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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The devil called Driscoll

I know nothing about this "Pastor Driscoll" except for what I've read at Dalrock's. And I would bet considerable money that he's a Swaggart/Bakker debacle just waiting to be uncovered and exposed:
I’ve referenced Pastor Driscoll’s sermon Men and Marriage in several recent posts.  This is the sermon to watch, or better yet, read, if you wan’t to understand what I was describing in The only real man in the room.  In this sermon Driscoll opens with the prayer I quoted from in Fragging Christian Headship:
Father God, I pray that our time would be pleasing to you, that it would be profitable to us, Lord God, as well. I pray for those men who are here that are cowards, they’re silent, passive, impish, worthless men, they’re making a mess of everything in their life and they’re such sweet little boys that no one ever confronts them on that. I pray for the women who enable them, who permit them to continue in falling, those who are mothers and sisters and girlfriends and wives. I pray, Lord God, for those men who are chauvinists, those who are mean, who are brash, who are rude, who are harsh, who, Lord God, think they are tough when in fact they are Satanic. God, I pray for those men that they would have the courage today to not fight with a woman, but to fight with you, to actually find their rightful place in creation, that they might receive a good rebuke so that they can become honorable rather than dishonorable sons. God, I pray for my tone, I pray for our men, and I pray for the women who are listening in. I pray, Lord God, that they would know this comes from a heart of passion, deep concern, and love. I pray, Lord God, that we would think biblically, critically, humbly, and repentantly, and that, Lord God, there would be dramatic life change by the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus, Amen.
If you read the sermon, you will see that Driscoll repeatedly makes it clear that when he uses terms like dishonorable, Satanic, cowards, passive, impish, worthless, jokes, losers, imbeciles, fools, etc. he isn’t just referring to a few “peter pan” men who don’t have jobs and/or aren’t married.  He is talking about the husbands and fathers who sought out the church lead by Driscoll, the men who brought their wives and children to the sermon.
…most of you men don’t know what masculinity truly is
Driscoll defines the six types of worthless men he regularly comes across.   They are all either cowards or chauvinists and bullies.  And again, Driscoll is addressing this not to men outside the congregation, or even a smallish subset of the men in the congregation.  He means nearly all of the men in the congregation:
Were this a women’s conference, I would not call you all idiots and imbeciles and fools, that you’re a joke, okay? But you men, this is where it needs to go. You’ve been glad-handed and buddied up and positive thinking and you’re a winner and Jesus loves you and you can do better. And I’m telling you, you’re a joke. And the real men in the room know it and they see it. And maybe there’s one woman that you fooled and she doesn’t see it because like Eve, she’s deceived.
The hallmark of a real man, a real Christian man, according to Driscoll, is looking around at the other men in the room and knowing that they are pathetic compared to you.  This is of course exactly what Driscoll is doing throughout the sermon. Again, this is a sermon about men and marriage, and married men are Driscoll’s primary target.  While he makes a short stop in Genesis for background, the inspiration for the sermon is one single verse, 1 Pet. 3:7
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
The disparaging of the men in the room goes on to the very end of the hour and seven minute sermon.  I’ll repeat that I highly encourage you to read the transcript.  There is simply too much to quote, as the stream of invective against the men in the room is non stop.
This guy is the epitome of the wolf in sheep's clothing. He's a wannabe cult leader, not a man of God. Reading his words, I can scent the stink of feminist-appeasing, neighbor's-wife-seducing sulfur. The joke, the evil joke, is him.

No man who runs around posturing as "the only man in the room" in this manner is a Christian leader. He's an Alpha male, a pathological seducer who can't stand the fact that there are women in the room who prefer another man to him. I can just about guarantee you that he would react very, very badly to me if I merely walked into his church with Spacebunny and stared at him. His sort of Alpha absolutely hates Sigmas because a) we tend to marry attractive women and b) we see their bullshit for what it is.

Dalrock's close was beautiful: "Miss Flowahs got Driscoll’s message, and no doubt so did the women in attendance." His real message, not the fake sermon given as cover.

I never trust a man who pretends to be talking to God when he is actually talking to the people listening.

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The banning of an SJW

One of Wikipedia's worst SJWs, the anti-GamerGate Ryulong, has been banned indefinitely for his all-too-typical thought-policing:

Ryulong banned

5.3) (Was 4.5) Ryulong (talk · contribs · logs · edit filter log · block log) is indefinitely banned from the English Language Wikipedia. They may request reconsideration of the ban twelve months after the enactment of this remedy, and every twelve months thereafter.
Support:
  1. (first choice) As always, banning someone is not something we should want to do, but sometimes it is the best thing for the project. Ryulong has acted very poorly in this topic area, and it is clear that previous sanctions and blocks have failed to have the desired effect of ending disruptive behavior. A revolving door of speedy topic bans, chasing the problem from area to another, is not the answer. This is. I sincerely hope that at some point in the future he will be able to return and be a productive member of this community again, but for now he needs to go. Beeblebrox (talk) 23:15, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
  2. Will prioritise later if need be,  Roger Davies talk 23:38, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
    Equal first choice,  Roger Davies talk 11:31, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
  3. First choice. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 23:56, 19 January 2015 (UTC)
  4. Last Choice I would love to not do this but I don't think anything else has a snowball's chance of passing --In actu (Guerillero) | My Talk 01:15, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
  5. First choice. Salvio Let's talk about it! 10:46, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
  6. Last choice of presented options (Right now). I think if we're dealing with this on a purely pragmatic level this might be best for the project, but I do think that it would only be fair to attempt to apply some of the alternatives first, although I'm a bit concerned as to their potential efficacy, given the history. NativeForeigner Talk 07:26, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
    Nonetheless, support. NativeForeigner Talk 19:48, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
  7. T. Canens (talk) 17:12, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
  8. If the 1RR does not pass, then first choice of what's left. Still oppose if the 1RR somehow moves back to passing. The more I look at the history here, the more I am sure the problems are far wider than just this single topic, as I see it, Ryulong doesn't seem able to "hold his fire", and not get into edit wars. This also, per his block log, is independent of topic areas. Without very, very strong measures to stop them from continuing to edit war throughout the encyclopedia, I don't think we have any other choice. Also, even to this morning, I still see evidence of ongoing battleground mentality. I really, really don't like this, but I can't support their staying on the project without a strict 1RR and a topic ban at this point. And only one of those is going to pass. Courcelles 22:02, 26 January 2015 (UTC)
Oppose:
  1. My mind is open on the other proposed remedies, but I will certainly not be supporting this. Newyorkbrad (talk) 03:41, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
    • Neither will I. Need to contemplate the rest of it, but this is not the solution. Courcelles 03:48, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
    • Excessive in the circumstances. I'm open to some alternative. DGG ( talk ) 05:33, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
    • I would like to try something else. --Guerillero | My Talk 07:53, 20 January 2015 (UTC)
  2. I've decided to oppose this, albeit weakly. I'm hoping that the other remedies regarding Ryulong will end this situation, but I don't quite think a siteban is the best course forward here. GorillaWarfare (talk) 02:32, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
  3. -- Euryalus (talk) 05:13, 23 January 2015 (UTC)
  4. Given the circumstances here, I don't think this is called for. For clarity's sake, though, this is very likely the absolute last chance. Seraphimblade Talk to me 01:14, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
  5. LFaraone 18:45, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Abstain:
  1. I find my view on this changing from day to day, so it would be fairer if I abstained. DGG ( talk ) 20:47, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
Comments:
Noting that I skipped this intentionally—still thinking on it and will come back soon. GorillaWarfare (talk) 17:23, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
  • @NativeForeigner: I tried to fix the numbering, but clarification of your exact meaning would be useful here. Courcelles 20:01, 27 January 2015 (UTC)
Of course, a perusal of the process tends to illustrate why Wikipedia is so hapless when it comes to policing outrageous behavior by its editors. Because it was started by an SJW-sympathetic individual and was rapidly taken over by SJWs of varying rabidity, the site remains hopelessly biased and largely worthless on anything of even moderate political contention.

