* Posts by cyfahead

72 posts • joined 19 Feb 2014


Social networks have already violated the spirit of GDPR


Re: Next-gen to the rescue

..and I am not only the generation that created it, I worked in roles that helped set it up since 1969 through 1999! But I am here as an economist, and at this moment an economic historian/sociologist. Not a very good one, perhaps. But then who can call themselves a good system analyst or system engineer these days? Keep that question for another day.

This issue here is philosophical at an 'in your face level', so don't switch off on me. First examine your own... Why do human beings work together, live together and cooperate? Is it because it:

a) enables the strong guys amongst us to create a set of rules that say " We own everything but, if you give us a bit of every shred of value that you can create from it, we'll let you work with it. In return for that access, while you create that value, we'll give you access to the stuff you need to live on from the bits of value that we took from other guys before you. And while your doing that, we'll get you to want more than you need and get others to make it, on the same deal. You can have that stuff too if you agree to let us have a bigger slice out of the value you are creating with the stuff I have given you access to work on, and some more too, of the value you are making, to replace the value you took.

or, b). enables us to more effectively and efficiently add value, to the basic stuff that is in the world, so that it is turned into the things that make life possible, safer, more comfortable, more pleasant and more fulfilling by getting what we each need and a lot of what we want, individually, but also enables to build up, and maintain enduring , durable and resilient shared assets and service delivery infrastructures which we share and that make all of our lives better so that we are less and less enslaved to the making of value and more of our own efforts can go into using and consuming the value we produce in the 'spare' time we have created for ourselves?

If is a) stop reading here. I pray that you and your kind become infertile, are denied any child rearing access opportunities and join the dinosaurs.

If b) then consider how in a 'free market' utopia goods with high demand because they are needed, as distinct from 'wanted', get produced in great quantity, and command a premium price, until demand is met. But for them, enough is enough. More production doesn't create more demand.. even if the price drops. So the price does drop, as suppliers compete for sales. Until production no longer produces any excess value to be extracted from the people working at it by the people renting out the access to the stuff to those that are producing it, The value portion that the 'owners' were taking for their own benefit from the producer's created value has been sacrificed in the price war to keep access to the 'inelastic' market demand, Sorry for the technical term. So now the 'owners' all want to sell up and own some stuff and have people create value where their product's demand is much more than the supply and which is potentially permanently elastic... in the area of products and services which fulfill insatiable 'wants' rather than utilitarian 'needs'. But we guys still need our milk, toast and tea to get going very day.. Whatever the 'owners' of the stuff that makes it want.

We. the society, now have two choices... do without the basic products and services of life (generalising here... to save time) or make production of basic 'need' goods a 'public enterprise' with no market driven profit opportunity but totally assured stable product demand.. job for life for those making them. And 'profit for jam' for those still owning the stuff need to produce them with, if it is a 'public-private' partnership or simply subsidised by taking value, by taxation, from the 'wants production' economy (through corporation tax) or from other not so exploited producer's work value (through income tax). This enables the 'owners' to own more stuff as well as live nicely off the income they themselves are not earning, all the while applying some subsidy to expanding the amount of stuff they own. This creates competition, with other 'owners' in the same game, for owning access to the planet's resources whose 'values' then increase. This increases the 'ground rent' component that determines the subsidy that the owner's take from the previously mentioned non-needs producers or from less impoverished producers working at making value from the stuff that is all owned.

This creates a public pressure, upon agents of governance (politicians), in societies where people are free to express their dissatisfactions, for 'something to be done' that both assures continued flow of the products or services that they 'need' in their lives and does so at minimum cost to those consuming them. If the use of the 'goods' involves access to a physically shared 'property' ('stuff') then the 'cheapest' societal option is to take the 'property stuff' needed by production out of the market and pay the producers for producing from revenue, at a 'value share' level that attracts the people needed to produce the product needed by society. In the end this means administered 'total-cost-recovery' pricing which is eternally sustainable and accept the managerial and strategic planning it involves. (Why not? does it matter that 'owners' aren't doing it, when it is done by people whose actual job .. and future employability depends upon it.. through external certification.). Or else, take all subsidy costs from other 'owners' rather than from 'producers'.

The 'cheapest' solution for 'owners' is to carry on with producer-sourced subsidies and escalating property prices to constantly escalate ground rents and the subsidies. The secure asset base created in this area then lets the 'owners' to borrow on this growing 'store of value' so that they can still invest in owning stuff that is needed by producers of those 'wanted' goods where excess demand can be manipulated and as extractable value as can be generated can be extracted from produced value,

So what of social media and the internet communication network it rides upon?

The internet network infrastructure has already gone far down the same evolutionary route as road, rail, electric, gas, radio, TV, cellular and garbage collection. Governments now subsidise or own the production of these needed goods which require shared access to their delivery systems. And thy control them.

The style of communication services (mixed one-to-many, many-to-one and many-to-many) created by the social media products fulfil a basis human need to communicate, in a style with which is totally analogous to that which occurs face-to-face (hence face-book for instance). It is a 'needed product. If total inter-operability between providers were introduced, just as it was for rail operators in late 19thC-early 20thC UK and elsewhere, it would facilitate the competition that would drive-down its 'basic-service' delivered price to the user close to its actual cost of production and the cost of advertising down to its cost of delivery. The opportunity for restricting supply ('face' space and market access) would be eliminated and its value (by effectively limiting data-scope to more local operational domains) would also be reduced. Production of social media would then follow the same economic evolution as all other 'social utilities' until they too will be the object of various subsidisation schemes. And the data they hold about us being of less value will also be less and more easily monitored, and policed, for local GDPR compliance.

This would benefit advertisers serving their products into more local markets. Markets that are a better fit to the data available to each of the 'social media' product providers. It would benefit 'work-value retention' within regional areas and countries and reduce the demand for importation of 'want-manipulated' foreign products and brands and people will still be able to chat and communicate with everyone else in the world.... freely.

So.. Step One can be taken by we the creators of this Gorgon. Simply require that

1). all social media traffic entering a country be delivered and transmitted by locally registered companies and people who are locally tax-domiciled and permanently resident...

2). all social media traffic and content meets a single, universal standard of complete interoperability


The economics beloved of those that benefit from it will do the rest for us. Meanwhile we can get on with the job of democratising production through localised markets and localised value attribution... as the globalisation scourge begins to realise that it has seen its nemesis.

BA CEO blames messaging and networks for grounding


The big picture has historical precedents...

Some light has been shed upon the BA systems outage over the Bank Holiday:

"Speaking to Sky News, he [BA CEO Cruz] added a little more detail about what went wrong, as follows:

On Saturday morning around 9:30 there was indeed a power surge that had a catastrophic effect over some communications hardware which eventually affected the messaging across our systems.

Tens of millions of messages every day that are shared across 200 systems across the BA network and it actually affected all of those systems across the network. "

From a policy perspective for politicians as an IT Systems Engineer I would draw the following conclusion, and warning, to us all:

The BA disaster will be followed by others until all telecommunications are seen as a single multi-modal utility channel and as a critical local resource by every region across the planet and brought under common control and direct accountability to the people it serves.


What BA CEO Cruz describes is simple.. there was a failure of their Critical Component Failure Analysis process. This is de riguer an everyday functional department of any major IT operation.

The constant problem these exercises live with is in defining the boundaries of "your" IT operation, over which you have control, and the risks beyond that where you have none, or little, and to mitigate against them while hoping all the components 'sites' making up that external environment are as diligent in their CCFA processes as you are yourself.

The potential resilience and durability of complex systems that rely upon the Interconnection of many independent participants/components is theoretically high... if every component has available to it many alternative ways of making the connections it needs.

But the degree of interconnection of any specific independent site/component in a network of commercial entities is the consequence of cost-benefit driven decisions taken in its strictly local context. It is also often a factor the specific details of which are regarded as being commercially sensitive and are kept confidential within each local operation.

The result is the failure of the 'Internet' to achieve the absolute resilience which was the raison d'etre, and the main design feature, of the 1950/1960's USDF 'Arpanet' out of which the 'Internet' has evolved.

Historically, just like chaotic complexity eventually characterised the commercial competitive generation of electrical power and the laying of railway track, the entire 'multi-modal' telecommunications enterprise has now reached the same level of criticality to our economic existence in displays the same state of chaos and susceptibility to CCF events.

The BA disaster will be followed by others until all telecommunications are seen as a single multi-modal utility channel and as a critical local resource by every region across the planet and brought under common control and direct accountability to the people it serves.

Clearly there are existential impediments to achieving this, but they go beyond the froth of ICANN haggling and Steely Neely's earlier resistance to non-EU corporations' pressures. There is a context in our Economic History and the philosophies of political economy by which they are formed and interpreted. For some of that.. and a peek into the Pandora's box that lies there, read on... you should have time before they let you board your next flight...


The 'Internet', like roads, running water, rail and energy reticulation before it, has evolved now evolved from being a luxury novelty to being a critical part of the infrastructure of many national economies and their global trading links.

In the past whenever a complex system technology has reached this stage it has been brought under total central control within its country of operation. This 'nationalisation' has been achieved, in general, either by public ownership or nationally controlled 'sole operating licences' granted commercial operators in clearly defined non-overlapping domains whose service levels, revenues and operating profits are expected to be tightly controlled in exchange for an absence of competition, except when periodically bidding for licence renewals.

In the past the evolution of a new technology from 'novelty' to 'utility' was easily confined within the geopolitical domain of a country and regulated accordingly. It is inherent to the Internet, and telecommunications in general, that this technology creates complex local systems interconnected in complex global systems which transcend geopolitical domains.

However, the Internet is no longer alone. As it evolved so too did the global energy reticulation system and the rail and the road systems. None of them have any significant degree of resilience designed into them. Some resilience is there, but tends to be at the duplicative level. There is very little evidence of the complex interconnections that high levels of 'resilience' require. UK's winter gas supply depends completely on 2 'taps'. One in Russia and one in Sweden. The few remaining liquid methane tankers do not have the capacity, or operational flexibility, to quickly step in to the energy gap that would be created by a sustained cessation of piped gas from across the North Sea.

