Links For Today

Truth: Advocates argue their single-payer Medicare for all health care system will overall cost us all a lot less. They are right that their systems can be a lot less expensive by expanding Medicare to everyone––primarily because government payment rates are so much smaller.But here’s the hitch––paying Medicare rates on behalf of all patients would literally bankrupt the system we have.

A different view: Sunspots are continuing to become few-and-far between of late. And while it’s really anyone’s guess what next year will bring, the likelihood of 2020 surpassing 2019’s spotless days total is very high, as the sun looms inevitably-closer to its next Grand Solar Minimum.

That China is a threat is a pretty standard line. But not many people are paying attention to its problems. Beijing’s newfound assertiveness looks at first glance like the mark of growing power and ambition. But in fact it is nothing of the sort. China’s actions reflect profound unease among the country’s leaders, as they contend with their country’s first sustained economic slowdown in a generation and can discern no end in sight. China’s economic conditions have steadily worsened since the 2008 financial crisis. The country’s growth rate has fallen by half and is likely to plunge further in the years ahead, as debt, foreign protectionism, resource depletion, and rapid aging take their toll.

Mostly Funny Links

You did not think this all the way through: Migrating Russian eagles run up huge data roaming charges

Maybe you are just in the wrong profession if you don’t want to do your job: Hitman hires hitman who hires hitman who hires hitman who hires hitman who tells police

Slight regard is such a devastating insult.

Why should anyone care?: Fed Ups Its Wall Street Bailout to $690 Billion a Week as Media Snoozes

Links for Today

An Israeli perspective on the current situation in the Middle East:

Up until recent months, the IDF had assessed that the various fronts were not connected or dependent on each other, and that a clash with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza would not necessarily affect the northern front or vice versa. This assessment is shifting. The IDF must now quickly prepare for the possibility that the next confrontation on the northern front will almost immediately ignite the southern front and could potentially spark confrontations on additional ones — not just with Hezbollah, but also with Syria and Iran. Other potential threats could even emerge from the southern branch of the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula or from a maritime terror attack on Israel’s Western sea front. Add in that Iran is growingly daring and the IDF assumes that the next attack on Syrian territory will trigger an immediate Iranian military retaliation, and it is clear why warning bells were ringing this week at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.

A perspective on the California blackouts that might not be in the news. California Blackout: Turning the Lights Off This is the news — A Utility Company Is Scheduled To Shut Off Power To Nearly 3 Million Californians As A Massive Fire Grows

What he said: $500,000 of Russian Cheese, Wasted?

Wholesale coffee prices are cratering in large part due to Vietnam’s major growth as a coffee producer. This is creating profound hardships for many small scale coffee growers in Central American and Africa. The resulting economic problems may lead to a surge in people trying to get into the US and renewed instability in many regions of the world dependent on coffee. All this information is contained in this article but boy do you have to wade through a lot of crap to extract it.

Links for Today

Sad world. The Day of the Witch

This is another attempt at increasing the state led oppression of the black male. Calling someone a ‘bitch’ in Massachusetts could lead to jail time under new proposed bill

Kids these days must be dumb. I figured out that math was oppressive without any help. Seattle Public Schools Will Start Teaching That Math Is Oppressive

A lot of times, hypocrisy is the only tribute that humans can make to virtue so I guess we should not talk trash about it. Justin Trudeau—Illegitimate Premier?

The Future Is Now Links

Best break down on the quantum supremacy dispute between IBM and Google that I have seen yet. Quantum supremacy: the gloves are off

Increased copyright protection is almost always a bad idea. No one yet has shown that it benefits society as a whole and even most proponents don’t even try to make that case. The CASE Act’s goal is to make it simple and fast for copyright holders to get paid for infringement claims. The method it employs is to create a quasi-judicial body in the Copyright Office called the “Copyright Claims Board,” which would be able to award damages as high as $30,000 per proceeding, while also strictly limiting the ability of parties to appeal the decisions. $30,000 judgments issued by people who are not judges but rather officers of the Copyright Office, who see copyright holders—not the general public—as their customers, are not “small claims”. These are judgments that could ruin the lives of regular people; people who are engaging in the things we all do when we’re online: sharing memes, sharing videos, and downloading images.

