A new sandpit for long side discussions, conspiracy theories, idees fixes and so on.

To be clear, the sandpit is for regular commenters to pursue points that distract from regular discussion, including conspiracy-theoretic takes on the issues at hand. It’s not meant as a forum for visiting conspiracy theorists, or trolls posing as such.

19 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. Read an interesting take on the real motives behind the RBA actions both in 2022 and in 1990. The proposition is that the RBA is more attuned to the external accounts than it is to national income accounts. On this take on excessive RBA tightening, both in 2022 and 1990, the motive is seen yo be an attempt at external balance. Just like back in 1990, there is no RBA consideration given to the possibility of a domestic recession. On the contrary, this view presupposes that the RBA actively pursues a recession cycle. In this way it hopes to restore external balance. Now I can see see some weaknesses in this view of the hidden agenda of the RBA tightening. But it does not have to be a realistic goal to be adopted by a introverted body like the RBA.
    Is it a true view? I have no idea. The opaqueness of the RBA actions in 2022 acts as a shield against public scrutiny, But that means this view can not be disproven. That does not make it valid. It just means that it is one more view of the true motives of the RBA abandonment of gradual tightening.
    For those wishing to check this proposition on
    more detail go to
    done by Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan, Justin Wolfers.

  2. Hi Ikon, hix and everyone,

    We all know we would drop dead asap if we stopped breathing. Or feint if hyperventilating. Or raging or running away if huffing and puffing. 

    “It is also clear that different emotional and cognitive states alter the depth and frequency of breathing, 8,9,10,11,12” (Study below)

    As you Ikon, have specifically laid out your heart and mind on the sleeve of JQ’s blog – you don’t know how refreshing to me it is – we all could do with a little breath work.

    We do lots of body / brain work outs. We eat heathy diets and know and practice these things – I assume.

    But the most important action enabling the above – oxygen / co2 transportation – we hardly give a second thought to. Anyine here with a PhD in breathing? 

    And as this is Prof JQ’s blog some serious justification needs to be presented. 

    As many now have, as hix hinted at, and Ikon laid out in oersinal detail (link below) “f33.1 (Major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate)”, I hope the study below is able to assist someone.

    Please try and pass on “Brief structured respiration practices enhance mood and reduce physiological arousal”.

    If I were doing a masters or post doc w JQ, I’d be trying to replicate decisions under uncertainty with and without “Brief structured respiration practices enhance mood and reduce physiological arousal”… “increased feelings of peacefulness, improved reaction time and problem solving, decreased anxiety, and reduction of mind wandering and intrusive thoughts”. Providing our brains a better chance at the lottery of life and decisions.

    Ahhhh… breathe.

    Ikonoclast says:
    March 5, 2023 at 1:30 pm
    f33.1 (Major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate) is not an excuse, it’s a (partial) description of some phenomena in a person and in their behaviors without full or even any explanations of biochemical, biomechanical, genetic, nurture-deficiency or traumatic causes.”…

    Study and methods. 
    “Brief structured respiration practices enhance mood and reduce physiological arousal

    Melis Yilmaz Balban, Eric Neri, […], and Andrew D. Huberman

    Controlled breathwork practices have emerged as potential tools for stress management and well-being. Here, we report a remote, randomized, controlled study (NCT05304000) of three different daily 5-min breathwork exercises compared with an equivalent period of mindfulness meditation over 1 month. The breathing conditions are (1) cyclic sighing, which emphasizes prolonged exhalations; (2) box breathing, which is equal duration of inhalations, breath retentions, and exhalations; and (3) cyclic hyperventilation with retention, with longer inhalations and shorter exhalations. The primary endpoints are improvement in mood and anxiety as well as reduced physiological arousal (respiratory rate, heart rate, and heart rate variability). Using a mixed-effects model, we show that breathwork, especially the exhale-focused cyclic sighing, produces greater improvement in mood (p < 0.05) and reduction in respiratory rate (p < 0.05) compared with mindfulness meditation. Daily 5-min cyclic sighing has promise as an effective stress management exercise.

    "Keywords: breathwork, mindfulness meditation, mood, anxiety, wearable, physiology, heart rate variability, limbic, autonomic, stress, sleep

    "Breathing is a life-sustaining bodily function, facilitating oxygenation and carbon dioxide disposal, but scientific studies on its significance for the mind-body connection have been limited. Embedded in ancient practices for centuries, breathwork has emerged as an intervention due to its reported health benefits. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of simple, fast-acting, and cost-effective techniques to address widespread physical and mental health challenges and limited access to health care. While the neurobiology of breath has been studied both in animals and humans,1 little comparative data exist on the effects of different breathing techniques or the amount of breathing exercise that must be performed to produce those effects.

