Dennis Wingo has the 2014 edition. Long but worth a read. I disagree with him on the first flight for commercial crew. I think it may happen as soon as next year.
We’re starting to resurrect extinct animals.
What could go wrong?
This is an interesting interview, but Beck seems to be confusing “life” and “consciousness.” The appropriate answer to his question is something that self replicates using local resources, but that has nothing to do with AI, or uploading.
It’s the most important diversity, but the one that the Left absolutely will not tolerate.
One could easily dismiss these students as part of that long and glorious American tradition of smart young people saying stupid things. As Oscar Wilde remarked, “In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.”
But we all know that this nonsense didn’t spring ex nihilo from their imaginations. As Allan Bloom showed a quarter century ago in The Closing of the American Mind, these ideas are taught.
Indeed, we are now up to our knees in this Orwellian bilge. Diversity means conformity.
And ignorance is strength.
It doesn’t come from the welfare state, but from central planning:
Obamacare provides the illustration of this, as I think many people have intuited. The “economic problem,” of course, is inescapable in health care. The supply of health care is scarce (only so many resources can be dedicated to it relative to other ends in society) and the demand is pretty close to unlimited. Somehow or other we have to decide how to allocate these scarce means among all the different ends–preventive medicine, end-of-life care, primary research, specialists v. generalists, etc.
Now one possibility that–thank goodness–we have historically rejected in the United States is the idea that certain people should just feel a moral obligation to die for the good of society. You do hear this sometimes–that some people should voluntarily forgo life-extending treatment for the “good of society”–and it sends chills down my spine. This is essentially the Maoist approach.
The alternative is to come up with some way of allocating scarce resources among competing wants. The myth of Obamacare is the same problem repeated: it rests on the idea that we can simply change the means of health care delivery (central planning of health insurance) but it will not require determining the ends at some point–i.e., in the end who gets treated and what treatments are covered and which are not. So, for example, the core of Obamacare is the system of cross-subsidies for some treatments (maternal care) and the expense of others (unmarried or infertile people). So infertile people have less money for things that they want to do (such as join a health club) because they now have to pay more money for things that the central planners have decided is more important than whatever they would do with their money.
And of course, E. J. Dionne remains clueless, as always.
Have we already lost it?
Decades from now, it’s possible that historians will look back and conclude that the American experiment, which began with its declaration of independence from and defeat of Great Britain, ended sometime between 1999 and 2014. As with Rome, the pivotal event isn’t obvious, and the list which follows isn’t all-inclusive.
The failure by the U.S. Senate to convict Bill Clinton after his impeachment by the House was the first signal that the rule of law might not matter any more. These days, the law seems to be whatever Barack Obama and Eric Holder want it to be.
President George W. Bush’s formation of the mammoth Homeland Security Department and mission creep at the National Security Agency after the 9/11 terrorist attacks consolidated awesome and disturbing powers in very few hands. Now both outfits are out-of-control monsters.
The 2007-2008 crackup in housing and mortgage lending would be a leading candidate for the pivotal moment prize if one believes that it was the result of decades of conscious effort. Evidence that it was, including the Community Reinvestment Act and HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo’s 1990s housing discrimination directives, both of which forced banks to make loans to vast numbers of borrowers who couldn’t repay, is compelling. Compounding the problem, government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “routinely misrepresented” the quality of both the mortgages they packaged for the securities markets and those they kept on their own books for 15 years. The amounts involved were in the trillions of dollars.
It would have been painful in the short term, but the nation’s economy would likely have recovered, as it always previously had, from that Cloward Piven-like attempt to collapse the system if a frightened George W. Bush administration, opportunistic Congress, and conflicted Federal Reserve hadn’t intervened in the fall of 2008. But they did, and heavy-handedly. Congress passed TARP, despite citizens’ overwhelming opposition. Bush’s Treasury Department then used it to “put a gun to the head” of big-bank CEOs, forcing them to accept government “investment” and de facto control, which the Dodd-Frank legislation solidified two years later.
All the while, the Fed engaged in a massive, undisclosed bailout of domestic and even foreign banks, followed by what became known as “quantitative easing.” And $4.1 trillion later, our central bank’s tiny cadre of suits and skirts now has the ability to almost instantly send the economy into a tailspin any time they see federal government policies or actions they don’t like. Don’t think for a minute that the three branches which nominally run our government don’t know this.
Historians may conclude that the presidential election of 2012 was the last chance to undo the authoritarian encroachment. Pervasive Obama administration harassment of political opponents by its Internal Revenue Service, serial lying about the September 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack, and the mother of all 21st century lies — “if you like your health care plan, doctor, medical provider, and drug regimen, you can keep them” — inarguably delegitimized its result.