Read more »

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Cumberblunder

As always, a public apology only compounds the error by displaying weakness to those who are always hunting for it:
Devastated’, ‘a complete fool’ and ‘an idiot’; ‘thoughtless’, ‘inappropriate’ and ‘shaming’: that is how the actor Benedict Cumberbatch described himself and his actions this week in an elegantly worded but nonetheless grovelling apology.

It was fully 150 words of heartfelt self-flagellation, in which the actor all but stripped naked and covered himself in ashes before lashing himself to the mast of public opinion.

And all for what? A well-meaning slip of the tongue.

He used the term ‘coloured’ during an interview on an American chat show. Perhaps not the most politically correct racial terminology, but certainly not the most derogatory either.

At worst, perhaps, rather old-fashioned. The kind of thing your granny might say, and which might compel you to lean over and gently whisper in her ear: ‘No one says “coloured” any more, gran, it’s not the done thing.’ To which she might reply: ‘Really, dear? I had no idea.’

A term, moreover, contained in the very name of one of America’s leading African-American civil rights organisation, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People....

Of course, in today’s world the poor fellow had no choice but to apologise.

Not only does he inhabit the oh-so-progressive world of entertainment, where to deviate even slightly from the accepted nostrums of liberalism can mean instant alienation, he also has as an ancestor an 18th-century sugar plantation owner in Barbados which, in the eyes of some, practically makes him a slave-trader himself.
As a Person of Color myself, I should like to absolve Mr. Cumberbatch of any lingering guilt over his PR faux pas. And to advise him, as I have myself been reliably informed, that time is rapidly running out on the term "People of Color" and that the next politically approved appellation for individuals of African descent residing on the North American continent is still being discussed by the Grand Council of Racial Relations and will be announced to white people sometime in the next 18 months.

I understand "Basketball American" is the present frontleader, but the situation is fluid as "Shaded Americans" or "Shades" also has its advocates. As for we Native Americans, the correct form of address will be the individual's tribe, with all of the onus being placed on the individual addressing the erstwhile Native American to correctly identify his tribe prior to addressing him. An incorrect tribal identification will, of course, be considered greatly offensive and will require a placatory offering of money, alcohol, or sexual favors to set straight.

Don't call me Cherokee.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cuckoo for peer review

Scientistry at its finest:
Shrime decided to see how easy it would be to publish an article. So he made one up. Like, he literally made one up. He did it using www.randomtextgenerator.com. The article is entitled "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?" and its authors are the venerable Pinkerton A. LeBrain and Orson Welles. The subtitle reads: "The surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals." Shrime submitted it to 37 journals over two weeks and, so far, 17 of them have accepted it. (They have not "published" it, but say they will as soon as Shrime pays the $500. This is often referred to as a "processing fee." Shrime has no plans to pay them.) Several have already typeset it and given him reviews, as you can see at the end of this article. One publication says his methods are "novel and innovative"!. But when Shrime looked up the physical locations of these publications, he discovered that many had very suspicious addresses; one was actually inside a strip club.

Many of these publications sound legitimate. To someone who is not well-versed in a particular subfield of medicine—a journalist, for instance—it would be easy to mistake them for valid sources. "As scientists, we’re aware of the top-tier journals in our specific sub-field, but even we cannot always pinpoint if a journal in another field is real or not," Shrime says. "For instance, the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology is the very first journal I was ever published in and it’s legitimate. But the Global Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology is fake. Only someone in my field would know that."
You can trust scientists. Because global warming. And they have proven that birds are, indeed, cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

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Pinkshirts killing SF/F 2

It was rather amusing to see some people attempting to shake off yesterday's post on the decline in science fiction by pointing to the fact that overall print fiction had declined 8 percent, so the 7 percent decline in science fiction meant that the genre was actually outperforming. Never mind the fact that it had declined 21 percent the year before.... and after a little more research, I discovered that it had declined 21 percent the year before that as well.

In fact, SF print sales are now about half what they were in 2008. I don't place TOO much confidence in this chart, because it shows around 4 million in 2012, whereas the PW numbers indicate they should be around 5.6 million. But it does suffice to indicate that what we are witnessing is a pretty serious trend and one that involves more than the mere shift to ebooks.


A decline from a combined 26 million in print sales to 12.7 million in only five years is bordering on the cataclysmic; remember, ebooks eliminate any need for the expensive structure of the mainstream genre publishers, a fact that has probably not escaped the owners of Tor and other imprints. I'll put together some charts once I get some better numbers, but the point is that the anecdotal evidence of people increasingly avoiding the Pink SF produced by the self-appointed gatekeepers is supported by the data trend.

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Abolishing the Air Force

Jerry Pournelle wants to get rid of the Air Force:
I also intend to do an essay on why we should abolish the Air Force and return to an Army Air Force which is not a separate service. The purpose of military forces is to win wars. The purpose of the Air Force is—well, they no longer know. When we had SAC we knew – “Our profession is peace” was not just a slogan – but that too is neglected in the Modern Air Force. Deterrence and maintenance of nuclear weapons, being ready to use weapons when your fondest wish is that they will never be used – that does require a different kind of military. We once had that in SAC but the end of the Cold War was the end of SAC, and the nuclear deterrence force is, well not what it once was. It is subject to the Iron Law now.

As to the rest of the Air Force, it is more interested in the Air Force than winning wars, and considers supporting the field army as beneath contempt. A slow old Warthog does a much better job, but there is no glory in that. Best to use fast jets… which of course are imprecise and cause a lot of collateral damage. Everyone knows that a force of propeller driven P-47 fighters of WWII would be more effective for supporting the field army than what we use. And the Army must be crippled, not allowed to have effective air power in taking territory. You must use modern jets at high speed.

Now the Air Force has a mission that the Army at present does not have: Air Supremacy. And that is a different mission from supporting the field army. It involves engagements with Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs) as well as strikes against the enemy base of operations. The glory is in air to air combat, but that is not the effective way to air supremacy.

That is the main argument for an “Independent Air Force” and the bitter fights that ended with creation of USAF. It is true, ground army commanders tend to select the wrong targets to sortie against, and endanger air supremacy; thus the argument for independence, which USAAF eventually won (before SAC existed or any but a few knew would be needed.) Hiroshima ended the debate. But now the Cold War ended and USAF killed SAC as not glamorous – not career building any longer. As to the Warthogs, give them to the National Guard! Real pilots don’t need them!

