Linky Friday: War Machines


Will Truman

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

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145 Responses

  1. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    [Te6] has the feel of an April Fools’ prank.

    (Our culture now has to live as if every day is April Fools’, at least in terms of how trustworthy some news/political statements are. I disapprove of this)Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordan says:

    Tr2: circular runways: this might be a a good idea for brand new airports, but converting existing airports would be a trick, and that’s before we even talk about training pilots.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      The piece says that the circular runway can handle three airplanes at once, and one of the benefits is that they can avoid crosswinds. But how can you do both at the same time?Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        I took it to mean that there were more approach vectors on a point-of-compass landing that would make the runway more efficient.

        I also assumed that no plane actually requires 1/4 – 1/3 of the actual runway to land… so in any given moment you were only really using, say 40-80% of the circumference.

        Still, seems to me one of those ideas that works really well as long as no humans are involved.

        But while I’m pretty good a parallel parking, I’ve never tried to land an airplane… so what would I know.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


        Good question. Part of the answer probably has to do with how wide the runway is. If I have a wide runway, I could bring down three planes in quick succession as long as the sizing is smallest to largest (you really don’t want a 737 landing right behind a 747, but the reverse is fine). Also, the runway is banked, so a plane can land on the outer circumference and immediately skew toward the inner circumference, allowing a following plane to land without having to wait for the preceding plane to clear to a taxiway.

        But seriously, landing on a banked surface that is also curving is going to require a lot of pilot training. The plane is going to be trying to touchdown while in a light roll. That is going to go against every pilot instinct for a landing.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    [P1] Those pump “signs” usually contain ads. Who pays attention to them anyway?

    [Tr5] The fun part will be when the auto cars are fairly widely distributed but the gov’t hasn’t yet banned human drivered cars. All drivers will be clovers in the auto cars. Easier to pass and no one’s going to be brake checking tailgaiters and slowrolling in the passing lane. Wooohoooo.

    [Tr3] Why is this of interest? Disney did this, what, 30 years ago in the Contemporary.

    W5] If only I could afford to buy 250 rounds for each terrorist attack I would. That’s my script…and respectful silence.

    W6 What do you expect the Chinese to hold the Spratlay’s and other South China Islands with? Like the article said. If you’re going for “empire” ya gotta have marines.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

      If I ever go full-on “Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Murderer’,” it will be because of one of those “on the pump” tv things that blares ads at you and that you CANNOT SHUT OFF.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      What do you mean, who pays attention to the gas station screens? They’re screens! You’re standing there with no other screens in front of you! What are you supposed to do, not look at a screen? Is this 1920?Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        I look at the pump, watching the dollar signs go up as the fuel is pumped.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        The sign says “No Cell Phones”. When I’m surfing comment threads on a political meeting place slash blog, it’s not a “cell phone”, it’s a “tablet”…Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          Try that as a legal defense. If it intentionally emits RF on cell phone frequencies using the standard protocols, it’s a cell phone. Which it will do unless you have it completely powered down (they regularly send out a packet to let the network track which cell(s) they’re in).Report

          • Avatar El Muneco says:

            True. However, the prohibition isn’t there to stop use of the thing per se, it’s to minimize the chance of people dropping steely things onto a flinty surface in the presence of fumy vapors.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Gummint won’t need to ban driverless cars; the insurance market will do it for them-probably pretty quickly.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    P1: I thought this would be an article about suburbanites driving tanks as the new status symbol.

    P4: Figures. In homogeneous societies it is probably class.

    Te1: What if you need to strip your sheets to wash them but the bed wants to make itself?

    Te6: Wouldn’t aiming by hard if your crying and not in a steady emotional state?Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    P6: Are we talking plastic cups or paper coffee cups? I think there are ways people talk about money that make me think everyone is missing the point. On my side, I see people say things like “Remember: money is only a social construct.” I have no idea what this means. Of course money is a social construct but a very useful one. This article is too clever with its sleights of hand. The problem of plastic cups is not just the cost per a year but the fact that they stand around for a long time and pollute and possibly damage the soil. Plus we have limited space. But there is a certain kind of (usually libertarian) whose thoughts on money are short-term and now based and always think it is about the money now and money is good and no one should ever reject money.

    Now if we were talking cups that could be turned into compost, that would be different or setting up ways to recycle plastic cups instead of just chucking them in landfill.

    Te7: One of the things that always perplexed me about a lot of clickbait, even “honest” click bait is that it is basically like an on-line Reader’s Digest. Normally the honest click bait is a summary of a New York Times article or an article from some other newspaper. Clickbait persists because it is cheap and easy to produce and confirms people’s priors. Turns out that lots people are highly emotional messes instead fact-oriented logical Vulcans. What is interesting about the conspiracy theory/infowars stuff is that there is no real distinction between people who spread the lies and misinformation as a cruel prank (the lulzers), the true believers in the nutty stuff, and the marks.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Vox on the subjectivity of the VISA system:

    Liberals and libertarians lovingly talk about the importance of freedom of movement as an absolute right but it is a right that we have had a hard time convincing others as being absolute. I wonder if this is because our discussions on freedom of movement are too high-minded and not practical enough.

