child is 12 years old. If someone is willing to put that level of financial effort into the healthy raising of a child, THEN and ONLY then do they have the right to claim to be pro-life.

Very few will accept this. They almost to a person will state "it is not my responsibility to care for that person's mistake." And all at once... a fetus goes from a life... to a mistake.

I value the unborn. If I were to get a woman pregnant I would offer to support her through the pregnancy. But if she wanted to have an abortion I would hold her hand through the procedure because it is not my right to choose, even though that unborn child is due in part to my own actions.

I would mourn that child for the rest of my life. But I still would support her choice for an abortion. Because my values and my beliefs do not give me the right to tell someone else that they cannot have an abortion.

Rob H.

Skex said...

@TwinBeam as the bootstrap brigade is so fond of constantly reminding us. life isn't fair so why should the FICA tax be flat? Social Security was created to deal with the problem of poverty for vulnerable populations not a retirement system for fat cats that's why benefits are capped.
And why shouldn't those who have profited most from the framework our society provided to them give something back in support of those who were not so fortunate in circumstances of birth or other opportunities.
Particularly when doing so provides them with a stable environment to live in.

@Paul451
Yes I'm familiar with the origin of the saying.
But as a long time denizen of the USenet and the alt.atheism and talk.origins groups I'm in the camp that thinks it is nonsensical.

There is no need for extraordinary evidence to support any claim because any claim that is supported by evidence is pretty much by definition ordinary, while those that aren't are groundless assertions.

You're scenarios do not describe situations where different levels of evidence are required to confirm you are describing situations where different levels of belief exist.

In all three cases the claims could be verified by simply going to the claimants lab and seeing if they have 10 lbs of the substance claimed.

In all three cases only ordinary evidence is required to confirm the assertion.

Belief is a different mater. What you describe is more akin to the example I use to describe the difference between faith when used in a Religious context compared to faith used when the religious are trying to undermine the concept of science by claiming that both rely on faith.

The qualitative difference between the faith required to believe in science and that of the religious is on level of the difference between having "faith" that a visible sturdy looking chair will support your weight should you sit in it versus the "faith" that an invisible undetectable chair will do the same.

The case of neutrinos isn't a case of an assertion with zero evidence, its simply an observation that is in conflict with other observations. Now it's just a matter of trying to replicate the results to determine whether there was some flaw in the original observation or how to fit this new information into the existing framework of our understanding of the universe.

This is a qualitative difference from requiring "extra-ordinary evidence"

Anonymous said...

Anne McCaffrey? Aw... say it ain't so. What a lovely lade. A true science fiction author... one of the best...

... who never wrote any fantasy crap... despite having dragons and bards and looms and feudal motifs. Because her characters knwe that the feudal stuff wasn't sweet, it was the FALLBACK position after a calamity. And once they remember there were universities and toilets and medical robots they want all that back!

Anne was a science fiction author. I miss her.

david brin in transit (coming home.) In a few hours I'll be passing over country wicklow. I will send down a vibe. Even as here pervade the cosmos!

Tim H. said...

A particularly clever Science Fiction writer who found ways of using fantasy elements in a SF story, Anne McCaffrey's Pern stories were a delight.
"rersions", when the old one really was better.

François Marcadé said...

“I would mourn that child for the rest of my life”.

I don’t think so. My wife and I have been through 3 abortions, natural abortions, none of our choosing. It is extremely painful. The first time we had already announced to the rest of the family that we were expecting Twins; we lost one and then the other in less than one week. My youngest daughter still speaks about her brothers that are in heaven with her grandmother. Each time I feel a pang of sorrow. The next time we were more careful and waited longer to tell about it, so only my wife and I know.

But as painful it can be sometime, I do not even try to compare to the pain of parents that have actually lost a living child. Although I am Roman Catholic and I do not treat abortion lightly, I consider that a fetus is not a child, it the promise of a child. Those are not children that I mourn, it is my hope.

Paul451 said...