Sure, I exaggerate but not much: the Air Force keeps trying to get rid of the Warthogs, but never by giving them (and the ground support mission) to the War Department. Better that GI’s die than USAF give up a mission even though it does not want it.

Drones will change all this, but why wait?
Actually, as Eric S. Raymond demonstrated in both "Sucker Punch" and "Battlefield Lasers", the Air Force is very close to obsolete anyhow. My expectation is that they'll try to survive by moving their mission upward, to space, in order to compensate for the vanishing ability of their planes to survive in the atmosphere.

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A proper Hobbit

TolkienEditor has cut Peter Jackson's abusive monstrosity in half and thereby, in large part, restored Tolkien's much-beloved tale:
I decided to condense all three installments (An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies) into a single 4-hour feature that more closely resembled Tolkien’s original novel. Well, okay, it’s closer to 4.5 hours, but those are some long-ass credits! This new version was achieved through a series of major and minor cuts, detailed below:

The investigation of Dol Guldor has been completely excised, including the appearances of Radagast, Saruman and Galadriel. This was the most obvious cut, and the easiest to carry out (a testament to its irrelevance to the main narrative). Like the novel, Gandalf abruptly disappears on the borders of Mirkwood, and then reappears at the siege of the Lonely Mountain with tidings of an orc army.

The Tauriel-Legolas-Kili love triangle has also been removed. Indeed, Tauriel is no longer a character in the film, and Legolas only gets a brief cameo during the Mirkwood arrest. This was the next clear candidate for elimination, given how little plot value and personality these two woodland sprites added to the story. Dwarves are way more fun to hang out with anyway. :P

The Pale Orc subplot is vastly trimmed down. Azog is obviously still leading the attack on the Lonely Mountain at the end, but he does not appear in the film until after the company escapes the goblin tunnels (suggesting that the slaying of the Great Goblin is a factor in their vendetta, as it was in the novel).
I was pleased to learn that in addition to getting rid of "Tauriel", the ridiculous barrel-fight is also gone. The Hobbit: The Tolkien Edit is a 6GB MP4 file, available by either torrent or direct download. Not all of Jackson's egregious stupidities have been excised, but most of them have been surgically removed.

UPDATE: Another, even more reduced option:
After about 312 new edits and cuts and almost 5 hours removed from the trilogy, this single film combines the three Peter Jackson movies into one immense epic that accurately tells the story of Bilbo, while maintaining what new ideas and battles have been implanted in Jackson’s retelling (such as the Battle of the Five Armies containing orcs instead of goblins). 
The following is a list of all the major edits/alterations to the films for this single edit. Scenes aren’t always simply removed, sometimes they are repositioned or sometimes specific elements are taken out or added in for coherency or pacing:  
  • Removed all of Elf-Dwarf Love Triangle Plot
  • Removed all of Gandalf’s necromancer adventures
  • Removed most of orc scenes/battles/mentions in first 2/3’s of the film (including removing frames with orcs from the post-goblin escape scene at the end of “Unexpected Journey”)
  • Removed Bilbo killing a wolf - the first thing he kills is the spider in Mirkwood forest, giving the sword the name “Sting”
  • Removed all of (elder) Bilbo’s introduction to the lore
  • Removed all of the heavy foreshadowing for LOTR and the evil of the ring - kept to the spirit of the book, it was a playful invisibility ring!
  • Added a deleted scene of the Shire villagers as an intro to the film
  • Reduced much of the Dwarves’ dinner at Bilbo’s
  • Created faster transition to Bilbo getting out of the house
  • Reduced Rivendell
  • Reduced Stone Giant scene
  • Reduced goblin scene, re-ordered dialogue to mirror book interactions between Thorin & Goblin King
  • Kept Gollum scene entirely intact - no cutting between that and the goblin lair, although shortened as well as removed Gollum beating the corpse in the beginning
  • Created voice-over transition into Beorn scene at the beginning of “Desolation of Smaug”
  • Reduced Mirkwood forest & Woodland Realm capture scenes
  • Heavily reduced Laketown capture (all of Laketown is about 10 minutes total now)
  • Removed Smaug battle scene with dwarves in the mines (kept Bilbo’s conversation with Smaug, the battle was outrageously cartoonish and long)
  • Removed Bard using his son as a bow, the shots dance around it and the scene is intact 
  • Rearranged much of Battle of Five Armies for coherency of Bilbo concealing and giving away the Arkenstone without the need for so many silly slow-motion Thorin bits
  • Removed many elements of the Battle of Five Armies that contained too much CGI monsters or silly battle actions (like repeated head-butting) 
  • Reduced and rearranged the battle to get to Thorin quicker
  • Removed elves from the final fight scene (Kili fights the orc in order to protect Bilbo instead of his elf love interest)
  • Removed final flash-forward scene, the film ends with Bilbo finally coming home

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Stop the Ensaddening!

Larry Correia explains the vital importance of joining the Crusade to End Puppy Related Sadness and getting a supporting membership to vote in the nominations. Because only you can tie SJWs to stakes and burn them.

Now our SP3 spokesmanatee would like to share a few thoughts about why it is so important that you help to combat the scourge of PRS.


wendell2 (2)

Thank you, Wendell. That was so profound I may have shed a single manly tear.
This year we will be expanding the suggested slate to include several other authors, artists, and creators who are usually locked out by the SJW voting block. 

(sniff) Damn, but Wendell is one eloquent manatee, isn't he? You just can't argue with that. Keep in mind that you'll get a bunch of ebooks for your $20/year membership (you pay $40 for two years), and the more nominations Sad Puppies gets, the better the books you'll get will be. Last year voters got the complete set of The Wheel of Time as well as all three volumes of Larry's Grimnoire trilogy; which was pretty good value for the $20.

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Pinkshirts killing SF/F

Publisher's Weekly reports on the growth or decline of various categories in 2014:

Adult Fiction (unit sales, in thousands)
Genre 2013 2014 % change
Classics 7,817 7,578 -3%
Fantasy 8,615 7,526 -13%
Graphic Novels 7,659 8,669 13%
Mystery/Detective 14,884 14,304 -4%
Science Fiction 4,448 4,142 -7%

Remember, science fiction was also down 21% in 2013, which means that science fiction unit sales have declined 1,488,000 in just two years. It's down more than one-quarter in two years and is now only half the size of the Graphic Novel market, which is not only growing, but is presently dominated by men writing and drawing for male customers.

The "women destroy science fiction" meme isn't even remotely ironic. Women, and the gamma males who cater to them, are literally destroying the adult science fiction and fantasy markets.

To put it in perspective, ONE edition of one of my games sold more copies than the ENTIRE science fiction market sold in print last year.

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The face of the Devil

The Church of England is marking a new era in its history as the Rev Libby Lane becomes the first woman to be ordained as a bishop. More than 100 members of the episcopate from England and other parts of the worldwide Anglican Church will lay hands on the 48-year-old vicar from Hale, Greater Manchester, to formally consecrate her during a service at York Minster. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu will anoint her with oil in an ancient tradition tracing its origins to the prophets of the Old Testament.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, will also be present, alongside female bishops from churches in other parts of the world.

