Joined to infamy
Posted by aogFriday, 09 October 2009 at 10:51 TrackBack Ping URL

I thought awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize was a nasty and studied insult, but apparently the general consensus is that it was intended to be laudatory. I do think it makes a nice pairing with the de-funding of monitoring brutal oppression in Iran — as I have noted “peace crimes” don’t count because it’s “peace”.

P.S. I don’t understand the widespread how bizarre! reactions — the awarding does not seem the least bit bizarre to me, but far more of a piece with continual unhinged adulation of Obama. He’s never deserved any of the massive rewards he has received, so why should a Nobel Peace Prize be any different? I think Ace of Spaces has good read on it.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
AVeryRoughRoadAhead Friday, 09 October 2009 at 14:14

”[H]ow bizarre!” is understated, IMO. “Vomit inducing” is how I’d describe it.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 09 October 2009 at 15:44

Actually, how is the Nobel Peace Prize Committee different from the American Street? Certainly Obama wasn’t more qualified to be President than he was to get the Peace Prize.

Brian Friday, 09 October 2009 at 15:51

Well, the prize that the American people gave him was important, and so that was tragic.

The prize that the Nobel Committee gave him is meaningless, and so this is completely hilarious.

Peter Friday, 09 October 2009 at 16:04

Relax, AOG, it’s very clear that no one is taking this seriously. Maybe in Europe, but that is because they take the Nobel Prize absurdly seriously. Every leftist blog in North America is claiming much too desperately that “right wing-nut” heads are exploding. As far as I can tell most of them are just giggling. Join them.

Think of it this way: Can there be any better evidence that Europe has bought into the idea of American exceptionalism?

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 09 October 2009 at 16:10

Why relax? I am not taking it seriously either. I agree with Brian. I am giggling.

Peter Friday, 09 October 2009 at 17:08

You are giggling? Can we get affidavits from your daughters on that? AOG, we’ve been blogging together for a long time, and I’ve never known you to giggle. If you are now, all I can say is that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has made an inspired choice.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 09 October 2009 at 17:37

I need to get you together with SWIPIAW who complains that I don’t take anything seriously.

Bret Friday, 09 October 2009 at 18:51

Maybe you should change your blog name to Giggling Old Guy? It has a nice ring to it.

Bret Friday, 09 October 2009 at 18:52

Though, I suppose if you’re giggling all the time, that would be annoying…

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 09 October 2009 at 21:09

Oh, I don’t need to giggle to be annoying.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 10 October 2009 at 20:04

Want to know who is not giggling? The DNC (via Moe Lane via Instapundit) —

“The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists – the Taliban and Hamas this morning – in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize,” DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse told POLITICO.

Apparently since “racist!” is not working anymore, they’ve gone to “Republican!”. Be sure to check out Moe Lane’s list of people who are now Republicans.

AVRRA, here’s one for you.

Andrea Harris Saturday, 10 October 2009 at 21:16

I hope you don’t think I was confused or shocked. Actually, I agree with you that it’s all of a piece with Obama being elected president in the first place. It’s the Onion’s world, we just live in it.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Monday, 12 October 2009 at 11:23


AVeryRoughRoadAhead Tuesday, 13 October 2009 at 00:24

I just read ‘A Path to Downward Mobility’ by Robert J. Samuelson, published Monday, October 12, 2009 in The Washington Post, wherein he writes:

Every generation of Americans should live better than its predecessor. That’s Americans’ core definition of economic “progress.”

But for today’s young, it may be a mirage. […] Are we condemning our children to downward mobility?

Good question. […] An oft-stated view is that the growth of the U.S. economy will make the young so much richer than their parents that they can afford a bigger health-care sector and still enjoy large increases in their living standards. Complaining about providing more generous health care is selfish. This is a powerful argument; unfortunately, it isn’t true.

Look at the table below. It portrays the U.S. economy from 1980, with a projection for 2030 from Moody’s The projection assumes that the recession ends and growth revives. Superficially, the table suggests that economic growth can easily pay for more health care. In 2007 the economy’s total output — gross domestic product, our national income — was $13.3 trillion. In 2030 it projects to $22.6 trillion, up 70 percent, [while per capita GDP is projected to increase ~40%, from $43,900 in 2007 to $60,600 in 2030]. (All amounts are in 2005 “constant” dollars to eliminate inflation.) […]

Surely that’s ample. Not really. […]

Unless controlled, rising health spending would absorb much of that gain. The increase in per capita GDP from 2007 to 2030 is $16,700. If health spending continued to grow at past rates, [Emph. added] it would go from $7,100 per person in 2007 to $15,300 in 2030. This rise of $8,200 is half the overall gain ($16,700) in per capita income. (For policy wonks: This assumes health spending grows 2 percentage points faster than GDP per capita, the 1975-2005 trend.)

