Climate Change

Barnett, T.P.M. (2007). In a nutshell, my “problem” with global warming. Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog. February 3, 2007. Available online: http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2007/02/in_a_nutshell_my_problem_with.html.

Catholicgauze. (2007). IPCC Report. Geographic Travels with Catholicgauze! February 3, 2007. Available online: http://catholicgauze.blogspot.com/2007/02/ipcc-report.html.

Two posts from two great writers. Guess which…

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a report (PDF) on climate change with much media fan fare. The press hyped it as proving human-caused global warming and saying there are only ten years left to avoid disaster…. However, when “leading” scientists still cannot find blame enough to convict debate is open to causes. Instead of wasting time trying to find blame and using it as a political tool to enforce treaties which impose no regulations on serious offenders like China and India, let us spend resources on efforts to prepare any needed adaption. If one believes the IPCC report, this is the only reasonable option. Wineries once existed in England and Scotland but natural climate change put an end to that during the Little Ice Age. I am not saying we should not worry about climate change. One warming trend ended the last Ice Age and raised sea levels over 300 feet so there are hazards. All I am saying is we need to be realistic and not join a Robert Christopherson-style cult of global warming.

… is which …

And let me be clear on this: I’m not saying it’s unimportant or not real or not profound or not historic. It’s just that, as a grand strategist, I see the logical stimulus-reaction process at work here, with no obvious differentials on the downside that change my view of the world (it sucks to be poor, it’s much better to be developed)…

In short, I expect the usual: the less connected to get the shaft, the more connected to do just fine, and any resulting conflict to be insulatable by the Core. To the extent the “cure” emerges, it will involve new industries that favor the most risk tolerant and the most incentivized-by-rising-connectivity (as in, my New Core).

(The coolest part, of course, is that they both recently linked to me l-) ).

Is the SysAdmin Constitutional?

Volokh, E. (2007). The marines, the coast guard, and the constitution. The Volokh Conspiracy. January 28, 2007. Available online: http://volokh.com/posts/1170035957.shtml.

Eugene Volokh ponders the question: is United States Marine Corp is constitutional, as it appears to be an Army administred under the Constitutionally more generous terms given to the Navy?

The tougher conceptual question is whether the Marines can constitutionally be considered part of the constitutionally specified Navy (whether or not they are part of a federal agency labeled the Navy), or must be seen as falling under the constitutional head of “Armies.” In either event they’d be constitutional, but if they are treated under the head of “Armies,” then they’d have to be funded using appropriations that are for no longer than two years; if they are treated under the head of “Navy,” they can be funded under unlimited-length appropriations. Recall that the relevant Congressional powers are:

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy.

I don’t know the answer, but I thought I’d flag the question (recognizing that it is of little practical importance, especially these days).

Dr. Volokh then gives speculated on why the Army should be on a shorter lease than the Navy:

My (somewhat vague) recollection is that the constitutional distinction between armies and the navy stems from the fact that Englishmen of the time — including the American variety — saw land-based forces as much more dangerous to domestic liberty than sea-based forces, and sea-based forces as much more important to day-to-day national defense. That’s also why there was lots of concern about a standing army, but not about a standing navy. Modern Marines are in this respect at least potentially more like “armies” than like the “navy”; that’s why the question I pose is theoretically nontrivial.

Is Barnett’s Leviathan an updated version of the Department of the Navy (the few, high-tech, can only be deployed offshore and abroad) while his SysAdmin just an updated version of the Department of the Army (the many, the low tech, deployable at home and abroad). If an Office of Systems Administration is created, would it have to be funded for no more than two years at a time?

Not Gibberish

Several blogfriends have thumped me for terming Robb’s theory “gibberish.” They are right.

I criticized John Robb that way because of its internal validity (any part of John’s writing can be used to help inform any other part) and external invalidity (the theory does not seem to predict actual behavior or describe what is really going on). Such a combination is not typical of a crazy man. It is typical of a good theorist who happens to be wrong.

As I commented on Shloky, I am not criticizing Global Guerrllas Theory with vitriol — only enthusiastic skepticism.

In that context, I am happy that John Robb has taken the time to comment on the original thread. Some excerpts:

The reality is that we are getting beaten in Iraq and Afghanistan (and there are signs that it won’t stop there as in Nigeria). The model I provide answers many of the questions as to why this is so and as a result it is being sought after by those that are in decision making positions to make a difference, which I am more than happy to provide…

In terms of approach, I do take a “red team” approach to how I write, but I think that is the most effective way to get across the message. My thinking is that unless the threat and the environment is accurately defined, you can’t build effective solutions. So far, the solutions I am finding appear to bottoms up in a way that parallels the threat, which seem incompatible with what the existing bureaucracies can accept. We’ll see who is right.

So I thank John for his comment, and for his time. I apologize for the too-hot rhetoric and the departure from my “otherwise scholarly style.” The discussion continues (now at 56 comments!), and hopefully a good time is being had by all.

Boston v. Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Shloky has a post up on the Boston / Aqua Teens Lite-Brite Scare (which, among other things, is a phrase I could never imagine actually using until now). While the aqua teens helped calm my nerves on election day, the people of Boston never did me any such service, so I have to be pretty pro-cartoon and city-skeptical in this case.

Boston’s incompetence is beyond hilarious.That a city would put her own citizens through these delays because of light brites that had “a battery behind it, and wires” says few good things about Beantown. While I think most guerrilla marketing that infringes on private property (which seems to have gained vogue through IBM’s Peace, Love, and Linux campaign) is in poor taste, one can’t help but laugh how dangerously out-of-touch Boston’s unionized police force is.

It’s better for incidents like this to be embarrasment, which hopefully will lead to improved procedures, than down the road. It’s good to see one’s weaknesses. Let’s hope this helps Boston in moving forward.

In other good television news, new episodes Day Break (starrting Moon Bloodgood and Taye Diggs) are once again being uploaded to ABC’s online vault. I just finished Episode 7, “What If He Is Not Alone,” and I loved it.

Update: John Robb and (fellow Lincolnite!) Shoe Money join the discussion. But through all these words…

We must never forget.