Sandbox (4)

Sometimes very active discussions about peripheral issues overwhelm a thread, so this is a permanent home for those conversations.

I’ve opened a new “Sandbox” thread as a post as the new “ignore commenter” plug-in only works on threads started as posts.

815 Replies to “Sandbox (4)”

  1. BruceS
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    says:

    Alan Fox:
    newton,

    Things have to get worse before they get better! How much worse can it get?

    Paging Dr Walto…..

  2. newton
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    says:

    Alan Fox:
    newton,

    Things have to get worse before they get better!

    Never understood that , seems like things have to get better for things to get better. You don’t need to hit your thumb with a hammer to make you thumb not hurt.

    How much worse can it get?

    Off the top of my head, my idiot countrymen could re-elect the vulgar talking yam.

  3. newton
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    says:

    BruceS: The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States

    The question is whose side is my President going to be on?

  4. fifthmonarchyman
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    says:

    Guys,

    I thought I posted an OP yesterday and it does not seem to show up. Does anyone know what I did wrong?

    peace

  5. BruceS
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    says:

    newton: The question is whose side is my President going to be on?

    I’m not sure where you live, so I don’t know about that.

    In any event, the book is a fictional but well-thought out scenario of how NK comes to launch a nuclear attack on SK, Japan, and US.

    The US/NK negotiations fail, NK shoots down an SK passenger plane thinking it is a US spy plane, SK responds with a limited military strike, Trump randomly tweets a threat to “little rocket man”. This all leads to NK deciding it is about to be invaded so needs to resort to the nuclear option.

    How realistic is that? Well, the news about the negotiations is not good and all the other steps but the last have already happened separately…

  6. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    fifthmonarchyman: I thought I posted an OP yesterday and it does not seem to show up.

    It still shows as a draft. Perhaps you forgot to click “publish”.

  7. Allan Miller
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    says:

    Alan Fox: I’m hoping against hope the old saw “things have to get worse before they get better” turns out to be true.

    Hmmm. They may have thought that in Yemen and Syria too. Not that I’m claiming equivalence, of course; the tribulations of a rich nation are hardly to be compared. Still … Brexit, to a Remoaner.

  8. BruceS
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    says:

    A different take on intelligent design in biology:
    How to engineer biology

  9. Corneel Corneel
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    says:

    test

    -\log P

  10. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    walto:
    Not even the most interesting Horgan.

    Testing link problem!

  11. BruceS
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    says:

    The less interesting Horgan has a post which is of indirect applicability to some ID complaints about biology’s shortcomings as a science, when compared to physics.

    The Twilight of Science’s High Priests

    In this case, the high priests serve physics. The comment by Rees at the end is key. He agrees that physics is currently not making progress, and points out that the life sciences including biology are where the science action is today.

    So it is the physicists that are the envious ones and biology is the target of their envy.

  12. BruceS
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    says:

    For those who wonder what scientists are really like as people, here is a piece on Karl Friston and his Free Energy approach to just about any aspect of life, perception, cognition, and even culture. AKA Predictive Processing, it’s a more detailed and at the same time generalized version of the Bayesian brain. KN’s latest work uses some of the concepts.

    The Genius Neuroscientist Who Might Hold the Key to True AI
    Interesting tidbits:
    – his past work in neuroscience (before PP) is considered Nobel-worthy
    – his theory consumes all of life and his life is lterally consumed by working on the theory
    – he is articulate and open to group presentations, but otherwise prefers solitude
    – there is a twitter account mocking the broad statements which are typical of his papers. I suspect that the deeper you understand his theories, the funnier you will find the tweets

  13. Neil Rickert
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    BruceS: He agrees that physics is currently not making progress, and points out that the life sciences including biology are where the science action is today.

    Yes, that seems correct.

    My own suspicion is that QM has demonstrated limits. Presumably there is still action in materials physics and astrophysics. But I suspect that particle physics may have run out of steam.

  14. BruceS
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    says:

    Neil Rickert: Yes, that seems correct.

    My own suspicion is that QM has demonstrated limits.Presumably there is still action in materials physics and astrophysics.But I suspect that particle physics may have run out of steam.

    Take a look at the rant by Sabine H in Backreaction that Horgan links. She goes a bit off the rails in that post, but has made the point more soberly in previous blog posts and in her book, I think. I have not read it. I hope to at some point.

    I think she believes there is progress to be made, or at least there may be progress to be made, but not until the current naturalness and math-approach is drastically changed.

  15. Neil Rickert
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    says:

    BruceS: Take a look at the rant by Sabine H in Backreaction that Horgan links.

