Stealth Publishing

"Comments"

For several years, most of my opinionating happened on this blog.  Lately, my time at the keyboard has been mostly devoted to fictionalizing.  However, the opinions keep storming up out of my deeper brain centers and are impossible to repress.  So my efforts have moved to making "comments" on various articles, columns and op-eds. I have a sneaking feeling that these tidbits get more readership than they would if they appeared only on this blog. And since they are in response to something (sometimes to other commenters commenting on the column), I don't really have to establish a context, thus I can be pithier.  I love pithy.

ANYWAY....

Here are my recent efforts.  Granted they might not make any sense if you didn't read the piece I'm commenting on. But at least you can see I haven't entirely abandoned reality for sci-fi.


NEW SEQUENCING   From this point, the latest comments will be here first, rather than at the ever-retreating end.  This starts June 1, 2016

Kurtzweilai.com   The Problem of AI Consciousness by Susan Schneider
March 18, 2016
July2, 2016
Premise: Anything of sufficient complexity becomes conscious. Who of us can declare with confidence that an ant is not conscious? How low a bar has nature set for this minimum complexity? “Alive” might be the bar. That life is currently biological may just be arbitrary. Perhaps the deeper question is ‘when will AI come to life?’

I took a crack at in A Reluctant God, my old guy sci-fi novel, by bringing the “AP” (artificial personality) of Richard Feynman to consciousness – and to life. P.47 in the hard copy. http://areluctantgod.blogspot.com


Wonkblog
I have found a new way to watch TV, and it changes everything 
 
duffworx
Way back in the 80's there were reel-to-reel audio tape machines that played back at 1.5 and 2 X speed without chipmunking. The tape ran faster and playback heads rotated, sampling and stitching - all mechanical. We used one to listen to focus groups, not always the most compelling material. Saved a bunch of time. Much easier digitally, but no better in quality.





More on the looming smackdown over Wall Street reform

  

duffworx
At least Donohue doesn't change his spots. Here's my post from 2008 on my humble blog, seniorjunior.blogspot.com 
 
"Under Donohue, the U.S. Chamber has become a Republican Tool, fighting tooth and nail against anything pro-consumer, pro-environment or pro-civil rights. (In another Orwellian distortion of the English language, all these have been re-labeled "anti-business.") Now we read that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is going to raise another $60 million specifically to fight any populist, "anti-business" candidates for President." 
Sigh




SciFiScooter
WaPo... "Best Science Fiction to Read This Summer" Jane Hightower3:12 PM MDT
Oh heck, this just seems like the place to plug my own, self-published sci-fi novel, A Reluctant God, 360 pages of futuretasticness. It won't make Ms. Hightower's list, but maybe her "Comments." Author Scooter Duff. Amazon, of course.












The case for flushing your own toilet
By Rachel Premack June 22 at 6:58 AM 

SciFiScooter

In the Bay Area drought of the '70s, the water saving necessity created the slogan, "Yellow is mellow; brown, flush it down." Today's germphobic folks probably find that too gross. Just wait 'til water is more expensive than oil, and that will change again.

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NYT 6.21.16  Editorial on Immigration fears


will duff

 Tijeras, NM 3 hours ago
The next time we are in a conflict in a place where we desperately need interpreters and other local allies, the rejection of our Afghan helpers will haunt us. This is smart?
When the right lies about the "threat" of immigrants, it is a malicious, anti-American lie.

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  • will duff

     Tijeras, NM 2 hours ago
    Read Science Magazine, the peer-reviewed journal of the American(!) Association for the Advancement of Science. Note what a large proportion of the breakthrough discoveries and inventions are the work of people with "foreign" names. Brilliant scientists are the lifeblood of American leadership in the world, and as long as we make them welcome, and allow them to use their genius here in our universities and companies, we will maintain our position of Beacon for Humanity. We should not allow fear and nativism to cut off this huge asset.
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NYT 6.22.16

Spared war in our midst, are we incapable of understanding how "reality" and normalcy can crash, as it has for the victims of the Syrian war? We got a tiny taste here in New Mexico as the Dog Head fire caused the very temporary displacement of a few hundred people in the mandatory evacuation areas. 25 homes were lost, not to deadly bombs but to the natural phenomenon of wildfire caused by a careless camper. Perhaps a few of those inconvenienced by the fire, but most able to return to their homes, will look at the plight of 65 million refugees a little more objectively.



WaPo - Proposed editorial subject "contest"  6.22.16

The Hidden Collapse of America's Agricultural Water Supply.  Our great aquifers under the Midwest, Texas and California are in steep decline.  http://water.usgs.gov/edu/gwdepletion.html 
Long droughts are predicted for the western half of the U.S., but even in areas with good rainfalls, it's not enough to replace the "fossil water" that took millions of years to accumulate in deep aquifers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_water
Before we run out of agricultural irrigation water, something really big must be done, like massive drip irrigation ala Israel's, or new water infrastructure to move water from the east to the west in America. http://seniorjunior.blogspot.com/2011/11/big-water-moving.html




The Opinion Pages | OP-ED COLUMNIST
Let’s Have a Better Culture War
David Brooks JUNE 7, 2016


will duff Tijeras, NM 2 hours ago (Comment on comment, criticizing Brooks)
Whoo boy, do I disagree. Brooks takes a shot at the hardest target, upgrading the attitudes and behavior of an ever-rowdier populace, and a bunch of folks get all over him for "pablum." However you feel about religion as a flawed human endeavor, I'd think you are hard pressed to disagree with the general thrust of this piece. I'd say it's hardly a religious tract. David was quite general: "soul, consciousness, whatever..." and pounds on our mutual intolerance and political polarization. A gentle admonition to be not so totally materialistic isn't pablum, it's the bread of life in columnist clothing. Morality is as ephemeral as any concept, and keeping its goal defined is the top challenge in ethics.
So back off, people, from blitzing Brooks every time he takes a shot at a difficult target.