    When most people think of freedom of movement, they seem to think of refugees (who are largely distrusted even if wrongly so), affluent people who can afford to do international vacations because they have the time and money, or “Hey you are being laid off but first you have to train your replacement and then the replacement will go back home and do your job more cheaply. Dividends go to the shareholders.”

    Libertarians seemingly would like people to be copacetic with the last one but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why people get really upset by it.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      ““Hey you are being laid off but first you have to train your replacement and then the replacement will go back home and do your job more cheaply. Dividends go to the shareholders.”
      Libertarians seemingly would like people to be copacetic with the last one…”

      What we’d like is a world where, if someone laid that on you, you could tell them to go fuck themselves with a shovel and walk out.

      What we seem to get is a bunch of ‘splaining about how we’re a bunch of silly fools who think that could ever be possible.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Libertarians seemingly would like people to be copacetic with the last one but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why people get really upset by it.

      The two parts of this sentence don’t really interact with each other.

      Shall we engage in some light word substitution?

      “Libertarians would like people to be copacetic with drug legalization but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why people get really upset by it.”

      “Libertarians would like people to be copacetic with women not wearing the hijab but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why people get really upset by it.”

      “Libertarians would like people to be copacetic with women being in charge of their own sexual destinies but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why people get really upset by it.”

      Why, it’s like Libertarians believe that there are things that won’t be politically popular.

      Here’s one for you, Saul:

      “Liberals would like the electoral college to be copacetic with Hillary Clinton but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why it got really upset by her.”Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Vox forgot to point out that even if you get the visa, CPB can still turn you away if they think you are going to violate it or are coming in on the wrong visa.Report

  7. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Does anyone else have problems with the Forbes links? All of them deliver me to their front page, with no obvious way to get to the story in question.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Could it be they’re blocking you because you have an adblocker?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Yeah. Forbes is really aggressive about that.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          No, really aggressive is the WSJ: cookies with heavily encrypted time-limited content that must be returned, with pay up front and logging in to get the initial cookie. Forbes is still in the “we’re going to send you an inordinate amount of JavaScript and see if you’ll run it all” inconvenience-the-readers mode. For the technically inclined: this latest irritant from Forbes can be defeated by suppressing the Referer: field in requests. There are a number of browser plug-ins that will do that for you.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Yes. When I turn it off for Forbes, loading gets enormously slower, scrolling becomes twitchy (as the ads, or the JavaScript loading them, apparently responds to that), and it would no doubt be much worse if I had to enable Adobe Flash. They don’t seem to check if Flash is blocked.

        I have begun taking the anti-adblocker thing as a challenge. Getting around Forbes took a couple of minutes of online research and adding an entry in the database for one of the plugins I run.Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    P3- eh, it’s not really bipartisan resistance, it’s the *possibility* of resistance due to where the money is being spent. But looking at the map, it’s more like a imperial stuff-ton of money is going to Hanford and Savannah River, which happen to be Republican districts. You throw some money just at those two sites (which you probably program through DOE or DOD), and the political calculus for a Republican congress becomes pretty straightforward.Report

  9. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    [P4] A bit of a mess; it left the impression that there have been a lot of new toxic dumps in the last 30 years, and they are being located in minority communities. That would go against the trend of post-industrialization and increased regulatory burdens that require large amounts of space to comply and make a profit, i.e. they would be placed in rural areas.

    The study looked at new hazardous waste facilities developed btw/ 1966 to 1995, not just landfills, but places that generate hazardous substances and either store them temporarily or treat the materials before shipping them somewhere. That could be an autobody shop or recycling facilities. In any event, the study speculates that the racial disparities are due to industrial zoning, historic racial segregation and relative lack of political clout of minorities (unable to effectively use the NIMBY card).Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      I work right next to a toxic waste dump, only it doesn’t show up on the list of toxic waste dumps because it’s Navy property. But seeing as how it’s been a machine shop for the last forty years, the ground is full of lovely solvents and oils and metal particles of every kind; as soon as someone from EPA makes an inspection they’ll find that, according to their guidelines, they should have died just from standing downwind.

      The point being, there are probably a lot more “toxic dumps” than one would think, and some of them in quite nice areas, they just are facilities still in use that can’t be counted as “dump sites”.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw says:

        Yeah, the irony of this analysis is that by focusing on facilities that obtained a hazardous waste permit, they selected for the least dangerous category. More dangerous would be those that didn’t get such a permit, possibly because they were closed or abandoned before permits were required, or they were exempt like the government.Report

  10. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Tr4- Oklahoma is one of the more sparely populated states, and for county-level data, the median county is at 20,000 persons. So, for half the counties on the map, the working age population is probably less than 10K (sometimes significantly so). Thus, on a per-thousand basis, a specific commerce nexus being in one county or the next county over (taking a hundred jobs with it) could swing the color from one extreme to the other.

