Linky Friday #99: Flaming Big Tex Edition


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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242 Responses

  1. Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

    [E1] According to Michael Mann:

    “Three major climate organizations (JMA, NASA, and NOAA) have now released their official estimates for the 2014 Global Mean Surface Temperature. Both JMA and NOAA conclude that 2014 was substantially higher, i.e. outside the margin of error, of previous contenders (1998, 2005, and 2010) while NASA finds 2014 to be warmest, but within the margin of error of 2005 and 2010 (i.e. a “statistical tie”).”

    The Daily Mail article only talks about NASA’s results.Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:


    Oh please let’s go with prohibition! I can stop slaving away in an office and run illegal cigs. I’ll get rich like Kennedy and found a political dynasty!Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    *reads E3*

    *reads Ho3*

    *head asplodes*Report

    • Avatar North says:

      I dunno Ho3 basically says “Downtown LA has had remarkable development in housing the only bad thing is other neighborhoods in LA haven’t followed suit”. I can’t say I feel any particular disagreement.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        I’m not an expert on SoCal geography, but I literally did stay at a Holiday Inn once while I was there. Doesn’t keeping development concentrated in the downtown core and keeping the lightly developed areas as-is reduce externalities from spilling over into the undeveloped land that encompasses a significant portion of LA County? And even more so, reduce pressure to develop that undeveloped land? You start putting jobs out in the boonies, and people will move into the boonies – and even into the deeper boonies and just commute in. (this is at least how Loudon and Howard counties in the DC area became rich in the last decade).Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        @kolohe the only undeveloped but developable land in L.A. County is across the street from my house, and we ain’t got enough water to develop it. Thereis a wide swath of territory between my area and the city, but it’s a pretty rugged mountain range, which these days also has no water.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @north @kolohe

        I find LA geography to be very weird. I drove from SF to LA for Thanksgiving and back. There are sections on the outskirts which might as well be the middle of nowhere but have some serious government office (LA County Assessor’s Office) or what looks like a fairly advanced corporation (Advanced Biotronics). The advanced Biotronics office was on a lot with a Marriot and my only guess is that the Marriot was there because Advanced Biotronics was otherwise in the middle of no where and far from hotels. The LA County Asseor’s Office was surrounded by a smallish sub division of modest homes and lost of uninhabitable mountains.Report

  4. Avatar j r says:

    E3 is the expression of do-gooder sophism. Cities have lower carbon footprints. Lower carbon footprints are better for nature. Therefore, all of us living in cities would be better for nature right?

    No attempt to define what she might mean when she uses the vast and amorphous concept of “nature.” No attempt to deal with any of the spurious and confounding factors that accompany the studies that she published.

    Dollars to donuts she typed that post while wearing TOMS. I’ll bet anyone a twelve pack of Brookyn Brew that, somewhere on social media, Angie Schmitt has a picture of herself holding a brown child.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      I don’t see as many flaws in her reasoning as you do. At it’s heart it’s fundamentally correct; if you stay in the city rather than carving a piece of the wilderness up into your personal reserve you’re probably helping the environment out more.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I sorta disagree, @north

        Rural areas are necessary to cities; and rural life requires enough density to have a tax base to support schools, etc., and to have service centers that supply residents with their basic needs and some entertainment/culture.

        The problem isn’t having your own slice of the wilderness; it’s carving the wilderness up into 3-acre house lots without any wilderness at all. It’s suburban development. And also, there’s next to no wilderness, anyway. (Wilderness is a very specific thing; a place set aside where no mechanical equipment is allowed, not even a mountain bike.) In the Northeast, at least, the virgin forests were gone before 1900, and the whole northeastern forest has been and remains a working forest. The west is different, there is untouched forest and wilderness, still, and it’s worth protecting.

        But the answer is emptying out the forests, either. It’s recognizing that the carbon footprints of rural dwellers actually contribute to the lower footprints of urban dwellers in very necessary ways.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        @zic I think we have two distinct subjects here: economically/logistically you are unambiguously correct that cities need their rural areas to support them, all that food and raw material has to come from somewhere. Ecologically this isn’t great news for pristine wilderness but short of us either migrating to space or regressing to cave dwelling savages nature is gonna have to shove over for humanity; that’s life, it’s unavoidable. I’d also agree society needs to provide the necessary social and infrastructural support to its periphery.

        I’d submit, however, that the article isn’t really addressing itself to this subject. They’re not trying to take aim at the indispensable rural roots of society. They are instead pointing out that nature lovers who retire and zip off to build their palatial nature retreat are actually hurting the nature they profess to love and would likely do better by nature if they remained in the city. I think that’s pretty hard to dispute. Setting aside carbon footprints the access roads and other infrastructure not to mention the presence of the homes themselves are caustic to genuine wilderness. There is an significant degree of hypocrisy in self-professed nature lovers building themselves comfortable retreats out in the wilderness.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        I get the sense the author is conflating suburban development and rural cabins, and I think she also has no concept of the vast gulf between merely “appreciating” nature* and having a deep and passionate love for it.

        * Linking to zic’s comment, I emphasize nature, not wilderness.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        You can’t build a home in a legally designated wilderness area. And just about any place you can legally buy property and build a home not only isn’t wilderness by legal definition, it’s not true wilderness by pragmatic definition, either–there’s almost certainly been enough human impact that it’s no longer a wilderness in a meaningful sense, although it may still largely be a natural (relatively unbuilt, unfarmed) area. I think this is what zic is trying to say, too.

        So the discussion should be about non-wilderness, relatively natural, areas.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Fair enuff Proff. That said, absent continued use and maintenance near natural areas can very easily regress back into full on wilderness.

        I think my basic point is that Zic and the article are both correct. Rural areas are indispensable economically. That said Ceteris Paribas if you are ecologically conscious and you value wilderness or nature then the best way you can help it is by choosing to live in urban areas rather than retiring to convert a section of near wilderness land into your own little retirement hideaway.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        There are different types of rural areas @zic. The lone farm stead or the exurban house has more of an environmental impact than a compact village surrounded by fields.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        I have a real problem with the “if you love something you’ll do what I think is best” model of argumentation. And the proscription is too absolute. In northern Michigan, my friend owns 80 acres that has a cabin, accessible by dirt road, with no utilities. A lot of other people have cabins in the area, too, on lots ranging mostly from 20-40 acre lots. (My friend has two adjacent 40 acre lots). As long as they don’t fence all of them off, and from what I’ve seen they’re mostly not, this is minimally invasive. Wildlife is abundant. We talked to a neighbor who had recently had a bear on her front porch. People do groom deer trails for hunting, but otherwise leave everything outside of their immediate cabin site natural.

        Why do these folks do it? Because they don’t just have an appreciation for nature. They love it, like they love their spouse or kids, and they need to be in it sometimes, just as they need to see their grown kids sometimes.

        I don’t think the writer understands that kind of love. Her’s seems to be an abstract appreciation and admiration, not a deep in the bones “I am more at home here than anywhere else” kind of love.

        There are bad ways to do the close to nature thing, sure. But to damn all people who want to live near nature is to treat disparate people as all the same, which is never a path toward truth.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @leeesq Yes, the village surrounded by fields is, in theory, lower impact. But the details of those fields matter. Fields don’t just exist. They are not giant laws. They’re productive, and what the produce matters to city folk. (They matter to wildlife, too.) Sometimes, that field production (and forest production) requires that remote homestead, too.

        But rural isn’t just wilderness and fields, either. It’s gravel pits. Tons and tons of gravel get hauled into cities every day, did you know that? You couldn’t build or maintain a city, you can’t increase density in a city, without that gravel. It’s the sand on an NYC sidewalk that makes it safe to walk. But the carbon footprint of that grave production accrues to the rural resident, since that’s where it originates, not to the city resident. Same with paper; all those Harry Potter books and Vogue magazines and Gideon bibles in the city reflect my carbon footprint, since I am a woodlot owner.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        the carbon footprint of that grave[l] production accrues to the rural resident, since that’s where it originates, not to the city resident. Same with paper; all those Harry Potter books and Vogue magazines and Gideon bibles in the city reflect my carbon footprint, since I am a woodlot owner.

        An interesting point, and very important if correct. Does anyone here know for sure how such things are accounted for? I don’t mean to imply zic is wrong; I just don’t know how expert or official calculations of these things works in their details.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        To add onto that, I am pretty sure that the urban person criticizing the “lone farmstead” isn’t accounting for their role in that farmstead being there. It’s there to house the folks operating the farm, and the farm exists to feed city folk as well.

        We can do (and have continually increased doing) less labor intensive agriculture, which requires more capital-intensive equipment, which of course has its own environmental effects. You can’t attribute the combine’s diesel exhaust solely to the farmstead–it occurs because city folks want food and aren’t going to produce it themselves.

        If urban folk want to eat meat, we can do grazing, which eats up more space per cow/pig/chicken/etc, providing an illusion of nature while actually making the pasturage non-hospitable to a variety of flora and fauna, or we can do intensive animal feeding operations which environmentalists object to (and which have their own set if environmental effects, to be sure, but again those exist because farmers are feeding cities, not just themselves).

