[ExI] bikinis, was: RE: Enlightenment - was Re: statins

spike spike66 at att.net
Sun Sep 11 20:12:21 UTC 2016



From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Adrian Tymes
Sent: Sunday, September 11, 2016 12:38 PM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: Re: [ExI] bikinis, was: RE: Enlightenment - was Re: statins


On Sun, Sep 11, 2016 at 9:45 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net <mailto:spike66 at att.net> > wrote:

>>>…“In my opinion it is impossible for them to obey a bunch of rules unless they understand how it works. So it's my opinion that it's only going to work if I tell them… Feynman


>>…Feynman had never been in the military.  He injected his opinion that soldiers, (including the commander) wouldn’t follow rules unless they know why they are in place.

>…That quote does not say "wouldn't".  It says "impossible for them to" - as in "can't"…

I saw that Feynman had said this was impossible and thought it an overstatement.  Certainly it was possible to just write out the orders and verify the commander would comply, then posted a couple of inspectors.

The excellent book where Feynman relates this story was a transcript of his sitting around telling stories orally.  Some of the video is still around of him telling his memoirs.  Where I think he went wrong is in knowing the way the military really works.  If there is a competent commander, that base is the definition of law and order.  If they get legal orders signed by his superiors, procedures developed by the scientists, in detail, even with no explanation, but with explicit orders to put this component somewhere safe, put this other component somewhere else at least yakkity yak feet from this first component, the next component bla bla feet from the first two (and so on) a commander worth his star would carry out those orders as written and Adrian please note sir: that commander would not decide it was nonsense and disobey.

Just in case, we could station a couple of inspectors who report to someone who is cleared.  Even the inspectors need not be cleared themselves.  Their only task is to make sure the procedures are being followed.

Feynman projected his own opinion that they would not comply (his stronger position was that they could not) and made some dangerous assumptions.  I disagree with Feynman from every contact I have had with military people: if the orders are legal, the commander will carry them out.

Secretary Powell was an exception.  Even after the State Department went to extraordinary lengths to explain to him why the rules are in place the way they are, he intentionally defeated that for personal reasons: he had some yoga going on with a Romanian official, and he wanted to hide that.  The legal way to do it is for him to go to security, have them on the bcc for every note to and from the bikini, done.  They are not his priest, but they could tell him if this somehow leaks, such as by a hacker, he must go public with it immediately to protect his country from his being blackmailed.  There is no law against a high official schmoozing with a foreign bikini.  There damn well is law against trying to cover it up, especially if it involves failure to comply with law put in place to support Freedom of Information Act requirements, which the State Department nor the Executive branch controls (congress does that.)

>…It's like an order to fly (absent any airplanes, jetpacks, or the like): it doesn't matter whether the ordered person wants to or not, nor if they make a best effort, they will fail to comply…

Ja.  For a Blackberry to be a legal device in this context, the State Department would need to register it, set up a means to collect any and all signals to and from the device, archive everything, then when it was time to retire the device for any reason, they would need to dump the memory, compare what they received from both the inbox and outbox, confirm they had everything, including any personal business that might be on that device, if there was any chance there was any state department business on there.  Whacking that device with a hammer fails to create the required archives.

In this case, it creates a vague suspicion that the destroyed evidence (it became evidence as soon as the congressional subpoena went into effect in August of 2013.  I am beginning to think Mr. Nixon’s 18 minutes of erased audio may have contained something more than yoga.

>…In this case, the quote states an opinion that the subject matter is sufficiently complex that, without knowing how it works, orders for safe preservation, no matter how detailed would fail in practice - which is quite believable, especially since how to safely handle nuclear material was less well understood back then…


Ja, and I still disagree with Feynman.  But had I needed to improvise an explanation, I would have gone with something like this stuff emits a kind of poison gas (which is damn sure does if you get too much of it in close proximity.)  If too much of it is stored together, there is a risk that everyone who handles the stuff will perish.  He could have explained what radiation poisoning is like: hair falling out, destroying any cell in the body in the process of meiosis, etc.  Perhaps the commander would conclude that the US was studying some kind of new poison gas, but no matter.  Teaching uncleared people about neutron capture and the rest of it was a dangerous mistake, when a better path existed.


The object lesson here is to auto-archive everything any official is doing, including personal email, both incoming and outgoing.  Had we done that, we would not still be in the dark on who attacked the embassy in Libya and why.


A competent commander will follow legal orders.  Sec. Powell did not.  Impeach.




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