Intersectionalism as she Is Spoke

San Francisco earthquake and fireThe Daily Beast reports that, following a vote last November where a proposition was approved to spend a portion of a city hotel tax to support the arts, San Francisco’s eleven-member Board of Supervisors unanimously approved spending US$ 3 million to fund “cultural districts” including “Calle 24: Latino Cultural District” and the “LGBTQ Leather Cultural District in SOMA”.  (I presume “SOMA” stands for “South of Market” and not the happy drug from Brave New World, but in San Francisco, who knows?)

Anyway, also approved was the “Compton’s Transgender Cultural District” in the Tenderloin neighbourhood, funded initially with US$ 215,000 from the city, according to Clair Farley, director of the San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives (I wonder what his/her/its/whatever’s salary is for that job?).

Jane Kim, who represents the Tenderloin on the Board of Supervisors and introduced the legislation to create the district, said,

We will have grants for small businesses and we need to be intentional to make the district an anti-displacement strategy.

Huh?  What language is she(?) speaking?  How do you “be intentional”, and how do you “make [a] district an anti-displacement strategy” (whatever that is)?

(Yes, the title of this post is a tip of the hat to this hilarious book.)


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On the RAMU last night, I was amazed to discover that there are people who haven’t seen the 2006 movie Idiocracy.  Here are the first couple of minutes which, in opinion, is the best part.

Two years before the movie was released, I published my own, much less funny, study, “Global IQ: 1950–2050”, which, based upon U.S. Census Bureau population forecasts for 185 countries around the globe and the IQ measurements and estimates from Lynn and Vanhanen’s IQ and the Wealth of Nations, estimated the mean global IQ at yearly intervals between 1950 and 2050.  In short, in 1950 the world had a population of around 2.55 billion with a mean IQ of 91.64.  By 2000, population had increased to 6.07 billion with a mean IQ of 89.20.  By 2050, the forecast is 9.06 billion and an IQ of 86.32.

There is a great deal of uncertainty and possible quibbles with any analysis of this kind.  I discuss many of these issues in the document, which provides links to primary data sources.

One thing to think about when contemplating this trend and the élites’ notion of “global governance” is that I can find no evidence for sustained consensual self-government in populations with mean IQ less than 90.


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Good fences make good neighbors

Came across this paper from years ago in Nassim Taleb’s Twitter feed that is fortuitously relevant today: Good Fences: The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Peaceful Coexistence. As he summarized it, “…you don’t get peace forcing pple to hold hands & sing Kumbaya by the campfire.” Key quote from the abstract:

Our analysis shows that peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups. Mountains and lakes are an important part of the boundaries between sharply defined linguistic areas.

Switzerland is mentioned.


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Parody is still dead

This looks like an item out of The Onion: Students Demand Comedian Sign ‘Safe Space’ Contract Ahead of Charity Event. British comedian Konstantin Kisin has been asked by event organizers at the University of London to sign a statement agreeing to the organizer’s policy of

… no tolerance policy with regards to racism, sexism, classism, ageism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia or anti-religion or anti-atheism.

Best of all, since it’s a charity event, he’s not even getting paid.

You just can’t make this stuff up. The replies to his tweet are also hilarious.


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Do Something !

This has become a familiar problem in politics. At the moment that any news item comes along, media hacks want to be able to report on what reactions and consequences will result from the item. Politicians become immediately anxious to influence any outcomes in a direction favorable to them. Pundits have to have something clever or ponderous to say about everything. And, if it is international, all eyes are on the President to see how he will respond.

No; I am not about to talk about President Trump. I am thinking about President George Herbert Walker Bush. The memorial chatter in observance of his death has got me irked. He is rightfully being remembered as the great statesman who presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union. But he was called “gracious” and “statesman” and “reserved” in ways to deliberately contrast with President Trump, in hopes of making President Trump look bad by comparison. That was a very different time with very different circumstances. Current motives for lauding President G.H.W. Bush are transparent.

Now there is a spate of “he was actually horrible” reaction pieces. Here is an example of the c**p I mean:

Especially compared with current occupant of the Oval Office, George H. W. Bush was a dignified figure who served his country steadfastly in war and peace. He represented a center-right, internationalist strain of Republicanism that barely exists today. But it doesn’t make sense to canonize him.


I remember the G.H.W. Bush Administration days. I recall all the histrionics over the open discontent coming from behind the Iron Curtain, which was building because Mikhail Gorbachev was holding steady on his course of “Glasnost,” which was translated as “Openness.” I also recall mass media giving voice to lots of chatterers who were urging President Bush to “do something!” These were counterposed with chatterers expressing high anxiety about things going badly wrong if he did the wrong something. There was a huge debate raging over just what America should do to take advantage of the situation.

