Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mexican Energy Market, 12/19/13

     Hosted by the Atlantic Council

     Why to be against current Mexican energy market reform.

     David Goldwyn, energy consultant and former State Department Coordinator for International Energy Affairs (Obama administration), gives away the secret, the new energy bill from Mexico is actually a fantastic deal for any oil companies with "basic enhanced oil recovery."

     I mean, a massive oil company, state run or not, should have such "basic" skills, so shouldn't be selling it all at a favorable price.

     These fields Goldwyn calls "bitten apples," fields where PEMEX already worked there and took off the high pressure oil.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Movie idea and background, Vampires

     The legend of vampires comes from aliens, and I say this for two reasons.

     One, as I fully know, human blood is an incredibly laxative.  If a human, or mutated human, drinks a human's worth, or even half, they will be stuck on the can for a day.

     Two, it is easy to imagine that an alien's eyes don't see the exact same spectrum as human eyes.  The reason why silver reflects is that we can't see the color of silver, it is outside our range.  If one had some other eyes, one could see the color of silver, and so that person couldn't see their reflection in a mirror. Not quit the same as not having a reflection, but pretty close.

     Of course, this would be a period piece, set in Eastern Europe, during the last, maximal, days of Ottoman control over that period.

     Such an alien could only plausibly be a tourist, or stopping by our planet for a meal.

     Being an alien could easily explain why direct sunlight was unpleasant, but not burning.  Either the eyes or the skin could be at fault.

     A good reason why a stake through the heart works could be that the alien has good self-healing, but such a large trauma to the heart, regardless of it being a wooden stake or not, is just too much.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Which side is behaving in a partisan fashion

[Rules Committee Member, Jim McGovern (D-MA)]: I think a lot of your members
who have expressed to me privately
their frustration over the fact that we're in this mess
would appreciate the government opening
while you negotiate something with the Senate.

[Rules Committee Chairman, Pete Sessions, (R-LA)] I appreciate this discussion
and I would say on behalf of the majority
what we think we are doing here today
is probably some straight line Republican viewpoints.
And I do understand
that because we are in the majority
we are going to use probably our best ideas first
the things which we wholeheartedly support
and I would just say
if we pass this bill
it'll arm our negotiators
our leadership with a chance
as they meet with the President today.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

L&P in the News - Fighting by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria

     The northern parts of Nigeria are in a totally different linguistic group, Afro-Asiatic->Chadic->Hausa than the heavily populated parts of Nigeria, which are a variety of Niger-Congo->Atlantic-Congo

     Naturally this makes effective communication between the regions difficult, and the efficacy of rules promulgated in Atlantic-Congo languages in Hausa lands doubtful.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Language and Peace: Some Research from Google

     . Includes some beautiful graphs.

     What do I see? That German seems to be a very central language (first graph) without a very strong bias (does not appear in graph which shows 50x overlinkage).  Hindi is clearly isolated, perhaps feeling set upon by its language conscious government.  Officially? Why not German as the global language?  It is a great language for philosophy.  The Nazi past is problematic, but they, above most others, seem to be dealing with it, and it isn't like English does not have its own, imperialist present.

Language and Peace in the News: Catalan

     Catalan, while a Romance language, is not Spanish.

     The NY Times reports a million Catalonians joined hands to press for secession.  It is unclear what percentage are Catalan-speakers, but clearly this secession event maps perfectly to the thesis of Language & PeaceSee the Catalonia page for more.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I'm not sure if Ben Bernanke is being stupid, or knows he's being evil.

     Interest rates are low, which is great for most large corporations.

     Unemployment rates are high, which is good for most large corporations.

     What the Federal Reserve Board, and Chair Ben Bernanke, have said, in no uncertain terms, is that the interest rates will go back up if the unemployment rates go down.

     So, any rational, large corporation will try not to hire anyone in order to keep interest rates low.

     And Ben Bernanke pretends this is supposed to help unemployment rates?  Is he stupid, or just evil?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wish I Could Find the Montesquieu Quote...

     Something about a people, once (oppressed or conquered or something bad) who have the tables turned for them, so they are now on top, behave in a certain way.

     Yeah, me, too.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


     Between nothing and war lie options.

     One option might have multiple uses, and still have uses if a military option becomes the only option.