The consecration marks the conclusion of a decades-long wrangle over the role of women in leadership in the established Church, the last great institution of British public life to open itself to full gender equality.


Does that look like someone who is sobered by the burden of assuming spiritual leadership? Or the smirking triumph of someone who has finally managed to corrupt a once-great institution?

As the Church of England finally succumbs to its entryist invaders, we can safely predict that the church leaders will be disappointed in their expectations: "Church leaders hope it will mark a moment of reconciliation between traditionalists and reformers on the issue."

It won't. It marks the death knell of the Church of England. The "new era" that is marked is the end.

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The real fear of the Eurocrats

Daniel Hannan observes that it isn't a Greek bankruptcy that would be the real catastrophe as far as the EU is concerned:
A default and devaluation would offer a fresh start. Although the economy has been pummelled by six years of Euro-austerity, some of the fundamentals have improved. The bureaucracy has been slimmed, taxes are now collected and, if debt repayments were taken out of it, the budget would be in balance. In truth, this is what EU leaders fear. Not that Greece will leave the euro and collapse, but that Greece will leave the euro and prosper.

A competitive Greek economy, exporting its way back to growth, might inspire Spaniards and Italians, who have also been paying the price of the euro, to follow. For those Eurocrats who see the single currency as a component of political integration, that prospect is too horrible to contemplate.

We’ve been here before. Two years ago, when it looked as if Cyprus might leave the euro, Brussels went so far as to lift money directly out of private bank accounts to pay off the country’s creditors.

The extreme measure was necessary, the European Central Bank admitted, ‘to prevent worries over the reversibility of the euro resurfacing’.
I observe that Iceland, which rejected the EU's bank-first dictates, is doing considerably better than Italy, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal, which obediently followed the EU's instructions. I tend to doubt this observation has escaped the new Greek government.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Be the dragon

At Alpha Game, I comment upon the importance of being the dragon, not the self-styled paladin and self-appointed dragon-slayer. But one part of the Loneliest Paladin's twitterstorm was relevant here for its illustration of rabbitology:
MikeBrendan @MikeBrendan
Things I don't get: why Ghaters would rally around Vox Day. Dude is the epitome of loser.

MikeBrendan @MikeBrendan
Not only did Vox get kicked out of SFWA for being a racist homophobic sexist dipshit, he took sixth place on a five person ballot.
Note that insufficient popularity with a small and specific group is equated with being "the epitome of loser"... by someone with no friends and not much of a life. Success, in the rabbit's world, is something that depends entirely upon the level of acceptance by the warren. Everything else is irrelevant.

Rabbits don't understand that wolves respect strength and loyalty, even when exhibited in causes of no interest to them. Rabbits fear strength and have no loyalty, so the concepts are alien to them. They genuinely can't understand the concept of standing up for someone because that someone stood up for you, even if you don't like him, respect him, or want anything to do with him. For all that they are herd animals, they are not team players; in their own way they are more ruthlessly self-serving than the most ideological self-sovereign libertarian.

And speaking of rabbitology, see how the rabbits cry when their warrens are invaded and they learn they don't possess the power they flaunted so foolishly:
GamerGate set out to writes its own story in Wikipedia – and to spread the dirt about the women who were its targets. These efforts were blocked by established editors under established Wikipedia policy. In retaliation, GamerGate planned an operation to get rid of its opponents – the “Five Horsemen” active in preserving objectivity and in keeping scurrilous sexual innuendo out of the encyclopedia. As a side-game, GamerGate also launched efforts to promote the idea that “Cultural Marxism” is a conspiracy of some Jewish academics to control the media.

The original GamerGate operation targeted the "five horsemen:" Ryulong, NorthBySouthBaranof, Tarc, TheRedPenOfDoom, and TaraInDC. All were sanctioned in the draft decision.

For months, these Wikipedia pages have been an escalating scene of daily – indeed hourly – conflict.

The Purge

Yesterday, ArbCom announced its preliminary decision. A panel of fourteen arbitrators – at least 11 of whom are men – decided to give GamerGate everything they’d wished for. All of the Five Horsemen are sanctioned; most will be excluded not only from “Gamergate broadly construed” but from anything in Wikipedia touching on “gender or sexuality, broadly construed.”

By my informal count, every feminist active in the area is to be sanctioned. This takes care of social justice warriors with a vengeance — not only do the GamerGaters get to rewrite their own page (and Zoe Quinn’s, Brianna Wu’s, Anita Sarkeesian’s, etc.); feminists are to be purged en bloc from the encyclopedia. Liberals are the new Scientologists as far as Arbcom is concerned.

No sanctions at all were proposed against any of GamerGate’s warriors, save for a few disposable accounts created specifically for the purpose of being sanctioned. The administrator who wrote, regarding Zoe Quinn’s sexual history, that

    I know other other allegations exist but will not state what those on WP are because that would be a BLP violation at the current time.

was not even mentioned. The many brand-new accounts who arrived in December with no Wiki experience, but possessing a curiously detailed knowledge of Wikipedia policy jargon, are unmentioned, save for the fact that the decision rests almost entirely on their proposals.

The extensive evidence of off-site collusion, which Wikipedia considers so improper that evidence must not be discussed on wiki but rather submitted in confidence, appears to have been entirely ignored. (I submitted such evidence myself, but received no acknowledgment or thanks; I have been told that much additional evidence was submitted.)
Notice how the upset rabbit appeals to "established editors and established policy" (better described as activist editors and self-imposed customs), despite the fact that the editors concerned were quite clearly VIOLATING Wikipedia policy, and doing so rather egregiously. What appears to have happened is that Wikipedia is finally beginning to act against the SJW thought police who make a practice of attempting to define the public narrative by exerting personal ownership over particular pages of interest.

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Grexit looms

Election results in Greece don't bode well for the Eurocrats:
Catastrophe' warning as anti-austerity party looks set to win Greek election with up to 38 per cent of the vote. Exit poll shows 36 to 38 per cent for anti-austerity party Syriza. Ruling New Democracy party predicted to receive 26 to 28 per cent. Syriza set to win 148 to 154 seats - and it needs 151 to rule outright. In third place is ultra right-wing party Golden Dawn on up to 7 per cent.
Not a bad result for Golden Dawn considering that their leadership is in jail on what look like suspiciously trumped up charges.

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What tail waggeth this way?

As part of your Loncon 3 memberhsip, you are entitled to nominate works for the 2015 Hugo Awards.The 2015 Hugo Award nomination period continues through March 10, 2015 at 11:59 pm PDT.

Sad Puppies 3 is coming within two weeks. What works would you like to see on it? Remember, all nominated works have to be published in 2014.

Short story: less than 7,500 words.
Novelette: between 7,500 and 17,500 words
Novella: between 17,500 and 40,000 words
Novel: 40,000+
Related work: non-fiction works related to science fiction or fantasy.

Remember, if you want to join in all the Hugo-nominating fun, you'll need to register for a supporting membership by 31 January. It's $40, but you get two years worth of voting rights, so it's essentially $20 to play. And if you registered to vote after the nominations last year, don't forget that you are eligible to nominate this time around, so get your new Hugo voter number and PIN from Sasquan.