Rob H.,
"the anti-abortionists would claim the very act of transferring a child [...be the devil's work]"

Catholics, maybe. But I think Jacob was thinking more about the evangelical-right. Judging by Rewinn, the left would object more strongly, projecting onto the technology their fears of attacks on women's rights.

Re: anti-abortionists push abstinence because control, slavery.

No. That would only work if the evangelical-right were thinking through the consequences of their actions. Abstinence is part of their belief that proclamation trumps reality. Abstinence is taught because it should work, not because it does. And the reason it doesn't work is because it too is taught as a something you believe, rather than something you (don't) do. You can practice Abstinence, while not actually abstaining.

This is the core of the evangelical belief system. Proclaiming something True is more important than it being true. For eg, vaccinating kids against STDs proclaims a reality in which they will have sex, which causes them to have sex. Denying them the vaccine proclaims that they won't need it, causing them to be less promiscuous.

Once you get your head around their proclamation-belief, a lot of what they do becomes more internally consistent. (It's also the reason why science makes them so angry.)

"Facts show that abstinence programs are ineffectual."

What I found interesting is that while rates of STDs and teen pregnancies are the same, the number of sexual partners is reduced. It does work, it just doesn't... work. It suggests that if you could figure out the deep psychology, you could invent a program that reduced teen sex and increased safe sex.

"I would mourn that child for the rest of my life. But I still would support her choice for an abortion."

And thanks to her strong ethical beliefs, she would take your feelings into account as part of her decision. <sigh> By now we should be on the next level, a progressive society should take both the mother's and father's feelings into account; negotiated, without it being about power or control. It's sucks that we're still fighting to defend mere abortion access. Stupid anti-abortionists. It's the god-damn future, we should be better at this.

Tony Fisk said...

Anne McCaffrey: someone who would have regarded a sign marked 'here be dragons' as an incentive to look further rather than a warning to avoid.

Tony Fisk said...

On a happier note, Phobos-Grunt has phoned home. Well... Perth, at least

promp: when only one person at a meeting thinks they are precisely on time

Paul451 said...

Skex,
"Yes I'm familiar with the origin of the saying."

Perdón.

"In all three cases only ordinary evidence is required to confirm the assertion."

It's about probability. Most mundane claims are true. Some extraordinary claims are true. Few or no "bullshit" claims ever turn out to be true. Therefore highest probable explanation of any extraordinary experimental result is mundane:

A) that you (or your equipment) made a mistake.

Then, B) that you discovered a brand new side-effect of mundane phenomena, which cause previously unseen A's.

Then, C) that you are lying. Jerk.

Then, D) that you discovered something just beyond known science, a genuinely new breakthrough that will define the field for decades.

Then, E) that you have overturned the major foundations of modern physics. (AKA bullshit.)

The probability falls dramatically the further you go down the list. (Note, fraud seems to happen more often than big breakthroughs, but less than cool-new-things. And replication, the best method to exclude A, also excludes most of C.)

The Neutrino guys have done everything to show that A and C don't apply, and they've put the call out for ideas for B. If they eliminate most B's, they can start to look at D ideas and work out brand new experiments to differentiate between them (and that's would be evidence extraordinaire.)

And if anyone comes up with an E explanation (we're in a computer simulation and it's a glitch in the code), the burden is entirely on them to provide enough evidence to reduce their theory from bullshit to a merely extraordinary before anyone else need to even bother looking at it closely enough to criticise.

Paul451 said...

Although the Mars window will probably close before Phobos-Grunt is fixed, apparently the Russians are already looking at backup missions. Lunar or asteroid. Could still be an amazing mission.

(sperf: Answer to the question "Where did Phobos-Grunt signal?")

Robert said...

Found this on a forum I frequent. Someone was grousing about the Occupy Wall Street movement and bandying around the words "socialist" and "communist." Well, a soldier who frequents the forum as well had... words.

