science vs. nonsense

People engaged in practicing scientific methods came to the Society of Exploration Geophysicist’s [SEG] annual meeting and exhibition this week in Denver. They came to talk about all aspects of the science that uses imaging techniques for virtual simulations of the composition of the earth below the sea floor, below dry land, and below the sandy shallow shorelines. They brought examples of many of their tools for gathering the data to build the simulations – at least the tools that could fit on a semi truck, including a few as big as a semi truck. They brought a full library of reference books that SEG publishes and sells to anyone in the general public. They brought super computers built with arrays of CPU cores and stacks of graphics processors cabled into large racks to form co-processing centers capable of petaflop processing speeds. They brought software experts to manipulate datasets hundreds of terabytes in size through exotic transformations and functions for improving, interpreting, visualizing, dissecting, and representing the reflected seismic data vibrations gathered from massive tracts of potential energy-bearing geologic structures. They came to share their passion about their good fortune to be engaged in solving real and interesting problems using state of the art technology for the tangible benefit of mankind.

Last Sunday this technological frontier was out of sight and out of my mind. I hold our mass broadcast media responsible for that condition. Shame on those media content providers who evidently think the only thing interesting to talk about with regard to energy production is the latest bunch of creepy counter culture dregs carrying hand lettered signs with hyperbolic messages about how we’re all going to die from fracking.

Sure. We’re all going to die. You can’t seriously argue against that proposition. But the scientists exploring for energy actually push that day further out into the future for all of us. Geophysicists take on the hard challenge, the difficult question that requires years of education to successfully answer. Meanwhile, fractivists scribble up a few signs, organize their community of activists from the Left, and show up.

What do fractivists do for the betterment of mankind? That’s right. They show up. They occupy space. They “be.” And the media sends out their heavy satellite dish trucks to record the drama as news, to crowd out real information from the airwaves with an endless stream of meaningless pablum that will never build anything, inspire anyone, or improve our existence.

That’s why you have young kids stealing a couple thousand dollars from their parents’ credit cards to buy a ticket for Istanbul to go join some jihadi who will put an AK47 into their hands and add meaning to their empty existence. The kids know on some level that the world has amazing and fulfilling human endeavors in it, but they don’t know where to find them. So terrible forces move into those vacuums of meaning.

Educators and communicators steeped in Marxism for the last 40 years don’t dwell on real accomplishments because those events don’t politically empower the counter culture. Things like geophysics make the counter culture look silly, laughable, a waste of time and energy – all very disempowering characterizations. With Denver hosting a ground-zero event for worldwide oil and gas exploration – an evil incarnate population of engineers to a fractivist – not a single fractivist showed up to object at the Colorado Convention Center. Real meaning is kryptonite to them. Even geologist Governor Hickenlooper stayed away, perhaps not wishing to offend one of his Gang of Four deep pockets.

While geophysicists improve the world, the chattering classes spin their tales of Ebola, head chopping jihadis, financial collapse, wreckages of all sizes and shapes, storms and climate changes, victimization dramas, and politicians frame one hot mess after another with instant interpretations that always end with a moral that improves their side, their position. A cascade of false narratives give the Left the power to destroy, and power is what they live for. Disempowering the Left is the most politically incorrect thing one can do. Disempowering the Left is so wrong that the Left brand it with the most deplorable label imaginable – racism.

Don’t let the Left consume any more young people with destructive power. The Left squandered their franchises in the schools, the universities, and the media with false narratives, false dilemmas and false analyses.

It’s time our educators and communicators focused on the creators, those who accomplish the hard solutions from the difficult problem sets, the ones who tangibly improve mankind and don’t just talk about it.

Leave the dramas that empower the Left in the past. I doubt we ever needed their monkeyshines, but surely we don’t need them now.

“Independent Sector”

After noticing that Citizens United received a judgment in their favor last week to be treated as a media outlet to release and promote their new film Rocky Mountain Heist, I sent an email to them requesting a copy of the film for posting to YouTube. I expected they would grant my request given the short time until the election and my presumption that they would appreciate any additional exposure for the ideas in the film.

