Morning Ed: United States

I’m not surprised to see some Latino names pop up. I am a bit surprised that Garcia is evidently the most common. Seems like the sons of John and Andrew had lots and lots of children! Also a bit surprised that none of the Utah ones are Mormon names (unless you could Smith).

Loren Kantor looks at the La Brea Tar Pits and its (their?) history.

Discovered during my research: How America was named.

I collect 3D-generated landscape images. It’s a hobby. I’ve subscribed to Digital Blasphemy, Mike Bonnell, and others. This geyser in Nevada makes me think of those, except it’s real!

This is a pretty cool tool to help you find where in the US the climate may best suit you.

If the 50 states went to war with one another, who would win?

Here’s a year-long road-trip you can take if you are insanely passionate about 70-degree weather.

Catnip for the Trumwill: Clickhole looks at the story behind the symbolism of eight state flags.

Editor’s Note: Morning Ed and Linky Friday have become less enjoyable lately, due in part to locking into the same basic discussions with simply a different news item. A lot of it involving Trump. So this week, I am not going to have any Trump stories, not a Politics section nor articles about Republicans or Democrats.

While you all are as always welcome to contribute links to the discussion, I ask you follow my lead to an extent. At the very least, apply a pretty high threshold of relevance before putting a Trump or generally partisan link out there.

This isn’t a permanent change. Mostly, I seek to break us out of patterns of behavior I think we’ve fallen into, so that when we get back to discussing the events of the day, we’re a little more fresh.

(This doesn’t apply to any Featured or gallery posts about politics that might be published this week.)


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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125 thoughts on “Morning Ed: United States

  1. I wonder how many of these Smiths used to be Schmidts that underwent Anglicization sometime between 1914 and 1945. We talked about this on behalf but many German Americans really sought to maintain a German cultural identity and did so for decades before political events encouraged a quiet dropping of this. Many children, grand-children, and even great-grandchildren of German immigrants were fluent in German and English.

    New York would win a war among all fifty states because our spirit is true and we can control the money to bring you to your knees. Can’t wage war with no budget. First we will mobilize to take over surrounding small states like New Jersey, Vermont, and Connecticut. Than we will use our global clout to make sure the world sides with us. The United Nations will finally be effective. Its still going to be a struggle but we should be able to keep the goods necessarily for war coming to us while devastating other states.

    America is lacking in the lush green tropical climates that I like. I’m one of the few people that likes New York City during the summer time even if I’m in a suit. You have Hawaii and parts of Florida and thats about it. There is also Puerto Rico and some of the other territories.

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    • pshaw! NY could defend itself well enough, but it can’t project force, what with no one able to navigate outside of the 5 boroughs without a map, GPS, and stopping for directions at least 5 times once you are past Jersey.

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        • There was a real dynamic in the early years of the Civil War, where southerners dismissed the fighting prowess of northerners, calling them “a nation of mechanics,” whereas they saw themselves as having a true martial spirit. One can see how these ideas developed if you follow those various “folkways of America” theories.

          By the end of the war people didn’t talk that way anymore.

          Note, a similar dynamic occurred in WWII, where the Germans dismissed the British as a “nation of shopkeepers.”

          Similar things seem similar.

          In any case, logistics wins wars. A nation of “mechanics” and “shopkeepers,” assuming they have the resources and numbers, will usually prevail in the end. The British were rather famous for losing battles and winning wars. So it goes.

          I feel like the “real America” folks dismiss we “effete urbanites.” They are foolish to do so.

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          • It was Napoleon who called the British, “a nation of shopkeepers.” The Japanese also maintained that they would win in World War II because they had a true fighting spirit. Same with the Arabs in their various wars against Israel to this day. They saw Jews as a non-martial people that could be easily defeated. Its surprising how often self-defined martial people get their asses handed to them.

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            • Also, French doctrine going into WWI was that, what with Napoleon’s maxim that the moral is to the physical as three to one, they need not worry overmuch about trivia such as range or rate of fire of their weapons. Rather, upon the outbreak of war the French soldiers would stand up in their blue and red uniforms and march on the German positions. The Germans would be demoralized by this display of valor and throw down their weapons.

