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.

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2,921 thoughts on “Sandbox (4)

  1. Tom English: he U.S. government is running up $3 thousand dollars of additional debt per person in the country

    Many mainstream economists believe debt is not a problem for the US and the current economic conditions as long as it is used to invest productively, eg in renewable energy research (or maybe safe nuclear power construction?).

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/21/opinion/paul-krugman-debt-is-good-for-the-economy.html

    I often felt that one disadvantage of being old is realizing that I won’t live to see how the issues of today play out. But when it comes to climate change, that may not be such a bad thing,

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  2. BruceS: Many mainstream economists believe debt is not a problem for the US and the current economic conditions as long as it is used to invest productively, eg in renewable energy research (or maybe safe nuclear power construction?).

    I haven’t clicked on the link. But I know the arguments (e.g., the U.S. dollar is a reserve currency), and I’ve read what Krugman has written more recently on the matter. The U.S. most definitely is not borrowing money to invest in projects that will bring benefits more valuable than the interest paid on the money. Politicians are tacitly saying that taxpayers don’t have to pay for government services, and taxpayers are going with the fantasy. (Actually, I believe that Republicans are playing a “starve the beast” strategy, hoping that a crisis will weaken the federal government, and increase the power of the states.)

    U.S. infrastructure is in very bad shape. I advocated infrastructure spending during the Great Recession. We’d have gotten big bang for the buck at the time, given that lots of construction companies were looking for work.

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  3. Tom English: First I’ve heard of that. Truly stunning.

    Oh, that’s very much a thing. In fact it’s one of the commonest dumbass themes: ‘just wait till your kids are conscripted’. There are indeed those who would like to see a coordinated EU defence capability, along NATO lines. But that has morphed into an ‘EU Army’ with – for added loon appeal – forced conscription . So pervasive it needs debunking.

    Another is a mythical ‘Lisbon Treaty’ supposedly due to come in force in 2020 – a long list of totally fictitious claims still paraded as fact by earnest people, despite widespread debunking. The most laughable being ‘the UK will lose control of its own space program’. It doesn’t have one.

    The disinformation in Brexit and this election have been spectacular, the willingness of people to pass along plain falsehoods quite incredible.

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  4. Tom English: The U.S. most definitely is not borrowing money to invest in projects that will bring benefits more valuable than the interest paid on the money.

    Yes, that is true. And is one reason why the Trump tax cuts have turned out to be such a bad idea since companies are not investing with them, they are paying off shareholders.

    I was only saying that paying for productive infrastructure by increasing debt is not a bad economic policy.

    I should add that the only includes the infrastructure parts of the Green New Deal, not the raising of social benefits that proposal also contains. Those might be beneficial, but those should be paid for by taxes, not more debt.

    Also, the case for more debt relies on the effective interest rate (ie including inflation) being near zero. Should that go up, the case weakens. Krugman’s basic point is that economically we don’t need to worry about that until it happens. If someone says economica and poltics are different, Krugman replies that politically arguing for new taxes has the same issues whether we wait or not.

    ETA: deleted ill-considered paragraph.

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  5. Allan Miller:
    What is bugging me most of all in this is the redefinition of the term ‘democracy’. A friend signed off his post about voting with the sententious “whatever happens I will respect the result. That’s democracy”. A clear swipe at those of us battling Brexit. I wanted to tell him to fuck off.

    It’s all over the place. “We had a democratic vote”. “People are telling me on the doorstep, Leaver and Remainer, that we must respect the democratic vote”. They are referring of course to the 2016 referendum, a single national pool delivering a net 51.9% – but with Scotland notably 63% Remain and Northern Ireland 55% Remain. Well over a million people have died since, more have entered the voting pool, and we have had two general elections. But still people regard that 2016 vote as set in stone. A party offering a referendum on the present Knowns got kicked for it – a vote has become undemocratic!

    One of the Tory victors was gibbering thus on the news just now, regarding the Tory endorsement as a victory for ‘democracy’, one in which presumably representatives are eternally subservient to plebiscites – by implication, if the Tories had not been returned, it would have been ‘undemocratic’! 🤔

    Worth noting that Remain parties polled 53% last night. But first-past-the-post saw the Remain vote split at constituency level, hence more Tory seats. So what is ‘democracy’, plebiscite or election? Whatever suits your argument at the time.

