452 Comments
founding

For JUSTICE JUSTICE

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until the inevitable military coup by major major major major

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Gotta love a Catch 22 reference

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Problem with a lotta the proposed candidates is they got flies in their eyes, that's probably why they can't see them.

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I don't know, I think President (Sheldon) Whitehouse has a nice ring to it too. (He probably agrees.)

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No, for GREAT JUSTICE JUSTICE.

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In the UK: Igor Judge, Baron Judge was Lord Chief Justice a few years back. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Judge,_Baron_Judge

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Roger, Roger.

Huh?

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What about voting rights for cats?

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Why would cats worry about participating in a democracy? They’ve always ruled by fiat.

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Mine doesn’t care to participate, but Hemingway would like to know that he has the right. Not that it would apply to him anyway, he’s an anarcho-capitalist.

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Well I suppose we could see what those 6 toed cats on Key West think.

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That’s the cat’s name and where his grandfather hailed from.

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An anarcho-catipulist?

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Feral Finster, is that you??

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I'm not necessarily opposed to this, provided that cats are subject to the same 18+ age requirement as humans.

For that matter, I'm open to the idea of allowing any cats who somehow manage live to the age of 35 to automatically become President.

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A thirty-five year old cat would make better decisions than our current crop of geriatric Washington lifers.

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That thing where today's humour becomes next year's serious policy.

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Inshallah, these are all good ideas

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In practice the warship would end up having multiple sponsors all of whom demand that their name is included in the ship's eventual title.

Rather like that old George Jones song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywQHxhwYRAI

Oh and then the corporations would want in too

USS Dunkin D anyone?

R

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I would unironically support the liturgy thing. It's not the worst idea.

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Sep 5, 2023·edited Sep 5, 2023

I actually thought he was serious upon reading the liturgy idea. It should be adopted!

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I was reminded of the Greek cruiser Georgios Averof, funded by Georgios Averof.

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Apparently it was also the first implementation of a Harberger tax, as if you claimed that one of your peers was wealthier than you (and therefore should be chosen instead), he would have the option of trading all of his property for all of yours. Thus the incentive to not falsely underreport your wealth.

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Sep 17, 2023·edited Sep 17, 2023

I think the last time that came up, people said it was historically dubious. There are records of people *offering* to make the trade, but it was probably just a rhetorical flourish with no expectation that such a trade could actually be effected.

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(Not a historian, just speculating for fun)

I'm familiar with the idea, but I don't think that necessarily makes it dubious, as the purpose of it would be as a deterrent. You wouldn't want to deal with the complicated fallout of actually having to carry it out, but the possibility of it keeps people at least somewhat more honest.

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Zuckerberg in a toga and a tricorn hat.

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Its not, but I think the left is strongly opposed to heaping social credit on billionaires for things they do with their money, even if those things are super great. Hence the charity is undemocratic thing.

What are the limits of that opposition though? A billionaire can get their name on a "public" hospital, but thats not a govt owned hospital. Can this only work then with a semi privatized military?

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While we're at it with Athenian laws, I'd like to have https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphe_paranomon too.

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How about the Boule https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boule_(ancient_Greece) ? Or more broadly, the general principle of selecting representatives randomly instead of with elections. The is an small modern political movement to make use of "citizens assemblies" based on their success in Athens and Venice (election of the doge), the idea being that there is no politicized election process, they are very difficult to corrupt compared to elected politicians (especially if anonymized), and they have a very good track record. Venice went hundreds of years of a form of democratic monarchy with no conflicts over succession, their doges served life terms with near absolute power (the exception being power to choose a successor or change the election process), and ultimately only ended for external reasons.

In the modern day, trial by jury provides a lot of real world evidence that small groups of randomly selected citizens are quite successful at making reasonable decisions. Obviously everyone can point to specific failures, but there are far more trials by jury in a given year than elections. Citizen's assemblies also generally employ multiple rounds of deliberation to increase the number of jurors while still having the discussion take place in small groups, which should decrease the failure rate even further. And beyond corruption, the fact that jurors aren't held politically accountable for their decisions is ideal when popular sentiment differs from reality. Ireland in the 90s, a majority Catholic country, used a citizen's assembly to pass abortion rights. Had their politicians attempted to do this, they would anger their constituents and lose their seats next election, and had they made it a referendum it would have failed. Regardless of your personal opinion on abortion, you must admit that its fascinating that the deliberation process genuinely changed the opinion of enough of the jurors to flip the majority.

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I ran the Trump-for-monarch plank past the most liberal members of my household, and they're for it. You may be on to something there.

(My favorite plank was funding warships by liturgy. We need the ships.)

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Personally I’d go for Emperor of Saint Helena, but that’s just me.

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I have no faith in keeping Trump under control by making his constitutional monarch. He's find some way to use it.

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Yes, as we know the government is full of latent trump supporters desperately seeking ways to enact his will.

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I sort of understand what the deep state haters are on about when I think about how our border control and federal law enforcement and judiciary are mostly in the bag for Trump.

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Do you mean that the deep state consists of border control and federal law enforcement and judiciary?

