Friday, November 14, 2008

This and That

24 comments:

Shubhendu Trivedi said...

Lady Bee,
Oh I love that cartoon. :)
I would recommend this article.

Regards
- S

Thomas Larsson said...

"Lee Gomes blames computers for the economic crisis:"

To err is human, but to really screw things up you need a computer.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

“draconian as it may sound, the answer must surely be to avoid reproducing.”

I find this interesting since with the rise of the “green movement” in elevating to promote the concept of “sustainable” and the struggle to quantify such, I’ve never seen any concerted attempt to calculate what number “sustainable” would represent to be in terms of population. One would think that if this were to be truly considered as being driven by science this would be a key parameter considered in terms of the overall solution.

Best,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I also like the cartoon you present in regards to the current economic situation. I think right now however we need to hear a conversation where someone says something like “with the way things are going my purchasing I will have to suspend” to have it misconstrued and relayed as “Spend?, Spend, Spend!, Spend!!, Spend!!!! :-) I realize this is not the total solution yet when one lowers their expectations you can’t expect results will often exceed them.

Best,

{hil

Arun said...

Dear Bee,

Lee Gomes can blame computers all he wants. It is the Wall Street culture that is to blame, however.

Best,
-Arun

Uncle Al said...

Montecito domiciles average more than $(US)2.5 million/each,

http://pics4.city-data.com/ctrends/ctr1886.png
http://pics2.city-data.com/hval2007/2237.png
note log scale for valuation

If you have a $2.5 million home in fire country, buy a gooper - mixes gelant with water to cover a home with adherent slime. 100% firepoof for days. Cash-cushioned incompetence is flammable.

Bee said...

Dear Arun,

I was only mentioning this article because I find it a particularly absurd attempt to find something or somebody to blame. The actual problem is that too many people believe there are indeed shortcuts to thinking and then come to overrely on tools they've been given. Whether that's a computer, a model, a party program, the ten commandments or a diet plan, we just learn to be thoughtless, and if it doesn't work, look for somebody to blame. I think Scott got it quite right, we suck at the basics. There are too many people who believe progress comes for free. Best,

B.

Arun said...

Dear Bee,
Good point. However, with respect to Wall Street, it was not thoughtlessness, and I suspect people are trying to pin blame on any but the true suspects.

Where is the thoughtlessness in the following (about Merrill Lynch, in a story by Gretchen Morgenson in last Sunday's NYTimes)

" Former executives say Mr. Fakahany had weakened Merrill’s risk management unit by removing longstanding employees who “walked the floor,” talking with traders and other workers to figure out what kinds of risks the firm was taking on.

Former Merrill executives say that the people chosen to replace those employees were loyal to Mr. O’Neal and his top lieutenants. That made them more concerned about achieving their superiors’ profit goals, they say, than about monitoring the firm’s risks.

A pivotal figure in the mortgage push was Mr. Semerci, a details-oriented manager whom some former employees described as intimidating. He joined Merrill in 1992 as a financial consultant in Geneva.

After that, he became a fixed-income sales representative for the firm’s London unit. He later rose quickly through Merrill’s ranks, ultimately overseeing a broad division: fixed income, currencies and commodities.

Always carrying a notebook with his operations’ daily profit-and-loss statements, Mr. Semerci would chastise traders and other moneymakers who told risk management officials exactly what they were doing, a former senior Merrill executive said.

“There was no dissent,” said the former executive, who requested anonymity to maintain relationships on Wall Street. “So information never really traveled.”"

Best,
-Arun

Bee said...

Dear Arun,

It is thoughtless in that it doesn't make sense. These people knew what their job was, but they've replaced it with 'making money' - which, all by itself, is meaningless. They looked left and right and figured out what everybody else did, and they did the same. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Shubhendu:

Thanks for the link. That's an interesting article indeed. Though here as in other cases I find all this talking about 'self-organization' and 'the edge of chaos' incredibly vague. I would like to see a definition for these expressions, and I would also like to see evidence for why they allegedly describe the world's economy well. It doesn't seem much better to me to proclaim if we just do it the right way our economy will be operating at the edge of chaos and self-organization will follow, than to say our economy is in equilibrium and an invisible hand will guide us towards eternal happiness. It's just words on both sides. Best,

B.

Neil' said...

"Lee Gomes blames computers for the economic crisis." - OK, maybe for obvious and not so obvious reasons. But one way to stabilize "the" Markets is to set rules about how quickly you can resell for a higher price than you bought. I would forbid reselling for e.g. above 5% the same day, above 10% after 24 hours, and so on.

Neil' said...

Phil W, there isn't an exact population level which is "sustainable" over which affairs suddenly are not. It is a matter of degree. The higher the population, then the harder it is to get enough resources for good standard of living for most people, the harder to preserve other species and habitats, the harder to prevent damaging effects on the environment etc. How cranks like Lumo and his hero (deceptive and physically-illiterate economist) the late Julian Simon couldn't get that, I can't imagine.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Neil,

“there isn't an exact population level which is "sustainable" over which affairs suddenly are not. It is a matter of degree”

I’m sorry for me that answer is a no sale. As it happens as to what I do for a living in regards to the industry I’m part of this concept of being “sustainable” gets bandied about quite a lot. The fact is there is really little hard science and related analysis attached to it. That’s not to say that there couldn’t be, it’s simply that there isn’t as of yet.