        Is the urban footprint really talking account of city folks’ use–indirect though it may be–of rural areas?Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @james-hanley there’s some here:

        But my understanding (which may be wrong) is that the carbon usage is assigned to the person who purchases the energy or releases the carbon, and not to the products. (Lettuce from AZ and CA has often been used to tell the story in the media.) And that’s sort of my point; the measurements of carbon and the urban dweller’s smaller footprint rests on this logic. If the impact was associated with the product, I think the footprint measurements might will be radically different. That’s not to say less density is good, either; but that density as a lower-footprint as a desirable thing is rather divorced from the reality that much of the rural carbon footprint is necessary for the high-density cities to happen.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Prof, bear in mind that the original article voices no beef with people who make their living in rural living, in other words when you defend rural farms, working forests etc you’re pummeling a straw man; the author isn’t taking issue with rural industry (because if she did she’d be an idiot). The beef is with people who relocate to live in rural locations for aesthetic enjoyment and I think that the point isn’t very easily refuted. The article doesn’t suggest that such things should be forbidden, just asserts that if you say you love the environment then buying/building a house out on the edge of the nature preserve or whatever is significantly more harmful to the environment than staying in the city would be. I think that’s generally unassailable on the mathematical level.

        Now as you note there’s low impact and high impact invasion but it’s still invasion. Those cottages introduce roads (aka wildlife massacre strips), garbage (unnatural food supplies) and homes into regions that would otherwise not have them. I suspect that the cottage owners would expect, for instance, a forest fire to be aggressively suppressed if one sprang up and would be pretty annoyed if bears that became accustomed to living off garbage began mauling the locals. Yeah she’s definitely speaking from a urbophile position and is definitely discounting all the non-environmental considerations but I think when she says “If your #1 priority is love for the environment then you’d do better in preserving said environment by keeping your primary residence in a city.” She’s basically correct.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @north I agree, in part. But there’s a lot of things glossed in what she says. One is that rural incomes often don’t allow for large land holdings any longer; and there’s often a decision to sell all of a parcel to the highest bidder (often a developer,) to sell part — typically the road frontage, to a developer or over time as individual lots, or to sell (often at a lower price) to someone with enough wealth to maintain a parcel whole. This is actually a big discussion around my parts of the world.

        Sometimes, it’s that nature lover from NYC or Boston or whatever who protects, not destroys.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        That said Ceteris Paribas if you are ecologically conscious and you value wilderness or nature then the best way you can help it is by choosing to live in urban areas rather than retiring to convert a section of near wilderness land into your own little retirement hideaway.

        I never said that Schmitt was wrong, I said that her article is an exercise in sophism. Once you throw in the ceteris paribas, you are assuming away a whole bunch of things (all the stuff that @zic and @james-hanley have mentioned).

        The deeper question though, is what exactly does it mean to be ecologically conscious or to value nature? Schmitt is smuggling her own answer to that question, without even bothering to acknowledge that other might have different values or modes of appreciation.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Certainly most of the electricity statistics that are available from the federal government are based on where the electricity is generated, not where it is consumed. This makes Wyoming and Utah look terrible in terms of carbon footprint, but both of them burn a lot of coal that goes straight to California/Oregon/Washington. For example, 80% of the output of the coal-fired Intermountain Power Plant outside Delta, UT is delivered by HVDC into Southern California. I suspect that other forms of energy have similar problems. Lots of diesel fuel is sold in Wyoming and burned in long-haul trucks carrying goods from West Coast ports to points east along I-80.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Well I’m certainly not the right person to defend her priors or the like since I am very confident I don’t share them. My own environmentalism is definitly a second tier priority for me.Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        ” At it’s heart it’s fundamentally correct; if you stay in the city rather than carving a piece of the wilderness up into your personal reserve you’re probably helping the environment out more.”

        I don’t mean to get all wonky, but this kind of value absent humans makes no sense to me.

        What good does it do to preserve nature if nobody enjoys it? Taken to logical extreme, this basically argues for killing yourself or everybody else so nature can thrive sustainably without us.

        But even this makes no sense as it attributes specialness to nature now. What is important about now absent the fact that we are here to enjoy it?

        Long term, nothing we do makes any difference to nature. We could exterminate virtually every species and as has been proven for several hundred million years and a half dozen widespread extinction events, the net effect is even more complexity and diversity of life when nature quickly snaps back (quickly as in ten to twenty million years). Now that may not seem quick to us, but it was the “us” authors like this just carved out of the equation.

        It is one thing to advise against killing a living thing to enjoy it. Well said. But that is not the same as moving away from flowers altogether.Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        The other part of this ideology that makes no sense is that it seems to assume that man is not part of nature. New York is both natural and man made. Obviously there are multiple versions of the word natural creeping in. Fair enough as long as we keep the versions separate in our discussion.

        It is one thing to suggest that we should both enjoy nature and not destroy it in the process. Saying we should all move to mega cities to lower our carbon footprint or serve the gods of feux sustainability is just sloppy thinking.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        Yes, there’s a very arid logic to it, but one that completely eliminates any actual human element and leads to a perverse conclusion.

        In all truth, I have a bit of a visceral reaction to this argument because I knew such folks in grad school. Devout environmentalists who never ventured into nature beyond car camping. I remember them complaining that conservatives just wanted to destroy nature, and when I pointed out that most people living in very rural areas tended conservative, and lived out there because they liked more natural areas, they just dismissed that out of hand–those rural people who actually experienced nature regularly couldn’t really appreciate nature the proper way, as did they. And when I went did multi-day canoe trips on Oregon’s John Day River they were impressed–not sleeping in a campground? no toilets or electricity for days on end? wow! They couldn’t really see themselves putting themselves that deeply in nature.

        Actual nature is an abstraction to these people. They don’t know what it means to love nature, and so their advice, as abstractly logical as it may be, ignores who these people really are.

        I’m amused, in that folks on the left often criticize economics for being too abstract, and ignoring how people really are, their emotional needs, etc. And of course they’re sometimes correct. But this is exactly the same type of error. The economist who says “labor flexibility is great, so move where the jobs are,” may be ignoring the human need for rootedness, a sense of place. The environmentalist who says, “nature is best left undisturbed, so if you really love it, don’t go there” is also ignoring human needs.

        And ultimately it can lead to the implication that “I actually love nature more than you do because I (never feel the desire to) go experience it like you do.”

        And that’s a perverse conclusion.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        I think you’re reading into it a tch more than you need to @Roger and Proff. Not carving wilderness/near wilderness areas off into your private residences&lots with power lines and access roads does not equate to humans being absent from wilderness/wilderness areas. In theory you could camp in it, hike in it, do any number of things with it short of carving it up and shaping it to meet your daily living needs.

        Living in a place is a transformative act, all living things shape their environment to meet their needs, some more than others. Beavers flood land, porcupines bark-strip trees, wolves dig lairs and humans carve and distort the landscape and biosphere around their homes like cheese. The article we’re discussing makes a pretty narrow claim: that the wilderness/near wilderness probably benefits more from you staying in your custom designed human environment (the city) rather than reproducing your preferences by moving your home into close proximity to the wilderness/near wilderness and reshaping it to your preferences. I think that narrow claim is pretty solid. It’s not a brief against ruralia (there’s a nod to people working in agriculture in fact) nor is there any agenda about not visiting the wilderness or going near it. Frankly I’m a bit surprised you’re getting the vibe off the article that you seem to be; I didn’t pick up on that at all. Then again I have no great love of the wilds (unless there’re about four fathoms of water on top of or around it, then I think it’s the bees knees). I mean the lady isn’t saying don’t go near the woods, she’s just saying there’s a contradictory element to calling oneself an environmentalist and then locating ones’ retirement home in the woods. Also there’s a swipe at the rabid anti-urbanism of some environmentalist groups which strikes me as eminently merited.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        But again, you’re assuming big developments; large houses, etc. It doesn’t have to be that way.

        And your preferred version of wilderness is nuts. Never dive into an atmosphere you can’t breathe, man. I learned that watching SciFi flicks.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        The article discusses it in the context of where people retire to live in their post professional lives. While I grant that there is a spectrum of impact levels from low impact to modest impact to high impact I’d respectfully submit that it’d be highly unrealistic to consider the low impact end of that spectrum to be the norm for where most people elect to spend their golden years.

        Also you misread me. I like wilderness either under water or surrounded by water, in both cases my very comfortably breathing self is sailing above it or past it in a boat. Scuba diving is insane, your ears hurt and stingrays will get you with their cold finny things and murdering stingers. If they could take down Steve Erwin what chance would a half Canadian have?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Ah, boating, now that is heaven.

        But I remain firmly convinced that articles in that vein–really, any articles that attempt to tell others how they ought to live–are intrinsically undeserving of uncharitable readings, as they are intrinsically uncharitable to their targets.

        And I think your half-Canadian side might be tougher than you think. Canadians remain, I think, the only folks to twice repulse an American invasion.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        1812 I get but what was the other? I’m completely spacing on it.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        The American Invasion of 1963, when The Ventures, The Marcels , and Dion and the Belmont infiltrated Canada in an attempt to take over popular music. It was eventually foiled by a counter-invalsion by the Commonweath, leading to bloody carnage, among the few survivors of which were Zal Yanovsky and David Clayton-Thomas.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        We’re prepared for the next invasion of Canada!

        One of the ongoing subplots of Harry Turtledove’s Southern Victory series actually involves this, sort of. Spoilers ahead: The USA and Canada are on opposite sides of WWI. The US wins and claims Anglo-Canada (at least west of Quebec). There are two ongoing subplots, one from perspective of an American in Ontario and the other from the perspective of Canadian resistance fighters in Manitoba.