     One such option might be to set up a large media source, near SY, and lend it to the rebel voices to broadcast. Benefits during operation include:

  • Allows Syrian people, and foreigners, to get to know rebels
    • for future elections
    • to know if they might want to support them
    • words, pictures, and moving pictures can be recorded of rebels while they stay in the field
  • Improves news access for the Syrian people, which have no press freedom.
  • Improves propaganda outlet for group supplying infrastructure
    • VOA: Arabic during downtime

     If later, war becomes impossible to avoid,
  • More uses for rallying messages of whichever side we like

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

English-Broadcasting Roundup of Bradley Manning Pardon Request

     I checked the NY Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, NY Daily News, Washington Post, USA Today. None of them have, on their front page, the fact that Bradley Manning is requesting a pardon.  The Wall St. Journal even suggested he left with some bad words for the President.

     The front pages of Russia Today, the Guardian UK, both mention the pardon request in a separate story.  Agence France Presse only headline is that Manning comforted his weeping lawyer.  German Bild and Chinese Xinhua takes the U.S. line for their front page. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Forget most of what you've read about post-conflict operations and C.O.I.N.

     During a conflict, the military is the brunt arm of the political will.  As the conflict ends, the role of the military must drop much more quickly.

     Logistics, Supply, Military Police, Chow, HQ & Support, and possibly Construction and/or Transport are left behind.  Not combat units, they begin collecting in central locations for transport home as soon as possible.

     Who should run perceivably-occupation-like peace operations?  It should be, basically our national Police Corps, like a Gendarmerie (Spain's Civil Guard especially) of Europe.  In other words, Peace Officers, to keep the peace the military has so recently won.    We don't have this today, and multi-lingualism might be a requirement.

     During the initial days of a transition to Police Corps, of course, there will likely be a shortage of peace officers, and military police should be used.

     I'm not sure fitness, of their units, is a judgment we should be making.  Maybe offer our police-training, rub by our military, for any units that do not do well.

     State, if things stay stable or improve, then takes an ever increasing role.  If one does not invade the wrong targets, in the first place, peace operations are greatly simplified.

     One of State's early tasks is to clear the rubble.  Local equipment should be used first.  Equipment totals, per owner, should be simultaneously reviewed, including drive test, before starting.  Military Construction Battalions might be able to lend a hand. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Who Was the Best Foreign Policy President of the last 50 Years?

     Maybe George Herbert Walker Bush. He invaded Iraq, removed the Panamanian President, put an arms embargo, with the EU, still in place, on China, in response to Tiananmen Square, and two things I disagree with, trying to stop the break-up of Yugoslavia, and the military run aide programs in Somalia called UNITAF.

     I believe Iraq was, perhaps alone since WWII, a legitimate target for attack.  It had invaded Kuwait, whether or not it had historically been part of the same area, and whether or not April Glaspie hinted it was OK.  Bush failed, though, in not being able to co-ordinate the very tangled web of alliances and hatreds of local Turkic, Arabic and Farsi states, into a march all the way to the capitol.

     Removing the drug dealer who ran Panama, even if he had been running drugs with our CIA, was a special case form of invasion.  Panama is, in few senses, independent of the United States.  They use the U.S. dollar as currency.  If anyone ever invades the canal zone, America's military will defend it.  From that perspective, we removed our bad guy.  Offhand, I can't think of a cleaner way he could have been removed from power without assassinating him.

     I am sure we were not going to war with China over this.  We did co-ordinate an arms embargo with the EU.  I think that's the next, single, most powerful response.

     He was against the break-up of Yugoslavia.  I would have just tried to manage it better, along linguistic lines, natch.  Serbia had been the largest when Tito found himself newly in charge of something called Yugoslavia, so, to even it out, he carved off little parts of Serbia, and put them in other areas.  It's about three towns and a half of a small city in Kosovo, for example.  No longer in union, Tito's formulation has been a hindrance, and led to lawlessness and, in some cases, wars.

     In Somalia, the local power broker wanted us out.  One can argue that an estimated 100,000 people were saved by U.S. support for aide operations, but the 18 who died in Mogadishu were all the American media ever talked about.  It feels to me like Yet Another meddling in another country's civil war to get the outcome we wanted.  Somalia has not had a government since.

Friday, August 09, 2013

My favorite news? FAIR's CounterSpin.

     Democracy Now just does not make for good television.  They could benefit from a budget.  FAIR's CounterSpin is a radio show, so the budget issues disappear.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Shuffle Update

     Five years ago I posted this, which is improved upon by this (it's the footwork, clearly, but also the love story).