I’m also concerned as to being confused by your attempt to link me with others in terms of your answer or should I call it more unwarranted suspicion and perhaps disapproval. The truth is I really believe that we must get a handle on these matters, for what’s at stake is all our futures and I’m hopeful that more then rhetoric is what is come up with.

Best,

Phil

Neil' said...

Phil, there has been plenty of analysis and study of what effect increasing population and human activities have on conditions on Earth - I can't imagine what your claim about not seeing much is supposed to mean. There are so many examples, like depletion of fisheries, trouble getting water, etc.

As for Lumo, Simon, etc - they were trained in relevant subjects and/or loudly pronounced untenable, dismissive views of the subject. That's why they are very clearly deserving of opprobrium. If OTOH you are just unsure or skeptical as a "show me" critic, and aren't aiming to promulgate definitive ideas that would make it even harder for us to deal with the World's problems - I'm OK with that. However, if you want to disagree I am looking for actual rebuttals and not just things like "I can't find anything from the other claimants" - well, there's plenty, just look around at what UNESCO, AAAS, NAS, Cousteau Society, Royal Society etc. has to say. (It is a fallacy also that the current speaker has to literally put it all up right before you, I need only to be correct that it can be found.)

Also Wikipedia is not perfect but there are various reasonably accurate and even-handed articles on issues like fisheries, water, species die-off, CO2, peak oil, etc. Also try typing [cod fishing uk], not in quotes, into Google to see what went wrong with overfishing etc. Finally, isn't it just common sense and basic economics that more and more people will increase demand on land and resources, "rub against" each other harder, and make things more difficult in the net?

But PS, I am actually more interested in QM issues etc. (google "quantum measurement paradox" and I come up in top 10 or so.) I see on e.g. http://oddandsods.blogspot.com/2008/07/quantum-mechanics-for-beginners.html that you have an interest too. What do you think of "decoherence" as an ostensible explanation of "collapse"? I think it's BS since the waves would still just keep intermingling and combining amplitudes - I have said this here many times to little effect on enthusiasts.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Neil,

“If OTOH you are just unsure or skeptical as a "show me" critic, and aren't aiming to promulgate definitive ideas that would make it even harder for us to deal with the World's problems - I'm OK with that.

Actually Neil it’s none of the above, it’s just that sustainable is to be able to continue in perpetuity, well perhaps not quite as long as that:-) What I mean is I don’t think one would find a serious paper or study that brings all this to a number value, accounting for certain constants like an average life style (assuming a mean parity is reached), energy consumption, resource consumption etc. and plug in total available resource potential, accounting for expected technologically gained efficiencies etc, and come up with a number of people that could be accommodated for many millennia.

I would be surprised if you would find even a rudimentary calculation of such a nature. I don’t doubt you’ll find many that point to us heading for trouble (rapidly) in specific areas and yet I’m almost certain you will find nothing that’s comprehensive enough to put a number on it all in terms of population. That’s not even considering how many apples we want to leave for the birds and bees. So actually what I’m saying is that with such a serious matter we should have much more serious science and it’s not enough it give us reason to change yet rather to give us a better handle on what that amounts to be.

As to your query in respect the quantum fundamental concerns, I would say that yes I do have a interest in such matters and have had for some time, yet this is not the place for it. You however can leave a message on the blog you mentioned and I would be happy to address it. Just as a hint, presently my thinking as of now and for quite a while has been in Bohm’s/Bell's direction in such regard.

Best,

Phil

Anonymous said...

What can be done to protect the environment? Let's start with this:solutions are only possible within a nation state framework. If one thinks that out-of-control population growth is a problem, it is foolish to deal with this problem outside of a nation state framework.

Example:It is indisputable that America's population growth is driven exclusively by post-1965 immigration policy. It is a indisputable fact that Euro-American fertility stabilized at replacement starting back in 1973.It is an indisputable fact that the American West is in is worst drought in 500 hundred years. It is an indisputable fact that a Western US state such as California has a growing population fueled by post post-1965 immigrants. If the 1965 immigration reform act had not been passed, the US population would have peaked at 250 million. This obviously would have been very good for the Enviroment. However, phony Environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club- which is on the take from a multibillioniare hedge fund manage- advocates even higher levels of post-1965 immigration!!! Dumb policy. European Americans are punished for doing the right thing by the envinroment. Then why should Euro-Americans continue to do the right thing by the environment(such as having small families)?

In closing, I just thought I would stick it to the worshippers of the Barack Obama one mo time. Your diety will very likely appoint the butcher of Belgrade-Hilarly Clinton-as Secretary State. Hilarly was the one who egged Bill to bomb the Serbian population. In other words, Obama has appointed a war criminal as Seceretary of State.

