Late Night QFT Open Thread: “Trump’s GOP, Party of Corruption”

Tina Nguyen, at Vanity Fair“In the witch-hunt era, a criminal indictment has become a mark of pride for Republicans”:

If there’s anyone who can sympathize with Rep. Chris Collins, the first congressman to support Donald Trump, who is currently facing indictment for insider trading, it’s Michael Grimm. “He’s going to have a really, really difficult emotional time,” the retired Republican congressman, who was himself indicted on 20 counts of various crimes, told The New York Times on Thursday, when asked what he’d say to Collins. “He’s going to have to swallow every bit of it. And smile.” He went on, “Washington, as long as you’re riding high, they want to be your friend. And when you’re not, they don’t want to be anywhere near you. . . . And whether he knows it or not, a lot of Washington is going to look at him as a pariah.”

They might also look at him as unelectable, a realistic concern in a potential wave election that threatens to wipe out the Republican hold on Congress, particularly if Collins refuses to bow out of the race. But fear not, Grimm said—he himself had done what Collins aspires to do, running for re-election under indictment in 2012, and winning…“If I were him, I would double down on the president needing us,” Grimm suggested….

But could anyone in the Serious Grown-Up Business-Friendly Party actually defend stock market fraud?

Heeerrre comes MCARGLEBARGLE!

To be fair — to the Washington Post, who paid her this time — McArdle eventually gets around to explaining that, well, insider trading might be offensive, but it’s really all the fault of Government Overregulation:

It’s surprisingly hard to pin down an actual harm from insider trading. And yet we have a stubborn intuition that it ought to be illegal because it just doesn’t seem fair. That’s a reasonable response: Insiders such as the sons of congressmen and board members should have to take the same losses as anyone else on speculative investments.

There is no evident problem with confidence in the markets today, but there is an obvious problem with confidence in our institutions. That’s the harm of insider trading — and all sorts of other self-dealing, self-interested practices by networks of folks with cultural, economic or political power. Occupational licensing, building restrictions that make it impossible for disadvantaged families to gain access to better schools, professional networks and degree requirements that help “people like us” climb the ladder into the best jobs — all of these look, from the outside, like more insider trading. They’re also often defended by people who regard the allegations against Chris Collins with horror…

Look, regulations only serve to encourage law-breaking, knowhutimean? As J.P. Morgan said, during our first Gilded Age, “Anything not nailed down is mine. Anything I can pry loose, was not nailed down.” It’s not the plundering, it’s the nails!

120 replies
  1. 1
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    So… according to the pink Himalayan salt lady; insider trading is a victimless crime and we should overlook it?

  2. 2
    WaterGirl says:

    Oh my god, this is awesome:

    Question: If person uses Ivy League education/prestige to acquire and serially deploy a series of glib verbal tricks to hold space in the public square that might otherwise be open to voices that are more interesting, challenging or morally substantial is this a victimless crime? – Josh Marshall

  3. 3
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    If I were him, I would double down on the president needing us

    This is so cult-like and unAmerican. And these stupid fucks (his supporters) refuse to address any criticisms of Trump. In one breath they’ll tell you they’ll call Trump out when he does something wrong and deflect with Hitlery’s emails when given an example of unpresidential conduct (like Helsinki) in the next. It’s exasperating.

  4. 4
    trollhattan says:

    “Free Martha, Free Martha, Free Martha, Free Martha, Free Martha, Free Martha!”

  5. 5
  6. 6
    khead says:

    My bank account wishes I was soulless enough to make McBargles argument.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @trollhattan: Why did you say that name?//

  8. 8
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Can we please get a thread to discuss the unlimited awesomeness of Elon Musk and how all the h8ers should suck it?


  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @HumboldtBlue: Can’t be Cole, no overalls.

  10. 10
    Kraux Pas says:

    If I were him, I would double down on the president needing us

    This is so cult-like and unAmerican.

    A true patriot knows that ensuring the wight people stay in power is more important than our system of law.

  11. 11
    HumboldtBlue says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Have you ever crossed paths with a Scott Gourley?