    (also, the specific locations where the oil patch is actually being currently worked in in Oklahoma matches up pretty well with a (predicted) high loss of trucking jobs, as is even more evident in North Dakota)Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      Yeah, I’ve got real questions about the value of that map. Truckers can live anywhere, and they spend their money everywhere, so a map of the locations of trucking companies doesn’t tell you much about economic impact.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar says:

        Bingo! I work for a large company based in Arizona, with terminals all over the U.S., one of which I’m attached to that’s over 300 miles from my home. So where the heck do I show up on that map?Report

  11. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    [Te1] This would not be able to cope with MrsJay’s thrashings at night.

    [Te3] I saw this a few days ago. Now that farmers are getting the point that Richard Stallman has been making for three decades, we might start seeing some changes in policy. Apparently, vendors can’t use the DMCA against the farmers any more, so that’s good.

    [Te4] I read with interest right up to the point that said, “cooperation between stakeholders on net neutrality”. Then I laughed. We will never get the telecoms in this country to cooperate on net neutrality. Rent seeking is what they do.

    [Te5] I kinda think this is addressing a straw man – sale of an individuals data. The interesting place is sale of regional data. If I were to look at, for instance, all the individuals in the county where my sister and her husband live, I could probably pick them out of it using their age, gender, race and a few other biographical details. The problem with this is asymmetry. Buying that aggregate data is beyond the means of most individuals, but well within the reach of corporate actors.

    [Te7] I think what Kate Starbird has stumbled across is the collection of websites created by the Russian team that Senators Burr and Warner discussed yesterday. Or at least, part of what she’s reporting is them:

    The true common denominator, she found, is anti-globalism — deep suspicion of free trade, multinational business and global institutions.

    “To be antiglobalist often included being anti-mainstream media, anti-immigration, anti-science, anti-U.S. government, and anti-European Union,” Starbird says.

    Much of it was strangely pro-Russian, too


    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      [Te5] The issue is that value is being extracted from my use of a service without me being compensated in any way for that extraction. So, in effect, I’m acting as unpaid labor for Comcast.

      Heh. Maybe that’s the way to cut this off–file a wage-hour lawsuit against AT&T, claiming that I’m subject to all the restrictions and regulations of an employee and should lawfully be treated as one!Report

  12. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    From a couple of days ago, but I’m seeing it now:

    Hey, remember when that guy tweeted about “all I want for Christmas is white genocide”, and it was explained quite thoroughly and angrily that he was lampooning right-wing thought and that anyone who got mad or upset about the sentiment expressed was just a jerk racist bigot who didn’t understand actual words and was just ignoring the context?Report

  13. Avatar Kolohe says:

    w1 – I think we talked about the Raid on Scarif article before. ASO’s analysis is sound, (as usual), but he misses that a big part of the failure of up front logistic inputs and contingency planning was that the operation *was not authorized* by the chain of command. It’s rather a miracle (and kinda inexplicable) that Rebel High Command eventually did send a expeditionary strike group to try to bail them out.

    But really who really needs to hold hearings is the Imperial Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. There is no way Grand Moff Tarkin or Lord Vader should have left that intelligence leave the ground, much less broke orbit and left the system through hyperspace, not with the tools they had – and how they used them eventually,.Report

  14. Avatar Stillwater says:


    “it’s still relatively unlikely that an ISP would simply hand over data for cash”

    “many Internet providers have committed to a voluntary set of privacy principles that already limit the industry’s ability …”

    “ISPs haven’t done this to date and don’t plan to because they respect the privacy of their customers”

    Yeah. Uh-huh. Riiiiiight.Report

  15. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    Te3: On Tractors – portends a bigger issue than appears; it isn’t [just] that the tractor is getting so complex that it needs software controls and diagnostics; it is that your purchase of said complex thing is now a license to use such thing under the restrictions outlined in the software license. You might have bought all the metal, plastic and rubber… but you are subscribing to the thing that makes it useful. This changes the dynamic between Thing, Buyer, and Seller in ways that can be good, but also in ways that can go very wrong. We’re not paying attention.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      And the thing is, it’s not like the customer is getting a better deal out of this. The customer isn’t getting improved reliability, better capability in the product, or even less overall cost. The customer pays exactly the same price, only now he’s unable to use third-party servicers (and the supplier can remote-kill the tractor any time it wants to).

      And you can say “well, the customer was never guaranteed that they could use third-party servicers, the customer was never guaranteed that the tractor would not be subject to a remote-kill”. And I can reply “sure, but those things were never up for debate before, and the customer wasn’t given the opportunity to negotiate about them, the supplier is using their power to force acceptance of terms”.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Isn’t this what the Lexmark case before the SCOTUS is pretty much about?Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        I’m sure there’s convergence of many drives to subscription nirvana… but I think the Lexmark case is quite different; it is more of the [outdated] razorblade model – “Hey, we sold you this piece of equipment really cheaply so that you’d have to come back to us time and again to get ink…” They were really in the ink business with a cheap printer delivery system. It would be closer to analogous if John Deere sold me a $250k tractor for $50k, but could only use JD fuel at $50/gallon.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          I think it’s deeper than that, more toward the idea that once you buy something, you own it, and the IP can only serve to prevent you (the customer) from making money by reproducing the thing.

          I believe the term is Patent Exhaustion.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine says:

            Sure, but that’s not the nub of the farmer’s complaint. Theirs is actually tied (if you break it all down) to an implied SLA that cannot be met.

