Saturday, February 24, 2007

I believe that some writers have done the following

1. Find a blindingly obvious claim
"Beliefs are socially created"
"Everything that we imagine is just an idea in a mind"
"Humans discovered Neptune"
"Early 19th century Germany has a ruler"

2. Replace one word with a new word so that it becomes a shocking claim which many will consider absurd (perhaps because it is)

"Truth is socially created"
"Everything that we perceive is just an idea in a mind"
"Humans invented Neptune"
"Early 19th century Germany has a constitution"

3. Define or explain the new word so that the shocking statement becomes equivalent to the obvious claim. Pretend that you have refuted those who said the claim was absurd which demonstrates that it is arguably valid yet so original as to appear, at first, to be absurd.

I consider this to be an extraordinary waste of time. I am very confident that it is a common practice.

Update: My faith in google is seriously dented. This post comes out first in a google search for "who invented Neptune" *ahead* of Brad DeLong's post.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dear internets you is making a mistake

"media" are the plural of "medium" so the phrases "media has" and "media is" is errors.

Google tell me that "media has" appear about 1,800,000 time in the internets
and "media is" appear about 8,100,000 time so together
"media has" and "media is" appears about 9,900,000 times.

I knows that these is just two datum, but I worry about the interenets understanding of basic grammers.

I have no opinion as to whether "MSM" is singular or plural but I feel as if I have personally read it 9,900,001 times and just seeing the acronym makes me feel as if I just ate a kilogram of MSG.

Monday, February 19, 2007

HTML Mencken does not share my view of Brad DeLong.

I think very highly of Brad

HTML Mencken in contrast wrote

GODDAMNIT!!! Fuckface fucktart cocksmoking chickenfucking FUCKETTY FUCKING SHITSICLE THIS PISSES ME OFF!!!

Wow. Now what do I have to do to get someone to write that about me ?

He is responding to this.

Old HTML seems to have an us and them world view. Libertarians want free trade, so he won't give it to them unless they give him a "better than Swedish" welfare state. I might add that extremist, torturing, corrupt, theocratic, plutocratic, hypocritical, evil, slimy, lying, killing, stealing Republicans like Dick Cheney do not want al Qaeda to plant H-bombs in every major US city, but I, personally, am willing to give Cheney what he wants on that one in exchange for a welfare state no better than France's.

See how relatively reasonable I am ?
Someone needs to explain basic history to Hugh Hewitt

in the interview in which "General Odom Explains Basic Reality to Hugh Hewitt..." General Odom did not bother to explain basic history

HH: You would have been with which party in Great Britain in the 30's? Let me ask it that way. Was Churchill --

WO: I was -- it's not analogous to today at all. . . .

HH: Yes, but did Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain ignore the statements of Hitler, and put it down as just rhetoric?


Uh Hugh what do you mean "which party" Baldwin, Chamberlain and Churchill were all Tories, that is, conservatives, that is, members of the same party. Chamberlain, in particular, was a fierce anti communist who expelled the Soviet embassy and refused to consider an anti Nazi alliance with Stalin, certainly not a pleasant approach but one that Churchill was flexible enough to accept as necessary.

I think that Hewitt has convinced himself that Chamberlain was a socialist or a liberal, because he does not want to believe that a Conservative was so incompetent and blind to reality. As various people have noted, to wingnuts, conservativism can never fail it can only be failed.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Below I note my enduring desire for comments from Anne.
I also thank Al Gore for convincing his colleagues to subsidize the internet until it reached critical mass (and for not claiming to invent the internet) because, through the net I have cyber met Hans Suter who corresponds with me below

Hans has left a new comment on your post "2/13/2007 03:48:00 PM":

Robert, if you don't want carbon from timber you should limit growth of forests.

Publish this comment.

Reject this comment.

Moderate comments for this blog.