    I ask solely for personal reasons, no intent to wheedle information..

  12. 12
    HumboldtBlue says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The head, the massive, meaty head.

    Dead giveaway.

  13. 13
    Mike J says:

    @HumboldtBlue: I had six 1st places and one 4th (of six boats) in beer can racing racing last night. That was me.

  14. 14
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @khead: Same here. But I remain one of those simple, stupid son-of-bitches that still believe there are greater rewards.

  15. 15
    dmsilev says:

    I can’t be arsed to go look, but I’ll bet that McArdle was a strong proponent of Theranos.

  16. 16
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    @trollhattan: I thought she was free.

  17. 17
    chopper says:

    we’ve gone from “so what about collusion?” to “is insider trading really all that bad?” in like a week. we’ll be back to “well, how is ‘treason’ really defined?’ in a few days, maybe followed by “is it really all that bad for a guy like trump to be sexually attracted to his daughter?”

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @HumboldtBlue: I know the name, just looked him up and the face doesn’t look familiar. So I’ve likely read something of his, but as far as I know, I’ve not met him. Why do you ask?

  19. 19
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @HumboldtBlue: that toddler seriousness he brings to his moves is hilarious

  20. 20
    James E Powell says:


    Quite a few people who really should have known better bought what Elizabeth Holmes was selling. It amazes me that people with the resources to check out her preposterous story did not do so.

  21. 21
    Kraux Pas says:

    we’ve gone from “so what about collusion?” to “is insider trading really all that bad?” in like a week.

    Providing pseudo-intellectual cover for the strong to exploit the weak is half the other Republican platform, the other half being plausible deniability for racism.

  22. 22
    Yarrow says:

    @Steve in the ATL: That thread is my favorite in the last few days. So much crazy and a Tbogg!

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:


    The head, the massive, meaty head.

    That’s Seb Gorka.

  24. 24
    Wag says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: So long as it isn’t a democrat benefiting from the inside information, yes.

    And I always appreciate Josh Marshall.

  25. 25
    lamh36 says:


    Jeez….I’m watching the live performances from Aretha Franklin on YouTube..and I’m already emotional…I’m gonna cry…I swear…I hope I”m not somewhere important if I had to hear any bad news……I might be a wreck.

    I mean I was a upset about Prince, but this…this is like my grandmother or my great auntie…those were the woman in my life who loved her and why I love so much of her classics!

    So it reminds me of those I’ve lost who loved her. So yeah, this may hit me harder than I thought it would.

    Ya know what I mean?

    Lord…let me go to bed

    Aretha Franklin – Amazing Grace

  26. 26
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Lombroso was right! Brain size -is- correlated with intellect!

  27. 27
    Wag says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Seb’s head is so big because his skull is so thick.

  28. 28
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    DJTJ bought himself a fancy new huntin’ hat like the regular guy he is

  29. 29
    TS (the original) says:

    In the age of trump – white collar crime is gone – just the boys taking what someone else once had. And some poor sot is in jail for stealing a pkt of chewing gum.

  30. 30
    NotMax says:

    This got kind of lost in the last thread, so repeating here (emphasis added).

    New archaeological research from The Australian National University (ANU) has found that Homo erectus, an extinct species of primitive humans, went extinct in part because they were ‘lazy’.
    “Not only were they lazy, but they were also very conservative,” Dr Shipton said. Source

    If you read the whole thing, it’s a thesis that does, in its own way, hold water. Conservatism as a contributory factor to extinction during climate change is certainly not a far-fetched proposition in today’s milieu.

  31. 31
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Holy crap! When your head makes Sean Hannity’s head look like a normal size head… then you’ve got a big freakin’ head!

  32. 32
    efgoldman says:

    This is, apparently a real thing, Just two payments of 20 bux each.
    Holy fuck but RWNJs and economically anxious whites must be the most gullible assholes since Life of Brian

  33. 33
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Chetan Murthy: @Wag:

  34. 34
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Chetan Murthy: Lombroso was an interesting guy. And his research, although horribly flawed, was interesting as well.