    "The pattern and depth of breathing have direct physiological impact on oxygenation level, heart rate, ventilation, and blood pressure.2Slow breathing at a rate of six breaths per minute reduces chemoreceptor reflex response to hypercapnia and hypoxia compared with spontaneous respiration at 15 breaths per minute.3 Impairment of baroreceptor reflex sensitivity plays a role in the etiology of hypertension, and how we breathe has numerous other major health implications. Heart rate and blood pressure decrease with slow breath in patients with essential hypertension compared with higher-frequency breathing.4Breathing training has also been shown to improve quality of life for asthmatics and to decrease use of bronchodilators.5 Furthermore, there is evidence that nasal breathing affects the CNS differently than mouth breathing. While nasal breathing synchronizes electrical activity in the olfactory cortex as well as amygdala and hippocampus, mouth breathing does not,6 which has implications for stress management and treatment of anxiety. Moreover, the mere act of inhaling has been shown to increase alertness levels and learning in humans.7

    "It is also clear that different emotional and cognitive states alter the depth and frequency of breathing, 8,9,10,11,12 which likewise impacts emotional state, in part by regulation of carbon dioxide levels.13,14,15,16,17 There is growing evidence that brain-body states, ranging from sleep to stress to physical activity to meditation, can help people buffer and better manage stressors. A review of Yogic breathing practices reported increased feelings of peacefulness, improved reaction time and problem solving, decreased anxiety, and reduction of mind wandering and intrusive thoughts.18,19"

    My fave physical world newsletter. 

  3. KT2,

    There is a lot we don’t teach people which could be useful to them. For example, we don’t teach most people properly about the main determinants of physical health, mental health, financial health and social health. The deep reasons for this are real ignorance and “learned ignorance” [1] but also what could be termed unethical conspiracies of self-interest, networked throughout our society. These are legacy networks arising out of centuries of social and political economy “evolution”. Those who make money out of human weaknesses (many trades and professions in our system could be named) prefer that the techniques for self-care and self-protection, in the physical, mental, financial and social health arenas, are *not* known and that the ethics and salient facts surrounding this whole issue are *not* discussed.

    To trim this comment down, let us just talk about physical health / mental health. For a start, they have to be talked about together. The body/brain is one complex system with feed-backs and you have alluded to this in relation to breathing. The Indian Hindu culture and others (Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism) have known such things for millennia and breathing exercises are a part of their Yogic and other practices. I am not any kind of expert or practitioner in these traditions which is more the pity perhaps.

    In our culture, in the old days anyway, if you presented with a full-blown anxiety attack with hyper-ventilation, tingling extremities etc. they gave you a brown paper bag to breath in and out of (to reduce your “hypo-carbonation”, which is too little CO2 in your bloodstream). Then they sent you on your way and possibly sniggered behind your back. (Or perhaps that’s my paranoia.) Or else they prescribed medications like valium (benzodiazepine) or sent you to psychoanalysis. The paper bag treatment works for the simple physical symptoms. Valium addiction spells serious real trouble for some. I did not go down that path but down another addiction path. Evidence is becoming ever clearer in neurological science that receptor numbers and conformations (positioning in different zones in the brain) play a key a role in vulnerabilities to stressors, to obsessive-compulsive behaviors and to addictions. [2] All of those issues plagued me for one long period of my life (two decades from about age 15 to age 35) and episodically made my life hell on earth. This obviously made life very difficult for people around me too.

    Psychoanalysis or “the talking cure” is also tartly known as “treatment interminable”. It’s a holding strategy which gets most people somewhat nowhere in the long run other than making them dependent on their therapists. That is correct in one sense and far too harsh in another. It really does save lives and some people may, relatively rarely, achieve some sort of assisting apotheosis insight from this type of treatment alone. I remain skeptical on that. There people who are too intelligent, too unsuggestible, too suspicious and too paranoid for psychoanalysis to really work on them. All of those apply to me except perhaps the “too intelligent” part. However, sometimes holding patterns are necessary and can assist people to function. While a person is kept talking they are not jumping off a ledge or attempting something else equally as final. I self-censor my story at this point.


    Note 1: Using “learned ignorance” in the same sense as “learned helplessness” but also with the potential accent-pun as in “learnèd ignorance” or “learnèd fool”.

    Shakespeare used both forms of “-ed”, and understood the difference an accent or absence of accent could make to meaning nuance.

    “Whose reputation will be dogg’d with curses;” —Coriolanus.
    “And dogged York that reaches at the moon,” —Henry VI.

    Note 2: The numbers and positions of receptors in the brain create markèd individual differences to susceptibility to stressors and drugs (including medications). In my case, it seems clear to me now from long observation of myself, that I was “preset” for severe anxiety and BPD, for alcohol addiction, for the opposite reaction to the THC in marijuana to that which most people have (experiencing anxiety and paranoia instead of euphoria), for *not* becoming addicted to nicotine, for *not* becoming addicted to benzodiazepines and indeed having a strangely high tolerance for them, for a high tolerance to pseudo-ephedrine hydrochloride and for just a little bit of a tendency to get habituated to coffee. This is likely an unusual mix of reactions, indicating the importance of individual reaction set-up to stressors and to the pharmacopeia of our civilization.