Posted by Hans to Robert's Stochastic thoughts at 2/14/2007 08:58:07 AM




On 2007.02.16, at 15:28, robert w wrote:


Dear Hans

But I do want carbon from timber. Forests take carbon out of the air and help us with global warming. However, forests naturally reach a steady state when the weight of wood in the forest is fixed and there is as much wood rotting as growing.

Taking the lumber out of forests and making houses reduces CO2 in the atmosphere because there is net tree growth in a reforrested clear cut forest but not in a natural climax (steady state) forest.

Tree farms are sad and ugly (compared to forests) but the fix huge amounts of carbon.

Huge wood houses are a pointless luxury, but I'd prefer carbon as useless luxury in US suburbs than in the atmosphere making it so hot that there are mosquitoes in Rome in January.

Thanks for the comment (almost lost among the spam).

Do you want our dialog posted on my blog ?

ciao
Robert

From: Hans
To: rjw88@hotmail.com
Subject: New comment on 2/13/2007 03:48:00 PM
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 23:58:07 -0800 (PST)

Dear Robert,

thanks for anwering. Starting from a wrong premise I couldn't but finish with a wrong conclusion. Please do post, including this one (blogging as learning).

Hans

wolfson has left a new comment on your post "2/18/2007 05:09:00 PM":

(I have this feeling that you may have already received 2 copies of this comment, but I'm going to try one more time, just in case).

Hans wrote (Tue, 13 Feb 2007 23:58:07 -0800 (PST)

Starting from a wrong premise I couldn't but finish with a wrong conclusion.

Balderdash! In this situation -- starting with a wrong premise - it's easy to come to a correct conclusion as long as your logic is fallacious.

I reply. Impeccable logic wolfson

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "2/18/2007 04:51:00 PM":

Yum; though I am sympathetic to hippopotami. Edith Grossman is tha translator, and when Edith Grossman translates I have learned "read" and I read Spanish.

peccable logic anonymous
More Brad's blog reader comments

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "2/13/2007 03:48:00 PM":

Robert, forgive another grumble about Brad DeLong's blog. Happily the blog no longer has any technical problems, at least as far as I can tell with my limited knowledge :)

The complaint now and before is that more is not more, and Brad's blog is so cluttered that conversations in comments seem to be coming to an end. Possibly it was too much to handle, but I have enjoyed reading you and Kate and others for years. Also, there really is so much that I have trouble reading as quickly as I wish and immediately finding posts. But, possibly more is more and I must be more patient.

Just thinking; and do post lots yourself.

Anne

Ouch. The hope of having a commenter like Anne was one of my main motives for blogging (really honestly no exageration here).

Oddly my complaint about Brad's blog is that there is too much economics mixed in with the Bush bashing, press bashing, worlds silliest dog reports, general reflections etc etc etc. this is odd, since in real life, I get paid a salary to be an economist. But I just skip it.

Now Anne's complaint about me is very valid. I am posting less. Oddly I think of posts but don't post them because of internet access issues.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/18/books/chapters/0218-1st-mont.html

February 18, 2007

'Dancing to "Almendra"'
By MAYRA MONTERO

On the same day Umberto Anastasia was killed in New York, a hippopotamus escaped from the zoo in Havana. I can explain the connection. No one else, only me, and the individual who looked after the lions. His name was Juan Bulgado, but he preferred to be called Johnny: Johnny Angel or Johnny Lamb, depending on his mood. In addition to feeding the animals, he was in charge of the slaughter pen, that foul-smelling corner where they killed the beasts that were fed to the carnivores. A long chain of blood. That's what the zoo is. And, very often, life.