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The Wilsonian century

David Stockman explains that the 20th Century was a massive mistake and much of the blame for it can be laid at the feet of America's second-worst president to date, Woodrow Wilson:
My humble thesis tonight is that the entire 20th Century was a giant mistake.

And that you can put the blame for this monumental error squarely on Thomas Woodrow Wilson——-a megalomaniacal madman who was the very worst President in American history……..well, except for the last two.

His unforgiveable error was to put the United States into the Great War for utterly no good reason of national interest. The European war posed not an iota of threat to the safety and security of the citizens of Lincoln NE, or Worcester MA or Sacramento CA. In that respect, Wilson’s putative defense of “freedom of the seas” and the rights of neutrals was an empty shibboleth; his call to make the world safe for democracy, a preposterous pipe dream.

Actually, his thinly veiled reason for plunging the US into the cauldron of the Great War was to obtain a seat at the peace conference table——so that he could remake the world in response to god’s calling.

But this was a world about which he was blatantly ignorant; a task for which he was temperamentally unsuited; and an utter chimera based on 14 points that were so abstractly devoid of substance as to constitute mental play dough.

Or, as his alter-ego and sycophant, Colonel House, put it:  Intervention positioned Wilson to play “The noblest part that has ever come to the son of man”.  America thus plunged into Europe’s carnage, and forevermore shed its century-long Republican tradition of anti-militarism and non-intervention in the quarrels of the Old World.

Needless to say, there was absolutely nothing noble that came of Wilson’s intervention. It led to a peace of vengeful victors, triumphant nationalists and avaricious imperialists—-when the war would have otherwise ended in a bedraggled peace of mutually exhausted bankrupts and discredited war parties on both sides.

By so altering the course of history, Wilson’s war bankrupted Europe and midwifed 20th century totalitarianism in Russia and Germany.

These developments, in turn, eventually led to the Great Depression, the Welfare State and Keynesian economics, World War II, the holocaust, the Cold War, the permanent Warfare State and its military-industrial complex.

They also spawned Nixon’s 1971 destruction of sound money, Reagan’s failure to tame Big Government and Greenspan’s destructive cult of monetary central planning.

So, too, flowed the Bush’s wars of intervention and occupation,  their fatal blow to the failed states in the lands of Islam foolishly created by the imperialist map-makers at Versailles and the resulting endless waves of blowback and terrorism now afflicting the world.

And not the least of the ills begotten in Wilson’s war is the modern rogue regime of central bank money printing, and the Bernanke-Yellen plague of bubble economics which never stops showering the 1% with the monumental windfalls from central bank enabled speculation.

Consider the building blocks of that lamentable edifice.

First, had the war ended in 1917 by a mutual withdrawal from the utterly stalemated trenches of the Western Front, as it was destined to, there would have been no disastrous summer offensive by the Kerensky government, or subsequent massive mutiny in Petrograd that enabled Lenin’s flukish seizure of power in November. That is, the 20th century would not have been saddled with a Stalinist nightmare or with a Soviet state that poisoned the peace of nations for 75 years, while the nuclear sword of Damocles hung over the planet.

Likewise, there would have been no abomination known as the Versailles peace treaty; no “stab in the back” legends owing to the Weimar government’s forced signing of the “war guilt” clause; no continuance of England’s brutal post-armistice blockade that delivered Germany’s women and children into starvation and death and left a demobilized 3-million man army destitute, bitter and on a permanent political rampage of vengeance.

So too, there would have been no acquiescence in the dismemberment of Germany and the spreading of its parts and pieces to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Austria and Italy—–with the consequent revanchist agitation that nourished the Nazi’s with patriotic public support in the rump of the fatherland.

Nor would there have materialized the French occupation of the Ruhr and the war reparations crisis that led to the destruction of the German middle class in the 1923 hyperinflation; and, finally, the history books would have never recorded the Hitlerian ascent to power and all the evils that flowed thereupon.

In short, on the approximate 100th anniversary of Sarajevo, the world has been turned upside down.

The war of victors made possible by Woodrow Wilson destroyed the liberal international economic order—that is, honest money, relatively free trade, rising international capital flows and rapidly growing global economic integration—-which had blossomed during the 40-year span between 1870 and 1914.

That golden age had brought rising living standards, stable prices, massive capital investment, prolific technological progress and pacific relations among the major nations——a condition that was never equaled, either before or since.

Now, owing to Wilson’s fetid patrimony, we have the opposite: A world of the Warfare State, the Welfare State, Central Bank omnipotence and a crushing burden of private and public debts. That is, a thoroughgoing statist regime that is fundamentally inimical to capitalist prosperity, free market governance of economic life and the flourishing of private liberty and constitutional safeguards against the encroachments of the state.

So Wilson has a lot to answer for—-and my allotted 30 minutes can hardly accommodate the full extent of the indictment. But let me try to summarize his own “war guilt” in eight major propositions——a couple of which my give rise to a disagreement or two.
There is more, considerably more. Read the whole thing. He is not wrong, except in claiming that either Bush the Younger or Obama are worse than Wilson, or that Wilson was worse than Lincoln.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

The faux sociopaths

John C. Wright explains that the Left is evil, not stupid:
Leftists are people who have a conscience but act like sociopaths. If the Leftist were really a sociopath, he would not need excuses, justifications, and rationalizations to fill his yammering mouth and empty his wrathful brain.

Please note also that this behavior only surfaces on matters where the Leftist has turned Left and turned off his brain in a vain attempt to turn off his conscience, which he wrongly believes to be lodged in the brain. A Leftist can be a good coworker, even a good friend, if you stick to topics where the Leftist brain-parasite called guilt does not take root and bloom like ghastly fungi expanding from his hypothalamus and medulla oblongata to suck up all his gray matter and ooze sinuously out of eyes, nostrils, mouth, ears.

I have talked with social Leftists about economic issues, for example, without triggering their brain-fungi response. The Leftist will mouth the normal sounding American ideals about Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness provided you do not crowd him too closely to ask him what those things mean, or why their heroes Che and Mao and crystal meth dealer Matthew Shepard slain by his gay lover and fellow drug dealer Aaron McKinney fit into the idea of the American Way, then and only then will the brain fungi erupt, and the human-shaped skull be cracked and flung aside, revealing the fleshy lobes and convolutions of the nonhuman being beneath.

Leftists are reasonable and decent people except in their particular areas of sensitivity, by which I mean, of course, where they are hiding their smothering guilt, and — this point bears emphasizing — not all of them are sensitive about the same thing, because not all of them sold the same section of their brains to the Fungi from Yuggoth for the same reason.

No one has sold all his brain, and no one is an entirely self consistent Leftist, so what triggers one Leftist into frothing inanity is not what triggers another. But the behavior once triggered is the same. That behavior is flight from reason.

As stated above, Leftism is what you get when you stop reasoning.

Their reasoning is marred and crippled because they mar and cripple reason so that reason will not operate properly. They want reason not to operate properly because reason shows them a truth that they cannot abide. They cannot abide the truth because the truth condemns them. Truth condemns them because they do evil.
We are all potential Leftists. We are all capable of rationalizing away our own particular sins. How good I am, because I am not a glutton, says the slender whore. How good I am, because I am not a slut, says the obese woman as she stuffs her face. How good I am, because I am not a murderer, says the homosexual. How good I am, because I am not a thief, says the killer.

