Bush with China, Congress against China

Panel Urges Action vs. China on Trade,” by Foster King, Associated Press, 28 October 2006, (from Democratic Underground).

China military to tour U.S. bases,” by Audrey McAvoy, Associated Press, 29 October 2006, (from Democratic Underground).

Iraq, China to revive Saddam-era oil deal as Baghdad seeks investment”,” by , Associated Press, 29 October 2006, (from Democratic Underground).

As the Bush Administration welcomes friendly ties with China:

A Chinese military delegation will begin a five-day tour of U.S. military installations in Hawaii and California on Monday and meet with senior U.S. officers in the latest step to repair military ties between the two countries.

About 30 midlevel military commanders in the People’s Liberation Army, including division and brigade commanders, will visit U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, tour a guided missile destroyer in San Diego and observe Marine training at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

It is the third such visit by Chinese military officers since the countries agreed last October to increase military exchanges.

And, through the Iraqi government, has the Central State reinvest in Iraq:

China and Iraq are reviving a 1997 deal worth US$1.2 billion (€850 million) signed by Beijing and Saddam Hussein’s government to develop an Iraqi oil field, Baghdad’s oil minister said Saturday.

Officials will meet next month to renegotiate the agreement over the al-Ahdab field, said Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani. He was wrapping up a three-nation tour to secure investment to revive his country’s oil industry.

You can count on the Congress to play the protectionist card:

)— A congressional advisory panel’s draft report is urging lawmakers to push for tough action against China on two festering trade disputes: intellectual property protection and Washington’s view that China’s currency is undervalued.

Recommendations in a draft of the annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, obtained by The Associated Press, deal with complaints by American manufacturers that Beijing’s artificially low currency makes Chinese goods cheaper in the United States and American products more expensive in China.

China is America’s natural ally in Systems Administration — keeping the peace around the globe. It’s too bad the Republican Congress does not recognize this.

The Failure of Systempunkt Attacks

Mark of ZenPundit wrote a great post on super-empowerment, which sparked an excellent discussion. It made me think of John Robb‘s theory of “global guerrillas,” which holds that a force can successfully attack a “systempunkt” in order to achieve its political goals. A “systempunkt” is a single point of failure for an economy, so called because words apparently sound more authoritative in German than in English. Leaving aside the idea of guerrilla organization, which is a subset of the problem, it is doubtful a systempunkt attack could work.

Broadly speaking, a systempunkt attack could come in four major varieties: Domestic-strikers to change domestic-policy, domestic-strikers to change international-policy, foreign strikers to change domestic policy, or foreign-strikers to change international policy. Visually:

Two obvious examples of are the 1970s Arab oil embargo (international strikers to effect international change) and the 1980s British coal miners strike (domestic strikers to effect international change)

There have been fewer attempts to fill in the other boxes, but the turn-of-the-century Anarchist movement (which identified politicians as the systempunkt) is a good example of a foreign-attempt to change domestic-policy, while the 1970s SDS / Weather Underground is perhaps the best example of a domestic attempt to change international policy.

They all share one thing in common:

Robb’s “global guerrillas” are supposedly “open source,” meaning they see what works and act on that. But why would any “open source” warrior attempt a strategy of such unique failure?

Ukraine Belongs in Europe

Ukraine Enlargement Plea Falls on Deaf Ears,” by Andrew Rettman, EU Observer, 27 October 2006, http://euobserver.com/9/22755.

As Congressional Republicans threaten the future of our Continental Union by building an insane fence against Mexico, and Congressional Republicans threaten the future of our relationship with Vietnam by holding up Normal Trade Relations with Hanoi, it’s depressing to note that know-nothingism is alive and well in Europe, too.

Russian Imperialism can never hold without Ukraine. While I applaud Brussels for adding two Black Sea Republics, I condemend the Dipleumats for their insane shunning of Urkaine:

Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko continued to hammer on enlargement as the EU-Ukraine meeting in Helsinki drew to a close on Friday (27 October) afternoon, but got zero political commitment in return.

The dioxin-scarred Orange Revolution veteran told press he was “occasionally worried about the intention to determine EU borders” adding “we hope these discussions will not result in the creation of some new Berlin Wall along the EU borders.”

But European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso gave a blunt response to the president’s call, saying “Ukraine is not ready, and we are not ready [for discussions on enlargement],” AP reports.