Something that may be rectified this fall. The biggest problem, though, is a low-information electorate. And a government and media that wants to keep it that way.
[Update a few minutes later]
Well, Ron Fournier is getting tired of having to defend ObamaCare, so maybe not.
Francisco D’Anconia’s speech on a single page.
[Sunday morning update]
We’re up within 35,000 today, and there are three new (all five-star) reviews.
I think this is the highest ranking the book has ever had on Amazon. Sales must have picked up this week (I hawked it quite a bit while in DC, both at the conference and with a couple think tanks — I’ll probably be doing a ReasonTV interview in the next couple weeks).
Also, it’s once again number one in the category “Aviation and Space Law.” Plus, it’s selling for full retail, which I’d assume means that Amazon thinks there’s sufficient demand for it that they don’t have to discount (not that I’ve given them a lot of room to do so, but they have had it down a buck or so in the past).
[Update a while later]
OK, based on numbers at the printer, it looks like I sold 27 books last week. Compare that to 18 for the entire month of January. Hopefully those will continue to build with more publicity, and good reviews at Amazon (six right now, all five star).
Andrew Klavan makes a good point, I think:
I did not mean the sentence as the expression of a factual duality: either sex is this or that in actuality. I meant it as a response to Phil Robertson’s comments on homosexuality — a sort of mental argument with Phil, if you will. Robertson talks about homosexuality as a sin, while describing it in purely physical terms. What I should have said is something more like: “If Robertson thinks homosexuality is a sin, then he should address its spiritual aspects. If he just doesn’t like the physical nature of it, he’s welcome to express his displeasure but he shouldn’t pretend he’s making a larger spiritual point.” I used blogger shorthand and the meaning got blurred. My bad.
I agree. Whether (male) homosexuality is disgusting (as I find it) is a completely separate issue from whether or not it is sinful (I don’t think it is, but I have problems with the very concept of sin). Phil Roberts muddied the waters by conflating them. One can imagine an (unfortunate) homosexual who believes that his behavior is sinful, but by definition, doesn’t have any other problems with it. As I’ve noted in the past, and even the recent past, I think that many people who think it sinful are in fact bi (and therefore are tempted themselves), but consider themselves morally superior to homosexuals who they believe have a “choice” (as they do).
Every generation has its foolish adherents to Marxism, ignorant of or unable to learn from history. It is, sadly, a seductive idea to the weak of mind and those incapable of critical thinking.
The day that the Lileks family has feared for so long has finally come.
We had to do the same thing with Jessica the cat a year and a half ago. She was eighteen, and hadn’t lost bladder control so much as become senile, and willfully doing it in inappropriate places. We probably waited too long for her, but saying a final goodbye to an old friend is never an easy thing to do. She’s in the back yard now, where she used to play.
Which (if any) of them is it time to retire?
I agree on some, not on others, but it’s an interesting discussion.
A bill in New Hampshire that would require judges to notify jurors of it.
A review of Yuval Levin’s new book, that shows the origins of the fight that goes back over two centuries. Neither Burke nor Paine were Founders, but their ideas strongly influenced the Founding. Fortunately, Burke’s mostly won out in the drafting of the Constitution, but the modern left continues to try to warp it more a Paine direction.
…are a necessary tragedy.
My column on this week’s anniversaries, in historical perspective. Actually, it’s a 500-work summary of the book.
[Update a few minutes later]
Right on cue, some idiot comes up in comments with the usual, “End human spaceflight. If you want science, send a robot.”
Of course, the word “science” didn’t appear in the piece.
Thoughts on the depths to which they’ve plunged, by classics professor Victor Davis Hanson:
…classical liberal education—despite the fashionable critique that it had never been disinterested—for a century was largely apolitical. Odysseus was critiqued as everyman, not an American CEO, a proto-Christian saint, or the caricature of white patriarchal privilege. Instead Homer made students of all races and classes and both genders think twice about the contradictions of the human experience: which is the greatest danger to civilization, the Lala land of the comfortable Lotus Eaters, or the brutal pre-polis savagery of the tribal Cyclopes? Telemachus was incidentally white, rich, and male, but essentially a youthful everyman coming of age, with all the angst and insecurities that will either overwhelm the inexperienced and lead to perpetual adolescence, or must be conquered on the path to adulthood. Odysseus towers among his lesser conniving and squabbling crewmen—but why then does his curiosity and audacity ensure that all his crewmen who hitch their star to the great man end up dead?