President G.H.W.B. was the right man for this circumstance. He was a cold warrior, well-acquainted with all the players, including China. He was well known by most world leaders. Nobody thought he would act rashly, and he was circumspect. In this case, by “circumspect” I do not mean to say that he was risk-averse, but, rather that he exhibited a pattern of careful and well-informed decisionmaking: “a careful consideration of all circumstances and a desire to avoid mistakes and bad consequences.”

There was a great storm of confusion and loud voices urging all sorts of action, and all sorts of fearmongering about what America might do to exploit the situation. President G.H.W.B. started calling heads of state, beginning with Gorbachev and proceeding all the way down the roster. This was something he had been doing all through 1989, since the unrest in the Eastern Bloc presaged the unrest in Russia. I recall some Important People predicting that, just as Luis XIV’s reforms let the pressure off just enough for the French cauldron to boil over in 1789, so Russia would explode in a massive bloodletting, and that the unrest would be a great opportunity for America to exploit.

Bush was calling to reassure everyone that America would not act rashly nor aggressively, and, if assistance was wanted, would help the Russian people to back away from generations of Communist rule, and that he looked forward to embracing his Russian friends as free partners on the world stage. The central message was that President G.H.W. Bush intended to do nothing, and allow the Russians and their client Soviet partners readjust their internal affairs without American meddling. This had been his consistent message to Gorbachev all through 1989.

You are probably familiar with several aphorisms to the effect of, ‘when things are going in a good direction, don’t get in the way.’ But that is really hard do; to refrain from acting when there is a daily clamor for you to act.

President Bush was faulted for inaction, called a “dumb lucky bystander,” trashed daily in the press. He was even called “a wimp;” which is a stunning description of a man who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross while piloting 58 torpedo bomber missions from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

Media shenanigans

You have to remember that this was back in the days of Leftist mass media hegemony. There were only the three alphabet networks, Public Broadcasting, and a brand-new little-known phenomenon, a cable channel dedicated to full time news broadcasting. CNN was new and was just one of 100 cable channels competing for attention in the relatively new world of cable. The only conservative publications were Commentary and National Review, both with miniscule circulation then as now. The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal was the only widespread source of conservative thought in America. The New York Times and the Washington Post dominated the national conversation, much more back then than now.

There was little in the way of talk radio. Rush Limbaugh had started in 1988 with 56 stations, the year after the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, and was barely on over 100 stations at the time. (Otherwise, talk radio was mostly local, interviewing local commissioners and municipal department heads, or discussing health issues with a local doctor, or national shows that talked about music and Hollywood celebrities.) The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine allowed the major media organizations to quit maintaining a balance of “liberal” (Leftist) commentary and conservative commentary.

So media was a Leftist project, but most Americans did not recognize just how far left it had become. This allowed President Bush to be slandered daily with little in the way of countervailing defense. There were still a hundred or so conservative daily papers in those days, but they were overwhelmed by the flood of Leftist ink and Leftist broadcasting.

President G.H.W. Bush had his defenders, including the most stalwart Bob Dole. But on the national scene, he was holding steady, reassuring the world most evenings by telephone to encourage everyone to simply let the Soviet system collapse without meddling, and not to worry about all the fearmongering from the press. When the Berlin Wall fell, there was a new round of fearmongering about American meddling, which kept G.H.W.B busy soothing political anxieties around the globe in early-early morning or very late-night phone calls.

By the time of the 1992 campaign, the Soviet Union had collapsed, with total casualties less than a hundred, not millions. Boris Yeltsin had been leading the new Russian Federation for a year, and the whole subject was considered “old news” as far as American mass media was concerned.


Saddam Hussein miscalculated badly. He mistook American inaction during a clear moment of opportunity to be an indication of American weakness and of President Bush’s personal weakness. He invaded Kuwait, which he had wanted for a very very long time. His minions treated Kuwaitis badly. News of atrocities, and refugees, slipped out of Kuwait.

The ruling family of Kuwait had an important personal friend in George H.W. Bush; they had had warm acquaintances for many years. He told Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait or else. Then, to back up his threat, he requested that the Pentagon get to work in earnest on war plans.

But the situation was complicated by the fact that there was no Soviet counterbalance to American power, and the Europeans were going nuts about American cowboys swaggering around the world and breaking things. There was all sorts of Congressional carping about how G.H.W. Bush would lead us into a disaster. So, President Bush decided to act as the leader of a group, and then patiently pulled together a coalition. Several (seemingly) important international members decided to play coy, and so President Bush agreed not to invade Iraq, but instead to go only so far as was needed to liberate Kuwait.

