Archive for September 2006

Tobasco and Jews

September 29, 2006

Found an archived link on Sala’s site, that tallies up republican votes for Israel compared to Democrat votes. It is relevant to the topic Bookworm brought up, in that Jews vote predominantly Democrat for some reason.

There was also this about LTG Mattis. Something Bush won’t talk about and someone who Bush won’t support. But for the Jacksonians, Mattis has achieved almost Patton like mystique.

A nice little summary of how to learn about war.

The moral high ground of the Left.

Some British political ugh interrogation, for those interested and those who read Melannie Phillips

End Game Democrats

BLACKFIVE comes off the top rope. I’m not getting in his way.

A quaint discussion on what to do with terrorists, and do terrorists apply under the Geneva Conventions? Simple answer, yes they do.

Reminder from Afghanistan, Michael Yon on CNN

End Game Democrats 2

I can’t find that End Game Power Politics post Sala put up. Too bad, it was quite impactful.

I did find this diagram which is curiously interesting in a way.

A valid question from hillary?

September 24, 2006

Steven Den Beste – Good and Bad Anime Villains

September 21, 2006

I was reading your post on that subject, and I got to thinking about the other characters you didn’t mention. Notably, the characters in anime that you might not have watched yet, Bleach and Naruto. As well as Atsuyu, the villain in the last episode of Juuni Kokki.

Atsuyu fit your standard of being tempting, an attractive and charismatic figure. True evil isn’t true evil without having a bit of debonair flare and charisma. If evil always looked ugly, then it wouldn’t be so much of a problem for the human race, the way I see it.

On Hubris, this guy scores a pretty high max, as he just believes he is on the moral high ground, the path of righteousness, and everything shall fall into place one way or another.

Nemesis, is of course conservatively predictable for the villain. It gets high marks for “true justice” as well. Meaning, a reversal, an exposure of fake righteousness, as well as a checkmate execution. The villain got defeated not because he failed, but because everything he was trying to get was exposed as a fake.

The scare factor probably comes in concerning characters that are fooled. I care about those characters, and so there’s a bit of fear when those characters fall under the sway of the villain’s charisma.

I think Juuni Kokki, or the Twelve of Kingdoms, does an excellent job of portraying human dynamics and human politics. Using the Japanese feudal model, with modifications of course.

It’s very ambiguous. You don’t really know who is the good guy or the bad guy, or at least you don’t comprehend the reasons for it. You know Shoryuu is the good guy from the earlier episodes, but that doesn’t automatically make Atsuyu a bad guy. Even when Shoryuu told the Empress that he killed Atsuyu.

I see a lot of this fake righteousness in real life situations. Like the one Bookworm wrote about, concerning do fake liberals and Democrats really care about other people or is this just a facade that fools people.

In Naruto and Bleach, the “menace” factor is extreme, ultra high quality extreme. Their (villains’) motivations are easy to understand. And horrible to contemplate.

Naruto and Bleach were inspired by DBZ’s creator. Naruto’s Kishomoto, because he kept drawing DBZ manga. Bleach’s creator, because the DBZ author gave him support when his Bleach manga was rejected by Shounen. Both Bleach and Naruto have a sort of hybrid villain system. In which you start off small, and the small fry villains you fight are only slightly menacing and dangerous. Then when you defeat them, you convert them to your cause. I didn’t watch the early episodes of DBZ, so I can’t describe the exact correlations. But I do know Piccolo was fighting the main character, and then they fight together. In Bleach and Naruto, the fusion between former enemy and current friend is much much stronger and harmonious. They aren’t “allied” because of convenience, like Goku and Vegeta were. But rather because they have the same philosophy now afterwards.

It is similar to Juuni Kokki’s large numbers of serial villains combined with DBZ’s redemption qualities then. One after another, some alike, some very different. Specifically, the villain progression in Naruto is very well done. Mishimoto gradually scales up the menace factor, the evil factor from small to huge. The sympathy you feel is not for the top villains, but you do feel sympathy for the lives those villains have affected. This being a Japanese animation, you have leader villains with henchemen, bound by loyalty binds and oaths of fealty. So even if there is no sympathy for the top villain, there is much for their sacrificial pawns.

Personally, the main character of the Twelve Kingdoms when she had that confrontation at the end, was very well done. The resolution was quite… final so to speak. It had a very nice dramatic flare as well. He who controls the military, controls the government after all.

A lot of the villains in Naruto and Bleach are after power, pure power. Not power through manipulation, or votes, or having people who follow them. No, this isn’t a mass cult following, although there are some elements there but the number of followers are pretty small. The villains mostly seek personal power, power sourced from themselves. They’ll use others to get that power, sort of like narcissists. The only thing that matter is themselves, if they have to derive their identity by looking into the mirror of other people’s faces, so be it. This is why the menace factor is very high, and the hubris level not so high. They are menacing precisely “because” they are everything they say they are. This isn’t hubris, they are as powerful as they say they are, in fact they are more powerful than they look and say. A lot of the fights in Naruto and Bleach are “underplayed”. Meaning, like in politics when you lowball. You test a person’s power and speed first, using non-serious strikes, then step up the power when you are serious. Percent duty cycles or something.