After commercial interests have successfully exploited a new technology, moving it from a market 'novelty' to a national 'utility' we have seen over a period of more than 200 years that it has been left to the national exchequer to foot, or underwrite, the bill for the expenses of mitigating the risks of economic disruption to which the commercially driven development of 'utilities' has exposed the general population of businesses and households.

Examples include energy stockpiles, rail track networks, channel tunnels, enlarged and deepened port facilities, motorway links to outlying areas, fibre-optic cables into rural areas, cellular phone networks, into areas with poor signal propagation characteristics and low population density even though having numerically large numbers of potential users.

The trans-national geopolitical domain which is the European Union, despite subversion by commercial and neoliberal politico-economic interests of late, has been very effective in creating the conditions for achieving high resilience at lower overall cost of many such complex 'utliity' technologies. Beyond its geopolitical domain it is the USA which seeks to arrange such things to its own benefit and under its geopolitical control through a combination of financial, gunboat and global 'administrative' functions and organisations which it economically dominates through their dependence upon its, the USA's, high-levels of funding relative to other contributors.

Brexit affords UK entities, which relative to their EU ones have large global and hence also US interests, to continue to exploit the 'special relationship' which the largest UK financial and trading corporations, through their governments, have sought to preserve since becoming indebted to the US by WWII. By this means they have been able to transform without loss the value of their global commercial interests from being under the direct protection of the then defunct Empire to the indirect, but potentially more effective, protection provided by the USA.

Now, in 2017, the EU has become the single largest trading entity in the world, outstripping the USA in the position it has long jealously guarded for itself. This has threatened UK interests whose commercial roots lie in the days of our own Empire and in the 'special relationship' which is so often spoken of but which is so difficult to define, unless one says exactly what it is. In the historical context, it is no more and no less than a global trading alliance protected by the mutually exercised global projection of military power.

By extending its commitment to the EU through the Lisbon Treaty, the UK was suddenly able to play 'both ends to the middle'. It was de facto a member of the two largest trading empires in the world, both commercially and militarily through NATO. During the last two decades the EU welcomed the strength in world markets that the UK added to it. On the other side of the Atlantic the US might be forgiven for feeling a bit double-crossed as the EU weakened its own growing need for global trade pre-eminence.

Entities participating in and benefiting from the 'special relationship', on both sides of the Atlantic, who were now finding themselves increasingly being sidelined by UK and other EU commercial allies, and by increasing EU resistance to US-dominated global organisations and to the demands of US global corporations. At the same time the US was having to compete with a resurgent China, then SE Asia and soon to be followed by India.

The EU's military capacity was largely confined to a defensive posture, mandated to protect its members' trading routes. The EU was a poor partner for UK global interests as compared with the indirect protection of the US loosely allied to the UK's own military. A Brexit presented, for them and the US, a win-win situation.. strengthen the 'special relationship' that mitigates risk in international trade, and weaken the competitive trading power of the EU.

In so far as those US global trading interests identify with the US political right, as do their UK counterparts, it bears some speculation as to how far back their overt alliance goes. And to what extent Mr Farrage's UKIP is a child, and deliberate pawn, of the UK and US political right embedded in the foundations of both their main political parties. Certainly the public appearance of the close relationship between Trump and Farrage was very sudden and very intense. And once one speculates this far it that raises the prospect of speculating upon the actions and influence, upon anti-EU moves to the right of players in many EU nations, of the other player that is mooted to be in the game to re-assert global influence... Mr Putin.


Three quarters of Oz science grads can't get science work


wny is this news!

When my dsughter graduated in 1994 in biochemistry in south africa it was already very apparent that real science jobs are only available in cohntries where the actual commercial research work is done. Since most research is done by globalised companies and that is mostly done wherd their head offices are that is where all the real science jobs are... The rest need the grafuates but there is not much motivation to do stem just to become a supervisor of lab technicians or a production line. Get real, stop listening to journalistic and political drivel, and understand that if you want science graduates to boost manufacturing process tweaking then call the training what it is and restructure it honestly.... Call the the qualification aploma in Technology (DipTech) and let Institutes of Technology issue them. Then pay them more than the B.Sc's!!! After all you need them a hell of a lot more!!! Just like plumbers get paid more than bank branch managers..... Think about it and stop regurgitating the hype as the safe career option and write articles that actually report what you see and infere from that rather than paraphrasing the press releases of what your boss's advertisers would like you to write about.

Search for MH370 called off after new theory about resting place is ruled out


Why have none of you 'conspiracists' yet factored in the initial detour to the NE that ended up with the 'random walk' near the place with the 'long runway.... ideal for an emergency landing'?

That runway was ex-RAF Butterworth in Malaysia, the current site for the main radar defense installation for the whole of SE Asia. Was that initial 'destination' coincidental? If a 'rogue' commercial flight was heading slap bang for your main regional radar defense system how long would you hang around waiting to see what happens next? Remote autopilot 'hijack' capacity built-in to these jets.... ? What other remote control 'kill switches' might be available to a 'techie barn' like Butterworth? Perhaps the early models of the pulse lasar naval weapon were given a 'live fire' workout... focussed on the cockpit?

Fantasy should be kept close to real life factors... it makes the truth easier to hide!

On the other hand... not talking about such truths prevents them from being integrated into building likely scenarios. Was it a concidence that the flight path became erratic only when the plane came within range of Butterworth's self-defense systems? The truth might be simply a potentially very embarrassing over-reaction in using a capability, and a military predisposition to under value civilian collateral damage, the exercising of which is supposed to characterise only the 'bad guys'!!! A military secret does not eventually leak out just because 3 or more know of it!!! Now that is really fanciful thinking.......

Bureau of Statistics hides trade data about monitors. Yes, monitors!


You're right... it juts reflects the declining standard of teaching Oz-speak in schools. Now its trickled through to clerical appointees in the government service!

Simulation shows how space junk spreads after a satellite breaks up


As a layman.. where does all the energy come from that provides the angular momentum of pieces rising to the higher orbital distances? Is this all provided by the force imparted upon the target object that gave rise to its initial breakup? If it is has a sensitivity analysis been done to confirm the representative form of the 'disassociation pattern' that has been generated here?

On a another, equally lay level, the patterns together with "Anonymous' " comments about the moon and perturbations mentioned by Wilkinson it all starts to look like the earliest stages of the formation of an accretion disk around a spinning initial black hole as extraneous material flies in and starts bumping around and the 'soup' starting to settle out into clusters of matter into its densest parts to form stellar objects which further accrete and sweep to create the arms of a spiral galaxy, and at a fractal level, the planets of their own stellar systems.

Or they could have generated a model following any one of the other dozen or so solution paths at each point in time and place of the calculations and ended up with any one of millions of different forms of galaxies etc etc. Still its always gratifying when you follow the solutions which paint the prettiest pictures. Don't you think?

Cognitive computing: IBM uses phase-change material to model your brain's neurons


re: The key to learning isn't...

The key to learning is in the identification of correlates.and then the 'preservation' of the ability to match further correlates to those already found... and cross-correlating correlates so as to build up a multi-dimensional 'correlation web' (aka. database?) of past experiences. Outside of ICT, in my other field of interest, of behavioural science, we might see in this 'correlation web' the development of the norms and values by which organisms arbitrate external stimulii into actions by applying a recursive process of C-D transforms (aka if-then-else decisions... broadly speaking) through which the stimulii, or a set of stimulii as the neural net becomes more sophisticated in its operation, are effectively assessed against a record of action outcomes as to which is advised in this case.

Interestingly it is the only way we know of for handling the never ending optimisation problems that every organism faces, sometimes thousands of times a day. Mathematically they are generally NP-hard, and cannot be reasonably computed or cannot be solved at all. We daily use Gantt Charts to solve scheduling challenges for example... to make a solvable problem computable in real time while giving us the option of accepting a sub-optimal 'solution' when it is 'good enough'.

From this perspective... just the idea of how the synthetic neurons filter and identify correlating signals in a physical 'mechanistic' analogue to the mathematical identification of correlate points in a neural network has to be seen as incredibly important. It has the potential to lead to the design of many physical alternatives to the synthetic neuron described by the IBM team and a host of optimisation capabilities, simplified to be suited to specific target tasks within the design goals, of a whole range of specialised AI-enabled tools.

Nope, we can't find dark matter either, says LUX team


Re: Antimatter

#ocratato: mmm... You have eclectic cultural tastes?.. mashed okra and sweet potato, or just the american spud. A friend is a stranger you do not know.... Hi! ... or a non-sibilant Socratean.

I wonder if anybody has done a full-scale mathematical modelling of general relativity, combined with an objective re-interpretation of experimental observation, in which gravity is not presumed to be an intrinsic property of matter but is in fact the resistance of the aethereal space to its compression by matter taking up some of its space? Does Gravity suck? Or is it just Aether being pushy?

At many levels it seems a reasonable counter-hypothesis and if true would perhaps help to unify the Quantum and Classical views of the Universe. Light matter has more interstitial voids and smaller particles than do heavy elements and disturbs less of the 'quantum-level' aether eliciting less 'push-back' from it. Aether compression nearest to concentrations of matter would still cause space-time distortions which would cause pass light to bend accordingly. Would we, at a human level, in fact actually see any differences in the normal operation of stuff around us?

I suspect that every second mathematician will throw formula to show it does behave differently based on observations made in physical laboratories, but how many of those refutations will be tautological? In the sense that the setting up of the maths used was based upon the 'suck' hypothesis in the first place... or else are the theoretical inferences derived from measurements of physical effects which are only indirect observations at best of the reality being inferred to be the cause of those observable effects being measured and hence determined the design of the experiment being relied upon.