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The deep state consists of everyone who is a career government official. These are part of it, and they help me understand how people might see this as potentially problematic rather than as a useful anti-corruption measure separating the operation of government from political patronage.

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Maybe revive the Republican Roman the office of the Rex Sacrorum, which is explicitly apolitical

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Were the role of the president a ceremonial one, I'd have been happy to see Hillary win that, not least because of the prospect of her grinding her teeth in fury about not getting her hands on the levers of power and being simply Ceremonial First Presidentess.

Now, she *would* be trying to find some way around using the position as one of real power.

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I've been saying that for years: Trump would be great in some ceremonial role where he got to be in the news all the time and treated like a Serious Person. If that's a monarch, so be it. This could be the Missouri Compromise of the 21st Century.

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As in, "led to civil war"? But if it takes 40 years, fine, I'll be dead anyway.

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Okay, maybe it could be Stuart Restoration of the 21st Century, then.

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Actually, your posts were funny, and mine was stupid. You can’t draw a line from 1820 to 1860, and anyway subsequent compromises departed drastically from the Missouri Compromise.

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I hope I can find it within myself to forgive you, someday.

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founding

That also lead to civil war, just James Stuart ran away too fast.

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Moldbug often says Trump needs to be the Chairman of the country, not the CEO.

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I'm not saying anything about Trump, but I really do think we should abstract the ceremonial duties of the president from the legal ones and create something like a British figurehead monarch.

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Honestly, if the President was the ceremonial head of state and the Vice-President was the one with power (like a prime minister), it might work a lot better. You'd avoid the problem of having a VP whose daily duties don't amount to much except "be ready in case the president drops dead or is assassinated" and figures like Trump and Biden could take on the mantle of Elder Statesmen and do all the ribbon-cutting and speech-making without anybody caring that you've got near-octogenarians in power.

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I'm against it on two fronts, both of which boil down to me being unironically supportive (at least in principle) of Constitutional Monarchy.

First, one of the major roles of a constitutional monarch in the British model is to provide a sort of adult supervision to the democratically-elected government. On a day-to-day basis, this takes the form of the power "to be consulted, to encourage, and to warn": i.e. the elected head of government has to regularly meet privately with the monarch (who has higher-status than the head of government and presumably has a long-term inside view of the high-level governance of the nation), explain himself to said monarch, and hear the monarch out with at least a token show of respect on the issues of the day. In the longer term, the Monarch's reserve powers to prorogue the legislature, fire the head of government, veto legislation, etc are a final line of legitimate constitutional defense against an elected government abusing its position to subvert democracy. This can easily be mistaken for being unimportant because the major reserve powers haven't been invoked in centuries, but that's like saying that the American nuclear arsenal is useless because we haven't used nuclear weapons against an enemy target in almost 80 years. The implicit threat is there and acts as a meaningful constraint, and the explicit threat of the UK monarch's reserve powers may have been used as recently as October 2019 when there was a spate of articles about the possibility of the Queen firing then-PM Boris Johnson if he defied Parliament over the implementation of Brexit (I suspect this was an actual threat, not just idle speculation, since many of the articles were based on "sources close to" the Queen and the PM in a way that sounds like the usual token obfuscation of strategic trial-balloon and battlespace-preparation leaks to the media).

Second, in order to be most effective, a constitutional monarchy should be deeply rooted in long-standing tradition, and the choice of monarch should be as firmly as possible established as a Schelling Point outside of the realm of recent partisan politics.

On the first point, I think Trump is conspicuously poorly suited to provide any sort of adult supervision to anyone, and in particular handing him strong reserve powers as a check on subversion of democracy by an elected head of government would be like putting Bernie Madoff in charge of anti-fraud regulation of the financial sector.

On the second point, Trump is quite unsuited for the "long-standing tradition" aspect and is quite possibly the worst possible choice for the "outside of recent partisan politics" aspect.

No, if I had to choose a Constitutional Monarch for the US, my candidate would be much more deeply rooted in tradition. Not many people know this, but the colonies that would become the US actually did have a constitutional monarch up until the mid-1776s. I looked up who would be our last King's heir, and it seems he's this rich, eccentric retired British naval officer named Charles Mountbatten-Windsor. His personal life sounds rather messy, but he's apparently done some laudable stuff as a philanthropist. Or if Charles is too foreign for our tastes, his son Harry is apparently married to an American actress and currently lives in California.

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One day, Erica; one day we will get them back....

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Make America Great Britain Again!

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You gotta think long term though. Willie the Conqueror was just some crazy Viking and he certainly didn't come from a long line of legitimate kings of England. You gotta wait a thousand years or so 'til the days of Emperor Donald XXV before things eventually settle down.

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Come up with a way for me to still be around a thousand years from now to see the upside and we can talk.

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I feel this is a little unfair. William was descended from Vikings, but his family had been granted lands and titles in what is now France over a hundred years before. He wasn’t just some piratical Norse arriviste.

