What is that?
It's a duck pond.
Why aren't there any ducks?
I don't know. There's never any ducks.
Then how do you know it's a duck pond?

Monday, March 23


Stupid Facts

So for some reason I was looking at the Wikipedia entry for the geography of the Northern Territory.  Blah blah blah, largest lake is Lake Amadeus, with an area of WTF km2.

There's a lake of over 1000 km2 in the Northern Territory?!  I know the northern parts along the Gulf of Carpentaria and Timor Sea are positively soggy, but most of the state is arid, and I'd have noticed a lake that big on a map just by casual inspection.



Salt lake.

Most of the time, dry salt lake.

Like Lake Eyre, which is the largest lake in Australia, and the 18th largest lake in the world....  When it has water in it.

Or the Todd River, where the annual regatta had to be cancelled in 1993 because there was water in the river.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:13 AM | No Comments | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, March 11


Am I The Crazy One?

I've been arguing today with people who think that the letter by 47 Republican Senators - explaining to the leaders of Iran the principles of enumerated powers and the branches of the US government - constitutes treason.

In other words, I've been arguing with crazy people.  What does that make me?

On the other hand, I got my first Reddit Gold.  Which means that someone essentially paid money to upvote me.  So I'm not the only crazy one.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:35 PM | Comments (12) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Tuesday, March 10


Idiots And The Games They Play

Every day we are presented with new evidence of the of the boundless incompetence of the Obama administration when it comes to foreign policy.  From giving a press conference detailing plans to retake territory captured by ISIS to chasing a deal with Iran that everyone knows they won't honour, the White House seems unable to put a foot right.


Russia, for example, and to some extent Iran, are in game theory terms rational actors.  In an uncertain world, they will look to their short term interest.  That means that unless you pose a convincing threat, they will cheat every single time, treating international politics as an Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma scenario.

The West is both affluent and peaceful precisely because it has learned not to do that.  Except under extreme provocation, Western nations co-operate with each other every time, a strategy known as superrationality.

Superrational actors take into account not only their short-term interests, but the interests of the other party in the interaction, and that party's own reasoning.

If you know that another party is a superrational actor, by far the most rewarding long-term strategy is superrationality on your part.  This involves convincing them that you are superrational as well, of course, because superrationality can only work when it's known to be mutual.

Rational actors in a superrational world are shut out of the peace and affluence of the superational, because, as far as the superrational actors are concerned, the rational actors are a bunch of lying cheating back-stabbing murderous lunatics.

Where to the rational actors, the superrational actors are easy pickings and, frankly, soft in the head.

But if you can persuade everyone to take up the superrational strategy, everyone will benefit.  Defense budgets will drop to essentially zero, with the world's military turned into International Rescue.  No-one will be imposing economic sanctions on anyone else.  No-one will be starving or rioting.  There will be no need for spies or secret police.  For the cost of any of the recent relatively minor wars, we could have established a self-sustaining colony on Mars.

But while a rational strategy against a superrational actor throws away enormous potential in the long-term for real short-term gains, a superrational strategy against a rational actor always loses.  

Only a complete idiot would follow a superrational strategy against a known rational player.

And that's precisely what the Obama administration does.

Why?  Well, because they're complete idiots.  Why are they complete idiots?  For now I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:09 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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