Monday, 5 November 2018

I prefer popular government to gentry rule

Those baying against populism must prefer unpopular government.     You've heard "Trumps rise proves how dangerous populism is for democracy" (NBC)  Enough of that!  I'm thinking back to Barack H. Obama's fund-raising trips to LA.  The secret service shut down entire streets for his cavalcade to by-invitation-only celebrity luncheons in gentry homes.  I compare that to crowds of ten and twenty thousand streaming out to hear Donald J. Trump in person.  Tickets free.  No roads closed. You don't have to show your wallet to get in.  In other words, a populist appeal and one unprecedented in my lifetime. .  

At the end of the day, and by that I mean by tomorrow night, we'll know if popular is coming out ahead.  Trump has been flying out for one and even two GOTV talks with hearty endorsements every day.    Congress folks will be glad of the ride on Mr. Trump's coattails.

Trump's Rise Proves How Dangerous Populism Is for Democracy

Trump's Rise Proves How Dangerous Populism Is for Democracy

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Village idiots are back

Thanks to social media, the exercise of power has reverted to our neighbours, our digital neighbours. Doxing, shaming, hounding and generally keeping everybody in line is the new norm. We are giving up the freedom of the city and reverting to our old ways, pre-industrial village ways. The exercise of power is the character of government. Although parliament and congress retain powers of taxation and death over citizens, the social media village has its own laws that have garnered greater and more immediate reach. We’re at the beginning of this digital atavism. Until protocols are built to guard freedom of choice on the privately run webs, we will be pushed a little further into the night, away from civility (”Civitas”, Latin word for “city”) and towards paganism with iphones. ( “Pagus”, Latin word for “countryside”)

Monday, 18 June 2018

Sunday, 10 June 2018

English language competency by culture and race: California education stats 2017

Here's the source for the California department of education charts:!/vizhome/PercentofStudentsMeetingorExceedingStandardsonSmarterBalancedAssessment2017/Sheet1
hat tip to Ace of Spades.

The legend:  "Grey" is in the middle, average for all students.

Native American
Mixed race

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Playful means Clever. Dog likes to go sleighing up hill and down hill on his own

You know you'll want to show this video clip to someone else.

In the same spirit and the same season, this Russian crow gets the same results with a jar lid.
Carry it back up the roof and do it again.

Which brings me to a book recommendation:  Octopus
These mischievous, big-eyed, distributed-brain creatures are from the mollusc family with snails and clams and what not.  They separated 600 million years ago from the stream that led to crabs, spiders and bugs  and from the stream that led to fish, canaries (via dinosaurs), puppy dogs and humans.

Along with squid and cuttlefish, they are the only members of their family tree with what we call brains, some 200 million neurons distributed down the arms and to the steadfast eyes.  Meet your first aliens.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Six seconds to live: General Kelly

The NYT is shocked to learn that General Kelly is a patriot.  You can figure from this they knew the Obama people were not.
Quoted at the link:
"For all of the talk of Mr. Kelly as a moderating force and the so-called grown-up in the room, it turns out that he harbors strong feelings on patriotism, national security, and immigration that mirror the hard-line views of his outspoken boss," Baker warns.

I was moved moved to read this selection from a patriotic speech by General Kelly:

"It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated. You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives.I suppose it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. No time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: “Let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. 
By this time, the truck was halfway through the barriers and gaining speed. Here the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were, some running right past the Marines, who had three seconds left to live.For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines firing their weapons nonstop. The truck’s windshield explodes into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tear into the body of the son of a bitch trying to get past them to kill their brothers – American and Iraqi – bedded down in the barracks, totally unaware that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground.Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder-width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could. They had only one second left to live, and I think they knew.The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty. Those are the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight for you, and as amazing as this selfless act of sacrifice may seem, it is the norm. In all the years I have been both enlisted and an officer of Marines, I have praised them and have chewed them out. I have promoted them and unceremoniously disciplined them. I have hung decorations on them and court-martialed them. I have visited them mangled and broken in military hospitals around the country, in lonely defensive positions across Iraq, and in brigs. I have known thousands of them over nearly 40 years, and I can tell you without hesitation or qualification that I never met one who would have run from his post that morning."

Thursday, 19 October 2017

C02 Climate Science Not "Settled" But Settling Fast. A Dozen Tweaked Models Now Show Doubled C02 Response Is Smaller, Or Trivial.

The left side of the chart is Chicken Little territory. The data points added to the right of the shaded trend-lines are thought provoking.  Tweaked models and sober second thoughts are more credible.  This was originally published with data to 2013.  The update dramatically extends the pattern to 2017 although the sources vary.   h/t  smalldeadanimals

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Digital Swamp Has Overtaken The State. Welcome to The New Village. You May Be A Target.

We have rules to govern the state: Elections, rules of order, recorded votes, pages of policy minutiae, backed by threats of force, but now the digital swamp is bigger than the state and it's unruly and snoopy.  You may have more to fear from "unfriending" and blocked twitter accounts than from the state. 

In village and tribal settings, we bump into all our neighbours every week. We are often blood relatives  and take great interest in their sexual unions, their work and kids, their status, beliefs and deeds.  We like to reinforce beliefs and behaviour by shaming, story-telling, kinship rules, force of habit and brute force. 

For groups much above 100, policy trumps relationships to maintain order.  Impersonal structures develop to safely form beneficial groups of towns, cities, states, parties, armies, guilds,clubs, and NGO's.  This includes double-entry bookkeeping, secret ballots, money, reading skills, concepts of "citizen, constitution, corporation", and the rule of written law.

