Madness in the Method?


Uber has ordered 24K self driving Volvo SUVs.

Forget that self-driving without a human monitor is not legal in most jurisdictions.  Assume Uber can rapidly obtain local approval for self driving vehicles. Assume it can cut its labor cost and sidestep its pending fight over whether its drivers are contract or employee.  Assume that by developing its own software controls for these Volvos it can customize successfully to locale and traffic patterns.

What I see is this:  Uber is banking its future on an asset base that will be pretty much worthless in 3-5 years.

I see that as a billion dollars blown every three years.  I see that as Uber having to build and staff and manage its own expert maintenance yards because it is using proprietary software, or having to contract that out at a premium.

It might be a workable model, but it is a HUGE gamble.  Yes or No?





Loony Lefty Jill Stein – Russia, Part Deux

Loony Lefty Jill Stein and the Russian influence investigation

Who is this loony? She claimed:

1] There are “real questions” about whether vaccines cause autism in children.

2] wi-fi in schools might be harming kids.

Her dependence on RT was notable:

3] RT regular Ajamu Baraka, who slammed the “gangster states of NATO,” was her choice for VP.

4] The only network to consistently cover her candidacy and invite her on air was RT.

5] RT hosted a primary debate for the Green Party.

6] She travelled to Russia in 2015 to attend that dinner where Putin lauded Flynn.

7] Shortly before that she attended an RT event and met with the Ambassador.

8] Claimed no knowledge of how and why Assange addressed the Green Convention on closed circuit to promote the wikileaks/Russian exposure of DNC emails.

9] Pretty much spouted the Russian lines about HRC throughout the campaign.

Now she claims that Senate committee interest in her Russian ties is an attempt to smear her and that she sees no evidence of Russian interference during the campaign season, because the intelligence community is often wrong.

Back in the day when the only foreign money in an American campaign was Canadian, MX, or Brit, generally from investors in multinational sellers like Schenley’s and Molson’s and Dos Equis, and generally to both parties, this was all tolerable. It was during the Clinton-Dole race when Chinese and Indian money went to Clinton and Saudi money to Dole in very big sums that we saw how campaigns could be bent and beholden. The Russians knew that this loony was a spoiler on the margins, and they knew that DJT was not a cold warrior R. Their objective was disruption and fragmentation of their adversary, and they could pick a D next time if it suited them, which it might well, against a traditional R.

I don’t know how we can possibly stop it from happening again. But somehow, keeping anti-American, as opposed to simply commercial, interests out of our campaigns would be a good thing. My guess is that the best we can do is continuing exposure.

Could we force American media voting ownership to be limited to American citizens? Would there be a constitutional bar? Could we create a credible ombudsman to expose the source of digital media rumors, in a timely fashion?  I wonder what the Intelligence Committees will advise.

And Jill Stein remains a complete loony.

Copied Right: How astronomers identified the first visitor from another solar system

The Economist explains
How astronomers identified the first visitor from another solar system

Neither bird, nor plane, this is A/2017 U1

Nov 3rd 2017
| by A.B.

ON October 19th Rob Weryk of the University of Hawaii saw something
rather strange. In pictures produced by Pan-STARRS 1, a telescope on
Haleakala, he identified an unusually fast-moving, faint object that
he concluded could not have originated in Earth’s solar system. It
was travelling at more than 25km per second. That is too fast for it
to have a closed, elliptical orbit around the Sun. Nor could its
velocity have been the result of the extra gravitational kick
provided by an encounter with a planet, since it arrived from well
above the ecliptic plane near which all the Sun’s planets orbit.
Indeed, after swinging around the Sun, it passed about 25km below
Earth, before speeding back above the ecliptic plane.

Observations from other telescopes have now confirmed that Dr Weryk’s
object is the first extrasolar object to be spied by astronomers.
The object was originally classified as a comet and thus named
C/2017 U1 (the “C” stands for comet). But it lacked the tail of gas
and dust produced when these icy rocks fly close to the Sun.
Furthermore, an analysis of the sunlight it reflected suggested that
the surface is mostly rock. So it has now been classified as an
asteroid, A/2017 U1, which, judging from its brightness, is about 400
metres wide.

