Jun 17

Five thoughts on Trump

  1. From some thought of Tyler Cowen – you can’t be the Court Jester and the King at the same time – the “deep state” – to the degree that it exists, which is a lot – is mostly just filling a vacuum left by Trump not actually doing things (which is probably for the best, but who know)
  2. NO ONE is talking about Trumps age (71), seemingly poor health, and direct family history of Alzheimers.  Are we that old of a country, i.e. we’re all so old that some topics are just considered taboo across the political spectrum?
  3. Trump’s alienation of the Republican industry members (i.e. the people who are the assistant undersecretaries, etc, who actually know how to do stuff) will haunt him the rest of his term – leading to a lot of things not getting done (yay!).
  4. He has spurred the democrats to be an actual opposition party, something they generally do not do well.
  5. The Republican congressional majority does not seem to matter much.

Jun 17

What the YouTube 500 Error Page looks like


May 17

Quotes from Orwell

All from WikiQuote

Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.

It is not possible for any thinking person to live in such a society as our own without wanting to change it.
So much of left-wing thought is a kind of playing with fire by people who don’t even know that fire is hot.

Men are only as good as their technical development allows them to be.

[Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. The Socialist who finds his children playing with soldiers is usually upset, but he is never able to think of a substitute for the tin soldiers; tin pacifists somehow won’t do. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flag and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life. The same is probably true of Stalin’s militarised version of Socialism. All three of the great dictators have enhanced their power by imposing intolerable burdens on their peoples. Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.

Even as it stands, the Home Guard could only exist in a country where men feel themselves free. The totalitarian states can do great things, but there is one thing they cannot do: they cannot give the factory-worker a rifle and tell him to take it home and keep it in his bedroom. THAT RIFLE HANGING ON THE WALL OF THE WORKING-CLASS FLAT OR LABOURER’S COTTAGE, IS THE SYMBOL OF DEMOCRACY. IT IS OUR JOB TO SEE THAT IT STAYS THERE.

The choice before human beings, is not, as a rule, between good and evil but between two evils. You can let the Nazis rule the world: that is evil; or you can overthrow them by war, which is also evil. There is no other choice before you, and whichever you choose you will not come out with clean hands.

Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.

Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, long-bows, and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon — so long as there is no answer to it — gives claws to the weak.

May 17

Quote of the day – macroeconomics and climate science

From Arnold Kling (emphasis mine)

I am a macroeconomics skeptic. I think that my background in the subject is deep enough that my reasons for skepticism are legitimate. See, for example, my memoirs of a would-be macroeconomist.

I am a climate science skeptic, but not based on a similarly deep background. I just look at the superficial similarities with macroeconomics and infer that skepticism is warranted. It is plausible to me that the climate “consensus” is way off. However, it could be off in either direction–maybe the temperature increase will be faster and sharper than the consensus forecast.

When it comes to the differences between macro and climate science, points (1) and (2) favor climate science. However, point (3) leans against climate science. Good ideas are persuasive. If you need to excommunicate unbelievers, you are dealing in religion, not science.

May 17

An odd request from a six year old

“Daddy, I want to play with something sharp….”

Apr 17

Quick Shot of the Mission in Riverside CA

Apr 17

La Jolla


Feb 17

America the beautiful and disunited

From the ever readable Scott Alexander

Just as humanizing the Nazis is a two-way street, so pointing out the bizarre lack of dissent in Nazi Germany is both distressing and encouraging. Distressing because – how could ordinary humans tolerate that? But encouraging because – well, it seems almost possible to imagine a world where something goes wrong and America ends up overtly fascist. Yet even in my worst nightmares I can’t imagine a world where America ends up overtly fascist and nobody is annoying and obstructionist about it. Arendt’s picture of Germany, where the ruling party has 90% approval and dissent is unthinkable – you can’t get there from here. We’re never unanimous about anything.

I thank G-d for the annoying obstructionists, for the nitpickers, for the devil’s advocates, for the people who hear something that’s obviously true and strain to come up with an absurd thought experiment where it might not be, for the reflexive contrarians, for the people who always vote third party, for the people who urge you to sign petitions on whitehouse.gov because “then the President has to respond”, for the people who have two hundred guns in their basement “just in case”, for the people who say “well, actually…” all the time, for the mayors of sanctuary cities and the clerks who refuse to perform gay weddings, for the people who think being banned on Twitter is a violation of their human rights, and for the people who swear eternal hostility to other people on the same side who agree with them on 99% of everything. On the spectrum from “totally ungovernable” to “vulnerable to Nazism”, I think that we’ve erred in the right direction.

I’ve long maintained that any time “America comes together” means that something absolutely terrible has happened, or we’re about to do something very stupid.

Do read the whole article – particularly about Denmark and Bulgaria

Jan 17

Random thoughts – inauguration day

Or the marches and protests anyway. the best way to change the world is to hang out with people who already agree with you root and branch.

A couple thoughts –

1. Since the whole John Lewis thing happened no one about the supposed Russia hacking.
2. What could the Russian’s have on Trump that could embarrass him at this point? Money laundering perhaps?
3. No one has talked about the Panama papers in months.
4. No one has talked about the OPM hack (supposedly committed by China) in a year.
5. Russian has managed to elevate itself in our eyes from a grouchy, bankrupt regional power to it’s cold war self again, at least in terms of mindshare – all in a few months – Putin’s vanity must be flattered.
6. Talk of Nato withdrawal has been quiet while Russia tensions have escalated
7. Trumps health care picks have some degree of potential

Jan 17

First quote of the day in 2017

From this Vox article

My creative endeavors were crap, but there’s always an audience for trainwrecks