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Eh, the Viking was strong in his family, but so was the connection to England. His great-great-grandfather took his great-great-grandmother as spoils of war. His great-grandfather did the "have her bathed and sent to my chambers" thing, except without the bathing part. His grandfather ran too many Viking raids against England, so when King Aethelred came knocking, the grandfather bought him off with the great-aunt as second wife. His father never bothered to marry, and attempted an invasion of England to put his older cousin Edward on the throne in place of his great-aunt's second husband's family. And when cousin Edward (the Confessor) got the throne later through natural attrition, they kept in touch.

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William the Incredible Badass wasn't "just some crazy Viking", he's a Viking that channeled his Viking-ness into socially acceptable feudal conquest, and had blood connections to the last few kings of England.

William's great-aunt Emma was the key. Off the top of my head, she was wife of Aethelred the Unready, stepmother of Edmund Ironside, future daughter-in-law of Sweyn Forkbeard, wife of Cnut the Great, stepmother of Harald Harefoot, mother of Harthacnut, mother of Edward the Confessor, sister's mother-in-law to Harold Godwinson (Edward's wife's brother), and of course great-aunt to William. Edward (later the Confessor) lived in exile with William's family from before William was conceived until William was about 14 or so, and they kept in touch afterward over the next 24 years or so. It is quite plausible that Edward wanted William to be his successor, rather than any of his wife's family.

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Sep 6, 2023·edited Sep 6, 2023

Isn't a monarch with powers inherently a subversion of democracy?

>adult supervision

So, democratic leaders are less psychologically mature than non-democratic ones, or do I misunderstand you?

I mean, they do tend to be physically younger. But I'm not convinced that the supposed benefits of putting old people in charge outweigh the risks of of having leaders that are less accountable to the public.

I know Moldbug thinks that a monarchy is (theoretically) compatible with free speech. But the track record of actual monarchies say otherwise (see lèse-majesté).

BTW, I found this thread suggesting that at least a few Thai kings are against lèse-majesté: https://www.reddit.com/r/Thailand/comments/aqsu4f/are_you_afraid_of_lese_majeste_law_curious_how/ and that the real oppressor is the military. But I don't know what most kings (Thai or not) think and have thought about the subject. I think historically most have been for it.

Anyway, I'm rambling.

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>So, democratic leaders are less psychologically mature than non-democratic ones, or do I misunderstand you?

Democratically chosen leaders have a lot of things going for them (accountability as you mention, plus consent of the governed and better alignment of policy preferences between the head of government and the median voter), which is a big part of why I (conceptually) favor a relatively weak 20-21st century British-style constitutional monarchy with an elected legislature and mostly-democratically-chosen head-of-government, but I strongly oppose the kind of near-absolute monarchy that Moldbug argues for. That said, democratically-elected leaders do have shortcomings that can be mitigated by an undemocratic head of state.

One is that democratically-elected leaders tend to be heavily self-selected for political ambition. In other words, I'm inclined to sympathize with the famous Hitch-hiker's Guide quote, "Those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it [...] anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job." A mostly-ceremonial head of state with rarely-used reserve powers, chosen by accident of birth, seems to be one of the more successful mitigations of this.

The other biggie is that democratically-elected leaders in two-party or multi-party systems (one party systems having rather nasty problems of their own that are outside the scope of this comment) tend to come to power as leaders of plurality or bare-majority factions, and they have a great deal of incentive towards sacrificing the interests of their opponents for the benefit of their supporters (i.e. tyranny of the majority) as well as angling for short-to-medium term political advantage in the next election even if that means sweeping problems under the rug for the next President to deal with. Giving the head of government a measure of accountability (even just the weak social accountability of weekly meetings with the monarchy) to someone with a multi-generational long-term outlook can help mitigate this a bit.

That said, British-style constitutional monarchy is far from the only successful mitigation of these problems. The American solution to the problem (division of powers between multiple elected power centers chosen by different mechanisms and constituencies to a mix of long and short terms of office, a hard-to-amend written constitution with substantive as well as procedural provisions, and an independent judiciary whose judges are appointed for life by the political branches of government) seems to be doing a pretty serviceable job; recent events suggest a need for tweaks on the margins, but not necessarily tossing the whole thing and starting over. And other countries seem to have gotten at least some of the benefits of a hereditary constitutional monarchy from a mostly-ceremonial elected head of state who serves much longer terms than than legislature or head of government.

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It would be hard to argue that Britain over the past 100 years has been net better-governed than the US over the past 100 years. Britain had much worse economic outcomes despite a slight advantage in raw human talent. (2 IQ points). In 1913 the US was only 7% ahead of the UK in GDP per capita. Now it's 50% ahead. This has some pretty serious consequences for quality of life and probably far exceeds the importance of their minor differences in social policy.

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Yes, that is a pretty significant prima facie piece of evidence against Britain being better governed than the US over the past 110 years, and it's worth digging a little deeper into how the GDP gap got so big.

Off the top of my head, the first major suspect is that Britain was hit a lot harder than the US by WW1 and WW2. Britain was in both wars from 1914 and 1939 respectively, while the US sat on the sidelines until 1917 and 1941. Britain probably spent more money relative to pre-war GDP, suffered a lot more casualties, and was more impacted by loss.of pre-war trade with Germany. And Britain's sea lanes were in range of (and the primary targets of) German U-Boats in both wars, while Britain's major cities were in range of German bombers in WW2 in particular. As I commented on Scott's "1960: THE YEAR THE SINGULARITY WAS CANCELLED" SSC post, the final graph in the post (showing Britain's long-term trend of GDP grown) seems to show the key break in the trend right around 1914.

