VPFL 2012 Week 3

100 Fromundah Cheezheads (3-0)
67  D.C. Hangmen (0-3)

89 ’63Mercury Marauders (3-0)
52 Suburban Churchians (0-3)

68 Bane Sidhe (3-0)
45 Luna City Gamma Rays (1-2)

66 Bailout Banksters (2-1)
33 Greenfield Grizzlies (1-2)

56 RR Redbeards (1-2)
52 Moundsview Meerkats (1-2)

This is your weekly open NFL thread


Navies in space

Foreign Policy interviews a naval analyst concerning what science fiction gets right and what it gets wrong about warfare, especially from the naval perspective upon which so much fictional space war is based.

FP: The United States is in the midst of a major
debate on what our defense policy, especially given shrinking budgets and the
rise of China as Pacific sea power.  Does
sci-fi offer lessons on how the United States can resolve this?

CW: Fiction does not replace policy analysis.  But science fiction is the literature of
“what if?”  Not just “what
if X happens?” but also “what if we continue what we’re doing?”  In that way, science fiction can inform
policy making directly, and it can inform those who build scenarios for
wargames and exercises and the like. One of the great strengths of science
fiction is that it allows you have a conversation about something that you
otherwise couldn’t talk about because it’s too politically charged. It allows
you to create the universe you need in order to have the conversation you want
to have. Battlestar Galactica spent a lot of time talking about the war in
Iraq. There were lots of things on that show about how you treat prisoners.
They never came out and said that directly. They didn’t have to. At the Naval
War College, one of the core courses on strategy and policy had a section on
the Peloponnesian War. It was added to the curriculum in the mid-1970s because
the Vietnam War was too close, so they couldn’t talk about it, except by going
back to 400 BC. 

I’m a big believer in the martial utility of wargaming, but as the article notes, most wargames and all science fiction tend to completely omit the more tedious elements of war, especially logistics and bureaucracy.  Unsurprisingly, wargames tend to do a better job of addressing strategic assumptions and strategic goals than other entertainment media, although even the wargaming implimentation are usually built into the game design rather than left up to the player.


Land of the Unfree

American’s embrace Big Brother in the sky:

Close to half of Americans say they are in favour of police departments deploying surveillance drones domestically. According to a survey conducted
by The Associated Press and The National Constitution Center, 44
percent support the idea of police using unmanned aerial vehicles to
track suspects and carry out investigations. Only 36 percent said that they “strongly oppose” or “somewhat oppose” police use of drones, according to the survey.

And they vote.  Do you know, I used to wonder how Germans could possibly have been dumb enough to support the National Socialists, to say nothing of overwhelmingly voting for the four plebiscites that solidified their power.  It’s not exactly a mystery these days.


Harbinger

The future of the 21st century USA, encapsulated:

Students at a high school in Victorville said violent fights have
been breaking out between African-Americans and Latinos for the past two
days. Rafael Muñoz said a group of people started the fights at Silverado High on Wednesday, which have poured out into the streets.

Forget Somali jihadists in Minneapolis, what really blows the mind is the fact that Compton is now 65 percent Hispanic.  It’s remarkable that academia and the media are still caught up with an increasingly outdated monochrome fixation when the most intense societal fracture lines look to be between the black and brown communities.


So much for efficient markets

It would certainly be interesting to hear the remaining advocates of the efficient markets hypothesis attempt to explain these recent price movements:

Broker Sent Oil Prices to Eight Month High in a Drunken Stupor

Although not authorised to invest company cash in trades Steve Perkins, a long standing, senior broker at PVM Oil Futures, had managed to spend $520 million on oil futures contracts throughout the night.On the morning of the 30th an admin clerk called Mr Perkins to ask why he had bought 7 million barrels of crude during the night. Mr Perkins had no recollection of the transactions, and it turned out that he had made the trades during a “drunken blackout.”

By the time PVM had realised the transactions had not been authorised by a client, they had incurred losses of $9,763,252. Between the hours of 1.22am and 3.41am, Mr Perkins gradually bought 69 percent of the global market, whilst driving prices up from $71.40 to $73.05, by bidding higher each time.

About the only thing more patently absurd than the EMH is the myth of the rational voter.