Juan Bulgado isn't dead, he lives in an old-age home, he's forgotten that his nom de guerre is Johnny, and the nuns who take care of him call him Frank, later I'll tell you why. When I met him, in October of '57, he was close to forty. I think he turned forty, in the middle of the crisis. But I was very young, I'd just gone through the calamity of my birthday party, number twenty-two, celebrated in a way that was very like the twenty-one that preceded it: Mam· on her cloud, a little dizzy because of the Marsala All'uovo, the only liquor she was in the habit of drinking back then; Pap· with his arm around my older brother, an engineer like him, both of them smoking their H. Upmann torpedoes; and my sister, seventeen and uncomfortable in her lace-trimmed dress. The three of us were very different from one another, with a father who was similar to my older brother, and a mother who wasn't similar to anyone: ungainly, tense, a smoker, with a voice like hysterical glass and hair that was totally white. As far back as I can remember, she'd had white hair, and probably turned gray even before she gave birth to me. She might have been all interesting woman, but the women who were her friends considered her tiresome. And the children of her friends, some of them my classmates, took care to pass that opinion along to me....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "2/18/2007 04:51:00 PM":

Yum; though I am sympathetic to hippopotami. Edith Grossman is tha translator, and when Edith Grossman translates I have learned "read" and I read Spanish.

reply: Huh ?

Anonymous (anne?) has left a new comment on your post "2/18/2007 04:51:00 PM":

Dear, Dear Robert, I will be forever apologetic. I think your wry, always wry posts and comments are terrific and check for them regularly and need to respond more. And, who knows from economics anyway since I just found a Cuban writer along with her latest book who is a delight. So, all I will urge is that between skiing (bloody sport) and battling (good grief) for the internet, post as uou will.

Thanks Anne. You are, as always, wonderful. I have no idea why you are apologetic.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Don't tell Herr Deisel or

Bollocks ... I mean Bullocks



The really crazy Novak wrote

reader wrote to Jonah the other day that Americans constitute 5 % of the world's population but use 25% of the world's energy. Another way to look at it is to ask, What is energy? It used to be the backs of humans and animals. Then it was water wheels and wind mills. Surely, America today does not use a large proportion of the world's horse power, oxen power, and other old-fashioned sources of energy.


According to the really sane Yglesias

well I do think a major correction to US contribution to global warming might be made and not by counting Bullocks.

How many tons of lumber are used in constructing housing in the USA ? What fraction of Lumber is carbon (I'd guess about 20-30% depending on how dry it is) ? Subtract carbon released when houses burn or rot and you get lots and lots of carbon sequestration building absurdly large houses largely of wood.

Over here in Italy, houses are smaller and made mostly of stone.

Anyone ever counted the net carbon budget of the housing industry ?

Just asking.


Novak went on to write

Today, when we say "energy," we usually mean gasoline for the combustion engine, nuclear power, electricity, the use of natural gas, modern sources like that. The United States pioneered in virtually every source of what in the modern world counts as energy. You might say we invented nearly 100 % of it, and have already shared about 75% of it with others. Not as good as we might yet do (as China and India become the world's largest users of modern energy), but pretty darn good, don't you think?


Might want to ask Mr Novak who invented the internal combusion engine (hint not Mr Gasoline). How about the steam engine ? The dynamo ? And I am ov the same ethnicity as Leo Szilard and drive on Via Enrico Fermi every day and don't think they were from the USA.

The combination of nationalism and ignorance is delightful.

Monday, February 12, 2007

This is Pure Fantapolitica
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "3/02/2006 06:42:00 PM":

nice :)
;))



Thanks anonymous
Dog and Pony Show in Baghdad

Anonymous US military personal hold a briefing in Baghdad in which they claim that Iran is supplying Shi'tes in Iraq with weapons including weapons which killed US soldiers.

Oddly the personel insisted on anonymity. There is no doubt in my mind that they did so, because they know the briefing was deliberately deceptive and do not want to ruin their personel reputations. Notice that they can't refuse an order from their civilian superiors on the grounds that lying they know is a sin (not a crime).

The very extraordinarily feeble excuse for anonymity amounts almost to proof.

James Glanz in the NY Times

The officials were repeatedly pressed on why they insisted on anonymity in such an important matter affecting the security of American and Iraqi troops. A senior United States military official gave a partial answer, saying that without anonymity, a senior Defense Department analyst who participated in the briefing could not have contributed.


Ah yes "they" (plural) all have to be anonymous because "a" (singular) analyst is covert. That makes sense.