    We’ve discussed this before, I think. In my view, “citizen participation” was both too much and too little with that vote. If it was actually a referendum, I’d have been fine with it–and would agree with those who say “whatever the result, democracy is the most important thing.” But it was a half-baked initiative petition. Those are generally fucked up.

    In a real referendum, the representatives/government enacts something and the electorate gets to say, “Wait–no you don’t.” I think that’s very valuable. But “Stay or Leave?” is not that.

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  6. petrushka:
    I thought, when I first heard the word deplorables, that uttering it was a once in a century mistake. It’s the butterfly. The specter haunting the 21st century.

    Oh, bullshit.

    Well, to be fair, that nonsensical, yet extremely loyal snowflakism is precisely why Trump may just win again. He can shoot somebody, nobody in his tribe would care: the Jordans would say exactly the same stuff they’re saying now. If some dem calls them wrong or confused (or a basket of ninnies), there’s a general meltdown in Trump nation.

    OTOH, if the dem candidate doesn’t like hotdogs or has the wrong take on medicare for all, he/she immediately loses 10% of his/her support. But Trump gets to call them scum or idiots daily, and nobody makes posts like yours from the other side. (I can see it now: “If Trump loses, it’ll be his own fault for calling those he disagrees with scum!”)

    Anyhow, a lot of work is going on right now in Ukraine and Russia to ensure victory in the next election, so the “deplorable” remark which indeed probably gained the Repubs a couple dozen votes from some lazy deplorables who might not have otherwise dragged themselves to the polls, will be swamped by much more important stuff.

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  7. BruceS: I was only saying that paying for productive infrastructure by increasing debt is not a bad economic policy.

    Well, I’m certainly not saying that incurring debt to fight global warming and other existential threats [HT: Neil] is bad economic policy.

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  8. BruceS: I should add that the only includes the infrastructure parts of the Green New Deal, not the raising of social benefits that proposal also contains. Those might be beneficial, but those should be paid for by taxes, not more debt.

    Piggybacking a liberal social agenda on a broad plan for responding to global warming annoys the hell out of me. Lots of conservatives in the U.S. dismiss anthropogenic global warming as a liberal belief. Linking AGW to AOC is not going to help us develop broad support for a response.

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  9. walto:

    It’s all about the geezers.

    Yep.

    There’s also a strong divide on educational level – not wishing to be elitist, but online interlocutors are marked out by almost universally poor grammar, spelling and grasp of nuance.

    (eta – sticking my neck out still further, there seems a strong negative correlation among my friends between any right wing views and education. Makes my liberal self blush to go there, but there it is).

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  10. stcordova,

    In terms of pure mathematical considerations, reducing the population to less than a billion would be the long term solution. Short of wars, famine, and pestilence, that’s unlikely given the biological imperatives and the institutional incentives to keep growing the populations.

    Revision of the Catholic Church stance on contraception might help.

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  11. Right now the first post facing users at UD is request for money, as if their project (blogging) required any.

    I wonder what are they ready to do to generate income. Some Youtube channel maybe?

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  12. Well, an update from Fortress UK, Johnson’s 86 seat majority has enabled him to remove every single concession painfully gained in representing the views of the 48% who did not vote for Brexit in 2016 – plus the many who did, but did not want ‘no-deal’, or changed their minds since. This on the basis of an electoral result whose main influencer (according to polling) was the respective Party leaderships. A seat returning a Conservative is counted as one whole vote for no-deal (and removal of workers’ and environmental protections etc).

    It was obvious this would happen when in power, hence my reluctance to compromise. Compromisers have been stitched up. If this was another country, we’d be having strong words about their commitment to democracy. Ironically, it is being spun as a victory for the same. 🤔🤣

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  13. Alan Fox: Twas ever thus! Though I saw a fair amount of self-harm. Jo Swinson?