He kept his promise. Even though it was clear to everyone that what would be best would be to move on in to Baghdad, President Bush kept his promise.


There were some really interesting economic changes in the 1980s. The one we best remember is the Reagan tax cut. But there was a stock market crash in 1987, and a slo-mo disaster among savings&loans that began with a high profile bankruptcy in 1985, then progressed through a number of bankruptcies until Charles Keating’s Lincoln Savings went bankrupt in 1989. The deregulation of savings&loans under Carter ended with new regulations in 1990. That was accompanied in a budget deal in which the Democrats had forced President Bush to accept a deal that modestly raised taxes, famously breaking his “no new taxes” pledge from the 1988 campaign. The American economy stalled into a mild recession in 1990.

President G.H.W. Bush huddled with his economic team, and decided that the fundamentals of the American economy were sound and that things were sorting out smoothly. He decided that the best approach was to do nothing and let the power of American enterprise work things out.

Of course, mass media was full of chattering about how awful the Bush economy was and how out of touch Bush was because he was spending all his time palling around with his international friends.

The campaign began in earnest in the fall of 1991, with America still technically in recession, but with signs of recovery all around. Democratic candidates all agreed that America needed a huge jobs bill to “put America back to work.” The most robust counterpoint to that was from Ross Perot, who was spending his own millions to put the budget deficit and the national debt into the national conversation.

The campaign of 1992 was really ugly if you were paying attention. Pat Buchanan ran a strong primary challenge in which he decried the national debt, trying to leverage some of Ross Perot’s work.

Bill Clinton emerged soon as the favorite Democrat. He had southern charm, a boyish grin, and spoke about being a “New Democrat.” His wife was a career lawyer lady popular among the Planned Parenthood wing. He could carry all those Southern conservative Democrats along with all the Leftist coastal Democrats and the rust belt union states. The pundit class agreed that he had what it would take to unseat an incumbent.

What nobody except Rush Limbaugh was talking about was that mass media was working as an extension of the Democrat campaign.

Media talking heads started saying that Bush was so focused on international events that he did not care about domestic affairs. Their spin was that his energetic and careful restraint on the international front caused him to neglect domestic issues. The recession was blamed on Bush, and the actual causes were ignored. Democrats raised the hue and cry, and mass media amplified it.

They also reinforced it through dishonest reporting on the economy. They reported every bit of economic news, maintaining a careful accounting. But that is not how Americans learn news. Bad economic news was reported, and good economic news was reported. Then the bad news was repeated, while the good news was shelved. Bad news got talked about, and good news did not get talked about. Reporters asked questions at news conferences about bad news, but not about good news. Chattering shows dwelt on bad news and ignored good news. Editorials focused on bad news and not good news. If much of the American economy is dependent on “consumer confidence,” then the whole economy resisted recovery because consumer confidence was killed by constant media focus on bad economic news.

James Carville famously observed that Clinton’s main message was “it’s the economy, stupid.” This sound bite leveraged the mass media narrative in a way that was condescending and arrogant, which was what made Carville such a good hatchet man.

At every opportunity, at the Convention and all through the fall campaigning, G.H.W. Bush kept saying that all the indicators were that the economy had bottomed out in the early spring of 1992, and that the American economy was robust, things were building up, and that the best thing to do about the economy was to do nothing.

He was ridiculed. He was mocked and and scoffed. He was called “out of touch.” He was called an out-of-touch elitist who never did his own grocery shopping. In an effort to address that, he went grocery shopping, which turned out disastrous when it became clear that he had never seen a checkout scanner in use. He was widely mocked for that, although grocery scanners had only come into widespread use in the past five years. The optics were bad.

And he was too genteel to call out the reporters who rode Air Force One for their poor and unfair journalism. They continued to carry bad economic news to boost Bill Clinton.

And in the third ring of this circus H. Ross Perot stole enough votes away to throw the election.

Clinton Economy ?

George H. W. Bush lost in 1992 and Bill Clinton became president. He had his massive jobs program introduced and passed in the House. It was spiked by Bob Dole in the Senate. Dole killed it so dead that it never was mentioned after that.

Mostly it was forgotten because it was not needed. Other economy-boosting measures introduced by Democrats also died. What happened was that the Fed kept interest rates low, and that was all that was needed for the American economy to recover. It was more than a recovery. It was a booming economy.