    Yes, I follow her “Backreaction” blog.

    I also look at it from the perspective of my analysis of human cognition. And if I’m roughly right there, then we make progress in science and elsewhere by dividing the world up into more and more parts. As for dividing more finely, at the small scale, which is what particle physics does — I think we have reached the limit, and QM is the evidence of that. So progress will only be possible in other directions.

    In astrophysics, there are still possibilities of further exploration, although they are getting more and more difficult. But quantum gravity is probably just a mistaken idea.

    I have not yet committed to big bang cosmology, because I suspect that the cosmos might be far stranger than the cosmologists think it is.

  16. Allan Miller
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    says:

    BruceS,

    I was prompted by this discussion to Google up a book I read a while back called The End of Science. Turns out it’s by a Horgan. It does seem somewhat inevitable that the more is discovered, the less there is to discover.

  17. petrushka
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    says:

    Allan Miller:
    BruceS,
    I was prompted by this discussion to Google up a book I read a while back called The End of Science. Turns out it’s by a Horgan. It does seem somewhat inevitable that the more is discovered, the less there is to discover.

    One of my high school teachers made that argument. That would have been around 1960. He predicted the end of science within 20 years.

    Since I think of science as constructive, that argument sounds like saying the more things we invent, the fewer things left to invent.

  18. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    petrushka: Since I think of science as constructive, that argument sounds like saying the more things we invent, the fewer things left to invent.

    Whereas evolution starts with what is and modifies it. If that new modification gets through the mill, it is raw material for further modification. The process seems limitless. There’s no edge to evolution! 🙂

  19. Allan Miller
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    petrushka,

    I don’t know; I see it more like geology, or even chemistry. Most of the founding principles are long in place, as well as much of the detail, granted that new avenues can be sparked. He does have a chapter on ‘the end of philosophy though!

  20. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:

    I was prompted by this discussion to Google up a book I read a while back called The End of Science. Turns out it’s by a Horgan. It does seem somewhat inevitable that the more is discovered, the less there is to discover.

    Same Horgan. He has not changed his mind, as of 2015.

    One could argue that the more we discover, the more we learn how much remains undiscovered.

    But there is an argument that complexity, unlike entropy, will reach a limit and then decline. Aaaronson, Carroll, Ouellette wrote a paper about it:

    Quantifying the Rise and Fall of Complexity in Closed Systems: The Coffee Automaton

    If that time limit exists, it’s an upper bound for how long there will be something new for science to study.

    That is, unless the complexity decline which follows the maximum is less complexity but of a new type. If that even makes sense.

  21. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
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    Allan Miller: He does have a chapter on ‘the end of philosophy though!

    Grumble, grumble, grumble . . .

  22. fifthmonarchyman
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    says:

    Over at peaceful science mung linked to an interesting article on entropy a while back and I have misplaced it can someone re link it here
    Thanks in advance

  23. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    fifthmonarchyman,
    Mung has managed to accumulate over 900 comments there. Oh wait, is this it?

    What is Entropy?

    I found the post quite helpful myself.

    Link to original blog post

    .

  24. fifthmonarchyman
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    Alan Fox,

    That is it thanks a lot

  25. Mung Mung
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    Anything written about entropy should be taken with a grain of salt. 🙂

  26. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    I don’t know if anyone has heard of the latest disturbances in my adopted country. The Gilets Jaunes (from the yellow high visibility jackets – compulsory to carry in a vehicle here) originally were a group, coordinated on line, protesting against the rapid hike in road fuel cost have been causing problems by blocking major intersections and fuel distribution points. I hadn’t taken much notice till being flagged down at several roundabouts and having to explain my gilet was in my other car. Luckily on one occasion I recognised my former neighbours, a couple of retired teachers who I would have previously thought much too restrained and respectable to join a protest blocking roads. I got waved through after a chat about the aims and it all seemed very relaxed.

    but now the movement has broadened into a general anti-government protest and seems to have been infiltrated by some intent on violence.

    Our local national assembly deputy, an acquaintance – my wife often used to help out at the school where she was headmistress, just had her home invaded by a mob of forty or so masked gilets jaunes threatening her and her family, demanding a meeting with the French government. They disappeared when police were seen arriving. All this a few miles away from my tranquil bubble.

  27. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    Just saw this piece on the BBC website. This is why I think Brexit is wrong-headed. There are a few folks mentioned who are familiar to me, Christophe and Charles Bac, for example. Regarding Charles Bac, I recall a French returnee (Jean-François) who had worked for many years in Australia, telling me about an encounter with him when looking for a house to buy on his retirement.