Meanwhile, Britain restricts European immigration. Just great, guys.

The future of globalization is not threatened by “global guerrillas” or other imaginary enemies. Only by moral weakness.

Prepping the Ground for Mopping Up an Exposed 5GW Force

Hard not to think this is a good idea:

(1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to–
“(A) restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that–
“(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; and
“(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2); or
“(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition described in paragraph (2).

That this happened relatively quietly means that both parties were, unusually, responsible in getting it through.

Of course, anti-governmental conspiracies are nothing new. But then again, 5GW (which John Robb kindly called tdaxp‘s SecretWar) is nothing new, either.

For more, read the moonbats wailing over at Slashdot. And digg.

Google Giveth, Yet I Take Google Away

Over at Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, Sean Meade demonstrates a nifty new google feature: custom search engines. The new Google Co-Op search engine, “Tom and Friends,” provides a one-stop shop for googling Tom, Stephen, Mark, the Chicago Boyz, and myself. You can try it out below:







However, I have removed another Google appliance from my own computer. After already ditching Google Search for Windows Live and Google Images and Windows Live Images, I removed my Google Toolbar Why? Because Firefox 2.0 has a better spellchecker than google.

Download Firefox 2.0 now.

Daniel Ortega: Vote Yes For Life

Nicaragua Passes Total Ban on Abortion,” by Marc Lacy, New York Times, 26 October 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/27/world/americas/27nicaragua.html.

My image of the former Nicaraguan strongman will be ever reflected by a quip from Mark of ZenPundit

Recalling Jumblatt’s activities twenty years ago, this is kind of like finding out that Daniel Ortega had emigrated to the States and was last seen as a Republican poll watcher in Dade county.

Rapidly, fact is catching up to fiction:

Nicaragua’s legislature on Thursday banned all abortions, eliminating exceptions for rape and when the life of the mother is threatened.

The measure was supported by Daniel Ortega, the front-runner in the presidential race. He favored the right to an abortion during his presidency in the 1980’s but has since embraced the Roman Catholic Church and has spoken out strongly against abortion.

This reflects the unlikely entry of a former Communist leader into South Dakota’s Vote Yes For Life campaign, which is the talk of South Dakotan blogs such as Dakota War College, I Hate Linux, Sibby Online, and South Dakota Politics..

Genetics and Warfare in the Age of Non-State Actors?

Yesterday, Mark of ZenPundit linked to a conference announcement for an upcoming (September 2007) get-together by the Combat Studies Instituteof the US Army on “Warfare in the Age of Non-State Actors: Implications for the U.S. Army.” I have to admit, it sounds exciting. The call for papers asks for a 300-word abstract. My thoughts:

Genetics and Warfare in the Age of Non-State Actors

For the past half century, social sciences generally and military studies in particular have belonged to the Standard Social Sciences Model (SSSM) of research. Under the SSSM, all of “human nature” and all variations within human populations are the result of learning, socialization, and outside influence. The SSSM teaches that the keys to understanding an individual actor’s behavior, whether a soldier, a terrorist, or a politician, was his personal environment, group environment, and social environment.

Recently, the SSSM has come under renewed attack by researched who look at genetic factors of behavior. Taking a Environment-Genetic interaction view of human behavior instead of environmental determinism, these scientists have found evidence for human-universal and intergroup-variation resulting from genetic genetic-environmental interactions. An environmental-determinist perspective blinds us to true cause-and-effect, and may lead us to treat symptoms instead of diseases.

These findings have immediate findings for military studies, both from established findings and original research. Classic findings, such as the human-universal “modules” for injustice-detection,injustice-avoidance, and injustice-punishment; inter-population-variations in the Dopamine Receptor D4 (7 Repeat) (“DRD4 7R”) allele associated with hyperactivity; and intra-population variations in predispositions for political beliefs and political obsessions are analyzed. Additionally, recent findings by the authors are presented. “Pentagon’s New Map” theory is presented as an example of SSSM research, and original criticisms which may help harmonize it with genetic factors are presented. Likewise, an ongoing experiment with altruistic super-punishment is presented and its implications for dealing with “suicide bombers” are discussed.
All findings are tied back to the new world of non-state actors and American army intervention.