              The transition of France from conqueror of Europe to cheese-eating surrender monkeys is an interesting historical study. Much of it derives from their reverence of Napoleon. The Napoleonic era was the culmination of a series of incremental improvements in military technology going back to the Dutch Wars of Independence and the Thirty Years War. The French in the 19th century fixated on this as the martial ideal, without taking into account the implications of modern metallurgy on firearms technology. The results of this were not pretty, and in turn let to wild swings in over-reaction.

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              • — It certainly worked for a while. That said, Napoleon also revolutionized that whole “grand tactics” thing with his “corps” model, etcl. It worked really well, until it stopped working. Likewise, the whole systems seemed to depend muchly on Napoleon’s personal gifts. It didn’t generalize well.

                (“Generalize,” ha!)

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                • When, post-Napoleon, did it work? France’s next war with even a quasi-peer power was the Crimean, which was pretty generally a cluster fuck. Then after that came a war with a genuine peer power, the Franco-Prussian War. It did not go well for France.

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                  • — I suspect we’re violently agreeing.

                    My point is, the “corps d’armee” was a new idea. With it, Napoleon was able to run circles around his enemies for quite some time, until he overextended. But he never really codified it as a doctrine he could transfer to others.

                    Clausewitz on the other hand …

                    As I said, I think we’re agreeing.

                    (BTW, I’m not saying anything new. This is all watered down David Chandler.)

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                    • Wait. We’re agreeing? That shows poor judgment on your part… But yeah, no arguing that being able to move faster than the other guy is a pretty big advantage.

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                      • Well, it wasn’t just speed on the ground, although the French indeed would surprise their enemies in how fast they could move, particularly early on (the Northern Italian campaigns in particular). Similarly, they also showed lesser reliance on long supply trains, in that they were far more willing to head off away from supplies and count on foraging, at least they were when Napoleon was in command. This was an obvious precursor to the kind of “deep penetration” tactics we saw in WWII. (Risky, but when it worked it worked really well.)

                        But mostly I’m talking about the “corps d’armee,” which let Napoleon command larger forces will less cognitive load. Basically, a “corp” (in the period) was a mixture of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, that could operate semi-independently from the rest of the Grande Armée, while remaining in (usually) one days march of the remaining forces. His opponents lacked this structure, and thus enemy commanders were writing out orders to each regiment, trying to coordinate their actions. By contrast, Napoleon could send a field marshal toward a certain objective, while sending another down a different road, with a general sense that they hold their own if surprised, but could also converge on a single point when needed. (“March to the sound of the guns.”) This led to the name “grand tactics” (at least that’s what it gets called in contemporary texts; not sure if the name was used then).

                        Basically, Napoleon “invented” a level of command structure that was not present in other armies. This was a natural thing to do. Eventually someone would have done it, just as companies led to battalions, which led to regiments and divisions, which led to “columns” and so forth. However, having “combined arms” structures was kind of new. Coordinating their movement along different roads during the lead up to a “field battle” was also new.

                        Anyway, at this point I’ve pretty much exhausted my knowledge of Napoleonic military doctrine. Chandler is a good read if you’re curious for more.

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                  • Sometimes I feel sorry for the WW1 general staffs – they inherited doctrines that technology had already made obsolete, but had no way of knowing that because they hadn’t had a stand-up fight between first-clas powers in thwir lifetimes. And the battlefield was about to grow a third dimension, requuring them to adapt yet again on the fly.

                    Then I remember that all these lessons (except for air power) had been learned in the last year of the US Civil War – and Europe was uniqely united … in dismissing the idea that colonials could ever have anything to teach them.

                    And I go back to feeling sorry for a generation that paid with their blood.

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                    • And the battlefield was about to grow a third dimension, requiring them to adapt yet again on the fly.

                      On the fly, indeed. I see what you did there. Very clever, Sir

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              • France’s reputation as cheese eating surrender monkeys had more to do with the American Right taunting them with a Simpson’s joke for not supporting Iraq II than their history of military defeats in the 20th century. France is one of the few countries in Europe capable of force projection. For most of the 20th century, the French were known for their valor if not their effectiveness in battle.

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          • Joking aside, I have no doubt NYC and the surrounding metroplex could beat back any concerted effort to take the region, but the projection of force is different.