A lot of this disparate impact was due to Britain's decision to put their country so close to Germany, which was already baked in long before 1913. The other big factor was Britain's policy decision to join both wars from the start, which was only partially forced by geography: theoretically, Britain could have sat out the wars and let Germany win (at least in the West), but that probably would have been a bad move especially in WW2. There are also longer-term geopolitical strategy decisions, namely the decisions leading to Britain aligning with France and Russia against Germany and reinforcing to division of Europe into rival power blocks, for which Edward VII definitely deserves a substantial share of the responsibility.

The other is Britain's mid-century flirtations with socialism, which went considerably further than the New Deal and Great Society programs in the US, to the point of large scale outright nationalization of several major industries. My sense is that this is more a matter of the mood of the electorate than of American checks and balances succeeding where British institutional restraints failed. And my understanding is that George V's personal rapport with Ramsey MacDonald went a long way towards successfully moderating the British Labour movement away from outright Marxism. I'm not sure what role if any George VI and Elizabeth II had on Labour's later evolution to its modern status as a regular centre-left party. But we probably can blame George V for enabling the nerfing of the House of Lords at beginning of his reign, removing a major institutional check on radical policy changes. And we can probably also assign him a measure of responsibility for the Lloyd George ministry and the subsequent decline of the Liberal party, which helped elevate Labour to its status as the second major party.

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As recently as 1980 the US was only 31% ahead of the UK in GDP PPP per capita so I don’t think the world wars deserve all the blame. I would guess half the present gap is due to lower economic freedom and the other half is due to world wars.

I also think WWI involvement was an unforced error. They might have prevented it by avoiding entangling alliances or providing better adult supervision to the junior partners in their entangling alliances. Or they could have just sat out of WWI after it started and the eventual outcome would have been similar but not so bad for Germany that Germany starts WWII to get revenge. WWII was partly a consequence of the extremely unpopular treaty that was imposed on Germany after the war. Without which Hitler might not have been Hitler or might have not had enough support to form a coalition government in 1933. Just a few fewer seats and he wouldn't have had enough to form a coalition with the other right wing party.

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The argument against absolute monarchy is that the monarch is in no way guaranteed to be competent .. And is effectively iremovable.. The argument against constitutional monarchy is similar: the monarch is not guaranteed to be a genuine and handed dem ocrat. Consider a traditionalist government bribing the monarch with an enhancement of their own powers.

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I also oppose absolute monarchies, but I disagree about the arguments against them being deal-breakers for constitutional monarchies. The point of a constitutional monarchy is for the flaws and virtues of a stronger monarchy and the flaws and virtues of pure republics to balance out in a way that mitigates the flaws of both while keeping most of the virtues of each.

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If you want Meghan Markle to be Queen of the United States, I'd say you would deserve what you would get.

I'd vote for President Camacho before that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RgG1Ayf4kI

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I'd much rather have William and Kate than Harry and Meghan, but I'm having trouble thinking of a clear principle (other than "I like them better", which is contrary to the spirit of hereditary divine right monarchy) for skipping over Charles without also skipping William. But with a choice between Harry and Meghan on one hand and Donald and Melania on the other, I know which pair I'd prefer.

But if you're letting me pick any Queen I want, I'm choosing Galadriel (actual canon Galadriel, not Rings of Power Galadriel, of course). She has the added benefit of being immortal, which solves the succession problem rather neatly. The main downside is that she's a fictional character, and hiring Cate Blanchett to play Galadriel again would only go so far at mitigating that.

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founding

The bit where Harry and Megan are completely unable to predict blindingly obvious consequences of their actions, while being wildly entitled, suggests they'd make poor leaders.

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Shhhh, we're trying to get rid of the monarchy. At the moment anyone born in the UK is a British subject, not a citizen. The distinction is crucial in understanding why nothing significant seems to happen in British society, we are all Crown subjects with no fundamental rights to free speech...

Help!

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I suspect your problem is with your constitution, not your monarchy. There are plenty of republics without free speech or meaningful citizenship status, and there are constitutional monarchies with free speech and meaningful citizenship status. Some of the latter, e.g. Canada, actually have the exact same monarch as Britain.

The trick, as far as I can tell, is to write down you constitution and put an explicit guarantee of freedom of speech in it. It also helps if your voters and judges actually take the free speech clause seriously, since constitutions (written or otherwise) rely of humans to enforce their provisions.

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Easy to say...

The reality of the British constitution is that it doesn't actually exist in any single codified form.

This explains the state of play quite well

https://consoc.org.uk/the-constitution-explained/the-uk-constitution/#what-are-the-disadvantages-of-having-an-uncodified-constitution

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I am aware. That's why my policy recommendations for you guys lead with writing it down.

And yes, that is easier said than done. We Yanks took thirteen years and two rounds of trying to get ours written down properly, and we're still arguing about what various important details therein mean almost 250 years later.