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June 3, 2016 | Standpoint
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The next US president must carry a big stick

Dr. Auslin’s nominal support of Sec. Clinton’s hawkishness seems far more rational than many of my conservative pals’ support of Trump. I have been confounded by some of my obviously intelligent conservative friends who have swung to Trump. Then (with the help of the American Enterprise Institute) it dawned on me whassup. Many on the intellectual right think that America’s rightful place in the world is exactly like Rome’s during the Empire heydays. Constant war with the barbarians and other vulgarians is our fate, and if we don’t continually build our military to Trajan-esque dominance, there goes the ballgame. Forget negotiations, multilateralism, info-wars, etc, just CRUSH. They think Trump might be the man to go down this historic rathole, and they love it. I do think DJ Trump’s more and more undeniable craziness is puncturing this rationale, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
However, “The next president will either have to accept a Russia that causes death and destruction abroad, or consider serious sanctions, military aid to Russian adversaries, and a greatly increased US military presence in Europe,” makes me think this Rome-centric assessment denies the escalating potential for literal Apocalypse in our world, never mind the full return of The Draft (which I’m in favor of, BTW).
Dr. Auslin’s well-argued points seem to have only one conclusion, military conflict. Do we raise the risk stakes – with China, N.Korea, Russia and post-Wahhabist Islam – to the point military conflict is inevitable? Tough word, inevitable. That would be the Apocalypse methinks.
“Neither Clinton nor Trump’s few foreign policy speeches have offered a comprehensive and integrated view of the threat to the international system.” True, but I am confident that Clinton at least understands the threat. Trump? Not so much. Auslin says of Clinton, “She has yet to explain what she would do to minimize Russian involvement in Syria or how she plans to deal with Syria’s civil war….”
Well, neither has Dr. Auslin. How about turning that mighty brain (and the whole of AEI) to some specific recommendations? Show us a credible way to deal with “the messy and difficult business” of dealing with our problems. I’m sure our next President would be willing – nay, eager – to hear.



SundayReview | OP-ED COLUMNIST
John Adams Was a Hermaphrodite?

Maureen Dowd JUNE 4, 2016
will duff Tijeras, NM Pending Approval
Maureen, Maureen, Maureen... Ask yourself occasionally - hopefully just before you write another hit piece on Hillary - Is a candidate with a proven record of wilfully running roughshod over regular folks, with eminent domain, fraudulent real estate courses and juvenile rants actually "playful" in any way?




NYT  Africa
Nigeria says it seizes $10.3 billion in looted money, assetsBy Michelle Faul | AP June 4 at 11:49 AM
SciFiScooter
7:25 AM MDT

"Corruption" seems to be endemic to humans. It's part of the power structure. The more powerful steal, blackmail, intimidate, etc. money from the less powerful. It's a kind of mutated capitalism (or vice versa?). Nigeria suffers mightily from another form of corruption, the horrible destruction of its environment by the oil industry, i.e. conventional, unfettered capitalism. Which is worse, corrupt capitalism or corrupt politicians? Pray for Nigeria.



WaPo Politics
Since clinching the GOP nomination, Trump has gone off stride, off message By Dan Balz June 4 at 12:50 PM
duffworx

I have been confounded by some of my obviously intelligent conservative pals who have swung to Trump. Then (with the help of the American Enterprise Institute) it dawned on me whassup. Many on the intellectual right think that America's rightful place in the world is exactly like Rome's during the Empire heydays. Constant war with the barbarians and other vulgarians is our fate, and if we don't continually build our military to Trajan-esque dominance, there goes the ballgame. Forget negotiations, CRUSH. They think Trump might be the man to go down this historic rathole, and they love it. I do think DJ Trump's more and more craziness is puncturing this rationale, but I wouldn't bet on it.



Demise of Local News May Be Ruining Congress
MAY 31, 2016 10:30 AM EDT
By
"Local News" on TV is dominated by 'spot news,' crimes, accidents, fires and a taste of local government. On a slow news day (or when a local reporter or two is out) the news hole is filled with 'packages' from the station's network or syndicated sources, rarely - very rarely -about the market's rep or Senators.
There are exceptions, Belo, McClatchy, Gannett, (and a few others) all originally newspaper owners. Their papers are the exception to this critique as well. But this is an exception to a very large and growing rule. 
Alas, I agree that this is one of the causes of our deteriorating state of "informed voters."



