Links 2/24/10


  1. Michael

    “When using open source makes you an enemy of the state ”

    I am indeed looking at that agog.

    Akin to buggy whip manufacturers or newspapers outlawing their competitors. Sure they’d like to (have), but what kind of world would we be in if they did (had)?

    There’s nothing socialistic about free software or `open source’, it’s pure unadulterated free market (hint: the free means the same thing in both cases). Applications survive purely on their service to the customer, and anybody can compete with no barriers to entry but your skill and cunning.

    What microsoft (lets be frank who is behind these liars) most fears is free and open competition and wants us all to operate in a centrally dictated digital economy as they extract the rent from everyone on the planet (its explicit goal has been stated as such by its leaders). Then again, that is pretty much the goal of all of the multi-nationals. But for software is is particularly insidious, with a marginal cost of $0, how come it keeps going up in price?

  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Regarding the demise of the other Greece, around the time of the Sea People, due to the domino-like collapse of the globally interconnected systems, it is interesting to note that the Ming Chinese put together their America-discovering (or so claimed one author) Treasure Fleet with compartmentalized junks.

    Non-compartmentalized ships may be cheaper to build but it’s less safe.

    The same with our world economic systems. Too interconnected, too much the same and when you run into one particuarlly viscious problem, you lose the whole world.

    Too much free trade, things may be cheaper, but we cheapen ourselves with more risk of being wiped out completely.

    We should build our economies the way we build our ships.

    Bio-diversity works for the same reason, by the way.

  3. Valissa

    This piece by Glenn Greenwald is a great explanation of the game the political elites play with their sheeple.

    Glenn Greenwald… The Democratic Party’s deceitful game

    The whole piece is worth reading and the comments are good too…. but here is the key point:

    “The primary tactic in this game is Villain Rotation. They always have a handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success, but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of their members invariably prevent it.”

    I was debating whether to share this link in the Volcker post or the Martin Wolf post, as those are both examples of the opposite technique, which has the same results… the designated “hero” who supposedly is one of the elites who speaks out against their fellow elites rapaciousness, or speaks up for the little people’s rights. Yeah, right… people are slowly waking up to this game.

    1. Cynthia

      The Republicanization of the Democratic Party got its start under Clinton, thanks to his top two neolib advisers, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers. Then it picked up some speed under Obama, thanks to his top two neolib advisers, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner. So thanks to all of them, the Democratic Party is now playing second fiddle to the Republican Party as the party for the rich, leaving the non-rich of our country party-less. But hopefully these wise words from Harry Truman will stop Democrats from turning themselves into full-blown Republicans: “Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.”

      1. aet

        The Democrats moved to the right when Reagan was elected in 1980: and in response to that win.
        The DLC became powerful in the 1980s: and like the Dems during GWB’s first term, they moved to “block the daylight” between them and the Repubs.

        Repeat that a few times, and once was “hard-right” policy becomes the “mushy center”: and aggressive war, total government surveillance and torture as a tool become debatable as policies.

        PS Why are my posts being rejected from time to time?

  4. kevinearick

    Another problem with PLCs is proportional control, and operator impatience. Proportional control never reaches the target value, so the operator starts monkeying around with gain, and pretty soon the process is cascading out of control through oscillation. The existing solution is derivative and integral computer process control, which produces a better result for awhile, right up until an unknown condition occurs. Then watch out. And evolution is really, really good at introducing unknown conditions.

    The simpler solution is to increase the proportional control target, which is what evolution wants. Return to unprotected labor is going to spring up to 51%, one way or the other, once the spring releases. The last time around, after WWII, it shot up to 65%, creating the oscillation that put the economy in its current position, 15%. It’s an orbital problem.

    As for black box finance, all ecosystems have many limits, including predation. Attempting to micromanage the predators creates much larger problems than it solves, due to oscillation. Predation has its own natural limitations. It is not possible to protect individuals from choosing ignorance and dishonesty, expecting something for nothing, and running into others that are much better at it than they are. Predators will always be smarter and faster than those feeding them by hand.