Those who are blinded by the right always use broad brush to paint communism over the word Socialism. They are propagandists and way closer to fascism than the ones they accuse of it. No matter how loudly and many times you repeat it, a lie is still a lie at the end of the day.
Your damned right I am a socialist! I believe social responsibility, social justice, social accountability, and social programs... for the people.
This country was not founded for the multi-corps, by the multi-corps in order to form a more perfect money making model.
It was formed for the people, by the people in order to form a more perfect union.

Iffy, nobody knows just what the hell you are trying to say with that double speak unless it was your intention to talk out of both sides of your mouth while standing for nothing definitive.

Your telling Rapierman to research WWII a bit... well how about you research back a little further yourself and examine the "Bonus Army" situation and how it was (mis)handled in this country.

Maybe you are being more defensive because you feel attacked. I understand and accept that I zeroed in on you. Offending you personally is not my intent, but I am unable and unwilling to tone down my rhetoric on this very hot button issue for me.
I swore to defend the Constitution of the United States and it pisses me the fuck off to no end seeing the way the multi-corps and banking robber barons have trod on and wiped their dirty, oiley, muddy, and bloody feet on that document which is the foundation of our freedom and country.


Damn but I'm proud of our soldiers. =^-^=

Rob H.

Unknown said...

Paul451 and Skex,

"Extraordinary Claims require Extraordinary Proof" has its origin from Marcello Truzzi and was later popularized by Carl Sagan.

But, in either case, it's neither correct nor an example of science. It is merely a way to give credence to cultural inertia. In other words, it's saying "What I already believe is right without proof and what I don't believe requires more proof" which is hardly the openness to new ideas that typifies the scientist.

It's closer to say that the level of proof is always the same but an extraordinary claim will generally require extraordinary effort to meet that same bar.

If I say "A dog ran through my back yard" or if I say "A bigfoot ran through my yard" the level of proof needed is equal but not the ease of providing evidence toward proving my assertion.

I can easily offer evidence that there are dogs in my neighborhood and show anyone desiring proof several candidate dogs. To do the same for the bigfoot would require not greater proof but would require me to demonstrate that there are bigfoot in my neighborhood and show several candidate bigfoot.

(Of course, in either case I could be lying about either animal actually being in my yard and that requirement is the same in either case)

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Here in WI we are in an ongoing cycle where all three branches of government are increasingly being "delegitimised". All snickering about lousy congresscritters aside, this is a perilous path, especially as the nation-and even we here-seem to be increasingly polarized...


I agree with you that this is a bad thing, and also that it is happening.

It seems to me that you are not recognizing that this trend is no accident. It's the stated goal of people like Grover Norquist and the unstated goal of the likes of the Koch brothers. Once government is delegitamized into ineffectiveness, who do you think fills the power vaccuum?

I don't oppose Republican policies because I'm a big fan of deficit spending or of interfering with efficient business. No, I'm opposed to Republican policies because they are DESIGNED to bring about the delitimization of government you describe.

Robert said...

I thought I'd add in the conversation leading up to forum post I reposted above. Sadly, my referring to McCarthy only had the person in question claim McCarthy was right. That's when I realized if we had a modern-day McCarthy... he'd not be shamed into silence.

Anyway, enjoy:

Haldane: Nothing like a bunch of socialist revolutionaries and anarchists invading public and private areas to prevent and obstruct the peaceful exchange of goods and services at agreed prices for profit. To the degree they are successful, that is a form of theft and should be punished. They need to be help liable for their damages. They stopped being a peaceful protest a long time ago.


Teddy: Wow, Haldane... just wow.
You sound like all the olde school "southern gentlemen" fighting integration in the 1960s.
And all the evidence I have seen leads me to the conclusion that their right to peacabley assemble in protest, guarenteed them under the Constitution, is peacefull till the police show up in force spraying pepper spray indescriminantly, armored head to toe in riot gear, and/or firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds.
You wanna talk about theft?!?
A large part of the 99%ers greivances stem from and include the the way multi-national corporations and the ultra-rich have stolen the political process and government from the people.
...
I like you, guy.
I have always appreciated what you have to say on here.
That will not change.
But this...
The way you so calously state it...
...
I am just so... disappointed.