     I was catching up today.  Loving how no one seems to even notice the MoscowMagnitogorsk Jump Girls as they dance.  And this kid is the best I've scene.

     Clearly, I'm only judging their feetwork.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Explanation of the movie "Primer"

     The hint for what is going on occurs at minute 13, with Abe lying on the floor, taking a call from Aaron, is shown doing everything twice.  Clearly, a box already exists.

     We start getting the story that this movie is about time travel starting at minute 21.  Abe is methodical, as evidenced by the way he explains it to Aaron.  First, with the Weeble, he introduces Aaron to one scientist, then another.  Then he shows Aaron the watches, digital and clockwork. 

     A hint is what Aaron's first reaction now is, "You're talking about building a bigger one."

     It's also a bit amusing that Abe has figured out lots of efficiencies with the design that surprise Aaron.

     Abe then brings Aaron to the self storage unit.  Quickly we learn Abe has gone into the box, at least once, to go back in time, without letting a word slip to anyone.  That is the type of people we are dealing with, here.

     A hint is Aaron's first words after the explanation is complete.  First he finds out what Aaron did, his first day through, then "Now that I know about this, don't do this again, OK, not where it affects me."

     By the end of the movie, we learn Abe had, in addition to the box he showed Aaron, built another box.  This is the type of person we are dealing with, here.  We actually get a hint of that, too, for the first time both of them go to the storage units to enter the boxes at the B end Abe slows at the wrong locker, and Aaron notices.

     Explanation: Just like Abe, whose progress we watch, Aaron's first instinct, the first time he gets the field to work, was to build a bigger one, and hide it from Abe and the others.  In effect, Abe ends up doing all the bug testing for Aaron.  This is Abe's curse, for being so methodical.  He didn't even imagine that Aaron had done the same thing he had, i.e. build another field.

     At minute 39, we can guess that the reason the static shock for Aaron is a lot more powerful than it is for Abe is that Aaron is, already, nesting his time travel, while Abe is not.  That's more of a guess, but seems just as plausible as Abe's explanation, which was that Aaron got out "too soon."

     Even though it is actually months in the box, Aaron goes back to minute 13, with a box inside his box.  Why?  Because he has killed Abe.  In the airport, Abe tells Aaron he can never come back, because he has killed him.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Adjustment to Roots District Size Theory

     Many places I've written that ideal district sizes are roots of the full population.  If the Earth's population is 6 billion, the square root body has 77460 members, the third root body has 1817 members and 3301877 districts, et cetera.  I realize that, of course, there is an overhead cost associated with all of this, so the actual numbers should be less than the square roots.  Maybe increase slowly, only as long as there's a decent chance of improvement, with the promise to revert, if there simply isn't.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Media Keeps America's Problems Going!

     Three stories, one from Reuter's, published by CBS News, one from AP, published by the Israeli YNet News, and one from the Egyptian paper, Ahram Online.

     The Israeli version contains this text:

Morsi repeated the allegation that Egyptians loyal to the now-ousted regime of autocrat Hosni Mubarak were behind the planned protests and that they were working against the January 2011 uprising that toppled Mubarak.

     The U.S. version has this in a caption:

Morsi repeated the allegation that Egyptians loyal to the now-ousted regime of autocrat Hosni Mubarak were behind the planned protests and that they were working against the January 2011 uprising that toppled Mubarak.

And while everyone mentions this, here from Ahram...

[Morsi] "[T]oday we stand against Hezbollah for Syria," he added, referring to the Lebanese fighters [Hezbollah] who officially declared last May their involvement in the fighting in Syria against "Islamic extremists who pose danger to Lebanon," in reference to anti-Al-Assad rebels.

...only Ahram Online Mentions This Part of his alleged condemnation of Hezbollah.

"The Egyptian people have stood by the Lebanese people and Hezbollah against the [Israeli] attack in 2006,"

Referring to Egyptian support for Hezbollah in the past.

And so, yet again, I say Fuck You, CBS!.

By ignoring the part where Morsi praises Hezbollah, Americans can only be surprised (Suprise!) when Morsi behaves in a more pro-Hezbollah fashion, particularly if Hezbollah manages to get connected to doing something heinous to people invading their country, like, say, Americans.

Bar Trivia Historian ++?