        It all throws cold water on my desire to conquer Canada.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Yeah Will I read Turtledove’s WWII series in that same world with interest. A US invasion of Canada is, of course, a nonstarter. The Liberals don’t want a war and the conservatives don’t want more liberals in the country and by annexing Canada the US’d get both.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        The American Revolution. We assumed the Canadian colonists would rise up to join us, but obviously that didn’t happen (the plan must have been devised by one of Cheney’s ancestors). It was a fiasco and a dangerous distraction from the primary war effort.Report

      • I’m not sure if this counts, but there were also the Fenian raids.Report

  5. Avatar zic says:

    E3 — I have some serious issues with how this is presented. The piece rests on this urban/wilderness binary; and typically, that’s completely false. Rural areas are often not wilderness areas, they’re working landscapes that provide necessary things for those folks who live in cities and have such low carbon footprints. The northern half of Maine, NH, VT, and NY, the northeastern forests, are working forests; essentially, most of it’s a giant farm, and the crop is trees. Those trees are used to build and maintain houses, for paper. The area absorbs more carbon than the eastern seaboard produces every day. A great deal of foodstuff is also produced there. The people who live in urban areas, and so produce less carbon, could not survive without the support of rural areas. Without trucked in food, building materials, etc., they could not maintain the lower carbon footprints.

    This doesn’t even touch on importance of land management for promoting diversity and wildlife. (The problem of monarch butterflies, for instance, roots in suburban development and elimination of habitat that’s become 3-acre, well-manicured house lots, void of weeds that they butterfly requires in it’s migration. It’s a lack of bio-corridors, not a lack of untrammeled wilderness.)

    And that’s not to even begin mentioning the importance of stuff like gravel for building and maintain city infrastructure. Or gypsum. Wood for sheetrock and USB board.

    So I take a very libertarian stance here, private ownership of most of that forest has resulted in well-managed lands that city folk think is wilderness. It isn’t, and the lower carbon footprint of city dwellers rests squarely on the higher footprint of those rural areas that supply the things required for people to live that densely.Report

  6. Avatar Chris says:

    [A1] First, I still love that picture (that’s “Big Tex,” for those who’ve never been to the State Fair of Texas). Second, two of our closest friends are survivors of flooded wards in New Orleans. One has since moved back to New Orleans (which, pleasantly, means we get to spend a lot of time there), while the other has settled in Austin for the lang haul, as have many others. It changed this city, as it did Houston, in unexpected ways, and there are still neighborhoods with really prominent New Orleans presences. In fact, they’re mostly the neighborhoods that FEMA put people into within days of the storm.

    Also, NOLA folks taught me New Orleans line dancing and bounce music, at the couple New Orleans dance clubs that popped up within months of the storm.Report

  7. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I1 really is hilarious. Of course, Poe’s law is still in effect — if you want more of that, I find plenty at

  8. Avatar James Hanley says:

    I5: But that doesn’t fit the convenient storyline that libertarians will always subordinate their social libertarian values to their economic libertarian values, so let’s pretend it never happened.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      Shame about the “Klaus” part of his name apparently winning out over the “Vaclav” part.

      (or, “No one named Klaus could possibly be evil!”)Report

    • Avatar Fnord says:

      I mean, it’s nice that y’all are distancing yourselves from him now. But I’m not sure self-congratulation on that point is appropriate. It’s not like his support of Putin is new; even if the invasion of Ukraine is a bridge too far for Cato, it’s not like Putin’s pre-2013 on civil rights was exemplary.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      Unless we are to believe Klaus just came to his anti-gay, climate-change-denying views, it’s hard to see where Cato’s disassociation with him now (in Dec.) does anything but fit a narrative that they will subordinate their social libertarian values to their economic libertarian values… until the point where in a given case it becomes untenable (perhaps as a PR matter? Can’t say for sure – surely principle is involved as well.) to sustain doing so on that person/issue/whatever.

      “Through a spokesperson, Klaus does not deny that he and Cato parted ways. But he blames the rupture solely on Andrei Illarionov, a Senior Fellow at the think tank and a former Putin advisor who left the president’s employ in 2005 and is now one of the Russian president’s harshest critics. ‘There has never been the slightest dispute between President Klaus and the Cato Institute in the past, on the contrary, he has been repeatedly invited to give keynote speeches at various Cato events,’ Klaus spokeswoman Karolina Králová told the Beast.”

      That’s Klaus’ side talking… but where is Cato laying out the depth of their disagreements with him elsewhere, and even if they did, how then would their long association with him not fit with the narrative of subordination of disagreements in one part libertarianism to the aim of promotion of agreement in another? (Which in itself is hardly a condemnable thing. Everyone can’t agree about everything.)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Awesome. This is exactly what I expected to see. “But they didn’t do it earlier, so I’m going to completely discount them doing it now, so I don’t have to rethink my narrative even a tiny little bit.” And of course sliding in the global warming bit and hoping nobody notices it’s irrelevance.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        I don’t even particularly subscribe to the narrative. You’re the one who brought it up. I just don’t think doing it for years and then not doing it when it becomes too untenable to sustain doesn’t fit the narrative you bring up. It seems like it does to me. I don’t understand how you think it doesn’t.

        Fair enough on climate change. So I guess maybe they’ll wistfully miss his comparisons of concern over climate to religion or to communism around the Cato auditoriums.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        It means they have a limit on it. Which means they don’t absolutely subordinate social to economic issues as claimed. If you want to say they still do it too much, then we’re in an area of disputation about what counts as too much, right? And if course each side will draw the line differently. But what’s predictable from folks who don’t like them is that those folks will insist on drawing the line, and the perspective of the folks actually making decisions about who and who not to associate with will not even be considered. Because ideology rules. That’s exactly what you did here–they didn’t cut ties soon enough, or over the right issue, so they DO subordinate the social to the economic. And that’s a game with a continually moving goal post unless Cato only has ties with people who are totally pure on social issues, because any bit of deviation from purity can be used as the marker indicating ( to critics) that the social has been subordinated to the economic.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Since you’re the one saying what the putative narrative is to begin with, I guess it makes sense that you get to say what it is on a moment-to-moment basis, as well.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        Each side can play the game as a moving target, right?

        Should we ever give the other side–the one defining themselves–the benefit of the doubt?

        Or should we always assume that other side is full of shit, and give the benefit of the doubt to our own side as it defines the other?

        Is there a rule that we’re willing to apply to the other side that we’re willing to live by ourselves?Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Assume you and I agree on the answers to all those questions for this comment.

        This subthread is still about a narrative you think people believe that nevertheless has to be defined very precisely by you, no expression of which here prompted you to start talking about it. You suggested a behavior that to you would suggest indicates a belief in said narrative – but there’s no indication of said behavior here , either, nor do you cite to any elsewhere.

        But, taking your narrative as roughly something that exists that people believe in somewhere, it’s not the case that a view based on past history that libertarians will “always” (your word; not part of any actual narrative I am aware of) subordinate economic to social libertarian values isn’t is [that is: it is not the case that it is] a claim that they do that too much. For a leftist, obviously subordinating anything to economic libertarian values is too much for her own values, but hopefully we can agree that any such claims would regard some kind of assessment not of what leftists or people in general should do, but a leftist’s view of what libertarians should do. But that’s neither here nor there on this, because observing (or predicting) what libertarians will do in this regard is not a claim about what they should do. It’s a claim about what it is believed is revealed about their value priorities in view of the record being referred to.

        All this being a discussion of a narrative you impute to others but insist on defining precisely yourself, and invoking based on no expression thereof nor indication that it’s at work in anyone’s thinking about this item.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Someday Cato might even value individual voting rights over their reflexive dislike of the federal government and change their stance on Shelby County. But I’m not holding my breath.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        I admire how you muddle together separate issues and pretend they’re one.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        So, your generalization about economic vies not always trumping social one is in bounds, while mine about politics trumping both is not? Fishing unwritten rules.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        That response is incoherent. I suspect you don’t recognize what two different issues you have muddled together, so you didn’t get what I was saying.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        You’re right that I don’t know exactly what you have in mind. If another, clearly smarter, commenter can parse it for me, I’d be grateful. Or you could stop being cryptic. Whatever.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Anti pre-clearance != anti individual voting rights.

        Because violations of voting rights can always be challenged after the fact.

        I’m not trying to argue that Cato’s position on Shelby is superior to your position in any way. I’m only pointing out that those two positions that you conflated are not in fact the same.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        And the affected elections will be rerun with the offending rules removed? If not, I don’t see that as an effective remedy.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Isn’t the result to treat the previously affected states like the rest of the states?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Depends what you’re defining as the thing to be remedied. But again, my point isn’t that Cato’s position on Shelby County is superior to yours. It’s just that being anti-pre-clearance doesn’t actually mean you value individual voting rights less than you value just being anti-government.

        This is one of those classic moments when someone confuses meas for ends; assumes that just because someone wants to go about things a different way that they must not share the same end-point preference.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar says:

      @james-hanley, I suspect that I may be the one you have a beef with here since I made an argument along those lines sometime last summer.

      Let’s be clear about what that argument is actually composed of. I was referring to two groups primarily; Libertarian politicians, and rank-and-file voters who self-identity as libertarians. Our political institutions are structured in such a way, first-past-the-post winner-take-all, that we inevitably have a two-party system. So a libertarian, whose policy preferences don’t map well into the structurally determined liberal/conservative paradigm except by taking two from column A and two from column B, is generally facing an unsatisfactory choice.

