The NYT podcast reckons that the Sackler family will never be forced to pay enough to significantly impact their family fortune. But CNN estimates the cost to the economy since 2001 as more than $1 Trillion. If the Federal government sues for triple-damages, I think we have it covered. And then, we bring charges in criminal court for corruption and jail the principals for life.

What are the financiers worth, really?

From “Utopia for Realists”, Rutger Bregman, Hachette Book Group 2018, in a discussion about the over-compensated financial sector in the economy:

“The genius of the great speculative investors is to see what others do not, or to see it earlier. This is a skill. But so is the ability to stand on tiptoe, balancing on one leg, while holding a pot of tea above your head, without spillage.”

Refugees and the US government

Reading an interview with Ilhan Omar, new Congresswoman, and this part of the conversation jumped it at me.

IO: I mean, I think, you know, we have had policies that have created refugees around the world, but because we are so focused on those refugees we’ve never asked about those policies. And for the first time, we’re going to have a refugee on that committee who asks about the policies that led to people becoming refugees.

(source: https://theintercept.com/2019/02/28/exclusive-ilhan-omar-speaks-out-on-her-twitter-scandal-anti-semitism-and-a-progressive-foreign-policy/)

Pro-Social and the design principles behind the evolution of cooperation

Two ideas that collided: the evolutionary basis of cooperation, and common principles of action that characterize successful self-regulating cooperative groups.

The Tragedy of the Commons: How Elinor Ostrom Solved One of Life’s Greatest Dilemmas

This from a discussion of “The Tragedy of the Commons”, the original paper’s origins, how it became part of orthodox social science and responses to it.

Regarding the latter: Tim Harford points out that the idea wasn’t original when Hardin published it, but he gave the phenomenon a catchy name and a simple storyline. I think these are key to having an idea become so universal that it’s somehow beyond considerations of truth or falsehood, it’s just taken as self-evident. This ties into Lakoff’s ideas about persuasion and language.

Cory Doctorow: Terra Nullius – Locus Online

Good point by Doctorow on intellectual property as regards music:

The parts of musical composition that Europeans reify – melody – are eligible for copyright, but the characteristically Afro-Caribbean elements – complex polyrhythm – are not. Hence, the Beatles could appropriate R&B progressions and rhythms to make new music out of, but woe betide the hiphop artist who samples the Beatles to make a new composition today. The Beatles worked with unimproved nature (R&B), while samplers are stealing the property of the Beatles’ record label.

Musical “styles” are in their rhythms and their harmonic progressions; it seems odd that anyone can play “in a style” and make original music, but can’t play an existing melody in another style and call it original.

Part of a bigger article about property rights, “Terra nullius” and John Locke.

Source: Cory Doctorow: Terra Nullius – Locus Online


It is wrong for the US government to be attempting once again to force a “regime change” in a foreign country. Especially in Latin America, given our history. Especially when the nominated replacement didn’t even run in the disputed election.

This time, we’re imposing our will by the cynical provision of humanitarian aid. IMHO, this is intended to force a confrontation between civilians in Venezuela who badly need the aid and the Venezuelan military, whereupon the US military will intervene to “save lives”. For this reason, the aid donations have been denounced by other aid NGOs.

It is legitimate for US politicians to comment on the mismanagement of other countries (although somewhat hypocritical, as https://brandnewcongress.org/trump-and-members-of-both-parties-challenge-sovereignty-in-venezuela points out), to offer aid without forcing it, to offer help hosting a fair election. That doesn’t appear to be what we’re doing.

Found on a Forth-based web framework site

You’re using Gforth, which came out in 1992. Also, it’s 2017.
Okay. But Fredric Jameson establishes that in postmodernism we have experienced a weakening sense of historisity such that what is, what was, and what will be all exist as presents in time. 1970, 1991, 1992, and 2017 all happen simultaneously. Hence developers working on new projects while still coding in decades-old text editors. They write the future in the past and are made present in so doing.

ContinuuMini and Ondes

Saw this on Create Digital Music feed the other day, but forgot to post it.

There are two pieces to it: first, Lippold Haken (didn’t he do that synthesis/analysis thing with tracking sine wave partials?) is an instrument builder now, and he has a beautiful ribbon controller-like thingie called a Continuum. He’s announced a smaller, more reasonably priced version, the ContinuuMini.

Then, there’s a really nice instrument builder, a luthier, who is building acoustic resonators for electronic music. The one I like is a small guitar-like body modeled after, and named for, the Ondes Martinot, in whose tradition this guy is steeped. He also makes a bigger floor-standing unit.

Check out the combination in this video:

Here’s the link to the resonator guy: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lavoixduluthier/la-voix-du-luthier-powered-acoustic-soundboard-res

Here’s the ContinuuMini stuff: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1605483632/continuumini