  35. 35
    Immanentize says:

    @efgoldman: fuck em

  36. 36
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @clay: Exactly. Hannity’s got a huge noggin in it’s own right.

  37. 37
    smike says:

    Marshall’s Talking Points Memo is basically my home page. Good stuff and good commenters who brook no trolls.

  38. 38
    HumboldtBlue says:

    @Mike J:

    I have no idea what that means but I celebrate your success.

  39. 39
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    Forget the first name of the Warner brother who had a gigundo melon. He was the one who handled the accounting for Warner Bros., and died fairly young.

  40. 40
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    McArglebargle needs to swing from the same gallows as Collins.

  41. 41
    HumboldtBlue says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Friend, really nice man.

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I know. That hand flip.

  42. 42
    SFAW says:

    For some stupid reason, I was under the impression that McArgleBargle was some type of capitalist. You know, one of those persons who believes in efficiency of the market, level playing fields, no playing favorites by those in power, things like that.

    Then I remembered that she is (or was) an “Objectivist” — or so one would assume from her former “Jane Galt” persona — and that any Venn-like intersection of Randian “thought” and true capitalism is probably just a rounding error, or perhaps a misunderstanding, or more likely: veeblefetzer.

    Or, as a wise man once said (and continues to say):


  43. 43
    Kraux Pas says:


    For some stupid reason, I was under the impression that McArgleBargle was some type of capitalist. You know, one of those persons who believes in efficiency of the market, level playing fields, no playing favorites by those in power, things like that.

    A truly free market operates with no rules.

  44. 44
    Raoul says:

    I may be starting to warm up to the idea of tumbrils.

    When the noblesse have completely given up on the oblige, we can reciprocate, right?

  45. 45
    SFAW says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    as Collins.

    Susie Q? Or Gail (hopefully not)? Or Ray? Or Eddie?

  46. 46
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    I guess we’re bringing back Phrenology then?

  47. 47
    oatler. says:

    @SFAW: You mean “veeblefeetzer”. I will not tolerate Don Martin’s phrases being schnoinked.

  48. 48
    Amir Khalid says:

    I saw a photo of a grown woman combing the hair on that … thing. This has to be a parody.

  49. 49
    dmsilev says:

    @SFAW: Probably referring to Chris Collins, the Republican Congressman whose arrest triggered this subject.

    I can’t blame you for forgetting; that was a whole week ago, so there have been approximately 3,453 Republican scandals in the interim.

  50. 50
    nasruddin says:

    @Kraux Pas:
    The wight people …. what the h, they’re wight supremacists!

  51. 51
    dmsilev says:

    @The Midnight Lurker:

    I guess we’re bringing back Phrenology then?

    I’ve always been a fan of Terry Pratchett’s idea of retrophrenology. Figure out what personality traits you want to instill in someone, and shape the lumps on their head accordingly. With the aid of a large hammer.

  52. 52
    burnspbesq says:


    “Free Martha, Free Martha, Free Martha, Free Martha, Free Martha, Free Martha!”

    If a lawyer as good as John Savarese can’t keep you out of jail, there’s a pretty good chance you belong there.

  53. 53
    Mary G says:

    I have been off the tubes since the morning, but has anyone mentioned Seb Gorka’s fake homemade Fox News business cards yet?

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotMax: Yacko or Wacko?

  55. 55
    Yarrow says:

    @Mary G: That’s just sad. He even used an outdated Fox News logo.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Corner Stone says:

    Man. If only I had a Recent Comments feature to let me know where someone had posted something…sigh.

  58. 58
    efgoldman says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    This has to be a parody.

    I saw it on my late-nite teevee machine. Actually asking for money or charge cards,
    ‘Fraid not

    [ETA: Fucking nym didn’t last 10 fucking seconds]

  59. 59
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    “We’re not puppy children!”

    (And it’s Yakko, BTW. Hmph.)

  60. 60
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @HumboldtBlue: Okay. Again, I’m sure I’ve read some of his stuff, but I don’t recall meeting him.

  61. 61
    NotMax says:

    Site is getting noticeably balky. Again.