            That is, locking all the systems behind a proprietary software gateway effectively makes you a forced customer of their services…and while they had to sign the license agreement, there doesn’t appear (from the article at least) an appropriate SLA guaranty that would make the loss of “fixability” workable in practice.

            We wouldn’t have heard a peep if the Service Agreement in exchange for the lock-out guaranteed that Carl would be onsite and have all ordinary problems resolved within 2-hrs; difficult problems in 4-hrs, etc. You know, the way it is now already with Almanso.

            So they are basically changing the terms of the relationships with their customers without proper or adequate a) communication; b) ability to execute on the new terms; and c) other things that we don’t know from one article on the internet.

            Some of that isn’t necessarily illegal; but some of us have already signed away a fair bit of business leverage to changing business models without even knowing it.Report

          • Avatar Brent F says:

            Not exactly, the crux of the matter for this and related cases is that companies use their copyright in the software to get an initial monopoly. Copyright protection lasts for pretty much forever in the lifetime of these products. It used to be no problem that this occured, because the copyright was attached to something the vendor had very little practical control over once they sold it and if things went to court, they tended to interpret reasonable actions like self repair as falling under fair use. You can see this in 90s software fair use cases like Sega v Accolade dealing with reverse engineering.

            Two things changed this marketplace. First DMCA created digital locks that are illegal to circumvent even to exercise legitimate fair use rights (this was a major end run by the software industry around fair use), second the internet made it very easy to create and enforce contracts against all of your end users. Now you can use your copyright monopoly to leverage yourself even more market power against your consumers. Its arguable that this amounts to copyright misuse, but that doctrine isn’t very well developed in American courts.

            Copyright law wasn’t written or developed for markets in functional things, or for things you can easily form a binding contract with your customers with terms beyond selling a copy so its not well situated to handle this kind of thing.

            If this was based on patent protection, the legal doctrines concerning the impermisable use of patent rights would be a lot clearer in preventing this activity, including the patent exhaustion issue you mentioned. With copyright in the digital locks era, things are a lot murkier.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            @marchmaine @brent-f

            So, exciting new legal frontiers!Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird says:

    W5: The cadence of the attacks, at this point, seem to be moving from “an acceptable level of violence” to “there will be a backlash”.

    Pray for a cool summer.Report

  17. Avatar Kolohe says:

    w2 – again with the treachery of headlines (not yours, theirs) “This is Russia’s warships built” is not the same thing a “being built” – don’t say ‘built’ past tense when the project is barely past laying down the keel, much less IOC, commissioning, and fleet delivery.Report

  18. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    [Tr5] As I’ve said before, the issue with autonomous vehicles is that they follow the laws to the letter, and this is why they get in so many accidents. If a pedestrian is at a street corner, the law says Yield To Pedestrians, and so you should stop. If you’ve stopped at a four-way stop sign before the opposing traffic arrived, then the law says you have right-of-way, and so it’s safe to make a left turn.

    And that’s why we hear “get in more accidents, but less at-fault”, because if an accident occurs then the vehicle which was following the law isn’t at-fault. Sure, Robocar slammed on its brakes in the middle of the road and got rear-ended…but Robocar was stopping for a pedestrian, and the following human was too close and not paying attention. A human driver wouldn’t have stopped for the pedestrian, but Robocar Must Obey The Law.

    And Robocar turned in front of a speeding driver and got T-boned, but the other driver didn’t come to a complete stop at a Stop sign before proceeding (and also didn’t obey the laws about who gets right-of-way at a four-way stop). A human would have yielded to the moving vehicle rather than putting all their faith in the law, but, well, Robocar.

    The biggest problem with autonomous vehicles isn’t going to be the autonomous vehicles; it’s going to be the humans around them, who are fucking terrible drivers.Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      Or, ya know, we could always let Rabid Roo drive. I’m not sure that knows how to follow laws.

      Seriously, even with robot cars that do actually know when to “let someone else take the risk”, stupid idiotic drivers will still fuck you up.

      I had someone do a left turn straight into a car we were in. There was no reason for this. Not hard to see, not “didn’t see you” just “didn’t look.”Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        I was a witness to pretty much this exact accident just last week. Neither me or the guy who got hit had any idea what the other driver might have been thinking to take that exact sequence of actions behind a wheel.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog says:

      the issue with autonomous vehicles is that they follow the laws to the letter, and this is why they get in so many accidents.

      It might be why they get into many of the smaller number of crashes per kilometre than human drivers that they do – but talking about why they get in “so many accidents” is simply incorrect – the robot drivers we have now are already safer than human drivers.

      Maybe not safer than every human driver – but safer than the average one. (And since 99.9% of human drivers are much better than average, of course every individual addressed here is a safer driver than Google’s self driving cars. But, you know, safer than all those other Dunning-Krueger affected schmucks you encounter out there every day).Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        I’m NOT. not the safest driver ever. I know it.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          Me neither, though I attribute that more to my extremely low skill level than to my extremely high resistance to self-delusion – I’m so bad I can’t fool even myself into thinking I’m good. (I don’t even have a license, just a learner’s permit).Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        It might be why they get into many of the smaller number of crashes per kilometre than human drivers that they do”

        Maybe you wanna read that study closer, because it turns out that A: they dropped two-thirds of the reported self-driving car accidents out of the data by declaring them “not significant crashes”, B: they arbitrarily decided on an “unreported crash rate” for human-driven cars of 4.2 per million miles.