So, what Bill Clinton actually did for the economy was to do nothing, because Bob Dole prevented him from doing the stupid stuff he had promised while campaigning. He even won reelection in 1996 on the basis of his wonderful economic performance.

Bill Clinton and the Democrat-Media Complex are still taking bows for the wonderful economy of the 1990s. Nobody ever observes that it was G.H.W. Bush’s (and Bob Dole’s and Ronald Reagan’s) economy and economic policy that initiated it and provided room for American ingenuity to flourish.

Economists’ Assessment

In the July reports on the first half of 1993 a report came out that said that the economy was great, all indicators were up, and things looked really rosy.

What went unreported was a little paragraph in which it was noted that the bottom of the recession had been reached in March of the previous year.

What G.H.W.B. had been saying about the economy was exactly true. But Americans were never told that.


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Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality

I listened to the audio version of this interview while running errands this afternoon.  As usual, Thomas Sowell demonstrates his clear as light thinking about topics as diverse as his journey from Marxism to libertarian conservatism, the disastrous impact of minimum wage laws and welfare on youth, both in the U.S. and worldwide, and the damage being done by affirmative action to bright minority students mis-matched with the élite educational institutions to which they are admitted.

It’s well worth your time.


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Fred Reed on China

Fred Reed (click link for his biography) recently spent two weeks in China, visiting Chengdu and its environs.  He has posted three essays about his experiences and impressions on his blog, Fred on Everything.  They’re well worth the time to read.


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  • avatar to Customers in Switzerland: Merry Christmas and Farewell!

What should I find in my E-mail today but this, from

Amazon to Swiss Customers: Farewell

After more than two decades as the preeminent source for books for Anglophone readers in Switzerland, have decided to celebrate Boxing Day 2018 by punching their loyal customers in the gut.  They will no longer be able to order physical books or any other non-digital product from, but will rather be restricted to the much more limited selection available from Amazon subsidiaries in European Union (EU) countries.

People living in Switzerland who wish to order books in languages not available from subsidiaries in the European Union, for example Japanese and Chinese, are completely out of luck.  They will no longer have access to books from any Amazon site outside the EU.

Why is this happening?  Well, as usual, when you encounter something foul, coercive, and totally irrational, it’s a good bet the wicked European Union and its crooked Customs Union is involved.  The European Union has used its economic power to coerce Switzerland into conforming its trade policies with its deeply corrupt Customs Union.  The EU styles itself as a “free trade” zone, but in fact, it is a cartel with tariff barriers surrounding it which are erected to protect constituencies with political power in Brussels.

It deeply offends the slavers in Brussels that anybody should book a profit, anywhere in the world, which is not subject to their taxation (even though imports from outside the EU are subject to tariffs, duties, and Value Added Tax).  So, by putting up barriers, they prevent, a U.S. company, from shipping physical products even into non-EU countries over which they can exercise their power.

If you wonder why the issue of remaining in the EU Customs Union is such a big thing in the Brexit deal, this is why.


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The Usual

Ham Sandwich: Photo credit: Sumit Surai

As Sarah walked from the diner’s serving room to the kitchen, she knew two things: her blood pressure had already begun to rise, and that it was only a matter of time before her latest customer began screaming like a psychopath. Sadly, it was a routine that they had all become used to.

She really used to love her job. The extra cash she earned from picking up an odd late night shift at the Heartland Diner in D.C. helped her keep her family’s heads above water. The diner’s customers, for the most part, were regular folks who occasionally passed through town: friendly, honest, polite, good tippers. The D.C. locals, however, felt that the Heartland’s ambiance was a bit too low-rent for their refined tastes, and that was fine by Sarah. She really did used to love her job. But then he started coming in.

And whenever he did come in, Sarah and the rest of the Heartland crew knew that all they could do was play along – that and get the hell out of the way. No matter how crazy he got, they knew that no cop in D.C. was going to come down and tell the most powerful man in America, and he was the most powerful man in America, to knock it the hell off.

So, tonight, as on previous nights, Sarah and the crew watched nervously from the kitchen doors and waited for the most powerful man in America to finally leave.

Robert Mueller sat alone in a corner booth. Across from him, placed as if it was intended for an absent guest, was the dinner he had ordered – his usual. The left corner of his upper lip began twitching into a barely subdued, reflexive snarl as he stared down his quarry – a lonely sandwich on a plate on the other side of the table.

This went on for many minutes.

Finally, Mueller reached down beside him and produced a manila folder. He opened it and placed it down on the table in front of him. The document inside was oriented print side up and upside-down, so the sandwich could read it. He then reached into his jacket pocket.