Has anybody any idea if the 'Aether is pushy' concept is definitively refuted or that research in it just suffers, at this point in time, from being the world's least advisable career move? Meet me on Researchgate with an answer... Robin Edward Jarvis


Re: "Scientists named it dark matter as it did not seem to emit any light"

@iglethal: I agree... the problem may be largely one of experimental capability

The most recently released 'switch on' of the SKA 16 element segment in South Africa increased the known galaxies in a moon sized area of the sky from 19 to somewhere near 1200 in the few minutes it took to collect some radiation. It looks like the brown dwarf content of galaxies also looks set for some serious revision... perhaps also 2-order of magnitude like at 'proto-SKA' . SKA will have 4 types the resolving power when complete at 64 elements. But then it will link with the Australian and South American patches in a substantially more sensitive composite array. Can we reasonably outlook a 10-magnitude increase in galactic count estimates... when looking out of the Milky Way!!?

How many orders of magnitude of underestimation do we need for us to fully account for 'dark' matter?

If galactic bending of light is greater than expected from current mass estimates we also need to consider where those estimates of galactic mass come from. Are we extrapolating errors that we make due to brown dwarf underestimation in our 'reference' galaxies?

Just an observational issue... from a lay perspective. If you put a bunch of garbage in a wind centrifuge the heaviest items fall near the centre and the lighter stuff accelerates out to the periphery. If you have more light stuff than heavy stuff then the most mass ends up 'out there'. Just look at where and how gas giants form sweeping up the light far flung elements in solar systems.

So why do the great and revered amongst us not apply the same expectation to the construction galaxies and integrate that with the expansion from the big bang? Putting Big Bang trajectory components aside for the moment. We can expect a great deal of unlit and widely scattered small light, and un-lit, objects at the edge of galaxies where they will tend to contribute to faster angular momentum.

These objects will have built up from ejecta of star deaths, and at an earlier stages perhaps from the big bang condensations, and will have transferred some of the energy of their original acceleration along their original path into 'orbital' energy, as their path is bent towards an arc under the gravitational influence of the heavy matter at and nearer to any galactic object they approach, They will acquire the galactic spin direction if they are captured or may be sling-shot off to some other destination until they get captured. So we have a picture of galaxies 'hoovering up' light objects which tend to attach to their periphery and of heavy objects with greater momentum penetrating closer to their centres and accumulating there before gaining a measure of 'orbital' stability. Since small stuff, starting at the elemental levels, in the universe seems to outweigh big stuff we can expect more mass at lower densities to be captured in the periphery of galaxies than at their centres... since all galactic mass is acquired in the same way (just like planetary masses). They do not create their own mass nor is it all 'given' by their aggregation of locally present material in a wrinkle of expanding space time determined by the matter distribution at the time of its condensation. The pot has been stirred many times since then while it continues to boil vigorously!

Is that a suitable practical basis for building an explanatory model of why the outer edges of galaxies seem to spin faster than we would expect them to when considering the theory together with the very incomplete measurements we have acquired in, what is after all only, the last couple of decades?

Rob E Jarvis

Bill Gates cooks up poultry recipe for Africans' paltry existence


Re: Thinking it through

If Billy had actually spent some time living in a typical rural location where incomes are low and the work is hard and the people are many, he would have noticed that many of the people eyeing the chickens and deliberating on their culinary qualities are not necessarily their owners. Security costs a lot, and there are no police to investigate multiple cases of multiple henocide. Even chicken wire (netting) needs plenty cash, and it needs to be buried on on side to stop the rats and dogs... and the snakes... they come and eat your eggs and chicks. So the netting has to be the expensive sort with small holes. The edge in the ground rusts in a a short time and is impossible to mend... and anyway free-range chickens... even in a law abiding community with no rats, dogs or feral carnivores... will happily lay their eggs in any shady spot they can find... and you won't.

He would have also noticed the dire shortage of cooking fuel... have you ever tried to take a 3 year old garbage heap tart and "cook until tender". It takes a lot of wood. Great recipe for soil erosion.

Then there is the small matter of conversion efficiency. Humans can also eat the grains that go into the chickens, and many struggle to grow enough of that for their own consumption. But the conversion loss of food value after passing it through a chicken just compounds the problem.

Of course if Bill is looking to empower a business class to dominate the cereals market by driving up prices which they can recoup by feeding it to chickens to sell to the developing professional and entrepreneurial classes, where they exist, then he is likely to solve the development problem quickly. The demographics will soon show a surge in the percentage of the population in work and with their own business... the population will also be smaller, the rest will likely have starved to death.

Universe's shock rapidly expanding waistline may squash Einstein flat


Re: MOND ?

...much like Dark Energy and Dark Matter?

..of course to get back to my Theory of Everything, if the Aether is so resentful of being pushed around by all this MattI stuff, and his "Anty Mater", (they are Finish..) and is pushing back at both of them then you get this interesting effect in the region of a Galaxy....

Remember that the Galaxy we see is Matter, and Anty Mater is crowding in hard but getting nowhere close the the middle. In fact sort of squashed in at the outer regions, just managing to split some matter out there into spirals because there is more of Anty Mater out there pushing in than there is Matter pushing in ( so you will find, when you can detect the stuff, Dark Matter 'encasing' the galactic spirals.. mark my words!). Now because there is all this pushing and shoving activity going on out there at the edge of the galaxy there has to be lost more kinetic energy around. Energy which will tend to adopt the directionality of what is already moving and speed it up beyond what we poor mortals had expected... so much so in fact that it is this excess speed (i.e. the speed above the characteristic angular velocity of the entire galactic structure0 in the outer layers of the galaxy that in increasingly pushing past the slower inner Matter (Anty M and all..) that causes the spiral arms to form. Simply the outer bits slowly overtaking the inner bits creating arcs of from 'layered pushing' rather than from the frictional effects of air upon Catherine Wheel particles as we are used to when we play with fireworks.

Simples.... can I go and have a bath now? I feel a Eureka moment coming on.


Its amazing how inspirational an afternoon of fishing (or walking, or watching a waterfall) can be!!!

It is rumoured that some even used to take a bath for inspiration....

I am sure I heard that somewhere. Either way it as all 'fishing', when you have a problem on your mind.


Re: Too early to tell.

16 Up votes versus 16 Down votes !! You are spot on. Congratulations... IT IS DEFINITELY 'TOO EARLY TO TELL'!!!!

Talking of turning things on their heads... I have this theory...

Its not Gravity that sucks... but the 'aether' that is pushing back at all this stuff that the big bang produced. The more massive the stuff is the harder aether pushes back at it. That's why Dark Energy is concentrated around Matter. That and the unaccounted for Momentum in spinning Black Holes, neutron stars and galactic objects.

Dark Matter... Oh, that's just the anti-matter that we cannot detect! It hangs around the matter it was created with.. negative gravity is attracted by positive gravity, but the negative grav anti-matter stuff pushes hard against the adjacent anti-matter the closer the bits are squeezed together as they crowd in on real Matter and so can never get close enough to the real stuff to annihilate the whole lot. The closer they get the harder they push against each other and the less likely they are to meet any real matter.

Should that ever happen you would of course get one h**ll of an explosion, quite a Big Bang in fact...

Hmmm mmm mm m?


Re: Well..

@itzman "[Quantum mechanics].. is a description of a world behind the classical world, so to speak, so there is no reaosn why they should agree.

Its a bit like expecting the workings of a computer to obey the geometry of a picture displayed on its monitor."

I like it!!! Have you ever thought of a career in economics?

Paraphrasing the present level of philosophical expertise in this field . We have a similar situation "[Real Human Behaviour].. is a description of a world behind Classical (and neoclassical economics), so to speak, so there is no reason why they should agree...." I by golly they don't!!! Not even remotely.

Cash, fear and uncertainty: The Holy Trinity of Bitcoin and blockchain


Cash, fear and uncertainty: The Holy Trinity of Bitcoin and blockchain

....Other Blockchains uses:

Being ICT-retired I haven't yet read the 'Blockchain Fundamentals and Planning' system engineering guide. Nor any of its 'Red Books' for that matter. I would like to know if I can build associative indices between the elements of individual blockchains which themselves are of [recordtype= blockchain]?

Although indices of themselves are clearly of interest in utilising blockchain 'bundles' as the true historical source records for 'big data' research and analysis would not creating 'matting' in this way cause the integrity of the index blockchains to be available as validation of the underlying bundles such that by the time quite a small number of indices have been built the complexity factor created would be so great that historical usurping of history when segmented and decentralised would become practically impossible?

I am not ignoring the index management overhead this generates on an already slow update mechanism..... but I do have trust in the opinion, already voiced, that a lot of work is even now going on to make blockchain operations far more efficient and I am sure this will continue just as in parrallel higher processing speeds, storage capacities and communication infrastructure are poised for a sea-change in the next 5 to 10 years.

The fact is... if a blockchain data infrastructure were to become feasible at the lowest discreet horizontal levels of societal organisation and yet also be 'viewed' according to any grouping criteria, and this can also be extended both vertically through geographic and governance views out to global scale not only would the 'bridges of trust' primary function of banking be obsolete so would most of the intermediation services provide between individuals by their governments and by nearly every commercial middleman... provided the blockchain matting infrastructure and all the access tools needed were themselves 'constitutionally' free of access and use, paid for by the tax base of individuals for whom it would truly have become 'The Web for Life' in support of 'The Web of Life' (cf. Fritjof Kapra). It would truly facilitate an end to the neoclassical paradigm and the neoliberal religious dogma of one individual's right to oblige another to do things or behave in ways, often involuntarily and unconsciously, that he would not otherwise have done so... i.e. to exploit other individuals where he is able (cf. Risse et al 2012 or 2010?).