    All on the Remain side need to have a look at themselves. They walked straight into Johnson’s trap, all the while snarling at each other. Labour’s hatred of the ‘yellow Tories’, failure to understand tactical voting, and naïveté in thinking old school socialism would play well were all factors.

    Merry Christmas! If you find time and inclination, here’s a somewhat lengthy piece I wrote intended for publication, though rejected.

    ‘Let the healing begin’, says Boris Johnson. Yeah, you’d like that wouldn’t you? Thanks in no small part to you, not only do we have Brexit to contend with, in its obsessive service we have seen a rout of socialism, and been gifted a Government of the Quite Far Right. Cheers. A huge mandate has been claimed, an ‘effective second referendum’ where Leave wins overwhelming support with approximately 47% of the vote. Wait, what?

    In a remarkable turnaround, Cameron’s attempt to unify the Conservative Party by offering the Eurosceptics a referendum has worked. They are all that’s left. Entry to its Parliamentary ranks was restricted to those prepared to sign a pledge to Brexit or die trying (there was a joke in these parentheses until I thought of Jo Cox). “Johnson’s Deal, No Deal … yeah, whatevs”, it said. Possibly. I’m greatly looking forward to finding out what policy decisions emerge from this Government of all the talons for its new working-class support base.

    Labour, meanwhile, is busy eating itself. Its democratic obligation, one hears, should have been simultaneously to commit to Brexit, to Remain and to fence-sitting. With no sense of irony, some of Corbyn’s backers bemoan the ‘Rothschild-Zionist’ clique that brought him down. Online activists are furious that centrists they told to f*** off and join the Tories have f***ed off and joined the Tories. But however unfair his tabloid treatment, re-presenting a failed candidate was reminiscent of watching a bluebottle buzzing against the glass trying to find the way in. Insanity, said Someone On The Internet (but not Einstein) is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Activists are shocked, sandbagged, heartbroken.

    Then there’s poor Jo Swinson, even losing her seat, by the bitterest of small margins. Tainted by austerity, her flagship ‘revoke’ stance overestimated the ability of the broader electorate to grasp the electoral system. Never overestimate the electorate. “They should take ‘Democrat’ out of their name” complained a succession of commentators, seemingly unaware that a party which, if elected, carries out its manifesto pledges is kind of the gold standard for democracy in these here parts.

    The only winners, with great irony, were the nationalist parties. Yes, plural, and I’m not counting Sinn Feinn or Plaid. Dragging Scotland out with England, while simultaneously denying their own clear aspirations to independence, has led to some hilarious doublethink as talking heads were forced to abandon the very arguments that had got them there as they approached the Scottish border. Riding the proud steeds Overwhelming Mandate and Will o’ the People northwards, they become unhorsed somewhere around Berwick.

    And so it came to pass that an endless stream of blue-rosetted, freshly minted MPs from this deliberately restricted talent pool proclaimed their victory in this mad election as a victory for ‘democracy’ – as if any other electoral outcome would have been undemocratic! This is what we are up against. The term has been wrestled from the grasp of the ‘educated elite’ and used as a synonym for a vague statement of intent which, when next I don my Speedos, will be four years old. When we know the next Strictly winner, and No Deal looms, it’ll be nearly five. (I wonder, if more than 50% of a population are wrong about democracy, does that mean they are right?).

    Deaths at one end and teens attaining majority at the other have changed the composition of the electorate by a net 5%, yet on we plough. The heterogeneity of sentiment across the regions was masked by a vigorous shaking of the bag before 17.4 million – 17.4 million! – votes of assent to some form of Leave were pulled out. Yeah, there were a few left in the bag; what of it? It’s called democracy. Bank that result. All democratic exercises since have been subordinate to it.

    Our habit of integrating multiple issues by means of a single X is weird, the habit of a dysfunctional democracy. So following a lifelong pattern of being wise after the event, I have a brilliant idea. Picture a Government so committed to democracy and fair play that it called a general election but, at a nominal extra cost at the printers, it added a question to the ballot: “do you wish to continue efforts to exit the European Union?”. Can you believe there are some nations that actually do this? Mad I know. Tried it once, didn’t like it. But if one’s aspiration is a healed nation, it’s worth a look. Up-to-date data is very ‘in’ this year. It certainly beats reading the tealeaves to divine underlying intent.