Tangent (me): Teddy, that was worth of Army counsel Joseph Welch who shamed Senator McCarthy during the Army–McCarthy hearings of 1954.


I suppose one thing this shows is that this sort of discussion is cropping up in all sorts of environments... including webcomic forums. Sad, that.

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

From the education of a child of the 1940s:

Being pregnant is the punishment for getting pregnant.

Robert said...

Yes, that's right, Anon. However, it is punishment for the parents of the daughter as well as the daughter. And what if she's the victim of rape (including date rape)? Are you saying she has to pay the price because some asshole couldn't keep it in his pants?

And if you're anti-abortion for religious reasons... then why are you discriminating against the unborn because of the crimes of that fetus's father? (Yet you are in turn punishing HER by forcing her to carry the child of a rapist to term. Catch-22 right there.)

Or what of a situation where a pregnancy may risk the mother's life (like a tubal pregnancy)? In all likelihood if the pregnancy isn't aborted then it's a death sentence for both mother and unborn child. Yet would not the religious ethics of refusing abortion for spiritual reasons also hold true for this child? How can you kill this unborn child that was an act of God, even though the child won't be born because the mother will die because of the pregnancy?

Again, I emphasize that free birth control for everyone (including teenagers who are old enough to safely take birth control) is the most effective means of cutting abortions down to nearly zero.

Rob H.

minces: something I don't do often with words

rewinn said...

@Paul451 wrote
"... Judging by Rewinn, the left would object more strongly, projecting onto the technology their fears of attacks on women's rights..."

Your judgment is incorrect.

I (if you want to use me as an example of "the left") do not object to the magic technology @Jacob proposed. Nothing in anything I have written would support your conclusion there.

I, and many others (including the notorious leftist @Tacitus2), merely observe that the proposal as a means of quieting the Abortion Wars has no chance of working.

This is called "criticism". Criticism of an idea can be helpful!

Briefly, the relevant facts about abortion in the USA are:
* there are roughly 100 million women of childbearing years in the USA
* 1%-2% of them have an abortion in any given year, so there's (order-of-magnitude) something like 1 million abortions a year (http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1843717,00.html)
* Most women feel they understand their own interests better than any number of male bloggers
* Even if those women are wrong (that is, even @Jacob and @Paul451 and I and all of us know better than women do what their interests are) recent history evidences that women are increasingly insisting on autonomy.

From the above, the biggest arguments AGAINST the Magic Transfer Machine (MTM) are:

1. Recruitment.
There are a little over 4 million births in the USA ( http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/births.htm ); for MTM to end the Abortion Wars, 25% of all women seeking to be a mother would have to volunteer for MTM.

This recruitment problem is the reason that I assumed @Jacob was planning to put the MTM'd fetusses on ice, with all the attendant issues there.

2. Development.
There is no foreseeable path to MTM; the technology for transferring a fertilized egg is VERY DIFFERENT from that of transferring a 3-month fetus; while preparing a womb for receipt of a fertilized egg is well understood, there is NO KNOWLEDGE about how to do that for a 3-month fetus.

3. Economic (Operations).
MTM is VERY expensive, compared to free birth control. Birth control pills cost $15-50/month or $180-600/year. ( http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/birth-control-pill-4228.htm ). It is unlikely that a yearly MTM procedure would be less than that. For example, kidney transplants costs on the order of $89,000 ( http://www.umm.edu/news/releases/kidcost.htm )

4. Religious.
The Roman Catholic Church objects to condoms; its horror at the MTM can hardly be imagined. Other Christian denominations may be more open to barrier methods of birth control but it is impossible to "project" that they would accept to MTM.

5. Female autonomy.
As stated above, and contradicted by nobody, many (if not most...) women in the USA feel that they understand better than YOU do what they want to do with their wombs. Thus even if MTM were available, a significant number will demand something else.

Any one of #1-5 above would guarantee no end to the Abortion Wars.

As most of us have stated, continued research into fetal health would be a good thing for many reasons; to fantasize that this shows an anti-science bias is simply incorrect. Most scientists are liberals for a reason.