        Oh, and the study was commissioned by Google, which, I don’t care so much when the oil industry or the tobacco industry commissions a study showing that their products aren’t so bad, but lots of people here do seem to care very much about this happening, so that’s worth pointing out as well.

        So. That said. It doesn’t actually refute my point that the problem isn’t the autonomous vehicles, the problem is the bloody terrible human drivers around them.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi says:

          Google still has to convince the insurance companies. So, their internal studies I don’t care so much about. And the insurance companies go on dollars and cents, not “unreported crashes”Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            Allstate’s entire market cap (about 30 billion) is about a third less than the amount of cash on hand google has in the US (about 45 billion).

            If Google really wants to, and think they have a better bead on things than the existing actuaries, they could just start their own insurance subsidiary.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi says:

              Yes, but they still have to please the beancounters.
              (or be willing to HIDE LOSSES from shareholders, which is worse than what ENRON did — which was put all their shenanigans in the public filings).Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine says:

                Or they agree to accept certain types of liability, self-insure, and work with congress to grant them partial immunity from certain lawsuits and excessive damages.

                Already how it works in biopharma/biomedical/biogenetics.

                So, if the car malfunctions you take it to the National Automatedauto Injury Compensation Board and ask for your weregild compensation. While Google et al. pay in per unit sold for their liability shield.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          the study was commissioned by Google,

          Good catch, that! I had not noticed that.

          I think excluding their “level four” crashes makes sense – their “crash” telemetry data includes every time a car clips a curb taking a corner a bit too tight. It’s impossible to get that data from the general human-driver population, because nobody reports that stuff.

          (To the bit about robocars assuming other drivers will stop at stop signs – I can’t believe that one. They might obey the law, but they can’t assume others will, or they’d have killed hundreds of people already.)

          ((This is related to why I favour the cities that have taken the approach of removing all signs and lane markers – that way you have nothing to rely on but what’s actually happening)Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck says:

            I can understand excluding this-or-that category of data. But then they turn around and assume that a full two-thirds of all crashes involving human drivers go unreported–and, based on the criteria for inclusion, those crashes result in insurance-claim levels of damage and injury.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        A commanding portion of being a better than average driver consists solely of expecting everyone around you NOT to be better than average drivers, and taking appropriate precautions.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          Correct. Being able to turn on a certain amount of paranoia counts.

          When my dad worked for an insurance company, the actuaries noticed that (rough numbers from memory here) in 50% of the accidents involving covered motorcyclists the insured had been riding for less than six months, and in 80% less than a year. They were interested in seeing if there was something being learned that could be replicated to make people safer riders. According to the psychologists they hired to do the study, motorcyclists with a year of experience were seriously paranoid when they mounted up; they believed that people were trying to hit them.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog says:

            I was taught this dictum.

            If you’re on foot, assume those driving can’t see you.
            If you’re on a bicycle, assume those driving can’t see.
            If you’re on a motorcycle, assume those driving can see you just fine and want to kill you.

            I don’t ride a motorcycle, but the other two seem about right to me.Report

            • Avatar El Muneco says:

              Almost every day I have occasion to want to yell at a driver when I’m jogging “No, I don’t want you to stop for me. I don’t care if you can see me because I’m assuming everyone else on this busy street can’t. Particularly the dude who’s about to go around you on the right because you’re now blocking traffic.”
              Primarily I don’t because that’s a lot to get out when you’re already breathing hard.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              I’ll vouch for your third dictum. I used to ride a motorcycle, twice over two pretty lengthy time frames. In each case I stopped riding after the accumulation of hand-shaking, hair-raising rides in which people tried to run me off the road wore me down enough that rationality finally sunk in.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      The insurance agencies will fix that in very short order I imagine.Report

  19. Avatar Kolohe says:

    w6 – Aaron MacLean’s thumbnail sketch of the history of the US Marine Corps is off. The Halls of Montezuma and the Shores of Tripolii both well pre-date the Spanish American war. The Marine Corps didn’t change at all in scope, even though in changed in size. What changed about the time of the Spanish American war was the US *Army* going from a small standing force that fought Native Americans in between declared wars against the British, the Mexicans, and the South, to a large standing force garrisoned all over the world. (and that was not really in full swing until after post WW2)

    The PLAN creating its own MEFs is interesting, no doubt, but the context and historical parallel really does go to the United States early history, a commercial nation trying to project power abroad with an economy of force. And Marines are hecka useful at taking over islands, which is the entirety of PRC near abroad foreign policy.Report

  20. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Good news, everyone. Washington DC is going to require child-care workers to have college degrees.