    Charles Bac offered to drive him around to show some properties and they got into conversation. JF let slip he was originally from the Burgundy region and a heated argument ensued involving the persecuted Cathars (a Medieval cult), the Albigensian Crusade and the involvement of Burgundians as mercenaries. The argument ended with JF being evicted from Bac’s car and left to find his own way home. He used another real estate agent to buy a house..

  28. Allan Miller
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    says:

    Alan Fox,

    First I heard of it was in our French Conversation evening class – we were parsing a piece in a free newspaper our teacher had brought back from a visit to her family. It is a bit worrying. We had similar quite a few years ago, when refineries were blockaded and traffic ground to a halt. Which was very pleasant in some ways! The silence from the local dual carriageway was conspicuous.

    My basic take is that, however painful fuel tax may be, we have to raise public finances, and we have to reduce fossil fuel usage. But, as we see with the narrow view taken by many in the matter of Brexit, such considerations don’t figure largely within the calculus of the average citizen. Thinking beyond immediate consequences does not come naturally, perhaps.

    On Brexit, even though sentiment is swinging towards Remain, it is not a wild swing – a few points at best. The NHS, hospitality trade and casual farm labour sectors are in dire straits, other sectors are relocating, and my own involvement in government IT projects shows me that we are not even close to STARTING to deal with the infrastructure changes required for ‘the deal’ that has not even been ratified in Parliament. And we’re off on 29th March. But the naive rump of the populace continues to smile beatifically. “Project Fear!”, they chant reflexively – and then warn of outright civil war if they do not get their way! It’s certainly a great opportunity to hone one’s sense of irony.

  29. Alan Fox Alan Fox
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    says:

    Allan Miller: It’s certainly a great opportunity to hone one’s sense of irony.

    That’s about the only sense left to me! 😛

  30. stcordova
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    says:

    Alan Fox,

    You said:

    I hadn’t taken much notice till being flagged down at several roundabouts and having to explain my gilet was in my other car.

    I’m sorry I don’t quite understand what’s going on. Who flagged you down, was it the police. Were you being threatened?

    All I understand are photos of people protesting in their yellow reflecting jackets. Were the protesters threatening to detain you or abuse you?

    The best solution to environmental issues, imho, is that the human race go down in size from 7 billion to less than 1 billion. Tax hikes aren’t a solution. But I really doubt population size will decrease until we’re almost at armageddon.

  31. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    stcordova,

    There’s a protest movement against a 23% hike in the price of diesel, using roadblocks to cause disruption. They wear high-visibility jackets, gilets jaunes. It has turned uglier as people from both Left and Right have joined in, and there has been substantial anti government protest and rioting.

    On population, you are probably right, sadly. When – not if – the fuel runs out, we are likely to see catastrophic readjustment. At least Sanford’s mutations will find it easier to fix …

  32. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: 23%

    Feels like more. A couple of years ago prices were dropping and I wondered if we might return to under a euro a litre (when a euro a litre was first reached, there were prolonged protests then with refineries being blocaded). No such luck. It’s nearly 1.50€ a litre now.

  33. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    stcordova:
    Alan Fox,

    You said:

    I’m sorry I don’t quite understand what’s going on.Who flagged you down, was it the police.Were you being threatened?

    The Gilets Jaunes protestors initially were railing against the seemingly inexorable rise in road fuel prices. It was mostly good-natured at the beginning and I had a pleasant catch-up chat with my former neighbours (retired teachers) who were manning a roadside checkpoint (not really road-blocks at that stage). I’ve experienced no intimidation (nor seen any) but neither have I sought it. Things have become much more aggressive in certain spots since; notably the Champs-Élysées which will be closed for business tomorrow.

    All I understand are photos of people protesting in their yellow reflecting jackets.Were the protesters threatening to detain you or abuse you?

    It’s not at all clear (to me, anyway) what the protest is about now, as the new fuel tax has been abolished. The movement seems to have been joined by activists of both the left and the right, seemingly intent on anarchy.

    The best solution to environmental issues, imho, is that the human race go down in size from 7 billion to less than 1 billion.Tax hikes aren’t a solution.But I really doubt population size will decrease until we’re almost at armageddon.

    I imagine the only quick way to achieve that is nuclear war. Though if Climate Change accelerates, that might do it. Problems are easy to spot but it seems they are hard to solve.

  34. petrushka
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    says:

    Population seems to decline as a result of prosperity, but there would appear to be multiple factors at work. The most obvious is that women who work simply don’t have the time, and if they have job satisfaction, they don’t need to seek approval by being mothers.

    Population growth is entirely dependent on the number of females willing and able to have children.