     So I was thinking about bar trivia, and how, for a non-historian, I am an awesome historian, and I was thinking that even for a historian, I'm not too bad a historian, because, apparently, I have done original work, and published it on the internet.  I'm referring to the way the divide, Catholic|Protestant, during the Reformation, followed the linguistic boundary.  Romance language governments sided with the Pope, Germanic language governments ( except a critical subsection of Germans princes, mostly ones with strong ties to Spain) sided with Luther, and Slavic Poland and Hungarian Transylvania were the only tolerant areas until the French Revolution, nearly 300 years later.

     I never mentioned before that in addition to having read Diarmaid MacCullough's award-winning book on the topic, which only took stabs at the reason the divide mapped out the way it did, I went to the New York Public Library and went through every book that mentioned "Protestant Reformation" and "language." All of it was irrelevant.  Luckily, to make it interesting for me, I found a nearly contemporary slanderous attack on Martin Luther, where he was portrayed as a drunk, who hung out in ale houses, with his other drunk friends, doing the devil's business, and he knows he is doing it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Do Not Trust John Bon Jovi

     Let's analyze some of the lyrics of his hit song "Living on a Prayer."

     At one point the singer passionately calls out "Take my hand, we'll make it I swear." (emphasis mine).

     Later, however, he dismisses the entire chase when he says "Cause it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not."

     How can it be important enough to swear on when requesting someone's hand, one second, and made so quickly irrelevant the next?

     No, do not trust this John Bon Jovi.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The "Targeting" Aspect of the Alleged 2013-IRS Scandal is Nothing

     The "targeting" aspect of the alleged scandal is nothing at all.

     The IRS has a pool of "social welfare" organizations to investigate for "suspected political activity."  Normally it would take information about an overt act to get put in this pool.  Someone took a short cut and said "If it has Tea Party, Patriot or 9/12 in the name, put it in the pool."

     The law says the 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations may donate to political causes, but the majority of their work must be something else.

     It is suspicious to name a group after something that cannot, by law be most of its work.

     And it is an overt act, just as naming a company which can't, mostly, do auto body work "Joe's Auto Body."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Slack request.

Slack request.

     I have actually heard comparisons to 9/11. That event killed 1000s of times more people and did 1000s of times more economic damage.

     Another talking head or government official (Guiliani?) was talking about how a lot of Chechens got training in Afghanistan, which is true.  But clearly not these guys, since that training happened mostly back during the Russo-Afghan War of the 1980s.

     I support secession, even for seemingly stupid reasons, if enough of the population supports it.  South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in the same mountain range as Chechnya, want to break away from Georgia, moving them closer to Russia, and Russia supports that.  When the Chechens want to break away from them, they attack.

     Personally, I would tend to side with the people in those provinces, on what they want to do.  It's clearly not a passing fancy in any of these cases, as these situations have been ongoing since roughly 1991.

     The Tsars seem to have killed or expelled, maybe, NINETY PERCENT of the Chechens.

     Stalin forcibly relocated them all, ONE THIRD TO HALF DIED before they were allowed to return, decades later.

     And now it seems Yeltsin/Putin/Medvedev have killed AT LEAST TEN PERCENT MORE.

     Now, it's up to you, but you might consider cuttin' them some slack.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Quote from Towers of Stone, by Wojciech Jaglieski

     An account of the politics, and his travels, in Chechnya.

     The [Soviet] Empire's last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, never found many supporters outside of the Slavic regions.  He announced the need for progressive reform in Moscow and Russia, but remained dead and insensitive to the requests of the Russian colonies in the Caucasus and in Asia.  The freedom he promised was reserved exclusively for Russians, Slavs -- white people.  From this point of view, Gorbachev in no way differed from his predecessors.  Totally absorbed by his ambitious plans for the reform of the empire and focused on the applause coming from Europe and America, he had neither time nor patience for the Caucasus and Asia.  He was irritated by their sluggishness, their distrust of anything new, their slavish attachment to the past.  He needed quick solutions and quick results.  He had no intention of digging through labyrinths and complexities.  With an arrogant certainty typical of revolutionaries, he believed he woud solve the Asian problems with progressive decrees.  He committed mistake after mistake, blunder after blunder, thus speeding along his own inevitable downfall.

     His successor, the provincial dignitary Boris Yeltsin, promised everyone freedom and ended up dissolving the Empire for the sole purpose of taking Gorbachev's place in the Kremlin.  In this struggle for the power he stirred up Gorbachev's vassals: "I'm telling you all, take as much freedom as you can handle!"  When the gullible Chechens tried to taste their freedom, however, Yeltsin -- by now the lord of the Kremlin -- sent his army after them.