This is puzzling. Comets are formed on the cold periphery of distant
solar systems. Asteroids reside within such systems’ interiors, where
any comet-like volatiles will have been driven off by the heat of
their parent stars. Models of planet formation suggest that
interstellar objects such as A/2017 U1 are more usually comets, as
they can be more easily dislodged from their orbits than asteroids.

One explanation is that over many millennia cosmic rays have
transformed the icy, volatile chemicals that would be expected to
stream off a comet into more stable compounds. Another is that the
Sun is not the first star A/2017 U1 has chanced upon, and its
volatile materials were boiled off by previous stellar encounters.
Or it could indeed be that the object was rocky to begin with—
perhaps once orbiting its parent star in an equivalent of our
solar system’s asteroid belt, before its ejection by an encounter
with a Jupiter-like planet.

Why, then, has nothing like A/2017 U1 been seen before? Those planet-
formation theories suggest such GULLIVER objects should be a
reasonably common sight. Perhaps the theories are wrong. Or perhaps
these interstellar visitors have been overlooked in the past,
and A/2017 U1 will now inspire a spate of such sightings in future.

Sadly for astronomers, A/2017 U1 may not be visible long enough for
these questions to be resolved decisively. It is now charging out of
the solar system towards the constellation of Pegasus—at 44km per
second. Small uncertainties in the calculation of its trajectory
may mean that where exactly it came from and where it is heading
will remain a mystery.

Manafort Indictment Here (and not related to DJT on its face)

Manafort and his partner, Richard Gates, were apparently big time crooks.

The indictment is replete with factual allegations which include defrauding banks, major tax evasion, FBar violations, money laundering [HUGE money laundering], and more. A fascinating read. I have not tried to read between the lines to find the connection to the campaign, if any. I invite you to do so.

dorme con i pesci, Harvey Weinstein

[Any excuse to link this song]

Keeping up with Britain

Funny stuff happened at PM’s Conservative Party speech.

First, Theresa May’s speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester was interrupted by a prankster who was somehow allowed to hand her a P45, a form given to British workers when they get the sack.

…and much more, in the linked article.

Boris Johnson:

Brit BernieBros?

The Anti-Inversion Rule is Invalidated

Remember that one of the BHO Admin’s “70 day temporary regulations” was the “Anti-Inversion Rule?”

It was designed to keep American entities from merging with foreign companies to avoid American taxation, and from manipulating fungible items so that the American portion of the merged entity would show minimized income, or even losses.

As a temporary rule it stymied one drug company’s merger. The Admin believed that while it engaged in full APA review it could indefinitely extend its temporary regs pending same.

My friend of 50 years, Lee Yeakel, just said “No”. As the USDCt for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, he ruled that the Anti-Inversion Rule was invalid because the APA had not been followed.

This business of avoiding the lengthy procedures required to vet a far reaching regulation got out of hand with BHO – remember the immigration regulations that the USDCt for the Southern District of Texas invalidated? As with that decision, In this case, the Judge agreed that the proposed rule was not inherently arbitrary or capricious, but that it just could not be a valid exercise by the Executive branch without the benefit of publication in the Federal Register, comment, and plenty of the back and forth that the APA requires.

Remember that Congress also gets the benefit of notice and prep time when the APA is followed, and can stop a proposed reg cold if it determines the proposal violates rather than applies the statute. Perhaps as important, the public, the interest groups, and those whom the reg is going to affect get their lawyers in gear.

The DJT Admin is also abusing the temporary reg loophole to try to avoid the cumbersome APA, as with its own “temporary” immigration regs.

But the cumbersome APA is in fact the legal mechanism that we have in place to tame executive bureaucratic overreach.

Here is an article on the Austin case:

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