Benignly Pompous

Now that impeachment is upon us we thought we’d let the guys do a long segment (that’s not a euphemism) on it themselves. Then, Niall Ferguson joins to explain why the Trump administration is like the Corleone family, but trust us — he means this as a compliment (calm down and read the column, MAGA folks). We go celestial with this week’s Lileks Post of The Week Winning the Cosmic Lottery by @brycecarmony. Are we alone? Give us your take in the comments. And finally, the Attorney General wants Apple to create a back door to our phones. Since we always forget to lock the back door, we tend to think this is a bad idea. How about you?

Music from this week’s show: You Ain’t The Problem by Michael Kiwanuka

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  1. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Is this because of Mr. Bragg on Facebook referring to Peter, John Yoo, and Richard Epstein as “pompous”?

    • #1
    • January 17, 2020, at 10:27 AM PST
    • Like
  2. Patrick McClure, Coffee Achiev… Coolidge

    Archie Bunker hated Roosevelt and ticked off Maud by making fun of him. Watch more tv Rob.

    • #2
    • January 17, 2020, at 11:20 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Rob is spot on about Trump’s being a patriotic old-line Democrat. He’s another one where he didn’t leave the Democrats, the Democrats left him.

    The proper response to Rob’s question about East Asia would have been, “We have always been at war with East Asia.”

    Peter Robinson from the alternative universe says, “I only have two more questions…”

    • #3
    • January 17, 2020, at 1:06 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    Spin (View Comment):

    Is this because of Mr. Bragg on Facebook referring to Peter, John Yoo, and Richard Epstein as “pompous”?

    No, Rob called James that.

    • #4
    • January 17, 2020, at 1:06 PM PST
    • 1 like
  5. Henry Castaigne Member

    Wouldn’t it be more in wondrous and more Christian if Christ died for the Vulcans too?

    • #5
    • January 17, 2020, at 3:51 PM PST
    • 1 like
  6. kedavis Member

    Sorry Peter, it’s Iranians in the street protesting the Iranian regime.

    • #6
    • January 17, 2020, at 4:30 PM PST
    • Like
  7. James Lileks Contributor

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Wouldn’t it be more in wondrous and more Christian if Christ died for the Vulcans too?

    Maybe so, but it doesn’t work with Kahliss

    • #7
    • January 17, 2020, at 4:59 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. kedavis Member

    Contra Rob Long: Obama didn’t “reluctantly” go along with fracking. He wanted to stop it, but couldn’t since it was being done on private land. Obama said before winning the first election that energy prices would “necessarily skyrocket” under his policies. Fortunately for us – and the world, really – most of his policies didn’t get adopted.

    • #8
    • January 17, 2020, at 5:22 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  9. kedavis Member

    I find it sad that @jameslileks appears to have bought into the First Contact (movie, not TNG episode) retcon.

    Must I remind him that in the TOS episode “Metamorphosis,” it’s pretty clear that Zefram Cochrane invented warp drive not just for Earth, but for EVERYONE?

    I think it’s entirely possible that it won’t be possible to discover warp drive within the solar system, because of the gravity effects of the sun especially, and perhaps even the planets too.

    In that episode, Cochrane was said to be “of Alpha Centauri.” Assuming there’s no humanoids already there, that would suggest that some kind of travel – perhaps colonization – to Alpha Centauri from Earth was underway, and perhaps it was possible to discover warp drive and make it work, in the gravity-less space in between.

    • #9
    • January 17, 2020, at 5:35 PM PST
    • 1 like
  10. kedavis Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Wouldn’t it be more in wondrous and more Christian if Christ died for the Vulcans too?

    Maybe so, but it doesn’t work with Kahliss

    Obviously, Surak was the Vulcan Jesus.

    • #10
    • January 17, 2020, at 7:27 PM PST
    • 1 like
  11. OccupantCDN Coolidge

    I am kinda sad that Nail Ferguson short changed the podcast. With his time being so short, he should’ve been given the floor without so much windup banter. I am a fan of Nail Ferguson, but he’s at his best when he has the time to explain his points.

    To the larger question, are we alone in the universe? It depends on your criteria. If your looking for bacteria or little things like that – I think that might be fairly common – but if your looking for someone to talk too, we maybe alone. Now when you look out into the universe – and realize that the universe does not exist as we see it. (because of the speed of light – we see the universe as it was, not as it is) there are entire galaxies where life simply isnt possible. It may well be – that at this moment – that when we look up into the night sky, nobody is looking back.