    Finally, you won’t have to worry about someone with only a high school education (or worse, “some college”) taking care of your precious little one.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      And, y’know, it’s an entirely legal and above-board to make sure that persons of a…certain socioeconomic group will have fewer opportunities to enter rich DC people’s houses. Not that the rich DC people have anything against persons of that socioeconomic group, mind you, they just…feel that there are risks.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Would you want your children overseen by someone who hasn’t been professionally trained in the child arts?

        There could be matters of life and death at stake.Report

        • Avatar gregiank says:

          Urrmmm perhaps seeing child care work as worth little respect isn’t the best lens in this case. Is it easy to care for a pack of other peoples children every day while also trying to provide them with developmentally appropriate and growth stimulating activities. No not really at all. I have a lot of respect for child care workers. Do they need BA’s: no. Someone at the child care center should have more extensive education for a lot of reasons though.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            I’ve heimliched two kids and only knew how because of biannual training.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi says:

              How many cracked ribs?
              (Yeah, just had CPR training.)

              Sadly, I know someone who has been trained in how to do CPR improperly.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            The best way to show that you respect this position is to ask more of the people who hold it.

            None of those community college degrees either.

            My baby should have someone who could afford a *REAL* college teaching her.Report

            • Avatar gregiank says:

              The best way to show respect is to at least not be smugly dismissive. I said i don’t’ think this is a good idea. There are better ways to get child care workers more training. However i actually read the link. The people pushing it have valid arguments which you are just being, you know, smugly dismissive of. Child care is valuable and hard and should be respected.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I am smugly dismissive of credentialism.

                You know who is likely to be hardest hit by this new law?

                If you can guess, you can probably guess some of the things that I can be smugly dismissive of you being smugly dismissive of.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                For me, the card-tilt was this:

                the city is directing its attention to reforming the patchwork of programs that serve infants and toddlers. … City officials want to address an academic achievement gap that research shows is already evident between children from poor and middle-class families by the age of 18 months.

                If the strangeness of that view isn’t clear, I’ll paraphrase:

                The solution of an “achievement gap” is to require bachelors degrees for individuals who care for infants and toddlers.

                Just bizarre.

                If they were serious about this they’d require infant/toddler care to only be administered by PhDs.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Also, there’s something harrowing, in a creepy Harry Harlow/social isolation way, about disengaging love, compassion and contact from the child rearing process.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                It strikes me as a weird dynamic. They’re using hard tools to measure soft skills and it’s going to end up hampering the people who are best at using the soft skills *AND* their charges (especially the ones who need the soft skills most!) and the people wielding the hard measurement tools are going to be doing harm.

                And, dude… that’s like obvious to friggin’ *ME*.

                How do people there, with children, not see this?Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                With all due respect Still, i don’t think you are on point here. You’re missing it. Pre school kids can be helped by enriching day care. Of course it doesn’t take a ton of skill to just make sure little tykes don’t kill themselves or each other. But high quality child care can help kids to learn and be more ready for school. Making a richer and better learning enviro for pre schoolers does concretely help them. If you want proof of that, other than research, then see that rich people want that for their kidlings. Again i don’t think BA’s are good way to get that, but the goal is good and aimed at helping poor and working class families.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m just a soul whose intentions are good.
                Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I’m thinking sumthin a bit darker:

                But though the masters make the rules
                For the wise men and the fools
                I got nothing, Ma, to live up toReport

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                But high quality child care can help kids to learn and be more ready for school.

                Is that the only goal here? To make them better students? That’s why I brought up Harry Harlow and his anxiety-filled monkeys, infants and toddlers so debilitated by a lack of physical contact that they were completely non-functional beings.

                What kids need is love and compassion, and a sense of safety/security to grow and flourish in.

                Or are we extending the public education model to include infants because the metrics show that 13 month old infants exposed to calculus do better on SATs in their late teens?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                All of this is utterly besides the point.

                The goal is to close the achievement gap in early childhood education. Who is predominantly on the left side of that gap? Poor people and lower middle class, that’s who.

                So, the answer to closing that gap is to require all formal care givers to have a 2 or 4 (which was it?) year degree. These are people making well under $20/hr, they likely do not have the time or money to spend getting the formal education. So, either they will exit the formal centers and go into informal care, or they will have to spend money, or the centers will have to spend money, getting them up to spe. Either way, the center will likely raise rates to compensate for the educational expenses or the wage increases (or both). And as the article states, they will have to raise wages to avoid losing people to higher paying schools.

                No matter what, this move will raise the cost of childcare. Now, of all the people in need of childcare, who will be least likely to absorb that additional cost? You get three guesses and the first two don’t count.

                ETA: If this is aimed at working class families in any way, then it is aimed at excluding them from formal centers and forcing them into informal care arrangements.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                Yep. Formal childcare is for the middle class. The lower class generally relies upon family and friends to look after the kids.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                And, as with everything else, eventually we’ll see stories about “this grandmother used to watch the neighborhood kids until racist cops fined her $2000” or “rent-seeking businessmen, fearing competition, want ‘mother’s circle’ groups closed down”.Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                I already said i dont’ think its a good idea. The training needs can be addressed in other ways. Training and education does have a real use other than giving out certificates.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                I think a fair set of questions would be:

                Can childcare workers currently afford childcare in DC? Will they more likely be able to afford childcare under this program?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                From what I understand, childcare places have year-long waitlists currently. Erstwhile Brother Ryan Noonan tweeted that they could double the number of childcare places and *STILL* have waitlists.