It goes with out saying that we are also talking about it facilitating a supra-institution within an institutional landscape that has at its base an 'archaeo-economic' institution adapted to the systemic realisation of the Humanitarian vision for the future of humanity which has been built up and agreed amongst the world's nations over the past 70 years... one which starts to get very close to 'true democracy' rather than the plutocratic charade which the current 'archaeo-economic' institution, formalised in the late 18th century, early 19th, by Mssrs. Smith and Ricardo. An institution of accepted economic principles and behaviour upon which all institutional landscapes that can and have been built (from undeveloped thru western capitalism and totalitarian communism etc) and which can only tend societies towards common structures embodying systemic exploitation, inequality, consumerism , centralisation and vulnerability to crisis. Which last is itself the consequence of the inevitable loss of resilience, durability, diversity, dispersal and complexity.... all key factors in species survival in the long term and in the universal well-being of individuals and communities in the shorter term.

Heavy stuff... but such is the characteristic of any paradigm shifting technology!!!

Who's right on crypto: An American prosecutor or a Lebanese coder?


Re: Nope, don't care

As an 'old person' I can attest to the fact that I frequently lose 'sight' of my cellphone/tablet/glasses/wallet/toothbrush/Banking PIN/..... You name it I have forgotten it. I could easily get jailed and I do not even have Alzheimer's!

The upside is that I believe 'white-collar' places of detention are run to a much higher standard than are required of those run by the 'old age care industry'!!! And.. they don't make you sell your house to pay for your upkeep!!!


Re: Nope, don't care

RE; AndrewDu " " It removes the benefits of encryption accruing to criminals without harming the rest of us."

Until the definition of "criminals" is expanded by the elites to include something you didn't expect, and then you're toast. "

Speaking of 'toast'.. and the world of 'political economy' and why we do what we do and how we go about doing it.

Far and away the largest chunk of terrorism and general anarchy is rooted in the sense of hopelessness generated by a total distrust in the validity of the philosophies and logic upon which 'modern economics' rests and upon which the increasingly small proportion of mankind which benefits from it relies for its 'moral authority' to keep things arranged as they are and to brook no dissent whilst at the same time engaging in sweet words and rhetoric as a Machiavellian exercise in good governance.

Remove the hopelessness by aligning the goals and actions of all the institutions of state and commerce, everywhere, to the enlightened moral precepts of the 21st century, which everyone claims to subscribe to, then you will remove 99% of terrorism and the need for this debate. We can all have our privacy, subject to 'probable cause' and limited to physical access and search of living space. Everybody would be able to live and do the real jobs they expected to do, with the freedom and the security they expect.

In the respected world of serious study and analyses, the Georgian and Victorian precepts of morality that provide the inescapable context of the logic underpinning the whole of neoclassical 'modern economics', as well as Marx's Communism and Liberal Socialism and Social Democracy, is well recognised to be 'houses of cards' al built on the same invalid and inappropriate idealised model of an 'economic man'. For us today, the imagined 'free markets' through which they exchange and distribute the products of their particular specialisations to their mutual and fairly distributed individual advantage have been shown not to exist. Not then and not now, and not likely to. Without a complete rethink and rebuild/redirection of the plethora of political and commercial institutions which have been built on those archaic and naive premises.

Unfortunately for us all those same institutions that have grown up to support a system which concentrates wealth and power to an increasingly small fraction of people are the realm of those same people. Their moral super-hero is the idealised 'economic man' exercising rationality and self-interest in all his unfettered and minimally controlled activities. Be they activities involving production, exchange and distribution, or consumption.

Both sides of this crypto debate are in the same camp. It is logical and rational for app and device makers to protect their own commercial interests and not compromise security demanded by you and I. In their role of being agents of a power hegemony fully convinced by the benefits of its own self-righteousness, our security forces must see their need for ubiquitously broken crypto products as logical and rational in their self-interest to be seen to be defending successfully those that reward them for doing so.

The real question is not the short-term one of 'Which is right?' but the long-term question of 'Are either of them right?' and if not 'Should not both them be actively seeking to bring their moral precepts into line with those of the 21st Century and seeking to modify our social, commercial and political institutions to achieve, support the and develop the universal and global application of those goals of equality, brotherhood and liberty which once were conceived as applying in practice to only an educated and commercially successful, largely hereditary, elite?'.

If we cannot expect such an introspection and 'epiphanal' conviction of spirit and the actions to demonstrate it from those who are the receptacles of the accruing concentrations of the wealth and power that are needed to make those changes in an evolutionary but rapid and deterministic way, then there will inevitably be those whose lives are so dire and hopeless that there will be those who, struck by empathy and a sense of injustice and convinced of their own ability to challenge its causes by publicising to the iniquitous the iniquity seen. They will seek to chip away at their comfortable self-righteousness using whatever misguided, misconceived and desperate ways as would seem proportional to the scale of the stasis amongst those that can and should be the ones acting positively to facilitate real change.

Whether or not broken crypto? It is a mere sideshow. It has no logical resolution and has no moral precepts to choose between for the most powerful protagonists share the same 17th Century philosophical foundation. It can only be resolved by paradigm shift and an update of governance and commercial practices in governments and boardrooms to be in line with the rhetoric expressed in the hustings and by corporate spin doctors.

Rather tie your elected 'representatives' in knots of inescapable logic than entangle hexcodes and electron spins. Rather find ways of creating a democracy that controls governance in the interests and for the well-being of every person and not primarily in the interests of the few people who seek to influence and control 'our' representatives by feeding their personal senses of well-being with candy and cake.

Ice volcanoes just part of Plutonic pandemonium


re: Grikath...

I only have a little cluster for simulations.... its perched on my shoulders. Sorry!

The limited simulation run I was able to complete, without hitting the dreaded BSOD, suggests that amongst the pandemonium it is likely that Pluto gets the odd hit by space debris moving at various speeds, some friable and some rock hard. At least some will hit with lots of energy but be quite small. If the density of Pluto increases with depth not much energy will be dissipated until the object is deeply embedded. Phase changes would then be to more gaseous states the deeper one goes which would push up through the 'entry pipe' the softer stuff created during entry creating a 'volcano' - when the gases collapse deep down the whole pipe collapses again leaving a hollow top mound at the surface. Lateral shock waves generated during entry would fracture the surrounding rock and unevenly soften and gasify it. These would be somewhat characteristic of the bubbly froth created by 'boiling' milk but bubbles at the surface would spontaneously re-freeze, perhaps encasing voids. However, expansion of the surface area of the mound might also happen without splitting it but with surface re-freezing at the same time as the central collapse occurs when the same expanded surfaces now are trying to collapse back down into a smaller, flatter area but are unable to do so completely..... leaving a hummocked surface.

Sub-surface radar and gravimetrics would be very interesting. Perhaps on the next trip?

European Space Agency demos MARS LANDINGS BY DRONE


Re: small issue of air density

Just an idle thought... arising from Dysan, of domestic appliance compact rotary air moving fame, having recently filed yet another patent involving very high speed turbine rotor construction and design such as might be applicable to kinetic energy storage.

If your drone entered Mars atmosphere with a fully-powered rotary 'battery' (charged from collecting solar energy on the long voyage to Mars) could it deliver enough lift, even in a thin atmosphere, through gearing it to a bunch of very high-speed atmospheric rotors? Perhaps it would be best if the turbines themselves were also of Dysan design?

.. after landing you could put the turbine into reverse, 'vacuum up' some dust... as Dysan does, hang around a few months while you spin up the rotary battery again from solar power, while also electrolysing some rocket fuel out of the sub-surface moisture. Then return to earth orbit for collection... after an aerodynamic lift-off to the altitude ceiling followed by rocket power to get escape velocity and an Ion engine to get home.

Simples?? Who said space was difficult? All it takes is a modified vacuum cleaner.


Re: Progress!

Pardon me, but if I was employed in a mobile attack unit protecting our extraction of cheap minerals from other people's fields I would very much like to think my quietly accurate placement of an explosive charge from a drone up against my target's bunker wall was not taking place while he was doing the same to me! And let's face it, everybody knows that the most awesome security and secrecy systems are run by the US. Believing that, as an American, would you risk sharing any of your secrets (that you think they don't already know) with any manky European country?

It's almost time for Australia's fibre fetishists to give up


Which brings to mind the 'real' economics of the debate, and also a point (Fukuyama's actually.. go and read him) about the need for good governance to build up the radius of trust through transparency.

National Wealth, if it is a component of individual well-being, is not measured by how hard we have to work just to stand still - fixing this, replacing that, monitoring everything all of the time and re-educating ourselves all the time. That might be great for GDP and profit generation but does not build up well-being for the population as a whole.

For that you need to be watching how much really durable infrastructure you are putting in. Where by durable we mean both physical longevity and having the technological flexibility of applicationto keep it relevant and which has the lowest initial costs combined with long-term (50, 100, 200 years?) Total Costs of Holding. Get that right and we can go on year by year building real enduring value into each of our lives as we usefully utilise our efforts and skills to deliver more low cost services into our lives.

It may not be good for GDP-leeches and, as the ancient song goes, it may not be good for the "dedicated followers of fashion" amongst us, but it will be good for our common wealth and individual well-being. That is true redistribution of income... the alternative just keeps your incomes depressed and the price of your gluttonous consumption continually inflating while destroying all stability in your daily life and your assurances of a better future.

But what do you expect.... politicians and commerce would prefer that you only measure your well-being in terms of income and jobs so you can beaver away for them and feed their wealth rather than your own.

In the end you get who and what you vote for.

LOHAN chews the fat with US TV station over Spaceport's FAA-ilure


Re: Export License?

As I recall working for the renamed-IBM South Africa surrogate, ISM (Pty) Ltd. in the 70's, 80's and early 90's US Arms Export control to South Africa from the US of A was never a problem. Just tell them you are shipping to customers in Pretoria (now Tshwane) who operate under the names of Bureau Beta or Bureau Nucleus or that 'Bureau' sitting on the left of the old N1 entering the city from the South, the one with the flags flying and the parade ground out front. Their IT centre is a beauty.. 100ft under the building behind blast proof doors... always been a good IBM customer.