Carlos the line cook, not looking away, whispered to Sarah in disbelief, “Jesus! He brought the packets again!” But before Sarah could answer, Mueller, instead of a packet, pulled a pen out of his pocket.

He laid that pen on the document. And then, using two fingers, slowly pushed the folder, document, and pen over to the sandwich.

There was a long pause. At last, with his patience nearing its end, Mueller whispered menacingly, “don’t make me send Weissmann to your house…”

The ham sandwich, however, remained steadfastly uncooperative.

Mueller’s back began to stiffen and Carlos again whispered in horrified yet amused anticipation, “He’s going for the packets! He’s going for the packets!”

Mueller leaped from the booth, ripped the top slice of bread off of the sandwich, jammed a hand into his jacket, pulled out two condiment packets, tore them open, shot the Russian Dressing contents onto the sandwich, threw the empty packets onto the floor, slammed the discarded slice of bread back on top of the sandwich, and began screaming, “You’re dirty and you know it! You’re all dirty, goddamnit! Now, sign ze papers! Sign ze goddamned papers!”

This also went on for many minutes.

And so, another night passed at the Heartland with Robert Mueller raving at a dinner plate. And as Sarah stood there, watching from the kitchen, she thought about her bills, her high blood pressure, her husband’s diabetes, the ridiculous excuse for health insurance that they were mandated to buy, the second jobs that they both must now work despite welcome relief from the latest tax cut – and she sincerely wished that there was some way that she could make the rest of D.C. understand just how the Heartland really sees them.


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Steve Bannon at the Oxford Union

On 2018-11-16, Steve Bannon, erstwhile campaign manager for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and White House chief strategist, spoke at the Oxford Union, after an intense campaign to de-platform him by slaver minions failed.

Here is his full appearance.  There’s around thirty minutes of initial statement followed by forty-five minutes of questions and answers.

During the first part of the video, you can hear the algorithmic shouts of NPCs outside the hall trying to disrupt the event.

I have to say that, even as a flaming libertarian, which Bannon isn’t and says he isn’t, I find little to disagree with in what he says here.


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When a joke goes bad

I can’t believe that a “bad” commercial gets branded as “racist”. The ad was supposed to be playful and mixing the Italian and Chinese culture but people had to see things in it that were never there. Now Dolce and Gabbana is in deep kimchi. Chinese are banning their brand.

Does anyone know what happened to the humor gene? Has it mutated out? Has nurture trumped nature?


Defense Distributed Declaration

In the ongoing litigation between Defense Distributed and state attorneys general over the distribution of three-dimensional models of firearms and components thereof over the Internet (which has been approved by all federal regulatory agencies), I was asked to submit an affidavit in support of the Defense Distributed case.  I have previously described this case here in my post “Code is Speech”.

Here is what I drafted which, after consultation with others whose efforts are much appreciated but will remain unnamed, will be submitted into the public record.  This is exactly what was submitted, less my signature: why make it easy for identity thieves?  This was submitted, as is done, in gnarly monospaced text with no mark-up.  If it shows up in your browser with awkward line breaks, try making the browser window wider and it should get better.   If you’re on a tablet or mobile phone, try it when you get back to the desktop.

The opening and closing paragraphs are as prescribed in 28 U.S.C. § 1746 for an “Unsworn declaration under penalty of perjury” by a non-U.S. person.  This is also called a “self-authenticating affidavit”.

This may seem lukewarm to those accustomed to my usual firebrand rhetoric.  In this declaration, I only wanted to state things which I knew or believed based upon my own personal experience.  Consequently, I eschewed discussing the state of the art in additive manufacturing (I have never actually seen nor used an additive manufacturing machine) or the limitations of present-day machines (all of that may, and probably will, change in a few years).

Attorneys for Defense Distributed expect to lose in the original district court litigation and the Ninth Circuit, but the purpose of this declaration is to be used in higher court appeals where there is a less ideological and more fact-based scrutiny of cases.

Although I really had better things to do this week, I was glad to take the time to support the Defense Distributed case.  Even if you don’t care about guns, the attorneys’ general position in this case argues that computer-mediated speech: the transmission of files from computer to computer, is not speech protected by the First Amendment.  This is arguably the greatest assault on free speech since the adoption of that amendment.

I am privileged to have the opportunity to oppose it.

(This declaration is a public document which will become part of the record of the trial and eventual appeals.  I am disclosing nothing here which will not be available to those following the litigation.)