I would put more focus on the idea that increasingly the State’s only commonly accepted justification for existing rests on ever increasing material befits. It is a short jump from there to think that if I am doing poorly, the state is no longer legitimate. Protesters Are United by Something Other Than Politics

More amusing and sly then the headline suggests. I think it strongly overstates its case though and in general it does not seem like it is written by someone who is deeply familiar with the past: How single men and women are making politics more extreme

Amusing Links

This is where we all gather around and chant “fight, fight, fight” or whatever they do these days to cheer a schoolyard fight on. IBM says Google may not have reached quantum supremacy after all

Same as above, different context. Everyone Is a Russian Asset

Purdyville is safe from a German invasion. Germany: ‘Highly aggressive cow’ sparks lengthy police chase in Bavaria

The funny thing about the below is that it seems that the free runners really thought they had a chance (I say runners because it was group the gave the legion the challenge even though they only sent one runner to represent). At first I thought it was a publicity stunt from the legion but as best I can tell it was a real challenge from the free runners and one that they would go on to repeat in a more tedious context. Not speaking the language and not having spend a lot of time chasing down leads, I am sure that I could be wrong. On the other paw, I guess you have to say the free runner in this case did pretty well considering how the odds were stacked against him.

Justin Offers A Link

In a comment on this post, Justin offered the below video as a comment on this link.

I will make the following observations……

1. It is stories like the above that lead to socialism, communism, and other associated ideas having continued support in spite of their bad track record.

2. It is common for people who are good at something to think that they can therefore lead or manage a project that encompasses things that they are good at. But often, leadership skills don’t come with other strong skills. In particular, my own experience would lead me to believe that strongly artistic people are rarely good managers. A lot of Mr. Kern’s bad decisions as laid out in the above video strike me as a classic example of an artistic person let off the leash with no oversight. Computer gaming history is filled with similar stories of developers who were an integral part of strong teams but absolutely failed on their own in such spectacular fashion as to make you wonder if they were ever truly good at anything. In my judgement, the common thread in those tails of self-destruction is giving an artistic person a pot full of money with no controls.

3. It is common for people to exaggerate the evil nature of poor leaders and forgive the evil deeds of good leaders. That is to say the failure of leadership skill is often attributed to moral failings while successful leaders are forgiven moral lapses because they get things done. We all have moral failings and I am sure that Mr. Kern has more then his fair share. But I think a lot of what is laid out above is rooted above all else in lack of managerial talent and not some particularly black heart compared to other people in the same industry.

4. It is common for people to point out someone’s hypocrisy or other moral failings as if they demonstrate that that person does not have good points or sincerely held beliefs. A classic case of this is the attempts to delegitimize everything Winston Churchill did because he was a supporter of imperialism. In this case, nothing in the above video really has anything to do with Mark Kern’s points about China or the current management of Blizzard except to warn against turning Mr. Kern into some kind of hero.That is always a good warning to have, but no one should go in the opposite direction and think it demonstrates more then it does.

5. A broader hypocrisy of the west in general is the focus of things seen on TV instead of any kind of tangible yardsticks. For example, what has been done over the years in Tibet have been and continue to be far worse then anything currently going on in Hong Kong. And yet, Tibet has not developed into nearly as big of an issue as Hong Kong is becoming.

6. That said, I think it is truly alarming how determined China is to use its economic clout to regulate what is being said in other countries. It is one thing to control your own country’s internet. It is another thing to try to control what everyone else is saying all over the world. And that does seem to be what China is seeking to do. Imagine the outrage if the American government worked as hard as China has been working to get sport’s people fired for being critical of US policy.

Science Links

Hat tip to Grumpy for some of the links this time around…..

We all expect to the big one to happen tomorrow but at the same time most act like it never will. How many people have food and water on hand for more then a couple of days? A California Fault Line Has Started ‘Creeping’, And We Don’t Know What to Expect

I did not know they already had more then one: Mathematicians Have Discovered an Entirely New Way to Multiply Large Numbers

You would think that if this really happens that it could create problems for ships. Seems to me that jury is still out though I don’t really doubt that volcanoes could do this: Some Volcanoes Create Undersea Bubbles Up to a Quarter Mile Wide

A lot of passes for modern medicine is poorly supported. Massive marketing muscle pushes 3D mammograms, despite no evidence they save more lives, investigation shows.