Escanaba Vacation, tdaxp, and The Thesis

On July 1st I leave on an epic trip that will take me through La Crosse, Copper Harbor, and Marquette, until we finally arrive in Escanaba. The Finno-Italian City on the Lake, former home of summerin’ Chicago mobsters, is my father’s hometown, and I am traveling with him to see the sites. I will not return to South Dakota until July 5th.

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Escanaba and Environs

I’ve queued blogspirit so tdaxp should have one new post a day for those five days. They will be section 4.3 of my thesis, A Computer Model of National Behavior.

4.3 Entity Attributes

4.3.1 Introduction

4.3.2 Places

4.3.3 Nations

4.3.4 Nations-in-Places (NPs)

4.3.5 States

Will it be interesting? Not really. But at least it will keep tdaxp “fresh.”

Blogs versus MSM in the 18th Century

Trading Places,” by Peter Drucker, The National Interest, Spring 2005, pg 101.

(This article is kind of a rant. But then, so was Drucker’s article, so maybe he is rubbing off on me… — tdaxp)

In a provocative article, notes…

Information as a concept and a distinct category is an invention of the 18th century–of the newspaper in England and the encyclopedia in France. Within a century, information became global with the development of the modern postal system in the 1830s, followed almost immediately by the electric telegraph and the first computer language, the Morse Code. But unlike the newspaper and the encyclopedia, neither the postal service nor the telegraph made information public. On the contrary, they made it “privileged communication.” “Public information” by contrast–newspapers, radio, television–ran one way only, from the publisher to the recipient. The editor rather than the reader decided what was “fit to print.”

Contrasting the mammoth French “encyclopedias” to the frothing English newspapers reminded me of Eric S. Raymond’s short paper, The Cathedral and the Bazaar. In it, Raymond compared the development of Microsoft Windows to the Linux operating system, and he drew some historical parallels

Windows v. Linux
Cathedral v. Bazaar
Soviet v. American

That is, he saw being built laboriously guided by a single vision, like Medieval Cathedrals of the Soviet economy. , by contrast, was collaboratively developed through social networks, like bazaars (marketplaces) or the American economy.

Raymond’s list that can be extended to…

Internet Explorer v. Mozilla Firefox
Network-Centric War v. 4th Generation War
French Grande Encyclopedia v. English Newspapers
Super-empowered leaders v. Super-empowered individuals
Mainstream Media v. Blogs

In every case, the left hand side believes in concentrating power in a few individuals and then using everyone else as footsoldiers. In the 18th century, the French elite chose to concentrate power in the editors of the Encyclopedia, and the rest were left to submit articles for arbitrary approval or disapproval, or else just say good things about the encyclopedia and try to sell copies. In Britain, by contrast, anyone could start a newspaper, they could publish it in whatever format they wanted, and the market chose winners and losers.

We see the same thing today in the blogs v. MSM struggle. CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, NYT, etc have bet on the Windows/Cathedral/Soviet/IE/NCW/Super-Leader/French approach. Bloggers use the tactics of the Linux/Bazaar/American/Firefox/4GW/English/Super-individuals.

Interestingly, the same super-empowered leader v. super-empowered individual debate exists within encyclopedia publishing itself. The world’s largest encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is organized as collection of hundreds of thousands of blogs. Nearly every page can be edited by everyone, and every page has its own forum or discussion page where anyone can opine. is an amazing project run super-empowered-individual and started by Americans.

Heavens save us from whatever a French-created blogosphere would look like. Probably like some gigantic, pretty, and intellectually dead encyclopedia.

Phil on the GWOT 4GW: A Genius Speaks

Dan, thanks for responding…,” by phil, tdaxp, 29 June 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/06/26/introduction_to_modern_warfare_for_seth_of_cck.html#c152828.

An exceptionally brilliant comment by tdaxp reader Phil appears below. My comments, which add so little to his clean summary, and interspersed

We are in a 4GW war with Islamic fundamentalists.

True. The Global War on Terrorism — or GWOT — is partially a 4th Generation War. It also appears to be a Global Guerrillas War. Add to that Operation Iraqi Freedom I, which was a Network-Centric War.

The GWOT is a full-spectrum war.

This is a state vs. a non-state actor. And this is not only a war that involves violent action, but it’s also a war of ideas.

True. And because a the purpose of 4GW is to erode an enemy’s will to fight, instead of just his ability to fight, the Global War on Terrorism is primarily a war of ideas.

The challenge that we face is in providing an alternative vision to what the jihadists are providing.

True. Dr. Tom Barnett calls this a “future worth creating” or a “happy ending.” The Enemy gives full spectrum happy-endings, from the individual mujahid (“you will go to Paradise, where beautiful virgins are waiting…”) to benighted Muslims (“the corrupt rules and hypocrite mullahs will be overthrown…”) to the grand idealists (“the Caliphate will unite all…”). We also need a full-spectrum response.