Dudley Brown, RMGO

In response I received an invitation to attend a Denver premier showing of the film Wednesday night at the Hyatt Regency. See to get a flavor of the evening. While most of the conservative movement in America seemed to be there last night, there was not a single Leftist in sight. No signs, no bullhorns, no shoving, no cops, no litter, no bodyguards blocked the way. Just a roomful of conservative luminaries completely open, walking the walk, talking the talk, unthreatened and unafraid, completely accessible. Cool.

David Bossie, Citizens United

David Bossie, Citizens United

I had a chance to meet David Bossie so I asked him if I could publish the film on YouTube. He turned me down and explained it was necessary in order to defend Citizens United’s copyright to the film – certainly a reasonable position since, upon further inspection, I found that Citizens United publishes their films for a fee on their website. My mistake was to presume their only interest was partisan when in fact they’re also in the business of selling views of their documentary films. I was naïve to think they made films solely for the greater good. People have to make money too and good for them that they’ve found a way to profitably work in conjunction with serving society by resisting encroaching totalitarianism.

Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin

Rocky Mountain Heist had its genesis in The Blueprint, published in 2010, which I finally got around to reading last week. It is a beyond-eye-opening education in todays American politics.

From Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer, The Blueprint – How the Democrats Won Colorado, 2010.

“After Amendment 27, campaign spending in meaningful quantities could only be accomplished through the “independent sector”–a collection of nonprofit organizations that stepped into the role once occupied by political parties. . . a garden of think tanks, political 527s, 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations, new media outlets, progressive watchdog groups, and assorted activist organizations. . .” p 40-41

“. . .while nonprofits were no longer allowed to coordinate their activities with candidates or political parties, they were perfectly free to coordinate among themselves. And coordinate they did.” p 71

The poetic phrase from one leader I spoke with last night was, “Political parties have become eunuchs.” Another leader explained to me that coordination between financial politics and party politics still exists, albeit informally where no tweets, no emails, no texts, and no communications that leave an audit trail can follow.

While some probably think political parties received karmic justice in campaign finance reform, my guess is that the majority of Americans don’t yet appreciate the financial separation of political money from political parties.

Americans who watch TV see the thousands of political ads produced by organizations “not paid for by a candidate and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee,” that spend hundreds of millions to produce and deliver political content to the electorate. He who pays the piper calls the tune and it’s the profit-motivated, “independent sector” paying the piper today. It’s fair to assume they’re calling the tunes too.

Prior to campaign finance reform when political parties themselves received the bulk of political funding, the case for corruption was that politicians could be directly bought. If the electorate came to dislike the politician, however, the first stop on the complaint trail was the politician. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad thing.

Today, candidates are disclaimed from responsibility in much of the TV advertising. This pulls the legal restraints off political spending, an arguably good thing for 1st Am. free speech advocates. It, however, relieves candidates from responsibility for the message, a bad thing for the electorate. And the “independent sector” is empowered to issue national-grade political media, insulated from the political restraints that the electorate can exercise over politicians.

This appears to be a systemic disconnect between political content producers and the electorate. And though I’ve seen no evidence of misrepresentation in the political content produced by Citizens United, the Leftist “independent sector” groups don’t seem up to that same standard. Big Leftist money can make big misrepresentations without direct consequences, and that’s what The Blueprint and Rocky Mountain Heist accurately document.

I applaud the exposure Rocky Mountain Heist gives to Colorado’s “Gang Of Four” and their political corruptions, but the analysis stops short of a systemic cure. The Blueprint and Rocky Mountain Heist present de facto evidence of a broken campaign finance environment. The fact that the system equally burdens both parties doesn’t save it in my view, since the electorate still comes out shorted from voting accountability.