    With my (if I may say) marvellously democratic twofer, a single trip to the polling booth allows a voter to answer two separate questions, rather than hoping that vigorous nods in a particular direction will be correctly interpreted. Working class Brexiters would not have to vote far-Right Tory, Tory Remainers could avoid Corbyn, and Scottish Unionists could give nationalists a swerve. And of course we’d accurately know the mood of the 2020 electorate on Brexit. A second referendum without any necessity for campaigning – or, if one prefers, a confirmatory ‘initiative petition’. If one thinks ‘we don’t do that over here’, I would point them to an exercise we undertook in 2016. We merely said ‘Yes’ to Proposition 1, with no form to the legislation. Now we have some detail, but are only allowed (in the name of democracy!) to vote on it through massively distorting, wonky lenses.

    Imagine the outbreak of unity. Brexiters would be unhappy on a Remain win, but could hardly use the Will of the People as an excuse to riot, despite suggestions by loose-lipped politicians that they might like to consider that as a course of action. Likewise Remainers would be forced, if it went against them, to acknowledge that their options had been legitimately exhausted by the accurate double-check they have been calling for. Naysayers should be coaxed on board, rather than coshed in a tavern to wake up at sea. As a bonus, we’d get something closer to the representation we desired, and that incoming government could no longer claim 2016 to be the last word.

    Could this have been achieved? The votes of hypocrites would of course have tried to strangle my scheme at birth. But how long could they hold out? “You want an election, agree the amendment.” “But it would be undemocratic.” “You fucking what?”. Instead, democratic legitimacy has been deeply undermined, and even without triumphalist crowing, a deep resentment remains, indefinitely. Things won’t improve if our gloomy expectations are fulfilled. “Pull together”, I am urged. But I am not overburdened with generosity of spirit.

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  14. Tom English: Piggybacking a liberal social agenda on a broad plan for responding to global warming annoys the hell out of me. Lots of conservatives in the U.S. dismiss anthropogenic global warming as a liberal belief. Linking AGW to AOC is not going to help us develop broad support for a response.

    Piggybacking science on politics is a big problem. Politics tarnishes everything.

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  15. J-Mac:
    Sal snd Bruce,
    Quantum Entanglement Is Independent Of Space And Time
    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26790
    Do we need a new theory of relativity or just another theory of spacetime that would allow the “instantaneous communication” in the entanglement?

    My favorite quote from the article:
    “It remains to be seen what the consequences are for our notions of space and time, or space-time for that matter. Space-time itself cannot be above or beyond such considerations. I suggest we need a new deep analysis of space-time, a conceptual analysis maybe analogous to the one done by the Viennese physicist-philosopher Ernst Mach who kicked Newton’s absolute space and absolute time form their throne. The hope is that in the end we will have new physics analogous to Einstein’s new physics in the two theories of relativity.”

    How about entanglement using wormhole-like feature of space beyond time?

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  16. The StarForce theme came from this hit show that was about the World War II battle ship Yamato that was resurrected to become a space ship that saves the universe!

    This is the cartoon of the true story of the Americans sinking the Yamato in WWII in the naval Battle of Okinawa:
    https://youtu.be/qQuunu65MVk

    This is the cartoon of the fictional event of the Yamato being raised from the sea to become a space ship that saves the universe:
    https://youtu.be/n_8fcWsbOMA

    I suspect that the sinking of the mightyYamato was a blow to the national pride of Japan in WWII. There is a memorial museum to the sunken battle ship!

    The StarBlazers/StarForce Yamato cartoon was the #1 show in Japan when it aired! I suspect this was a closet expression the hopes and dreams for the Yamato (the pride of Japan) saving their universe! The cartoon series is a cute escapist way of re-writing the history of what really happened to Yamato and helping us all feel better about everything.

    So I nominate the StarForce theme of the mythical Yamato as the the theme for Trumps Space Force. Yeah!