    And then body system individuality counts too including the endocrine system and its reactions, pain reception, pleasure reception, hedonia and anhedonia and so on. It’s not just about the brain, it’s about the brain-body complex. I am emotionally hyper-sensitive to criticism, rejection and mocking for example. I have poor tolerance for emotional pain. I also over-react to small physical shocks and injuries. And yet, I am bizarrely stoic/semi-impervious when it comes to significant or chronic physical pain, though this has real limits too. I don’t imagine for a moment that I would be impervious to kidney stone agony.

    All this is to emphasize the physical grounds and mechanisms for all supposed “mental” illnesses. (There are behind that, the three basic cause groups of genetics, nurture failure or abuse and physical illness or injury. Everything is physical or material. The chains of cause are all reducible to the physical and to physical damage, abnormalities (in the non-judgemental descriptive sense or variation.

    The terms “mental” and “mind” are empty in science and empty in medical science, IMHO, though they have a place in philosophy and in proto-science hypotheses as theorized emergent epiphenomena. To tell a person to use willpower or free choice (so-called) to overcome a different receptor-complex setup in their brain is as foolish and unacceptable as to tell a person to overcome diabetes mellitus with willpower. People who have unrecognized and then self-hidden dissociative episodes at age 16, as I did, do not choose to have them. They would not know how to choose to have them and indeed it would be as impossible to choose them as to choose to not react to a reflex test. Their brain’s set-up has reflexively reacted to certain endogenous and exogenous stressors in that way.

    However, utilizing physical mechanism science like neurology, endocrinology, physiology and biochemistry plus behavioral science, we can teach some people to cope with and manage some conditions, sometimes with aids and helps. Sadly, some conditions are so severe and/or there is a lack of workable intelligence and insight (again *not* the individual sufferer’s fault) that self-management even with aids, helps and supports is not a possibility.

  4. An as per usual, a knowledgeable and insightful comment Ikon.
    Thank you.

    A psychologist I knew – ex Vietnam vet with extreme lived experience who had to self diagnose and repair after ptsd and addiction – a 20yr project – when I asked him;
    Q: “what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist” replied;

    A: “A good psychologist will give you a whip and a chair, psychiatrists will ask you about your mother”.

    I hope my raising this again doesn’t trigger any symptoms. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    If you don’t want me to post such as above just say so.

    As I support a person w PTSD, I continually want fundind for;

    “Trauma-Informed Nursing Practice
    Joan Fleishman, PsyD
    Hannah Kamsky, BSN, RN, CCCTM
    Stephanie Sundborg, PhD

    May 31, 2019
    DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol24No02Man03

    “Trauma-informed care (TIC) is a patient-centered approach to healthcare that calls on health professionals to provide care in a way that prevents re-traumatization of patients and staff. TIC is applied universally regardless of trauma disclosure. Grounded in an understanding of the impact of trauma on patients and the workforce, TIC is conceptualized as a lens through which policy and practice are reviewed and revised to ensure settings and services are safe and welcoming for both patients and staff. The TIC framework is being implemented in healthcare and should be incorporated in daily practice, especially in nursing. Nurses have ample opportunities to influence the experience of patients and colleagues, and nursing is a critical field in which to introduce a trauma-informed approach. However, TIC implementation can be challenging if it’s unclear what to do. This article discussestrauma-informed care, and TIC in healthcare and provides strategies for trauma-informed nursing practice, followed byorganizational considerations for the nursing workforce.

    Key Words: Trauma, trauma-informed care, trauma-informed nursing, nursing workforce, patient experience, universal precautions, nursing practice, patient-centered care, adverse childhood experiences, workforce wellness

  5. And then disabled get this all the time, as you alud3d to in your comment Ikon;

    “Disability Without Documentation

    90 Fordham Law Review 60 (2021)

    44 Pages
    Posted: 12 Feb 2021
    Last revised: 29 Oct 2021

    Katherine Macfarlane

    Southern University Law Center
    Date Written: February 7, 2021

    “Disability exists regardless of whether a doctor has confirmed its existence. Yet in the American workplace, employees are not disabled, or entitled to reasonable accommodations, until a doctor says so. This Article challenges the assumption that requests for reasonable accommodations must be supported by medical proof of disability. It proposes an accommodation process that accepts an individual’s assessment of their disability and defers to their accommodation preferences. A documentation-free model is not alien to employment law. In evaluating religious accommodations, employers, and courts, take a hands-off approach to employees’ representations that their religious beliefs are sincere. Disability deserves the same deference. This Article also contributes a novel analysis of agency guidance, exploring how its support of medical documentation requirements conflicts with legislative intent and the American with Disabilities Act’s rejection of the medical model of disability.