It appears that dividing the interests between politicians and political message organizations led to veiled power structures beyond the reach of the electorate. This division seems repugnant to the idea of an informed citizenry exercising electoral control of a constitutional republic. It certainly opens the door to corruption by encouraging off-the-record illegal coordination between financial organizations and candidates.

Perhaps more public disclosures can cure this situation. In addition, perhaps a change in the relative legal status of candidates and the independent sector could work. For example a legal requirement that a political messaging organization must obtain a candidate’s endorsement before releasing media involving that candidate might indirectly restore some control to the electorate.

Cast of Rocky Mountain Heist

Cast of Rocky Mountain Heist

the Falcon and the Frontier

For us visual learners, Elbert County had some great scenes last night. I opened my eyes from an après dîné catnap about 6:00 p.m. when the Cards still had hope from their lead off double against the Giants, and one of those spectacular Colorado sunsets began to carve the sky into a giant jack-o-lantern. It would have been more than enough to just take those pictures and call it an evening but my lovely spouse kicked me out the door. Smart woman.

At 60, the Halloween costumes most people wear no longer frighten me, even the everyday ones. You just see right through all that makeup to the personality. What’s inside is usually a good person, an earnest person, a whole gamut of persons. No one who comes out stays hidden for long. So the gamut pageant came out to do political business under a sharp sunset.
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I visited the two Elizabeth political scenes. There was a third one in Kiowa but I rolled it. A fair number of cars on Main Street in Elizabeth reflected highlights from the warm glow escaping the upstairs windows at the Falcon Lounge. Climbing the stairs, I heard the full-throated intensity of a speakeasy just around the corner, and I wondered if the cops knew this place existed and how would I slip out the back door unnoticed when the vice squad came crashing in with nightsticks swinging. I’m not as nimble on the stairs as I once was.
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Sliding past the end of the bar, Cathy and Denise’s space transports you into the center of attention. It was loud and the runway is short. I could only sort out words from people right in front of me though the room is small enough, close enough, and warm enough to make eye contact with everyone else. There was a political purpose on the table, but everyone I spoke with was informal.
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I suppose some people do business in a bar, or a golf course, using genteel mediums to lubricate their deals. I didn’t see any of that. It was just a decompressing and rich adult time, and who could ask for more.
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Moving on over a couple blocks to the Left’s conclave, I should have had my camera ready to capture the looks on many of their faces as I entered that sanctuary of all matters governmental. What a picture! – no mistaking their shocked looks for playful Halloween horror.

Elbert County’s Left, in person, for the most part, treat me with kindness and sometimes even sympathy, kind of like a stray dog I suppose. While I wouldn’t trust a couple of them to walk behind me in a dark alley, most of them aren’t too bad.

Unlike the scene at the Falcon Lounge with its hair letting down and masks coming off, in the brilliantly lit foyer of Frontier High School it was all business. I may have corrupted the sanctuary through the introduction of a politically alien macrobody, may have unavoidably changed the experiment through my observation, but not having been there before I arrived, I’ll never know.
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What I heard were people very concerned about things gone wrong in Elbert County. And their certainty that things had gone terribly wrong in Elbert County matched their certainty that they could and should wield governmental power to “rule with kindness” and “bring all citizens to the table” to correct those wrongs. It was a very egalitarian vision, designed to invest voters, though in practice the playground environment of citizen councils seems to turn out more Darwinians than democrats.

I don’t know how one possibly sustains their rose colored impression of governmental power, particularly nowadays with all the internet transparency about things. Moreover, I don’t know how these folks got into such a state of Panacea, ruled by the goddess of universal remedy. When has that ever happened?

But for this room full of Leftists in that foyer, quantum improbabilities presented no bar. A mathematician might infer such an event through a harmonic string vibrating into a parallel universe, but I don’t hold with such fictions. I think this universe is all we have. I’m virtually sure the portal to the Frontier High School foyer is not a worm hole.