                So there’s a market failure of some kind going on.


              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Depends on the place.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos says:

                If this does indeed lower the supply, there will be a law to subsidize demand soon enough.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I mean, we’re headed for a massively redistributive UBI in the near future anyway, right? Might as well get it underway. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Autolukos says:

                Like similar policies in housing, I don’t think the net redistribution will go in the direction you’d prefer.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                We need to get better at it.Report

    • Avatar gregiank says:

      I agree that this is a bad idea. However the article presents the reasonable arguments for greater education for child care workers and they even note how they understand the workforce/diversity issues AND this is for kids in public day cares so it isn’t about richy rich Georgetown parents.

      Child care workers would benefit from greater knowledge but BA’s are not likely the best way to deliver that. OJT or more focused certificate programs can do all that cheaper and more efficiently.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        I can certainly see directors being required to have a relevant degree, or people developing curriculum, but the care providers… yeah, they can do fine with certificates/seminars/etc.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Yeah, just wait until parents start getting the bill for the better educated teachers. The whole lot of them is smoking some sweet ganja if they think this won’t spike local monthly rates.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I need to know more. NYC requires the head — but not all — teachers in licensed day cares to be certified which requires a degree (among other things).

      Is DC doing the same or more? It also isn’t clear if this is limited to public pre-K/school or child care facilities or both. Does it include homecare settings?

      I’ve poked around a bit and found some stuff on the District’s websites related to new licensure rules but nothing formally noting the rules.

      I’m on a phone so maybe that’s limiting. If anyone finds the actual regs (or an official site outlining the regs), @ me with it and I can probably break it down.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        I’m wondering what the precipitating event was.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw says:

        I think I found the notice of the proposed regulations, which is probably what was finalized:

        a. Director of Child Develoment Center must earn a bachelor’s degree within six years with at least 15 credit hours in early childhood development, early childhood education, elementary education, or early special education.

        b. Child Development Center Teacher: have an associate’s degree within four years with a major in early childhood education, early childhood development, child and family studies, or a closely related field;

        c. Child Development Center Assistant Teacher: have an associate’s degree or CDA credential;

        d. Child Development Home Caregiver: have a CDA credential, a number of hours of annual professional development

        It looks like each group of pre-schoolers, there must be one teacher, who can be supported by one or more assistants.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Good find, @pd-shaw .

          I also found this from the article which feels consistent:
          “The District set the minimum credential for lead teachers as an associate degree, rather than a bachelor’s, because of such challenges, Groginsky said. The deadline to earn the degree is December 2020. New regulations also call for child-care center directors to earn a bachelor’s degree and for home care providers and assistant teachers to earn a CDA.”

          These don’t seem particularly onerous or unfounded and the timeline is horizon. The District is working to address funding, both for credits and increased compensation. That will be the sticky wicket.

          My prediction is this will not effect supply.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck says:

            “These don’t seem particularly onerous or unfounded and the timeline is horizon. The District is working to address funding, both for credits and increased compensation. That will be the sticky wicket.”

            The “sticky wicket” will be the number of people who didn’t realize that what they were doing was Providing Childcare Services and subject to the new regulations requiring college degrees and licensing.

            “My prediction is this will not effect supply.”

            The best part of this typo is that the sentence still works even with the typo.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              Many people are exempted. Without going through all the categories, it seems this only applies to licensed care centers and home providers.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Exemptions include:
                Care provided in child’s home
                Nanny shares
                Informal play groups
                Gym day cares
                Adult ed program day cares
                Single-session classes
                Care provided during religious services
                Family members
                Facilities run by the federal government
                Public, charter, and private schools that go beyond PreK
                OSSE PreKs
                Before and after achool programs
                Summer campsReport

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Kazzy: Facilities run by the federal government

                Congress exempting itself from regulations which will reduce supply?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “it seems this only applies to licensed care centers and home providers.”

                So, yeah. “Grandmother fined $2000 because she made a sandwich for her granddaughter’s friend”. “Mother’s Circle shuts down due to threats of legal action”. “Does your kid want to have his buddies over to play Pokemon? Better get a license! And other stories about crazy laws.”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                See my follow up above.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                This clearly targets a specific slice. If you disagree with that, fine. But you’re arguing against something clearly addressed.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            My prediction is this will not effect supply.

            Then it was unnecessary.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              What if it improves quality?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                The more important question is what do we want these centers to be/do/provide? That’ll dictate how we manage them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I imagine that, on the margins, it will improve quality.

                Which brings me back to the point of how there are waitlists and, according to Ryan Noonan, if they doubled the number of childcare places, they’d *STILL* have waitlists.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                I bet Ryan is looking at a particular slice of providers.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I sent him a tweet asking him to chime in.Report

              • Avatar Ryan Noonan says:

                Hey, it me. The places where there are waitlists – licensed care centers for larger groups of children – are the ones specifically targeted by these regulations. Generally speaking, the waitlists for these kinds of facilities (known informally as “daycares”) in the DC metro area exceed one year. This is quite difficult for many parents because pregnancy rarely lasts that long and it’s hard to manage the timing of getting on a waitlist early enough to get care when you need it. And the thing (or a thing) about these waitlists is that they’re pervasive. It’s not a handful of highly desired facilities that have them – it’s every single one of them.