In the zero-sum game of the college curricula, what was crowded out over the last half-century was often the very sort of instruction that had once made employers take a risk in hiring a liberal arts major. Humanities students were more likely to craft good prose. They were trained to be inductive rather than deductive in their reasoning, possessed an appreciation of language and art, and knew the referents of the past well enough to put contemporary events into some sort of larger abstract context. In short, they were often considered ideal prospects as future captains of business, law, medicine, or engineering.
Not now. The world beyond the campus has learned that college students know how and why to take a political position but not how to defend it through logic and example. If employers are turned off by a lack of real knowledge, they are even more so when it is accompanied by zealousness. Ignorance and arrogance are a fatal combination.
Ignorance and arrogance is a deadly combo, as demonstrated by the current occupant of the Oval Office.
One of the arguments against human expansion into outer space is that we will instead retreat into virtual worlds as the technology evolves. I think it’s an interesting technological race.
Some thoughts on Michael Schermer’s latest.
As I noted on Twitter yesterday, it’s kind of ironic that such a tool is head of the “Skeptic Society.” I was actually a member myself back in the eighties, until I realized that it was mostly just an excuse to bash traditional religion and push fashionable lefty causes.
[Update a while later]
Is it the “death of expertise”? Or the democraticization of it?
Considering the difference between weather and climate expertise provides an interesting example of the many dimensions of expertise that are needed to address a complex science/policy problem. It is well known that there are many professional meteorologists that are not convinced by AGW arguments. It has been argued that meteorologists are not climate experts, and hence their opinions should be discounted relative to climate experts. Well, many climate experts know nothing about climate dynamics; rather their expertise is in the area of climate impact assessment. Meteorologists generally have a very good understanding of climate variability and the natural causes of climate variability. Discounting the expertise of meteorologists in the climate debate in part has led to the current conundrum for climate science whereby natural internal climate variability has been discounted.
The broader and more significant issue of relevance to climate science expertise is the new phenomena of independent climate scientists, who have no formal training in climate science or its subfields. The emergence of Steve McIntyre as an expertise on paleoclimate proxy data and the statistical analysis of climate data was viewed by university/IPCC paleoclimate experts as an absolute affront, as evidenced by the Climategate emails. The influence of Steve McIntyre on the course of paleoclimate research and the public debate on climate science has been profound.
And not in a way that makes the Apostles happy.
Jeff Foust has a review of the book (in the context of last week’s release of the 2013 ASAP report, which I’ve been meaning to comment on), over at The Space Review.
[Update a while later]
And of course the server at The Space Review would go down the day that he reviews my book. I must have crashed it with my link.
How the left stole the word “liberal” a century ago. We need to take it back. I refuse to call them that.
Would it work for anyone other than Sauron?
…or what about slavery?
This always strikes me as one of the more illogical ad hominem arguments against the Founders.
Lileks is unimpressed:
Honestly: would you rather they hadn’t invented clothes-washing machines? Radio? Would you rather that one member of a household spend their entire day over a washtub with nothing but the sound from the street through the screen window for company?
It’s comforting for some, apparently, to think that people in the past just stared slack-jawed at flickering images and rose like zombies when the Consumption Instructions were finished, and spent their life in agitated dissatisfaction until the useless, needless object was acquired and installed. I’d like to know if these people have microwave ovens.
I’m thinking they write their ignorant snark on computers that they don’t really need.
Can a machine have an @rgasm?
…will never end.
Both sides seem pretty entrenched.
Some thoughts from Judy Curry on the pretense of knowledge, which is akin to the fatal conceit.
Free-market capitalism is a pre-condition for generosity:
Government isn’t Santa. It’s the Grinch.
Think about it: The redistributionist impulse is driven by envy and bitterness. It is an economic position held, not accidentally, most strongly by people who cringe at the sight of a manger scene — by people who resent and suspect the very word “Christmas.” The redistributors are the people culturally inclined to abolishing Christmas from the public sphere, who will spend the solstice wailing in angst if a public-school choir should so much as hum “Away in a Manger,” never mind singing the verboten words “Little Lord Jesus.” And, in the Grinchiest fashion, they want to take your stuff.
Does anybody really need that many Christmas presents? Is it not the case that, at a certain point, you have enough in your stocking? And who among them has the honesty of Hillary Clinton, who once proclaims that it’s necessary to take things away from us in order to achieve her vision of a better world. If you strap reindeer antlers to your dog while sharing those sentiments, you’re a Seussian villain. Strap donkey ears to yourself while endorsing the same view and you’re the president of these United States.
How, it’s been rewritten by the courts over the past century.
Why is the Pope defending sin?