  62. 62
    NotMax says:

    @Corner Stone

    To dream the impossible dream

    You’re far from alone in lamenting its absence.

  63. 63
    AnotherBruce says:

    Fuck off and die Kornacky, that 50 candidates piece you did was pure bullshit. So 50 Democratic House candidates are fucked up by right wing framing and want Nancy Pelosi gone. 50 candidates is one in less than one in 8 of the candidates running for congress, but no mention of the candidates who support Pelosi, Go over to Fox News and fuck yourself, you piece of shit.

  64. 64
    Yarrow says:

    @Corner Stone: You know the crazy Tbogg thread is still going, right? Amir is holding it down.

  65. 65
    opiejeanne says:

    @Amir Khalid: It’s real. I’ve seen the ads during sports games. What an awful, stupid thing.

  66. 66
    Amir Khalid says:

    You rang?

  67. 67
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @chopper: “in a few days, maybe followed by “is it really all that bad for a guy like trump to be sexually attracted to his daughter?”” You mean so sexually attracted to his daughter Trump had his daughter’s husband murdered. With the suggestion Jared was at fault for being happily married and Jared should have know that would attracted haters.

  68. 68
    Yarrow says:

    @Amir Khalid: I’m impressed with your sparring with the Musk relative in the Tbogg unit thread from last night!

  69. 69
    HumboldtBlue says:

    @Mary G:

    Not in particular. But his head did make an appearance earlier.

    It’s an odd crowd.

    What can ya say?

  70. 70
    Corner Stone says:

    @Yarrow: That’s some cray shit, if I do say so myself. If I do say so myself.

  71. 71
    joel hanes says:



    I’ll see that

    and I’ll raise
    potrzebie axolotle fonebone

  72. 72
    opiejeanne says:

    @joel hanes: You’re all insurgrievious.

  73. 73
    Yutsano says:

    @joel hanes: OI! Leave one of our local Native tribes out of this!

  74. 74
    Yarrow says:

    @Corner Stone: It’s fantastic. Has to be one of my favorite threads in recent weeks. The cray just doesn’t stop. I’m sure the very next multi-paragraph comment will convince us that St. E of the House of M is a really great guy!

  75. 75
    jl says:

    McArdle doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and completely botched the argument.
    For those interested, you can read the real economic efficiency arguments for and against different types of insider trading, presented in fairly straightforward English, in
    Trading and Exchanges: Market Microstructure for Practitioners Paperback – 2002 by Larry Harris, Oxford Univ Press.

    Harris is very very pro free unregulated market, and he can’t quite bring himself to come down on the side of much more hedged and more cautious arguments in favor of much less blatant insider trading. An honest argument really has to start by admitting that, yeah, the party with less info got cheated, but that the indirect benefits of somehow outweigh the losses.
    Maybe the instructions of McArdles paymasters include making white collar criminal feel better about themselves. They certainly don’t include making any sense, common or otherwise.

  76. 76
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Yarrow: Where is this thing?

  77. 77
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    What’s the name of the thread?

  78. 78
  79. 79
    Corner Stone says:

    The site has gone wonky as fuck (technical term) in the last hour or so.

  80. 80
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Yarrow: I gotta admit, going back over and reading, t’s …. amazing. Just *amazing*. Some choice stuff, really, comin’ from Elon’s PR guy.

  81. 81
  82. 82
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Chetan Murthy: Thanks!

  83. 83
    Yarrow says:

    @Chetan Murthy: It really is the best, isn’t it? Such dedication to the cause. The Loop will save us all!

  84. 84
    jl says:

    McArdle’s attempt to tie insider trading to inefficiency from professional licensing don’t make a lick of sense. If she has the slighted idea what she is talking about, it doesn’t show. As far as I can see, what they both have in common is that McArdle thinks she can outrage the libs with two bad arguments in one column.

    My cynical hypothesis is that, like Brooks, her paymasters tell what she should put in these columns whenever the GOP is in a tight spot and some bogus hot counterintuitive takes would be helpful, for purely instrumental political reasons. Or, her thought processes could be close to random. I dunno.

