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Everything posted by CharonY

  1. One thing to consider is what is to be considered fit for office. Clearly, Biden is not in the shape he once was and cognitively there are folks that are better. On the other hand, his opponent is clearly not fit for office. Not only from an ideological standpoint, but he also screwed up one of biggest global challenges of recent times (COVID-19) resulting in way more deaths than necessary. So if that passes the bar for fitness, clearly Biden does too. Provided that the president puts the right people into place, they might as well nap through the presidency. I don't think the bar is actually lower than that. But I think the actual question the Dems have is whether Biden is able to beat Trump. And as others already noted, this is quite a bit more difficult to figure out.
  2. I think this is the danger of a word that seems to be clear what in what it means, but actually isn't. It is not necessarily related to something that might or might not be popular. Rather it is the overarching anti-elite messaging (as if he wasn't rich and part of the elite himself). The populism part is really that he claims to represent the unheard masses and to rise up against... someone. Probably common sense, for the most part. The platform itself does not need to be popular in the broadest sense (though obviously, it has to resonate with someone). But it is not same as just supporting things that the majority of people want (e.g. common sense gun laws, abortion rights, higher salary for teachers etc.). And again, the misunderstanding is understandable, but just not what the term more commonly refers to (exception for a fairly narrow time in the long past). Populism tends to come out of the tool box in times of crisis, as an important factor is not stating things that are popular, but rather promising to fix things that are not. It was less about being for something, but rather against. And these promises are usually vacuous. Populists/demagogues were fueled in Europe due to the immigrant crisis. What these group did was to whip up fears (and data be damned) and promised to take care of it somehow. Including deporting folks who did not look like them.
  3. No, it has nothing to do with Trump. The idea of calling groups populists predates that for a very long time. And the common part is that folks were railing against an elite. Specifically, if they use prejudice and fear to make their point. Also, the repetition that populism just means the will of people is just not true, even if you repeat it once more. Especially in the past (around 19th century) there have been populist movements that were associated with development of democracy (largely, because ideas related to democracy were evolving), but that has not been true at least since the 20th century (where different forms of populism across the political spectrum were associated with the creation/strengthening of authoritarian structures and heck, in a way that might have been what people wanted, but it clearly did not further democracy). From Wiki: Margaret Canovan, 1981[8] As noted, populists was never a well-defined term, but using the simplest definition of anti-elite one could claim that two examples of populism are: - demanding tax increase on the ultra-wealthy to finance social programs and - calling for deportation of citizens with immigration backgrounds to combat crime. However, at least theoretically the former could (doesn't mean that they do) provide economic calculations showing how that might work. Conversely, the second example is based on prejudice and fear-mongering because it is not based on actual data/research and also would have issues of legality. As such, the latter could be considered demagoguery.
  4. I disagree with the definitions, especially in this context. In Authoritarianism imposing will on others is often a consequence, but is not the definition in the political sense (which I assume is the context). Authoritarianism in a political system refers to system in which strong central powers by maintain their power by limiting elements of pluralism. Capitalism has nothing to do with bettering oneself as such. It minimally just refers to an economic system characterized by private ownership of means of production which is geared to maximize profit. Again, there are consequences of such systems, such as accumulation of wealth (and in an unfettered system it means that the means of production will inevitably accumulate in few hands). But the consequences of definition are not how the system is being defined. Capitalism doesn't necessary lead to authoritarianism. However, wealth relates to power and folks, who effectively have the wealth of small nation, indubitably have great power. Now, if they somehow abstain from the political arena, it might be less problematic. Likewise, if they have a system in place to constrain their influence. But if they wield it unchecked and influence media, politicians, academia and so on, then again we have concentration of power, which goes towards authoritarianism. So populism is an interesting term as on its face it may be what you said, but there is more to it, when we look at in which contexts it is being used and what it describes in those contexts. Specifically, populism was to my knowledge never a clearly defined term. The one point that is characteristic for most uses of populism is an anti-elite (and often anti-establishment) use. The issue there, of course, that those claiming to be anti-elite frequently are part of the very same. However, I don't think that there was ever a clear foundational meaning. Specifically, it was rarely used in the same way groups would consider themselves "socialist", "conservative" or otherwise. It is only rather recently where group define it the way you do, i.e. following the will of the people (whatever it might mean) and I think it is mostly because media conflate populism with demagoguery and as a consequence, demagogues who are called populists are now claiming to be follow the fill of the people, ironically often by using authoritarian tactics.
  5. Yes, it is again the issue of science vs pop science. Edit, tbf the article actually states: Which is a fair assessment. Depending on the level of textbooks some may simplify it to that degree. There is no instantaneous structural change unless you use it in an unusual way. There are activity changes (and while there are molecular changes, they are typically not lasting after single activation from what I remember). And yes, we always knew that the brain does not have e.g. a push-button area. Rather any activity is a complex process involving many factors, e.g. you have sensory processes (you hear someone tell you to push a button) you have to interpret these sounds (cognitive processes) you have to motivate yourself to initiate movement, you have to see where the button is you have to initiate movement and so on. Of course you need various parts of the brain engaged in a coordinated way and very fast, too.