They also can give you plenty of open ground with controlled airspace over head....

Data boffins see the light with extravagantly bit-blessed optical PCM


Thesaurus Rex?

Phew! So 8 stored bits still make a byte... sanity is restored.

But if a bit can have any one of 8 values (parity checking schemes aside for the moment) then the value of that bit when it is ON might be 0, 1 ,2, 4,16, 256, 65536 or 4294967296 depending upon the transmission coefficient observed when reading it. In an 8-bit byte that gives me a data density improvement at the byte capacity level that is 16,777,216 times better than today's devices manage.

Provided the packaging of the photonic memory device yields physically equivalent bit densities to what we have today then the information storage densities of the future should happily allow each one of our descendants to keep everything they ever saw, did, learned or forgot in a little chip embedded in their foreheads the instant they are born. Whoopee....

Of course it also suggests that the possession of a customisable 'read-write dongle' would be great for privacy. Create a different ordering of bit-state assignments for communications with each one of your favourite correspondents.....

Pluto's moon SPLIT OPEN by ancient FROZEN OCEAN


Re: x7 .. agent Orange

"I'd interpret as an ice glacier covering the northern hemisphere with the orange crater as an "ice volcano" source"

If you recall Pluto itself is largely red. Its chemistry suggests that its colour might be from an CNH-based aniline(?)-type of dye. If Charon managed to scuff Pluto without falling apart, or was hit by another debris object with similar chemistry, the 'ice volcano' might also be a dye, or just rust. Has anybody got spectroscopic data on these surfaces?

An unrelated report speaks of the Deccan Trapps accelerated volcanism that created most of India's plains being linked to the impact of the 7-mile asteroid that hit the Caribbean area. Translated to Charon the topping impact in the 'north' would possibly create sympathetic volcanism in the south. Flows from the widespread cracking from that could account for the smoothness of the southern hemisphere while recapture of impact debris would account for much of the chaos and pitting in the north. If the impactor was also rocky, and embedded itself asymmetrically initially, that would help with the localisation of the earlier recapture impacts in the north until the rock migrated through the icy layers of the interior into the moon's centre of gravity.

NASA boffins on Pluto: We see skies of BLUE and... RED water ice


Re: Red.

Perhaps.... with methane and nitrogen around, a thin atmosphere and aeons of time there has been some catalytic reduction of the methane under the influence of some local Aluminium or Gallium based catalyst (we know of GaN and AlCl3) through to ethylene or toluene and through to benzene. The released hydrogen with nitrogen gets you some ammonia and its not far from there to some aniline-based dyes..... what colour would you like? Clearly the social-democrats got there first! Yea!



Re: One Caveat To Keep In Mind

@ChrisG - An oblique squishing impact event seems to be the consensus. I think the factor that is there in the discussion but fully explored might be the effect of impact heating , low gravity and rapid cooling in a slow motion dance of variously slushy stuff (our customary gaseous materials) and hard stuff (water ice?) some of which might have cracked off original surface and been variously flung up, sunk and propelled before settling down back in the deep freeze. The relative densities and phase transitions of these materials during such a temperature adventure as each bit experiences a different 'profile' over different routes would make a fascinating study for someone with a lifetime to squander! Then they could move on to considering how all that stuff will sublimate and travel across the landscape over time while the water ice does its usual tricks of crawling around with a mind of its own!

Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate


Re: Er, but...

This whole debate reminds every other debate which focusses on the rights and obligations of people towards 'economic free goods'.... air, water, land, sunshine, plants to eat, routes to travel along, routes to transmit emf radiation across, routes to transmit electrons over...

Every one is seen as a single 'something'. But they are not. Each is like a blank sheet of paper. It can be used for innumerable purposes by innumerable people. WHAT IS YOUR INTERNET? A replacement for the 'penny post'? A replacement for the morning newspaper? A replacement for the evening down the pub with your friends? An community policing 'bobby on the beat'? A corporate telephone tie-line network around the world? A TV service? A cinema? A sports stadium? A remote control panel for your factory floor? AN ADVERTISING DELIVERY CHANNEL?

We have rules and regulations governing almost every aspect of use and implementation of the 'legacy' versions of every one of these 'products' and 'tools'. We often have government departments and ministers dedicated to each one of the areas they serve.... but they are domain specific. We do not have a global 'Department of Transport' and supporting body of legislation for each modality. They are confined to national boundaries. We all use similar vehicles, and can use them cross-border, but have to operate them under different sets of rules as we cross boundaries according to what vehicle we use and for what purpose we are using it.

We accept toll-roads, bus lanes, car-club lanes, diversions and outright closed off no-go areas. If you are all happy with that model, which also has some international agreement on basics, then look no further for ideas.... But don't be surprised when when Internet equivalent of Egypt, France and the UK choke off 'their' Suez Canal, or the USA and Panama choke off 'their' Panama, or Turkey 'their' Bosphorus... the fighting will continue.

Or you Techies can learn from the History of transportation and the Political Science face of economic competition and use what you find axiomatically useful and create real solutions for this new real world problem... time to 'stand on the shoulders of giants'... like we always have had to do in the past, and still do. The problem is sociological, the solution is economic and political... its implementation will rely upon our technology. Time to get togetther!!! Solve this one and you will change everything..... A real technological revolution? Viva!


Re: Proof

The technical side of this debate seems to revolve around 'accountability'. Without it no control or policing of compliance can ever be succesful... just as it actual governance cannot be succesful without effect and meaningfully appropriate sanctions. Ultimately a job for the ICC's jurisdiction.... and now we start to see why the US won't sign up to it!!

Pardon my rusty IP packet knowledge (c.1998) but it seems to me that we will get nowhere unless IP packet architecture is split into a virtual and a 'real' (can't use 'physical' in this context) layer. A variable-length virtual packet concept (with current sequence numbering rules) mapped across multiple fixed-length packets which are numbered sequentially within the 'domain' of the virtual packet they carry.

Armed with that we can then infinitely collect a 'hop history' list with arrival and despatch timestamps along the whole route of every packet at every device (including caches). The 'expanded hop count' history needs to list the receiving and the despatch MAC ID's of every bit of kit it hits along the way.

We then require public access to a human readable, global registration DB of every MAC-ID, its location (down to sub-frame mounting?), its unequivocal accountable ownership and its purpose. The DB could be maintained and distributed co-resident with every DNS... perhaps as a UN ICC-owned and managed resource.. post-Security Council 'Permanent Member veto' era I would think... and you simply don't get on the Internet if your country is not signed up to all forms of international accountability. That will sort out the current business models of Google, M$, Apple.... and hobble the NSA (aka. Globalisation Protection Services Inc.)

If you cannot establish accountability and sanction the wrong-doers, in terms of what ever rules you settle on, then we are all wasting our time and the robber-baron era of human history will continue for another 10,000 years....


Re: "How you spot an arts graduate in a tech debate"

I no longer know if I belong in this world!!!... as a BA Behavioural Sciences from UEA I emerged with an excellent understanding of stochastic modelling, group dynamics, kinship networks, shortest spanning trees, anthropology, sociail psychology, FORTRAN and COBOL programming, sociology, system design, business analysis, the historical and philosophical bases of our economic and political systems, linear and non-linear multivariate programming, I-O Analysis, hyperspaces and eigen values, J.S. Mill, Bentham, Descartes, Milton Friedman, Hobbes, Nietzsce.. uncle tom cobbly and all. Amazing what you can learn in 3 years as an 'arts graduate'!

Its been very useful when working at IBM, speaking at computer conferences on performance modelling and 'glass house network' design and performance to keep those blocks and packets flowing to and from the processors.

..and I can agree with most of you all. The issue here is an economic one i.e. behavioural, and yes it is all about grabbing control of the supply chain of a 'basic utility' good so that illegitimate value can be extracted from the assured demand for it. Its a re-enactment of the historical cycle of discovery, application, creation of value, robbery, constraint and ransomed selective provisioning.

Neil Davies summarised 'his' report well. It defines the real world constraints faced by anyone seeking to create a system of governance for it. From there we have two discussions going on. a) the technical issues around management, measurement and diagnostic analysis of stochastic processes (that's like econometrics.. BA stuff) and b) the 'political economy' issues and deeper philosophical issues as to whose world-view should form the basis of a universal belief system and hence the ethical basis of the system of governance the Internet should have.... or should we smash it up into 'domain-states' each choosing the robber-baron approach all 'good' Aristotleans, or the universalist 'humanitarian' approach of 'good' Socrateans. Do you want to dominate people and extract value to yourself and your elite mates (Aristotle, Tory, Republican, Oligarch, Theocrat, Dictator, Tyrant)? Or, do you want an open and free internet in which you always get the service level you pay for, much like an IT Dept Service Level Contract with the rest of the company has delivered over the past 50 years?

The first option is easy... it simply extends our dominant, and really quite localised, socio-economic commercial model into the unitary global network domain. The PR guys will call it 'economic freedom', 'e-democracy' and other misnomers and we will al believe it - just like we 'believe' political spin doctors... and if we don't the media will shape our perceptions until we do.

The second option is more difficult... we first have to decide what we believe and why, how to create the economic model and hence the tools (the network tools in this case) needed to implement and manage the model so that we get the type of (network-) world we actually want to see. That has not been done... and it won't get done until you have all sat down and done it for the real world out there. The one you live and work in, the one many struggle and die in, the one that tells you that more productivity and more efficiency from fewer and fewer people will give every single person higher and higher levels of consumption. The one that tells you we will all have the money to pay for the products we need to consume to fulfil our needs because those of us not producing for us will be serving the immediate well-being needs of others. The ones that DON'T tell you that ultimately you are all paid through the excessive conspicuous consumption of those few controlling the supplies of input materials and input labour. the ones that DON'T tell you that a minimum wage will always be the norm for most because frivolous services will never be demanded in conditions of shortages of the labour to provide them. From time to time those few will vote amongst themselves (by proxy through your media driven hand at the ballot box) to decide the next set of executives in the governance service industry. The democratic model was conceived 2,500 years ago under the same conditions... 10 suppliers of service.. mostly low paid... to every consumer of services. That was Greece 450BC.. 10 slaves to every 'citizen'.... Socrates had to drink hemlock.... while Plato looked on... and went on to teach Aristotle. The battle continues.... What sort of Internet do YOU WANT? Then decide on the the tools and methodology... if you choose right we will have to commission the technology we need, just as we already can see the need to re-invent our socio-political governance technology in the real world.