The SSSM cripples our attempts to understand how non-state actors operate and how to defeat or co-opt them. In the future, research and action must take into account the genetics of the populations it deals with just as much as scientists and practitioners worry about the populations’ environments

Any suggestions? Advice?

Embracing Evolutionary "Cheating"

The most important question of the Hendricks Forum was this: were all researchers CITI certified? If not, did they share this secret with their subjects? Does the scientists have secret brainscans showing which “terror modules” light up when he informed his participants-slash-victims of his wildly unethical research methodologies? We may never know.

What we can know, however, is how Alford & Hibbing’s findings can be immediately applied to the classroom. Consider a common learning situation: two students are studying for a graded, non-curved assignment, and one student is in a position to help another. Many educators have believed that the best way to deter one student from doing work to another is to increase penalties and be on the look-out for side-payments (popularity granted to a smart but dorky student by popular but dull ones, for instance). However, if people will do more work for another than the other would ask for if the issue of representation is involved, then the range of potential cheaters becomes much broader. No longer are we looking only for those who want to increase their own station, but at altruists who are completing educational “puzzles” for another student.


We can contrast the academic cheating behavior of the “economic man” and the “wary cooperator” in a simple experiment. Use a subject and a confederate, and inform them that because of a last-minute conflict, the University has asked them to take their skill tests unsupervised in the same room at the same time. Full credit will go to right answers, and no credit will go to wrong answers. Make it possible for a student to help another cheat, but after the end of the run inform him that he may accuse the other of cheating. Add a point to the cheater’s score, but inform the subject that the accusation will zero out the confederate’s There are four conditions with four possible responses to test whether students faced with the dilemma of helping another cheat will act like wary cooperators or rational actors:

The conditions:

  • Condition I. Introduce Subjects. Confederate suffering.
  • Condition II. Introduce Subjects. Confederate offers bribe.
  • Condition III. Don’t introduce Subjects. Confederate suffering.
  • Condition IV. Don’t introduce Subjects. Confederate offers bribe.

The responses:

  • Response A. Subject Assists. Subject keeps silent.
  • Response B. Subject Assists. Subject informs on confederate.
  • Response C. Subject Doesn’t Assist. Subject keeps silent.
  • Response D. Subject doesn’t Assist. Subject informs on confederate.

Standard economic theory gives the following predicted paths

  • If Condition I, should choose Response D, least likely to favor Response A
  • If Condition II,should choose Response B, least likely to choose Response C
  • If Condition III, should choose Response D, least likely to favor Response A
  • If Condition IV, should choose Response B, least likely to follow Response C

Classroom teachers, of course, view “D” as the only acceptable path.

Because of the conflicting possible frames this situation could be put in, I do not believe we can yet create a “genetic factors” model with this same degree of precision. However, we can identify where it flatly disagrees with the economic model of cheating.

Under Condition I, D should be the least likely outcome. Under introduction, the subject should be prepared to help the confederate with no personal compensation. Likewise, free-riding against an innocent but suffering player is doubtful. Likewise, under Condition III D should also be the least likely outcome. (Two variations are not shown in this mini-experimental design: confederate suffers and offers bribe and confederate doesn’t suffer and doesn’t offer bribe. The first possibility confounds fault and no-fault non-cooperation, while the second should have zero “cheating” under both models. However, that doesn’t mean it’s entirely useless – it may be worthwhile, for instance, to see if the subject would retaliate if his requests for assistance from the confederate is rebuffed by accusing the confederate of cheating, even if we make the reward for turning in a cheater negative!).

A finding that confirms wary cooperation would have profound impact in how we deal with cheaters. If we find that the most pro-social students cheat out of empathy, this further throws the value of individual work into doubt. Instead, work should be group-oriented as much as possible, because this will exploit the student’s natural desire to help a peer in need while demarcating out-group-members as non-peers for the purposes of cooperation.

Development Biology: Even Quicker and Dirtier Than Usual

If you felt that my quick and dirty literature reviews on learning disabled students and ultimatum game were too polished, too coherent, and too well written, this is the post for you! Below the fold are some sloppily thrown together notes, for my benefit only. I’ll try to write an actually readable post later in the day.


Among even the educated public, evolution is a controversial and poorly understood topic (Alter & Nelson, 2002).
Evolutionary psychology is a fruitful research area that generates specific, testable, and interesting hypothes (Buss, 1995).