    1. kevinearick

      that is, I could go back to the 65% year as a point of reference and argue that small labor got ahead of itself, and pushed what became the current middle class into the arms of capital.

  5. kevinearick

    A constitution does not define or limit democracy. The US Constitution is an agreement, providing capitalism with a limited partnership, in the form of a republic. When capital jumps a safety, it triggers a trouble fault. If the safety is not restored, bad things happen to capital and anyone that follows it. Small labor continues on regardless of what capital does, because evolution has zero tolerance for jumping the safeties.

    A constitution is a relative buffer. Small labor takes two steps forward, capital takes one step forward to bring up the rear, and growth in the circuit provides space for the middle class capacitor, which requires a semi-neutral polarity orientation, or the system discharges.

    When the mafia entered capital, it left behind its skeleton, which became an infinite resistor, due to like polarity. Reaching orbit requires a parallel circuit for job certification, education, and independent access to the communication stream, which the middle class remains free to build at its discretion. The Internet was designed as prototype curve, which the global cartels are rapidly capitalizing into a final destination.

    The something for nothing economy is all done.

    1. kevinearick

      From symptomatic perspective, the AMA can give up control of healthcare, so all that capital can be more productively employed, or it can go down and take a very big chunk of the economy with it, probably the entire university system, which has been providing all the economic activity increase over the last two decades.

      1. kevinearick

        did you see those rate increases by wellpoint in Cally?

        guess they were expecting to hide those bull market frenzy capitalization costs before now.

        1. Cynthia

          Health insurers wouldn’t be trying to slap their customers with double-digit rate increases if they hadn’t milked their cash cows bone dry to hire high-priced lobbyists to keep their top dogs living like fat cats.

      2. kevinearick

        Ohio State University is a good example. Largest economic activity in the country, greatest economic losses, poorest placement record after graduation. And Columbus is already a ghost town, with for sale signs on everything. And those losses are going to suddenly appear.

        1. kevinearick

          didn’t the Court give IBM the patent on that, along with all intelligence in the universe?

          doesn’t IBM provide the Gov with all its “smart” systems?

          boy they parlayed selective extermination and the surgical manual into quite the rackets.

  6. jimbonantuket

    re: 21st century breakdown

    The idea civilization runs according to strict generational cyclicality is ridiculous. Imagine a theory of scientific inquiry and discovery that runs according to the same logic:

    1. period of discovery
    2. period of institutionalization
    3. period of questioning
    4. period of crisis

    This view, roughly speaking, is not alien to philosophy of science (Kuhn, for example), but if we linked it to generational spans of time, it would be silly. We know scientific inquiry does not map onto generational time-lines. Scientific inquiry does not begin with a 20 year period of discovery, then a 20 year period of institutionalization, then a 20 year of questioning, then a 20 year period of crisis. Even if these periods mapped onto reality, their time-scales would be highly variable. We would have to make specific judgments about specific fields and theories. There is no magic key that enables us to guess when the next scientific breakthrough is about to occur.

    Why would we think any differently about the rise and fall of civilization? Nobody can even pinpoint when Rome collapsed. It is utterly ambiguous. Again, we have to get specific about what we count as civilization, for example, the symbolic meaning of the takeover of the rule of Rome by a foreigner, or the closing and destruction of pagan religion and intellectual institutions. But these frames do not easily coincide. Our judgment “that Rome collapsed” is more heuristic than anything else. It offers up no easy formula for prediction of future states of affairs, any more than one’s discovery of a scientific property predicts reliably the discovery of other properties.

    What may be useful is an analysis of generational psychology. Did the people who lived in poverty during the Great Depression come away with views that influenced American life for the next 20-50 years? Probably. Did 9/11 have an impact that will be felt for a generation, until the generation that experienced those images accede power to the next generation? No doubt.