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We need a revolution to get anyone interested in trying to properly codify the constitution. I'll keep you updated on any progress..

🤣

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Best solution to Trump anywhere. Chief Justice Chief Justice is nice too. You can count on my vote.

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We can't just hogtie him and use him as a doorstop for some really substantail door?

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I think if we could, someone would have done it by now.

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I prefer the Chief Chief Justice Justice, especially once we see how he would rule, which would be Chief Chief Justice Justice justice. But only just.

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In all seriousness, why don't we regularly clean the statue of liberty? Is this intentional/would be technically difficult or just another case Of New York being unable to maintain infrastructure?

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Isn't the Statue of Liberty made of copper and was expected and intended to turn into that greenish shade over the years?

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Yeah, it's like Cor-Ten steel, it's meant to look like it's covered in rust.

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Sep 5, 2023·edited Sep 5, 2023

I heard that when it started turning green, there was a movement to clean it, but they never got enough money to do it.

The kabbalistic implications are left as an exercise for the reader.

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According to this roofing company https://jtcroofing.co.uk/news/why-does-copper-turn-green/ you can expect your shiny copper exposed to the elements to turn an ugly brown within months and an ugly brown-green within five years before eventually stabilising a dignified light green in twenty years. This roughly matches my observations on some copper domes I know that had panels replaced a while ago.

The statue took years to make so it was probably already dull brown long before it was erected.

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I had heard from chemistry class that copper no longer turns green on account of lower air sulphur levels, and just stays brown now. Is that not true?

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I was suspicious of this because atmospheric sulfur concentration surely varies from place to place, and what I found is that the rate of formation depends on sulfur and moisture levels, and in low sulfur areas it takes a few decades but can happen in five years in high sulfur areas.

https://www.worldcoppersmith.com/articles/copper-patina-information/#:~:text=However%2C%20this%20is%20just%20a,within%20five%20to%20seven%20years.

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Seems unlikely. The green is some kind of hydroxycarbonate stuff, that is, first you get oxides and then slowly water and CO2 react with that to get something similar to (but not chemically identical) to malachite.

Copper sulfide is black and the sulfite is unstable while the sulfate is water soluble... so the only stable sulfur-based coating would be the sulfide, and I think you'd only get that if you were next to a paper mill or something.

SO2 and SO3 in the air could certainly hasten the process of patination by reacting with the oxide coating though.

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There's a building close to where I work that has a wooden roof painted in an ugly greenish-brown to look like fading copper. Somehow or other, that's supposed to be a good thing.

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it would get thinner and thinner every time until it was destroyed. honestly I don't know and would be interested to learn how fast it would happen.

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A youtuber must be on it by now.

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Copper patina is about 0.07mm. The surface of the statue of liberty is made of copper sheet only 2.4mm thick.

Let's say it's twice as thick as it needs to be structurally, and we can remove the patina perfectly gently. We'd have 17 cleanings before it fell apart, max.

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Wow that's faster than I thought

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Sep 5, 2023·edited Sep 5, 2023

The flame in the torch is still shiny because they covered it with gold leaf in the 1980's. We could probably do the same to the whole statue for less than recurrent cleaning costs.

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A giant gold statue sounds a bit tacky.

But hear me out -- a gold-plated coal-filled statue of Donald Trump.

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Gaudy on the outside, black and sooty on the inside. I like it.

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+1

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There's the obvious risk that a group of informed citizens would be tempted to burn it in their next round of peaceful protests.

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A gold-plated PERPETUALLY BURNING statue of Donald Trump!

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Get the guy who did the Viareggio carnival float. He knows how to be suitably grandiose:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lv1FE88JVps

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According to the national park service, the oxidation has penetrated half of the total thickness already, so you'd probably have to replace panels as early as the first clean-up.

OTOH, it's already 150 years old, so not that fast…

https://www.nps.gov/stli/planyourvisit/get-the-facts.htm

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I'd heard that people got used to the green and opposed a movement to clean it early on.

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Copper things are usually intended to look this shade of green.

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I’ll be that guy. It’s called verdigris. Most copper or bronze statues become this color unless a clear coat of some sort is added.

If it’s a statue of a guy on a horse it usually ends up looking like Robert E Lee. If it’s a standing or seated man with a beard if usually ends up looking like V I Lenin.

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My understanding is that yes, cleaning the statue would be technically difficult. The sheets of copper forming the outer structure aren't especially thick, and the layer of corrosion is more than just a thin film. If you cleaned it off, there's a risk of putting holes in the actual structure, and the more times you clean it off, the thinner and more vulnerable it's going to get.

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I have no clue if this has anything to do with it, but jurisdiction over this area is complicated as hell. The island is entirely federally-owned and maintenance is supposed to be the responsibility of the national park service. The land is part of the state of New York, but all of the surrounding waters are part of the state of New Jersey. New York City provides mail service and has the right to collect sales tax from the souvenir shops. Jersey City provides sewage, water, and electricity.

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I once had to polish a brass fitting on the outside of a ship. I got it from green to shiny gold-ish, and it was back to the exact same shade of green the next morning.