The right Nemesis for Naruto and Bleach is almost always the main character. The resolutions are also very interesting, in that it maximizes human potential. Meaning, yes the opponents of the main char is fighting for their own personal motivations, but through fighting the main char, they actually are able to fullfill their personal goals much better after they get beaten. As weirdly as that sounds. Counter-intuitive so to speak. At least if you talk to people who see Iraq as a one edged sword. Sometimes getting beaten, like Japan got beaten, is a good thing for your future. Like I said, counter-intuitive for the people who only see things in linear one dimensional images. They are the ones who think that if the enemy is in range of your guns, you aren’t in the range of the enemy’s guns.

The charisma is… of course present for the villains of Naruto and Bleach. We don’t see it, of course, but the followers of these villains do. They feel honest loyalty and true belief, because the followers were helped by the villains in the past. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you in other words. We understand but do not approve, and feel sad at their brainwashing and eventual fates.

The Police State that is Britain

September 20, 2006

I found that blog and was intrigued by the writing style.

It is funny how a study with sample of 10 can be considered “scientific.” As for taking British chefs seriously, we all know the British are famous for their cooking. My local phone book included advertisements for restaurants featuring American, Caribbean, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Mexican, Pakistani, Persian, Salvadoran, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, but there were none featuring cuisine from any of the British Isles. Even if such knives are useless to all chefs, not just British ones, they are handy in less affluent kitchens. A long, pointed knife is perfect for slicing steaks off of a chuck roast and for tenderizing a Swiss steak.

If long knives are to be banned, shouldn’t all potential weapons be banned? People could slit others’ throats with shorter knives, so those should be banned. Other kitchen utensils such as ice picks and shish-ke-bab skewers could be used as weapons and should be eliminated. Stabbing isn’t the only way to injure or kill people. Every year people are hurt or killed by blunt force trauma. Therefore, heavy cast-iron skillets must also be banned.

Office supplies could also be used as weapons. Letter openers should be banned, as should those old fashioned, long, pointed metal spindles for holding papers. Other office supplies such as large paper weights, heavy three-hole punches and hefty hard cover books must also be eliminated since those can be used to smash someone over the head.

Eva says it in jest, but of course, it is the route Britain is on. See any gels or liquids banned lately on airplanes?

Language, Linguistics, Lightning Round

September 20, 2006

[An argument I was having over whether the English language was precise because it had many words and definitions or whether all those definitions and words created ambiguity instead of precision] I favor the former, Kevin favors the latter.]

No, it means the same thing, modified by the shades of meaning. It does not mean different things in different situations. Difference logically derives from different logical premises, and different logical premises results in different meanings for words. The meaning for a key and a keystone and the various other 80% of the usages on, is of course, based upon the same logical premise. The same abstract imaginary coordinate in space. Words mean different things when their meanings are not related abstractedly at all.

It’s simple analogy, kevin. You don’t know what a keystone is, you don’t know that the “key” means important? You have problems correlating this

As to the issue that began this thread, I have to agree with DQ on this one–why sweat the small stuff?

with this

A keystone is small, kevin, but it doesn’t mean it should be ignored.


Okay. If you have problems, that’s fine. I can spell it out.

Some of the keystones of a language, that which holds everything together, is its structure, the rules, and the meaning of words. So, even though these things look small, their importance is comparable to the importance a keystone holds for an architectural structure. Small, but if you ignore it or break it, it will cause a systematic crash. Do you understand the answer to your question “why sweat the small stuff” now?

Here’s how you, Kevin, differ with me. I believe that words have meaning, irrespective of how you massage the sentence and the context. You believe words have meaning because you get it from context alone. Your words, not mine. You said it comes down to context. It comes down to context in Chinese, and perhaps intonation of the syllables in spoken form. But not in English.

Context, is also known as the reality part of meaning in language. I am refering, of course, to phasor mathematics. Converting from rectangular to polar, polar to rectangular. The English language is setup so that it has two components. A real, and an imaginary. The imaginary component is the abstract, it is how our thoughts are organized, it does not come from what we see or feel in the world. Mathematics is abstract, but just because it is abstract, does not mean it cannot affect the real world. Thus x and y. i and j for imaginary y, and x for the real x axis. 5 + 5i instead of x,y.

Context is the x coordinate, horizontal axis. The abstract component is the y part, i or j. You believe the meaning of words come from context, without context the meaning of words are confused. There’s two practical applications, one for you, one for me.