    • #11
    • January 17, 2020, at 7:47 PM PST
    • Like
  12. Arahant Member

    We are not alone.

    • #12
    • January 17, 2020, at 7:52 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. kedavis Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    We are not alone.

    The Truth Is Out There. And It Hurts.

    (episode title from the great series Charmed, original version.)

    • #13
    • January 17, 2020, at 7:58 PM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Blue Yeti Admin

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):

    I am kinda sad that Nail Ferguson short changed the podcast. With his time being so short, he should’ve been given the floor without so much windup banter. I am a fan of Nail Ferguson, but he’s at his best when he has the time to explain his points.

    His schedule changed while and we were doing the podcast and as soon as he let me know, we got him on. We will have him back on again soon. Promise. 

     

    • #14
    • January 17, 2020, at 8:25 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  15. James Lileks Contributor

    kedavis (View Comment):
    I find it sad that @jameslileks appears to have bought into the First Contact (movie, not TNG episode) retcon.

    For criminey’s sake, just because you can’t establish a warp bubble within a certain distance of a planet’s gravitational field doesn’t mean you have to be out in the boondocks to attain warp. Otherwise they’d be on impulse for three weeks to clear the system. The dilithium crystals’ engagement with subspace has a natural side-effect of graviton negation. Did you sleep through Warp Physics 101 at the Academy, dude?

    That whole business about being “Of Alpha Centuri” is a reference to Cochrane’s LKL, or Last Known Location, which was a standard ID format at the time, referring to the last ping the database got from your subdermal transponder. They had considered using “At,” but it carried the implication that the person was still there; “Of” was accepted to mean “the last verified address.” This was FSRP (Federation Standard Routing Protocol) during Cochrane’s tenure.

    I made all that up, but I defy you to tell me I’m wrong.

    • #15
    • January 17, 2020, at 11:10 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  16. Henry Castaigne Member

    kedavis (View Comment):
    kedavis

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Wouldn’t it be more in wondrous and more Christian if Christ died for the Vulcans too?

    Maybe so, but it doesn’t work with Kahliss

    Obviously, Surak was the Vulcan Jesus.

    Wasn’t he more like the Vulcan Confucius and the Romulans decided to go with Legalism?

    • #16
    • January 18, 2020, at 1:00 AM PST
    • Like
  17. WilliamDean Coolidge

    The chances of hitting the powerball numbers is infinitesimally small, yet when the prize gets really big, so many people start buying in that the chance of NOBODY winning becomes very small.

    To me the question of life on other worlds runs in a similar vein. There are simply so many other stars that the odds of life being able to form nowhere else but in one place must become very small.

    I still remember the grade school science class slideshow reel: “There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand in all the beaches across all of the world…”

    • #17
    • January 18, 2020, at 1:27 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):
    I made all that up, but I defy you to tell me I’m wrong.

    A lot like the Arthurian legends.

    “I don’t care what Garth of Lindsdowne told you … this is what really happened next …”

    • #18
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:42 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. kedavis Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    I find it sad that @jameslileks appears to have bought into the First Contact (movie, not TNG episode) retcon.

    For criminey’s sake, just because you can’t establish a warp bubble within a certain distance of a planet’s gravitational field doesn’t mean you have to be out in the boondocks to attain warp. Otherwise they’d be on impulse for three weeks to clear the system. The dilithium crystals’ engagement with subspace has a natural side-effect of graviton negation. Did you sleep through Warp Physics 101 at the Academy, dude?

    That whole business about being “Of Alpha Centuri” is a reference to Cochrane’s LKL, or Last Known Location, which was a standard ID format at the time, referring to the last ping the database got from your subdermal transponder. They had considered using “At,” but it carried the implication that the person was still there; “Of” was accepted to mean “the last verified address.” This was FSRP (Federation Standard Routing Protocol) during Cochrane’s tenure.

    I made all that up, but I defy you to tell me I’m wrong.

    You’re wrong. :-)

    The thing is, it really did seem to be SOP early on, before Because Plot got in the way, to not use warp drive within a solar system. It might take weeks to get out of a system using rockets, but not using Impulse Drive.

    From Star Trek: The Motion Picture:

    Captain’s log, stardate 7412.6. one point eight hours from launch. In order to intercept the intruder at the earliest possible time, we must now risk engaging warp drive while still within the solar system.

    In any event, once discovered/perfected it might be possible to use warp drive within a solar system. My point was that it might not be possible to DISCOVER warp drive – for a crude prototype to function – within the gravity well of a solar system.