      If you’re the politician, that choice is between being faithful to your principles and running as a Libertarian or Independent on the one hand, and suffer from limited resources and almost certainly lose, or hold your nose and hitch your wagon to one of the two majors and actually have some chance of winning. It’s been my observation that when the latter option is pursued said libertarian will always hew rightward. If you’re aware of exceptions please let me know and I’ll be perfectly happy to modify my claim.

      The second claim is based on ten years or more of observations made while I was personally identifying as a libertarian and hanging out online with libertarians. Every couple years an election cycle would roll around and a big debate would crop up around whether it was better to “throw away” your vote on the LP candidate, whose vote totals were inevitably hovering around the noise threshold, or to compromise by voting for the Republican. Supporting a Democrat was simply unthinkable because… well, taxes. For that crowd at least, economic issues always trumped civil liberties and issues like the WOD.

      CATO’s a different story. It’s a think tank, an opinion mill, and as such they can remain more pure simply because there are no consequences to them for doing so. Quite the opposite, actually, since Chuck and Davey will happily fund their intellectual playpen to burnish their libertarian street cred whilst they throw many tens of millions rightward to ensure their actual priorities are attended to.

      So I will happily grant kudos to CATO for distancing themselves from Klaus while noting that Klaus is just another example of what I’m talking about in the first place: A putative libertarian who is really at heart just another rightwing asshat.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        I always go back to the fact that more self-described libertarians claim to have voted for Romney than McCain.

        Of course many did vote for McCain. Individuals vary from one another, which is why painting with broad brushes is so problematic.

        Also problematic is the very phrasing that is used, and that I used–economic vs. social liberties. Many libertarians reject the distinction; they think 1) economic liberties are social liberties, and 2) they think that limiting economic liberties makes it easier to subsequently constrain the other social liberties.

        So the very argument uses a framing that makes sense to non-libertarians, but that to many libertarians is incoherent.

        And let’s keep in mind how many libertarians view the Democrats/liberals (I know they’re not the same, but libertarians conflate the two as often as anyone else). They see Dems/liberals as not just wanting to limit economic freedoms, but as wanting to limit rights of free speech (campus speech codes, hate speech laws, etc.) and free association (constraints on exclusive clubs, forbidding of business people from choosing who they do/don’t want to do business with, etc.), and of course they see the Dems–minus their more progressive wing–as unmitigated war mongerers, which is also a social position. Of course the GOP is in no way better on that issue, but that just means that particular issue doesn’t give libertarians any reason to prefer one party over the other–both are anathema to libertarians on that social issue, Dem as well as Republicans.

        So regardless of how one feels about those issues, and regardless of whether one thinks libertarians are vastly overstating the dangers to free speech, etc., the crucial point is that for a lot of libertarians, when they look at liberals and conservatives they don’t just see “liberals want to eliminate economic freedoms and uphold social freedoms while conservatives will uphold economic freedoms and eliminate social freedoms.” They often see both parties as threats to social freedoms.

        And then, of course, there are those libertarians who are pro-life, which is probably the most fundamental split among them. If one is pro-life, that’s distinctly a social position, and one that is going to override an awful lot of other issues. So pro-life libertarians may vote Republican specifically on a social value.

        All of which is to say that while it’s true that libertarians have tended to vote more for, and are more likely to run for office as, Republicans than Democrats, treating that as an “economic liberties trump social liberties” dynamic oversimplifies what’s going on there.

        And I didn’t realize I had a beef with you on this. But now that I know, sworn enemies forever!Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Oh, and these folks?
        A putative libertarian who is really at heart just another rightwing asshat

        God save us from them. I’ve always said if I was forced to choose between a world run by right-wingers and one run by left-wingers, I’d choose the left-wingers world without hesitation. It’d be hell, but a less-worse hell.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        if I was forced to choose between a world run by right-wingers and one run by left-wingers, I’d choose the left-wingers world without hesitation. It’d be hell, but a less-worse hell.

        You know what that world would be like? I don’t think I do. There are a lot of different kinds of left-wingers, for one. Seems like it would depend which ones were mostly in charge.

        What would it be like, concretely (or less so, as that’s a big request)? And why would it be hell?Report

  9. Avatar clawback says:

    [I2] is amusing. Yes, if you expand the definition of authority to encompass groups that can’t actually exercise authority, such as environmentalists and civil rights activists, then liberals respect authority just as much as conservatives do!

    Well done. But they missed the obvious target of science. They should have told us that liberals respect the “authority” of scientific results, while conservatives are the daringly rebellious ones.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      But they do exercise authority don’t you know – by expressing themselves “accurately”, with “facts” and “knowledge”, it’s exactly like fascism, don’t you know?Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott says:

      True dat. If you have to stretch to the class of people whose opinions you are likely to agree with but have no power to tell you what to do to find a liberal authority, your study is basically crap.

      I imagine “Teachers” are the closest thing to a liberal authority with actual authority.Report

  10. Avatar zic says:

    T3 — this get’s into some territory that will be interesting as theory develops.

    I think (and this is only my thoughts, and not scientific by any means,) that to explain quantum reaction we bigger it. The grandfather paradox is a perfect example of that biggering. Because a subatomic particle might be able to transverse time backward, does not mean a collection of particles large enough to be a grain of sand might also be able to do the same. I sorta feel the same about the multiverse theories; in quantum flux all possibilities happen; but at that level, and things bigger clump into reality as we measure it. The potential and probabilities of subatomic =/= the potential of that clumping; which rides on the greatest probabilities.Report

  11. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I agree with E3 pretty heartily. One of the big problems with the early environmental movement was its anti-urban ethos. They saw the metropolitan city as the enemy of nature when they should have seen it as it’s friend. The less space occupied by humans means that more space is reserved for wilderness. Supporting dense development and transit helps the environment.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      Really? because I actually bothered looking at the research. BOSWASH has some of the highest carbon footprint in the country.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        I’d argue that the BOSWASH is actually a very sprawlly place in the international context even though it is densely populated by American standards. There are metropolitan areas that have the same number of people as BOSWASH but in a smaller area.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        I agree with you. But you’re doing better to live in pittsburgh, or in idaho, or most of the rest of the country than most places in boswash…Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      Along the lines of one of the threads up above, the important thing for anyone trying to look at anything like “sustainable” is to do a full-blown systems analysis. Where does the food come from? The water? Building materials? Energy of various forms? Where does the sewage and waste go?

      Instead of the usual BosWash whipping boy, I think Southern California is a more clear-cut example. Lots of food is sourced locally, but “local” in total means the Central and Imperial Valleys. Water comes from as far away as Wyoming snow pack. Energy includes hydroelectricity from Oregon/Washington, coal from Utah, natural gas from New Mexico, and in the not-too-distant future, wind power from Wyoming. Maybe Burt can chime in with something about how far out the landfills are. Big cities sit at the center of vast support webs, and understanding the web is critical. The support webs for smaller cities are often just as sprawling — Ohio cities eat Mexico-grown tomatoes and burn a surprising amount of Wyoming low-sulfur coal.

      One of the questions I occasionally ask people interested in sustainability is “How much are you willing to give up?” I claim that if cheap personal computers are one of the things you want to keep, you have to think in terms of self-supporting webs with at least 30-50 million people.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        I do sometimes wonder if we are in the midst of a silicon- and rare-earth-mineral-plenitude- as well as pre-waste-disposal-crisis-freedom-enabled human cognitive bubble (i.e it could pop) in terms of the wide distribution of the knowledge available on the net.

        I just wonder whether darker ages aren’t ahead of us to some extent, brought on by major adverse shifts in the economics of personal computing. Wherein easy and cheap access to man’s accumulated knowledge is restricted to a much narrower class or couple or few classes of wealthy and/or learned (and socially connected) Mandarins (in McArdle’s usage) than it currently is – by the kind of upward cost revolution in computing I mention, and a break in the continuous habitual human use of paper books by humans from the pre-digital age, brought on by a relatively brief, seemingly indefatigable, but in the vent temporary proliferation of digital access to the store of knowledge.

        Relatively speaking, of course. Not, like, a true Second (or Xth) Dark Age.Report

  12. Avatar Glyph says:

    That I1 is basically a repurposed old Onion gag (they used to do all kinds of “Ask An X” columns where the replies were totally centered around the ‘X’ and completely unconnected to the questions). Still pretty funny though.Report

  13. Avatar Pinky says:

    I4 – I’d like to see better data on this, but what struck me about these stories is a Myers-Briggs split, with SP and NF leaning leftward and SJ rightward. (There are fewer professions that I associate with an NT personality, so I don’t want to generalize them.)Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Re I4: He echoes points that I have made in the past about how the degree of meritocracy reliability in one’s career can reinforce conservative viewpoints.

      I don’t see him making that point.

      I also think he really oversimplifies the last group of liberal jobs. The common link of psychiatrist, teacher, and lawyer is not “speaks well”. I mean, that would be like saying the common link of the labor tasks noted as conservative are “big arms”. I’d call that last group “helping others”.