    Documenting disability has its price. It requires access to affordable healthcare and a relationship with a medical provider willing to confirm disability’s existence. Documentation requirements may delay an urgently-needed accommodation—one that would, for example, permit an employee to work from home. Until documentation requirements are relaxed, if not eliminated, disabled employees may be forced to work in dangerous conditions, or not work at all. 

    “Keywords: disability, Free Exercise, First Amendment, employment, ADA, accommodation

    Which leads to:
    “Accommodation Discrimination”
    Katherine Macfarlane

  6. And I have to say, this sounds like Walt in Breaking Bad!

    …”emotionally hyper-sensitive to criticism, rejection and mocking for example. I have poor tolerance for emotional pain. [barring “I also over-react to small physical shocks and injuries.”] And yet, I am bizarrely stoic/semi-impervious when it comes to significant or chronic physical pain, though this has real limits too. I don’t imagine for a moment that I would be impervious to kidney stone agony.”.

    Don’t start cooking meth!

  7. The sad part is, ones assessment of the world during depressive episodes is not necessarily less realistic than the one of a healthy person. Still optimistic about the technical viability of a sustained high standard of living. Less so about human nature.

    The f33 stuff is not even is not even grounds for severe disability here – gets you 30. 50 is the typical threshold for some (often rather theoretical) workplace protections and the like. In my experience people eligible for severe disability on mental health grounds that are still young and got decent jobs do not even consider getting the status. Partly due to self stigmatization, partly because they rightly assume revealing disability status to the employer might do more damage than good especially if the mental health reason can at least be guessed, partly because they do not get that they are not required to disclose the status to every potential employer. To be realistic, young people with non visible physical disabilities tend to act just the same.

    Workplace accommodations in general, let me put it that way:

    Job interview:
    Disability guy:* “What if any workplace accommodations might be helpful for your disability”
    Me dumb once answering honestly: “Nothing particular for the moment, a silent work environment, e.g. getting me a single room might be helpful to keep being able to work concentrated during periods of more severe impairment”
    Future potential boss, psychologist by training: “You do understand this is a job that is geared towards working in a team”

    *Disability equal treatment status as in my case is sufficient to get some of the labor market related parts of disability status

    What tends to make me very angry is that many if not most people that are supposed to help, not just the employment agency are not even able to acknowledge the reality of massive straightforward discrimination, always only looking for some “mistake” during the application process or objective reason not to hire. And structural discrimination (read that my “mistake” might actually be a societal problem) does not even seem a concept on their mind. Some frankly are even a particular bad part of the problem. Goes beyond the labor related topics.

    In some ways, the infrastructure for chronical mental health issues here looks like paradise and it does cost a fortune per person if one uses it to the full extend. One big problem is just that one cannot shake the feeling this is in no small parts a huge sum spent mostly to exclude, control and silence everyone that does not fit into a very small box from mainstream society with a good conscious.

    The other problem is the bureaucracy of it, which in the end also tends to make sure people with the wrong social background rarely get access to it, mixed blessing as it may be.

    In general getting severe disability status here is a mess. As a rule, one always, always gets denied at first attempt unless it is something completely clear cut – usually a non mental diagnosis. An acquaintance who is a complete mess and deemed unable to work/eligible for disability pension since 15 years finally got over herself to apply for severe disability status and got denied. At least she had the energy to file an objection in time. Might help here to get prioritized a bit for social housing. The only major real life benefit of disability status is often a tax deduction which requires to earn enough in the first place.

  8. KT2,

    I’m fine. 🙂 I decided to come out as a severe and long-term sufferer of episodic mental illness for two decades of my young life (ages 15 to 35 about). Easy enough to do at age 68 since I have battled through, am safely set up and I am (mostly) anonymous here. I just don’t GAF anymore, at one level. I will soon be dead on any historical or cosmological time scale. However, I know of nothing that’s likely to kill me in the next 10 to 15 years unless it be COVID-19. That stands a real chance of doing me and mine in, especially if we can’t avoid infections, plural. We have had none so far. Maybe this is all an overshare but as I said I don’t GAF anymore and I am through finally with self-recrimination, self-loathing and self-stigmatization.

    At other levels, I do still care. About myself, about loved ones and about other people and the world. It’s been grim watching humans destroy everything just as I intuitively, analytically and scientifically assessed they would from my very early twenties. I was firmly convinced right from then that this is where the human race would end up. Sadly, it appears I am soon most likely to proven right in all my grim and harsh assessments of homo sapiens (myself included).

    The triggering thing for me has been the continued wilful failure by the elites and the misled populace to stop climate change and to stop COVID-19. I am deeply enraged about all this but I just have to adopt a hard, cold, cynical “Oh well, this is what the human race has decided to do. Fools.” I fought in my own little way against CC and C-19 taking hold when I was usefully functional to myself and others, which was still the greater part of my adult life. That was all I could do. There’s nothing more that I can do now but bunker down, disengage, except for a bit of blogging, online chess, growing a native plants garden and just trying do the least harm possible.

