The Holodeck: How Do We Get Started?

The future may hold no physical reality, only a virtual world, a place for our minds to avoid the madness brought on by exposure to the virus of a world schlepped to destruction at our own hands or missing the last train to points cosmic yet unrevealed to the unwashed. Continue reading
Source: Science Via Markets

American Law Enforcement: The New Privateers

Was it not for the federal Imprimatur, would RICO laws not apply? It is hard to imagine where law enforcement ends and extortion begins. For when only doubt is required, who is to say that suspicion was actually attained?

When, in the 15th century, England needed to build a navy it chose a simple expedient. Britain turned the Royal Navy into a band of crypto privateers. What better way to finance a fleet? Take the bounty from the profiteering smuggler and convert it tortiously to the Public good.

The Halifax Court served the purpose, ombudsman, Solomon dividing the children assuring a practical benefit to His Majesty’s High Seas.

The Colonies themselves continued the practice offering Letters of Marque to assist in the French and Indian Wars, support the Revolution, the US in the War of 1812, Barbary Coast, John Lafitte, the Civil War, etc.

There is even speculation that the venerable blimps that bring us weekend displays of Harvest season warfare, football, were used in World War II to spy enemy submarines off the California coast. The theory is hotly disputed.

But what of today? Given Kelo v. City of New London broadening the power of Eminent Domain and our President’s love affair with its confiscatory djinn, it is no wonder that any local constabulary would take advantage other tortious analogs. In this case, Civil Forfeiture.

This style of Confiscatory taxation without representation has existed since the fifteenth century. It was used to advantage during prohibition but lost visibility until the Reagan presidency and the rise of the War on Drugs. Under 1984 the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, civil forfeiture came into prominence by allowing local agencies to get in on the action.

Was it not for the federal Imprimatur, would RICO laws not apply? It is hard to imagine where law enforcement ends and extortion begins. For when only doubt is required, who is to say that suspicion was actually attained?

Copyright 2017 by Mark E. Deardorff and ScienceViaMarkets, All Rights Reserved. (Despite the truth about intellectual property.)

[The article by the Foundation for Economic Education cited here tells such a story. But the tales are legion, and many happen to innocent citizens. Citizens that, once relieved of their hard earned possessions, never see them again.]

Source: This State Used Stolen Funds to Pay Law Enforcement | Foundation for Economic Education

Source: Science Via Markets

Trump, The Luddite – Latest Observations, Edition 1.0

Donald Trump is bringing on a Kennedy to advise the new administration on the dangers of vaccines. Here come the conspiratorialists and propagandists. The March of the Peabrains. The Cavalcade of [mental] Shorts. Who needs logic when you have no facts?

After all, you can’t trust science. The conservative Right claims science as the Agitprop of the Left establishment. Must be true. It’s on Facebook.

Get ready to cringe as Alchemy comes to Treasury to improve the gold reserve. The Advanced Research Projects Agency has already been asked to create ten Philosopher’s Stones.

All you online gamers: we’ve finally had an administration that plays like an MMORPG. Archer Daniels Midland to be replaced by Farmville; SPAWAR, by Halo. Department of Defense by Mobile Strike. Medicine has been brought to communication surgically limiting larynxes to utter a mere 140 characters. Words end mysteriously mid-syllable.

The Space Program and NASA are still in play; we are still not sure if the manned extravaganza is going to displace critical data. What is more important? Inspiration or information?

All we can do is hope that this does not pass on to real science. The best way to fund science is never to be beholden to the government. Seek to support science from industry, philanthropy, charitable organizations, and educational institutions. Bureaucracies make for bad science due to rulemaking by partisans. These myrmidons, be they left or right, do not thoughtfully write original policy but rather, soldierlike, carry out with utmost cruelty to the enemies of current administration rules that hurt.

Ultimately, the injured are the middle class and poor. The wealthy can usually afford increase costs. Developers often can afford to raise home prices, to a point, but the market will still cost them sales. Rules are a drag on the economy and cost everyone, even funds for science research.

Congress under Obama was impotent against a leftist agenda. We are now visiting the Antipodes under the Trump presidency. Science will be stuck with a conservative agenda. Unfortunately, the modern conservative economic plan is not free market trending more to the Keynes of Richard Nixon. Where Trump wishes to spend on infrastructure as did his predecessor, the nation needs less strangling and more loosening. The appliers of Latin Squares and Bayesian analysis must find paths that are market-oriented while the government continues to follow the Yellow Brick Road to find a Wizard that left Oz at the Great Crash. Free markets are the only way to prosperity and the only way that science will ever find a permanent source of funding in a moribund economy.

But this is just an initial observation made in the New Year. The time will come to reassess the Trump science agenda.

Source: Science Via Markets

Economics, Star Trek Style

Jean Luc Picard, spiritually drained from another battle won, still 3 minutes, 15 seconds of show time before the credits, and time for the denouement. The Captain of the Starship Enterprise arises from the seat of command, makes halting steps waving off the advance of Doctor Crusher always hoping help, chagrined by his refusal she turns away wringing her wrists. The door to his ready room opens, and he approaches the Replicator. “Earl Grey and a slab of Bolognium.” The Replicator dutifully responds, creating chains of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates which, when correctly proportioned with water and other inorganic chemicals bring the food we eat, to fruition. But there is a problem. The replicator cannot find Bolognium in its directory of foods, body parts, living things, anything. It shudders emitting clouds of acrid smoke and dies.

What happened? Why the Bolognium problem? Was there a Bolognium agenda of some sort? No. The answer is simple. Bolognium does not exist.

In fact, science fiction sprinkled as it is with Bolognium often appears more like fantasy than science. Some stories have none. The real hard Sci-Fi. The Martian. All real, available science. An exciting story nonetheless results and the audience is drawn in without a hint of boredom.

Some have a little. Ursula LeGuin created the Ansible, a device that allowed instant communication. With travel bound by Special Relativity[i], Kingdoms could handle multiple star governance quickly (as long as the governors stayed loyal.) This was one helping of Bolognium, OK. Her stories were still fantasies (or were they?) but, OK. Sci-Fi still borrowed the device and called it other things and justified it many ways including quantum entanglement. BTW, there is a proposal out for serious study to develop such a system. Maybe de-Bologniumizing instant distant communication.

Then come Star Trek, The Next Generation, and science gets shot to hell. Continue reading “Economics, Star Trek Style”