      This isn’t an argument for the superiority or inferiority of either ideology or the job trends that might exist among them. I just think he really puts his finger on the scale there.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      NT correlates with engineering and the like, I think. I’d need to unbox some books. I actually have one on presidential typology.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I thought artist, too.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        There’s a difference between professions and industries. You’d find a lot of engineers in oil & gas, for example, but their impact would probably be overwhelmed by the number of blue-collar workers. You’re probably not going to find any NT-dominated field the way you’d likely find SJ’s dominating law.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Will, no! Throw away the book on presidential typology right now!* (Or at least ask Chris to look at it, and get his professional opinion before you ever look at it again.)

        *I’m guessing it’s Barber’s “Presidential Character.” But I’d be dubious of any other armchair psychological profiling of presidents, too.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Oh man. M-B is sketchy enough when people take the actual test. I can’t imagine what it looks like when people try to put long-dead historical figures into the categories.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        I’d venture to say that you could get enough ideas on the I/E from someone’s letters. “Oh, how I hated that party” … etc. etc. With… enough work, you might be able to eke out an T/F scale (much, much harder, as people don’t talk about that directly — except in rhetoric, and that’s stylized…)Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        No, you couldn’t.

        I mean, if they said, “I’m shy, and going to crowded social events makes me uncomfortable, leaves me tired and filled with self-doubt,” maybe, but it’s unlikely people will be so specific. Instead, you’ll be left to interpret their much more ambiguous statements like, “The party last night was awful,” which I know I’ve said more than once in my life.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        The “Presidential Character” book (if that’s the one Will’s referencing) didn’t use M-B,* but proposed a typology of presidents who were either Active or Passive and either Positive or Negative, creating 4 personality profiles (Active-Positive, Active-Negative, Passive-Positive, and Passive-Negative). You can see more here.

        Barber made his bones by predicting Nixon was headed for some kind of blowup, based on his reading of him as Active-Negative. And his descriptions of Harding and Reagan as Passive-Positive seems to do a good job of explaining their particular scandals (via a lack of attention to what subordinates were doing–being passive–and wanting to be liked more than wanting to be in control).

        There’s enough there to be reasonably persuasive to a non-psychologist, but ultimately it feels very journalistic–something a somewhat better educated Malcolm Gladwell might write–which makes me instinctively shy away from it. It’s embraced by some–although I doubt a great many–presidential scholars, but as far as I’m aware, they haven’t really asked actual psychologists to weigh in on it, which is something of a warning sign.

        *Which, by the way, I find disturbingly spot-on in reference to me. The description my type seems so incredibly familiar, right down to its problematic aspects, while the description of other types overwhelmingly seems like descriptions of bizarre, otherworldly, beings. Which of course doesn’t prove M-B’s overall accuracy, but does make me blink each time you criticize it, just because of my own personal experience. In fact I’ll go so far as to say the book really helped me understand myself and come to grips with who I am.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        I’m pretty sure Emily Dickinson said exactly that.

        Nixon was an introvert (he really knew how to work a crowd, but that was Wade In And Kiss Babies — talking to people one on one).

        Silent Cal too, I’m nearly certain.

        Given LBJ’s willingness to pressure people one on one, I’d wager he’s an introvert too — but I’d love to see some citations about him not liking crowds, before throwing money down.

        Obama’s an introvert, if a very, very skilled public speaker.

        Naturally you get a ton of people in the middle, and it’s hard to tell with them.

        But, you know, a true extrovert thinks while talking with people, the way Clinton liked to do — is quick on his feet and a master at rhetoric. I know we had quite a few of those at the Constitutional Convention — but those weren’t the men made president, by and large.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Oh man, I may have to check it out.

        Apparently other people have tried this sort of thing:

        NEO PI-R, e.g..Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Interestingly enough, JFK’s on record saying he’s an introvert (and saying Nixon is too, same interview). Hubert Humphrey, otoh, apparently was not (according to JFK).Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        Although this is interesting. I’m going to have to look at that and see if their trendline on increases in presidential narcissism matches the changes in nominee selection methods (from conventions, where aggressive figures tended to be be blackballed by those who they’d irritated, to primaries, where they have to appeal directly to a mass public).Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        the money quote from that article:
        ” These findings suggest that grandiose narcissism’s adaptive correlates stem largely from its positive association with extraversion, whereas its maladaptive correlates stem largely from its negative association with agreeableness.”Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I find MBTI to be helpful when understanding some people (those with strong orientations), though for others it’s like trying to measure water with a ruler.Report

      • @james-hanley

        In fact I’ll go so far as to say the book really helped me understand myself and come to grips with who I am.

        Do you mean the book on presidents, or another book? (I ask, because I’m interested in reading whatever book you’re referring to.)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        “Please Understand Me,” which is based on the Meyers-Briggs and explains the different personality types (or “supposed” types, I guess, but I have known a number of people who recognized themselves in the type they tested into, so I have a hard time thinking it’s wholly bunk, but yet I take Chris’s hesitations seriously, because this stuff is much more in his wheel house than mine).Report

      • Thanks, James. I just ordered it from the library.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @gabriel-conroy Make sure to get the second edition.Report

      • Thanks, Will. The first edition has a lot available, the second ones are all checked out, so I’ll have to wait.

        I can always request it through the academic library I work at, but I try to not to use it for personal things. Not because I’m virtuous, but because if I do lose a book–which has never happened (knock on wood), by the way–I’d have to pay something like a $100 fine. (/t.m.i)Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        I actually think the real value (if that’s even the right word for the quality I’m describing) is how it makes us consider ourselves; it’s a method of self-evaluation from slightly off-center of our normal view. In that way, MB isn’t (imo) that much different from astrology or tarot card readings or any other of the many things that make us re-do some sort of self evaluation.

        It’s the self-eval that’s of value.Report

      • @zic

        You’re probably right, and that’s probably why I like that kind of stuff. However, I’ve never actually taken the MB, although people I’ve known have told me where I fit in the system.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      The Business Insider charts show something interesting. Nearly every chart shows drops at 0 and 9C/10C. I wonder if that reflect the fact that very few candidates campaign as pure centrists or extreme conservatives. I think that the data is charted by the position of the candidates. That may explain some of why entertainment is skewed to the left and tobacco to the right: that’s just where the candidates in those states stand.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Conservatives are more focused on fear of bad things, and protecting against them.

      Which is why they’re leading the fight against global warming.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar says:

        @mike-schilling , if you replace the word “things” with “people” it actually works. You know… black people, brown people, people who talk funny, people with weird names, people with vaginas, people with long beards (unless they hunt ducks on TV), people that call their imaginary friend something other than G-O-D, etc, etc.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        Yes, Road Scholar! That’s exactly what we conservatives are like. We thought you guys were too busy burning draft cards and celebrating your abortions to notice. Thanks for adding to the conversation.Report

  14. Avatar Kimmi says:

    e3, intro is really, really bad.
    “Many have dreamt of catching a glimpse of deer grazing in the backyard over morning breakfast or hearing the cry of a hawk at night.”

    Yeah, well, you think a lot less of the hawk when he drops a maimed rabbit into your gloriously fenced off garden (that you can’t bring yourself to kill, because guns are illegal, and you do have kids, and the bunny is cute, dangnabit).

    When eight or ten head of deer go rampaging through your backyard, with your neighbors ten feet away taking pictures, it’s a lot less pleasant.

    I can say both of these things, because I live in Pittsburgh — And So Does the Wildlife!Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      I’ve actually lived with folks in rural WV for a few weeks. They don’t take daily drives — probably couldn’t afford them if they did. Folks need to understand that it’s pretty easy to not impoverish yourself, so long as you aren’t living in the South.

      There’s no real reason why folks living out in the country can’t do what farmers do — swing by the city for shopping once every three months. And if you’re retiring, get a two bedroom house, you’ll be happier.

      This is a stupid article that is looking at averages, and then trying to tell people “you shouldn’t do this” because on average wasteful people do that.Report

  15. Avatar Pinky says:

    T4 – I don’t see how 12 Monkeys would work as a TV series. And anyway, the movie script was only ok. The main strength of the movie was Crazy Brad Pitt. Ah, Crazy Brad Pitt, how we miss you. Your appearances in Kalifornia, 12 Monkeys, Fight Club, and a few minutes of Se7en make up for all the work that Boring Brad Pitt does.Report

  16. Avatar Roger says:

    I am certainly intrigued by a 12 Monkeys series. I must say that I have never been a fan of the quality of shows on the Syfy Channel though. It seems to be like the Lifetime Channel for nerds. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the nerds part. It is the quality which I have found totally absent in all their shows.

    Basically everything I watch now is on BBC America, AMC, Netflix, Starz or HBO.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      Did you watch BSG? That was quality.

      Otherwise, mostly yeah.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      I tried watching Helix and while I find that it fails as a TV show, it works quite well as a sleep aid.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        The first episode of Helix had exactly the same effect on me.Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        If you want the greatest sleep aid of all time, I highly recommend BIG CAT DIARY.

        It is kind of fascinating, but is mainly footage of big cats doing all the cool things they do while the narrator whispers some commentary. It is the perfect balance between getting your mind off whatever you may be thinking about but calm enough to get you to doze off for that second sleep.