You could go with the context model, which Clinton also used when he said “it depends upon what the meaning of is is”. It depends upon the context in which a word is used, to decipher the imaginary portion of that word, its abstract meaning.

Or you could go with my model, in which the real part, context, and the imaginary abstract part, the i, are independent of each other. Only when you convert them to polar form, do they affect each other.

The reason my model is more precise, as an application of the English language, is because I have two independent axis from which to choose variables from. You only have one, context. Words have meaning based upon context, all other methods produce confusion.

My model doesn’t produce confusion, because it allows for the existence of the abstract part independent of the real existing or not. Meaning, words have abstract meanings regardless of how they exist in a sentence, independent of the context even. So instead of the real dictating what the abstract means, the abstract dictates to the real what it is. And vice a versa. My model can do it both either ways. yours is sort of a one way street.

This allows more variables, more precision, and more shades of meaning, without losing the “definition” of a word by changing it into something it is not.

Instead of saying “let’s talk about what the definition of is, is”, I say, let’s talk about combining the abstract definition of is with the context of what situation you wish to use it in conjunction with.

I bolded the word “different” for a reason, you know. It’s more different than just “different”. The previous example is of using the same word in different real locations, with different abstract meanings. This is an example of where the abstract is modified by the real context, creating ambiguous meanings when one word is used many times in different contexts and for different abstract meanings.

If that doesn’t make sense, let’s just say that the sentence I used “different than just different” is what kevin was talking about in terms of the word key. Not the same thing, I think. Can you use context to figure out what I was talking about? Yes you can. But you lack something, and that something is called “precision”. If you can’t tell which part is from which manufacturer, if you can’t tell which part is part of which generation, then you will lack precision in your design work.

The way key is used, refering to kevin’s complaint about the number of variations in the dictionary, is this way.

1. a small metal instrument specially cut to fit into a lock and move its bolt.

9. the system, method, pattern, etc., used to decode or decipher a cryptogram, as a code book, machine setting, or key word.

12. Music.
a. (in a keyboard instrument) one of the levers that when depressed by the performer sets in motion the playing mechanism.
b. (on a woodwind instrument) a metal lever that opens and closes a vent.
c. the relationship perceived between all tones in a given unit of music and a single tone or a keynote; tonality.
d. the principal tonality of a composition: a symphony in the key of C minor.
e. the keynote or tonic of a scale.

Here are the synonymns and antonymns of the word key

Synonyms: basic, chief, crucial, decisive, fundamental, important, indispensable, leading, main, major, material, pivotal, primary, principal, vital
Antonyms: peripheral, secondary

Key=principal object I use to open the lock on my primary structure of residence.

To wrap it all up. Let’s just say that there are 3 components to the meaning of a word. Its contextual real part, its abstract imaginary part, and its polar hybrid part which is both its real part and abstract part combined.

The definitions for key you see here all have the same abstract component. The abstract component of “primary”, “necessary”, that which revolves in your head when you think about what you NEED. That thought, that’s the abstract thought I’m refering to. The “meaning” derives when you have the context. If you are talking about musical instruments, the “key” then becomes that which relates to the context of musical instruments and other similar situations. Context plus abstract, equals polar hybrid.

So, what does this all mean you might be thinking. What does this have to do with what I or Kevin were talking about? It can be wrapped up in a short description, so be not afraid.

“When people choose to use fewer words, and keep using the same words in their vocabulary to mean DIFFERENT things in different situations, then that is imprecision.”

And the single word key means many different things in different situtations–it comes down to the context in which it is used and can lead to confusion, so what again is your point?

Comment by kevin | September 19, 2006

Words that mean different things are words with different polar hybrids. Different situations means different abstract parts of the rectangular coordinate, real with imaginary.

So, how are you able to use the “same” word, to mean different things, in different situations? You can and the Democrats do. Torture is beneath our dignity and the dignity of humanity, therefore torture should be illegal. The CIA torturing someone then, is wrong.

You have one word, torture, with the same abstract coordinate, to inflict pain purposefully, combined with 3 different contextual real coordinates. To inflict pain combined with beneath our dignity, a moral result and meaning. To inflict pain combined with law, making it illegal to inflict pain purposefully. Then finally you have to inflict pain combined with the ethical judgement, that it is wrong, that it should not be done in any situation.

Used in an argument that appears to be logical, and what you have is one method of creating a circular argument using ambiguous semantics, words, and meanings.

Greater precision would automatically expose the illogic, only greater ambiguity can cover up gross deficiencies like the incident I’ve described.

But what does this have to do with the word key? Because the definitions listed for key are for different meanings. Different meanings, of different words, in different contexts. Kevin assumed that all the definitions listed for key were talking about meant that you were going to get a lot of confusion when you use the word multiple words of “key” in the same sentence.