I, John Walker, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746 hereby declare and
say as follows:

    1.  I was a co-founder of Autodesk, Inc. (ADSK:NASDAQ),
        developer of the AutoCAD® computer-aided design
        software.  I was president, chairman, and chief
        executive officer from the incorporation of the company
        in April 1982 until November 1986, more than a year
        after its initial public stock offering in June 1985. I
        continued to serve as chairman of the board of directors
        until April 1988, after which I concentrated on software

    2.  Autodesk is the developer of the AutoCAD® software, one
        of the most widely-used computer-aided design and
        drafting software packages in the world.  AutoCAD allows
        creation of two- and three-dimensional models of designs
        and, with third-party products, their analysis and

    3.  During the start-up phase of Autodesk, I was one of the
        three principal software developers of AutoCAD and wrote
        around one third of the source code of the initial
        release of the program.

    4.  Subsequently, I contributed to the development of
        three-dimensional extensions of the original AutoCAD
        drafting system, was lead developer on AutoShade[tm],
        which produced realistic renderings of three-dimensional
        models, and developed the prototype of integration of
        constructive solid geometry into AutoCAD, which was
        subsequently marketed as the AutoCAD Advanced Modeling
        Extension (AME).

    5.  I retired from Autodesk in 1994 and since have had no
        connection with the company other than as a shareholder
        with less than 5% ownership of the company's common

    Design Versus Fabrication

    6.  From my experience at Autodesk, I became aware of the
        distinction between the design of an object and the
        fabrication of that object from the design.  For
        example, the patent drawings and written description in
        firearms patents provide sufficient information "as to
        enable any person skilled in the art to which it
        pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to
        make and use the same, and shall set forth the best mode
        contemplated by the inventor or joint inventor of
        carrying out the invention" [35 U.S.C. § 112 (a)].  But
        this is in no way a mechanical process.  One must
        interpret the design, choose materials suitable for each
        component, and then decide which manufacturing process
        (milling, stamping, turning, casting, etc.) is best to
        produce it, including steps such as heat-treating and
        the application of coatings.  This process is called
        "production planning", and it is a human skill that is
        required to turn a design, published in a patent
        description or elsewhere, into a physical realisation of
        the object described by that design.

    7.  A three-dimensional model of an object specifies its
        geometry but does not specify the materials from which
        it is fabricated, how the fabrication is done, or any
        special steps required (for example, annealing or other
        heat treating, coatings, etc.) before the component is
        assembled into the design.

    8.  Three-dimensional models of physical objects have many
        other applications than computer-aided manufacturing.
        Three-dimensional models are built to permit analysis of
        designs including structural strength and heat flow via
        the finite element method.  Models permit rendering of
        realistic graphic images for product visualisation,
        illustration, and the production of training and service
        documentation.  Models can be used in simulations to
        study the properties and operation of designs prior to
        physically manufacturing them. Models for finite element
        analysis have been built since the 1960s, decades before
        the first additive manufacturing machines were
        demonstrated in the 1980s.

    9.  Some three-dimensional models contain information which
        goes well beyond a geometric description of an object
        for manufacturing.  For example, it is common to produce
        "parametric" models which describe a family of objects
        which can be generated by varying a set of inputs
        ("parameters").  For example, a three-dimensional model
        of a shoe could be parameterised to generate left and
        right shoes of various sizes and widths, with
        information within the model automatically adjusting the
        dimensions of the components of the shoe accordingly.
        The model is thus not the rote expression of a
        particular manufactured object but rather a description
        of a potentially unlimited number of objects where the
        intent of the human designer, in setting the parameters,
        determines the precise geometry of an object built from
        the model.

   10.  A three-dimensional model often expresses relationships
        among components of the model which facilitate analysis
        and parametric design.  Such a model can be thought of
        like a spreadsheet, in which the value of cells are
        determined by their mathematical relationships to other
        cells, as opposed to a static table of numbers printed
        on paper.

    Additive Manufacturing ("3D Printing")

   11.  Additive manufacturing (often called, confusingly, "3D
        [for three-dimensional] printing") is a technology by
        which objects are built to the specifications of a
        three-dimensional computer model by a device which
        fabricates the object by adding material according to
        the design.  Most existing additive manufacturing
        devices can only use a single material in a production
        run, which limits the complexity of objects they can

   12.  Additive manufacturing, thus, builds up a part by adding
        material, while subtractive manufacturing (for example,
        milling, turning, and drilling) starts with a block of
        solid material and cuts away until the desired part is
        left.  Many machine shops have tools of both kinds, and
        these tools may be computer controlled.