And call me an unfaithful conservative, but I don’t dislike most of these Leftists, except for the few haters. I respect their good intentions. How could you not respect utopia? That would be like disrespecting heaven. I respect their intensity, misguided though it may be. And they didn’t eject me from their sanctuary, though if shunning looks from Jerry and Sue Bishop could kill, I’m a rotting corpse today.
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But standing out, naked in the harsh fluorescent light, the words of Dorman’s unequivocal promise to immediately reopen the Elbert County Oil & Gas zoning regulation deliberation with an intent to change the law back to something akin to what the current commission rejected two summers ago – kind of a back-to-the-future version of progressivism – captured my attention.

A legal tussle with the State of Colorado over the ownership and control of expensive, income-producing private property in Elbert County would be much more serious than a trip to court with a meadowlark. I know Dorman wasn’t sick that day of zoning denouement two summers ago because I have him on tape. Maybe he doesn’t listen as well as he thinks he does.
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Though no one can predict the future with certainty, Dorman’s recent written statement that his election “can change the balance on the Board of County Commissioners,” suggests he’s already worked a new balance out with a partner on the BOCC.
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Given the quasi-judicial nature of the job of county commissioner, now that Dorman has promised to form a new majority to pass a law before even seeing a legal zoning proposal, one should reasonably expect him to recuse himself on such future decisions on this subject matter since, you know, he’s already compromised his judicial objectivity.

Nah. That ain’t gonna’ happen in Elbert County.
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Well, that was the big impression for me. The Left wrapped it up and I made good my exit before the brawling got started. One more thing about that event. It never had a chance at being a balanced room with people from a spectrum of political opinions looking for real debate. There was only one right answer to every question, and everyone in the room already knew it. I didn’t see any cheat sheets passed around, but my spidey sense was tingling. Conservatives were right to avoid the setup.
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I went back to the speakeasy for a drink and a friendly bartender. Politics of a more limited nature still flowed there. And I think that is best. Humility first. Things are complicated enough. And no one sees the future, except those crazy mathematicians.

the setup

Back when I was a Kiowa Lion, Lions did not mix politics with the philanthropic mission of the club. To this day the Lions’ bylaws contain this prohibition. The Elizabeth Lions have apparently discarded this rule. I have no idea what the Elizabeth Lions hope to gain from a collaboration with partisan publisher Jerry Bishop and other local Leftist publishers [see below], but gaming local elections through a Leftist cooperative hardly seems in the best interests of Elbert County or the charitable interests Lions ostensibly organize to serve.

I am very weary of these Leftist smear tactics [see below]. I won’t attend a setup event.

John Dorman sat with the Oil & Gas edit committee for years, a self-anointed local planning group who produced a regulatory document that would have landed Elbert County in the middle of an expensive lawsuit with the State of Colorado over “local control” – work that a majority of commissioners had the good sense to discard last summer. Those facts were documented in numerous blog postings here.

Thanks to billionaire Democrat activists and Governor Hickenlooper the issue lives on and continues to threaten property holders in Colorado.

The difference between a Leftist activist and a proponent of limited government, however, is that the latter can learn from their mistakes. The former do not.

Dorman’s an activist. A man of the Left. And I am so very weary of this all-politics all-the-time Leftism in our society. Leftism, like other religions, has a proper time and place. Activists, however, have no boundaries. They come at you like Witnesses showing wide-eyed un-listenning stares of true belief. When you see them coming you don’t answer the door. Don’t make eye contact and maybe they’ll go away.

That’s what Leftists have reduced politics to. I’ve had my fill.

The fact that their belief system gives them justification to employ tactics beneath contempt [see below] doesn’t endear them to me either. Grown men and women should know better. [Read more...]

to be or not to be

It would be so easy to just become a progressive – to join the chorus of Leftists all quoting the same bad science, the same dead end economics, the same top heavy political and labor groupthink that follows leadership in lock step without dissent. What a simpler existence! You take all of the messy bits of reality that don’t fit the progressive agenda, and just forget about the lot of it. Who cares if it means ignoring that pesky scientific method with its difficult cause-and-effect that requires evidence to found a conclusion. What a royal pain. Forget all that stuff. They don’t use it anyway.