        The exception of course is when the male lions eat all the cubs.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      Hey, some of those Syfy movies serve a good purpose. My son is currently dating a climatologist; from time to time he goes to a Friday evening gathering with a bunch of climatologists who watch Sharknado or Ice Quake and roll on the floor laughing. They’re probably celebrating now that Sharknado 3 has been announced.Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        They should try reading Al Gore’s book if they want a real belly buster.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        I far prefer laughing at the idea of Al Gore getting an Oscar for powerpoint. Give him the peace prize, sure… but Oscars for powerpoint is just Wrong. That’s not cinema.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        They might enjoy this review of Day After Tomorrow, written by a climatologist friend of mine,Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I’m pretty sure most scientists pray, to the FSM I assume, for movies in their areas of expertise, and have a review like that one just waiting to be written.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        ” Nobody seems to wonder why, with much of Arizona, New
        Mexico and Southern California snow free, the US government
        had to set up shop in Mexico city. I’m sure Puerto Rico
        felt most offended.”

        It was easier learning Spanish than Puerto Rican.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        One of my profs did work for NASA & we always got impromptu reviews of movies that tried to be “realistic” with current or near future space travel, etc.

        Those were always fun.Report

    • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

      I lost all faith in the ability of the SciFi Channel to handle original programming way back in the early 2000s.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Dude you can’t still be bitter about Farscape. Time to let it go. There’s been BSG. For its first two seasons and half of the last season, really really good stuff. I’m told Eureka was a lot of fun, although I never saw it. Stargate had a legion of dedicated fans too, there must have been something they liked.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        My son is a big Eureka and Warehouse 13 fan.Report

      • Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

        It wasn’t just Farscape, I remember them axing other shows I liked at the time. MST3K, The Invisible Man, G vs E. I think that was around the time they started aiming for more mass appeal that eventually led them to bringing in things like wrestling. But now I mostly only know them for their schlocky movies.

        I really just don’t watch many TV shows anymore, and when I do it’s usually from a boxed set or on demand from a show that has ended it’s run instead of one that’s currently airing. Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead are the only two exceptions I can think of in recent years.Report

  17. Avatar Chris says:

    I4, the different types of “authorities” are interesting. Examples of conservative “authorities”: religious authority, traditions, commanding officer, police officer, CEO, and company president. Examples of liberal “authorities”: civil rights activist, environmentalist, waitress, fast food worker, “revolution.”

    From the paper (see Table 2, on p. 1211, p. 7 of the PDF).

    Social psychology strikes again.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      That should be I2.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      The other paper at the link is pretty consistent with past research, but the differences are really pretty small: 6 or 7 percentage points. One of the problems with this sort of research is that people will say, “conservatives/liberals are, while liberals/conservatives are not,” without really paying attention to the actual numbers.Report

  18. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I3: This is interesting. Since this was the American Scene, it couldn’t help but be a bit snide to liberals (using the words technocratic and nudge which usually rub people the wrong way.) I am liberal and rubbed the wrong way by the words technocratic and nudge but I believe in the supremacy of the liberal position. The cost issue is real and there are two ways to look at this. One is based on how much a person earns in annual income (and 20 dollars can be a lot for many people) and over time. Amanda Marcotte had a tweet found by twitchy about how she can expect to spend 22,000 dollars on brith control pills until menopause. Amanda Marcotte is 2 years my senior. Let’s say she undergoes menopause in ten years. 22,000 dollars over ten years is a lot of money. An IUD lasts about 5-7 years and costs about 500-700 dollars. 1400 over 10 years is a lot less than 22,000.

    I also don’t know how you call birth control a consumer good. Birth Control seems so much like a health care issue for me that it is almost axiomatically one. I would argue that condoms should be covered by insurance as well because of the benefits in reducing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.

    I4: I think it is a bit too simplistic to talk about liberal or conservative jobs. You can probably find some pretty liberal police officers in San Francisco because this is the Bay Area and things skew liberal over here. The SFPD made a “It Gets Better Video” for Dan Savage. Did all police officers agree with this choice? Probably not but it does show that a good chunk of the SFPD or higher-ups thought it was important. There are openly LGBT officers in the SFPD. Law and Medicine and Engineering can also be divided by geography and types of practice. If you are a plaintiff’s lawyer, immigration lawyer, or a criminal defense lawyer, you are probably liberal and Democratic but I do know a very successful exception. If you are a corporate mergers and acquisitions lawyer, you probably swing Republican. Prosecutors are hard to pin down because it is such a good stepping stone to higher political office or judgeship. Tech types in the Bay Area are liberal or libertarian but very rarely conservative Republican.
    I also dissent from the idea that religious workers are likely to be Republican because it seems like the author is just being lazy and assuming religious equals conservative Evangelical. Jews still swing liberal and we have Rabbis and Cantors and synagogue workers and our own charities and non-profits. I don’t see why Rabbis are more likely to be conservative than their congregants. Mainline Protestants tend to be Democratic or lean that way. There are large elements of the Catholic Church that swing for Social Justice (like the Jesuits) and even the arch-Conservatives in the Catholic Church tend to have some views that are well to the left of the Republican Party.Report

    • Avatar Roger says:

      Is your point that health care/birth control is a “public good”? Or that it is a consumer good with positive externalities which might be underserved via markets?

      I think a case can be made for the second.

      That still doesn’t necessarily imply that the best way to subsidize it is via insurance, but at least it establishes a solid foundation for further dialogue.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        I’m willing to take the latter as stipulated, because I’d rather have the dialogue… (and I don’t think it terribly harms my arguments).Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Roger, I think my brother means that birth control is a good in the same way that perscription medicine is. If a person gets a perscription from the doctor to treat a particular health problem, very few people are going to consider this a commuter good in the way that a watch is even if they don’t believe in universal healthcare. Nearly everybody recognizes that healthcare is potentially life saving at times and sometimes a person really can’t do without medicine.

        For many people, birth control is the same. We know that lots of people are going to have sex with or without birth control. Access to birth control becomes a healthcare decision because it can decrease the chance of pregnancy and STDs depending on the type of birth control. These are positive externalities that the market can’t account for just like with other medicines.Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        @leeesq @kimmi

        Yeah, I meant to say I get this point. I think a reasonable argument can be made that birth control and disease prevention have positive externalities and thus there is value to be added by subsidizing these products,

        One way is to make them mandatory in products we already all buy. That isn’t the only way of course, and it does have some cons as well as pros. Where I draw the line is where this logic is applied to health care in total. The reason is because if the market is destroyed so is the discovery mechanism.Report

  19. Avatar Stillwater says:


    Re: Ho4: Can you give me a primer on how the H-E-double-climate-change-curves that “printer” works? What’s extruded, how, etc?

    As for your question, yeah, I think there would be resistance within certain sectors of the trades. Probably not much from anyone else, tho.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      This page provides some hints. A very large extruder at a factory, specialized concrete, then transport the pieces to the site for assembly. I suspect there’s a lot of finish work, both interior and exterior, on site.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      A basic 3D printer is simply a nozzle that travels along an XY path while laying down some kind of material that will harden/set very quickly. Once the proper amount of material is deposited, the nozzle will change it’s Z value & do the next layer.

      To do a building, you construct in a large factory, or assemble on site, a frame that can support a horizontal gantry (if on-site, the frame might be larger than the footprint of the building). The gantry supports the nozzle and flow controls, as well as the motors that allow the nozzle to move along the gantry (call that the X direction). The gantry has addition motors at the ends that move the gantry along tracks on the frame in the Y direction. Finally, the gantry and the tracks climb the frame in the Z direction. I’ve also seen robots that travel a path for the walls and trail along the extruded material. The robots then ascend by climbing up onto the layer they just finished laying down.

      The material for buildings is some formulation of concrete. There are concrete mixes that can setup in minutes as opposed to hours, or mixes that are extremely viscous & sticky, so as to not flow much (the cement/concrete industry is always playing with their mixes and guards their formulations carefully as trade secrets).

      You can find videos of prototypes doing this kind of thing.

      More advanced printers have print heads that are gimballed and able to apply the print medium in various directions as it travels the path, for more creative constructions.

      As for resistance, I’m watching the ship building industries resistance to McCain trying to gut the overly protectionist Jones Act, and I figure such building machines would face stiff resistance from masons, etc.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Harder to resist when it’s domestic competition, as opposed to protectionist trade policies. But I can see legislators proposing construction requirements that don’t openly require masons, but through bizarre licensing or “safety” requirements de facto require them.

        But I think they’ll lose in the long run, assuming structural soundness of printed buildings is satisfactorily demonstrated, as I’d predict it will be.

        A lot of home construction, of course, is stick-built, and framing carpenters aren’t well-organized; they’re an odd-jobs lot with no required certifications, so no professional organization to lobby for them. So that market is probably wide open.

        There’s just the slightest possibility we might move in the next year or so, and if it happens, I’d like to build a home, and I’d be looking at going modular, or even printed if it was available.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        …the cement/concrete industry is always playing with their mixes and guards their formulations carefully as trade secrets…

        One of the ingredients listed for the special cement is Crazy Magic Stone. I assume it’s not quite as amusing in the original Chinese.

        I suspect the largest starting hurdle to use in the US will be getting it included in local building codes. Getting it into the model codes most of those are based on is a big effort, as is getting states and/or municipalities to change their code to be based on the updated model code. Some stuff is just tedious, like defining what stock phrases like “joints shall be adequately reinforced” mean. Odd things can prove insurmountable. Recycled gallon milk jugs can be used to make a terrific substitute for dimensional lumber — stronger, rot-proof, etc. The problem they’ve never solved is that in some smoldering fire test conditions, the plastic outgasses toxic fumes before the smoke reaches levels that will trigger alarms.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        My wife & I are looking to get a cottage on Whidbey in a few years, and I am to get one with enough land I can build a large shop. When I do, I’ll be putting a bunch of shipping containers together to form the bulk of it.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Mad Rocket Scientist,

        I’ve looked at building with shipping containers, too. The (highly improbable) move would be to a desert clime, and I’m a bit dubious about using them there. I’ve found some desert use of them, but not much, and I’d have to be assured they were adequately insulated.