   13.  Additive manufacturing is an alternative to traditional
        kinds of manufacturing such as milling, turning, and
        cutting.  With few exceptions, any object which can be
        produced by additive manufacturing can be produced, from
        paper drawings or their electronic equivalent, with
        machine tools that date from the 19th century.  Additive
        manufacturing is simply another machine tool, and the
        choice of whether to use it or other tools is a matter
        of economics and the properties of the part being

   14.  Over time, machine tools have become easier to use.  The
        introduction of computer numerical control (CNC) machine
        tools has dramatically reduced the manual labour
        required to manufacture parts from a design.  The
        computer-aided design industry, of which Autodesk is a
        part, has, over the last half-century, reduced the cost
        of going from concept to manufactured part, increasing
        the productivity and competitiveness of firms which
        adopt it and decreasing the cost of products they make.
        Additive manufacturing is one of a variety of CNC
        machine tools in use today.

   15.  It is in no sense true that additive manufacturing
        allows the production of functional objects such as
        firearms from design files without human intervention.
        Just as a human trying to fabricate a firearm from its
        description in a patent filing (available in electronic
        form, like the additive manufacturing model), one must
        choose the proper material, its treatment, and how it is
        assembled into the completed product.  Thus, an additive
        manufacturing file describing the geometry of a
        component of a firearm is no more an actual firearm than
        a patent drawing of a firearm (published worldwide in
        electronic form by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
        is a firearm.

    Computer Code and Speech

   16.  Computer programs and data files are indistinguishable
        from speech.  A computer file, including a
        three-dimensional model for additive manufacturing, can
        be expressed as text which one can print in a newspaper
        or pamphlet, declaim from a soapbox, or distribute via
        other media.  It may be boring to those unacquainted
        with its idioms, but it is speech nonetheless.  There is
        no basis on which to claim that computer code is not
        subject to the same protections as verbal speech or
        printed material.

   17.  For example, the following is the definition of a unit
        cube in the STL language used to to express models for
        many additive manufacturing devices.

            solid cube_corner
              facet normal 0.0 -1.0 0.0
                outer loop
                  vertex 0.0 0.0 0.0
                  vertex 1.0 0.0 0.0
                  vertex 0.0 0.0 1.0

        This text can be written, read, and understood by a
        human familiar with the technology as well as by a
        computer.  It is entirely equivalent to a description of
        a unit cube written in English or another human
        language.  When read by a computer, it can be used for
        structural analysis, image rendering, simulation, and
        other applications as well as additive manufacturing.
        The fact that the STL language can be read by a computer
        in no way changes the fact that it is text, and thus,

   18.  As an additional example, the following is an AutoCAD
        DXF[tm] file describing a two-dimensional line between
        the points (0, 0) and (1, 1), placed on layer 0 of a


        Again, while perhaps not as easy to read as the STL file
        until a human has learned the structure of the file,
        this is clearly text, and thus speech.

   19.  It is common in computer programming and computer-aided
        design to consider computer code and data files written
        in textual form as simultaneously communicating to
        humans and computers.  Donald E. Knuth, professor
        emeritus of computer science at Stanford University and
        author of "The Art of Computer Programming", advised
            "Instead of imagining that our main task is to
            instruct a computer what to do, let us concentrate
            rather on explaining to human beings what we want a
            computer to do."[Knuth 1992]
        A design file, such as those illustrated above in
        paragraphs 17 and 18 is, similarly, a description of a
        design to a human as well as to a computer.  If it is a
        description of a physical object, a human machinist
        could use it to manufacture the object just as the
        object could be fabricated from the verbal description
        and drawings in a patent.

   20.  Computer code has long been considered text
        indistinguishable from any other form of speech in
        written form.  Many books, consisting in substantial
        part of computer code, have been published and are
        treated for the purpose of copyright and other
        intellectual property law like any other literary work.
        For example the "Numerical Recipes"[Press] series of
        books presents computer code in a variety of programming
        languages which implements fundamental algorithms for
        numerical computation.


   21.  There is a clear distinction between the design of an
        artefact, whether expressed in paper drawings, a written
        description, or a digital geometric model, and an object
        manufactured from that design.

   22.  Manufacturing an artefact from a design, however
        expressed, is a process involving human judgement in
        selecting materials and the tools used to fabricate
        parts from it.

   23.  Additive manufacturing ("3D printing") is one of a
        variety of tools which can be used to fabricate parts.
        It is in no way qualitatively different from alternative
        tools such as milling machines, lathes, drills, saws,
        etc., all of which can be computer controlled.

   24.  A digital geometric model of an object is one form of
        description which can guide its fabrication.  As such,
        it is entirely equivalent to, for example, a dimensioned
        drawing (blueprint) from which a machinist works.