  9. “Disability exists regardless of whether a doctor has confirmed its existence.”

    Correct. This simply refers to the philosophical, scientific and pragmatic positions of generic realism or and objective reality.

    To wrap up disability in medical, legal and administrative red-tape rather than to take an approach of “Disability Without Documentation” is to create a procrustean bed for all. (Procrustean bed, modern meaning – “An arbitrary standard to which compliance is enforced.”) I worked where I saw the effects of arbitrary requirements on disability and unemployment welfare policy. The results were inhumane, absurd and counter-productive in every sense. The spirit governing the policy was parsimonious and punitive, not assisting. The excessive compliance costs and difficulties were borne not just by “the taxpayers” but by the workers and especially by the recipients themselves.

    When there were not enough jobs (this was a time of official unemployment exceeding jobs supply by something like a factor of 8 to 1, IIRC) it seemed and was absurd, cruel and unusual to be forcing people to jump through endless hoops to get welfare when the job vacancies were next to non-existent.

    When the situation changes, as it is claimed to have now, and there is lower official unemployment, there is still IMHO little benefit in pushing people through excessive administrative and compliance hoops. If the jobs are there and pay well enough people will take them if they have the skills. (Job skills are another issue). If people won’t take crap jobs (technical term) then it is certain that employers are not paying people enough to put up with the crap (technical term). Okay yeah, the fancy term is “disutility” but “crap” is simple, plain English.

    The claim that employers can’t afford to pay decent wages is indeed nonsense. Many large business profits have never been higher, it seems, as we purportedly recover from the C-19 pandemic. (Actually we aren’t recovering.) There was already a long standing shift to profits over wages. Profits are simply too high and generating profit-push inflation Plus there has been supply crunch inflation. There is certainly almost no wage-push inflation.

    Arbitrary rules and compliance are about control. The rich, the powers-that-be, want to control other people for the benefit of the rich and the PTB. That’s what it is pure and simple. It’s about selfish wealth, power and self-aggrandizement at the expense of the majority of workers, unemployed, the sick, ill and vulnerable. That’s what it is and all it is.

  10. Ikon, hix et all, re above.

    Black Inc “established by Australian property developer Morry Schwartz”.

    “Black Inc. has stumbled with its anthology of neurodivergent writing.

    “The term is not a diagnosis – it is part of a political movement

    And look who Black Inc presides over:
    Black Inc,
    La Trobe University Press,
    Quarterly Essay Journal,
    Australian Foreign Affairs Journal,
    Writers on Writers

    “Schwartz Publishing is an Australian publishing house, digital media and news media organisation based in Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria established by Australian property developer Morry Schwartz:…

    I always appreciate this blog. JQ isn’t a property developer!

    Needs repeating: La Trobe University Press!

  11. “Large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT have the potential to revolutionize research in economics and other disciplines.

    “I describe 25 use cases along six domains in which LLMs are starting to become useful as both research assistants and tutors: ideation, writing, background research, data analysis, coding, and mathematical derivations. I provide general instructions and demonstrate specific examples for how to take advantage of each of these, classifying the LLM capabilities from experimental to highly useful. I hypothesize that ongoing advances will improve the performance of LLMs across all of these domains, and that economic researchers who take advantage of LLMs to automate micro tasks will become significantly more productive. Finally, I speculate on the longer-term implications of cognitive automation via LLMs for economic research.

    “22 ways ChatGPT could be used in economics research
    FEBRUARY 15, 2023
    SOURCE: Quartz


    Anton Korinek

  12. “Paradise, sacrifice, mortality, reality.
    But the magician is quicker and his game
    Is much thicker than blood and blacker than ink
    And there’s no time to think.” – Bob Dylan.

    From “No Time to Think”.

    The lines sum up capitalism in a way. Blood and ink is the game. Though these days it is blood and bits. The symbols become screen-pixelated. The blood remains the same. Have you noticed how trendy the term “black” has become in company naming? Black Inc., BlackRock Inc. , Blackstone Inc, Blackwater.

    “BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, with US$10 trillion in assets under management as of January 2022” – Wikipedia.

    “Blackstone is the world’s largest alternative asset manager, with $975B in AUM.” – Blackstone site.

    “Blackwater was an American private military company founded on December 26, 1996, by former Navy SEAL officer Erik Prince. It was renamed Xe Services in 2009, and was again renamed Academi in 2011 after it was acquired by a group of private investors.” – Wikipedia.

    And if these companies and non-profits are not black then they are brown. KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown and Root) and Brownstone Institute for example.

    “The Brownstone Institute for Social and Economic Research is a nonprofit organization conceptualized in May 2021. Its vision is of a society that places the highest value on the voluntary interaction of individuals and groups while minimizing the use of violence and force even including that which is exercised by public authority.” – Brownstone Institute.