            As alludes, NYC strength is not in military might, but economic control. It doesn’t need to project force by rolling tanks into the countryside, it just needs to keep it’s ports and transportation infrastructure intact and under it’s control and it’ll keep control of the region.

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            • Are we assuming each state retains whatever is within it? Because NY has a long land border to protect, a major harbor, a long coastline, and tons of force agents in place protecting all the potential terrorism targets. If we got to keep all that, I imagine they could be moblized for offensive purposes.

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              • Forces that are primarily protective of civilian areas are not capable of being fielded for expeditionary operations without considerable retraining. I mean, there is a reason police forces are not also trained as National Guard or Army Reserve units.

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                • Maybe I’m mis-reading people, but I see lots of what appear to be military personnel at some of these sites.

                  You also now have a pretty substantial Secret Service contingent in the city.

                  So I guess the question is, if NY mobilizes their Border Patrol people and their DHS people to invade NJ, will NJ State Police be able to repel them?

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                  • Do any of the 3 groups you mentioned know anything about infantry tactics, much less have any practice in them? Even infantry that spend too long doing garrison duty will quickly loose their edge, just see Task Force Smith.

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          • The Union won primarily on strength of numbers, didn’t it? The Confederacy was outnumbered 2:1 and still managed to inflict about as many casualties as it received.

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            • Brandon,
              It’s war. When you have numbers, you use them.
              The Union’s war on the Confederacy was a mercy killing — the south would have fallen apart without any help from the North.

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            • Both numbers and industrial capacity. As I said, logistics wins wars.

              The Union’s problem, I guess, was it took them a long time to figure this out, while they flailed around with squeamish leadership.

              The question for the modern era is, I think, how will information technology change this? What will post-industrial war look like? We’re seeing bits and pieces unfold, but I don’t think we have the full picture yet.

              In fifty years it will be obvious and they will ask how we could fail to see it.

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      • Oscar Gordon:
        pshaw!NY could defend itself well enough, but it can’t project force, what with no one able to navigate outside of the 5 boroughs without a map, GPS, and stopping for directions at least 5 times once you are past Jersey.

        The tank advance stalls at Exit 10 when NY forces aren’t allow to pump their own gas at the Grover Cleveland Service Area.

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  2. Nevada Geyser: Didn’t see the actual name of the geyser or where it’s located. Love to check it out. Also, been a big fan of Digital Blasphemy for years. Love the annual Halloween and Xmas images, as well as some of the underwater and space imagery.

    Temp map: I didn’t see anything about humidity. I enjoy living in the mid atlantic, only in the fall and spring when the humidity is lower. Summer is abysmal. Show me a map where I can find 65 degree weather and low humidity……

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    • Yeah, humidity and — I know this sounds strange — air density. When I get off an airplane in Denver, I invariably take a really deep breath and think, “Ah, I can breathe again.” I have no interest in ever living at an elevation below 4,000 feet again.

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      • The heat is different over 2000 ft.
        It feels pleasant to breathe when it’s >90 F.

        Also, the climate map says I belong on the Apache reservation in NM.
        And I’m ok with that.
        Better people there anyway.

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  3. A former OTer posted this story about a teacher pepper spraying high school students as part of a class on law enforcements.

    He was aghast that the school allowed this to happen even if there was a consent form. I’m pretty sure that nobody consulted a lawyer even informally on this because even a not very good lawyer would try to squash this idea. Another poster on the Facebook thread observed that most people seem incapable of thinking about what could go wrong or even if they do they just ignore it.

    Some people seem to be, for lack of a better word, wild. They just want to live life as intensely as possible and engage in all sorts of activities seen as thrilling. I guess there is nothing morally wrong with wanting to live a wild life but but it does have spill over consequences that can be fatal for other people. More than a few wild people like to really preen about how special this makes them to their less wild other humans.

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    • Are people allowed to do what they want with their own bodies or not? Or only if the women in the video clip want to get abortions?

      But really, this type of training doesn’t seem unusual for the Explorer Scout / Vocational Center curricula for law enforcement (which has been around for decades). This was a controlled setting, with full consent, and parents permission, with a trained professional. I don’t see what the problem is.