Paul451 said...

Rewinn,
I don't know who you're arguing with, and I don't know what you think you're arguing about. And that's been my point from the beginning. You're having a whole argument with your imagination and nobody else was invited.

It's bad enough that you've decided that you speak for all women, it's the present tense that does my head in...

"Perhaps they are wrong and you are right. @Jacob, they may be wrong to feel that way, but they do." [...] "women may be wrong in your view to see no difference between an abortion and a transference, but they do ..."

Note: not "I think they would", but "they do". Like some protest group already exists against Jacob. What women "see no difference between an abortion and a transference", Rewinn?

And then you have entire arguments against things you invented:

"In addition, under your proposal: Horomonal forms of birth control would still be criminal; a woman taking the Pill or using an IUD would require a visit to a government-approved doctor basically every time she has sex. A man who doesn't ensure that she does so would be an accessory to attempted murder." [...] "your proposed technological solution is to FORCE WOMEN to have a technological intervention"

etc etc. Things Jacob neither claimed nor implied.

And the ones I found particularly weird:

"Your lack of vision may be because you don't have a uterus."

You, a man, dismiss another man's ideas because he's not a woman. But you are...?

"Most women feel they understand their own interests better than any number of male bloggers"

So you, a man, arbitrarily declare Jacob's idea unwanted, on their behalf? Because women shouldn't be given that choice? How can we argue with the man with a uterus who speaks for all womenkind?

Jacob said...

Thanks for the support Paul. In light of the discussion, I think I'd like first advocate for The Pause but try to research towards it Pausing the ability to get or cause pregnancy.

Tim H. said...

Off-topic but amusing, The Register posts a piece on habitability of exoplanets, noting that an ill-advised blast of entertainment content is headed towards Gliese 581, we should hope it's uninhabited, as they may be mortally offended.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/24/exoplanet_habitability_rankings/
"pangeas", long-cycle recurring continental configuration, with simple, colorful video games.

Tacitus2 said...

Paul

Always remember that this is the internet....there is a certain possibility that both ReWinn and myself are teenaged girls from, respectivly, Tucson and Tuskaloosa!

Don't be disenheartened, you will find even here the limitations of internet conversation.

Everyone here would support Transfer research as interesting in its own right. Personally I see so much biomedical research directed to things of minimal practical benefit that I would not be delighted to see finite resources go to such purposes, but so long as it was done with appropriate concern for the ethics of-eventually-human testing it would be ok.

Happy Thanksgiving to most of us Westerners. A week late, sorry, for the Canadians.

Tacitus

Paul451 said...

Tacitus2,
"there is a certain possibility that both ReWinn and myself are teenaged girls from, respectivly, Tucson and Tuskaloosa!"

Heh, believe it or not, I actually clicked on Rewinn's profile to double check whether that pic is really a guy.

I guess it could have been her boyfriend?

In which case, I apologise to both you lovely ladies.

David Brin said...

onward


(and back from Europe... tired...)

rewinn said...

The heart of @Paul451's confusion is seen here:

"...you've decided that you speak for all women...

Paul is misspeaking. I have never claimed to speak for all women, and he is unable to quote me as having done so.

What I *have* done is assert that American women, as a whole, have an attitude that would make @Jacob's scheme fail of its intended purpose. Rather than dispute that anmd the other factual assertion that doom the proposal's attempt to end the Abortion War, Paul attacks the messenger.

That is an ineffectual tactic. If you wish to dispute an assertion, you must come up with a fact to the contrary. Neither Paul nor Jacob have even tried.

I have given those two men the honor of taking their thoughts seriously, thinking through the ramifications of the proposal and producing facts tending to support my criticism. Since neither Paul nor Jacob have produced any facts disputing my assertions, I'll accept with thanks the verbal abuse as the price of their recognition that neither the Magic Transfer Machine nor the Pause (... permanent pregnancy? I mean, really ... Poe much???) ... would end the Abortion Wars.