Usando el trolleo para combatir el terrorismo

In the decade since 9/11, the U.S. government has used a wide variety of tactics against terrorists. It’s invaded countries where they operated (and ones where they didn’t). It’s tried to win the backing of foreign populations in which the terrorists hide. And it’s sent commandos and deadly flying robots to kill them one by one.

One thing it hasn’t done, until now: troll them.

Within the State Department, a Silicon Valley veteran has quietly launched an improbable new initiative to annoy, frustrate and humiliate denizens of online extremist forums.

Newest U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy: Trolling | Danger Room |

5 hechos incómodos sobre Estados Unidos

Mathbabe escribe 5 mitos en los cuales la izquierda se siente bastante cómoda, a pesar de que los datos no los sustentan:

1. Los EUA tienen un sistema fiscal progresivo (En realidad, los impuestos pagados asemejan una tasa fija)

2. Los EUA son la tierra de la oportunidad (No estoy muy de acuerdo con que sea un mito, pero al menos la información a la que vincula, de Pew, me parece de excelente calidad y da pie a interesantes discusiones. Sobre el tema, me vino a la mente el excelente libro Human Capitalism)

3. El rescate financiero funcionó. (La gente sigue perdiendo sus casas.)

4. Los datos de los ciudadanos americanos son protegidos por su gobierno (Ni hablar.)

5. EUA se está recuperando de la crisis financiera. (Salarios y empleo no han crecido desde entonces.)


vía Five false myths that make liberals feel good « mathbabe.

Google Maps y GE en SIG para servicios públicos y yo muriendo de envidia

Cómo muero de envidia:

GE just announced a partnership with Google to license Google maps for use in its geographic information system (GIS) dubbed Smallworld. Smallworld is a set of software tools used by engineers to help design and manage things like electric grids, pipelines, telecom networks and other large, critical systems of stuff that guys in trucks tend to keep an eye on. Ironically, Smallworld is about to get a lot bigger as it opens its walled garden up to Google Maps. But Google Maps could start to evolve too as the mapping needs of this new set of industrial users starts banging away on it.

Just as office-bound folks started to bring their tablets, smartphones and other consumer tech to work because it just worked better, GE landed on Google Maps for its accuracy and familiarity, says Bryan Friehauf, the product line leader of software solutions for GE’s Digital Energy business. “Everyone has such high expectations around the quality of these kinds of tools because of their own consumer experience,” Friehauf says. “Those expectations and how we use technology is now going into the industrial realm. We can roll out Google Maps, and I don’t have to have a manual for it, millions of people are already familiar with it.”

vía Google Maps, Now in Industrial Strength! | Wired Business |

Cochrane escribe sobre el salario mínimo en EU

John Cochrane hace su aportación a la discusión actual sobre el salario mínimo y la propuesta de Obama de subirlo a $9 dólares por hora:

The point is not to be heartless — government programs or not, life on the lower end of America’s economic and social spectrum is pretty awful. The point is, if we seriously want to address the problems of the “working poor,” if we want policies that actually work rather than spew a lot of TV time and make us feel good, let us paint a vaguely realistic picture of what their life is like. Absolutely nobody (except perhaps illegal aliens) is trying to support a family on $14,500 from a full time minimum wage job, period. The actual economic life of the “working poor” is a welter of government programs, transitory employment, and a lot of illegal activity

And, one huge problem facing people who do work full time and earn minimum wage is the astounding marginal tax rates that our various social programs imply. In fact, much of the raise from $7.25 to $9.00 will be taken away. Even more of a raise to $20 an hour will be taken away. The structure of our programs that are supposed to help people are instead trapping them.

Yes indeed, let us help families to “finally get ahead!” Let us talk about lousy schools, incentive-destroying social programs, horrendous violence, life-destroying incarceration, and the war on drugs run amok. The minimum wage may slightly help the few who can get such jobs, and put such entry-level jobs slightly more out of reach for many others. But it’s just irrelevant to the real, first-order problems such families face.

vía The Grumpy Economist: Two cents on the minimum wage.