    KBR was (is?) the biggest contractor in the Iraq war and aftermath. Brownstone Institute brought us the GBD (Great Barrington Declaration) which more than any almost other any other misinformation war factor promoted the unimpeded global spread of COVID-19 in order to continue business as usual. “Taking care of business”, not taking care of the people.

    Am I reaching? Drawing too long a bow? The theory of Freudian slips, also called parapraxis, might suggest there is a little more to it. These people know they are practicing the “black arts” and performing the “browning” of the world (meaning here the color of dying plant life). Of course they know. Hence the obsession with “black” as a letterhead term and the desire to dog-whistle their goals. “We practice the black arts, the dark arts, of modern wealth alchemy. We will make you rich. Forget the mass of humanity. They are superfluous. They are expendable. They are finished. We will give you a life-raft on a sea of death!”

    Make no mistake. We are now floating on a sea of death. The latest data show that life expectancy has taken a sharp downturn globally and on every continent on earth, courtesy of the SARS2 Forever Plague. This marks an historic turning point. There is only one way this indicator will go now. I predict it will plunge for decades, or longer, and poissibly leading to human extinction, all courtesy of climate change and the endless plagues to come now that ignoring the spread of highly contagious dangerous pathogens has become standard and normalized procedure.

    We could have fought all this. We could have changed things. Maybe we still can. But our hopes get slimmer and slimmer every day and every year that we proceed down the death-eater path of putting elite wealth and privilege above the bulk of humanity. The rubric “The greatest good of the greatest number..” is a divisive trap. The greatest good of the total number is the only goal which saves any number in the final analysis. The black heart and the black practice which leaves one vulnerable soon, in historical terms, leaves all vulnerable. That cancer spreads to the whole of society.

  13. Ikon, by invoking black thoughts you invoke total entropy.

    James – ever the diplomat – tries to remind you. Thanks James.

    By using phrases as you’ve used above you remain in the realm of possibly. Yet as you invoke physics too, by applying black – white, infinite energy / total entropy, you’ll not attenuate you thinking and others action imo.

    As per water and phase change, a degree or two above relative zero will make for maximum information transfer.

    Shannon would not – I think – tranmit info at zero or 100.

    Totally appreciate your pov though.

    Thick Black Theory

    I am going to send JQ an email to pass on to you Ikon. I hope you accept. You still may remain totally anonymous. Or ignore.

    Kind regards Ikonoclast.

    Now, gardening. Ahhh…

  14. KT2 squished.
    My carmen cygni,
    A silver swan.
    A dolphin.
    Drowned in my own flood

    About bloody time JQ. I became truly addicted this blog. “It’s an important fact that things are not always what they seem”. HGTTG. After watching probably a dozen or more opinionistas get banned, I thought Id be relegated to the sandpit long ago.

    But after I was accused of plagiarism (lmfao) by a particularly egregarious commenter, I decided to post links. Check yout Orchid profile from 2019 to now.

    My kid has named me Discursive Dad. My superpower and kryptonite. I’m told I spool on… ala flooding. I’m neurodivergent only if you classify normals as normal. I wasn’t like this until a repeated series of traumatic events perpetrated by a child abuse victim becoming psychotic and focusing untreated trauma on us. I “retired” at 50 due to these events. Mental health in Australia is a joke.

    hix, Julia Gillard made the criteria for a disability “permanent”. We put her on a pedestal. A joke. The main research unit for PTSD in Australia at Melbourne Uni is funded by a multinational who pays no tax here. Green(black)washing! There is one only person on the board w lived experience. If I had the energy & time I’d go for a dismissal, disbandment and reform this research unit. No wonder veterans suicide.

    This blog, it’s reasonable and intelligent idiots and experts, your moderation policy, world views, ability of synthesis across silos kept me reading. Kiitoksia JQ.

    You miss one thing imo JQ.
    Marshalling the many hereband around you. Yet I understand. Herding cats and all. I could have performed such a function. Tax thread. Ephemera. Links post a week around a theme. Regaining female posters and readers. C’est la vie.

    I had a big post on patriarchy referring tonall prior women commenters. Where are you? Why don’t you comment? Except the exceptional Ernestine.

    No need now of fencing or relegating me.

    My sincere Kiitoksia to all.
    (Finnish & not an animal, plant, or fungus. See below).

    “The silver Swan, who living had no Note,
    when Death approached, unlocked her silent throat.
    Leaning her breast against the -sandpitty’ shore,
    thus sang her first and last, and sang no more:
    “Farewell, all joys! O ‘mute’, come close mine eyes!
    “More Geese than Swans now live, more Fools than Wise.”
    A madrigal by Orlando Gibbons, “The Silver Swan”
    (“The last line could be taken as a biting condemnation of contemporary madrigal composers – though Gibbons himself was only in his thirties”. Wikipedia)

    I’m off to Hitchhiker the rest of the universe. Galaxies are too small.