It is only when attention is drawn to their own particular sin, to OUR own sin, that the human mind goes haywire, because it is hard to look at yourself in the mirror and say: "I am a sinner. I am corrupt. I am fallen short of the glory of God."

And yet, whether we admit it or not, we have.

We sinners of the Right are no better than the sinners of the Left. We are only more sane because we do not run from our sins, we do not hide from them, and we know better than to try to justify them. But we commit them, all the same. Don't pretend otherwise, for doing so is the first step on the path to becoming differently and incompletely sane.

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Concept art

I'll go into more detail on this at some point in the near future, but suffice it to say that the FIRST SWORD concept is expanding. Instead of being a simple combat management game, it's going to be a cross-platform, cross-media game, and will be playable in various forms from tabletop to mobile. I've always been somewhat of a holistic designer, but this is the first time I've had the ability to do something I've wanted to do for seven years now, something completely new and different.

We've got a pair of good sculptors and a sketch artist, but we're looking for some high-quality concept art for the various fantasy gladiators. It's set in Selenoth, so we're looking for Amorran, Savondese, and Dalarn humans, orcs, goblins, dwarves, elves, and trolls.

If you're a serious sketch artist and you want to show us what you can do, send me a fantasy gladiator sketch. If we buy it from you, we'll also send you one of the miniatures based on it.

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Oh shut up, Damo

It's often enjoyable to see how little heat SJWs are comfortable taking. They can't stand much in the way of criticism and they seem to spend a considerable amount of time monitoring what others think and say about them in order to quickly jump in and try to steer the narrative away from anything they think looks bad.

This Twitter exchange was particularly funny, given that Damien Walter is always quick to heap obloquy on Larry Correia, me, and other writers whose politics he dislikes:
D Franklin @D_Libris
Why is it that almost every Damien Walter article can just be replied to, justifiably, with "Oh shut up, Damo"?

Damien Walter @damiengwalter
.@D_Libris Excuse me, I asked you to explain your claim that it was "justifiable" to tell me to "shut up Damo". I'm going to keep asking.

Novel deVice ‏@noveldevice
@D_Libris you didn't @ him so literally if he doesn't want to see it he can just stop vanity searching. Boom.

Damien Walter ‏@damiengwalter
.@D_Libris If that's your justification for your continued rude and aggressive behaviour, so be it. I've requested that you stop.

D Franklin ‏@D_Libris
.@damiengwalter saying that I've been rude and aggressive doesn't make it so. Coming into my mentions and harassing me for a day, though...

Damien Walter ‏@damiengwalter
@D_Libris I've asked you to explain why you consider it 'justifiable" to tell me to "shut up Damo" you still have not done so.

D Franklin ‏@D_Libris
.@damiengwalter bcs you won't. Bcs I don't have authority to make you. Bcs it's a common, unthreatening phrase.

D Franklin ‏@D_Libris
Added to which, because you wouldn't have seen it if you hadn't gone looking... Nor would you see people saying it

Damien Walter ‏@damiengwalter
.@D_Libris Then I'm telling you it's neither. Neither is your repeated rude and aggressive behaviour. I'm requesting, again, that you stop it.

Damien Walter ‏@damiengwalter
.@D_Libris I have a search open for articles I write for the Guardian, that's standard practice so i can monitor the response.

Damien Walter ‏@damiengwalter
.@D_Libris If you search the URL, you'll see yours stands out as personally abusive when no others are.

Damien Walter ‏@damiengwalter
.@D_Libris If you want to make criticisms, please do so constructively without personal insults.

D Franklin ‏@D_Libris Jan 20
@damiengwalter "shut up" is personally abusive? How about spending a day poking at someone, & trying to set your followers on them?

Damien Walter ‏@damiengwalter Jan 20
@D_Libris If you don't believe it's rude and aggressive, then I'm informing you it is and asking you not to repeat that behaviour.

D Franklin ‏@D_Libris
@damiengwalter I notice that Patrick Nielsen Hayden is not being called rude, & indeed you proudly retweeted his comment?

D Franklin ‏@D_Libris
@damiengwalter so it's only people with platforms smaller than yours who you object to the perceived rudeness of?

Damien Walter ‏@damiengwalter
@D_Libris I'm telling you that I find your repeated personal attacks rude and offensive. Will you respect my request to stop them?

D Franklin ‏@D_Libris
@damiengwalter I can't stop what I've never done: I have never made repeated personal attacks on you, Damien

Damien Walter ‏@damiengwalter
@D_Libris OK. I've made my request, your future actions are your own choice. I'm not continuing any further discussion with you now.

Joseph Tomaras @epateur
In solidarity with @D_Libris, I ask that everyone who's ever found a @damiengwalter article moronic, please tell DGW to shut up.
The reason, of course, is that Damien Walter hasn't mastered his subject, doesn't do his homework, often doesn't know what he's talking about, regularly fails to distinguish between opinion and fact, and shows no ability to defend his rhetorical positions. That is why "oh shut up, Damo" is all that is required to effectively rebut him.

I don't read his columns, there is no reason to do so. He's boring even when he's trying to be offensive. At least with the likes of McRapey there is usually an entertainingly manic edge to the nastiness.

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Rumblings of tech war

This article is amusingly incoherent concerning the growing fears of US technology companies concerning Europe:
One message so far from the corridors around the World Economic Forum in Davos: U.S. technology companies are very worried about the backlash they are now facing in Europe. From their standpoint, Europe risks shooting itself in the foot by rejecting the cutting-edge technologies they have brought to the continent. But they would say that, wouldn’t they? Look at it from the European point of view.

Europe once led the world in mobile technology: The Global System for Mobile Communications, developed in Europe, became the global standard. But that was a long time ago. Now, most innovation in information and communications technology comes in waves from across the Atlantic.

With America’s vibrant capital markets giving them billions of dollars in risk capital, they can absorb the successful European tech enterprises—look at Skype Technologies, swallowed by Microsoft Corp.

These U.S. companies— Google, Facebook , Amazon and others—are disrupting industry after industry. Publishing, telecoms and retailing have already been convulsed. Now, the companies, and Google in particular, are turning their gaze from consumer-oriented to business-oriented platforms.

That is a big deal for growth-starved Europe and for its biggest economy, Germany, which leads the world in high-quality engineering. Europe’s car industry is a leading employer, its suppliers reach through the continent, and it is one of the biggest spenders on research and development. Germany’s machine-tool manufacturers are deservedly renowned.

But much of the future profit for these industries won’t flow from punching metal but from the networks they will use to manage information—for example, taking the cars where they want to go, catering to passengers with entertainment and retail experiences as they travel—and it’s a strategic question who owns them.
Isn't it good of those US technology executives to worry so much about Europe shooting themselves in the foot? They must have tremendous empathy! Or could it be that they are not telling the truth and it is something else that worries them?

Such as, perhaps, the possibility that they will be legally locked out of Europe due to their enabling of US goverment espionage and their continued disinclination to show any respect for various European privacy laws?