        I have a crazy vision of them crossing at odd angles that would be really modernistic, but probably decimate the resale value.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I seriously hope it’s something lost in translation, otherwise I’m not sure I want to be buying building material from them.

        As for codes, I doubt it would be too tough from a technical standpoint, since it is effectively a poured concrete structure, so unless it somehow performs worse than, say, cinderblock, it should be fine.

        And there would still be people work to do as well: Maintaining the printer, keeping an eye on it, securing it against thieves/vandals, installing rebar/etc., running plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc. Finishing (plaster/drywall/something new).

        Still lots of work to do.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Yeah, I’ll just be doing a 2×2 block of them, or something.

        Lots of pics online of people building interesting homes out of shipping containers.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        Thanks for elaborating. I’m curious about cost savings at the end of the day, tho. When I was in HS I had a summer job on a crew building a municipal water tank. We made and poured the forms on site, stacked up with plastic between each slab. ALso, normal concrete work requires (by code!) a predetermined amount of rebar, etc etc. So as Michael notes, getting past existing code/reworking existing code could be a sticky point. Also, to add onto Michael’s point, this type of (potential) situation is further evidence that the code really needs to loosen up to allow for engineering spec. (and liability) to decide the matter.

        James, are you applying for a job in the beautiful Southwest? If so, good luck. Along the lines of what MRS was saying, I know a few people who’ve made pretty sweet desert digs for themselves outa shipping containers. I’ve never gotten into the specifics regarding heating/cooling, but I never heard them complain much either. Course, those folks are pretty desert-ratty, I must admit.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Oops, I mentioned the water tank project as evidence that lots of concrete work can be done really efficiently on site for very cheap. In fact, at that time, the firm who did the tank was “revolutionary” in designing and installing just these types of structures. Also, think of SIPS panel construction. I think it’s really cool, I just wonder whether total price is actually cheaper for most types of structures. (The link only mentions material and labor cost reductions without mentioning the cost of the printer itself.)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        Depends on one’s definition of SW, but I’ll not get any more specific unless something actually happens. But summer temps can climb well north of 100 F. But if people are making containers work in those temps, I’d be into it. The whole re-use aspect appeals to me (although I wouldn’t want to get environmentally preachy about it).Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        From the pictures at the Chinese site, it appears to be modular construction, with extruded concrete of some sort rather than dimensional lumber or more traditional poured concrete. What’s in the concrete is potentially important, eg, for what it outgasses when heated. Much of the other stuff may just be lots of tedious testing — say, getting the right certification lab to test extruded roof trusses’ load-bearing ability, or specifying what sort of corner joinery is necessary to meet specific wind pressure standards.

        I never brush off building codes. One of the odd jobs that the Colorado Dept of Labor is saddled with is all of the inspections of K-12 school construction. They got stuck with that decades ago because some of the geographically big districts would build new grade schools in different municipalities from the same plans and have different cities — or even different inspectors from the same city — interpret phrases like “joints shall be adequately reinforced” very differently. One might require steel plates and one-inch bolts; one might require welded steel plates; and another might not require any reinforcing whatsoever.

        Regarding the shipping container construction, I’ve always been curious about this stuff. They are indeed on NASA’s list of licensed applications, and I assume that NASA makes at least cursory efforts to avoid their stuff being used in fraud. I’ve been thinking about trying it the next time I have to do upstairs interior painting in my house.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I think the cost savings is two fold: man hours & material usage/waste. The robot/printer can pour 24-7 with a minimal crew to work it, and the hollow structures it can build allow for less material used & obviously less wasted material. Granted concrete jobs have little wasted concrete, but how long do forms last before they have to be repaired/replaced? What happens if the pour is an odd shape requiring a custom form? Also, remember that a lot of the shapes we use in concrete construction are limited by how we pour concrete, so a printer could permit a larger range of structural shapes that may be just as strong as conventional shapes while needing less material.

        I’d have to talk to a civil engineer about all that, but this is something that a lot of companies & universities are pursuing, so I suspect there is some advantage to be found, either in time, cost, strength, or flexibility of design.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        That paint additive is intriguing, and at the price it seems worthwhile giving it a try. You just don’t have a whole lot to lose. I’m going to be residing, and then needing to paint, the south wall of my house in the next couple years, so I might give it a try.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      If there was a just God(ess) each of those Darwin award winning idiots would have to sit next to their little child’s bed and watch them writhe with their swollen brains as the virus tore through their little bodies. The sick disgusting thing is so many of the victims are personally blameless.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        I actually think that Prosecutors should start filing child abuse and neglect charges against the anti-vaccination crowd. The Courts have long recognized that children must be given a certain immunity to any religious inspired idiocy of their parents. Prosecutors were able to bring successful charges of abuse and neglect against parents who refused to get their children needed medical treatment for religious reasons. It shouldn’t be a legal stretch to apply this standard to all anti-vaccination parents. I believe it could survive a strict scrutiny test because protecting children is a recognized state interest.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Yeah. That law won’t hit the poor and ignorant more than the principled nutzos.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @jaybird, I have yet to see evidence that the poor don’t get their children vaccinated.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        So pass a law. Here’s something for you to put into a notepad file to paste. “When I asked for this law to pass, I didn’t mean that I wanted *THIS* to happen!”Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Even if the law is broken equally among the classes, enforcement might not be quite even.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        I believe it could survive a strict scrutiny test because protecting children is a recognized state interest.

        It’s a bit more complicated than that, eh?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        What is your solution to anti-vaxxing and the public health crises/epidemics it is causing?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @james-hanley, it is. The state must also pursue its’ legitimate state interest in the least intrusive way possible. I know that several states have successfully prosecuted parents for not getting proper medical care for their children. I fail to see why refusing to vaccinate them would not come under the same ground.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Even if the law is broken equally among the classes, enforcement might not be quite even.

        Like last time?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        What is your solution to anti-vaxxing and the public health crises/epidemics it is causing?

        Education, education, and shaming.

        In that order.

        And I’d like to see evidence of the second and first having happened before we start resorting to the third.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @jaybird, I also think that existing criminal and child welfare law should be able to handle the situation.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I don’t doubt it.

        The question is whether you’ll continue to think that after you apply measurements for a while.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Well huh…i thought there had been a bit of education about vaccinations already. Didn’t everybody get the memo.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        “Compelling” interest, no?

        (And no, I’m not making any implications whatsoever about whether this is/is not a compelling interest, as I’m not sure what relevant cases there may be relating to that. I’m just engaging in Friday-night-on-the-couch-drinking-beer-watching-Burn-Notice legal pedantry.)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Strike that. The original 1935 a Mutiny on the Bounty is on PBS. Awesome.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        a bit of education about vaccinations already. Didn’t everybody get the memo.

        Yeah, Greg. I’m not talking about vaccinations anymore. I’m talking about the people most likely to be charged, let alone tried, let alone convicted for failing to vaccinate.

        Is your assumption that the arrest rates will be somewhat better than for “driving while black”?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @james-hanley, yes strict scrutiny requires a compelling state interest not a legitimate one.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:


        You still use Notepad?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I thought that “vi” might be interpreted as “six”.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      This actually answer I2. Americans generally don’t like being subjecting to social engineering. There is a lot of evidence that social engineering is less successful in the United States than elsewhere. Look at the long resistance to things like fluoridation of water or the anti-vaccination movement. In other First World countries, rebellion against public health measures like this would be largely unthinkable. In the United States, its very common. A lot of Americans of any political stripe don’t like to do what they are told to do by an authority figure.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        The facts don’t align with that theory Lee. The English are getting absolutely hammered by previously near eliminated plagues. The scourge of anti-Vaxx idiocy is international. Note also that the Lucifer of the anti-vax movement was also a Brit though his motivations appear to have been motivated by pure lucre* rather than jaw dropping stupidity.

        *or possible flat out evil.Report

  20. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    A5: Rich Hall (the host of the documentary) is fun. He’s sort of an archetypical American on British Comedy TV in the same way that John Oliver is an archetypical Brit here in the US. I see him quite a bit because I watch a lot of British panel shows.

    The Documentary is fascinating–both for the way it looks at Texas and also the way it captures an ex-pat liberal from red-state America’s view of red-state America–a weird combination of distainful and nostalgiac.Report

  21. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    In what sense does time run backward in the universe in which it runs backward?

    You can’t put the cream in the coffee in that universe any more than you can take it out in this. It is what it is in each.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      “Time running backward” wasn’t described clearly, but there were hints that it meant that if we could observe it, we’d see time appear to run backwards there and vice versa.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      Ugh, clearly my Twitter profile picture has not inspired you to read McTaggart, because if you had you would know that the motion of time is an illusion born of a self-contradictory conception of the order of moments from past to present to future. Duh!