    [continued due to word limit]

    • #19
    • January 18, 2020, at 3:43 AM PST
    • Like
  20. kedavis Member

    Or within the gravity well of a planet, as we were shown for Cochrane’s first warp flight in the First Contact movie.

    On the other hand, it DOES still take weeks, even with warp drive, to get from place to place. And not from some kind of supposition, but based on numbers actually given in the shows. For example, in the first episodes of the Enterprise series, they give their speeds in KM/sec. And the numbers seem big, the numbers ARE big compared to anything else we know. But the distances between stars are SO MUCH BIGGER, that even at warp 5 it would take NX-01 something like 6 weeks just to get from Earth to Alpha Centauri. So their talk of “4 days there, 4 days back” for the Klingon home-world, is just bushwa.

    Is that “pedantic?” Maybe so. But it’s also accurate. Same as if, back in the 1700s, you showed someone a car that could go 60mph. They’re used to walking or maybe going by horse, at 5mph or something. So they say “Wow, that’s incredibly fast!” And you say “It sure is! I can drive across the country in a day!” Well, you can’t. That’s 3,000 miles at 60mph, if you could drive straight across without any interruptions it would take over TWO days.

    As it says in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy:

    Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.

    • #20
    • January 18, 2020, at 3:46 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  21. RufusRJones Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Contra Rob Long: Obama didn’t “reluctantly” go along with fracking. He wanted to stop it, but couldn’t since it was being done on private land. Obama said before winning the first election that energy prices would “necessarily skyrocket” under his policies. Fortunately for us – and the world, really – most of his policies didn’t get adopted.

    Victor Davis Hanson on European energy policy and how it kills their sovereignty. They have largely done it to themselves. Victor says they have quite a bit of fossil fuel they could use. Of course we could sell them LNG. Read this paragraph twice.

    Energy neediness explains why the EU was so eager to maintain the so-called “Iran deal” with the theocracy in Tehran, and also why it was nervous about the anti-Russia hysteria that arose in the United States after the 2016 election.

     

    In sum, what ensures that Europeans have enough daily gasoline and home heating fuel are not batteries, wind farms and solar panels — much less loud green proselytizing. They count instead on a mercurial Russia, an array of unstable Middle Eastern governments and an underappreciated U.S. military.

     

    In a logical world, Europeans would retake control of their own destiny. That recalibration would entail beefing up their military power, and their navies in particular.

    They also would begin to frack and horizontally drill. Europeans would push ahead with more nuclear power, hydroelectric projects and clean-coal technologies — at least until new sources of clean energies become viable.

    link

    Also I can’t fully explain this and it’s pretty technical, but I’ve been trying to understand what Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro have been saying about trade policy. I think the problem is Western governments can’t run with deflation like we did 1 million years ago. It would be a Geo political disaster at this point. So you have to get deflation from other areas and that’s why supplying fossil fuel as much as you can anyway you can is the best thing to deal with the wage deflation and job destruction from globalized trade and automation. 

    We need to get the hell away from China as much as we can, and be sensible about Russia. Less dependency, less intertwined economies.

     

     

     

    • #21
    • January 18, 2020, at 5:29 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  22. RufusRJones Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    kills their sovereignty.

    I heard James Carafano talk about this recently. Really all of this nationalism stuff is about how you are going to organize your sovereignty or not. That is the overall way to think about it.

    Trade and immigration can facilitate your sovereignty or not. It’s crucial to not be ignorant about seating political authority to supranational organizations like the EU, trade agreements, central bank schemes, things like NATO, drug cartels etc.

    Also, China sucks.

    • #22
    • January 18, 2020, at 5:37 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    I find it sad that @jameslileks appears to have bought into the First Contact (movie, not TNG episode) retcon.

    For criminey’s sake, just because you can’t establish a warp bubble within a certain distance of a planet’s gravitational field doesn’t mean you have to be out in the boondocks to attain warp. Otherwise they’d be on impulse for three weeks to clear the system. The dilithium crystals’ engagement with subspace has a natural side-effect of graviton negation. Did you sleep through Warp Physics 101 at the Academy, dude?

    That whole business about being “Of Alpha Centuri” is a reference to Cochrane’s LKL, or Last Known Location, which was a standard ID format at the time, referring to the last ping the database got from your subdermal transponder. They had considered using “At,” but it carried the implication that the person was still there; “Of” was accepted to mean “the last verified address.” This was FSRP (Federation Standard Routing Protocol) during Cochrane’s tenure.

    I made all that up, but I defy you to tell me I’m wrong.