      I certainly want law enforcement professionals to have experienced personally the use of pepper spray and other non-lethal control devices before they use them themselves.

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      • K,
        I prefer my law enforcement officers with working ears. Enforced hearing damage before they even get into the field seems fucking stupid.

        “What were you doing?”
        “MERP!” — The sort of response that law enforcement is not equipped to understand.
        Using loaded dice in Washington DC is fraught with peril.

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      • I’m pretty sure law enforcement routinely requires a trainee to be pepper-sprayed as part of instruction. Maybe it provides information on when to use it, but I was told by a trainee that I drove to and from camp on spray day that it is in order for the officer to testify in court in excessive use of force cases that it hurts like Hell, but then it passes.

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    • Lee:

      I’m curious, how much permission do folks have to get before liberals aren’t shocked by something? This was part of a school program that the parents gave permission for and was done by a trained professional. When, if ever do things like this become okay?

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      • notme,
        It takes a lot more than that to shock me.

        It’s raining toes again!

        Happy Monday, folks, and a reminder that humans are right bastards, one and all.

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  4. here’s another map that ‘normalizes’ the name data by taking out names that are common pretty much everywhere (so, no Smiths nor Garcias)

    the google walk that led me to that link showed that perhaps Anderson, common in the Mountain West, is also a common Mormon name. (as the Scandinavian -sen ending seems common in Mormon lineages, per those same internet links)

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    • Hispanic names trivia

      The ‘ez’ surnames are all patronymics. The ‘ez’ suffix means (used to, in the Middle Ages) ‘son of’. Hence, Pérez (allegedly the most common Spanish surname) is ‘son of Peter’

      García used to be a first (Christian) name. There are several medieval kings called García. It moved into the last name’s column also initially as a patronymic (though the correct form, Garcés, also exists)

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  5. 50 state civil war: the mouth of a river is where it kisses the receiving body. I’m not sure if this information is important for geo-strategic reasons in winning such a war, or an utterly useless bit of trivia that marks a p.o.v. that will not survive our Mad Max future.

    EDIT: Since war is politics by other means, I found the lack of context for the origin of a 50 state civil war undercut the narrative.

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  6. That 50 state civil war piece was a good effort, but analytically weak as all get out. His initial assumptions as to the nodes of power are deeply flawed

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    • What I found most interesting was that if I was postulating a three-way peaceful partition, with a few modest adjustments I could defend the final map as reasonable.

      I think the battle for Colorado might go somewhat differently, Sure, the Texas military outsizes them. OTOH, the Colorado forces get to say, “Come at me across that 500-mile-wide Great Plains open stretch where I can see you all the way.”

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    • Yeah, as a former mid-westerner I though he lost the plot with Illinois. Illinois is isolated the day war breaks out. They have 3 options: Drive down the Mississippi in the Race for New Orleans – a race they lose to TX – but that’s the first major battle of the War; or seeing the fight shaping up with TX join forces with them immediately. Or, (least likely) ally with NE for access to sea through the Great lakes; Any actions they take north of Cook County are purely light infantry freebies… there is no Northern Strategy, only an Ocean strategy. Plus, Chicago takes Fort Knox long before VA gets there – enhancing their negotiations with NYC and/or TX.

      Virginia would not pursue a Westerly strategy… it runs North to the Susquehanna (taking Harrisburg and maybe Wilmington – or Wilmington becomes a battleground) and all the naval bases in MD/VA, then south along the seaboard. Basically becoming a sea power and fighting NYC in a Reverse Anaconda strategy (unless Illinois throws in its lot with NYC – which weakens the NYC dependence on shipping). The Restored United States wins independence (ironically) by allying with the South and convincing FL to join… Pensacola becomes the Western Edge, maybe Mobile of they negotiate freely with TX.

      Chicago determines the fate of NYC… if they go with TX (most likely, IMO), then NYC eventually succumbs to the RUS. Maybe NYC negotiates/buys a Free City Statedome in the new order.

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      • I like this. And overall, to me the necessary analytical framework starts with certain metro areas, not states nor regions like that Russian guy try to peddle a few years ago.

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        • The more I noodle it… I’m thinking the TX Military planners are pushing for a New Orleans, Mobile, Pensacola, Gainesville strategy for maximum leverage against Chicago and DC… and to quickly get FL to join the Gulf Empire.