As I wrote before, the Neocons and Theocons may be the seeds of one…

Now there’s been a lot of talk on blogs about the inadequacies of American public diplomacy. The reality is that we don’t have time to wait for the politicians and bureaucrats in public diplomacy to get with the program.

True.

Colonel John Boyd divided up action into the OODA loop — Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. You can win if you get inside the enemy’s OODA loop — what people often call “getting into his head.” If you can act while your enemy is orienting, you can move on to the next stage while the enemy needs to go back to observe. You can paralyze the enemy with doubt and confusion.

Politics has an extremely slow OODA loop. It is not fast enough.

So what if another level were created, another level made up of non-state actors within the US, that were designed to fight the ideological war (no violence that’s the state’s monopoly).

True.

In a perfect world, organizations like Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross would be our non-state allies against the enemy. But they other objectives…

These organizations would not be subject to the political and bureaucratic labyrinths, but would pursue the ideological war independently.

MEMRI is an example of such an organization…

They would be entrepreneurial and able to adapt and respond quickly as circumstances changed. Al Qaeda has adapted itself to take advantage of the characteristics of our free society. What if we marshaled the characteristics of the free society to our benefit? The entrepreneurship, decentralization, the “chaos” of civil society.

Brilliant comment. Absolutely brilliant.

Lakotization is Family Liberation

First, your terminology is offensive,” by Seth, tdaxp, 15 June 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/06/11/delusional_iraqi_arab_sunnis_slouching_toward_lakotization.html.

The moral pathology of Lakotization doesn’t need a lot of space,” by TM Lutas, tdaxp, 29 June 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/06/25/lakotization_of_the_iraqi_sunni_arabs_family_disintegration.html#c152142.

Seth from CCK criticizes the term “lakotization”

First, your terminology is offensive. Saying we have “lakota”ed a people by destroying their culture is about as wonderful as saying people in Darfur were “jew-ized.”

While TM Lutas condemns on the lakotization process…

The moral pathology of Lakotization doesn’t need a lot of space. It’s almost self-evident that we’re going to regret doing this (if we are doing it) later. … Lakotization is a mistake morally, it won’t work practically, and should neither be advocated, nor tolerated.

That a Democrat partisan and a Rightist aficionado of The Pentagon’s New Map find common cause against lakotization is a sign that my attempts to defend it have failed. From these critiques, I gather it is an offensive pathological failure.

So instead of exporting fear, I will export hope. How can lakotization be repackaged so it doesn’t elicit such outrage

Simple, give it a new term: family liberation. The goal remains the same: destroy Enemy family structures and turn the individuals to rely on the state. But family liberation will be presented positively and its harmony with human rights will be defended.

Description: Family Liberation is an attempt to

  • change a culture
  • to decrease the strength of families
  • and increase the influence of the state

We know each of these can be done with little violence while respecting human rights.

Cultures are changed constantly. Even when change is effected by small sub-groups, we do not consider this a violation of human rights. We hear activists talking about changing the culture of violence, the culture of bigotry, the gun culture, etc. What these people mean is that they wish to change the folkways of a culture so that violence becomes less acceptable to all societies in that culture, that “bigotry” becomes less acceptable to all societies in that culture, that gun ownership becomes less acceptable to all societies in that culture, etc.

None of these agitating groups form a majority or anything close to it. All use whatever outside help they can get. And many times the state has propagandized and subsidized actions it considers in its interest. So changing a culture is an acceptable goal. So we know that cultures can be changed while respecting human rights.

Weakening families is an acceptable political goal. Christ agitated for weaker family bonds — as did Paul. Women’s liberation and children’s liberation — indeed, the whole of feminism — is concerned with withering these bonds. While such views may be noxious, the entire world (outside the Islamists) recognize the legality of such political efforts.

Likewise, Leftism has nearly defined liberation as dependence on the state. So encouraging state dependency is an acceptable state goal. A state-education, a state-pension, a state-protected job, etc, are seen as marks of “Freedoms.” The first President to speak of a United Nations Organization — Franklin Roosevelt, used the word in this statist way when we described his “Four Freedoms.”

All lakotization is — all I mean by family liberation — is the process of converting a society from family-centered to state-centered. America has liberated the families of the lakota and the blacks. We can do this to Iraqi Sunni Arabs to save a country.

Richard Rahn on Taxing and Growing

The Taxing of Nations,” by Richard Rahn, The National Interest, Spring 2005, ppg 112-118.

A very good article by a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute on taxes and growth.