     For the Russians, the collapse of the Empire was not viewed as a joyful or even a reluctant freedom, it was a humiliating degradation.  They jealously and vindictively sowed the seeds of war amidst their recent subjects, whose freedom was born to the accompaniment of machine-gun salvos and bomb explosions.  Russia repaid its subjects' treachery and defiance with war.

     The provinces of the Empire nearest to Europe were the only one spared the conflagrations and chaos: Slavic Ukraine and Belarus, and the Baltic states.  The Russian-fueled civil wars devastated and tore apart the Caucasus and Centra Asia into regions that refused to recognize one another, and Kremlin-supported conspirators toppled their presidents.

     "You are not and never will be our equals," the Russians said. "Nor will we ever allow you to go free."

     The war took Russia up against the Chechens to repay them for having adamantly chosen freedom ended up cursing the Caucasian highlanders of their inferiority complex towards the Slavs.  And the faith in Allah that they had been ashamed of for so many years suddenly became their bedrock.  They stopped their helpless squirming and were no longer tormenting themselves with the question of who they were.

     "We're Muslims," they now proudly replied to the Slavs.  "That means we're different from you."

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How They Used 9/11 to Sell Iraq

     Here.  There is a good graph a few pages into the PDF.

     It's like there was a day, "Today we start talking about Iraq Day!"

     On what day was that day picked? To think it wasn't picked is to think that, spontaneously, Bush decided to make Iraq an issue one day in the summer of 2002.  So, one day, there was a meeting where they decided "That day we start talking about Iraq Day!" and I would like to know when that meeting was, and who was there.  I suppose that is hasty, because it is obvious who would have been involved.  Oh, to have audio of that meeting!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Perhaps there will be more medical stuff, from now on.

     Science says, elevate only the forearm, not the whole arm, unless one is attempting to discourage bleeding.

Aliens aren't Christians

     I've never met an alien, but I can tell you one thing about any and all aliens who arrive here on the planet.

     They are not going to be Christians.  They are not going to be Muslims.  They are not going to be Hindus.  They are not going to be Buddhists.  They are not going to be part of any religion that has something from Earth in it.

     They are not going to be Quakers.  But we can hope that's not too far off.

     They might be animists, and worship the natural, physical world.  Hmmm.  Maybe our move is to become animists, in case they are animists, because our piety might then be used as a defense.

     Similarly, they might be like Taoists, and worship an energy beyond science.  If we make a big deal about our planet's energy, they might think there is some reason for it.

     The other thing to know, about any aliens that might arrive, other than their complete lack of adherence to any Earthbound religion, is that they are going to be more technologically advanced than us. So, whatever ideas they have probably start at an advantage. Perhaps it will come down to both sides pulling out their collection of Zen-like koans, to see who has the best set.

     But there is simply and absolutely no way they worship a guy, like Yeshua ben Yosef, born on Earth.  I suppose it is possible that, in their religion, their deity manifested itself similarly, and so Jesus, and their guy, might be accepted as half-brothers.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Some Great Quotes from a paper by Paddy Ireland

Quoted in Limited liability, shareholder rights and the problem of corporate irresponsibility by Paddy Ireland, published in the Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2010.

JSCs are Joint Stock Companies, much like any modern company with publicly traded stock:

JSC shareholders, The Times complained in 1840, wanted to "enjoy the profits of trade consistently with the luxury of being sleeping partner[s]". They wanted "to be able to embark in business without being a man of business; to be able to share in the profits of trade without knowledge of trade, or any education in it; without abilities, without character, without any attention or exertion … ". JSCs were "a means or making money in idleness, in compulsory idleness."

This quote is very well done, if you ask me. Edward Cox was the editor of the Law Times:

… that he who acts through an agent should be responsible for his agent's acts, and that he who shares the profits of an enterprise ought also to be subject to its losses; that there is a moral obligation, which it is the duty of the laws of a civilised nation to enforce, to pay debts, perform contracts and make reparation for wrongs. Limited liability is founded on the opposite principle and permits a man to avail himself of acts if advantageous to him, and not to be responsible for them if they should be disadvantageous; to speculate for profits without being liable for losses; to make contracts, incur debts, and commit wrongs, the law depriving the creditor, the contractor, and the injured of a remedy against the property or person of the wrongdoer, beyond the limit, however small, at which it may please him to determine his own liability (Cox, 1856, pp. i–ii)