          Colorado is a Expeditionary force to hold the passes and take lightly defended Air Force assets while they monitor the West Coast cage match.

          As FL goes, so goes the RUS. And the more I look at it, I think TX takes all those cities/ports quickly out of the gate and becomes – by far – the dominant US power consolidating everything east of the Rockies. Cali gets a lovely empire of their own.

          Also, I’m not seeing the existential threat which triggers Nuclear escalation… its one thing to push the button with North Koreans screaming down the 101… less so the Walla Walla brigade. My crystal ball shows me a renegotiated power hierarchy with DC the big loser.

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          • Wouldn’t you want to stay off the coast? CA and some east coast conglomerate are going to have immediate and overhelming naval superiority (at least, so long as Hawaii stays comfortably aloof).

            Of course, the really interesting question is whether the Ronin are able to capture Germany (seems likely), Japan (also, too), Cuba (less so), etc.

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            • Hence the strategic importance of Pensacola, FL. I’d see TX initially as a collection Naval Air Stations for anti-Navy duties. Plus, the race to FL vs. RUS/DC is the key determining factor of who will dominate whom. I think there’s higher likelihood of a negotiated fragmentation vs. pitched battles, but getting to strategic places will determine the nature of the negotiations. RUS/DC could offer Naval superiority to subdue NYC and keep CA out of the Gulf.

              In my TexEmpire scenario, TX, Chicago and VA (eventually) unite against the Northeast. Which is exposed for a financial paper-tiger (assuming they don’t buy their way into Global allies).

              But upon third consideration, I think CO messes up the greater Texas march to the coast as CA probably goes there first for the *Water*… while Seattle and Portland are settling old D&D grudges. So it’s not so much the CA navy (which they use to cut off the supply of coffee to the Pacific NW, thereby coercing a fast surrender), but rather the massive incursion to lock-up the watershed that distracts TX from a better plan.

              That is, unless the Pelosi-Perry-Pact for the Partition of CO survives into the second year. Then TexEmpire probably holds.

              So, in the end, I really just see a partitioned US with the Pacific People’s Republic and an Eastern Federation with the locus of power shifting West to TX and Chicago with a symbolic DC (for morale). I still think NYC ends up an Island Free State that pays heavily to keep a modicum of sovereignty.

              Chicago and Florida are kingmakers, not kings.

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          • I think TX takes all those cities/ports quickly out of the gate and becomes – by far – the dominant US power consolidating everything east of the Rockies. Cali gets a lovely empire of their own.

            I can see two places that north-south line gets drawn, depending on what TX wants to do in peace time. (1) Continental Divide if it’s a Cold War. Frontier crossings up at the top of the passes. I-25 and parallel rail let you move troops and gear. The down side is you’ve got cities associated with the western frontier that are 250 miles away from the “natural” western frontier defined by population. (2) Middle of the Great Plains if it’s a real peace (say, half-way between I-25 and I-35). The GP are largely empty, getting emptier, with no need for much infrastructure to span the full 500 miles. Give away El Paso. This is much the way that the US electric grid is divided today.

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          • For this and other reasons, the essential security requirements for The Independent Free City of New York are 1) creation of the Free City Navy and 2) occupation of the Trans-Hudson up to the Garden State Parkway between the current NY/NJ line and the Raritan river.

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            • Something, something, all the roads and bridges used for supply are on maps. Something, something, a mobile mortar team can fit in a taxi.

              Raytheon is based how far away from the New York shoreline again?

              Ha, free city folk are either really crazy, or really brave.

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              • The Internet says that Raytheon’s hq are in Massachusetts and it’s main missile factories are in Huntsville, AL & Tucson, AZ.

                But I’m not sure what that has to do with anything.

                The important thing is that IFCNY maintains access to the sea, and it can’t do that without a seapower force and it also can’t do that if hostile powers control the Palisades and the Hackensack & Passaic River deltas.

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                • Is sea access really the most important thing? NYC replaced London as the Empire city, drawing incomes from providing financial and other invisible services for the rest of the USA. Every coastal polity (and those nearby) will want to secure access to the sea to have independent trade routes, but I think NYC particularly needs to find a way to stabilize a large region for the benefit of its services sector. Otherwise its economy will shrink to that of an offshore banking industry.