On the harm of taxing capital:

Economists have long known that taxing capital is economically destructive. Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Lucas, after carefully reviewing relevant economic studies, concluded in 2003 that reducing capital-income taxation from its current level to zero (using other taxes to support an unchanged rate of government spending) would result in overall welfare gains of “perhaps 2 to 4 percent of annual consumption [compounded] in perpetuity.”

On the importance of the birth rate on retirement savings

It is often said that demographics drive history and, to a considerable extent, the lower-than-replacement birth rates on the continent are at the root of the tax-rate war [attempts by “Old Europe” to force developing countries to raise their capital tax rates]. Starting in the 1960s, these countries built welfare states with generous retirement systems. Such systems are barely sustainable, even with rapidly growing populations. “Defined-benefit” systems are in essence Ponzi schemes that require the number of new workers to grow as fast, if not faster, than the retirees, because it is the taxes of the working population, not any sort of savings, that are used to finance the payments to retired workers. Europe is plagued with stagnant or falling populations, which means that the proportion of the elderly is increasing rapidly.”

On the pain Old Europe must go through before it can grow again

In Many countries are moving to a “defined-contribution” system, much as Child did a quarter century ago (and as President Bush is now advocating for the United States). In such a system, workers are required to invest a given percentage of their incomes in relatively safe investments, such as government bonds r high-grand corporate bonds and stocks. The Europeans have waited too long, however, to make the necessary changes without going through considerable pain. They cannot get out of the dilemma by raising taxes, because their current tax rates are already above the revenue maximizing point. Hence, any tax increase will further reduce economic growth. Because present growth is so low, tax increases will actually lead to less tax revenue over the long run. The European governments are then left with no alternative to to begin reducing real benefits. But the public is not yet willing to support politicians who tell them the unpleasant truth. As a result, reducing benefits is constantly postponed by the politicians.

On just how insane capital taxes can be in Europe — which leads to capital flight

Individually, most Europeans understand the reality they are facing. Thus, we find that Europeans have much of their income. The problem is that Europeans have few profitable domestic investment alternatives available to them — given that tax rates on capital income often approach or even exceed 100 percent when an adjustment for inflation is made . (For example, if you are French investor who received 4 percent on a capital investment before taxes, but are subject to a 50-percent-plus tax rate on that investment, while the inflation rate is 3 percent, the actual after-tax return is negative 1 percent.)

Horizontal Thinking at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln

NeInSci,” University of Nebraska – Lincoln, downloaded 27 June 2005, http://www.unl.edu/gradstudies/GSAP/INDEX.html (from private email).

Nebraska Symposium on Interdisciplinary Graduate Science Research
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
8am – 3pm
UNL City Campus Union

The first annual NeInSci (Nebraska Symposium on Interdisciplinary Graduate Science Research) will be held on Tuesday September 27, 2005 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus Union. The symposium is designed to open interdepartmental dialogue and encourage possible research collaborations among UNL graduate students in participating departments, which include.

Agronomy and Horticulture, Food Science
Animal Science, Mathematics
Biochemistry, Physics & Astronomy
Biological Sciences, Psychology
Chemistry, School of Natural Resources
Computer Science & Engineering, Toxicology
Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences

The event includes a poster session, open to all graduate students from the participating departments, and selected student presentations on ongoing interdisciplinary research. A complimentary box lunch will be provided for all registered participants. Register online at http://www.chem.unl.edu/plu/neinsci/. In addition, several $250 research travel and $1000 research support grants will be awarded following the day’s activities. Participants can apply for these grants online.

All UNL faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students are invited to attend. For additional information or to pre-register for the Symposium, go to http://www.chem.unl.edu/plu/neinsci/. Or contact Kelly Mercier, Co-chair, NeInSci Steering Committee, 721 Hamilton Hall, 402-472-5316 (lab),
kannedo@bigred.unl.edu
Sponsored by
Office of Graduate Studies
Phi Lambda Upsilon
Department of Chemistry
& Participating Departments

Read more

What is horizontal thinking?

Bookosphere: The Elements

I kept going over and over how to respond to Josh’s tag and come up with a list of meaningful books. In truth the below books, and their descriptions, just occurred to be while I was eating fat-free lite yogurt. But that’s boring, so here’s a more interesting origin:

Once, the sign on Sioux Falls’ grandest union read: If what you are doing is not working, stop doing it. My earlier attempts to create a book list, categories, write descriptions, defend their importance to myself, &c. So I stopped attempting that I embraced despair, and decided on another path of attack..

Like Aristotle, I humbled myself before knowledge. Instead of trying to work down from a grand theory of writing, I will work up by making lists. So here is my first list from the blogosphere: The Elements

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Family
(see also Sons, A House Divided)
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Individuality
(see also Anthem, The Romantic Manifesto)