Kick back, have a beer

And let her get on with the housework.  You’ll not only both be happier, but you’re less likely to end up divorced:

In what appears to be a slap in the face for gender equality, the report found
the divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50
per cent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.

“What we’ve seen is that sharing equal responsibility for work in the home
doesn’t necessarily contribute to contentment,” said Thomas Hansen,
co-author of the study entitled “Equality in the Home”.

The lack of correlation between equality at home and quality of life was
surprising, the researcher said.  “One would think that break-ups would occur more often in families with less
equality at home, but our statistics show the opposite,” he said. The figures clearly show that “the more a man does in the home, the higher the
divorce rate,” he went on.

The idea that the values held by members of equalitarian households are to blame sounds reasonable, but I think the real cause is a natural consequence of men and women having fundamentally different standards.  If you’re going to end up doing it one way or the other, it’s a lot more annoying to have to do it when you thought – however unreasonable the expectation – that someone was going to do it to your liking for you.  A woman who has no expectation of household equality is naturally going to be much happier than one who thought she was going to get it, but didn’t.

The equalitarian households are simply more likely to discover this than the more traditional ones.  If the homemaking isn’t left to the homemaker, it shouldn’t be a tremendous surprise that things don’t go well.  The household is hardly the only place where it is a terrible idea to assign the job to the individual who cares least about it.  The lesson, as always, is that if you care a lot about how well something is done, you should always do it yourself.

On the other hand, I suppose it is possible that men doing too much housework is simply a grotesque DLV and they’re actively repelling their wives by turning themselves into disgusting socio-sexual gamma males.

I found the following to be an interesting conclusion of another study, which does not actually contradict the one cited above, as it is completely in line with the conclusions of a month-long experiment conducted by one of my friends.

The researchers expected to find that where men shouldered more of the burden,
women’s happiness levels were higher. In fact they found that it was the men
who were happier while their wives and girlfriends appeared to be largely
unmoved. 

If it makes you happier, then do more housework.  If not, then don’t.  Either way, don’t think that it’s going to score you any points or make her any happier, because you’re probably not going to do it to her satisfaction and it’s even possible that your well-intentioned efforts are making you sexually repulsive to her.


Silver lining in the vibrant cloud

Imagine there’s no FBI, it’s easy if you try:

In a stunning development, President-elect Enrique Peña and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), who won control of Mexico’s government on July 1st, moved to dissolve the Agencia Federal de Investigación (AFI).

Modeled after the United States FBI, the AFI was founded in 2001 to crack down on Mexico’s pervasive government corruption and drug trafficking. With rival drug cartels murdering between 47,500 to 67,000 Mexicans over the last six years, the move by the PRI represents the total surrender of Mexico’s sovereignty back to the money and violence of Mexico’s two main drug cartels, the Sinaloa Federation and Los Zetas. 

I find it amusing that the pro-drug war writer of this article fails to recognize the connection between the founding of the AFI, the Mexican drug war, and the subsequent increase in the drug-related violence in Mexico.  If the drug violence falls considerably with the dissolution of the AFI and the eventual legalization of drugs in Mexico, no doubt he’ll also fail to draw the obvious conclusion there as well.

There haven’t been a lot of observable societal benefits to the influx of 50 million Mexicans, but getting rid of the FBI, the DEA, and the drug war would certainly be a major one.


You’d better sit down for this one

I’m certain we’re all just absolutely shocked by this revelation:

U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the
assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya that it was a terrorist attack
and suspected Al Qaeda-tied elements were involved, sources told Fox
News — though it took the administration a week to acknowledge it.  The
account sharply conflicts with claims on the Sunday after the attack by
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice that the
administration believed the strike was a “spontaneous” event triggered
by protests in Egypt over an anti-Islam film.

 It’s always so hard to see innocence shattered.  So much for the feared rage of Jihad Boy.  Sure, we all knew that Obama and his handlers were liars, but the remarkable thing is how bad at it they are.  Mitt Romney, now, there is a politician who can tell perfectly credible lies without blinking, insofar as he can resist contradicting himself.


Juxtaposition

I happened to read two articles describing the same thing from very different perspectives earlier this week.