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Anti-Europeanists

This celebration of Islamic expansion in Europe may explain why the French and British people haven't been shedding many tears over Jews targeted by Muslims in Europe:
Rabbi Baruch Efrati, a yeshiva head and community rabbi in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, believes that the Islamization of Europe is actually a good thing.

"With the help of God, the gentiles there will adopt a healthier life with a lot of modesty and integrity, and not like the hypocritical Christianity which appears pure but is fundamentally corrupt," he explained.

Rabbi Efrati was asked to discuss the issue by an oriental studies student, who inquired on Judaism's stand toward the process Europe has been going through in recent years. Following the election of a hijab-wearing Muslim woman as the mayor of the Bosnian city of Visoko for the first time in continent's history, the student asked the rabbi on the Kipa website: "How do we fight the Islamization of Europe and return it to the hands of Christians and moderates?"

Efrati wrote in response that the Islamization of Europe was better than a Christian Europe for ethical and theological reasons – as a punishment against Christians for persecuting the Jews and the fact that Christianity, as opposed to Islam, is considered "idolatry" from a halachic point of view....

"Europe is losing its identity in favor of another people and another religion, and there will be no remnants and survivors from the impurity of Christianity, which shed a lot of blood it won't be able to atone for."
One would have thought the Jews might have learned from the Granada Massacre and the Reconquista that betting on the Mahometans isn't the smart thing to do. Meanwhile, David Goldberg declares that he has nothing to say to anyone in Europe:
It’s been so long since Europeans took their own national identity seriously that it’s hard for them to remember why it is that they can’t stand the sort of Jew who represents the Jewish future. One has to put them on the proverbial couch and coax it out of them: Europeans hate Jews because European national identity from the outset was a dreadful parody of Jewish identity.... I speak three European languages apart from English and have nothing to say to anybody in any of them.
I used to like reading Goldberg back when he was Spengler. Now... what is he even trying to say?

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Corruption in New York

The other New York assemblymen were shocked, shocked, to learn that the Speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, was arrested on corruption charges:
The speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, was arrested on federal corruption charges on Thursday and accused of using the power of his office for more than a decade to secure millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks and then covering up his schemes, according to court documents.

Mr. Silver, a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan who has served as speaker for more than two decades, is accused of a range of corrupt dealings that capitalized on his official position. They include using his position to obtain corrupt payments misrepresented as referral fees from a law firm; funneling state research funds and other benefits to a doctor who in return referred asbestos claims to the law firm where the speaker worked; and secretly helping real estate developers win tax breaks.

In recent years, a steady parade of lawmakers in Albany has been charged with corruption, and the complaint against Mr. Silver outlines a capital culture rife with back-room dealing, where money and influence shape public policy for the benefit of private agendas.
I'm sure the Senators and Congressmen in Washington D.C. are much, much cleaner.

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Evolution is a random process

Mindstorm wrote:
Selection is not random, because it eliminates what is locally worse and leaves what is locally better. Mutations without selection - that would be pure randomness. Good luck finding a biologist that would believe in such 'evolution'.
This is a point frequently made by the evolutionarily faithful. It is also completely and utterly wrong; one need only consult a dictionary to see that it is, without question, "random" in the primary sense of the word. 

1. proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern 

2. of or characterizing a process of selection in which each item of a set has an equal probability of being chosen. 

Evolution by natural selection absolutely fits the first definition of random. I should be very amused to see anyone attempt to claim otherwise and cite the "definite aim, reason, or pattern" involved. As for the second definition, it falls to the evolutionist to demonstrate that the probabilities of being chosen are unequal without resorting to circular logic.

That being said, I think it is fair to state that logic indicates evolution by natural selection is not a statistically random process simply because it is not credible to insist that all mutations have an equal probability of being chosen. However, it's not consistent to make such a probability-based argument while simultaneously rejecting a more calculable probability-based argument against the occurrence of the phenomenon.

In my opinion, the correct way to describe TENS in this regard is as a random, hypothetical process that is probably not statistically random. However, it should be noted that the selection process postulated is a logical construction, and a circular one at that, and has not been reliably observed or demonstrated.

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Next year in New York

A Dutchman believes he has the key to world peace:
A Dutch former cabinet minister reportedly said that world peace would be achievable if Israel’s population was forced to move to the United States. The statement was attributed to Herman Heinsbroek, who served as the Netherlands’ minister of economic affairs in 2002, in an article that appeared Thursday in the online edition of the prestigious financial monthly Quote, based on an interview with Heinsbroek.

“It was a historical error to give the Jews their own country in the middle of Islam,” he is quoted as saying. “You’ve had nothing but war ever since and you’ve had anti-Semitism resurging, too. My idea: Give the Jews their own state somewhere in the United States and 25 years to move their state over there.”

Heinsbroek is also quoted as saying that, if implemented, his solution “will finally create, perhaps, peace in the world.”
Well, it has to be admitted that half the world's Jews do appear to prefer the East Coast of the USA to Israel anyhow. And it's mildly amusing to anticipate the outrage this will likely inspire among the very people who are also outraged by the notion that Jews should move to Israel.

Actually, I think it would be a cataclysmic mistake for the West to pull the Jews out of Israel, even assuming that a nuclear power would be entirely amenable to the geographic relocation. If nothing else, Israel is a second front (or to be more accurate, fourth front), in the ongoing Clash of Civilizations between Islam and the West. Does Heinsbroek imagine that Islam will stop aggressively expanding into Europe, Asia, and North America simply because it is no longer distracted by a small piece of real estate in the Middle East? That's absurd.

Even if you are a confirmed anti-semite, you cannot rationally deny that the continued existence of the State of Israel is absolutely in the interests of the West. That doesn't mean that Israel's interests are US interests, much less Dutch interests, but its existence is.

ADDENDUM: With the King of Saudi Arabia now reported dead at the age of 90, I tend to doubt that the Wahhabists are going to become more moderate or that tensions in the Middle East are going to cool significantly any time in the near future.

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Probability and the Problem of Life

Yesterday, I observed that most biologists and believers in evolution have a poor grasp of probability. In the subsequent discussion, the otherwise perspicacious wrf3 demonstrated that he is not entirely clear on the difference between math and philosophy, two fields it is rather important to distinguish between despite their occasional overlap:
If you're going to claim that the occurrence of low probability events is evidence of behind-the-scenes tampering in nature, then you're going to have to show how the math for that works without assuming your conclusion. Otherwise, you're a fraud.
That is incorrect and is is an indication of subscribing to the conventional fetish-myth of math. Logic does not require math or even any quantification. A correct syllogism holds true regardless of whether it contains any quantities or not.

Consider the following two syllogisms:
  1. All cats are named Tom.
  2. I have a cat.
  3. Therefore, my cat's name is Tom.
  1. Mike is shorter than Alan.
  2. Zeke shorter than Mike.
  3. Therefore, Alan is taller than Zeke.
Both syllogisms are impeccably correct, without having any need to show how the math for them works. Sure, in the case of the latter we could treat the names as variables, retroactively assign some quantities to them, and thereby confirm the correctness of the logic with math, but that would be redundant. It's not necessary. We already know that the syllogism is correct because its logical construction is correct. The conclusion follows correctly from the propositions.