    Isao Sasaki dressed like Elvis Presley does a good job with the StarForce song:
    https://youtu.be/7gHORDBZuOA

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  17. J-Mac: What do you think of applying wormholes that fold space and eliminate time for instantaneous entanglement?

    I am not sure what you are asking. After all, it is easy to create entangled systems in the lab. No need to create wormholes, assuming that is even possible in the GR instantiated in the actual world.

    However, the Medium article you link is interesting and worthwhile. It’s talking about real theoretical physics, though speculative and far from consensus. Susskind has a pair of fairly easy to follow videos providing more details on this speculative physics

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBPpRqxY8Uw

    Quantum Complexity turns out to be important in this speculation. There is a nice overview of QC versus classical complexity at the start of the second video.

    Susskind’s videos concentrate on the wormhole connecting two entangled black holes. Sean C (among many others) has more general thoughts on how space could emerge from quantum entanglement. He describes the ideas in the last third of his latest book; there is an overview here:

    https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2016/07/18/space-emerging-from-quantum-mechanics/

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  18. Here is an essay by Kitcher on the issues in scientific practice raised by some recent OPs. Kitcher recognizes the usual concerns, like fraud, lack of training eg in statistics, and publication bias.

    But he points out one issue that often is not mentioned:

    [start of quote]
    “Neither fraud nor lack of rigor is responsible for the problem. Investigating some kinds of scientific questions may simply be devilishly difficult, sensitive to myriad factors that are hard for scientists to survey and control. In this case, the difficulties of replication represent the growing pains of an area of research as it struggles to achieve stable and reliable findings.”

    Has Science Journalism Helped Unmask a “Replication Crisis” in Biomedicine?

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  19. BruceS: I am not sure what you are asking. After all, it is easy to create entangled systems in the lab. No need to create wormholes, assuming that is even possible in the GR instantiated in the actual world.

    Since quantum entanglement requires some sort of instantaneous communication and the double-slit experiments imply retrocausality, billions of years into the past, why not implement wormholes, or the like, to explain it?

    Simply put, you have a piece of paper and 2 points A and B at the end of each edge of the paper. It takes time to travel from A to B.
    But if you fold the piece of paper and align point A and B, so that they are touching each other, you can travel faster from point A to B, or even instantaneously. Wormholes supposed to work like that in spacetime, so why not apply the idea in quantum entanglement?

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  20. BruceS: Quantum Complexity turns out to be important in this speculation. There is a nice overview of QC versus classical complexity at the start of the second video.

    Susskind’s videos concentrate on the wormhole connecting two entangled black holes. Sean C (among many others) has more general thoughts on how space could emerge from quantum entanglement. He describes the ideas in the last third of his latest book; there is an overview here:

    https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2016/07/18/space-emerging-from-quantum-mechanics/

    I’m familiar with the idea.
    It does’t explain a lot of things…It can explain space but it doesn’t timelessness of quantum entanglement… A new spacetime idea is needed; timeless-space.

    “Mathematically, wave functions are elements of a mathematical structure called Hilbert space. That means they are vectors — we can add quantum states together (the origin of superpositions in quantum mechanics) and calculate the angle (“dot product”) between them. (We’re skipping over some technicalities here, especially regarding complex numbers — see e.g. The Theoretical Minimum for more.) The word “space” in “Hilbert space” doesn’t mean the good old three-dimensional space we walk through every day, or even the four-dimensional spacetime of relativity. It’s just math-speak for “a collection of things,” in this case “possible quantum states of the universe.”

    ETA:
    “Hilbert space is quite an abstract thing, which can seem at times pretty removed from the tangible phenomena of our everyday lives. This leads some people to wonder whether we need to supplement ordinary quantum mechanics by additional new variables, or alternatively to imagine that wave functions reflect our knowledge of the world, rather than being representations of reality. For purposes of this post I’ll take the straightforward view that quantum mechanics says that the real world is best described by a wave function, an element of Hilbert space, evolving through time. (Of course time could be emergent too … something for another day.)

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  21. J-Mac:
    stcordova,

    What have you been up to, Sal?
    Are you perhaps getting into quantum biology without letting anyone know?
    You should be…

    https://youtu.be/_qgSz1UmcBM

    Thanks for the link.