I wonder if they held up a sign saying "I'm lying" too ?

Being weak on singular and plural the anonymous briefers are a bit weak on the concepts of "not Iraq" and "Iran"

The precise machining of E.F.P. components, the officials said, also links the weapons to Iran. “We have no evidence that this has ever been done in Iraq,” the senior military official said.


Yep that's convincing. If they are not made in Iraq, they must be made in Iran. Notice, as quoted in the Times and in the Washington Post, no evidence was presented that E.F.P.'s have ever been made in Iran. Just that they were probably not made in Iraq.

Also mortar fins which are not made in "other countries" from the second page of Joshua Partlow's article in the Post


The weapons displayed for reporters on two tables on Sunday -- rocket-propelled grenades, football-shaped mortar shells, the shaped explosive charge and about 40 tail fins of exploded mortar shells -- showed specific signs of Iranian manufacture, the officials said. The mortar tail fins, for example, were made from a single fused piece of metal, while other countries make mortar shells that have removable parts, the explosives expert said.


Would that be "all other countries" which would amount to a "specific sign[s] of Iranian manufacture" or would that have the plain English meaning "at least two other countries" which would amount to just about nothing ? Hmmm are we to assume that in a determined effort to nail Iran the vagueness hides the strength of the evidence against Iran ? I will read it as "at least two other countries" or, in plainer English "we looked and looked and all we got were two RPGs and a lpointed stick" (rarer around those parts than RPGs).

Pathetic.

Also, by the way, how about we amend the constitution so that no people named after their dad can hold public office. Consider pathetic squaredin the Times.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said last month that he believed that Iranian operatives inside Iraq were supporting Shiite militias and working against American troops.


There is one very very interesting bit in the Times article.

The senior military official blamed recent press reports for, he said, overstating the importance of the weapons presentation, which had been delayed. Part of the delay reflected a view among officials in Washington that the original presentation was insufficiently strong. Officials here did not address that element of the internal debate.


Now the internet rumors was that the original presentation was overstated. Am I correct in reading "insufficiently strong" as meaning "did not make strong enough accusations against Iran" that is "this 'intelligence' is pumped up by political appointees just like the Saddam Hussein giving atomic bombs to al Qaeda evidence was ?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "1/12/2007 03:05:00 PM":

Bush goes ballistic about other countries being evil and dangerous, because they have weapons of mass destruction. But, he insists on building up even a more deadly supply of nuclear arms right here in the US. What do you think? Is killing thousands of innocent civilians okay when you are doing a little government makeover?
What happened to us, people? When did we become such lemmings?
The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren't living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sounds Like a Job for Anne

Matthew Yglesias decides that the ends justify the means ... any means ... even niceness.

At any rate, it does occur to me now and again that the netroots could probably use some more good cops to go along with the bad cops. If, say, Klein not only got a torrent of critical email when he wrote something that pissed us off but also a torrent of positive email when he wrote something liberals liked, then he'd probably find himself writing more liberal stuff over the long haul, no? Being nice is no fun and I'm basically an asshole as a general matter, so I don't really want to do it, but surely a big community site like dKos could get the job done.


Ah yes, but who will bell the cat ? I am planning a very nasty anti Klein post (see above). There are some bloggers who don't seem to love nastiness (Kevin Drum comes to mind and ... so does the washingtonmonthly blogger and calpundit and maybe one of his cats).

The only consistently very very nice person I have met on the blogosphere is frequent DeLong commenter Anne.

Come on Anne, it's a dirty rotten job but someone has to do it.
Glenn Greenwald distinguishes "potential enemies" of the USA and Dick Cheney

Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the House Armed Services Committee. He added that potential enemies may take some comfort from the rancor but said they "don't have a clue how democracy works."



It is not, of course, only "potential enemies" who "don't have a clue how democracy works." The same can be said for Dick Cheney,


I think I will interpret this as implying that, like me, Greenwald considers Cheney an actual and not just a potential enemy of our country.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Brad DeLong's Blog Housekeeping Post

It seems that Brad's blog econ161.berkeley.edu/movable_type/ or
delong.typepad.com/sdj

is misbehaving. People (including Anne) have been posting comments to this blog to report thus disrupting the normal flow of spam.