                  The closing of state borders to commerce that this hypothetical assumes is most challenging to NYC. They may need to be particularly expansionary at the outset (utilizing both hard and soft power) and they may need to buy an army with its stored resources before inflation eats away at everything.

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    • I have a problem with author’s assumption about military re-migration. There are many to whom the services is more home than the state of birth. Are Virginian and Marylander sailors going to fight against each other? Or Coloradoan and Texan airmen? All four have a good number of retired servicemen too, I’d bet. And both of those services are capital-intensive. The author reaches both VA/MD and CO/TX combining by his third map, so I guess it wouldn’t matter so much, but still, quick alliances would be important. A naval power with a capital in Washington DC would be ruling the East Coast quickly, and a Texas-based Air Force would grab everything out to Nevada, and up.

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      • The problem is posed by the question being answered: all states are suddenly at war with each other. In the American Civil War, about 40% of Virginians in the federal military fought on the Union side. Spreading them to their place of origin keeps things simple, but do they remain an independent force against all states. Given the grunts these days tend to be Southern and fundamentalist, do they tend to go to those states that best reflect these values? Does Wall Street dangle a lot of money to lure many.

        There is a related facet lost in the question. This is a situation ripe for foreign intrigue and involvement. The Confederacy strategy involved bringing the French and English into the war to force a settlement.

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  7. Probably more for econ and transportation but an interesting problem for the crowd.

    Yesterday my flight from JFK to SFO got delayed for 6 hours. The reason for the delay was that SFO is repaving one of their major runways and shutting it down for nine weekends. The shutdown was number 7 of 9.

    Question: Since these repairs and upgrades are known and this was not the first in the set, why couldn’t more routes been chanted to land at Oakland or San Jose with bus service to San Francisco or SFO for people who need to get to BART and Cal Train? As far as I can tell, nearly every flight into SFO was delayed by 2 hours or more. The airport was still packed at 2 AM when I landed.

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    • On the flip side, runways that can handle 777/747/A380 sized airplanes are massive construction projects that make Interstate interchange construction look easy. The fact that they are getting it done in under 20 days is a testament to how well planned and coordinated that effort is.

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    • Saul Degraw: The shutdown was number 7 of 9.

      Oh, so that’s what Jeri Ryan is up to these days.

      Without bothering to look anything up for real facts, my understanding is that landing slots are both highly prized by the airlines and bureaucratically difficult with FAA regs to rearrange in the short term.

      It’s also my experience that peak travel times in a particular area are pretty much reflected across all the airports in that area; e.g. each triple of SFO/SJC/OAK, EWR/JFK/LGA, DCA/IAD/BWI are all going to be at capacity at the same time, so there’s no extra slack to give.

      Eta and I gotta think the pricing algorithms are working in the background to steer more people towards San Jose and Oakland to the airlines on time stats take less of a hit.

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    • Interesting, I flew out of SFO yesterday at 3:00, a little ahead of schedule. No delays at all. Of course, I slipped the control tower a fiver… you gotta know how to work the system, laddie.

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  8. — Most major airports are pretty “bookup up” well in advance in terms of gates and runways. Likewise, airlines compete a lot over available resources. So, no, “rerouting” flights is tricky. Likewise, changing schedules and available flights is an IT nightmare. The airlines are really good at some kinds of things, but they are the opposite of agile.

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  9. The temperature map concept is neat, but the data seems off. For example, according to the map, the DC metro area has 0 days where the average high is above 90. I suspect either I’m misunderstanding what the data is suppose to convey or he’s misinterpreting the CDC’s data.

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    • Per the NWS the average high peaks at 89 degrees F.

      So plenty of 90 plus degree days, but also enough in the 80s to keep the mean just below 90.

      (Though some people do have issue with marking conditions at National Airport. Right on the river, it may be a relative cool spot in the summer and definitely has the lowest snowfall accumulation totals in the area in wintertime)

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      • Ok, no individual day has an average high temperature of 90. So it’s my misunderstanding. Thanks for clarifying.

        I would be curious to see a map like I originally thought that one was, the average number of days the high was in the given range.