I think that would be correct, but that is why I specified “fewer words”. More words, mean more precision. More variations of that one word, means if you do have two of them, you don’t have to figure out based upon the context what the meaning of the word “key” means. You can actually figure out the context from the meaning of a word, if you lack the context. Or you can figure out the meaning of the word key, from its context. But that is only because there are already numerous meanings for key, used in different situations. Since key has preset configurations, you just look it up.

If you had one word that meant one thing in one situation, only. What would you do if the contextual situation changed? You only have the imaginary part, how are you going to get the real part, then combine them together to get the meaning? Very hard to impossible, and still very imprecise and slow.

Practical application? the word torture.

Not many meanings to that word. So, when I want to use torture to mean good things, for necessary things, do I use torture or do I use another word, hard interrogation methods? Is torture just too… EngSoc to include all the different shades of meaning I demand that it be capable of?

When a person says he doesn’t like torture, does he mean he doesn’t like the infliction of pain on purpose or does he mean he doesn’t like tormenting a person for revenge? How do you tell the difference by context alone? You can’t, because because they are the same word.

1. the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.

holy Christ. You have 3 meanings in one word, for one instance of a definition. I think my model is more preferable. My model, the many definitions for the word key, is more precise than kevin’s model where it says the less definitions the less confusing.

People can decide whatever they want, this was not easy to come up with.

For reference purposes, or just if you are confused. Here’s a logic whatever.

X=real=context=contextual=situation=environment used=X coordinate

y=imaginary=i=j=abstract=pure thought=abstract meaning

polar hybrid form=meaning, the kind of things it means=what you get when you take a word and combine it with the context in which that word is used= x+y. Also x+iy.

Comment by Ymarsakar | September 20, 2006

Around the World via the Blogosphere

September 19, 2006

Here’s some stuff I found pretty interesting while surfing the blogs.

Here we had a politician being asked a question about when his family ran away from Judaism. The reaction, priceless.

Then we had a post by Shrinkwrapped about gun control. Useful for those who understand psychology, and recommended for its other salient points.

Finally, we have this propaganda video by Kurdistan. I mean propaganda by, something created to convince people. It is not “advertisement” precisely because this movie was paid for by the Kurdistan government. Thus anything paid for by the government is called propaganda, including probably the BBC in one way or another.

Propaganda is like executions. It all depends upon who uses it, and who it is used upon. Good guys executing child rapists.. not exactly something I’ll raise much raucus about. Bad guys executing a raped teenager in Iran? That is a different story. Same with propaganda.

Red vs Blue -A battlefield scenario

September 14, 2006

[Just something I brainstormed while talking about the media and Vietnam, when I read bookworm's post on it]

People are tired of war, they want to go back to winning elections, envying Hollywood, and making money.

The weird thing is, it’s like a sports team constantly getting beat, and the fans never likes it. However, the fans (Red Sox) keep rooting for their team. Unlike sports tv, Iraq is only shown piecemeal. So you have all the bad mistakes on the Red Sox being shown, and you can’t feel “good” about anything. Meaning, they show you the Red Sox losing, but they never show you the Red Sox scoring anything. So instead of a real game where you see both sides in continuous time, you see snatches that keep your spirit at an all time low always. There’s no ups and downs usually going on as with a normal game. Instead of seeing one team score, other team score, we see one team score, other team fumbles, one team scores, other team fumbles, and so forth. Eventually someone might just shut the tv off with that kind of frustration.

You can get people away from despair, by giving a victory party. However, first you have to get a victory. And you can’t get a victory if nobody is paying attention to the Red Sox’s wins. People do reminder the ecstatic mood when the Marines got to Baghdad. Future failures are to be expected, you can’t win all the time. However, there have been few ups and down cycles. The election was notable because it was low, high, low. The invasion, high to low. The second election was high, middle, low, middle.

Reminds me of an AC sinuisoidal wave. The media damps down the morale and spirit of the US people, preventing it from going high or low. The failures are not as painful as pictures of Pallywood. The successes are not as joyful as marriages and promotions, but more like a 1% raise in your salary. Good news, but negligible. After awhile, this kind of mood will break people’s spirit and willpower. At that moment, a coup de grace like the Tet Offensive can obviously shatter the will of a weakened people.

You should have heard this general story about two armies clashing on the field of battle. Red Army is fighting a losing battle, ultimately giving ground in order to prevent being enveloped. Blue Army is focused on smashing through the middle of the Red Lines, and defeating the enemy in detail. Blue army sees their side pushing through Red’s center, slaughtering all in their way to victory and glory. Blue’s soldiers feel uplifted, euphoric, ultimately joyous more or less at the sight. Red’s morale is shaking, but holding.