  6. Ah the pain of controlling iron in media. So as you probably noticed the moment the medium turns neutral, insoluble ferrihydrite will form. So only using only dibasic potassium phosphate won't work (not sure how you acidified it, but you need to titrate with monobasic to ensure that it buffers, for example). However, you mentioned that it also precipates in presence of CAA alone? I would check the pH of the CAA (without buffer) first. In my memory, there wasn't any particularly strong interactions with amino acid mixes, or digested proteins, so I would focus on ensuring that the buffer system maintains a stable pH <7 first. A second thing I am wondering about the concentration of the FeCl3 solution. It is awfully high isn't it? Are you sure that you really have 2.6g/10 mL (i.e. 260 g/L)? It is possible that that concentrations other reactions might occur (though one could test by drying the sample and run powder x-ray diffraction to check whether it is ferrihydrite, for example. I will also add that anything with complex additives (CAA, tryptone, peptone, etc.) can have somewhat low iron contents, but they might be less limiting than one might think. Typically one needs to purify it further to ensure reproducible amount of iron in the medium (that is why many standard medium do not add iron, despite the fact that almost all bacteria need it in significant amounts).
  7. I think the conclusion you provide is an oversimplification. It is common knowledge that a) even for relatively simple tasks many different brain areas are getting mobilized. The precise extent depends on how we measure activity (and how precisely) as well as how we stimulate activity (e.g. passively, actively, under stress etc.). b) the notion that all brain areas are hyper-specialized was pretty much outdated when I was a student. Areas have primary functions but stimulation by activities can be distributed. c) canonical mappings are fundamentally best guesses based on the method used. Electrophysiology is traditionally invasive but non-invasive methods using machine learning to decode measurements have been implemented recently which I believe is the main gist of the paper (not my are of expertise). Brain-wide activity studies related to motor activation have been at least around for a more than a decade in animal studies. I.e. the study is an extension of what we know, not a challenge to what we know.
  8. I am wondering how strongly these predictions are dependent on perception. E.g. the US economy is fairly strong, but the perception of it is quite different. Likewise, a proportion of the population believes that there is a Joe Biden scandal (though they are probably unsure what it might be).
  9. I think there is a bit of a wishful thinking going on that other than a brainwashed cult is going to favor a democracy-endangering autocrat. But if we look at where things tend to swing when things are tough or perceived as tough, we have to reckon that this is not the case. In Germany a Nazi-affiliated party is in multiple parliaments and is on its way to become the second largest party. A country where part of the curriculum you learn about the horrors of Nazism in a very unique perspective of all things. Ah well, back to yelling at clouds.
  10. I think this statement is a bit misleading as it seems to suggest that there is a large swath of people just waiting to drop Trump. Yet this does not seem to be the case. Even if you assume that 30% of the US (which already would be huge) was the basis, the favorability rating suggests that on top another 10% actually like him. About 50% have an unfavorable view, and if we assume that they indeed don't want him and are not going to be swayed otherwise, there is basically just a gap of 10%. Even in the best scenario the case for any candidate is going to be tight. If we look at polls, Harris underperformed Biden vs Trump by around 2 points. Dinging Biden would not likely change that (it would just change a Harris/Biden matchup). In other words, what happened post-debate is that Biden's chances might have dropped and even if folks would fare better than Biden in the current situation, past data does not suggest that it is clear that they would be better situated than Biden pre-debate.
  11. I still have not seen any good data or insights that suggests that this is the case. Given the unfavorability/favorability level of Trump as the sole presented data, it would suggest that about half the population is Trump's base.
  12. That sounds like wishful thinking. They would just attack the "extreme socialist left" which would include everyone but themselves. They don't need a name. Heck, Trump repeatedly attacked Obama instead of Biden and it does not seem to matter. While the commentator talks about tearing up the rule book, I think they are gauging the public and voters by their own, obsolete playbook. All the listed arguments might have been valid 20 years ago, I suspect most won't work today. It might be a sign of getting old, but I suspect that norms and rules have become more volatile due to ever faster and changing forms of communication and media consumption. Thinks that were unthinkable 10 years ago are normal now and probably outdated in five years from now. The pandemic has shifted the ground even faster. It is not just about Trump, but it may be more connected to issues of social cohesion (or lack thereof) and separated realities.
