Category Archives: 1

Publisher of “The Handbook of 5GW” in Forbes Magazine!

Two years ago I published The Handbook of 5GW, an edited volume of pieces that looked at the fifth gradient of warfare. My publisher in that process was Fred Zimmerman, of Nimble Books. Fred’s new venture, Nimble Combinatorial Publishing, is definitely making waves — including being in the latest edition of Forbes!

The first impulse of most people like me, who have spent much of their careers writing for love and money, is to loudly answer NO WAY. I firmly believe that it is impossible to replace the creativity of the human mind and the skill of writing learned over years with an algorithm.

Read the whole thing

Obama is a socialist with Chinese Characteristics

Deng Xiaoping, decades ago:

Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity.

Me, years ago:

In the contemporary, Chinese view of socialism, the government acts as both a regulator to and a competitor in major industries. For instance, Xinhua is a large news bureau and a regulator of news bureau. The old Ministry of Communications both ran a large national cell phone system, and regulated portable telephony. In this way, the government can subject the economy to national control while avoiding some of the inefficiencies (such as labor protection) that come from turning workers into public servants. Obama is a socialist in the Chinese sense.

Lexington Green, days ago:

But what if the final state is not democratic capitalism? What if convergence is right after all? What if Soviet communism fell apart and turned into a mafia state run by an alliance of government and favored businesses, which control the country by corruption and intimidation, a nomenklatura that strips out all the value in the country on behalf of a well-connected elite, immiserating everyone else. This amoral, vicious, greed-driven, undemocratic dystopia is what we are now converging toward. It is an Orwellian future, with an Inner Party of senior politicians and business executives, an Outer Party of government employees and business managers, and a vast, despoiled, proletariat with no opportunities, or assets or future. It sounds like the world Mr. Obama is brazenly pushing us toward. It also sounds like a future that no Republican has so far dared to point to, to name, to denounce and to oppose — because they would prefer to be in on the game than take the risks inherent in opposing it.

As I said in the comments, Everything except the remarks about the “despoiled proletariat” also describes the People’s Republic of China.

The greatest philosophical difference between People’s Republic President Hu Jintao and United States President Barack Obama appears to be that Hu believes that the generation of wealth is a fundemental social virtual. President Obama, on the other hand, believs that the destribution of wealth is such a virtue.

Review of “Atlantic,” by Simon Winchester

I wish my dad was still alive. I wish I could recommend Simon Winchester’s Atlantic to him. He would enjoy it.

Simon Winchester is best known for The Professor and the Madman, a history of the oxford English Dictionary. His best books, however, are The Man Who Loved China (a human story that is also the history of a far-away land) and Krakatoa (about the human consequences of a natural disaster). So it is fittest that Simon Winchester’s latest work, and one of his best, are the interlocking stories about one of the greatest natural features on Earth, the Atlantic Ocean.

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories is a thematic biography of the ocean, from youth to death. From before the Phoenecians to his imprisonment during the Falklands War to the far future, Simon Winchester paints a vivid and romantic feature of the ocean that is too often overlooked and ignored.

It is impossible to give a brief synposis of the stories of the Atlantic, but a portion of a paragraph from the epilog gives a flavor:

Parliamentary democracy. A homeland for world Jewry. Long-distance radio communication. The Vinland Map. The supression of slavery. The realization of continental drift and plate tectonics. The Atlantic Charter. The British Empire. The knarr, the curragh, the galleon, the ironclad, and the battleship. The discovery of longitude. Codfish. Erskine Childers. Winslow Homer. The convoy system. St. Helena. Puerto Madryn. Debussy. Monet. Rachel Carson. … The Atlantic telegraph cable. The Writght brothers. Alcock and Brown. Lindbergh…

The story of the Atlantic is the story of Western Civilization. A fantastic overview of western history. Highly recommended.

You can call her Vladimir Putin from the way she’s dropping Russians

Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova is way less effective at spectacular pseudo-terrorist attacks against Russian civilians than Vladimir Putin, but she looks way hotter while doing it.