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There's a chapter about this in Rust (Waldman 2016). Patina is adherent, and is one of the better corrosion products for protection against atmospheric corrosion (not applicable in seawater). It's not as good as aluminium oxide, but it's way better than iron oxide. It's also pretty and iconic.

I believe there's a sacrificial system inside it that tries to galvanically protect the statue but I'm not 100% on that (and also, unsure if cathodic protection works without electrolyte - I'll have to look up what it was).

Overall the structure is in shockingly good condition given how saline the environment must be. Modern steel looks worse at a third of the age.

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This was legitimately hilarious

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" reverse primogeniture-based inheritance" has a name.

It's called "ultimogeniture", which does sound very cool indeed.

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Found the Crusader Kings player?

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Well, yes. But I play Crusader Kings because I'm a medieval history nerd, not the other way around.

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I just finished "A Distant Mirror." Any other good medieval history books you'd recommend?

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Have you read The Greatest Knight by Thomas Asbridge? A biography of William Marshall. I'm only about 100 pages in, but a good overview of The Anarchy, the reign of Henry II, knighting in general, and of course Marshall's role in it all.

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Oh that looks interesting, thanks!

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The Civilization of the Middle Ages by Norman Cantor, The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History Vols. I and II (no one's ever going to be able to prove that you haven't read it), The Discarded Image by C.S. Lewis (not history, but a short overview of medieval cosmology and philosophy).

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The books that got me into medieval history were John Julius Norwich's books on Byzantium, Venice, and on the Normans in Italy. They are of a similar age to the Tuchman, so they obviously don't have the most recent scholarship.

The titles are:

The Normans in the South

The Kingdom in the Sun

Venice: The Rise to Empire

Venice: The Greatness and Fall

Byzantium: The Early Centuries

Byzantium: The Apogee

Byzantium: The Decline and Fall

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> They are of a similar age to the Tuchman, so they obviously don't have the most recent scholarship

This might be an excessively specific question, but do you happen to know if there have been major changes in our understanding of the 14th century since Tuchman's book?

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14th century western Europe is so not my area, so no, I don't know.

Most of my medieval interest is earlier and more eastern.

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IIRC Tuchman's book is itself based on just reading Froissart to a greater degree than one might ideally like, but it was a long time ago and I could be way off-base on that.

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Personally, I think reading the contemporary chronicles is way underrated as a source of entertainment and information. Sure, the numbers are often way, way off, but that just gives academics a source of employment in bitching about it.

My personal favorites are the History of the Franks of Gregory of Tours, and Froissart's chronicles of the Hundred Years' War.

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Would ultimogeniture ever come up in the study of medieval history? It does not appear to have been used by any medieval country, which makes sense given that it has some fairly severe drawbacks and no benefits compared to primogeniture.

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Disagree! There are a number of argument in favour of long reigns (although democratic governments seem to stink if they stick around too long, the stability benefits of very long-lived monarchs seems to outweigh the 'too long in power' effect), and ultimogeniture would create longer reigns. The opposite of ultimogeniture isn't primogeniture, it's the next-of-male-kin rules in many Arab countries, where your 90-year-old king dies, then his 89-year-old brother takes over, then he dies, then...

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Yup, Crusader Kings II has this one, called "Seniority".

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> the stability benefits of very long-lived monarchs

Very long-lived monarchs provide stability while they're on the throne, but they also supply a big spike of instability when they die. It is not necessarily advantageous to concentrate all your instability into a narrow window of time; there was an Egyptian dynasty that seems to have fallen for this reason. (When Pepi II died after a reign of many decades.)

> The opposite of ultimogeniture isn't primogeniture, it's the next-of-male-kin rules in many Arab countries

So? Does this respond to something I said?

Primogeniture has the advantages over ultimogeniture that (1) everyone knows what to expect; (2) You can start training the heir as soon as he's old enough to receive any training, because you know who he is; and (3) older people command more respect from everyone else in the world than younger people do. There is no difference in heir quality compared to ultimogeniture - it will often be the case that the youngest son is superior to the oldest son, but both inheritance systems choose the heir in advance when that information is unavailable. (In contrast, other systems may allow the king to nominate his own heir, in which case the average quality of heirs should go up.)

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Ultimogeniture works better in CK because you can predict ability from birth and it's fairly easy to decide to have another child until you get a good one and then stop in the game (you can adopt celibacy or divorce your wife, etc).

Both of those are untrue in the real world.

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Ultimogeniture for property (but not necessarily rulership) was a Mongol feature when Genghis Khan died toward the end of the medieval period - his youngest son was regent for a couple of years after dad died until an older brother officially succeeded as Khan.

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I'm glad someone else has already pointed this out.

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It also sounds like a brand of plastic surgery for private parts.

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Hear me out: nuclear disarmament through selling ad space on the moon.

Initiate an international treaty whereby companies can buy a certain number of warheads to detonate on the lunar service to inscribe their company logo for eternity.

Enjoy the full moon, brought to you by McDonalds.

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There’s a A C Clarke short story that involved the the threat of putting the 7 Up logo on the moon. I think it was “Watch this Space”

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I hate when people have my ideas before I have an opportunity to come up with them.