  85. 85
    Chetan Murthy says:

    That Tbogg unit thread: “Bess” has never heard of the site Slashdot. O tempora, O mores!

  86. 86
    Yarrow says:

    @Chetan Murthy: How is that even possible?

  87. 87
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Yarrow: IKR. But then again, it’s the perfect pose for a sealion: “Jes’ folks here, folks who love their Elon!”

  88. 88
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    Holy shit. I check out before all that happened. I suppose it’s sort of my fault since I directly called out Musk for being an overpromising, egotistical glibtarian in the first place.

  89. 89
    Yarrow says:

    @Chetan Murthy: True enough. That thread is sea lion central.

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: Nah, this commenter has done it plenty of times before.

  90. 90
    joel hanes says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The site has gone wonky as fuck (technical term) in the last hour or so.

    The Queen of Soul lies near death.
    This is a great blow, a disturbance in The Force
    Signs and wonders accompany the passage of an immortal

  91. 91
    Mandalay says:

    Nobody could have predicted that Tom Collins would want to prevent prisoners getting Pell Grants….

    Obama’s support of providing Pell Grants for prisoners reignited the long-standing “tough on crime” versus rehabilitation debate. For example, in 2015 Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) sponsored the Restoring Education and Learning Act of 2015 to permanently lift the 1994 Pell Grant ban. In response, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), and Rep. Tom Reed (R-CA) introduced the 2015 Kids Before Cons Act, which would have banned the Department of Education from providing Pell Grants to prisoners.

    Millionaire Collins takes FYIGM to a whole new level. While embracing tax cuts for the top 0.1%, he also busts his balls to make sure prisoners can’t get financial aid to educate themselves. His nauseating bill is called the Kids Before Cons Act.

    Christ I hope they send this scumbag to the slammer. He’s 50% greed and 50% spite. He is vile beyond words.

  92. 92
    Fair Economist says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    I suppose it’s sort of my fault since I directly called out [he-who-must-not-be-named] for being an overpromising, egotistical glibtarian in the first place.

    Shhhhh, you’ll summon the demon!

    Maybe we need a nickname for Mr. ElectricCarsAndReusableRockets, like referring to a certain politician as “Wilmer”. Any suggestions?

    P.S. For all his flaws, I am happy he’s pushed a number of the fields he’s worked on forwards. Disclaimer: my husband has a reservation on a Model 3 and we have Solar City on the roof.

  93. 93
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Fair Economist:
    Yeah, I really appreciate what he’s trying to do with SpaceX even though I’d prefer NASA was better funded and leading the way again wrt space travel. It’s incredible that his company has developed reusable rockets that can land on a pad.

    And colonizing Mars isn’t a bad idea in and of itself. It’s just terraforming isn’t possible right now and any hypothetical colonies within the next century would need to be either essentially shielded, sealed, climate controlled domes or the sealed habitats underground. Supplies would need to be regularly shipped from Earth until the colonies were self-sufficient. As The Martian showed, the low gravity would be the biggest hurdle to survival on Mars if the shielding could be perfected.

  94. 94
    divF says:

    @joel hanes:
    Mi tío es enfermo, pero la carretera es verde!

  95. 95
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    And colonizing Mars isn’t a bad idea in and of itself.

    Uh, *cough*. Mars lacks a magnetosphere. This means that (nearly all) Earth life can’t survive there without massive shielding (cosmic rays). Here’s a link:

    and the takeaway is that this is an area of active research, but for sure, we got nuthin’ today. You might remember that astronauts are suffering rates of heart damage far in excess of the normal population:

    So: if Elon really believes in a Mars colony, he should put his money where his mouth is, and build a sealed, underground Earth colony, run it continuously and see how well it works. Oh snap! We tried something like that — Biosphere — and it was a colossal failure, b/c we didn’t understand how to run an ecology (and still don’t):

    He could start with that. But it wouldn’t be sexy, would it? It wouldn’t give him what he needs — which is eye candy to distract is fans. Feh.