    When the nerdy Star Trek talk starts, I just hear the teacher from The Peanuts.

    • #23
    • January 18, 2020, at 6:52 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Rightfromthestart Coolidge

    Maybe Roddenberry was wrong and the Vulcan salute actually has the same meaning as our middle finger salute.

    The FBI – DOJ FISA shenanigans have ruined any thought of a back door that can only be used in an emergency with warrant safeguards and judge approval etc. They cannot be trusted not to abuse the power.

    • #24
    • January 18, 2020, at 7:59 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  25. Arahant Member

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):
    Maybe Roddenberry was wrong and the Vulcan salute actually has the same meaning as our middle finger salute.

    It wasn’t Roddenberry, if I remember. It was Nemoy. That is a Jewish gesture for the letter Shin (ש).

    • #25
    • January 18, 2020, at 11:41 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Rightfromthestart Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):
    Maybe Roddenberry was wrong and the Vulcan salute actually has the same meaning as our middle finger salute.

    It wasn’t Roddenberry, if I remember. It was Nemoy. That is a Jewish gesture for the letter Shin (ש).

    You’re right , I did read that , also what if the one finger was a standard greeting for them like it is here in NY 

    • #26
    • January 18, 2020, at 2:00 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. kedavis Member

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):
    Maybe Roddenberry was wrong and the Vulcan salute actually has the same meaning as our middle finger salute.

    It wasn’t Roddenberry, if I remember. It was Nemoy. That is a Jewish gesture for the letter Shin (ש).

    You’re right , I did read that , also what if the one finger was a standard greeting for them like it is here in NY

    Yes but if Roddenberry HAD invented it, it would mean whatever he said it meant.

    Actually, since Nimoy/Spock invented it in terms of Star Trek at least, it meant whatever he/they said it meant.

    • #27
    • January 18, 2020, at 5:19 PM PST
    • Like
  28. kedavis Member

    Spin (View Comment):

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    I find it sad that @jameslileks appears to have bought into the First Contact (movie, not TNG episode) retcon.

    For criminey’s sake, just because you can’t establish a warp bubble within a certain distance of a planet’s gravitational field doesn’t mean you have to be out in the boondocks to attain warp. Otherwise they’d be on impulse for three weeks to clear the system. The dilithium crystals’ engagement with subspace has a natural side-effect of graviton negation. Did you sleep through Warp Physics 101 at the Academy, dude?

    That whole business about being “Of Alpha Centuri” is a reference to Cochrane’s LKL, or Last Known Location, which was a standard ID format at the time, referring to the last ping the database got from your subdermal transponder. They had considered using “At,” but it carried the implication that the person was still there; “Of” was accepted to mean “the last verified address.” This was FSRP (Federation Standard Routing Protocol) during Cochrane’s tenure.

    I made all that up, but I defy you to tell me I’m wrong.

    When the nerdy Star Trek talk starts, I just hear the teacher from The Peanuts.

    The Peanuts? That’s like saying/writing The Ukraine.

    • #28
    • January 18, 2020, at 6:59 PM PST
    • Like
  29. kedavis Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    I find it sad that @jameslileks appears to have bought into the First Contact (movie, not TNG episode) retcon.

    For criminey’s sake, just because you can’t establish a warp bubble within a certain distance of a planet’s gravitational field doesn’t mean you have to be out in the boondocks to attain warp. Otherwise they’d be on impulse for three weeks to clear the system. The dilithium crystals’ engagement with subspace has a natural side-effect of graviton negation. Did you sleep through Warp Physics 101 at the Academy, dude?

    That whole business about being “Of Alpha Centuri” is a reference to Cochrane’s LKL, or Last Known Location, which was a standard ID format at the time, referring to the last ping the database got from your subdermal transponder. They had considered using “At,” but it carried the implication that the person was still there; “Of” was accepted to mean “the last verified address.” This was FSRP (Federation Standard Routing Protocol) during Cochrane’s tenure.

    I made all that up, but I defy you to tell me I’m wrong.

    Also, The Federation didn’t exist until long after Cochrane’s (presumed) death.

    So, neener! :-)

    • #29
    • January 18, 2020, at 7:00 PM PST
    • 1 like
  30. kedavis Member

    Re: the Godfather bit at the end. I prefer the version delivered by Faith (played by the lovely Eliza Dushku) in an episode of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer spin-off series Angel.

    I made him an offer he couldn’t survive.

    • #30
    • January 18, 2020, at 7:18 PM PST
    • 1 like