Lucia, possibly the smartest lady in the blogosphere [her partials are just as strong as the boys’] has had a series of posts up recently at her climate oriented blog The Blackboard that strays from her usual blog-fare: toy worlds and the intricacies of modeling thermodynamic systems; betting quatloos on the monthly UAH temperature anomaly; how-to sessions on anti-bot script writing for self-hosting WordPressians; and knitting.
The subject of this series of posts at The Blackboard is one Linda Ellis, author of the 1996 inspirational poem The Dash, and her propensity to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the OCILLA code to guard – very closely – the unauthorized use of her work on the internet. Ms. Ellis’s behavior has been described by some in the blogosphere as “trollish“, and by some others as a “shake-down operation“, though I’m sure if you asked Ms. Ellis she would say she is only defending the integrity of her intellectual property and trying to make a living from her work. To find out more about the specifics of the controversy at Lucia’s peruse the relevant blog posts of: 18 February, DMCA Takedown: Linda Ellis; March 19th [which seems to have disappeared from the front page of The Blackboard], Don’t Post Linda Ellis’s ‘The Dash’; and March 27th, Linda Ellis DMCA follow up. Lucia loves a puzzle and the most recent post from her fits that tendency to a T. Lucia is also: feisty, smart, and doesn’t like the idea of someone gaming her. There are some very good comments so it is worth at leas skimming those as well [Lucia attracts very smart commenters].
It is not the intent of this post to discuss the specifics of the legalities or even the ethics of the ‘trollgate’ controversy [feel free to comment at Lucia’s], but in the usual Meme Merchants fashion take a slightly tangent tack and look at a few of the deeper issues of culture and society that form the basis and rational for intellectual property rights and law.
This came across the electronic desktop this morning, sent to me by a friend.
Here’s a quick syllogism on the subject. Rothschild is a bank, banks enable modernity and development therefore banks are found where ever you find development and or modernity.
To a certain extent Rothschild in particular may also be self-serving to the point of being evil – much like any trans-national corporation whose corporate controllers no longer have any ties of either: friendship, kinship, nationality, culture, or interests with the vast majority of the people they serve and the only people they have any genuine ties with are their fellow controllers of trans-national institutions in government, business, and academia.
The real problem seems to be much more that “the global village” is still very much a zero-sum tribal affair where trans-national quasi-individuals are either in naked collusion with one another or are involved in the kind of cattle rustling operations favored by the archaic warrior prince.
The only real antidote to the problem is societal evolution. We need better people, fortunately evolution is hard at work on the problem.
Wygart has a comment in over at Pielke the Younger’s blog on his recent post Parlor Games and Predicting Presidential Elections in which he discusses an article by Nate Silver at the NY Times on the ability of political scientists to predict elections based upon measurements of various [mostly economic] “fundamentals”
Can political scientists “predict winners and losers with amazing accuracy long before the campaigns start”?
And his answer
The answer to this question, at least since 1992, has been emphatically not. Some of their forecasts have been better than others, but their track record as a whole is very poor.
And the models that claim to be able to predict elections based solely on the fundamentals — that is, without looking to horse-race factors like polls or approval ratings — have done especially badly. Many of these models claim to explain as much as 90 percent of the variance in election outcomes without looking at a single poll. In practice, they have had almost literally no predictive power, whether looked at individually or averaged together.
Pielke the younger says:
And he goes on, in his usual inimitable way, to dissects the issue, establishes the parameters of what a ‘skillful’ model would have to accomplish in order to prove its, er, skillfulness, how modelers fool themselves and others into thinking that their pet model has some skill, and then lays out the actual track record – not good.
On the home front this week I’ve been getting a lot of grief over the overly idealistic positions I take on a number of topics – in other words I’m found to be wrong, or in denial by my family and friends. So, I find myself in the very uncomfortable position of either having a very strong disagreement with friends and family – or – to shut up and sit on my hands on certain topics. – [Dr. Laura Schlessinger used to call this, ‘shutting up and being polite’]
Fortunately Michael Quinion of World Wide Words, [also a triple W – gotta love it, it alliterates] my go to guy for all things philological, has rescued me in my extemis, by providing me with just the right word to understand my predicament, I’m being froward [apparently].
Dr. Roger Pielke Jr, [‘Pielke the Younger’ around here] my go-to-guy for science policy related topics posted a video on his excellent blog produced by NPR entitled, “Filling Up – 7 Billion, How Did We Get So Big So Fast” a several days ago which hasn’t attracted much comment, but was particularly interesting to me in light of having spent an electricityless weekend two weeks ago reading David P. Goldman’s [the online columnist ‘Spengler’ over at Asia Times Online] very new book, “How Civilizations Die, (and why islam is dying too)” – a must read for people interested in the geo and socio-political implications of demographic trends [well worth looking at as long as you remain aware that his thesis has some theoretical limitations] If you are frightened of the Islam angle for some reason, it is possible to subtract out that aspect and you still come up with a fascinating thesis – which I will let you read the book to discover – or maybe I will write more at a future date.
The take away I will leave you from that book is that the radical decline in fertility rates in the Western world in the last three centuries and the currently collapsing fertility rate in the muslim [you didn’t know either?] and much of the developing world requires a radical rethink of the neo-Malthusian paranoia, of overpopulation apocalypse we have been force fed since the Ehrlichs and their ilk made their onto the scene in the ’60’s and continues to be a core assumption of a great many people, as we grope out way forward into a global future that may be dominated by demographic decline rather than a population bomb. In other words, it reintroduces that concept of depopulation to the modern vocabulary, which used to be a subject of great concern in the premodern and classical worlds.
The thinking behind this post began as a comment over at Jeff Id’s blog The Air Vent
within a guest-post by Mr. Leonard Weinstein on the relevance of the factors that allowed the United States civilian economy to emerge from the Great Depression and the command economy of World War II with such extraordinary vigor in the years following WWII, and how this is relevant to the current administration’s economic policy. It is Mr. Weinstein’s view that the Obama Administration is making the same Keynesian mistakes that the Roosevelt Administration made in the 1930’s under the Second New Deal that may have actually prolonged and deepened the Great Depression, which is more of an Austrian view of economics.
This of course was in complete in contradiction to Keynesian economic theory which at the time was predicting another depression and massive unemployment – which obviously did not occur – the US in 1946 experienced the greatest surge in economic growth, 30% that year, that it ever has, before or since.
The BIG THREE factors as put forward by Mr. Weinstein are:
There were three major factors that ended the Depression:
- The destruction during the war of most of the industrial capacity of most of the major industrial powers (including in Europe and Japan), but not including the United States, left us with a near monopoly on production of major items. In fact, many of the factories greatly built up their capacity for the war, and the increased capacity was used to advantage after the war. This advantage lasted several decades, and gave us a long head start on establishing markets.
- A pent-up needs for automobiles, appliances, and many other items developed due to the manufacturing plants converting to manufacturing supplies for the war. After the war, the conversion back allowed huge amounts of sales of these items. This lasted long enough to establish many businesses solidly.
- The GI bill allowed huge numbers of military personal to buy homes, and even more important, go to college. The large increase in well-educated people resulting had a major effect on the level of technology that could be developed. The middle class grew to a much larger percent of the population, and consumer buying increased greatly.