  13. The issue is that having him drop out has clear risks but the benefits are uncertain. In part, there is just not enough data to devise an "optimal" strategy:https://www.vox.com/2024-elections/358559/biden-harris-whitmer-newsom-shapiro-buttigieg-alternative-nomination-candidate-2024 Also, it seems that swing voters are at best volatile and I wonder whether anyone has a good model to figure out how they would actually vote. For example, in this a swing voter would need to find Trump's conduct and desire to overthrow democracy not disqualifying, be swayed by signs of weakness in a debate (but not as much as by someone who is outright ignoring the debate and just piles on lies). Some suggestions are that there are folks who are either in a worse economic situation than pre-pandemic (or believe they are) and therefore believe in an economic benefit of a Trump presidency (but then, how would they be swayed by arguments, if they vote based on personal experience/feelings)? I.e. much of the factors appear to be undefined and intangible and I am not sure how to construct a sound strategy around that. I suspect the best would be somehow a person who would just sway folks by charisma alone rather than anything related to facts or evidence.
  14. I am not referring to you. But to the overarching discussion when it comes to Trump in media even before the debate. But I will add that specifically to that, there are also worries that having another candidate will make situations worse for the Dems (again, the ratchet). In other words, the discussion is not framed that with candidate X there would be a sure win against Trump, rather it is about who might be less likely to lose. And this is worrisome. In a normal world there would be no discussion. A piece of ham stuck between the teeth would be more fit to lead than Trump. But now the Dems have to worry about each weakness. And strangely, they might be right (ratchet). There is no swing to normalcy and there i no pendulum. Things just continue to move into crazytown it seems. And it is not only the US, looking at Europe makes me equally concerned.
  15. Swing voters. Most discussions I have seen (not only after the debate) seems about folks swinging towards Trump because of failures of the Democrats on many levels. But either it is not discussed or there is no swing to the Democrats due to failures on the GOP side (at least not when it comes to the presidency). This does not seem like a pendulum to me but more like one-sided movements.
  16. This does not sound like a swing, but more like a ratchet.
  17. Which would limit your definition of intelligence pretty much to animals (though there might be uncertainty where the precise cut-off might be). "Intellectual process" while still being vague, suggests higher order reasoning not exhibited by all living organisms. Many adaptations provide near-optimal outcomes without intellectual processes. It is unclear why you invoke complexity in this respect. Simple self-reinforcing networks can find optimized solutions without higher intellectual effort and it does so by reducing complexity (i.e. reducing all possible solutions possible by allowing all activities to pruning down to limited activity and hence, a less complex network). The rest is just invoking another circular argument (if it does not have mind it is not intelligent. And something is intelligent because it has a mind). The only breakthrough I can see is a closer definition of the "intellectual process" but that is being again too vague to be applied to biological processes.
  18. You are equating the production and release of a molecule that can be used as a signal with systems that are able of higher level of reasoning. It is like saying a round stone is pretty much the same functionally as a racing car because both can move under the right conditions. Even worse, the same could be true for any feedback system. Precipitation is now an intelligent system, as it clearly integrates factors such as humidity, evaporation, temperature, air movement and so on in order to result in a non-random likelihood of rain.
  19. Still, it is weird how different the bar is set for Biden vs Trump. When the latter was elected, I have wondered whether the competence of the President actually matters to keep the country running. Empirically it seems that it doesn't unless there are emergency situations for which there are no clear mechanisms (say, a pandemic). And again, the evidence suggests that Trump failed miserably in that aspect. Policywise Biden's administration managed to transition the US mostly safe out of the pandemic (especially economics-wise), something that would be rather unlikely under Trump. Also, it is pretty clear that in contrast to the first presidency, Trump would pack his administration with loyalists rather than incorporate competent folks. Unless you spend your presidency playing golf and watching Fox news.
  20. As mentioned,that definition is so broad that is is basically meaningless, as outlined early in the discussion. The reasoning is entirely circular. Everything has intelligence, intelligence is the substrate of mind, everything has a mind. As INow implied, that suggests no difference between a single cell (and arguably also even simpler elements, such as viruses, mobile genetic elements and so on), multicellular organisms, trees, animals, bacteria and so on. This is basically a distinction that makes no difference and does not hold any information as consequence. Also, these assumptions appear to be based on a series of misconceptions regarding biological concepts which further muddies the waters.
  21. Yes the timeline is way in the past- predating human activities and includes switches between ice ages and interglacial periods which were initiated by factors other than CO2. Note that coming out of an ice age, the increase in temperature can also increase CO2 production by e.g. stimulating biological activity. This can result in a feedback that further increases CO2. Note that after the initial lag, CO2 and temp tend to rise together. However, you will also note that the timeline is not really great to see the current impact of CO2 on temperature.
  22. To be fair, the voters themselves are doing quite a bit of heavy lifting here.
  23. Yes, but is that really low, around that time in their first term Obama was at an approval rating of around 47 and George W Bush 46. It does not seem that given all that is going on the ratings are really abysmal for Trump. Compared to, say, Jimmy Carter.
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