    Happy New Year.

    I’ve been focusing on cell and structural biology. The physics I’ve involved in has been dealing with Special Relativity, not quantum mechanics. I simply didn’t have time.

    I’ve been spending a lot of time teaching Creation Science in the church where President Trump visited this last June 4, 2019.

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  22. stcordova: I’ve been focusing on cell and structural biology

    I think QM has something, or even a lot, to do with it, though very little research has been done… Even finding labs to do the experimental work in QB is very hard…

    stcordova: I’ve been spending a lot of time teaching Creation Science in the church where President Trump visited this last June 4, 2019.

    Is Trump a creationist? Or just happened to make that church special by his visit?

    Thanks for the good wishes!
    I hope you find peace in your current and upcoming endeavors…

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  23. A Ukrainian airline went down in Iran had mechanical problem????

    Ok, say that one engine on the Boeing 737 went out. Doesn’t it have another? I mean aren’t pilots trained to land a twin engine plane on only 1 engine?

    The Pentagon has suggested the Iranians, after launching a missile attack on the US bases thought the Americans were flying in their air force in retaliation. Then they saw that blip caused by the Ukranian airliner and shot at it.

    I think the evidence leans that way. SAD!

    If the Iranians are responsible, that indicates they fully expect Trump to shoot at them.

    Btw, Christianity is growing in Iran. Persecution and destitution has often been God’s means for growing the faith because it makes humans aware of their need of a Savior. For the sake of Chrisitian’s in Iran, I hope they are spared from war and any more suffering than what they are enduring under the Islamic “theocracy”.

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  24. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are leaving the Royal Family. This is called “Mexit”. This was the queen’s reaction:

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  25. HA! I called it right, Iran just admitted to shooting down the Ukranian aiplane filled with Iranians! Evidence and reason led to right inference.

    At first I thought the Ukranian crash was a coincidence. I certainly dismissed the idea that the Iranian BALLISTIC missile hit the airplane. But then somewhere, perhaps I heard the suggestion or came up with it on my own, that a SURFACE-TO-AIR (SAM) anti aircraft missile might have been launched by accident. It was.

    Then the pentagon weighed it. They would likely know if a SAM was launched because the US monitors radar emissions that are signatures of SAM radar, especially WARM radar signals (War Reserve Mode signals) :

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

    Then the Ukranian accident inspectors in Iran saw the Iranians trying to hide the wreckage! Sheesh!

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  26. https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/megxit-expected-pack-punch-british-economy-n1113121

    The royal family’s worth is valued at about 88 billion</b>, thanks to the economic power they possess in tourism and fashion, and their assets, which include the crown jewels. ... According to a report released by Brand Finance in 2017, the royal family's worth is valued at about88 billion, thanks to the economic power they possess in the realms of tourism and fashion, and to their assets, which include the crown jewels.

    Brand Finance also reports the monarchy generates an estimated £1.8 billion ($2.3 billion) for the economy of the United Kingdom each year.

    WOW!

    The decision of Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, to take a step back from senior royal duties is packing not only a punch to the gut of royal enthusiasts, but it’s also expected to wallop the British economy.

    “There will be a huge reputational hit to the royal family as a brand as a direct result of Meghan and Harry’s announcement,” Charles Scarlett-Smith, a client and marketing director at Brand Finance, said.

    “The royal family is fairly essential to the British economy,” Scarlett-Smith said. “The income of £1.8 billion they add to the British economy each year is enormous, and therefore any development that can affect them negatively is going to have a remarkable effect on the British economy.”

    Not that I agree with the following sentiments, but some in the UK express them:

    The enormous popularity of the royal family has even “considerably” softened the potential negative impact of Brexit, according to one survey.

    Yeah right.

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  27. Neil Rickert: Iran’s decision to admit this had more to do with political pressures.

    I was referring not to Iran, but my personal inference on what limited data I had access to.

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  28. https://nypost.com/2020/01/11/why-harry-and-meghan-will-find-life-even-harder-as-non-royals/

    Why Harry and Meghan will find life even harder as non-royals

    Harry and Meghan don’t know how good they have it. They want to bust out of their gilded cage and roam free, but they’re so naive they’re like fluffy kitties who have never crossed a busy road before and are likely to get squashed if they try.