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Eh, you can always just tell yourself your version would have been better than Clarke's if you'd written it.

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As in 'The Anticipator' by Morley Roberts (and referenced by Arthur C Clarke)?

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"Anticipatory plagiarism occurs when someone steals your original idea and publishes it a hundred years before you were born."

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Man, what a way to be victimized by someone in the past before they could have even done it on purpose.

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Robert Heinlein, "The Man Who Sold the Moon". Moka Cola is convinced to gain publicity by blocking 6+ from using powdered carbon to inscribe their logo on the moon.

I was almost able to write that from memory, with Mocha Cola as the only mistake. Sometimes I wonder whether I'd be better off if I knew something else as well as I know classic science fiction.

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No guarantee that it wouldn't be something else of comparable utility, like an encyclopedic memory of the first decade of The Simpsons.

...speaking from experience.

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One of the smartest people I know is a physician with an encyclopedic knowledge of both his medical subspecialty and the first decade of The Simpsons.

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For me it’s Wheel of Time. I know way too much about the One Power.

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RIP

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There's an issue of the comic The Tick in which a supervillian, Chairface, uses a laser to start writing his name on the moon. He got three letters in before he was stopped.

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Paging Chairface Chippendale!

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I don’t know the comic but it reminds me of the weird Minnesota practice of naming Snow Plows.

Meet Plowy McPlowface:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.fox9.com/news/plowy-mcplowface-ready-for-action-on-minnesota-roads.amp

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Sep 6, 2023·edited Sep 6, 2023

I think defacing the moon would be taken as a casus belli by quite a large number of people. I wouldn't really even condemn them for taking it that way.

Unlikely to lead to disarmament of any kind.

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Yeah, but what if every full moon there was a QR code that got you a buy one get one at Starbucks?

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Add in a free brownie and I'm there!

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Operation Plowshare, but for digging to the core of the moon. I swear there must be high-value minerals down there.

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This is an actually good idea. It has no place here.

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The moon still has a molten core, though not so hot nor so large (as a proportion of the total mass) as Earth's.

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Do you know that for a fact ? I tried to look it up some time ago and I could never find the actual temperature of the center of the moon.

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I don't know that they narrowed down the temperature range very much, but they were able to get some seismic data which suggested it was liquid. See https://www.science.org/content/article/long-last-moons-core-seen

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There was this joke where the Soviets paint the moon red, so the Americans take white paint and write "Coca-Cola" on it.

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Yea, that was pretty much the Cold War in a nutshell..

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This is like Astroscript Pilot Program in Netrunner.

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I love these. Well, except the college thing, we still disagree on that somewhat.

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I want to lie about my high honor Tripos at Cambridge.

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Of course one has the temptation :D

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Sep 6, 2023·edited Sep 6, 2023

As a snotty American interloper, I will proudly carry my crappy 2-2 to my grave.

One of my fellow Americans tried to skip one of the tests entirely, but the college porters dragged him out of bed and made him show up in his pajamas to sign his name on the test paper.

He also destroyed an expensive fiberglass rowing boat. Accidentally.

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I went to lots of colleges, so I'd put them all on my resume. Of course, I was visiting them for other reasons, but no need to mention that.

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I walked past the gates of Trinity College, Dublin, once, that should surely count for something!

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I think it means you went to Trinity College.

I went to the University of Michigan, and I foresee going to Harvard within a few years.

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We got any Rhodes Scholars here? Surely some of you went to the UK on holiday at least once!

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Haven't, but I've visited as many as several roads.

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Hey, me too! What year?

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It was either the late 90s or early 00s, whichever looks better on the CV 😁

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Amazing shitposting.

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Fact check thread:

The stat about coal is pretty far off. The linked source says, "Carbon dioxide (CO2) from coal use is responsible for about 40 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel use." That's a long way from 40 percent overall.

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author

Thanks, fixed.

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There are roughly two carbon cycles (not counting CNO):

* a fast cycle between biomatter, atmosphere, soil and oceans

* a slow cycle in which takes many millions of years and turns dead dinosaurs into fossil fuel.

If you burn a piece of wood or own some mitochondria, you move only within the fast cycle, and the total amount of carbon in that cycle stays constant. (I think if we took it upon ourselves to burn most of the biomass on the planet, we could cause a greenhouse effect by that alone. Fortunately, we don't do that.)

The problem is that we burn fossil fuel -- which has been out of the fast cycle for millions of years, thereby increasing the overall amount of carbon in the fast cycle.

As an analogy, consider two countries which decide to spend more money on statues or warships. Country "wood" raises taxes, while country "coal" just prints more money.

While the local effect of the money is similar in both cases (the statue- or shipmakers earn money), the big picture economic effects are likely to be very different.

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This was incredible 👏👏👏👏

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Sep 5, 2023·edited Sep 5, 2023

$9,999,999/hour AND a CIA pension, what a gig.

With that kind of money, they'll be able to buy a few battleships. The only question is who will they invade.