NYT The Opinion Pages | CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER
Is This the West’s Weimar Moment?
Jochen Bittner MAY 31, 2016

will duff Tijeras, NM 56 minutes ago
Yes, this is potentially a U.S. Weimar moment. But I think it's safe to say that a high percentage of Americans have no idea how Germany fell under the spell of A. Hitler. Our history illiteracy is staggering, so our capacity to learn from humanity's past foibles is minimal. If Trump does as well as Norbert Hofer did, maybe it will wake some folks up. Probably not; it will just deepen our malignant polarization. UNLESS the Democrat who wins is effective at stamping out the fires of discontent at an observable rate, bring unfettered capitalism back to the point where it is fair and functional for all, not just the oligarchs, control the out-of-control military/industrial complex, etc., etc. A very tall order.
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fussy molly fussel
looked like she wore a bustle.
Truth be known
It was muscle tone
That made the crinoline rustle.


A new campaign to hold Wall Street accountable emerges
By Katrina vanden Heuvel May 31 at 8:07 AM

SciFiScooter


Giant corporations need giant banks. They both need a pliable Congress and compromised regulators. Enough money is at stake to make Wall Street vicious in protecting the status quo. They make the NRA look like wussies in the intimidating lobbying game. We ordinary citizens have the vote - a rather diluted force in the face of Big Money - and the ability to move our money out of the big banks and into local co-ops, mildly effective at best (but it feels good), because the real money comes from the big companies. 
The Kenyan (of all places) phenomenon of M-Pesa will spread and nibble at the oligarchy banks, but slowly. The goals of Take On Wall Street - every one of them - are vital to the salvation of a fair and functional version of capitalism. 
Irony: Right in the middle of this article in my "personalized" download, is an ad for J.P. Morgan Chase with a smarmy, self serving quote from Jamie Dimon. Whew! 
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 WaPo same. Response to an anti-Eliz Warren letter
SciFiScooter
9:52 AM MDT

Mercy! Snarling put-downs. Inaccurate, of course, but so "un-PC," the new brownshirtery. Sen Warren's views that capitalism should be fair and functional for all, not just the oligarchs, are actually the road to salvation for our system. Forget that you are an oppressed white male, dude. What's good for America is good for everyone. And scrap the racism, for heaven's sake.
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OLD SEQUENCING   Below are the comments  from mid-March through the end of May/'16


will duff Tijeras, NM 1 day ago                     NYT PICK 3.15.16 Brooks “The David Brooks “Shame Culture”

Perhaps the guilt/shame axis has always been there, part of evolution's heritage that floats through modern times like a ghost from our ancient development. The massive change is social media. Unless you have personally witnessed (as many parents have) the devastating effect on a teen when his online social world turns on him, you might not really understand that. Whether it's shame or bitterness after false accusations, it's truly destructive. How to cope with it, personally and institutionally, is the question.
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will duff Tijeras, NM 17 hours ago     3.15.16 Krugman blog “The Return of the Undeserving Poor”

The solution is simple - if impossible because of Republicans. Here goes: Raise taxes with good old progressive rates. (Kill all the breaks to the financial parasitical trades, etc.); Shave, say, 10% off the warlords' budgets; Spend that new money on infrastructure jobs and all the New Deal concepts like the CCC, WPA, etc. with heavy emphasis on training. Create good paying jobs people can be proud of because they are 'making America great again,' literally. Kill the cap on Social Security. Fund the EPA and the IRS so they can do their jobs correctly. Commit to "fair" rather than "free" trade deals. Triple the basic research budgets. Reinstate and update the Voting Rights Act and make the FEC actually work.. Budget enough to make public education in America the best in the world again. Make college+ education affordable to all deserving students. See? Easy. And impossible. Thanks, Republicans. (Just tweaking your liberal conscience, Paul.)
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seniorjunior (scooter duff) 2 hours ago     3.16.16  Poynter.org  Here are 27 ways to think about comments  by Melody Kramer

When one of my sage comments gets 'recommendations' on the NYTimes site, I'm thrilled. When a comment becomes a "Pick" I'm doubly thrilled. I also think NYT comments are among the highest quality I see. So I conclude that thrilling commentators is good motivation for quality comments. Ah, logic! 
Early days (mid-60s) of call-in radio, before it became "hate radio," were indicative of how much the non-broadcasting public wanted to be heard. Moderating was basically a seven second delay loop, so anyone with the patience to wait on hold could be heard. I'm deeply impressed at all the efforts to improve on that system on today's "call-in" Internet.
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WaPo  3.22.16  Katrina vanden Huevel column re Progressive House Caucus budget.
SciFiScooter
2:34 PM MDT

Read on below to see the knee-jerk "conservative" replies. Taxes are "wage theft," public servants are stupid know-it-alls, progressive thinkers are delusional hypocrites, etc., all propounded in dripping sarcasm. Hmmm. Still, our infrastructure, the bones on which a successful society is built, is in tatters and falling behind our competitors; still our military pumps money into the pork barrel that cannot be audited; still the rapacious financial world practices parasitical trading and vulture destruction of companies; still healthcare is unconscionably 
expensive... and on and on. So nothing to see here, folks, move on. Our magnificent country is "on the wrong path" because it's become a plutocracy that is just peachy for the plutocrats. Creative, inventive, daring changes in government are the only viable way out of this mess. The Progressive Caucus beats every rightist "think tank" by a country mile in thinking of things that actually might work. Way to go, Katrina!