[update Brad's blog works fine for me (and I am using a PC). Maybe the problem has been resolved while I was skiing]


Comments on Brad's blog follow.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "1/29/2007 01:57:00 PM":

[Forgive this note, and delete it if it is distracting: Brad DeLong's wonderful blog is all but unusable even to read let alone to post on. PC's freeze simply reading Brad's blog whether on the university computer in my office, the library system computer or my home computer. The blog freezes and the Internet connection freezes. This has been going on for at least 2 weeks, and happens repeatedly so that I do not even try to read the blog nor do my other faculty friends.

I consider Brad's blog a treasure, and possibly you can let him know the problem for PCs at least.

Also, the change in design that began about the time the freezing began makes posting too difficult in general.

Oh dear, I am sorry to complain but I love Brad's blog as do my friends. University technicians tell us the problem is in the blog.

Help :)]

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "1/29/2007 01:57:00 PM":

Oh, I see, you are approving comment. I told you I was not good at this. But, I am right about Brad's blog being impossible to use on our PCs. Ari and I tried again from the library, and freeze....


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "1/29/2007 01:57:00 PM":

Darn, the note I left did not post; I am evidently not good at this:

[Forgive this note, and delete it if it is distracting: Brad DeLong's wonderful blog is all but unusable even to read let alone to post on. PC's freeze simply reading Brad's blog whether on the university computer in my office, the library system computer or my home computer. The blog freezes and the Internet connection freezes. This has been going on for at least 2 weeks, and happens repeatedly so that I do not even try to read the blog nor do my other faculty friends.

I consider Brad's blog a treasure, and possibly you can let him know the problem for PCs at least.

Also, the change in design that began about the time the freezing began makes posting too difficult in general.

Oh dear, I am sorry to complain but I love Brad's blog as do my friends. University technicians tell us the problem is in the blog.

Help :)]

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "1/29/2007 01:57:00 PM":

Oh, I see, you are approving comment. I told you I was not good at this. But, I am right about Brad's blog being impossible to use on our PCs. Ari and I tried again from the library, and freeze....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "1/29/2007 01:57:00 PM":

Robert, I do not suppose this will work but comments are not posting.

Anne

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "1/29/2007 01:57:00 PM":

Forgive this note, and delete it if it is distracting: Brad DeLong's wonderful blog is all but unusable even to read let alone to post on. PC's freeze simply reading Brad's blog whether on the university computer in my office, the library system computer or my home computer. The blog freezes and the Internet connection freezes. This has been going on for at least 2 weeks, and happens repeatedly so that I do not even try to read the blog nor do my other faculty friends.

I consider Brad's blog a treasure, and possibly you can let him know the problem for PCs at least.

Also, the change in design that began about the time the freezing began makes posting too difficult in general.

Oh dear, I am sorry to complain but I love Brad's blog as do my friends. University technicians tell us the problem is in the blog.

Help :)

[Trying again.]

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "1/29/2007 01:57:00 PM":

Great design, useful info!This resourse is great!Keep it up!With the best regards!
Frank

(must be referring to Brad's blog no ? ndrjw)


| | | Inbox


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "1/29/2007 01:57:00 PM":

Please do let Brad know the serious problem, if you do get any of these notes. None of us can use his blog without crashing our computers.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "1/29/2007 01:57:00 PM":

I do not seem to be getting through, sadly.


(I have to cut and paste from a hotmail account to post comments. Since almost all are spam and I have all the viagra I need (none thank you) it is easier to deal with the few legit comments by hand. I have had only dial up for a few days and almost missed the Brad's blog crisis, which is resolved by now for all I know).

update:
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "2/04/2007 11:36:00 AM":

Thank you so much for your help, Robert; all "seems" fine finally. Happy memories of skiing.