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Comment A former military analyst (Score 1) 258

In a previous life I worked on the SIOP and helped evaluate various (mostly counterforce) strategies. I highly recommend the books, Prisoners Dilemma (Poundstone) and Command and Control (Schlosser, don't get sidetracked by the Damascus incident story). If you have not read these sources, even if you worked on strategy and tactics at SAC (like I did), even if you taught Strategic and Tactical Sciences at the Air Force Institute of Technology (like I did), you are probably not as informed as you should be on these topics. I certainly was not then, but with maturation comes some ability to see the past for what it was.

Comment Republican/Libertarian activists (Score 1) 1291

As an activist working within the GOP I use this idea as part of an overall philosophical and pragmatic solution to the failure of free markets to deal with boundary layer conditions (which I invoke because I am a mathematician who has studied the equations, one of my posters in my office is of the Keynesian mathematical model). When I use it, I am talking with the people who see failures in current policy as being the result of wishful "unicorn" beliefs among the wishful thinkers whose belief in a goal outweighs their understanding of people, markets and freedom (see "Heaven on Earth").

The pragmatic argument I use is that a reasonable minimum salary, properly implemented, can allow us to shut off all the "death by a thousand cuts" that modern victimhood-rewarding strategies use to buy votes using the taxpayers' own money.

Comment Re:Israel hasn't vowed to "wipe Iran off the map" (Score 1) 441

To understand how Israel is using their nuclear threat one has to understand the theories behind deterrence and mutual assured destruction, concepts that I used to teach at AFIT, and which few knee-jerk pacifists can get their heads around. "Math class is tough" says the Barbie doll.

That said, I did also ask the students to consider whether the key assumptions of the models are met in the Middle East, for the most part they were met when talking about the governments, but not so much with NGOs (like ISIS).

Submission Droning for sharks

FreedomFirstThenPeac writes: Apparently Orange County (specifically, Seal Beach area) has found that drones are useful for finding hazards at the beach, the story has a nice drone-shot overhead of a small shark (scale is hard to tell). They also report that it is easy to spot rip tides. The question of the day, how long till someone links imaging processing software with the guidance system so they can get the drones to hover over, and follow along, as sharks patrol off shore? Just another day at the beach, see the shoal of nerds schooling along with their drone controls? They are the ones who are missing all the swimsuit-enhanced normals in the area.

Comment Re:Work with cloned mice (Score 1) 203

The problem with with asking if an animal is "sentient" is that any test rigorous enough to rule out some species will, if applied fairly, also rule out 90% of humans, and I do not just mean the young and the enfeebled. Ultimately, however, we do not need to know sentience or consciousness (be careful), what we need first is "is this entity entitled to protection under the law?

Comment Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof (Score 1) 444

Particle physics has a dogma (e.g, nothing with rest-mass NE 0 can travel at or above the speed of light) that makes a claim of faster-thjan-light neutrinos a claim that requires extraordinary proof, so any claim to have discovered faster-than-light neutrinos results in immediate scrutiny. Biomedicine and social science have much looser dogma, dogma that is often very much polluted by people whose world views are often much more driven by wishful thinking (unicorns for EVERYONE!), than by tested science. So I agree with the posters who claim that the problem is not throughout science, being more a problem at the left end of the scientific spectrum (a spectrum described XKCD).

Comment Why stop with Scientology? (Score 1) 700

What is it that we think makes Scientology so egregious when compared with other tax-exemptions? It seems to me that if this gets pushed hard enough we will conclude that "tax-exempt status" for religious groups leads to a violation of the amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". Only by NOT granting tax exempt status do we get government out of the business of deciding what is a valid religion and what is not. Look how well it worked to let government define marriage. Be careful what you wish for.

Comment We are all elitist pigs. (Score 1) 114

We need to remember that most of us would not know how to create a financial derivative wrapping up bad mortgages into a pretty package and then selling them to banks who then get the government to cover the losses at the high end leaving the luzr$ holding underwater assets that they have to just give up. $12T worth of equity vanishing in the process. Yet these are the guys who pay us the best. The "techs" who lurk at the fringe, and who do not really know a packet from a pickle should be treated like physician's assistants or paralegals. Useful to do the routine stuff, but needing tech supervision or nudging aside when the going gets tough. They might be the hardware guys opening the hood and putting in the parts, while we wait at the keyboard to make it work. In a repair shop, it makes sense to form these sorts of teams, but for on-site delivery it is usually a one-man team, and in that case, we need to be careful to send in the paratechs only when called for, sending in the true techs when necessary. In the end, it is about education. Educate the users about why they sometimes only need the power user, sometimes the paratech and sometimes the tech. Educate the support spectrum to have proper (if limited) respect for each other and keeping each level engaged.

Sheesh, you'd think we thought being techie qualified us to do brain surgery, for crying out loud.

"We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company."