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Destroyer costs 3 billion, Aircraft Carrier costs 10 billion. Can you *imagine* a modern NYT reporter doing a thousand hours of work, or even three hundred? I can't.

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With that kind of salary, they will all be fired instantly. Which is the point.

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You have no chance of winning as long as you insist on making statues of famous people. I would simply pull people off the street and entomb them in giant coal pyramids to ensure they have a bountiful afterlife.

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I would vote for that.

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How about we compromise, and have the giant statues **be** the tomb? We could even put them in there while they're still alive, to avoid mistakes.

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Can we put little Alien embryos inside the entombed people, cuz some of us have a taste for recursion, kwim?

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I was going to edit my comment because it was in bad taste, but now I suppose I should leave it intact.

It says something when I get less bloodthirsty after ~4 drinks.

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No problem, Moon Moth, I am kinda drunk too, and am at the level where I am maxed out on bad taste. To get less crass I would have to drink more and then might get the spins. People understand we are just crapping around. Many posters are roaming around in their inner swamps looking for ideas that capture their rage in the form of wit.

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Is it LINCOLNLOOKER time? I think it's LINCOLNLOOKER time!

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I'm more for "Team America", myself.

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As the only up here who isn’t bought and paid for I can say this: the liturgy agenda is a hoax.

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I feel like making a large number of statues from flammable material could backfire, which would be terrible for the environment - I suggest we just bury the coal in a hole in the ground where it can't do any harm

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author

I think you mean "making a large number of statues from flammable material would create stable well-paying jobs for our nation's security guards."

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Sep 6, 2023·edited Sep 6, 2023

And the fire services. This plan has so many advantages, who could possibly object to it?

EDIT: It just occurred to me that this would also establish an American version of the Swedish Yule Goat, with annual attempts to burn the monument. It really has something for everyone - the coal mine owners, the miners, those involved in the grafting industry of deciding who gets to be the represented national hero/ine immortalised in coal, the security services, the fire services, and inculcating the can-do spirit in our boisterous youth! Not to mention the prediction markets and bookies running bets on which coal figure would be set alight when or if it would happen this year!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%A4vle_goat

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We already have recreational Arson:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Night

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That’s the Keynesian solution to everything, isn’t it.

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No, I've got the perfect solution! Use the mined coal to fill up old, no longer used mines! Removes obstacles to safety both ways!

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More nominative determinism! Can we find anyone with the last name President while we're at it?

Wonderful post. I haven't laughed this hard in a while.

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author

I can make https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheldon_Whitehouse my VP.

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Or maybe Steve Navalobservatory

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Why not Wynot Random? Scion of Random House fortune.

(Wow. I just realized I'm sort of drunk.)

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The only President sufficiently notable to be in wikipedia is Andre President https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andre_President who played briefly in the NFL.

It doesn't say anything else about him except that he's 52 years old, which means he's probably not approaching senility, which already makes him a lot better than certain other candidates I could mention.

Screw it, President for President!

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I did love the name “Princess Washington” from Monday’s cities post. “President Princess Washington” has a certain ring to it...

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If he's bisexual we could slip into calling District of Columbia AC/DC

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Strong vibes of Führer President King Bradley here.

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Possible that our final president will be a compromise candidate named A.I. Yudkowsky, AIEEEEEeeee! for short.

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My god, I have something to add.

Coal combusts if you make it too big of a pile. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378382099000053

You have a problem here, slightly different than expected! at the least, make sure to seal those statues so they don't self heat under ambiant oxidation conditions and then light up from the inside out.

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The only thing more inspiring than a giant statue is a giant flaming statue.

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Build them underwater, like the ones in Mexico

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'Spontaneous combustion' and 'empirical results' in the same title? I'm sold.

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Perhaps the US could coordinate with other countries to lower the amount of O2 back to pre-Great Oxygen Event levels. In such circumstances, coal would probably be safe to store.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxidation_Event

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Only a racist motherfucker would post something like this.

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I'm sorry am I really missing something? I did not get that interpretation and would benefit from clarification...sorry whatever it is you're getting from the message. Genuinely have no idea

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I'm joking!

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It's that "my god I have something to add" feeling.

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Yeahhh, that's a pretty big stretch to me from "my god I have something to add" as a feeling to "racist motherfucker." I am clearly missing something completely.

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Further down Eremolalos clarifies that they had a few scoops, so drunkposting. Presumably they've sobered up by now so the most charitable thing is politely ignore whatever they wrote under the influence.

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Sep 7, 2023·edited Sep 7, 2023

Thanks, actually. Clarification appreciated. Your suggestion makes sense

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It's not really a political policy until an alternative policy is met with charges of horrible racism.

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Tom, the "racist motherfucker" remark was. *joke.*. I wouldn't have made it if there was any conceivable way that your remark could have been taken as racist. What you wrote was so completely and utterly disjunct from anything race-related that I felt sure readers would see that my comment was a joke about flinging around unfounded accusations of racism. And besides, this whole thread is people saying things they obviously do not mean. Scott is saying we should make Trump monarch! Anyhow, I'm sorry I upset you. And yeah, I'd been drinking that night, & it's possible that if I hadn't been I would have skipped that particular joke.

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