Never, never make the mistake of thinking Techies can do without the Humanities... AND VICE VERSA!!

Indian Mars probe beams back 3D canyon snaps


Re: Geology

The more I look at the picture "The Ophir Chasma poses for Mangalyaan. Pic: ISRO"......

You can clearly see the prevailing wind blows from the top-right by the down-wind tails of the craters on the plains. The four 'volcanic' craters have ejected black-stuff... some was heavy and hot and fell quite 'close' downwind and melted a deeper area than that immediately downwind of the craters themselves. Creating two parallel ravines. Every ravine slope facing into the wind that is downstream from the 'ejecting' craters has more black stuff 'caught' on it and there is more collected in the ravine bottoms, perhaps by settling induced by eddies created by the wind blowing over the transverse ridges. The 'melts' run down to the right and bottom of the picture as the ravines combine.

A really interesting effect is at the top left end of the topmost ravine. There is a secondary super-imposed rivulet entering the 'volcano' ravine from the adjacent plain.... except that it is running from what looks like a meteorite crater in the plain straight down into the main ravine. Does this indicate that the meteor arrived after the 'volcanoes' formed the main ravine? The plain being so 'sodden' that the impact heat was sufficient to make the ground unstable in the adjacent plain and the liquid flowed into the main ravine creating the super-imposed rivulet?

Is this 'the place' to mine water on the planet, access subterranean heat and exposed nutrient minerals, and to set up your planetary farming operations?


Re: Geology

My first impression is the canyons formed on a sloping beach with medium grain size half way down the beach and finer stuff higher up. As the water level drops below the surface the sub-surface drainage from the higher levels washes away smaller grains lower down leaving unsupported coarser grains which then slump. Creating the fans of combining ravines down the slopes with steep sides and sharp edges just like we see here.

Translating that to the Mars picture, it seems to me that there is a row of about 4 crater-like formations half way up the top ravine edge running across the picture. They have rivulets from their protruding edges down the side of their cones. So lets say there is heat around in the ground out of view at the bottom of the picture. Volcanic perhaps, impact maybe. It melts a saturated coarse grained loess ( wind blown sand filled lake? Look how very smooth the original landscape surface is!) from beneath (deep down..). The water takes up less volume than the supportive ice providing a gravity gradient towards the heating epicentre, and also much of the water evaporates in the low air-pressure and slight heating. This sustains the gravity gradient and the heat's area of influence also has time to slowly expand outward drawing in more liquid water from the ice in the surrounding land. Maybe there is also more solar energy trapped in the moister atmosphere in the growing canyons where the denser air is sheltered from the prevailing less-dense winds for a while and this helps to keep the water in the canyon bottoms slushy enough to keep flowing further away from the area of subterranean heat flux. The slump continues for quite some time and you end up with what we see.

Interesting thought..... Is it still an active process driven by sub(terra?)nean heat flux?

Global spy system ECHELON confirmed at last – by leaked Snowden files



“Why are lives lost to terrorism so much more precious that we should want to give up so many rights to save them, but giving up a comparatively tiny bit of freedom by restricting the speed of travel to save even more is rightly seen by everyone as ridiculous?”

Such a deeep question,,,but nobody sees it!!

DougS is asking many secondary questions in the one he poses. They include, non-exhaustively...

“Why.... do we have terrorism?”

“Why.... are we all in such deep competition with each other?”

“Why.... do we have secrets about what we do?”

“Why.... would it be dangerous to us all if others knew about the things we actually do?”

and ultimately he is asking:

“Why do states need to secretly spy on each other now, and why have they done so for millenia?”

The answer is simple … economic competition involves getting more for yourself than than the next guy gets and to do it by all means possible, because if you leave it to honest trading in a perfect, uncorrupted markets someone else will cheat, get richer than you and become more powerful than you and then openly come and steal from you by conquering and enslaving you. So you have to do it first and it has to be done secretly, to 'friends' and 'enemies' alike.

And as my MP Mr Philip Dunne has written very recently... “The first duty of government is the defence of the realm”.... you students of Latin and etymology will quickly see that he is saying “the first duty of government is to protect 'government'”.. or the 'king...dom'. He goes on to explain, in his own handwriting, that his job is to 'represent his constituency' and not to be his constituents' delegate to the House of Commons.

All this debate is just a consequence of clashing philosophies.... most on this forum display a belief in Socratean universality of human right and dignity, but our governing structures – both commercial and political – are dominated by a philosophy of utilitarian hedonism and economic liberalism developed vigorously since the 18th Century by such as Adam Smith, and Bentham who said in words reminiscent in meaning to those of my own MP “The community is a fictitious body composed of the individual persons who are considered as constituting as it were its members. The interests of the community then is, what? The sum of the several members who compose it.”

We forum contributors are not members, nor therefore constituents. Membership of the constituency which benefits from keeping their secrets from us non-members are the commercial interests and the political ones whose true constituents they are and who comprise 'the realm' Mr Dunne refers to. The economic system that benefited European countries in the 18th century was one of geographically defined, militarily imposed Empire, during the 20th century this evolved to that of geographically defined, commercially imposed Empire..... now in the 21st-century the 'members''s clubs are again evolving to being virtually defined, commercially imposed Empire.

In the past it has been sufficient to physically watch troop movements and gather commercial intelligence through covert personal contacts in those few places where people who had something to say went to say it if they hoped to be heard. Now all communication and much trade has become electronic. For the members to continue pursuing their goals of personal hedonism and domination through Empire their focus of information gathering has to now be everything electronic and they must trawl through it all, bad signal:noise ratio or not..... The clubs are competing for the personal benefit of their members.

You, and I, are NOT INVITED. You can only change this flow of history by replacing the neo-liberalism driving what you complain of with a hegemony that implements a humanitarian economic/commercial paradigm... start by understanding Confucius, Buddha and Socrates and also the unvarnished truth of human nature. You might then succeed in building a vision powerful enough to replace autocracy/plutocracy/oligarchy with what it is you have been, deceived into, believing all along to be what it is you already have in Westminster.

Boffins have made optical transistors that can reach 4 TERAHERTZ



That sounds very much like a positively 'brainy' solution.... 'Positronic' in fact!

Boffinry breakthrough: Bullied bumble bot bolts brutal brat beatdowns


.....and then they enter government

Female blood-suckers zero in on human prey by smelling our breath


Re: Here's my idea

I can feel a design coming on..... Eureka!!!

Black cement, anthropomorphic compost digester!!!

Stand them up, holding hands, all around the village... a 'mosquito boma'.

Just copy those strung out along Crosby Beach near Liverpool, call it a 'Bill Boma' and ask the Gates Foundation to support it!!

Just don't let on to Mr Gates (... until he has spent the money) that the "Bill" puns in on Bill Crosby (....get it?) and not his lordship!

NASA boffins peer at Pluto: Could it be ... is that ... OATMEAL?


"...bubbling up"?

I think if Sputnik Planum were really bubbling you would see some surface effects that were a wee more dramatic. I think the geophys' who thought that one up should look at what happens when you have a very still, quite thin liquid layer containing mixed components that has a heat flux passing through it for a very long time.

it creates cell-like structures which look just like what you see here. In our primordial soup it is theorised that it eventually gave rise to the first cellular structures and eventually organisms. Each cell has warm fluid rising at the centre and descending at the boundaries. Interactions between the chemicals involved create increasingly complex molecules which are eventually subject to phase changes over the temperature ranges and this can physically build 'cell walls' and this might further accelerate the process of wall building.

So yea, The surface "could have been formed last week for all we know". The centre of each cell will certainly be constantly refreshing as the edges 'subduct'. Perhaps we a looking at the first example of a Megafauna Extremophile!!! Someone just needs to go there and stir the porridge a bit before it invades Earth. Or.. just rename it to Plut-Ovum and leave any future problems for another species to worry about.

BTW: I wonder if the walls of these cells are like hydrocarbon biscuit. Mining them and ship them back to Earth and you could market the stuff as "Manna from Heaven"! It might feed our planet until we work out how to turn Earth into the Promised Land.

SpaceX to blast Microsoft's HoloLens visors into SPAAAAACE


Robo Skool Tool?

Robotic labouring can only evolve to the point where it can consistently challenge the efficiency of real intelligence over the artificial variety if the available Knowledge Base it works with can be dynamically augmented in a way which is tailored to the problem at hand. This is how we learn to do stuff. It is why we apprenticeships are so important in jobs that require high knowledge as well as good physical capability and skill.

Thank you Microsoft and NASA... perhaps they could get together with the International Labour Organisation. Perhaps it can find ten million or so working people, who really don't want their jobs for more than another decade or so, and who are willing to be amongst M$/U$A's development guinea pigs.... and want to give everything they've got and know to posterity.

It's no joke.... once you integrate a sensor-suit into a boiler-suit and add to that the log-files of everything being seen by the operator and also have know what knowledge is being accessed to complete a task you then have the beginnings of a wonderful robot-training tool.

One that will make its wearers redundant faster than you can write a pink-slip on a high-speed laser printer.....

The world would be a really nice place...... if there was no work to do

Get your WELLIES to MARS: Red Planet reveals its FROZEN BOTTOM


Re: "the mysterious loss of its magnetosphere"

If tidal forces, caused by our large moon, are implicated in sustaining our liquid core and hence magnetosphere I would imagine that you might find some pattern amongst the orientations of subduction zones that can be related in some way to the characteristics of the lunar orbit. Just a thought...