                The thing I don’t particularly understand about this regulation is the connection between having a degree and the practical aspects of caring for young children. I get why you’d want a center director or someone working on curriculum development to have that kind of conceptual training, but the caregivers themselves seem like they’d be much better off with some OJT and corresponding certification.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Dude. Thank you.

                Show up more often.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                The thing I don’t particularly understand about this regulation is the connection between having a degree and the practical aspects of caring for young children.

                My wife’s teacher cert was a bunch of mickey mouse classes designed to burn time and show you were determined about it.

                These sorts of regs are signs of regulatory or legislative capture. They’re to reduce supply and prevent competition, not improve quality.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Or to put it differently, those expensive daycares with a year wait list will benefit by these sorts of rules because it gets rid of some of their potential competitors.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                No one has yet to explain how this improvement in quality is going to be available to the population most affected by the gap.

                Absent that, who cares if it improves quality for the middle class and above, they aren’t really struggling with development gaps except at the margins.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The teachers of toddlers must now be degreed
                A bachelors, or masters, even PhD’d
                The infants of poors are a-gappin
                But the policy the gummint’s a-tappin
                Does the opposite of what they decreed

                {{Wait, is this the limerick thread?}}Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                Kazzy’s list of exemptions makes it clear that disadvantaged people won’t be disadvantaged by the new requirements, nor advantaged by them.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:


                The disadvantage is relational, tho, isn’t it? The policy intending to reduce that gap by these mechanisms will increase the cost of daycare while also only increasing education/daycare quality for folks who can pay for those advantages. Which will increase the gap.

                I mean, this is a great policy for people who can afford to pay for those increased benefits. They’ll know that their toddler is being groomed for big things. Big!Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                I probably don’t agree with much to do with this policy. My children went to the daycare operated by the hospital that employs my wife. You know who doesn’t put their children in daycare? Doctors. Either a spouse stays at home, or they hire someone, typically a college student, to provide home care. Not someone with a special degree.

                While I thought the day care was of good quality and a good value (the hospital subsidized some of it), there is no way someone could afford it in the bottom half of household income.

                So it kind of grates on me that the WaPo article starts with the premise that by 18 months old relative disadvantage can be detected. Probably the disparity is largely between groups that are not in daycare. I suspect better access to daycare for the poor would be a more worthwhile objective.Report

  21. Avatar Kolohe says:

    w3 – I supposed technically getting more involved in Yemen isn’t a ‘new’ war. But it does involve us throwing in more with a shitty government that spends more money on its own military than almost anyone else and has little to show for it than undisciplined men playing around in some shiny toys. And as we’ve seen, we’ll get no credit for anything that goes well, and all the blame for anything that doesn’t.

    So the Saudis and the Emiratis can take their request and shove it up their ass. Bad enough it’s probably the Emiratis that sucked us into the Bayda Yemen raid that got a SEAL killed.Report

    • Avatar gregiank says:

      Of course we are getting more involved in a civil war we should stay far away from. It was a mistake of O’s to dip our toe in there and Trump was always going to be more aggressive and hawkish despite what the dupes who thought he would keep us out of this kind of stuff believed,Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        Maybe if O had done more to help our allies earlier on in the process we wouldn’t even be here. Do we really want a group backed by Iran running Yemen given it’s strategic location? And yes we not have the best allies that are squeaky clean but they are better than the Iranians.Report

        • Avatar gregiank says:

          We are better off staying out of civil wars. They are always very messy and ugly with both sides very often being shady. If the Saudi’s want a proxy war let them do it themselves, we don’t need to prop up their adventures. There is very little upside for us and just another sink hole for money and blood. And it further enmeshes us in nasty little wars and gives great propaganda about us for our enemies.Report

  22. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    [te3] I’m surprised there’s a Black Market.
    If you *really* wanted to build your embedded software so it couldn’t be tampered with, I’d think you could do so. It’s not like normal software which works on anything piece of hardware. Controlling both software and hardware is a huge advantage.

    Multiple chips talking together, locked bootloaders, encryption in bundled updates, and make it impossible for anyone without the key to update it without reflashing every chip in the series… and then you could put a chip somewhere where the engine would need to be destroyed in order to access it.

    You’d be making a glass engine, i.e. one crack in the software makes the whole thing unusable, but it sounds like that’s what they want.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      They could release ROMs, but then they couldn’t flash the firmware afterwards to accept remote-kill commands (or to phone home with usage statistics that the company packages and sells to chain retailers whose robo-callers predict when you need to buy new tires.)Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter says:

        That would do it… but if you accept and assume that all software has bugs, then going with ROM for an expensive piece of hardware is amazingly risky to the point of insanity.

        Oops we found a bug, we need to *replace* every tractor we’ve sold in the last 3 years on our dime.Report