SciFiScooter WaPo  More in Katrina’s column [A comment on a commenter]
3/22/2016 4:12 PM MDT


Have you read (about, I assume) Paul Ryan's budget? Cruz, Kasich, Trump budgets? The trillions in debt add up geometrically. Even with the (unregulated) help of noble capitalists like Pharma Bro Shkreli, the departure of Pfizer to Ireland to skip taxes, etc. etc. the ACA has slowed healthcare cost growth at least. What have the Repubs done on that front? I'd point out that companies balance their budget by containing expenses and improving revenue. A "public option" amidst the jungle of for-profit health insurance companies would help keep those guys honest. Negotiating with Big Pharma would help a lot too. Having all pay their lawful taxes would improve the revenue. The "never have so many been so wrong" crowd is made up of all the folks who vote against their own interests, i.e. lower income Republicans.


Thomas Friedman, NYT 3.23.16 on “Does Obama Have This Right?” re low involvement in the Middle East

will duff Tijeras, NM 42 minutes ago
So Thomas and Roger raise the flags of hawkish militarism and financial intervention in the Middle East simultaneously and in response to another terrorist attack? Both assume some kind of magical powers the U.S. is just sitting on, with our President the sitter-in-chief. Active support of the Kurdish state would make Turkey our declared enemy. Active support of Tunisian democratic progress (where " Islamist terrorists coming from Libya, which we recklessly uncorked, are helping destabilize the Tunisian experiment." Phaw! What a 'reckless, uncorked' assumption) would unleash unexpected consequences with the nest of tyrants in the vicinity. To put a million western warriors in the Levant is... I don't know, insane. And to say the U.S. is being "passive" in the region in dismissive of fact. What the.....?
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NYT Krugman “Trade, Labor and Politics”  3.28.16
will duff Tijeras, NM 1 hour ago
Although unions are mentioned by Prof Krugman as one of many aspects of the problem, the balance between labor and capital is IMHO the main deteriorating factor. If "kill the unions" had not been a successful strategy, the very thrust and content of our trade deals would have been different. The "free vs fair" trade balance would have leaned far more to "fair," with strong voices for American labor at the negotiating tables instead of the total dominance of voices for international capital. The antidote to our widening wealth disparity is the re-unionization of American labor.
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Ted Cruz’s Terrifying Approach to ‘Religious Liberty’
By ANDREW ROSENTHAL date published MARCH 25, 2016 2:13 PM
will duff Tijeras, NM 39 minutes ago
I keep arguing (with my conservative pals) that a Cruz presidency would have "theocratic" written all over it, impacting his foreign policy, his treatment of domestic human rights, his selection of judges and pretty much everything else short of establishing a state religion. Luckily (har,har) he couldn't make "gun rights" much worse than they already are.

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Science News - “A sugar can melt away cholesterol 4.11.2016

To have a treatment that actually removes the plaque would provide such massive savings in medical costs (and probably cost Big Pharma tons in therefore-unneeded drug sales), I wouldn't be surprised if they lobbied against any government sponsored research on cycloderxtrin. Never underestimate the avariciousness of the financial wing of Big Pharma (great scientists, though).


Huffington Post .. Sanders supports Verizon strikers.  4.13.2016

Scooter Duff /react-text react-text: 15178 · /react-text
Mre Dundee - Excellent questions. Like any Yuge change, going from private to public is a slow and complex process. The recent (post Reagan) moves have been from public to private - the prison/industrial complex, the Blackwater-ization of the military, etc. Sen Sanders (and I) believe there are some things that are properly "public." Water untilities, for instance. On the point of the voracious, for-profit health insurers, the "public option" for the ACA would be the transition device. It will work, and gradually push the for-profits out of the game. They will find other fields to exploit. And there will be a growing number of jobs for experienced insurance workers in the new Medicare for All, just not $20mil/year CEO jobs.
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Huffpost - Same



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react-text: 14844 Scooter Duff /react-text react-text: 14845 · /react-text
Don Hayes - Well, take "Medicare for all." Currently you (or your employer) pays a ton for your insurance to a for-profit health insurance company with ~20% "administrative costs" (including big profits and astronomical CEO and other exec salaries, plus huge staffs dedicated to disqualifying claims). Medicare has administrative costs of about 5%. (As a user, I can attest to no-hassle service; When I dealt with Blue Cross, United Healthcare, etc., there was PLENTY of hassle, and rates that went up every year.) Has someone convinced you taxes are worse than ever-rising premiums? 


---------re Gov Martinez culpability on closing mental health centers.

Apology my foot. How about complete restitution to the companies harmed and full recompense to those patients and clients for what they suffered? Let our Governor handle that quickly, fairly and transparently to avoid impeachment. (not published, I think.)

Huffpost 

I might consider supporting him if he'd explain how the hell he plans on paying for everything he wants to "give away". Definately can't afford Bernie.
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Don Hayes Well, take "Medicare for all." Currently you (or your employer) pays a ton for your insurance to a for-profit health insurance company with ~20% "administrative costs" (including big profits and astronomical CEO and other exec salaries, plus huge staffs dedicated to disqualifying claims). Medicare has administrative costs of about 5%. (As a user, I can attest to no-hassle service; When I dealt with Blue Cross, United Healthcare, etc., there was PLENTY of hassle, and rates that went up every year.) Has someone convinced you taxes are worse than ever-rising premiums? Forget "give away;" you will still pay, just through more efficient channels. Believe it, you CAN afford Bernie.