Here is the relevant syllogism:
  1. No low-probability event has been observed to take place without tampering in nature.
  2. A low-probability event has taken place.
  3. Therefore, nature was tampered in.
There is nothing fraudulent about that. There is no need for any math, or even any precise measurement of how low the relevant probability is in order to correctly conclude that nature has, in fact, been tampered in. Indeed, that is the only possible conclusion that is dictated by the logic.

Now, one can argue either of the first two propositions. One can claim either a) a low-probability event has been observed to take pace without tampering in nature or b) a low-probability event has NOT taken place to reject the conclusion. Only in the case of evolution, argument b) cannot possibly apply. We are here, after all.

Read more »

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

How convenient

You know, I think we might have the chance to roll this one out one of these days....

"That said, if you tell people my books are awful but have in fact never read them, you might suck as a human being."
- John Scalzi, 22 January, 2015

It could come in handy, don't you know? That being said, I've read three of McRapey's books and I didn't think they were awful, with the exception of The Android's Dream. They were mediocre, derivative, and monocharacteristic (which is to say that the characters all tend to speak with the same snarky voice), but they're not, on average, awful.

They're not good either, of course. I didn't stop reading Scalzi's books due to the author, but due to the books themselves. They simply weren't of any interest to me. No big deal, I don't have any interest in the books by Stephanie Meyer or whoever wrote The Hunger Games either and plenty of people seem to like them. In not entirely unrelated news, this comment amused me.

"It's always easy to spot the new midwits showing up on the blog as they come in with pseudo-intellectual swagger, appeal to authority and credentialism, the inability to admit they are wrong on anything, and unfounded belief in their own intelligence."

One would think the mere use of the term "midwit" would give an intelligent individual pause, but then, they're only midwits. It's not their fault that they're unaccustomed to an environment where a +1.5 SD is nothing special. Everyone has to learn sometime.

I wish everyone could undergo the humiliation I went through, along with every other Dragon, at my dojo. Our sensei mastered the art of breaking down the individual's ego and rendering him aware of his own ignorance and ready to learn. There is nothing like getting beaten down by someone you couldn't imagine was even capable of standing up to you to make you realize that your perception of reality was intrinsically false.

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More evolutionary absurdity

It still amazes me that anyone can take the theory of evolution by natural selection and various other forms of selection seriously anymore. No matter how many of their hypotheses are demonstrated to be wrong, nothing falsifies it.
In 1890 Belgian palaeontologist Louis Dollo postulated that evolution could not run backwards - something widely accepted by the scientific community. But now a study has claimed that the changes induced by evolution can be reversible, meaning certain animals can return to an earlier biological trait. The remarkable discovery was made by finding birds had regrown a bone previously discarded by dinosaurs millions of years ago.

They found that 230 million years ago, two-legged dinosaurs no longer required the strong wrists of their four-legged brethren, and thus they became weak. The number of bones in wrists shrank from 11 to three, with one in particular of interest to disappear being the pisiform.

But according to research by Dr Vargas, the bone reappeared when dinosaurs evolved into birds and took flight. The new bone, called the ulnare, appears in the same place as the pisiform once did.The pisiform allowed bird wings to remain rigid on the upstroke. The study found it disappeared in bird-like dinosaurs, but modern birds later evolved to once again use this tiny bone.
So now we have parallel evolution, backwards evolution, and presumably soon circular evolution. Amazing what a RANDOM process - yes, contrary to what Richard Dawkins keeps telling everyone, beginning with a random element such as genetic mutation means that the process is random; the genetic mutations required precede the environmental pressure and are not a result of it - is supposed to be able to produce.

What this tells me is that biologists don't understand how probability works. At this point, it is becoming obvious that if life was found on every single planet in the Solar System, they would claim that we simply happened to hit a very, very unlikely biological jackpot.

At this point, given their rejection of falsification, I don't see how evolution can possibly be considered science anymore. Can you detect the flaw in the logical syllogism?

1. Evolution can't run backwards.
2. A supposedly evolutionary change is reversed.
3. Therefore, evolution can run backwards.

An endorsement from the Dean of Mil-SF

Jerry Pournelle approves of Castalia's new mil-SF anthology:
Riding The Red Horse has a number of stories and essays, and is worth your buying. My non fiction contribution is an essay on simulation I did for Avalon Hill in the 70’s –and it is still pretty good. They found and asked my permission, and I am told I’ve already earned a good dinner out of it… Next I think comes a revival of There Will Be War.
It's good to see Dr. Pournelle recovering so rapidly from his stroke. As a wargamer and game designer, I very much enjoyed his game design essay in The General; I found it by pure happenstance and we added it at literally the last moment. It was fascinating to learn that he was the inventor of the "matchbox" concealment system, which uses a single unit to stand in for several, a concept that is incorporated in most wargames these days in one way or another.

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Strangling the golden goose

The US economy will continue to decline even after the credit bust because it is actively disincentivizing entrepreneurs and driving them out of the country:
The U.S. now ranks not first, not second, not third, but 12th among developed nations in terms of business startup activity. Countries such as Hungary, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, Israel and Italy all have higher startup rates than America does.

We are behind in starting new firms per capita, and this is our single most serious economic problem. Yet it seems like a secret. You never see it mentioned in the media, nor hear from a politician that, for the first time in 35 years, American business deaths now outnumber business births.
Just look at my family. The USA has already have lost over 50 jobs, and based on past taxes paid, more than $100 million in state and federal taxes after jailing my father for 11 years for his failure to pay around $2 million in taxes it claimed he owed. It also lost the benefit of any new businesses he would have started in the last ten years. And it has lost whatever benefit it would have gained from several opportunities in the USA I would have pursued in the past, but instead elected to leave fallow because the regulatory and compliance headaches were too high when piled on top of the usual risks and time commitments involved. I was never as successful as my father, of course, but my business did reach a respectable size and employed a dozen people.

It's so bad these days that the USA is not only disincentivizing both its resident and expatriate entrepreneurs, but is even causing the latter to give up their citizenships in record numbers. Eduardo Saverin, one of the Facebook co-founders, is far from the only U.S. citizen to renounce his citizenship over tax-related business matters. For years, the American instinct has been to say "good riddance" to such renunciates, but the country is past the point where it can afford to do so, especially when most other countries are very actively courting the small minority of people who are capable of creating new businesses that will provide new job opportunities for their citizens. At this point, foreign entrepreneurs would have to be either stupid or very short-sighted to pursue a green card that will serve as a financial anchor for the rest of their lives.

The tragic thing is that the USA is no longer the land of opportunity for entrepreneurs. It was only 20 years ago that the young guys who started id Software moved from Wisconsin to Texas because the opportunities were better there. But the ids of tomorrow are now leaving the USA for other countries, and are increasingly starting them in places like Eastern Europe, the Nordic countries, and Israel. The last five big game startups have come out of Russia, Finland and Sweden; one of the biggest mobile game successes is in Serbia. This means that even aside from its macroeconomic problems, the USA is very unlikely to possess the long-term potential for growth it once took for granted anymore.

The effects of these negative developments concerning entrepreneurial activity are somewhat obscured by the fact that New York is still the financial capital of the world; four of the six game companies mentioned either went public in the USA or were acquired by US companies. But it doesn't change the fact that innovation is increasingly taking place outside the USA.

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