  96. 96
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @Chetan Murthy: Going on about terraforming Mars: EVEN IF we discount the lack of a magnetosphere (so any atmosphere we build up, will get stripped away), Mars lacks enough water and other volatiles on the surface. Maybe we could do something to the rock in the crust, who knows …. but again, that’s all completely unknown, and so, again, not something you can base a -plan- on.

    But the lack of a magnetosphere means Mars is a dead planet — any atmosphere we put up there, we’d have to maintain at enormous energetic expense, b/c the solar wind would be constantly stripping it away.

  97. 97
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    And colonizing Mars isn’t a bad idea in and of itself.

    Colonising Mars is a terrible idea. The environment is so hostile that it makes as much sense to colonise the Moon, which is only 3 days away rather than 200. The Antarctic plateau is a tropical paradise compared to Mars.

    It looks like there aren’t even enough volatiles left on Mars to make up a useful atmosphere. You would have to drop several thousand city sized comets and/or asteroids before you could even start terraforming. A process that would probably take thousands of years on its own.

    If you really want to go into space, try hollowed out asteroids or shielded space stations. Although first you have genetically engineer humans to survive long term in zero G, if that’s at all possible.

  98. 98
    prostratedragon says:

    From Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace album:

    “Mary Don’t You Weep”

  99. 99
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Although first you have genetically engineer humans to survive long term in zero G, if that’s at all possible.

    You don’t. All you have to do is somehow make a station that can rotate at the correct rate, which will create centrifugal forces to simulate gravity. Far easier than terraforming Mars or genetically engineering humans to survive in zero g.

    @Chetan Murthy:
    I’m aware Mars lacks a magnetosphere. I don’t expect Mars to be colonized for hundreds if not thousands of years into the future. I think by that point, perhaps our understanding of ecosystems will have advanced to the point necessary to make underground colonies work. Perhaps terraforming will also be a possibility in that time as well.

  100. 100
    PJ says:

    @Amir Khalid: Somewhere you mentioned thinking about buying a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. I’ve had one for over 20 years, and have had no maintenance issues with it (I did replace the stock 6L6 tubes with an Electro-Harmonix pair early on to get a better tone.) I’m not a big fan of the tone of the drive/more drive channels (it’s ok for soloing depending on context, but doesn’t have the kind of crunch I like for rhythm), but the clean channel is excellent.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Although first you have to genetically engineer humans to survive long term in zero G, if that’s at all possible.

    Yeah, but then the ungrateful gengineered bastards run away and form their own society. Not worth the trouble.

    (In case my links are still messed up: )

  102. 102
    Chetan Murthy says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    I don’t expect [X to happen] for hundreds if not thousands of years into the future.

    This is the equivalent of saying “maybe someday X will happen”. Periodically columnists will write retrospectives on some “world of tomorrow” article from 20, 40, 60, 100 years ago. And uniformly, those articles fail to predict what happened, and what didn’t happen. Humans are bad at predicting, and especially about the future (as one wag put it). I know of only two instances where people have made predictions out 20+ years, and gotten them right: transistor density (Moore’s Law) and density/packaging of rotating disks. Everywhere else, people have failed over and over.

    I’m not trying to be an Eeyore here. But necessity is NOT NECESSARILY the mother of invention. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sure, terraforming Mars would be great. So would working fusion power. So would a Bussard ramjet. So would warp drive. But me, I keep my wishes reasonable. I want a pony.

    Look: right now, an astronaut on a round-trip to Mars, would accumulate so much tissue damage from radiation, he’d be a dead man walking. Here’s a link about “space brain”:

  103. 103
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @Chetan Murthy:

    This is the equivalent of saying “maybe someday X will happen”.

    That’s essentially my point. Maybe it will happen, maybe not. Nobody can really predict the future, as you mentioned.

  104. 104
    JR says:

    @Kraux Pas: Basically impossible because people always impose rules/constraints on things.