    – The mice (Lunkwill and Fook) are trying to remove KT2’s brain
    (you are working for Lunkwill & Fook – and being proselytized by the point-of-view gun. News Corp to you. Cummingham’s Law)

    Fook: Oh, bollocks. [KT2 are squished]

    [The mice (Lunkwill and Fook) are trying to remove KT2’s brain]

    Arthur: Just wait a sodding minute! You want a question that goes with the answer for 42? Well, how about “What’s six times seven?” Or “How many Vogons does it take to change a lightbulb?” Here’s one! “How many roads must a man walk down?”

    Lunkwill: Hey, that’s not bad!

    Arthur: Fine. Fine, take it. Because my head is filled with questions. And I can assure you, no answer to any one of them has ever brought me one iota of happiness. Except for one. The one. The only question I’ve ever wanted an answer to—”Is she the one?” And the answer bloody well isn’t “42”, it’s “yes”! Undoubtedly, unequivocally, unabashedly yes! And for one week, one week in my sad little blip of an existence, it made me happy.

    Trillian: [sleepily] That’s a good answer…[falls back unconscious]

    Lunkwill: Rubbish. We don’t want to be happy, we want to be famous.

    Fook: Yeah, what is all this “Is she the one” tripe?

    Lunkwill: Take his brain! [Their drill starts again]

    Arthur: NO, DON’T TAKE THE BRAIN, DON’T TAKE THE BRAIN MICE! [he breaks an arm of the chair and knocks the mice off the drill]

    Trillian: [screams]

    Lunkwill: [trying to point the point-of-view gun at KT2] Shoot him! Quickly! Shoot him!

    Arthur: [lifts the teapot over his head and smashes it down]

    Fook: Oh, bollocks. [they are squished]

    Dialogue tab /

    Kiitoksia to all.
    “”Kiitoksia” is a Finnish word for “thanks”. The phrase “kiitoksia, ystävä” means “thank you, friend”, while “kiitoksia kaloista” means “thanks for the fish”. The latter name is a reference to the Douglas Adams novel: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.”

    “It’s an important fact that things are not always what they seem”…

    “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

    I also considered “This is Hardcore” by Pulp.

    Please donate to Wikipedia.

    Ernestine I hope you are well. I’ve missed you.

  15. KT2,

    Two longer replies lost it seems. Join Lichess for free, no obligation to play, and send me a message for a chat. I appear there as Ikonoclast. Hmm, see if this works.

  16. Robodebt Commission has revealed in evidence plenty of serious failings and mis-steps by public servants, especially at the highest levels. The issue that concerns me is how senior public servants in the departments in question, and even the ombudsman’s office, seem to have operated with a shared understanding as to what the ministers and the PMs wanted to see the scheme do, and more to the point, what advice (on the lawfulness or otherwise of the scheme) the ministers certainly didn’t want to see sliding onto their desks. This shared understanding could have been a case of telepathy, sure; more likely that it involved one or more wine and dine occasions, in which senior staff from different agencies and ministerial offices got together and figured out their game plan. I don’t know if that occurred or not, but given the evidence of the testimonies, if I were a lawyer, I’d be looking very closely at that possibility, and seeing if there was evidence of such (informal, off the books) meetings in the lead up and development of the Robodebt scheme. At the least, there was an appalling level of significant conversations that went undocumented in the records by these public servants.

    They say that when it comes to public service stuff-ups, if the choice is between conspiracy and incompetence, go with incompetence. In the case of Robodebt, I’d suggest that it isn’t an either-or proposition; both could be true. If there was some collusion as to how to get the intended punitive scheme up and running quickly *by avoiding* the need to legislate the changes first, I hope there is some accountability for that. Not going to hold my breath on it, though.

    There is a quaint notion of the government as being a model litigant. My non-lawyer reading of this idea is that if there is opportunity to settle by negotiation, it is taken; if a matter has uncertain legal status, the government can run a test case through the appropriate courts (eg the AAT), and if the court finds in favour of a plaintiff (say a Robodebt victime), the government does not appeal the case just to force up the financial risk to the plaintiff (in terms of legal fees, and of the judgement being overturned). Even more important, if a complaint is made by one of the clients of that government department, the dept mustn’t weaponise the legal system by forcing a plaintiff into a lengthy and exponentially growing legal expenses trial, hoping to bankrupt the plaintiff before the matter can be settled. Fair and reasonable behaviour should be the objective and the responsibility of all government departments, but especially so for immigration and social services. I don’t believe we saw much evidence of the government as a model litigant, according to the testimonies given at the Robodebt Commission.

    The one bright point in the hearings was that there were some senior staff, and plenty of mid-range staff, who acted with the very public service qualities we should be able to take for granted. Sadly some of them were sidelined, or treated rather dismissively, with their concerns being ignored. There was a stiff wind blowing, one that ensured almost all of the advice so dismissed/ignored was of a negative kind, especially going to the heart of the scheme’s design and implementation.

