Open Thread – 27 January, 2020

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13 Responses to Open Thread – 27 January, 2020

  1. ambrit says:

    A question for those “in the know” about Middle Eastern matters.
    Is there any truth to the idea that the Iranians, in their missile strike after the General’s assassination, struck the places associated with the drones responsible for the killing?

  2. SamIAm says:

    During the past few days, Pro-Assad and allied forces seem to be making significant in-roads along the M5 highway, while the HTS and anti-Assad militants’ defenses have seemingly collapsed.

  3. J says:

    What’s the latest regarding the Virginia legislature/AG/Governor’s firearms restrictions/confiscations plan? I’ve notice that both Governor and AG have been silent since the ‘peaceful’ rally. Both the Governor and AG must have been hoping for a bloodbath, and their hopes were dashed.
    What’s the NRA doing about working to protect Virginia’s citizens?
    Was just wonder what the latest rumblings in Virginia were.

  4. Mark Logan says:

    A message for TTG:
    Next time you are buying books from Amazon, consider adding a coffee table book by Roger Morris ” Pacific Sail” ($1.50 used!).
    Roger was man, mate, and eventually captain of the HMS Bounty replica and a talented sketch artist. This book is his effort to delve into the early explorations of the Pacific. Desperate ventures all.
    Despite the magnitude this is a bit of history our media, both books and movies, hardly ever touched and are unlikely to in the future. It’s too painful. Yet the stories of Anson, Clipperton, Shelvocke, and Mendana I found fascinating. This history should not be utterly ignored because it was so deadly and because there are no real heroes, it’s worthwhile because they were special people. They knew the risks were incalculably bad but did it anyway. We should not look for saints on such trips. Only a handful survived to tell the tales.

  5. Terence Gore says:
    Video on coronavirus outbreak. I have read other articles suggesting that there was very little to be alarmed about. The presenter Chris Martenson states he has a PHD in toxicology from Duke University Pathology Dept

  6. A.I.S. says:

    On a barely related sidenote:
    I was recently asked what type of Russiagate I would actually be ready to believe (I am a fairly strong Russiagate sceptic).
    At attempted awnswer:
    It is relatively well known, that a team of American experts assisted Yelzin in getting reelected despite starting with a popularity rating that was somewhat less then an HIV Virus. It is furthermore quite obvious that various Russian actors would have taken extensive notes of the techniques utilized by those Americans. It is perhaps less intuitive that the Russians would have developed particularly the data based approaches even further then the Americans did (when it comes to adopting new techniques, whoever adopts them first tends to fall behind because he is too overly convinced of his new techniques excellency and thus less willing to innovate it further).
    A relatively cheapish way of modulating foreign policy outcomes in ways that are less at odds with Russian preferences would be to make such services available to parties in the US that are less hostile to Russia then their competition. Russia being Russia, it is not unlikely that the parties that received such support did not know that Russia was supporting them. Much fuss has been made about Obamas data driven campaign, but well, it was pretty old school and barely revolutionary at all. The only thing it had which Russian political actors were not doing internally already was the microdonation thing, and this was hardly earth shakingly creative as well.
    Given that Obama, in both elections, run as the Russia moderate candidate compared to the opposition, possible data anaylst Russian agents in his campaign team would have done their best to support his campaign to the extent of their abilities (which are probably pretty good).
    Fast forward a bit, and due to Trump the Republicans and Democrats switch places concerning the question of sanity in relations with the Russian federation. Clinton did essentially hire Obamas data team, and the enteresting question of why Clinton committed such a plethora of unforced errors in her campaign could actually be explained by sabotage (as in giving believable but wrong advice) from within by whoever was analyzing the collected data.
    From my own experience, in a lot of cases a sufficiently motivated data analyst can milk the data in a variety of ways to suit his preferences. If he is also reasonable at people skills (which I would expect a Spy to be), and in a position where the field is relatively new and he thus has greater latitude in making his analysis (which was also the case, bear in mind that these data analysts where partly seen as the proximate causes for Obamas victories, and would thus have had plenty of inherent crediblity) can essentially advise anything he wants and it will probably happen.
    These operatives may still be chilling in the DNC and collective call themselvs Max 2.0 Otto 2.0 and Stierlitz 2.0 because Russians do have a sense humor.
    This explanation would actually be in line with how the Russian would like to act (why bother trying to manipulate millions with buff bernie memes when infitrating into positions capably of carrying out administrative sabotgage is actually far more in line with previous behaviour and probably easier as well?), it is not actually disproven, it does not require any actor holding an idiot ball in perpetuity and it would explain the puzzle peace of a, by most accounts quite skilled political actor such as Clinton committing such a panoply of unforced errors.

  7. turcopolier says:

    Sif Finster
    It seems very unlikely to me that any CIA people would be on this USAF airplane involved in a routine USAF communications relay mission.

  8. JJackson says:

    Terence Gore
    Ignore the stuff about snakes which is based on one paper which has been debunked but the rest is about right. If you want to know about this virus read or if you are a virologist and happy with genetic analysis

  9. Keith Harbaugh says:

    The following is more related to the post ‘Academic Conformism is the road to “1984.” ‘,
    but as comments there are now closed I will add it here.
    First, for an outstanding example of the exposition of current scientific thinking, I recommend the following:
    “Entropy in the Universe” by John Baez.
    Dr. Baez is an absolute master at this sort of exposition.
    Second, as to the point you made in your post:
    I distinguish between scientific conformity and political conformity.
    Scientific conformism
    For a long time, scientists conformed to the Ptolemaic model.
    Empirically, it was found not to predict what was actually observed,
    so it was replace/superseded by the Copernican model.
    The need to make the model predict what was actually observed drove the change of accepted models/
    Political conformism
    Just imagine what the reaction would be if I said:
    “The races are biologically and genetically different, i.e., they have different genetic structures,
    and these genetic differences may affect both the behavior and potential of people.”
    You know what the reaction would be: “This is racism.”
    So people don’t say such things. Thus is conformity enforced.
    Thus we see differences and inequality in outcome (in the United States)
    are forever being attributed to education or racism.
    (How the left explains differences in outcome between regions and continents is not clear.
    Gun, Germs, and Steel can’t, IMO, explains all of those differences in outcome.)
    The problem is that the political conformism is now being imposed on the scientific community.
    For an example of that imposition,
    see the example of James Watson.
    The situation in science is entirely analogous to
    what was describe in a famous quote:
    “[T]he intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy”.
    Just as the intelligence was politicized then,
    so science has been politicized.

  10. J says:

    Seems that the Virginia legislature is bent on gun control. 9 new Bill’s introduced

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