  105. 105
    sgrAstar says:

    @NotMax: OOooooooh. Homo erectus on Balloon Juice! H. Erectus may have been lazy, but their artifacts have been found far beyond ancestral Africa, from Britain to Southeast Asia and a zillion points in between. Their type artifact was the beautiful Acheulean handaxe. When I was studying this stuff as an undergrad, I was absolutely captivated by the longevity of H. Erectus (~ 1.7 my) and the apparent stasis of their material culture. They had one idea, and it repeated for hundreds of thousands of years. Lazy? Perhaps. Or maybe they were just in perfect synchrony with their environment. As that environment finally began to change, they were unable to adapt. Nonetheless, they were the most successful hominids of all time in terms of sheer duration and geographic extent…and the handaxes are magnificent. Google Images has tons of beautiful examples. I find the endless iterating of their one technological Big Idea just endlessly fascinating. Ok…end of paleolithic pontificating!

  106. 106
    Barney says:

    That Vanity Fair article was very sloppy – it claimed Grimm won his primary “by 10 points”, linking to a poll before it that gave him a lead of 10 points. But he actually lost the primary by 28 points. That does paint the “advice from someone in his position” in a different light.

  107. 107
    Amir Khalid says:

    I read that extract. I’d describe that bunch of Homo erectus as stupid rather than lazy.

  108. 108
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    All you have to do is somehow make a station that can rotate at the correct rate

    That’s probably easy for condo sized space structures, but spinning megastructures or asteroids brings a whole new set of structural problems.

  109. 109
    Viva BrisVegas says:


    Homo erectus, an extinct species of primitive humans

    Who says they are extinct? How else do you explain MAGAts?

  110. 110
    NobodySpecial says:

    Aerostat habitats on Venus are your best extrasolar chance. 50 km up, it’s earth normal temps and a highly concentrated CO2 atmosphere. Much easier to create and maintain atmosphere.

  111. 111
    Amir Khalid says:

    Steve in the ATL mentioned his HRD. I was actually saying that I can’t justify the expense of a valve amp; a Hot Rod Deluxe is twice the purchase price of a Champion 100 or more, and that’s before the former’s maintenance costs. I lean towards digital amps for when I upgrade from my Champion 20. I like having a choice of a dozen amp voicings, and an onboard suite of effects which I can supplement with my cheap multi-effects pedal. I’m fine with near-enough simulated tone rather than the real thing.

  112. 112
    evodevo says:

    @NotMax: Hmmm …maybe it was just a lazy contingent on the Arabian peninsula …’cause Homo erectus colonized the whole Eurasian continent. Their remains have been found as far east as Java and China, AND their species lasted for ~ a million years – ours has only existed for ~300,000 AND we are their descendants (probably). I think this is just a case of Aussie envy lol

  113. 113
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    Don’t know how to link on the mobile site, and don’t know if this kind of guitar porn is your thing, but I do customized bodies. Check out Tongues of Flame Studios on Facebook.

  114. 114
    great grandpa john says:

    @efgoldman: Well like they say

    Grifters gotta grift

  115. 115
    chopper says:


    all the better to…think…you with, my dear.

  116. 116
    chopper says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    if you want to be farther than the moon, a station at a lagrange point makes just as much sense as mars does. at least you could replicate more earth-like gravity then.

    mars is a dump.

  117. 117
    chopper says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    the evangelicals do compare trump to king david, don’t they…

  118. 118
    chopper says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    visiting mars is a great idea. colonizing mars is a terrible idea. the regolith is chock-full of poison. there’s no magnetosphere.

  119. 119
    Another Scott says:

    @chopper: I’m sure the geologists would have a field visit of a lifetime if they got to visit Valles Marineris:

    The largest canyon in the Solar System cuts a wide swath across the face of Mars. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth’s Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Recently, several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The above mosaic was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.

    Yeah, fixing our own bed so that humanity can survive another 1000 years or so is worth a lot more than working to put a semi-permanent population on another planet – especially Mars.


  120. 120
    Martin says:

    It’s surprisingly hard to pin down an actual harm from insider trading.

    Actually, it’s surprisingly easy to pin down actual harm if you accept the very basic tenets of capitalism and supply and demand of fungible commodities. If nothing else you would assume glibertarian assholes would at least try and preserve that, but no, they insist on defining libertarianism to be indistinguishable from anarchy. But it’s hard to keep your gig writing shitty economics if you’re branded an anarchist.

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