The planet is not warming up. Peak energy gets freshly refuted every month. Top down dictatorship, whether its religious or political spectacularly fails like clockwork every time it’s tried. Human creativity and invention just ruin the rationing/postcarbon/degrowth agenda. But none of it matters to progressives. All of it just rolls off their backs like water off a mallard.

Inside the climate controlled atmosphere of progressive armor, the weather is fine. The days are pleasant, not too hot or cold. And when dissonant ideas attempt to penetrate the ramparts, a ready made script of rules for radicals, like leukocytes to a wound, closes the breach, and obviates the necessity for further thought.

You almost have to admire the simplicity of a system capable of a-priori refutation of all competing ideas without ever having to actually construct a cogent counter argument. And the substitution of physical force for intellectual reason is a stroke of brilliance. Might is right. Who knew? Who would’ve thought that a group could actually succeed on brute force alone! I mean, most groups in history who gained power through force and suppression at least paid lip service to some novel idea. But not progressives!

Ideas just gum things up and get in the way of their experiencing the quiet contemplation of pure power. Best not to break stride. Just keep marching. Keep chanting. Keep demonstrating. Keep shouting. Keep fighting. Cause harm, and if necessary, kill. The willingness to kill gives them all the edge they need. Barbarity works.

History contains many lessons for winning strategies that don’t require intellectual honesty, provable science, fairness, justice, or moral approval. The progressives learned to get their way by walking through the opposition, not around them. And it doesn’t matter what the opposition is saying. Just shut them up, shut them down, ignore them, ridicule them, stomp them, and march on.

The pleasant weather around the well insulated powerful progressive is worth protecting. It is its own reward – a tautological compact of self-referential and self-reinforcing happiness that will not be disturbed.

And just look at what you have to look forward to if you don’t join them. Those who don’t join the progressive movement are an enemy to be crushed. They get to receive every indignation and insult known to man on a daily basis. They get to have all of their reasonable world view, proven in science, demonstrated in unrevised history to maximize real human progress and wealth, ridiculed as insanity.

So this is why I say maybe it would just be easier to join them. Take the blue pill and get with their program because the real world is full of nasty progressives who don’t want you messing with their matrix.

Here we go

Roman v. Yampolskiy and Joshua Fox, Artificial General Intelligence and the Human Mental Model, Chapter 7 of Singularity Hypotheses.

“Hall* classifies future AGIs [Artificial General Intelligences], making the point that we should not expect AI systems to ever have closely humanlike distributions of ability, given that computers are already superhuman in some areas. So, despite its anthropocentric nature, his classification highlights the range of possibilities as well as the arbitrariness of the human intelligence point of reference. His classification encompasses

  • hypohuman (infrahuman, less-than-human capacity),
  • diahuman (human level capacities in some areas, but still not a general intelligence),
  • parahuman (similar but not identical to humans, as for example, augmented humans),
  • allohuman (as capable as humans, but in different areas),
  • epihuman (slightly beyond the human level), and
  • hyperhuman (much more powerful than human).”

*Hall, J.S. (2007). Beyond AI: Creating the conscience of the machine. Amherst: Prometheus.

I know what some of you are thinking. So and so is definitely hypo. Come on now. . .he’s talking about machines.

Zoned Out

Why and how we should seek to restore a free market in land


I once knew a man who was finishing his basement so that his daughter and son-in-law could live there. I spent a lot of hours down there with a nail gun before the city planners nixed the project. My in-laws in Modesto, California, had to move out of their house into a mobile home on their own farm, because their kids needed a place to live. The law, for some reason, allowed them to put a mobile home there if seniors would be living in it, but not to accommodate a young family.

In run-ins with zoning laws, ordinary people encounter the perversity of government firsthand in ways that should make them receptive to the message of freedom and property. [Read more...]