    But this requires a rich description, not a simple framework of 4 categories, and 4 psychological positions.

    r: “In his new documentary, GENERATION ZERO, director Steve Bannon scorches both parties and particularly the Baby Boom generation that now holds the reins of power in Washington DC and in corporate America. It is not a coincidence that 4 out of 5 CEOs of the investment banks that leveraged 40 to 1 and brought the worldwide financial system to its knees were Baby Boomers. ”

    Laying blame on Baby Boomers is empty, because Baby Boomers do not exist. They are a figment of the imagination of journalists and a twinkle in the eye of demographers. We are talking about millions upon millions of people with radically different experiences, who grew up believing different things, who ended up in very different places. Yes, it is no coincidence Baby Boomers are responsible for the economic catastrophe: because they are of the age where they hold the reins of power. If 90 year olds were in charge, or 25 year olds, we would all be surprised. But blaming Baby Boomers becomes an incredible insight when coupled with fantasies about hippies and the 1960’s, where supposedly all Baby Boomers were doing acid and marching in protests; fast forward 40 years and the same people -we are told- are willfully destroying America by subverting the banking industry. All based on fictions, wishful thinking, bad numerology, and cliff’s notes history.

    Why do people insist their heuristic crutches give insight into anything other than their own disability?

    1. jimbonantuket

      In case someone mentions it, generational shifts are important to Kuhn’s theory, but the periods between different stages of scientific discovery (between paradigm shifts) are not static. The generational aspect refers only to a period of crisis when, because two theories cannot be adjudicated by the evidence (theory-evidence contamination), we enter a stale-mate that is resolved only through the attrition of the older generation. Nevertheless, a theory may stay current for a thousand years before it is overturned by a new one, according to Kuhn.

  7. Cynthia

    Fearing Obama Agenda, States Push to Loosen Gun Laws: “Perverse result of incorrect stereotyping of Obama as a liberal.” — so true, Yves!

    But when it comes to our civil liberties, Cass Sunstein is someone that the Right and the Left can agree upon. Let me start by saying the Rahm Emanuel is someone who wouldn’t mind seeing our country turn into a fascist state. But Cass Sunstein, I’m afraid, as Glenn “Glennzilla” Greenwald points out, is someone who is willing to use his power in the Obama White House to turn our country into a fascist state:

    Gun-toting teabaggers are afraid that if Sunstein gets his way, he’ll take away our right to bear arms. But if you think about it, they should have little to fear that he’ll do this because Obama has a strong track record for 1) supporting gun rights and 2) caving to teabaggers’ demands. So for these reasons, Obama isn’t likely to appoint Sunstein to the Supreme Court, where he could do lots of damage to the second amendment.

    Leftist civil libertarians, OTOH, are afraid that if Sunstein gets his way, he’ll take away our freedom of speech. They really do have reason to be fearful of him doing this not only because Obama has a strong track record of undercutting liberals, but also because he has done next to nothing to scale back, much less give up, any of the ill-gotten, anti-American, unconstitutional presidential powers that Bush so ruthlessly accumulated during his years in power. So for these reasons, Obama may indeed extend his presidential powers to Sunstein so that he can silence those of us who speak out against our government.

    I find it ironic that loud-mouthed media pundits, like Beck and Limbaugh, are making a lot of noise about Sunstein being a threat to our second amendment rights, when he’s really not much of a threat to this, while media pundits, right and left alike, remain silent about him being a threat to our first amendment rights, when he is very much a threat to this. So I find this to be doubly ironic that media pundits depend on our first amendment rights in order stay employed, but they’d rather use these rights to defend our right to bear arms than our right to free speech.

  8. Dewey Tatevosian

    Hi just came across your site and been browsing around some of your posts and just wondering why you chose a WordPress site dont you find it impossible to do anything with? Been thinking about starting one.

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