  17. JQ said “Inequality is growing and it is increasingly being locked in over generations.” in “Dominic Perrottet’s future fund”.

    The dolphin heard JQ’s reverse hope backflip.

    From the department of “There’s none so blind as they that won’t see.” (Jonathan Swift)

    The hope backflip as JQ said  “is increasingly being locked in over generations.” … by “the Blackrock Wolf” Larry Fink… “making it the largest investment firm in the world with almost $3 trillion in assets under management (AUM), a sum larger than the total revenue of the US federal treasury”.

    Fink & Blackrock are at once your fund manager, tyrannical and royalty, as the Unherd article alleges. Therefore we have amnesia, inducing “Factitious disorder imposed on another(FDIA), also known as fabricated or induced illness by carers (FII), and first named as Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSbP)”. Wikipedia

    James W said “Who said the US government could not move fast?” Larry Fink.

    As PM Laurence said, Goodhart’s Law may be applicable to Blackrick-s ESG insistance..

    So are;
    – Campbell’s law – “The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures”

    – Cobra effect – when incentives designed to solve a problem end up rewarding people for making it worse

    – Gaming the system. [Blackrock & Vanguard and JD Vance are so big they are the casino rule makers. Back to PML’s question – “How would issues of that nature be handled or headed off?”]

    – Lucas critique – it is naive to try to predict the effects of a change in economic policy entirely on the basis of relationships observed in historical data

    – McNamara fallacy – involves making a decision based solely on quantitative observations (or metrics) and ignoring all others

    Disappointingly appropriate,  P.M Laurence asked “How would issues of that nature be handled or headed off?”

    Exactly the question I would like answered PML. Yet as David Graeber told us “Next, you are likely to be asked for a detailed program of how this system will be brought into existence. Historically, this is ridiculous.”. Ouch. Full quote below. 

    “By 2012, Larry Fink had already discovered a far better method: the royal proclamation.” … “In 2020, BlackRock voted at 16,200 shareholder meetings on 153,000 company proposals. Frequently, these votes were against company management.” (Unherd)

    Your perceived Super Annuation Accounts are just a sheep to Blackrock’s abattoir.

    And Blackrock’s face is covered  by your fleeced rerurns, contorting concepts of democracy and ESG, after butchering at the slaughterhouse of:
     “… the BlackRock chief executive wrote his first letter, the occasion has come to symbolise the growing threat both to shareholder capitalism and American democracy posed by investment houses’ crusade to force the principles of ESG, or “environmental, social, and governance” investing, down the throats of companies, investors, and the public.” Unherd (mangled philosophical prose).

    A blight on life. The biggest bothsider… “Fink said, and Blackrock serves both types” of investors. CNBC

    “BlackRock’s tyrannical ESG agendaIs Larry Fink a threat to democracy?
    March 2, 2023

    “Larry Fink: BlackRock is not the ‘environmental police’

    “Blackrock has customers who want to invest in the energy transition and others who do not, Fink said, and Blackrock serves both types. But if clients want to understand how climate risk will affect their investments, Blackrock will provide that information.”

    Sorry to say, as Ikon says, “economics” – 101 or The Second Lesson – is second or third order.

    And – I gagged at – Gigi Foster on Q&A. Gigi is just a useful TOOL – as she a one trick pony evidenced by her ignoring any lives saved in her constant refrain to question with her damnation of Covid management. Where is The Consequences?

    Anti Gigi – a balanced study;
    “Considering potential benefits, as well as harms, from the COVID-19 disruption to cancer screening and other healthcare services

    Katy JL Bell, Fiona F Stanaway, Kirsten McCaffery, Michael Shirley, Stacy M Carter

    Published 15 March 2023.

    “A more balanced approach is to recognise that all healthcare services have potential harms as well as benefits. In this way, we may be able to use pandemic ‘natural experiments’ to identify cases where a reduction in a healthcare service has not been harmful to the population and some instances where this may have even been beneficial.”

    “Normally, when you challenge the conventional wisdom—that the current economic and political system is the only possible one—the first reaction you are likely to get is a demand for a detailed architectural blueprint of how an alternative system would work, down to the nature of its financial instruments, energy supplies, and policies of sewer maintenance.

    “Next, you are likely to be asked for a detailed program of how this system will be brought into existence. Historically, this is ridiculous. When has social change ever happened according to someone’s blueprint?

    “It’s not as if a small circle of visionaries in Renaissance Florence conceived of something they called “capitalism,” figured out the details of how the stock exchange and factories would someday work, and then put in place a program to bring their visions into reality.

    “In fact, the idea is so absurd we might well ask ourselves how it ever occurred to us to imagine this is how change happens to begin.”
    David Graeber

    Where is the Dolohin now?
    “I think we all suffer from acute blindness at times. Life is a constant journey of trying to open your eyes. I’m just beginning my journey, and my eyes aren’t fully open yet.”
    Olivia Thirlby

    Thanks again for all the fish.

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