Vladimir Putin began a sub-state war of terror against the people of the Russian Federation on September 4, 1999. Props to Dzhennet, and all the rest who fight back.

The reference is 1 minute, 30 seconds in:

The Divergence Problem: The Flynn Effect of Tree Ring Data

After a whitleblower posted secret emails detailing Climate Gate, some have talked about the “divergence problem.” The divergence problem, statistically, is the problem that the latent factor of temperature that is indicated by tree ring data, among other indicators, does not appear to be invariant. That is, it is not indicated equally well by its indicators as time goes on.

An almost identical problem in pschological measurement is the Flynn Effect, which plays havoc with our understanding of Raven’s Progressive Matrices as an indicator of general intelligence.

Liberals and leftists argue that the Flynn Effect is evidence that there are not heritable and/or racial differnces in general intelligence. The same liberals and leftists simply restate the fact that there is a “divergence problem,” with respect to indocators of temperature, and act as if it is not a big deal.

The reason is simple: global warming is a useful lie. Whether one wants to fight Russia, or merely enact your own puritanical wonderful on everyone else, lowering CO2 emissions is a greaet way to go about it.

Of course, I do not want to say that global warming is on the same bar as racial theorists. I am aware of no organized conspiracy of racial theorists on par with the University of East Anglia to squash dissenting voices. Likewise, the University of East Anglia’s destruction of its original data, combined with its poorly written and non-peer-reviewed computer models, is far more reckless and slipshod than, say, anything Hernstein or Murray ever put out.

The Greencine Five, Part XI: Legong: Dance of the Virgins, My Life as a Dog, Sword of the Beast, Gaza Strip, Pickpocket

legong_dance_of_the_virgins

No movie is this good by accident. It is on purpose. Legong is not only an exotic and gorgeous film, it was one of the last silent films ever released. It was also one of the last which used two-color mixing (as opposed to the three-color approach which is the standard to this day). The story is a sweet tragedy about a love triangles between two girls (dancers at a local temple) and a young man (a drummer). The film is the sort of “south seas” picture that enchanted George Bailey and so many others. The film was made on location in Bali (now an island in Indonesia), with an entirely Balinese cast.

my_life_as_a_dog

My Life as a Dog is a sad but sweet story about a young boy suffering the death of his mother. The film has certainly similarities to Goodnight Mister Tom and A Home of Our Own. The film is slow moving, but paints a convincing picture of rural Sweden in the early years of the Cold War.

sword_of_the_beast

Sword of the Beast is a story about Japan on the verge of the Meiji Restoration, but really about Japan on the verge of defeat in World War II. Samurai give their life for honor and reform, but everything is turned around by corrupt counselors, leaving only death and shame. The momentum for a better Japan is clearly there, but not much is to be done. The vendetta — that is, the war effort — is an excuse for everything. Slow on its surface, but fascinating in its context.
gaza_strip

The centerpiece of Gaza Strip is something that never happened. The film very, very strongly implies that it is documenting the effects of a nerve gas attack on the residents of Gaza. Individuals appearing to be victims of the attack, as well as a woman implied to be part of Medicine sans Frontier, are interviewed. Looking online, the only references to this attack are other people questioning if it ever happened.

pickpocket

No movie is this bad by accident. It is on purpose. The director didn’t like characterization, because he thought it was phony, so he didn’t do it. He didn’t like acting, because he thought it was phony, so he had non-actors just repeat the actions a couple times. He seems not to like his main character, as the guy is a cringing, self-important, coward of a parasite. I wasted 86 minutes of my life I will never get back. Pickpocket is an awful film.

“Blue” News

The color blue is associated both with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which is the democratically elected governing party of Taiwan, and the People’s Armed Police, a paramilitary force in the party-dictatorship of mainland China.

Strange Blue Men
Strange Blue Men

The Olymics thus was a very “blue” event, as it featured KMT support of Beijing ’08 as well as the People’s Armed Police distrupting anti-Communist protests in the West.

Now, Michael Totten lets us know that the KMT will be inviting the People’s Armed Police to opan an office in Taiwan.

The possibility of great power war in the Pacific is evaporating before our eyes.