    The current fervor for immigration seems to be motivated by declining population, more than by humanitarian impulse.

  35. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    Ok, now I’m beginning to understand what you were saying. YIKES!

    Our local national assembly deputy, an acquaintance – my wife often used to help out at the school where she was headmistress, just had her home invaded by a mob of forty or so masked gilets jaunes threatening her and her family, demanding a meeting with the French government. They disappeared when police were seen arriving. All this a few miles away from my tranquil bubble.

    At least in the USA there is the 2nd amendement and “castle laws.” In my neighborhood there are a lot of ex-military, ex-FBI, ex-DEA, ex-special forces, ex-Seals, ex-SWAT, ex-Army Rangers, ex-marines, ex-Police, current police, current military….guns guns guns. There are stories of home invasion by wimpy burglars being stopped by home owners with killing skills. In my church a lot of the guys have concealed carry permits and pack heat going into the Lord’s house, just in case, since one of the elders was nearly assassinated and another threatened with death for saying stuff about Mohamed. I mean, a man’s got to protect his kids and family…

    The elder who was nearly assassinated was a survivor of this incident:

    https://www.cnn.com/2013/09/19/justice/dc-family-research-council-shooting/index.html

  36. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    Addendum:

    My former neighbor was a sweet old lady in the military about to retire and one day a few years ago, a pit bull was roaming in the neighborhood and somehow cornered her when she was in her garage. She pulled out her glock and took care of it.

    I’m confident if it were some bad guy, she’d have done the same, and probably added a few rounds to boot. 🙂

  37. Allan Miller
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    says:

    Yeah, it’s really notable with all those guns about how successful the Good Guys are at stopping the Bad Guys. Thank Heaven for ’em, I say.

  38. Mung Mung
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    says:

    I hide my gun in my Bible. They never see it coming.

  39. Allan Miller
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    says:

    Funny, I have no need of one. Weird, huh?

  40. Mung Mung
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    says:

    Allan Miller: Funny, I have no need of one. Weird, huh?

    Slaves don’t need guns. In fact, it’s better that they don’t have them.

  41. Allan Miller
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    says:

    Mung: Slaves don’t need guns. In fact, it’s better that they don’t have them.

    They’re a bit superfluous over here to be honest, since I don’t live in a country where any mad fuckèr can get one.

  42. stcordova
    Ignored
    says:

    Not that I’m trying to make a point, but more wondering why the US is much less safe to live in than Japan as far as Crime:

    https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Japan/United-States/Crime

    There is a cultural factor, and also Japan has had fewer Christians.

  43. EricMH
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: They’re a bit superfluous over here to be honest, since I don’t live in a country where any mad fuckèr can get one.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_London

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_France

  44. newton
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    I hide my gun in my Bible. They never see it coming.

    Old or New Testament?

  45. newton
    Ignored
    says:

    stcordova:
    Addendum:

    My former neighbor was a sweet old lady in the military about to retire and one day a few years ago, a pit bull was roaming in the neighborhood and somehow cornered her when she was in her garage.She pulled out her glock and took care of it.

    I’m confident if it were some bad guy, she’d have done the same, and probably added a few rounds to boot.

    Seems like keeping her garage door closed would have worked just as well.

  46. DNA_Jock
    Ignored
    says:

    EricMH,

    Really Eric? You are asking us to compare the risk of getting killed by a mad fucker with a gun in the UK, France, and the US?

    Care to put some numbers on that, post-Dunblane?

    Also pretty sad that most of those London attacks were financed by the USA.

  47. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    EricMH,

    The fact that some madmen can get hold of the means to kill (rarely guns, actually, for those terrorists) does not mean that anyone can. Sure, we have our problems – particularly knife crime in London, and, yes, guns in Liverpool and Manchester, where there are regular turf wars between drug gangs. But we can’t just wander into our local supermarket and buy one. That’s a restriction on my freedom I can tolerate.

    Our last mass shooting was in 2010. A guy drove round country lanes I am very familiar with, with a .22 rifle and a shotgun – legal weapons – beckoning strangers over before blasting them.

    In the States, this kind of thing occurs almost routinely. It is obvious what the difference is.

  48. BruceS
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:

    In the States, this kind of thing occurs almost routinely. It is obvious what the difference is.

    OK, but what about all those London cops being trained to run down crooks on scooters, even those without helmets. Horrible!

    Sure, in the States African American men get shot and killed by cops for inadvertently scratching their noses, but you can hardly compare that to state-mandated scooter terrorism, can you?

    (Unfortunately we have a similar racism issue here in Toronto, at least on a ratio basis if not an absolute number basis).

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