      (And he’s still relevant.)Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        I indeed haven’t read him, but this is actually exactly what I had in mind. I have a hard time conceiving of how any sentient being could go through “life” experiencing the moments it experiences one before the other, before the other, and so on. Sequentiality just seems that basic to consciousness. Even if in that universe “gravity” seems to be a repellant force and objects fall up to your hand just “before” you drop them, it seems like the moments will still come one after another. If that reverse-directionalty of gravity and other physical processes causes the moments to be experienced reactive to their operation the way we experience them, so that if you drop something it falls and breaks (more orderly state to less orderly state; more potential energy to more heat), then how is time running backward there? Those experiencers would be experiencing time just like us.

        Is it only that if an observer from one universe could look across universes to see which “direction” time was running, it would look like it was running backward?

        That’s obviously a really fanciful way to preserve the claim such that, taking observers out of the picture, I’m not really sure what this idea actually amounts to physically. Is there some larger frame of time-reference whereby the way time is running in one universe can be directionally compared to how it’s running in others? As if you have two dollhouses in your living room, and if you look in now you see wind-up dolls cracking eggs and cooking them, and if you look in the other, you see dolls tending to eggs getting less cooked on the stove, and then jumping back up into broken eggshells that then form back into intact eggs just before being struck on the edge of the frying pan?Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Have I ever mentioned I know someone with a photographic memory? His memory is like snapshots, they aren’t well-ordered at all.
        It’s not necessary for us to structure our world with only time-based thoughts, though if there’s no causality you get really weird incentives.

        Sequentiality is necessary for some visual processing (of motion, primarily) and I’m certain some auditory processing necessitates sequentiality (haven’t the research, though).

        Imagine a creature based more on scent, and you’ve got a lot less need for sequentiality.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Oh man, oh man are we bordering on really cool stuff. Time is really important, from the perspective of the nature and possibility of experience, but also elusive, because it is part of the ground rather than the figure of experience. We don’t even talk about time directly, but always indirectly, primarily using the vocabulary of space. You know another guy, German, around little after McTaggart, wrote a whole book about this. It is a condition of our experience of our world.

        Think about a series of events not as moving through time, but as a spatial ordering. There is a, and b, and c. If we think about things in terms of past, present, and future, a is further in the past than b, which is further in the past than c, relative to the present. But if it’s just a series, its order is independent of time, and if we experience it not as a past, present, and future, but merely as the series, we could conceivably encounter c first, then b, then a, without any problem. If the series is what there is, and the past-present-future ordering is an illusion that we place on top of it, then a simple change of perspective easily changes the ordering, and “change,” an illusion from the perspective of the series, moves from future through the present to the past.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        It truly never fails to fascinate me which of the links will spur conversation. I really, really didn’t expect much of anything from the Timeline section.

        Other times, I will think about putting a link up because I think people will have stuff to say about it, only to realize that I put it up the previous week and nobody noticed.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        That would be a certain persona Germana non grata around these parts?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Will and Michael Drew,

        The Wiki page does a good job of presenting the argument. May take a bit of work to get the concepts in play. Really interesting stuff. I remember reading the original paper a couple lifetime’s ago and being blown away.

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Still, have you read his metaphysics, in its mature form? I think I was talking about it ’round here a while back and said something like, it’s the metaphysics I wish I could hold.

        I’m going to try to convey his metaphysics in song form:

        View on YouTubeReport

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        a simple change of perspective easily changes the ordering

        I can see that. Such that if you (un-)crack an egg, it will happen after a sequence where you’ve un-fried it, and before you remove it from the carton.

        What seems more fundamental to me, though, is that the nature of sequence to the experiencer remains intact. If you go through that act of un-cooking an egg as described, you notice that things are still happening before and after each other. You’re just feeling hot grease splatters on your hand before cracking the egg, rather than after. But before, for the experiencer is still before, and after is still after. “Order” or “sequencing” still does mean *that*.

        That seems like a consciousness thing, not a physics thing, but then I wonder whether that would really be the case in a place where the order of egg operations really did go from taking them off your toast just after having swallowed them to taking the egg carton off the shelf in the market. Can beforeness and afterness ever be obliterated in consciousness? In a place where gravity pushed outward, would consciousness (if it evolved) have just arranged itself such that you still chewed before you swallowed? But then in that case, wouldn’t before still before for the experiencer and after still after? And if so, then what’s backwards there at all?

        Whew. Getting dizzy.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Yeah, I’d be lying if I said I fully understand the concept of time in contemporary physics, so I won’t try to figure out how it would work physically.

        But the very concept of a necessary series without a before, now, and later, throws out much of our conception of causality, which is what we tend to get hung up on with time. How can we perceive the egg being cooked first, before it ecounters the heat that is the cause of its cookedness? If, however, causality is merely the necessary relation between “events” in a series, then there is nothing about it that need be “first” or “last” temporally. It’s just that the cooked part has to come next to the heat part.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        No, I haven’t. I just know he’s an Idealist. If the awesome (and awesomely devastating) music link is any indication, tho, I take it he’s a very spiritual dude. I even noticed that he wrote a book on Immortality and Pre-existence. Interesting….

        To save me all that tedious reading …. what is his metaphysics?Report

      • Avatar veronica d says:

        Whatever time is, we are creatures who evolved in this world.

        Causality seems to work one way. Entropy seems also to work that way. These facts are probably related, insofar as a Markov chain with 2+ independent state variables is not statistically reversible.

        Under such a system, any entity that performs self-organization and optimization will do so in step with the growth of entropy, as that is what they optimize against. And thus our minds experience time.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        The thorny not of real-world causality aside, I agree with @veronica-d regarding entropy and the experience of time. THat was the basic thought I was getting at. Somewhere were time supposedly runs backwa, think it will pretty much run forward for conscious beings there.

        Hence my question, what really is the sense in which it meant that it runs backward? It’s actually a question. As @mike-schilling says, it’s not really clear from the link. I’m sure Sean Carroll could explain to us what he meant. But I’m guessing that explanation would come frustratingly short of getting to what we colloquially would understand by the phrase “time runs backwards there” (whatever that is). That kind of seems like Sean Carroll’s thing (after watching him a few times on Bloggingheads): to popularize modern theoretical physics by offering up intriguing little conceptual phrase-nuggets that in fact give a faint shadow of a reflection of the actual research that he’s trying to popularize.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        For McTaggart, reality is comprised of whole, infinite (and infinitely complex, that is, they contained within them an infinite division of parts), immaterial souls, or identities, or spirits, or selves, or whatever, and that these little spirits interacted with each other solely by perceiving each other, or what he calls elsewhere a relationship of love. Love, in other words, holds the world together.

        You know in the movie Avatar, when the blue people tell each other, “I see you?” It’s like that.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        …Pardon, it’s not Carroll which the idea of the reverse-time universe. It’s other physicists. So I guess I just blame PBS/NOVA for the underexplained phrase.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I’m going deep into the way-back machine here, but I think the problem with that view – as far as McTaggert’s argument is concerned – is that entropy presupposes time, which is the very thing at issue. That is, the second law itself only makes sense under a set of conditions which already includes the existence of time, hence invoking that law’s role in determining the arrow of time begs the question against McTaggert.

        Something like that anyway.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:


        My sense is that the response would be that entropy seems to presuppose time only because entropy creates time or the illusion of time in experiencers, so that the analytical means that those experiencers devised to define entropy contain a time assumption. I’m not sure but I’m guessing that physicists have been able to reformulate the laws of thermodynamics so that time doesn’t have to be part of the equations. Maybe the people who hang around scientists more than I do can check that for me.

        I.e. so that going from State 1 (more order) to State 2 (less order) needn’t mean going from a Time 1 to a Time 2 (or that Time 2 is after Time 1), thus allowing for time or the experience of time to be a phenomenon that emerges from a more fundamental motion from state to state.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:


        I think the idea is that the concept of entropy requires the concept of the passage of time to make sense. So even tho we can talk about state A and state B and say something about order within each state, we can only make sense of the change from state A to B by invoking temporal concepts, either before/after or past/present/future.

        I think anyway. Been a long time.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        For McTaggart, reality is comprised of whole, infinite (and infinitely complex, that is, they contained within them an infinite division of parts), immaterial souls, or identities, or spirits, or selves, or whatever, and that these little spirits interacted with each other solely by perceiving each other, or what he calls elsewhere a relationship of love. Love, in other words, holds the world together.

        This is something you take seriously?Report

  22. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I was browsing Sully’s blog roll for something to read and realized Inhadn’t looked at TAS for a while, clicked, and came across I3 that way. Now I see it’s a link here. It’s indeed an interesting rumination.

    For my part, even though birth control pills per se chemically (maybe?) would be okay to make OTC, in general I would think you would always want to consult a practitioner before deciding to undertake a chemical or mechanical birth control regime of any kind, in order to be sure you are choosing the best kind for you. Seems alike kind of a no-brainer to me. As such, continuing to require a prescription for the pills seems pretty reasonable.

    I wonder what Dr. Not-Truman’s view on that is, though.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I understand there are many formulations of BC with real potential side effects. Zazzy had to stop taking them because of complications with blood clotting. Requiring an Rx or at least some sort of consultation seems reasonable… Though take that with a fairly well-sized grain of privileged salt.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      As someone with chronic migraine, I’m not too thrilled about OTC pills. There are many health reasons to avoid hormonal BC before taking them, migraine being one.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Last I knew Clancy was not in favor, but the last time we talked about it was before ACOG changed the recommendation (which was when Russell Saunders went from “against” to “in favor”).Report