But now we’re back in a village, a global village, thanks to the speed of light. It just got personal again.   Social media, twittering and texting, internet and email have shrunk the world electronically.  Linked-in people may be thousands of miles apart, but the digital time to connect  is less than a second and the cost is less than a penny.   Connect means “reach out" and “like”.  It also means, “Target” and "Hack."

What’s next?  Thousands of people who care little about me are now my neighbours in time and effort but not in place.  They vote me up and down at will when I appear in the digital swamp. Most of the news and fake-news is about this phenomenon.  Trump is attacked for culture, not for policy.   The news media are players. The parties are players.  So are bakeries. So are restaurants, billionaires, and corporate giants.  So is the state.   This is the wild wild west and if you’re lucky, you’ll just be un-friended for speaking your mind.  Your safety, your job security, your wealth and your reputation are visible in the digital swamp and you may lose them.

Yeats wrote, “What rough beast slouches towards Bethlehem?”  For a few hundred years, the state helped keep order but the digital swamp is now bigger than the state.  The rules are unwritten.  What is next?  

New forms of government, cultural government are in the wings.  I want them to stay clear of my liberty to do what's best for my and my family.  Yet I want safety, fairness and community strength.      "It could be heaven.  It could be hell".

Monday, 7 August 2017

Democrats retreat to cities. Are Canada's politics different?

In the quarter century since Bill Clinton's anomalous mandate, Democrats have retreated to the cities. See counties won out of a possible 3112:

1992     Bill Clinton      1494
1996     Bill Clinton      1693
2000     Al Gore             642
2006     John Kerry        567
2008     Barack Obama  833
2012     Barack Obama  649
2016     Hillary Clinton  454 (A second source says 489)

The stunning graphic bears study.  Columns are counties.  Column height is population. Column colour is the percent advantage for the party.  Los Angeles county has 10 million citizens favouring Hillary by 25 to 50 % over Donald.  One link is 3D interactive.

What I see in Canada is the same cities/globalist trend-line but zones in Quebec and the Maritimes have their own populist back histories.  We are not immune but have some breathing room to watch the political lab to the south as it goes toxic.  This is a natural phenomenon, arising from the behaviour of complex groups, and it won't be going away any time soon. What is next?

Thank God Ottawa is more diverse than Washington

Click to enlarge (source)
If you live in Washington D.C., you probably don't know a single person who voted Republican. DC is a government town and 23 out of 25 voters went for HILLARY.  All of America's big cities tell the same story, but 9 in 10 is more typical.
 See the evidence.

In Canada this is a trend rather than a great divide.
Source at 308
In fact, if you look at this chart, it's hard to find a clear pattern.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Community of Agency explains the term "Individual".

Calling people individuals is like believing the sun and planets rotate about earth. There's no there there when you try to find out who you really are.  There are communities embedded in each other that we call "me".  The thirty trillion cells in your body are subordinate to one another yet can live and multiply on their own in a lab. They want to be fed, maintained, reproduce and have a say in who we are. The utilities are supplied by homo sapiens, moving oxygen in, C02 out,  proteins and sugars in,  fecal matter out, as well as corporate defence from T-cells and physical motion.  Sapiens uses the surplus to be an interesting animal.  Our big two-footed corpus wants new copies made, the more the merrier and that means baked in programs for males and females to have babies, baked in hard enough to prevent the personality's operating system to forget about the having-babies part.  A couple trillion bacteria make their home in our gut and groin and nose.  There may be a thousand species of them, some four of five pounds of them,  adventitious, sometimes inherited, and engaged in a free-for-all to live and reproduce, sometimes our friend, sometimes our enemy, digesting food, influencing our brain, hurting and healing us.  The mitochondria energy-packs in each cell, inherited solely from the mom, appear to be an earlier version of ourselves, a simpler sort of cell that negotiated getting swallowed up by the larger cells, in exchange for favours. Home sweet home means something for viruses too and a few of those trillions are embedded in our inherited DNA.

There's also our alternate life form, eggs and sperm.  The male Sapiens makes independently alive master copies of himself every day, more than twenty million short-lived sperms that wiggle on their own. He can ask, "Is that me?"   They won't answer but it's still a good question. A couple admiring their newborn are busy saying "that's you" and "that's my Aunt Sophie" and so on.

Influences Coexist

Out of the surplus comes the glorious me, myself and I.  I fancy to be the owner of it all but it's not clear that I even steer the glorious human thing-a-ma-jig.  But I am up front, and am the best explanation for much culture, most science and enterprise.  That's not exactly a soul, a spirit, an animus, an ego, an id, a personality, a psyche, but it's something and fun.

Not exactly a "soul".  Not even remotely so.  The memes of memory and action in my brain are like starlings in a stupendous flock.  They look like a single living thing but are sorting out what to do next, one tiny bird-brain at a time, using the same sorting rules.   The outcome is a wonderful, purposeful somebody, a.k.a. me.  

Who's that other guy in the operating system, the one that dreams dreams? Our dream life has a 90 minute wave length and feels like "mine" but has its own rules.  We have male and female people. We also have two kinds of me in the "RAM" zone of our brain, one that dreams, one that does. They are not even compatible which means the second daily erases the first to get along in society with other Sapiens "communities of agency".

Community of agency explains why males have done a sex assessment of breasts and fitness of every female they meet within 3 seconds while also "being themselves", treating men and women like themselves in culture, work and play.  Somehow men and women treat each other both as selves and as mates in a blended way.  The agencies differs but the behaviour blends.

Existential joke for philosophers:
"Psychic hotline?"
"I just have two questions.  Who am I and what is my basic problem?"