Plática entre un liberal y una Occupy Wall Street

Russell Roberts, de EconTalk, entrevista a Cathy O’Neil de acerca de la crisis, los modelos financieros y de Occupy Wall Street. El intercambio es sumamente enriquecedor y es curioso ver cómo dos personas con creencias completamente distintas están de acuerdo en casi todo, incluso en lo fundamental.

Algunos pasajes interesantes de la entrevista:

I’m a capitalist; I love profit; and I love loss. And profit without loss is the most destructive thing you can probably imagine. And so a political system that has banks that make money at our expense as taxpayers and don’t bear the losses is pretend- or crony-capitalism, and faux capitalism. And those of us who love capitalism shouldn’t be defending their right to make profit, or defending them by saying, well, they are just playing by the rules. They help write the rules; they help make the rules; they influence the rule-makers as much as they can. And we can debate whether they are immoral or not, or evil, or dark, or unethical. All those things. Or even something minor, like jerks. That’s not the key issue. To me the key issue is: The system itself is not healthy in the way that capitalism should be. And don’t defend it. Those of you out there–they are going to destroy it.

Russ Roberts

Listen, I’m smart. You know. One of the reasons I disagree is because I’m smart and I don’t know what to do. And I know a lot of awfully smart people who don’t know what to do. And I know a lot of slightly less smart people who claim to know what to do. So really what it comes down to for me is, I want there to be a strong way of asserting: I don’t know.

And if you are saying: I don’t know the answer and we have to think about it, and we have to make sure the incentives are right and we have to make sure that the average person is protected from starvation, and it’s going to be hard, and the people who are in power now are going to have less power and they are going to have less money–that doesn’t sound like a very, you just don’t get play on that. But I do think that the ‘I don’t know’ somehow needs to have more cultural weight. And I think part of that is–starting this, that’s how I’ve chosen to start. I’ve chosen to start by saying: Distrust the expert. To be a skeptic. I want to first promote skepticism. Because once people sort of look under the covers to these mathematical models or whatever other models–political models–they realize that people are inside those. The systems are simply acting in their own best interests, almost all the time. And then people will start saying: Wait a second; that’s not working. What should we do? And that’s when they’ll come to–in an ideal world they’d come to this moment of: I don’t know. And they’d admit that they don’t know. And we’d actually get somewhere with our conversation.

O’Neil acerca de los financieros durante la crisis y su arrogancia en torno a los modelos financieros

Al final, Russ Roberts cita "The Second Coming," de Yeats.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


And that last line of that verse, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity," that to me is a big problem we have with experts.


Vía Econtalk

Las 10 tendencias tecnológicas que hay que seguir en 2013

De acuerdo con el blog del World Economic Forum son:

  1. Vehículos Eléctricos basados en transmisión electromagnética de energía
  2. Impresión en 3D y manufactura remota
  3. Materiales autorreparantes
  4. Purificación de agua energéticamente eficiente
  5. Conversión y uso de CO2
  6. Mejoras moleculares para la nutrición
  7. Detección remota
  8. Entrega precisa de medicamentos por medio de nanotecnología
  9. Electrónicos y celdas fotovoltaicas orgánicos
  10. Generadores nucleares de 4a generación y reciclaje de desechos nucleares

The top 10 emerging technologies for 2013 | Forum:Blog | The World Economic Forum.

Haciendo política industrial en Estados Unidos

El presidente Barack Obama ha señalado consistentemente su intención de crear trabajos manufactureros en industrias limpias. Personalmente, tengo mis dudas sobre el éxito de su estrategia de política industrial y hoy veo que Wired publicó una historia sobre cómo General Motors no encuentra demanda para partes de autos híbridos de inversiones que hizo hace pocos años con dinero del estímulo fiscal.

Federally Funded Chevy Volt Battery Plant Paid Workers to Play, Not Make Batteries | Wired Business |