    Besides, if H & M ever were to break completely free of the Firm (unlikely), a big chunk of their mystique would be gone. They’ll soon find themselves being mocked for pimping out their new Sussex Royal brand. Hoodies, T-shirts, socks, ball caps and pencils — really? They’re going to leverage a thousand years of dignity and tradition for a bunch of cheesy crapola that’s going to wind up at the Dollar Tree? The whole point of being royal is to float above and beyond ordinary existence, to make ordinary mortals fantasize about what it’s like to be you. Once you’re doing interviews with E! or hawking Christmas ornaments on the Home Shopping Network, you’re just two schmucks getting torn apart by the late-night comics.

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  29. stcordova,

    They are already two schmucks being torn apart by the late night comics. The (mainly right-wing) tabloids hate her. And the baa-ing readers respond, imagining they’d invented their prejudices themselves (though I’m never quite sure to what extent tabloids reflect, rather than manipulate, those prejudices).

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  30. Allan Miller: They are already two schmucks

    Speaking as a Canadian, I say we should welcome all the internet entrepreneurs we can get. Especially those that don’t need independent funding and come with a time-tested brand.

    And: “schmucks” rhymes with “pucks”.

    ETA:

    though I’m never quite sure to what extent tabloids reflect, rather than manipulate, those prejudices).

    Including tabloid racial prejudices, as I understand the situation.

    We Canadians do like to claim we are less racially prejudiced than certain North American neighbours who shall go unnamed.
    Or at least less blatantly so.

    And, of course, excepting prime ministers.

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  31. Why philosophers could be the ones to transform your 2020

    Sample work: How to be a Failure and Still Live Well

    A possible new career opportunity for philosophers: philosophical life coach. Could even be a part time gig-economy money-maker, assuming some internet entrepreneur would build a platform for philosophers to coach the philosophically challenged. Lots of silicon valley “intellectuals” are Stoics — maybe they would be funders of such a platform.

    Or maybe just re-use existing psychological counseling platforms.

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  32. petrushka: Blackface is in, this year. Everyone loves a repentant.

    It’s an odd one. There should not (in principle) be any more racism inherent in blacking up than there is sexism in dressing as a woman (when you’re not, obvs). It’s the same with mimicking accents – putting on an African or Indian accent is – ahem – beyond the pale, whereas no-one bats an eyelid if you “do” Liverpudlian or Canadian, eh?

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  33. On Harry and Meghan vs the tabloids, there’s a meme doing the rounds showing Daily Express front pages, each time a glowing reference to Kate Middleton juxtaposed with, on another day, a sneer at Meghan for the exact same thing – off-the-shoulder top, cradling the baby bump, wedding flowers …

    I’d jump ship too. The UK is turning a bit shite at the moment, racists emboldened by Brexit.

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  34. I was wondering why I didn’t like the whole Megxit business, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I think now it’s because it seemed like Meghan and Harry were acting like their lives were so intolerable. That the duties of being royalty were such an infringement on their lives.

    Princess Diana (Harry’s mother) showed that one can use the royal office to better society and bring comfort to those in need. Sometimes one is dealt a tough hand in life, and if being a royal is a bad hand, it’s not that bad a hand, and if one is really committed to doing good things for society, one can use the office.

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10769771/piers-morgan-congratulates-queen-meghan-harry/

    ‘WELL DONE’ Piers Morgan congratulates no-nonsense Queen for ‘telling part-timers Meghan Markle and Harry to sling their hook’

    “Only surprised it took her so long to get Harry to ditch his family, the Monarchy, the military and his country. What a piece of work.”

    Piers concluded: “Bottom line: Meghan/Harry wanted to have their cake & eat it, but the Queen just took the cake back to the royal kitchens”.

    Meghan’s dad reportedly is really disappointed in his daughter and son-in-law.

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  35. Jesse Waters pointed out last night that the one guy who is absolutely loving the fact Megxit is getting so much attention right now is Prince Andrew. Ha!

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