Item One:

Though few may doubt that Jewish life in America could be threatened, Gordis effectively explains why this luxury is precisely because of
the modern state of Israel. In the most powerful passages of the
lengthy piece, he describes the Israeli contribution to the strength of
the American Jewish psyche and standing. There was an era not long ago in which American Jews
tiptoed around America, nervously striving to stay beneath the radar.
They evoked that image of the spies who reported back to Moses after
surveying the Promised Land: “We looked like grasshoppers to ourselves,
and so we appeared to them.” The American Jews who believe they could
survive the loss of Israel do not remember that era. They take it as
entirely natural that thousands of American citizens confidently ascend
the steps of the Capitol Hill on the lobbying day at AIPAC’s annual
Policy Conference….

Jews today no longer think of themselves as a tiptoeing people. When
Soviet Jews awakened and wanted out of their national prison, American
Jews supported them, and the State of Israel made their rescue a
national project. When an Air France flight filled with Jews was
hijacked to Entebbe, the State of Israel rescued them, and American Jews
were filled with unprecedented pride. When Ethiopian Jews were caught
in the crosshairs of a deadly civil war, the State of Israel whisked
them out, and American philanthropists continue to make them a key
priority. Much of what fuels American Jewish pride is the existence and
the behavior of the State of Israel.  In ways we do not sufficiently recognize, Israel has changed the
existential condition of Jews everywhere, even in America. Without the
State of Israel, the self-confidence and sense of belonging that
American Jews now take for granted would quickly disappear.

 Item Two:

So what is all the fuss about? It’s a paper entitled “Preparing For A
Post Israel Middle East”, an 82-page analysis that concludes that the
American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist
Israel. The authors conclude that Israel is currently the greatest
threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent
normal US relations  with  Arab and  Muslim countries and, to a growing
degree, the wider international community….
Among the many findings:
  • Gross Israeli interference in the internal affairs of the United
    States through spying and illegal US arms transfers. This includes
    supporting more than 60 ‘front organizations’ and  approximately 7,500
    US officials who do Israel’s bidding and seek to dominate and intimidate
    the media and agencies of  the US government which should no longer be
    condoned;
  • That the United States government no longer has the financial
    resources, or public support to continue funding Israel. The billions of
    dollars in direct and indirect aid from US taxpayers to Israel since
    1967 is not affordable and is increasingly being objected to by US
    taxpayers who oppose continuing American military involvement in the
    Middle East. US public opinion no longer supports funding and executing
    widely perceived illegal US wars on Israel’s behalf. This view is
    increasingly being shared by Europe, Asia and the International public;
Taken in tandem,
it rather looks as if history may be threatening to repeat itself yet
again.  If the existence of Israel has made American Jews confident
enough to stop tiptoeing around America and openly dominate Washington,
Hollywood, and Wall Street to an extent the various American
intelligence agencies believe should no longer be condoned, this would
appear to be setting the stage for a power struggle of the sort that
always seems to wind up with the Jews being expelled through no fault of their own.  It raises two questions in my mind:

  1. Have the Jews ever come out on top in such a conflict?
  2. If not, what is the benefit of swaggering proudly rather than tiptoeing politely when one is a tiny minority of the population.

The descent from dialectic

Over the course of the discussion of female solipsism that took place at Alpha Game, HUS, and other Game blogs, the distinction between dialectic and rhetoric, and between logic and emotion, has repeatedly come up.  Two things have become obvious as a result, which is that 1) men have no choice but to accept the observable female inclination for solipsism, rhetoric, and emotion, and 2) women have to accept that those men who strongly prefer objective perspectives, dialectic, and logic are never going to look favorably upon women’s rejection of those things even if they accept the fact of the female disinclination.

The problem is that emotion and rhetoric are both dishonest, the former intrinsically and the latter practically.  This is not to say that the emotions are bad, only that because they are dynamic and the truth is static, emotion-based reasoning is guaranteed to be false at least part of the time.  Rhetoric, on the other hand, does not have to be dishonest, but because it is designed to manipulate and convince those who, as Aristotle pointed out in Rhetoric, “cannot take in at a glance a complicated argument, or follow a long
chain of reasoning”, it usually has to be at least somewhat in variance with the complete truth because it is designed to appeal to the emotions.

More at Alpha Game… including an argument for gun control and two counterarguments!  But please keep the inevitable gun discussion here at VP.