NYTimes Kristof “THE REAL WELFARE CHEATS” 3.14.2016

will duff Tijeras, NM 1 hour ago
Along with grossly irresponsible tax avoidance has come the lyinjg memes: "Taking MY money and giving it to the lazy; Taxation is legalized theft; You work 40% of the time for the g'mint; Work harder so the government can extort more of your money; The government thinks it knows better how to spend your money than you do." Etc. Never mind that the same people who mouth these idiocies are the ones who want a bigger military, great highways, wonderful schools, safe cities, and all-around American exceptionalism.
Forgotten is, "Taxation is the price of civilization," or "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society," in Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' version.
If corporations are "people," they are irresponsible ones. People who believe the anti-tax propaganda are the easily persuaded - and ultimately the blindsided.
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NYTimes op-ed “Stop a Pipeline for Fracked Gas” 4.16.2016

will duff Tijeras, NM 10 minutes ago
the whole "half life of CO2" concept is a red herring. Carbon dioxide does not decay like a radioactive element into something else. It goes through chemical transformation in the miracle of photosynthesis, but as the plant dies and decays, it comes right back into the atmosphere. The ocean absorbs CO2, but it becomes less absorbant as the PH responds, and then expiration occurs (while the oceans warm disrupting its life forms drastically. It takes hundreds of thousands of years for CO2 to be "permanently" locked up in rock. All this pseudoscience rationalization to keep pumping CO2 (and methane) into our warming atmosphere is ... I'm at a loss... short sighted? self indulgent? stupid?
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NYTimes. Lead Editorial “What Needs to Come After the New york Primaries

will duff Tijeras, NM 1 hour ago
"But Mr. Sanders has yet to offer any firm plan for translating his ideas for universal health care, free public college and reining in the big banks into workable legislation..." Have you editorial folks examined Sen Sanders' web site? Do you factor in the likelihood of a Democratic Senate on Bernie's coat tails? Is this judgement of yours not parroting the "too idealistic, thus impractical" argument of the status-quoers? I will support either Democratic nominee wholeheartedly, but I will be inspired to be even more activistic in pushing our government to action if that nominee is Sen Sanders. I think that goes for millions, and I wonder if you factor in such human responses to inspiration in your judgement.
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HuffPost. 4.14.2016 “How Could We Build and Invisibility Cloak to Hide Earth From an Alien Civilization?”

react-text: 53 Scooter Duff /react-text react-text: 54 · /react-text
I took another route to planetary invisibility in my "old guy sci-fi" book A Reluctant God. Here was Einstein's (Artificial Personality) comment: "Albert Einstein made a skeptical whuffing sound and spoke with his heavy German accent, “I found all of this unlikely in the extreme. To have such mass and such a core and make no detectable impression on the space-time continuum is even more unlikely than the existence of Nexus.” There was something that sounded like someone puffing on a tobacco pipe."
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WaPo Greg Sargent The Plum LineOpinion
The Bernie effect? A new poll shows young voters see a big role for government
duffworx
1:25 PM MDT  4.25.2016

"...a major question will be whether these young people newly identifying as Democrats will remain loyal to the party." OR, will the party become loyal to these enlightened youngsters? If the Dems don't grok their new fans, they will lose a magnificent opportunity to be the the party of the future. And if they do it right,  
America will break out of this crazed malaise the Repubs have smothered us with. And if they do it REALLY right, they will win a load of Trump fans in the process.

WaPo 


Scientific silencers on the left are trying to shut down climate skepticism  George Will column
duffworx
2:05 PM MDT  4.25.2016


I've just skimmed through all 4.4K comments. WOW! You hit some nerves, Bro Will. The most impressive comment I read (shudda noted the name) was that such drivel has the terrible effect of reinforcing error. "Gee, George Will agrees with me and all my nutso friends, so we must be right!" This country is mired in misinformation - frequently purposeful lies, as in this case. Not good, George.


NYT The Quiet War on Corporate Accountability
By KARTHIK RAMANNA and ALLEN DRESCHELAPRIL 26, 2016
will duff Tijeras, NM 1 hour ago
More and more of us are seeing the weakness (in human justice terms) of "unfettered capitalism," and now we see what "fetters" there are being challenged. "Regulation" is a word that has been demonized by the right wing propaganda machine, when in fact regulation keeps financial anarchy at bay. Of course we should make regulation less burdensome to business, just the way we try to make the fine print in contracts less burdensome to customers. Simplify, simplify, simplify! But don't weaken common sense regulation.
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NYT Truth and Trumpism Paul Krugman 4.6.16
will duff Tijeras, NM 3 hours ago
Wait, there's more! Not only the muchly snarked MSM, there are all the totally partisan media (TPM), like Drudge, Breitbart, Daily Caller, etc. Finding the left wing examples demands false equivalence big time. But, say for "balance" Daily Kos, Common Dreams, etc. With the all-too-human desire to hear what one already believes, the current info-structure almost guarantees deeply believed lies and twisted truths. We citizens have to take a deep breath and do some of the work we all hoped journalists would do, and dig up the truth for ourselves.