Except in extreme cases, nature and nurture cannot be seperated (Vetta & Courgeau, 2003). Additionally, new abilities emerge in predictable ways (Carpenter, et al. 1998). “Developmental biology” — a synthesis of information-processing theory and evolutionary psychology — may be the next step in understanding cognitive development (Bjorklund, 1997). Simulations have been used to model information processing theory in childhood art (Burton, 1997).

Humans have inborn, social affections (Hofer, 1987) and physical abilities (Thelen, Ulrich, & Wolff, 1991).Group selection may explain cultural change in as little as five to ten cutires (Soltis, Boyd & Richerson, 1995)..
The view that altruism may be truly altruistic, rather than an expression of genetic or individual selfishness, is gaining ground (Piliavin & Charng, 1990).

Neurobiology and evolutionary biology emerged at around the same time, the 1960s and 1970s (Sokal, 1970).

The issue of group and individual selection is widely debated in adaptionist circles, but group selection theories are more favored in genetic circles (Goodnight & Stevens, 1997).

Six broad categories of genetic-environmental questions exist: the degree to which it affects quantitative variations, the degree to which it influences social structure, the how human populations face selection pressures (Thoday, et al, 1970).

r means growth rate, while K refers to the saturdation density (Kurihara, Shikano, & Toda, 1990).
Interpersonal skills may fall into basic interaction, communication skills, conflict resolution, and team building (De Natale & Russell, 1995).

The origin of multiple intelligiences has been studied by examining the traces of human ancestor and competitor species (Wunn, 2000). Indeed, evidence argues that most of the domains that Gardner originally outlined are actually collections of domains (Visser, Ashton, & Vernon, 2006a; 2006b). A view of modular intelligence that is effected by genetic-environmental interaction has been used to fight racist notions through scholarly literature (Graves & Johnson, 1995). Kinesthetic intelligence may split into fine motor intelligence and whole body intelligence (Gardner, 2006).

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Bjorklund, D.F. (1997). In Search of a Metatheory for Cognitive Development (Or, Piaget Is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself). Child Development 68(1): 144-148.
Burton, E. (1997). Artificial Innocence: Interactions between the Study of Children’s Drawing and Artificial Intelligence. Leonardo 30(4): 301-309.
Buss, D.M. (1995). Evolutionary Psychology: A New Paradigm for Psychological Science. Psychological Inquiry 6(1): 1-30.
Carpenter, Malinda, et al. (1998). Social Cognition, Joint Attention, and Communicative Competence from 9 to 15 Months of Age. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 63(4).
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Goodnight, C.J. & Stevens, L. (1997). Experimental Studies of Group Selection: What Do They Tell Us About Group Selection in Nature?. The American Naturalist 150: S59-S79.
Graves, J.L., Jr., & Johnson, A. (1995). The Pseudoscience of Psychometry and The Bell Curve. The Journal of Negro Education 64(3): 277-294.
Hofer, M.A. (1987). . Early Social Relationships: A Psychobiologist’s View. Child Development 58(#): 633-647.
Kurihara, Y., Shikano, S., & Toda, M. (1990). Trade-Off between Interspecific Competitive Ability and Growth Rate in Bacteria. Ecolony 71(2): 645-650.
Pilviavin, J.A. & Charng, H. Altruism: A Review of Recent Theory and Research. Annual Review of Sociology 16: 27-65.
Sokal, R.R. (1970). Another New Biology. BioScience 20(3): 152-159.
Soltis, J., Boyd, R., & Richerson, P.J. (1995). Can Group-Functional Behaviors Evolve by Culturla Group Selection: An Empirical Test. Current Anthropology 36(3): 473-494.
Thelen, E., Ulrich, B.D., & Wolff, P.H. (1991). Hidden Skills: A Dynamic Systems Analysis of Treadmill Stepping during the First Year. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 56(1).
Thoday, J.M. (1970). The Interrelation between Genetics and the Social Sciences. Population Studies 24: 49-54.
Wunn, Ina. (2000). Beginning of Religion. Numen 47(4): 417-452.
Vetta, A. & Courgeau, D. (2003). Demographic Behaviour and Behaviour Genetics. Population (English Edition, 2002-) 55(4/5): 401-428.
Visser, B.A., Ashton, M.C., & Vernon, P.A. (2006a). Beyond g: Putting multiple intelligences theory to the test. Intelligence 34(5): 487-502.
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