Who will win the battle? The side that perceives that they are going to win. So obviously Red wins because they hid forces behind the Blue lines, allowing Red to hit Blue’s forces in the rear at the moment of their victory. By snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, Red has demoralized Blue to such an extent that their morale shatters and they run for it. Blue has thrown down their weapons and is proceeding to leave the battlefield via a rout. How can this be, wasn’t Blue winning? How could a small force hidden behind the indomitable Blue Army crashing their way through Red’s center to victory, possibly be defeated by a small force from the rear when victory was almost on the tongues of Blue’s men?

The reason is simple. It was precisely because Blue thought they were winning, that they were defeated. Perception creates victory, but whose perception of whom however, is not set in stone. It is mercurial, shifting.

Blue by believing that the battle was almost won, dropped their mental barriers. This allowed a small force that could surprise them with shock and awe (the real thing, not the Donald Rumsfeld air force version) to mow down several people at the back of Blue’s lines. Blue’s formation would shift, appearing to Red’s center as if Blue was attempting to run away. Blue would be totally surprised, and even though Blue outnumbers the small force in their rear, panic sets in. You see, Blue believed things were going to happen in a certain way, and when new things occur, they cannot adapt, they panic, they are confused, they are without orders and direction. While Red’s center was being pushed inwards, Red didn’t run, because Red had orders and knew what to do. Hold the center, that was all. Even though they were dieing in droves to hold the center, they did not break and run. Yet Blue broke and ran after suffering a miniscule amount of deaths compared to that which Red’s Center suffered. How could that be? Shock and Awe. The shock of being surprised and killed by a foe that you thought you had defeaten, the awe of Red’s Center as they realized that victory was indeed occuring after gruesome hours of holding the line, watching their friends fall on their sides.

Red counter-attacks, with renewed vengeance, with a focus on vengeance. Red now believes victory is at hand. Why is that different from Blue’s belief that victory was at hand? Because Red came to believe in victory after being at the BOTTOM, near bottom, of the morale scale. Red’s morale has skyrocketed, from almost zero. The delta, the change, was from 0 to skyscraper. For Blue, they started off high, and when surprised, their morale shrunk and fell. As with gravity, if you fall from a great height, you hurt yourself. Blue’s morale fell from skyscraper heights, to the ground. The acceleration was so fast, Blue’s will to fight was broken instantaneously. It’s simple force equations. F=v^2m iirc. Velocity being displacement over time. The less time, the more velocity, the more velocity, the more force. Red was losing morale at a very low rate, a low velocity. Blue lost their morale all at about the same time. That has a devastating effect.

The Democrats are so busy focusing on the kill counts, but you do understand that their effect on people and you are not based upon absolute numbers, right? Their propaganda effect is focused through changing your morale, numbers are simply a means to an end. It is the morale, the willpower, the spirit, that counts. It is what restricts your war machines and your body. No matter how strong or how numerous, those who are not willing to act, might as well be frozen in time regardless of their power on paper.

The Democrats do not care about how many die, in so far as the more that die, the more readily they can decrease your morale to fight. Attrition warfare, the lowest and crudest form of warfare.

But as the scenario I painted portrayed with Blue vs Red, it is not numbers that matter, it is time, shock, and awe.

Two generals have used inferior numerical forces to best and defeat superior forces. They weren’t “freedom fighters” or “guerrilas” or even terrorists. Guerrila warfare is not some esoteric discipline based upon principles foreign and alien to warfare. It is simply taking a weakened position and purposefully applying it against a stronger position, which is what warfare mostly is about. The strong killing the weak, and the weak trying to survive and kill the strong. In other words, the 21st century of “Siege Warfare”. But back to the two generals. Their names were Belisarius and Hannibal Barca. Most infamous, there are many more leaders and generals in history.

Why did Hannibal Barca cross the Alps? Why did Hannibal Barca bait a full Roman Legion across a river with his light numidian cavalry? Why did the generals send an armored push through to Baghdad?

Studying the current war and reading the events about it, is not a good way to understand warfare. Simply because this war isn’t over, you can’t see what will be or could have been. Looking into past battles however, and you can see the long reaching effects of the actions of both sides.

How Intimidation and Torture work

September 4, 2006

Neo Neocon has a podcast up I recommend you listen to.

Such things as Stock Holme syndrome, aka identifying with the aggressor, is how someone taken captive defends his captives, if only because he feels relieved that nothing worse was done to him. This fear, this motivation to survive, is imprinted on the genes. Compare this with GitMo and what the terrorists say and do after being released.