Another casual observation.... when one lump hits a much more massive lump the transfer off energy involved includes some energy conversion to heat. Question is "Did the impact of the proto-moon into the hot toffee-ball early Earth generate additional thermal input to the the extent that without it, even with subsequent tidal heating of the core by the moon, we might also have cooled off enough by now to have lost our magnetosphere?". In other words, just how likely is a rock ball with our composition to generate its own liquid core without the good fortune of a massive orbiting nearby moon that it has also bumped hard in the past?

Not just idle thoughts perhaps when considering the chances of exoplanets in goldilocks zones having life-form friendly environments...

So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?


Re: color me skeptical that fiscal stimulus is irrelevant

But Tim. It depends upon your view of the criterion of what 'working' looks like! If it means keeping the numbers chosen as indicators of economic health looking good that might be fine for you, and good for your masters. But as this long debate has suggested, and very strongly too, there are other effects... bad ones for those of us who are the object of economic activity. It is for our well-being that we all work. Businesses, whatever labels you put on them, are only a manifestation of the way in which we happen to have arranged ourselves to help us get that work done. For our sakes. It is not gospel that protecting our financial industry, and its position in the world... or our influence in the world, are necessary and sufficient for our ultimate economic health as individuals. It is pure jingoism to suggest that it is. Just a 'Convenient Truth' based on sectarian self-interest and personal egoism of politicians who want to 'punch above their (true) weight in the world'. It is also necessary to have this position to squash any surfacing of the Inconvenient Truth which is simply that all capital is created only by labour. We will still work and provide goods and services to each other, whether or not the banks and large corporates are involved. We will still produce surpluses and distribute them to each other through local market transactions. Transitioning would be painful if done too fast, but we are being asked to sacrifice for the banks and big business anyway. How much more motivated will people be if sacrificing wholly for their own benefit?

We have seen many. and by no means all, of the institutional network of shortcomings that keeps us in the quagmire that is called the UK economy. Tory or Labour, Green or Nationalist they will not grasp the nettle of admitting who they are representing. They all still think it is only about governance... the twenty-first century version of patronising elitism serving its own sectarian interests while indulging in the occasional sop to salve their own seared conscience.

There is no social contract worth a sod, and what is needed before one gets to questions of how society is structured is an economic contract. A clear understanding of how the rights of man play out in economic relationships when they are implemented. It looks somewhat different to the system you are all trying to prop up. Yes, it is market based, Yes, there is private property. Yes, there is competition, technological progress and the grand missions of vision and exploration that help feed that progress. And you do not end up with a never ending stripping of the surplus value, generated by the improving methods and technology, out into a cesspit of useless fiat instruments that are unable to contribute one iota to further production. You can actually increase the real wealth in our communities and keep most of it right there. For if you cannot you can never expect the seat of political and social power to ever be democratic. Power will always lie where the money is and the shape of power will mirror the shape of those that it serves. Big business breeds big government, centralised business breeds centralised government, exploitative business breeds exploitative government.

There is no need for interest rates. Make all instruments directly linked to to real productive investment in real businesses and projects and make their success as profitable placements of funds totally dependent upon the acumen of the investing 'agent' of the lending principal. We do not need western style casinos trading 'shares' as ends in themselves and gambling on the little daily bubbles to generate the profit to pay the interest that has to be delivered against the funds they are dealing with. Perhaps we should be examining if an Islamic banking system would be able to bring together funds from investors and deliver them into productive opportunities on their behalf. Yes it would be risky for everyone. Not much would be different. Not for most people. The present system supports a risk less banking system of assured instruments by shifting the end risk on to most of the people anyway. Only those who least need protection are protected.


Re: QE was used to increase inflation

"Explain to me on a fixed income why deflation in consumer goods in line with increased efficiency of production is a bad thing cuz I can't quite grasp that..."

Part of the cunning plan? Your fixed income is funded from the earnings of some interest bearing financial instrument ultimately linked to some business making things. We hope. If prices drop and instead of consumption rising (like they tell us it does in Econ 101 and in boom times when the opposite is being explained away) now we see consumption dropping (because it isn't boom time... get it? Not sure I do either) because prices are dropping. That means the businesses supporting you in your fixed-income may fail and ultimately your income too. because boom or bust we all have to keep consuming more and more. Otherwise businesses will go bust, people out of work and even less demand.

Interestingly, the same is true of productivity. If demand doesn't rise as a result, less jobs are needed for the same output, that reduces our buying power and further reduces demand for the more efficiently produced goods thus endangering the firms making them which might put more people out of work and reduce demand further. So productivity is also a bad thing!???

Now we could go on to talk about robots too.... they eat nothing, wear nothing, don't need warmth and go nowhere. Jeesh, we sure are doomed unless we pay more and more for everything and buy more and more of everything and pay more and more taxes to support the more and more guys next door who keep losing their jobs! Yep! We really do have to look after our businesses! What'll we do without them?


Re: No inflation?

I think the comments about prices need some exploration. First I am quite sure that places where the US Dollar is legal tender have not had the same experience of those areas using the GBP. My experience of US food prices is that, if you can wield a kitchen knife and a cook pan, know the value to your body of fresh food and recognise uncooked meat when you see it, then I have fed myself on $20 $30 dollars a month when the travel allowance for just one day from 'the firm' was equal to or more than that.

The issue is not culinary art. The issue is that the CPI is designed for a specific purpose as an input to making sense of time-series statistics in economic and business planning. It is designed to be holistically generic (? yuk) to be of wide applicability. Second, wherever it is used it will therefore not be entirely applicable. Least of all when applied to your experience as a consumer just trying to get by. Even in this sector, the lower down the feeding chain you are the less realistic it is going to appear to you. You will spend more on rent, food, clothes, power and fuel than those higher up as a proprtion of your income. In fact that list probably does it for you. No iphones, no tablets, no fancy foods, designer clothes, holidays anywhere... let alone abroad and Interest rates are of no interest!

And yes, the nay sayers are right... prove it, show me the statistics.. they say. there aren't any... they say. Well yea! But who is going to pay to get work done that proves how badly you are being shafted compared with the metro-creepers by the policy decisions of people who would rather nobody knew what you are suffering with your 'basket of goods'? This isn't democracy! Don't you know?


Re: No inflation?

Is this because the fish stock problem has not been linked clearly enough in our minds to the effect scarcity is having on price? Eat less fish. Let them recover. You are right about the price though. I have found one can does about 3 meals for me, or 4. Depends upon how much lettuce, tomato, onion, olives, houmus and pepper slices go on the plate, along with the panini-grill toasted tortilla (actual an 8p wrap) with a bit of grated cheese and garlic clove inside. A little fish goes along way. A little of each of those ingredients goes along way. But it costs a lot more than 8 years ago that's for sure!


Re: No inflation?

Fortunately I don't have problem with finding new clothes. I just visit the charity shop every few months. All I need for six months for exchange of a tenner. And if you need someone to show you all what to do on the Quid a day Nosh contest, just ask. I've been doing that one too... dead easy! ... ? or is that my egg recipe?


Re: Pratchett

Can someone explain to me why the UK financial industry feels that contracts for financing an asset which will take 20 to 30 years to pay for should be anything other than 20 to 30 year contracts?

The alternative to renegotiating, changing money provider etc, every 4 or 5 years, is not fixed-rate for the term. I lived for 40 years where the contracts are full-term, but you could move institution for a small fee, after I think it was about 7 years, and the rate is always at the Prime Rate of the Bank concerned plus 1%. With a two or three month notice of increase (originally 30days?).

It worked wonderfully. Of course it cramped the competitive opportunities of banks to steal clients from one another but it meant that the buyer always knew what he was getting into as much as anybody else did and it was one less thing to keep factoring into your long-term budgeting. Equity access on a 'debit card' basis has also been the norm for nearly 30 years.


Re: Tons of inflation @Simon Hobson

Hi LucreLout... my sincere apologies if I branded you in an earlier reply to you.

You are right. Fortunately, having the potential for us to one day become a democracy, there are more people needing houses than people trying to keep up the value of their own.

When looking at solutions to the myriad problems involved with 'doing the right thing' we so easily fall into the trap that we have placed our own politicians into. We think in short horizons and instant cures.

Getting ourselves through the next 20 to 30 years without too many disasters and backward steps that actually do degrade our whole civilisation is going to take an even greater level of thought, patience and real action that re-invents perhaps more than a half of our institutions. That is not to so they need to be thrown out.. most only need re-engineering. It is to be preferred that this happens prior to the critical events that will otherwise characterise life for the Millenials and absorb most of their focus. For them, without us starting the process with real meaning now, it will be a case of 'too busy fighting the crocodiles to drain the swamp'. And they WILL GET EATEN.

See my comments regarding the Green Belts. The council's that extended them have high representation very often from local businessmen, often property and construction concerns. It is small wonder that they choose to use any legislation available to them over the years to pursue their own business interests. Especially when their desire to benefit from a reduced supply of building land is congruent to the NIMBY tendencies of their local electorate.

So in analysing causes we soon see beyond the Green Belt legislation and its abuse. There is also a problem in the area of local representation within our democracy. We actually are not so different, despite our self-righteousness, from the FIFA executive and board in the way in which are institutions of governance actually are set up and the manner in which they operate. Without thoroughgoing reform and restructuring, just like FIFA, we and many other countries around the world cannot ever hope to deliver fairness and well-being to each of our citizens.

