Archive for March 27th, 2013

Out West

The real (paying) job calls. For the last few days of March (and 1st April), I’m going to be ‘away’ on a research trip to Kashgar (Xinjiang). If connectivity isn’t a problem, ‘away’ might not mean much from the perspective of Cyberspace, but I’m expecting at least moderate disruption (most probably exacerbated by colorful ethnic distractions and horrible torrents of baijiu).

If anyone has any Kashgar questions, or information to offer, I’ll do my best to bend my investigations responsively. (I’m not thinking of using this blog as a platform for Xinjiang material, but that’s not a dogmatic commitment, if there’s any interest in the topic.)

[This short Kashgar profile by Ron Gluckman is over a decade old — it will be interesting to see how it has dated.]

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March 27, 2013admin 12 Comments »
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Reaction Points (#3)

Inspired by a comment from Nick Szabo, Federico passes on 20,000 words of Howard Scott Gordon’s Controlling the State. As a door-stopper, holding the constitutional question open, it’s hard to beat.

Steve Sailer asks why rigorous statistical thinking took so long to formulate. (The comment thread is excellent.)

In an interview with Nick Gillespie at Reason, Nassim Nicholas Taleb stumbles upon an under-appreciated aspect of Left Singularity: “The problem we have had in almost all Western countries is that nominally they say they are decentralizing, but effectively they’ve [given] more and more power to the central government. You want decisions to be spread out. Government debt is a result of centralization, and typically the cause of more centralization. It’s a very bad circle.”

At Occam’s Razor, Alfred W Clark works to spring Eugenics from the dungeons of thought crime. A seemingly untroubled Steve Hsu is just getting on with it. (Go China!)

Even the GoP-happy crowd at PJMedia are flirting with disintegration.

Edges of reality, charted.

Molestation Incorporated.

March 27, 2013admin 5 Comments »
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Rough Triangles

The elementary model of robust plural order is the tripod. Whether taken as a schema for constitutional separation of powers, a deeper cultural matrix supporting decentralized societies, or a pattern of ultimate cosmic equilibrium, triangular fragmentation provides the archetype of quasi-stable disunity. By dynamically preempting the emergence of a dominant instance, the triangle describes an automatic power-suppression mechanism.

From the Romance of the Three Kingdoms to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, triangular fragmentation has been seen to present an important and distinctive strategic quandary. In power balances of the Mexican Standoff type, initiation of force is inhibited by the triangular structure, in which the third, reserved party profits from hostilities between the other two.

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