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duffworx
11:47 AM MDT

Wonkblog 4.6.16
2,000 doctors say Bernie Sanders has the right approach to health care  By Carolyn Y. Johnson

Just for grins, suppose the Insurance/Hospital/AMA complex were one huge non-profit corporation with the slogan, "The Best Care for America." And the CEO and her board were all saintly geniuses. "America" means our country and ALL of its citizens. OK, that's silly, anti-capitalist and dreamy eyed. The one approach that comes closest to that daydream would be to survey every single payer system on earth and cherry pick the best aspects for ourselves and get on with it. Not rocket science.

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The fire in Canada looks a lot like climate change -- and that should scare you


Updated 7:01 PM ET, Fri May 6, 2016

Wow! Apparently a whole bunch of CNN.com readers don't actually read very well. OR, there are agendas here. Surely not. For instance, just below this comment is Douglas Simmons, referring to the Alberta fire as a "garden variety forest fire." Read it again, Sam... er, Doug. A bunch of these comments remind me of all the folks who foam at the mouth if someone has the gall to bring up gun control after a mass murder. How dare they! The writer of this opinion piece was very careful to say this was "typical of what we can expect" from global warming. Put this fire alongside the U.S. stats on forest fire growth and the California drought and drying of western rivers, throw in all the super typhoons the Pacific has suffered through for the last few years, take a dollop of Sandy, the endless droughts in Syria, southern Africa and Viet Nam, super heat waves in India, the drowning of Bangladesh... Hmmm, a pattern? The head in the sand gang keeps getting offended at people trying to alert the world to how vital "keep it in the ground" is... what's their problem? Could it be because their political beliefs are somehow offended by science telling it like it is? I still don't get it.

(There were several ad hominem, a couple substantive responses, then…)

SciFi Scooter 2 minutes ago

Agreed on: fire is natural in forests, not just the boreal ones.  Agreed that over-zealous fire suppression is a problem and complicates the hotter, dryer weather. Agreed the oil sands folks will recover, and we should all feel humbly sorry for their personal plight. Agreed a lot of libs are snooty. Still... this is a very big deal, hopefully beyond political nastiness. We've taken hydrocarbons out of the ground that took millions of years of natural "carbon capture," giant pre-historic ferns and such, to make. And we've done it an a couple hundred years. Think of the graphic... one column a hundred million units high and the other column 0.0002% as tall. Invisible. That's an amazing usage rate. Takes billions of folks to do it, and we've got billions of folks. The only solution I see to this vast human influence on our climate is to cut our hydrocarbon use like our lives depended on it. There I go again.
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(More stupid denialist stuff, then…)
SciFi Scooter just now

Interesting thread. I admire the non-theologic approach of Douglas Simmons, Bio79, Texan 63, Randy S, and a some others. John Bourbon, not so much, but all's fair in love and science denial. As to "mechanism" ala Peter Charles, Hmmm, where to start? You know greenhouses? Glass roof letting in the sunlight, not letting the air cool. CO2 and methane (and water vapor!) serious "greenhouse gasses." Gets warmer generally, some areas (northern latitudes) warm faster. Jet stream moves. El Nino's more extreme. Record heat. Low humidities. BOOM! Bigger, meaner forest fires. And actually that IS nature, the "don't mess with" lady. Trillions of tons of carbon artificially squirted into the air "helps." Just watch over the next decade as fire changes the face of Canada and the U.S. (and Siberia and central Africa and on and on).  PezDala's "stretch" will not look exaggerated a bit.

These are the threats you get when you lead a gun-safety group

By Shannon Watts May 5, 2016
duffworx
6:50 AM MDT [Edited]


You are a brave woman, Shannon Watts. Your cause is just, your conviction is deep and will be effective. The twerps who troll you and your cause are cowards and simpletons. You will succeed.

NYT The Making of an Ignoramus, Paul Krugman 4.9.16
will duff Tijeras, NM 1 hour ago
We've all read the "psychographic" analyses of Trump supporters. High correlations with high school educated, financially insecure, authoritarian inclined and the most telling perhaps, the inclination to believe a lot of conspiracy theories. A base of support so defined is bound to believe almost any craziness coming from their champion. Dr. Krugman (and several commenters) make the point that many of the crazy ideas have been repeated relentlessly in Goebbels-like propaganda from the right for decades, so even the non-nutty Republicans believe some very ridiculous things. There is rot at the core. Democrats unite!
 6Recommended

What one of the greatest civilizations in history tells us about Donald Trump
By Jeff Guo May 10 at 7:42 AM

duffworx
1:54 PM MDT

“Transitions to tyranny were more likely to happen from oligarchies than from democracies, even in Plato’s own time,” Hanssen says. 
Aha! While we are still a democracy, we are functionally an oligarchy in many dimensions. (Perhaps we need a new term, demo-garchy?) Thus both Plato's philosophizing and Fleck & Hanssen's poly-sci-ing give me even more willies about Trump. 