Why do terrorists attack their captors with words and actions, during and after their captivity, but not Centanni and other hostages under Islamic Jihad? It is because intimidation and torture work. You’ve heard that torture just makes people lie. Did Centanni lie about his good treatment, did other hostages lie about their good treatment? No, to them, it was good treatment. And it was exactly what their captors wanted them to say. Torture works not by applying pain and forcing you to do what we want, torture breaks your spirit so that you want to satisfy the torturers in the fear that they will do worse if not satisfied. Because GitMo military guards are not allowed and do not torture and intimidate, the terrorists feel no fear and are free to retaliate. Yet many more organizations are applying pressure to close GitMo, while few pressure Islamic Jihadists to do the same. Primarily because Islamic Jihad does the effective thing and either kill the hostages, using them up, or releasing them after using them up. President Bush doesn’t make use of his prisoners as bargaining chips, he doesn’t say “do this, or I’ll kill your friends 1 a day”.

Most people will see my solutions and applications as extreme and counter-productive. What they don’t understand is the psychology of current humans at play. An incorrect perception of current positions, will lead to incorrect moves, if you know your chess. Brutally dismembering terrorists doesn’t create a lashback because of how things are. Brutally dismembering innocent people like the Nazis and Arabs did and do, is counter-productive precisely because the situation is different for them. It doesn’t matter what back lash is available. There are ways around it, even if it does exist. You remember the fog of war? Not only does it mean you can’t predict the future, but also that things that seem strong and secure now, will become weak and vulnerable almost magically later. Same goes for strong points. If you think it will be a lashback, if you do this, then I can change things so that in the future, there is no lashback. If you don’t think there will be a lashback, I can change reality so that it makes your perceptions wrong. Perceptions are just perceptions of the now, not the future. THe fog of war allows deception, it allows planning and setting up of current positions so that the future positions are more favorable. Simple strategy, like chess. Develop your pieces, get your people into position, do things now and then act when the consequences of your actions come into fruition.

Iran – The historical context

September 4, 2006

I just checked out a link I had and got to this post where I made a comment on. The comment section is pretty good, since the opponents actually have a clue what is going on historically.

A shrinkwrapped post on Iran

The below is my comment considering the times.

So, for example, the lesson of the Munich Crisis of 1938 isn’t that the Allies should have gone to war then (it is worth noting that there is no particular reason to think that they would have done any better then than they did in 1940), it’s that they should have taken the right steps many years earlier.

The modern Iranian situation works the same way. We in the West are paying the price for decades of short-sighted actions that only encouraged long term strife. In this the Iraq invasion is only the latest — if one of the most glaring — example of how we’ve blundered into potential disaster. After 9/11 the US had the political capital and goodwill to help stabilize the region, but instead we squandered it in a heavy-handed way that alienated our allies while antagonizing potential enemies. Power is always more impressive when not used. Our struggles in Iraq have only served to demonstrate American WEAKNESS.

Allan has a point. It is about taking the right steps ahead of time, so that you end up with a mate and a win. However, Allan’s perspective dictates that to him, his right step is trying to form connections that are useless in today’s world. How he derived all this from the more or less correct historical facts he laid out, is an interesting phenomenon.

For example, after Allan said that Germany could have avoided war by avoiding the naval arms race with Britain before 1914, Allan was correct. And he should have learned from that little tid bit, the lesson that the US should have ignored France and the Un instead of havng an arms race for votes in the UN. The UN precipitated the war with Iraq the moment the US allowed the methodology (inspectors) to partake of the shine of US prestige and approval.

As for Munich, it’s either way. Neville believed he shouldn’t go to war right now, right then, because he believed he had a chance at peace. Much as Allan here believes he can have peace by using this non-existent post 9/11 mysticism in the world. There’s always more than 2 options here. Allan can see things in hindsight, their causes, but he interprets it and learns from it incorrectly. This produces some curious end conclusions concerning the current war.

Now that a genuine threat has emerged — a nuclear armed Iran — we lack the political support and perhaps resources to deal with it in a unilateral way.

That’s not true. Every resource that is required to deal with Iran, Bush already has. What is stopping him is lack of will, and people like Allan here I believe, misinterpret lack of will to be lack of resources.

If we go in without proper international support and/or provocation on the part of Iran it will end up a political disaster.

Even while talking about being unilateral, they still think and believe in proper international support. There is no proper international support because the international community is on the side that pays them and the side that can and will destroy them. Demonstrate power and they’ll flock to you. Demonstrate weakness, and they will be on you as vultures.

After 9/11 the US had the political capital and goodwill to help stabilize the region, but instead we squandered it in a heavy-handed way that alienated our allies while antagonizing potential enemies.

If a person really believes that, then he believes people can be convinced not to blow themselves up through pep rallies and “salesmen”. That person believes as Neville Chamberlain did, that peace was possible because he was very good at making a “deal”. This isn’t about deals, this is about power, who has it, and who is willing to use what they have.

Genetics and Fate

September 2, 2006

[Latter reply to a debate concerning what determines a person's fate and limitations]

I use the word “proof” not in the mathematical sense, but in the sense that a scientific hypothesis can be proved within the limitations of data and observations, using additional data.