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  10. This is a fun article: https://extranewsfeed.com/golden-lies-how-sex-and-deception-drove-human-evolution-civilization-and-the-2016-presidential-7f19053c7bf5

    It’s a “big picture” analysis of dishonestly and the ensuing cultural “arms races,” which ties together a lot of knots. I don’t fully endorse it, as anything this sweeping will be full of shit in some ways. That said, I kinda do view societal changes this way. This is a good enough frame to approach things.

    I have no idea if the author is correct on the specifics.

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    • v,
      The first era of lying is the era of alphas and betas, where alphas (being stronger and generally more charismatic, and thus of higher status) would lay claim to as many women as feasible, and the betas, being generally cleverer, would pursue alternative reproductive strategies that were often cuckolding, and when they weren’t, were pursuing the young or unattached.

      In an era where men can have multiple wives, there is no “fundamental lie” in male promiscuity. That’s just silliness.

      Golden Retrievers are hardwired to please. If you stopped being happy with him for “acting stupid”, he’d stop doing it.

      Very few people in America these days follow a religion that supports marital fidelity. Instead, they follow religions that are “lifestyles” and support the hallowed human body with appelations like gluten-free.

      Truth is a very, very funny thing.

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  11. Re: the La Brea Tar Pits. These are, without question, the very best tar pits in the entire city of Los Angeles.

    On a more serious note, they prove quite popular with the little ones. The Page Museum built on the site has a whole lot of cool natural history education available, including life-size models of the smilodons and giant sloths that used to inhabit the region. Kids (of all ages) take to them the same way they do to dinosaurs and for the same reasons.

    They’re also located immediately adjacent to the L.A. County Art Museum. The Art Museum was site there in part because the land was deemed not well-suited for commercial development because of the tar pits. Consequently, it’s a popular place for the food trucks, and it’s two blocks from the Farmer’s Market (another place to get food if you aren’t going to go to the trucks) and three blocks from a popular upscale shopping center called The Grove, just on the opposite side of the Park La Brea development. Also within easy walking distance are the Silent Movie Theater, L.A.’s original Irish pub Molly Malone’s, and the Petersen Automotive Museum.

    If you’re visiting L.A., especially with kids, this is a great place to go where you pretty much can’t fail to find something cool and fun to do. And the really amazing thing is, this is just one small little slice of the city, not even the most popular of places to go with the locals.

    This message was not sponsored by the Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce, but rather out of simple and sincere personal affection for the area.

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      • I listened to that podcast too! That was such a fascinating story.

        Also, every time the tar pits get mentioned, I always remember that La Brea means The Tar, so when someone says “The La Brea Tar Pits”, they’re saying The The Tar Tar Pits. It’s like saying PIN number or ATM machine except somehow even more annoying to the pedantic part of my brain.

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  12. An article on how Silicon Valley created the modern casual dress for the office:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/05/history-of-business-casual/526014/

    I also learned that there is a sociological term for what I’ve long suspected that industries attract certain types and this includes probity of dress:

    In the 1960s, the sociologist Herbert Blumer termed this process “collective selection” and he argued that a given group sets the parameters for what is appropriate to wear (or not wear). Collective selection, Blumer wrote, happens when “people [are] thrown into areas of common interaction and, having similar runs of experience, develop common tastes.”

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    • I’ve been doing a bunch of tech contracting over the past few years for companies with varying dress codes, and if there’s one thing I’ve taken from it it’s that there seems to be no obvious correlation between dress code and productivity. At least, if there is, other cultural factors dominate. But that’s in the tech industry. Your cultural mileage may vary.

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      • No idea, but I don’t think we’re in North Korea, so it’s going to get discussed somewhere.

        My initial reaction was that Beyonce was probably behind it, or maybe Katy Perry. Then I thought that maybe Ariana’s PR guy set the whole thing up in a desperate bid to keep her relevant. Then I noted that it occurred in Manchester and I thought of soccer hooligans. But it’s also the UK, so I hope every potentially jealous Spice Girl has an alibi. But finally I realized it had to be the work of Taylor Swift.

        Anyway, I can’t believe I’m not a terrorism analyst for a major news outlet. They could at use my input on these breaking stories.

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