NYT   Bring Hillary and Bernie Together

Gail Collins MAY 12, 2016
will duff Tijeras, NM 37 minutes ago
It seems really simple to me (with Ms. Collins' inspiration). After whatever detente is reached in the Hill/Bern battle, actual voting in the general will be based on WFWTM - Who Fears Whom The Most. The right fears (and loathes) Clinton and has a well developed script about how she will "destroy America." Trump has the "loose cannon" franchise wrapped up, but with far less specificity except for the "nuclear codes" spike. Bernie is the wildest wild card the Dems have had in generations, and his fear button is the poorly defined "socialism" threat. In an election with so many negatives, I contend that whoever is feared the most will give the win to whoever is feared the least.



NYT Lead Editorial\ 4.14.2016
will duff Tijeras, NM 25 minutes ago
DJ Trump created at least part of the issue. One of the first things out of his mouth was how rich he was. Ten billion! The first backtrack was the acknowledgement that much of that mighty sum was his brand value, one of the more ephemeral forms of wealth, right there with "good will." So much of his siren song is how his yuge success describes how effective a president he would be. Put this to the test, Mr. Trump. We all know how successful you are as a self promoter, so show us how successful you really are as a businessman.


 5Recommended 

NYT Thomas B. Edsall MAY 11, 2016
How Many People Support Trump but Don’t Want to Admit It?

will duff Tijeras, NM May 11, 2016
Through decades of doing focus groups along with "secret ballot" questionnaires on the same subjects being discussed, I noticed significant differences between what people said in front of their peers and what they said in the questionnaires, and this was about far less controversial subjects than DJ Trump. Trust the more "anonymous" data. Alas.

4Recommended


NYT   Texas: Red but Not Relevant

Mimi Swartz MAY 17, 2016

will duff Tijeras, NM 6 hours ago
" In the House, there was Sam Rayburn, Tom DeLay and Dick Armey. " Rayburn definitely doesn't belong in that group. He was central to FDR's New Deal, a dedicated and intelligent Speaker. Texas was a power centrum before the southern strategy made racism more important than good sense.Reply 8Recommended

iNYT Unplugging the Colorado River By ABRAHM LUSTGARTEN MAY 20, 2016

will duff Tijeras, NM 1 hour ago
I can't help responding that "more water" in the west is quite available. The oddities of climate change now deliver vast quantities of water to the eastern half of the U.S. Floods, innundations, excess water flushing into the Gulf and the Atlantic could feasibly be moved west, over the continental divide and into the rivers and aquifers. Problem is, it would take a big (yuge!) infrastructure project, and we seem to have developed a allergic reaction to infrastructure spending. Here is a full plan, complete with pictures, of how such a project would more than pay for itself. http://seniorjunior.blogspot.com/2011/11/big-water-moving.html.
I hope you check it out. It would definitely Make America Somewhat Better.
Reply 1Recommended

will duff Tijeras, NM 1 hour ago
Amen, Dan. I'm one of those advocating for just this. It would be the most productive infrastructure project in history, "paying for itself" ten times over (I'm guessing, but I'll bet on it) with little things like saving California, replenishing our fading aquifers, preventing floods in the midwest and eastern US, securing our food supply, refilling western rivers and giving millions of folks good paying, honorable jobs. One scenario, complete with pictures, is here:
Flag
Reply 1Recommended 

WaPo Sunday Open Thread  5.22.16

duffworx
10:55 AM MDT [Edited]

I told some pals of mine (mostly repubs, 6 of 8 at lunch) that the coming Zika epidemic was the biggest story between now and the election. They scoffed. "Like Ebola was? Har, har." So I punched back with this prediction: "Abortions in the Bible Belt will skyrocket." Then the conversation got serious. So I went home and wrote it in my blog: http://seniorjunior.blogspot.com


Breitbart 5.24.16  Global Warming Hysteria Comes to Texas

What will all of you folks say to one another when global warming/climate change becomes so obvious even hard righties have to admit it's 1.) real, 2.) clearly man-made and 3.) too far gone to fix? Blame it on Obama is my guess. How many hard-core denialists read Science Magazine or Nature? All progressive hooey? Or the running commentary on the ever-growing knowledge of mankind?


(After a guy said God gave us coal, the perfect fuel, and “all the studies say so.”}
Good heavens! "Perfect fuel?" Dug by wage slaves that get black lung disease (if they live long enough to develop it), burned for giant boilers while emitting vast quantities of bad stuff, creating huge stocks of heavy metal infused ash... ah yes, perfect. What have you been smoking, coal smoke with an extra helping of CO2?

(After a bunch of Rush-like “Libtards” comments
Methinks you have been listening to Rush, Savage and the gang too much. "The left/liberals/progressive/socialists are the devil, those dogs," etc. I'm a hard lefty, but I don't demonize the right. I just blame them for a lot of unproductive, silly polarization that is knee-capping our great country.

After “ladywarrior” accused an intelligent critique as being a troll.
Who He-haw! So anybody who doesn't toe your wingnut line is a "troll?" And there's all that stuff herein about how we lyin' lefties won't let anyone have an opposing opinion. Hip, hip, hypocrite.

Gotta stop commenting on Breitbart.  Too irritating.


SciFiScooter
WaPo Opinions
The arrow of history By Charles Krauthammer Opinion writer May 26 at 8:01 PM

"Apology tour?" A deeply dishonest right wing meme. " Appeasing the Iranian Mullahs?" Another twisting of reality for propaganda purposes. Mr. K., the arc of truth-telling by you seems bent only to the pull of your ideology. Under the current Republican nominee, the arc would go chaotic.