As far as the economy goes:Barack Obama has appointed the foxes-Hedge fund managers and investment bankers-to watch the hens.

Joshua Chamberlain

Neil' said...

Phil, I can see what you're getting at better but it still doesn't invalidate wanting to make life on Earth "sustainable." You imply that what matters is whether given numbers of people can be alive at all, or not - but for almost everyone the issue is whether we can sustain decent standards of living. Sure that's subject to debate - so what? Is everything we can't make an exact certain judgment on going to hold up decision making forever? There's no reason why it should. BTW there are plenty of studies out there that cover the subject in a realistic way, and your wanting some basic-physics style factor or whatever is a red herring. Trust me and almost every honest thinker on Earth on that.

Joshua, the current Admin-to-be has its flaws but they can hardly be worse than what we already had. The Republicans were even more into de-reg. foxifying than the Dems. As for Serbia, they were already committing war crimes, do you think we just let everyone do that without consequence?

Anonymous said...

Neil

Many of the Serbian "atrocities" have been exposed many times over as being hoaxes. I have know doubt that there was killing on both sides. However, even though Bosinas and Croatians were slaughtering Serbs, for geo- political reasons the Clinton adminstration singled out the Serbs.

The "Great Man" of the moment Barack OBama voted to allow 400 million dollars spent on the the destabilization of Iran. Moreover, when he went to the AIPAIC conference where he pledged his allegiance to the state of Israel, he said that he would not rule out anything with regards to Iran.

Madelaine Albright-the butcher of Iraq -presided over the death of possibly one million Iraqis during the Clinton's strangulation of Iraq.Madelaine Albright is now a foreign policy advisor for Barack Obama.

Srebineca was a Clinton adminstration fabrication about Serbian atrocities. Bosnia is an cesspool of Al-Queda types and heroin exporters. Shall we bomb Bosnia for the slaugther of Serbian civilians?

Joshua Chamberlain

stefan said...

Joshua,

moderate your tone and provide proofs to the claims you are brining forward - or even better, spill your silly propaganda somewhere else. Further elaborations by you may be deleted without comment.

Thanks, Stefan

Anonymous said...

Stefan

Well, we can start with one of Barck Obama's foreign policy advisors Madelaine Albright. The charge of genocide against Albright was made by Dennis Halliday UN Humanitarian coordinator in Baghdad. Halliday has made this charge against Albright many times on the radio,TV and in the press, backed up with hard data. Hallidays two sucessors Hans Van Alson Sponeck and Jutta Burghatt resigned in disgust over Albright's and the Clinton's crimes against humanity. This information is easily obtainable over the net where many interviews with Dennis Halliday can be found.

That Barack Obama voted 400 million dollars to continue with the torture of Iran-a nation that poses no threat to America- is well known. His voting record is on the the web.

The head of Barck Obama's economic recovery team is Lawrence Summers-the guy who claimed that women are not genetically equipped to do advanced physics and mathematics research -who was the head of the Hedge fund Shaw and company. Like I said before:the foxes are watching the chickens- all with the blessing of Barack Obama.

Joshua Chamberlain

Bee said...

Joshua: I don't know what your problem with Obama is, but I would appreciate if you'd take it elsewhere. I presently don't have the time to read through your sermon, but this blog isn't a forum to discuss what politics you think Obama might or might not pursue. I am very sure you will find plenty of other places on the web where your insights are very welcome. Best,

B.

Anonymous said...

Bee

Don't worry. I won't post here anymore if it bothers you and Stefan that much. I would only point out that this thread was about the economic meltdown in the US and the environment. Nothing in my post is irrelvant. On the contrary, it is in the too hot to handle category.


Anyhow, thanks for letting me post up to this point time. If you are interested in further exploration of the issues that I have touched upon, I highly recommend that you go to vdare.com.It is a well known web site.

Good-bye

Joshua Chamberlain

Bee said...

Thanks. I hope you understand that I neither have the time nor the interest to deal with that.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Neil,

“Trust me and almost every honest thinker on Earth on that.”

Again it appears you believe that I have some sort of attitude that our present course needs no changing and that would be wrong. I also am not attempting to muddy the waters in regards to these matters. I do think however that when we are talking about something that has people as its root cause that the quantity of them is something that can’t be skirted around as this is not science.

We are now more then six billion and climbing and I find it necessary to ask that over the long term if all are to be rightfully granted a reasonable standard of living, can this be sustained reasonably without consequence? I just wonder as we throw things in our green boxes and attempt to reduce fossil fuel consumption how effective will all this be in the face of a world where only a small fraction enjoy what you and I do, with the majority still standing in line awaiting their turn to have the same?

It would appear to me that on are current course and pace that it will be largely all for nothing unless we seriously begin to put it all into a clear and general context, where what is being considered as being sustainable is considered more precisely and honestly. It’s not that I down play the activist’s part for sounding the alarm, yet I do wonder who is expected to answer the call and how?

Best,

Phil