It’s not incompatible with you’re system, Earl.

First, you are conceding that height is genetic, I believe.

That’s a very vague thesis, Earl. Is the ocean wet? Is the sky blue? We have to get into specifics.

Why? This belief is only an inference from observations that we’ve made

When I said specifics, I mean specifics in relation to what genetics does when applied to specific things. When you talk about genetics being height or height being genetics, that is the specificity I hold in memory when I talk about how this that and the other are on one list, while others are on another list. The relationship between height and genetics, are specific, they should not be treated in a general format. That loses fidelity and sharpness of clarity.

When you outline your thoughts on the connection between height and genetics, you will find that it does not include every other thing you have listed as alike the contrast.

If I can show you that this is so for intelligence and disease, will you then concede that we have NO genetic limitations?

Genetics does not seem to be a coherent whole, attached as a singular entity. Meaning, if you can take it and apply it to one sector of human affairs, that does not mean everything else becomes just like that one application. So let’s say if you can construct a model demonstrating that there are limits for intelligence and disease based upon known and proven DNA sectors and configurations. So what. We are not specifically talking about what genetics do or do not do, we or I, are talking about the strict human limitations of a person as opposed to his archetypal DNA structure. We can base our consideration of human limitations on genetic limitations, but that is not set in stone nor is it guaranteed to be the correct method in determining human limitations, as opposed to genetic limitations. Obviously genes have a limit, they are a biological system. All physical systems, which includes the biological as it obeys the conservation of mass and energy, have limitations that are consistent with other like systems.

Human limitations, are not a physical system, it does not obey the logical mandates we would otherwise assume holds.

Second, you neglected to mention Mozart. I know of few to no other toddlers who were performing/writing music as he did. Why is that…..if musical talent is equally distributed and its emergence depends solely on environment, then does it seem likely that the fame and wealth available to someone whose child was such a prodigy would not have tempted them to do whatever Mozart’s father did? Or did he know a secret that has escaped everyone else?

That is not the model that I choose to support, however. When I say that humans have limitations that are not strictly based upon their genetic pre-destined limitations, I mean exactly that. I do not deny that there are advantages confered upon a person when he is naturally gifted at a specific field in human endeavour. However, I do contest that the end result, the end human limits achieved or not achieved, is predominantly or even entirely based upon motivation, environment, and the shaping of the human personality/soul.

Mozart was trained early on as a performer, because his father was obsessed more or less with music and having a child prodigy. That kind of obsession produces character, a specific kind of character in a child. To please his father, to do well, and to utilize his gifts. Would a father have as much absolute end result success, if his child was not gifted in music? I believe that to be a positive answer, in so far as the child has an equal motivation. Mozart’s motivation was to please his father, to do well, to work the music, and to learn music which he was good at. Those things that you are good at, you tend to specialize in, do you not. If a child is not good at music, what can you do to make him want to be good in order to balance out the natural advantage of a Mozart? Mozart’s motivations come from his unique circumstance. If you can equal that motivation, your human limitations have now changed.

Let’s say musical talent was distributed more or less equally. If being a musician pays nothing, and being a doctor pays a lot, which do you think fathers will attempt to motivate their sons to go into irregardless of what their sons really are good at? This is not a useful model to demonstrate anything, to presume that musical talent is spread out and ask why it doesn’t show up. You end up more involved in human socioeconomic straits than with genetics.

I think that a FAR likelier story (not proved by science, just the inference to the best explanation) is that musical talent is NOT distributed equally to all of us.

SInce that has nothing to do with why if you worked, trained, became as motivated as Lance Armstrong and still could not be on his level, what worth is it to say whether talent is distributed or not? You didn’t begin this by talking about where talent was distributed. You just defacto said that some people could not achieve the level of an Armstrong and what not. If you are going to go with talent distribution, then that only determines where people start, not where they end. Since you began with the end goal, your current subject does not support that end you are striving for.

If height is limited genetically, why is it such a stretch to think that maximum muscle size is also limited in that way?

For one thing. Bones suffer from what is known as support problems, basically physics. Muscles operates based upon biology, not physics. In physics, steel does not become harder the more you use it or the more stress is placed upon it. Bone is not steel, but it is limited simply because of gravity and what purpose it serves. It’s always a stretch to compare the Sun and the Moon, the atom and the ion, anti-matter and matter. Strength from body building, comes from years of building muscle because muscle gets better the more it is used. Arnold, who used bodybuilding as a way to get out of poverty, had more of a motivaton to utilize those years building up muscles, then some guy living the high life at hollywood training at a gym.