The primary institution that is needed in any democracy is one which is tasked with powerful and ascerbic capabilities and responsibility to defend against plutocracy and autocracy in any of the others and at whatever level of function. Public and private. And it itself would be required to be totally transparent in its operations, as would all the personal affairs of its staff and their acquaintances until death. The price of PUBLIC service would be subjection to its rigors. The benefit must be that once entered into, much like a priesthood, one can never go back to private enterprise and is left with an adequate pension.. transparently monitored. The qualification would however be significant real world work experience and skills development.

hey ho. We dream on but as a scribe once wrote claiming it to be the words of a certain Great man..."My people die for lack of vision" That is the difference between knowing what is wrong and doing nothing, and knowing something is wrong and having the vision to start doing whatever seems to be required. And the humility to adapt and change as the journey reveals deeper or more accurate truths.


Re: Tons of inflation

I don't think you will find a sponsor for that study. It would show that you are largely correct. It would also show that a 'flexible labour' policy also atomises families and that would be a heresy.

Notice I phrased "'flexible labour' policy" NOT "'flexible' labour policy", it is the labour that has to be flexible. Not the policy. That means Mum working in Redditch and Dad working in Loughborough. This is of-course good for the well-being of the UK businesses, and the idea extends into the heart of the EU. It is also, of course, going to destroy families and create smaller households and need more houses. It also feeds nicely into a demand for dynamic rented accommodation as we all go chasing the jobs. If we valued a stable family life embedded in a local community and contact with our extended family and life-long friends, empowered by good local knowledge of where the sources of all the components of your preferred life-style can be obtained and at the best prices or quality. If we valued all this as a large part of the higher realms of what personal well-being is, rather than chasing bucks and iPhones as we are being taught to value, then perhaps we would all be testifying at the United Nations in a bid to have capitalistic, untrammelled and unlimited, market economies that are dominated by the philosophies of financial capitalism as being the violation of our human rights that they are. You just might find 75% of the ambassadors there starting to come around to your way of thinking after a very few years of insistent lobbying and activism.


Re: Tons of inflation

I take it then that, as our basic hedonist, you didn't have to think long about your moniker to come up with LucreLout. You clearly have a good grasp of the problems that occur when too much loose money has no productive opportunities to support in the productive economy! You are right. It just chases whatever is tied down, immovable and always in demand. If you have a little more than actually needed you drive up house prices in your neighbourhood by vyeing for the best position, smartest look, largest garage, best view etc. If you have lots more you look for uniques and irreplaceables. Like listed buildings, castles and so on. If you are masochistic, or can buy somebody to do the work for you, you might corner a section of the local property market and put the houses all out to rent at inflated rates. If you are not into houses it might be stamps, antiques, books, artefacts, paeleolithic or ancient treasures or the odd Picasso or Renoir or you might get a gallery to hype up your 'new discovery' and make that peon's sketches a storage vessel for your surplus funds.

At least none of the latter are mixing up their need for a roof over their heads with their investment strategy.

Houses would not be an investment strategy if they were not kept in short supply! The reason for the shortage of obvious sites for the millions needed is the NIMBYism legitimised by the illegitimate extension by local councils over the decades of the green belt principle which was supposed to be a half mile encircling park space accessible to the town dwellers adjacent. These are now up to 30 miles out and almost always atleast 10 miles deep. London has a green belt area up to 8 times its own area. No parks in sight. Just farmland with no general access and to far away anyway for most town dwellers to get too as a frequent form of relaxation and recreation in their daily life. Those that can are also able to own a second house in the green belt. Those that can't live beyond it and commute every day. It has all been seen before. Amongst the 'location' dwellers of SOWETO in apartheid South Africa.

Antique prices rise and fall with fashion and supply. What's wrong with house prices shedding their speculative content? The stock market does it.

The storage and preservation of excess value until such time it is spent on sustaining the life processes of those that own it has been a preoccupation of humanity wherever they started farming and land husbandry needed more hands than could be consistently provided from within the family. The more food security they wanted the more people they needed and the less they wanted to pay for it. But the more surplus they found themselves with. Since then the history of 'civilisation' has been one of creating institutions that have the stability and form that give the owners of surplus value the assurance of its preservation and of its liquidity when ever it is needed. Without them coin, paper money... and houses more than your basic accommodation... have no value.

So you either respond.... 'Yes, I agree, are first responsibility is to help each other for us all to have appropriate well-being' or you respond 'Sod it! I reach for another game on your iPhone'. There is no grounds for debate between the two positions... only proselytising and conversion. Logic has been denied in favour of blind hedonistic prejudice. Go well my friend.


Re: Tons of inflation

"whatever the price is today, in 6 months you'll be able to get the identical item for 10% less - a significant degree of deflation is baked in." Chris Miller

Don't be fooled Chris. I have been buying PC's since my first 'staff discount' kit, when working at IBM and just been working on aspects of them in the 'labs'. Consumer electronics, especially at the high-end of technological innovation, arrive through 'channels'. "Supply chains" might be another more modern phrase. Channels provide local market facilities and knowledge, they also provide customer service and a route back to repair workshops. They are also a convenient way for tech manufacturer's to move as much new kit out of the factory door very very fast before the next crank of the technology cycle and so insulate them to some extent from the cash-flow lags inherent in getting money back from the retail market. The channel absorbs some of the risk in getting the latest and greatest into your sweaty hands.

Channels are expensive to run. Tech' kit, functionality for functionality, actually has depreciated at 25% compound since 1980. This cannot sustain the very necessary channels. Their very structure and costs imposes a tight range in which the unit price of the retailed product can vary... whatever a product's functionality. PC's have effectively cost me almost the same number of working hours every time I have come to buy one for the past 30-odd years. This is justified by adding more and more largely useless functionality. Yes 6-months down the line any particular model will be 10% cheaper. It will also be 25% cheaper 12-months down the line. Guess why. The new model is nearly due. The channel has to be flushed. Old models must be moved... or dumped in the 3rd world especially now that the 'civilised' market is basically saturated.

The CPI manipulation is laughable. And very cynical. Don't be concerned about the 2.5% baked-in state pension annual hike.... the food price inflation is very real. I have seen a 100% increase since 2008 in a wide range of very basic products. It happens to be that range of food which is all that I can afford!


Re: Likewise, thanks Tim

"Sadly being a leftie in the UK at the moment can be hard work. Any suggestion that someone's sacred cow might be nonsense, or that some highly simplistic view of a complex problem might be wrong gets you shouted down."... paul 25

I think you have seen quite a bit of that in these comments Paul! Take heart. Where there is smoke there is fire. The concerns of social democracy are not those of the 'socialist' stereotype. Too many socialists have failed to distinguish between policy and philosophy to the point that some think the policy stereotypes, joyfully waved in your face by the stereotypically 'greedy' apologists of the status quo, are the socialist philosophy. It is time to recall that nearly every economic thinker from the early days of economics, and who are now canonized by those that attack you, had socialistic goals and intents. That is they sought ways of advancing the well-being of all men, whatever economic activities they are able to perform. They specifically did this as a counter to the evils of the then status quo which your current opponents have inherited and still so diligently try to justify at, against all logic.

The question for the 'left' is not "How do we make the socialist prescriptions of last century work for people today?". It is rather to ask "What have we ALL learned from the past 200 years and what structures, institutions, policies and combinations of policies are most likely to best move mankind towards the sustained achievement of universal well-being?".

The answer is not in MV=PQ!! However, it undoubtedly does involve markets. Real ones. Not casinos. It undoubtedly involves private economic enterprise... and public at times.. and quite possibly oscillations between the two in specific types of service or production. We cannot foresee the cataclysms of the future. Adaptability, diversity of approach, decentralisation of communities and resilience are key goals of any package of policies, and there should be lots of them. Packages that is, not necessarily policies. Different peoples, in different places and at different times and in their various communities face different challenges and opportunities that they will always understand better than 'outsiders'. Outsiders may be on boards of globalized corporations, employed by global institutions or be socio-political philosophers or dogmatists. The tasks of 'small men' people who have the psychological need to be super-influential are to conceive the circumstances, and police them, so that each place lived in can become an effective and sustainable home and environment delivering well-being to its occupants. Whoever they may be and however they want to organise themselves at the various levels of interaction with one another. The key is that nobody and no group be allowed to exercise market power illegitimately and to the detriment of others who are not actively working against their own actual well-being, as distinct from their ambitions especially where those ambitions depend upon taking from others rather than giving.

This means understanding the evil of homogenised solutions, the evil of having all your eggs in one global basket, in one mindset and ultimately in one corporate mega-don.

Socialism is really about, if it means to achieve its welfare goals, the self-policing of human economic activities on a global scale so that no one person, group or entity is able to disrupt the fair and free trade of goods and resources nor alter the psychology driving the consumption of people into ways disadvantageous to their well-being nor impose their will or selfish economic policies on others by military or economic or criminal force. Yes we do need rule and governance that is truly social and in the social interests of everybody such that all can experience their concept of well-being that is globally recognised as legitimate even when different. That is the root of cultural diversity and a resilient prosperous species.

I am afraid Mr Friedman and Mr Keynes, even with the help of Mr Worstall, are never going to get us there. The 'pass' awaits us. We can let Mr Carney and Cameron and the Global n+n carry on driving us all into the swamp barring the 'pass', or we can redefine what it is to be 'socialist' by actively thinking about the problem analytically and philosophically so that the bridge over the swamp, as well as the direction of the road through the 'pass' and into the plains beyond, can be designed and presented and built before we all sink in the mire.


Re: Thanks Tim, great explanation

"The bonds are already crashing at the mere hint of rising interest rates and the volatility jumps." baseh.

...perhaps because the market conditions that the equations used to gain policy insights assume perfect markets and rational economic man. Garbage in --- garbage out.

As long as the average size of players in the casino grows and their size distribution polarises between large and small volatility will only get worse. You 'solid' pension funds are 'managed' by big players. Your mortgage participation units are agglomerated by big players and your 'solid' investments are in big players themselves.

It can only get worse.... until every player, and association of players acting in concert, is statutorily limited in size so that their individual actions are always too small and spaced in time to move the markets in any noticeably way.

Market economies are good... real ones.



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