   25.  Digital geometric models of objects can be expressed
        as text which can be printed on paper or read aloud
        as well as stored and transmitted electronically.
        Thus they are speech.

        [Knuth 1992]   Knuth, Donald E.  Literate Programming.
                       Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of
                       Language and Information, 1992.
                       ISBN: 978-0-937073-80-3.

        [Press]        Press, William H. et al.  Numerical Recipes.
                       Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press,
                       (various dates).
                       Programming language editions:
                           C++     978-0-521-88068-8
                           C       978-0-521-43108-8
                           Fortran 978-0-521-43064-7
                           Pascal  978-0-521-37516-0

I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United
States of America that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed on November 22, 2018

                                           John Walker

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An Expose of a “Big Lie”

Like many, I found a few shiny nuggets of value in Peterson’s evocative ramblings and dismissed the rest as meaningless bafflegarb, never stepping back to appreciate the deeper meaning and motivation in Peterson’s overall philosophic system. Fortunately, Vox Day did. What he finds there is shocking – the gyrations of an intellectual con artist tying together strands from Jungian psychology and occult “wisdom” to weave a tapestry of deception disguised as a self-help guide and intended to be a foundational text for a postmodern secular religion. Vox Day exposes Peterson’s rejection of truth and reality in favor of a gnostic gospel of “balance” – a middle way between truth and falsehood, between good and evil. This short but clear and helpful text provides an essential inoculation against some of the most dangerous and virulent intellectual fallacies of our times. Check out Jordanetics.


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The Impact of Immigration

Here is a chart of the absolute number of immigrants admitted to the United States as permanent residents for the years 1820–2017 according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Yearbook of Immigration Statistics 2017.  (Click on these charts to expand to full resolution.)

U.S. Immigration: 1820–2017

I’m sure you’ve seen a chart like this before, which shows a series of waves of immigration punctuated by gaps due to insurrections, changes in policy, economic crises, and wars which allowed assimilation of immigrants and their offspring.

But one might argue that the impact of immigration on a society doesn’t depend so much upon the absolute numbers of immigrants as the fraction of immigrants admitted compared to the existing (presumed largely assimilated) population.

To explore this, I downloaded U.S. Census data for the U.S. population between the years 1820 and 2017 and, since these data are only available at ten year intervals, performed a linear interpolation between the decadal census data.  (It might have been better to use a power law model, but why complicate things?)  I then divided the immigration data by the extrapolated population to obtain the fraction of the existing population who were admitted as permanent resident immigrants in each year, expressed as a percentage of the population that year.

Immigration: Immigrants as a fraction of population

This is a very different picture.  There are clearly two different epochs.  In the first, between 1820 and 1930, the U.S. was “filling up the empty country” by admitting large numbers of immigrants.  Then, due to immigration restrictions in the Immigration Act of 1924 and the subsequent economic depression and war, immigration remained at low levels until 1946 when, in the immediate postwar period, it jumped.  In this view, the impact of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was not the discontinuous change some present it as (at least in terms of absolute numbers; it may have changed the composition of the immigrant population, which is not captured in these statistics).

Instead, the trend established after 1946 continued to rise continuously until 1989–1991 when it went all whacko.  These numbers, as a fraction of the population, haven’t been seen 1923 or since.  If you take out those crazy years, the overall trend of immigration as a fraction of the existing population continues to rise almost linearly since 1946.

As you may have observed, my essays are heavy on numbers and light on interpretation.  But I must ask, “Why?”

Why do the United States need more people?

Between the founding of the country and the closing of the frontier in 1912, the population was less than 95 million.  With a population of 142 million in 1945, the U.S. contributed mightily to the defeat of fascism in World War II.  With a population of 201 million in 1969, it landed two of its citizens on the Moon.  With a population of 252 million in 1991, it saw out the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War.  Its population is now around 323 million.  How many more does it need?  And where will it find immigrants who are better equipped to build its future than the people already within its borders?

Will the U.S. be richer, more powerful, and more influential on the world stage if, in 2050, its population is 500 million?  Will this be the case if a large fraction of that population consists of immigrants from countries with no history of self-governance or institutions of education?

You can download the raw data and chart definitions used to compose this post (radical transparency!) from this archive as a LibreOffice ODS file.


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Sean Hannity and Busted at the Border

Caravan Update…..
Just in case you have not been aware….

Sean Hannity: An important reminder about why strong borders, the rule of law, and the wall are so important.

And just today….

More than a dozen members of the migrant caravan were arrested Wednesday night along U.S.-Tijuana border, a border patrol source in the San Diego sector told Fox News.

This don’t look good…..