As bones grow larger and longer, they require ligaments that are genetically designed for a certain specific range of weight and size. Artificial growth does not work as nature designed things to work. Muscles do not require bone, since muscles move themselves. The limitations for height as opposed to muscle are not the same. Therefore whatever data you collect on the data, are not comparable. Those observations are independent of each other, you cannot just construct a hypothesis using data from two independent things and then just link them together without the correct correlations.

I trained hard – twice a day, watching my diet, etc.

Let’s think about this and analyze it.

Does this story support my idea that mile-running ability is unequally distributed and that if Eddie and I did PRECISELY the same training regiment he would always have a genetic advantage over me? Or does it support (NOT “prove”) your contention that mile-running ability is equally distributed and that if Eddie and I trained in preciselythe same way, we would end up with the same time in the mile?

I wouldn’t really care whether ability is unequally distributed or not. But that, as i mentioned above, was not where you started from. You started with the thesis that people like you and others, cannot achieve the level of skill and ability of current top dogs. Cannot, meaning as in never, always limited, predestined by birth. Your story supports the theory that he who has a lead, can maintain that lead if he doesn’t slack off. That’s just physics, force and acceleration, inertia. A mass in motion, will tend to stay in motion until an equal and opposite force stops it.

I don’t contend that basic genetic predispositions do not accelerate a person’s skill, ability, and talent set. What I contended, was that genetics are neither the majority or primary causes of whether a person reaches the height of power and skill.

You’re going down an irrelevant path here. You need to explain why genetics predetermine people’s careers and potential successes. You need to explain why you think early successes in a person’s life brought on by genetic talent or other factors does not increase people’s motivations. You need to then explain, why a person is limited by his genetics, when in fact, he is limited by his personality, life goals, and motivational construct.

See, it really doesn’t matter who has what talent, on what kind of distribution system, or in which time date. What really matters, is whether you can adequately construct and explain your hypothesis, your hypothesis being that genetics pre-determine a person’s fate, regardless of any other factor.

I don’t need to believe that genetics are “equally distributed”, for you to be wrong. As I explain, your theory is wrong simply because how far people go is determined by their motivation and early life experiences. But I don’t arrive that the point using inductive logic, the kind of logic you use when you think of science and experiments, Earl. Genetics only matter in the sense, that it molded their early life experiences and gave them additional reason to excel. Thus, Lance’s superiority to you, is not his genetics, it is his motivation. He pushes his limits all the time, you believe some are the way they are because they were born that way.

I’m done with the conclusion, now here’s the other miscellaneous stuff.
Well, Ymarsakar – perhaps you’re correct and if I’d really applied myself, I could have been the equal of Van Cliburn, but you know what…..? Much as I admire my potential in all kinds of ways, I don’t think so. I don’t have the same genetics as Van Cliburn, and the evidence is pretty firm that that counts.

That’s right, Earl. You don’t think so. You think you don’t have the same potential, the same limitations, because you don’t have the same genetics. You base your thinking on genetics, your conclusions on your hypothesis concerning genetics.

The science does not bear out your hypothesis, Earl. We can break the science apart into many things. But since I already wrote my conclusion more or less, I’ll just list the fundamental difference between one belief of a person and what science supports. Science supports specific DNA structures that allow greater initial performance than the competitors. What science does not support, is that Earl could not have been the equal of Van Cliburn, only because Van’s genes are not Earl’s genes. That’s not an experiment science has done, with any sort of good accurate result.

People are not like other people because their souls are not the same, their personality are not the same. These are the primary reasons and causes for differences amongst individuals. Genetics do not decide good and evil, genetics do not decide success or failure. In fact, genetics is a crap shoot, it’s nature’s way of gambling and see who wins or not. Genetics Do Not Matter. Only victory and success matters, power and skill over your rivals. That is nature’s goal, genetics are a means to an end. It is not the end goal itself. Because genes are not the end goal, they can be surpassed and bypassed. If you can’t go through a wall because your genetics have spoken, then you can go around, dig under, climb ontop. Victory, however, cannot be bypassed, it cannot be stolen or fake copied. There is no way to make it so that we do not “need” victory, we will always need it. Genes, can be bypassed and circumvented, because genes are not the end goal while victory is.

What does all this have to do with you believing that I am contending that people are born with an equal amount of potential and talent? I don’t care what they are born with, that’s the whole point. It’s what you end up as that matters. It doesn’t matter if you use genes, a time machine, science, pseudo-limbs, or whatever to get at the end goal.

You can’t use science to create models to determine whether a person’s potential is determined by A, B, or C. Well you could, but you wouldn’t succede. There are too many variables, you can’t isolate specific variables you need in your experiment, and various other problems that arise. You think in terms of experiments, how can I experiment to see whether me and my friend here the runner, can end up the same if we did the same training regiment. Because the scientific methodology is inadequate to the task, you have to use something else. Just like with genes, if you can’t do things one way because your genes said you can’t fly, find a way around it.


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