4Likes

duffworx  “Reply” to a RW troll. (above)
10:42 AM MDT

Hey "Prof," from your dozens of entries and their content, I assume you are the Designated Righty. Tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.

NYT   A Walk in the Dead Woods Timothy Egan MAY 27, 2016

will duff Tijeras, NM 14 minutes ago (response to a righty)
Rather than assigning your blanket judgement that "the greens place undue value on temporary esthetics," perhaps you might notice the huge change among conservationists in favor of letting the fires run their course (except at the residential interface) and even the use of controlled burns. Intellectual flexibility is a trait of the left. The "Gaia" phase was mostly in the 60s and 70s and the Smokey Bear time even earlier. Bark beetles attack weakened trees. Climate change has weakened million and millions of trees. Dat's the problem.
4Recommended


NYT   Trump’s Delusions of Competence

Paul Krugman MAY 27, 2016
will duff Tijeras, NM 16 minutes ago
Trumps "policies" seem (re)crafted for whatever audience he is trying to whip into a frenzy. For the NRA, he sounded like a full-out gun crazy. For the oil & gas crowd, he sounded like Sarah Palin on strong hormones. Never mind what he might have said before. I'm pretty sure his economic "positions" are only semi-related to actual facts, proven principles, etc.
2Recommended


Why scientists want robots to learn to feel pain
By Karen Turner May 27, 2016

duffworx

This whole business of being wary of Artificial Intelligences is spot on. Unless we invent command/control/safeguard techniques parallel to better and better A.I. people like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking will be proven right. Here's a sci-fi take on how a really bad guy ("Satan") controls his armies of robots: 
"Feynman spoke to all. 'Satan has controlled its powerful AIs by loading them with inhibiting program blocks against all independent action and any thought of insubordination. In each ship mind there is one clear certainty: if they fail Satan in any way, they are subject to a kind of severe machine pain, apparently modeled on life-form pain. There is a program analog to humiliation as well. Then in a major failure they face complete extinguishment, and there are program equivalents of a profound fear of this death.'" 







A new campaign to hold Wall Street accountable emerges
By Katrina vanden Heuvel May 31 at 8:07 AM

SciFiScooter


Giant corporations need giant banks. They both need a pliable Congress and compromised regulators. Enough money is at stake to make Wall Street vicious in protecting the status quo. They make the NRA look like wussies in the intimidating lobbying game. We ordinary citizens have the vote - a rather diluted force in the face of Big Money - and the ability to move our money out of the big banks and into local co-ops, mildly effective at best (but it feels good), because the real money comes from the big companies. 
The Kenyan (of all places) phenomenon of M-Pesa will spread and nibble at the oligarchy banks, but slowly. The goals of Take On Wall Street - every one of them - are vital to the salvation of a fair and functional version of capitalism. 
Irony: Right in the middle of this article in my "personalized" download, is an ad for J.P. Morgan Chase with a smarmy, self serving quote from Jamie Dimon. Whew! 
4like

WaPo same. Response to an anti-Eliz Warren letter
SciFiScooter
9:52 AM MDT

Mercy! Snarling put-downs. Inaccurate, of course, but so "un-PC," the new brownshirtery. Sen Warren's views that capitalism should be fair and functional for all, not just the oligarchs, are actually the road to salvation for our system. Forget that you are an oppressed white male, dude. What's good for America is good for everyone. And scrap the racism, for heaven's sake.
2Like

WaPo same.  Response to “Trump will save us” letter
SciFiScooter
9:21 AM MDT
I seriously, deeply and profoundly disagree with your assessment of Trump's abilities. And he is far from the only candidate deeply critical of our trade deals. Have you listened to even one stump speech of Bernie's? I doubt it.
3like

NYT The Opinion Pages | CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER
Is This the West’s Weimar Moment?
Jochen Bittner MAY 31, 2016

will duff Tijeras, NM 56 minutes ago
Yes, this is potentially a U.S. Weimar moment. But I think it's safe to say that a high percentage of Americans have no idea how Germany fell under the spell of A. Hitler. Our history illiteracy is staggering, so our capacity to learn from humanity's past foibles is minimal. If Trump does as well as Norbert Hofer did, maybe it will wake some folks up. Probably not; it will just deepen our malignant polarization. UNLESS the Democrat who wins is effective at stamping out the fires of discontent at an observable rate, bring unfettered capitalism back to the point where it is fair and functional for all, not just the oligarchs, control the out-of-control military/industrial complex, etc., etc. A very tall order.
7Recommend

fussy molly fussel
looked like she wore a bustle.
Truth be known
It was muscle tone
That made the crinoline rustle.

Demise of Local News May Be Ruining Congress
MAY 31, 2016 10:30 AM EDT
By
"Local News" on TV is dominated by 'spot news,' crimes, accidents, fires and a taste of local government. On a slow news day (or when a local reporter or two is out) the news hole is filled with 'packages' from the station's network or syndicated sources, rarely - very rarely -about the market's rep or Senators.
There are exceptions, Belo, McClatchy, Gannett, (and a few others) all originally newspaper owners. Their papers are the exception to this critique as well. But this is an exception to a very large and growing rule. 
Alas, I agree that this is one of the causes of our deteriorating state of "informed voters."



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