Downward mobility is possible. […]

The young’s future has been heavily mortgaged…

The young’s future most assuredly has been heavily mortgaged, but perhaps not inappropriately.

First, if health care costs do rise to become 25% of income, that’s a big jump in resource consumption, but possibly an even greater rise in value received, i.e., a bargain. What will today’s youth get for their health care outlays in the future? Bespoke pharmacology tailored to the patient’s DNA, a vastly better quality of life in advanced age, and longer life - possibly a significantly longer expected lifespan.

That’s worth paying for.

Second, the advanced nations are on the cusp of explosive growth in productivity, especially in manufacturing and warfare, but in the service industries as well. Given the enormous riches waiting for today’s youth a couple of decades hence, it’s not necessarily a bad decision to borrow heavily against the future. (Which is fortunate, ‘cause whether it’s a good or bad decision, it’s going to happen.)

Bret Tuesday, 13 October 2009 at 10:19


I’m not sure I’m following your argument.

It sounds like you’re saying that the young should be grateful to have their future “heavily mortgaged” for healthcare benefits even though they don’t use much healthcare benefits (being young and all) because, possibly, just maybe, when they’re old, if the generation after them is stupid enough to decide pay for their benefits then, well, they might benefit then.

I’m not buying it. At best, it’s a very bad bet for the young.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Tuesday, 13 October 2009 at 21:34

No, I’m saying that DESPITE the fact that the future is heavily mortgaged, it’ll probably turn out OK.

Today’s youth won’t have to wait until their old age to benefit, nor will they have to depend on the following generations to finance their health care - unlike the Boomers, who DO have to depend, in part, on their kids.

And bad bet or not, it’s the one being placed, like it or lump it. It’s just not likely to turn out as badly as Samuelson fears.

Bret Tuesday, 13 October 2009 at 22:59

AVRRA wrote: “Today’s youth won’t have to wait until their old age to benefit…

This is the part I seem to be missing. Why won’t they have to wait till their old age to benefit?

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Wednesday, 14 October 2009 at 12:46

From William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.: When losing your job is no big loss

Dear Friend,

The numbers don’t lie. Stress from work can kill you.

When people lose their jobs in recessions, our overall health numbers get better. Cardiovascular disease? Down. Liver disease? Down. Pneumonia and influenza? Down. Even deaths by traffic accident fall, since fewer people have reason to be out on the highways.

One North Carolina researcher who’s looked at the major recessions of the past found that for each 1 percent increase in unemployment, there’s a 0.6 percent decrease in the overall mortality rate.

That’s right. Death by everything: Down.

Hey, a silver lining. Although I would have thought that being unemployed would be MORE stressful than work…

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Wednesday, 14 October 2009 at 15:24


If we define “youth” as under thirty, and “old age” as beginning at sixty-seven (which is the current SS “Full (normal) Retirement Age” for those born in 1960 and later1), then there are at least 37 years of medical discoveries ahead of today’s youth.

Because it’s likely that in those 37 years we’ll make as much progress in the medical arts & sciences as we did during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries combined2,3, today’s young will benefit mightily long before they’re officially allowed to cost-shift some of their medical expenses to the yet-unborn.

1 Care to bet on how long that is gonna stick? By the time that those born in 1960 start to retire, I expect to see a F(n)RA of at least 72 for those born in 1980 and later.

2 Understanding the Accelerating Rate of Change by Ray Kurzweil & Chris Meyer [Emphasis added]:

Kurzweil: The Law of Accelerating Returns is the acceleration of technology, and the evolutionary growth of the products of an evolutionary process. And this really goes back to the roots of biological evolution.

Evolution works through indirection. You create something and then work through that to create the next stage. And for that reason, the next stage is more powerful, and happens more quickly. And that has been accelerating ever since the dawn of evolution on this planet.

The first stage of evolution took billions of years. DNA was being created and that was very significant because it was like a little computer, and an information processing method to store the results of experiments, and to build up a knowledge base from which it could then launch experiments and codify the results.

The subsequent stages of evolution happened much more quickly. The Cambrian Explosion only took a few tens of millions of years to establish the body plan to evolve animals. […] Humanoids evolved over many millions of years, and Homo sapiens over only hundreds of thousands of years. And there again, evolution used the products of its evolutionary processes, which was Homo sapiens, to create the next stage, which was human-directed technology, which really is a continuation of the cutting-edge of the evolutionary process on earth, for creating more intelligent systems.

In the first stage of human-directed technology, it took tens of thousands of years, which is what you would expect for the next stage via the wheel, or stone tools, and that kept accelerating, because when we had stone tools, we could use them to build the next stage. So a thousand years ago a paradigm shift only took a century, like the printing press. And now a paradigm shift, like the World Wide Web, is measured in only a few years’ time. The first computers were built with screwdrivers and were designed with pencil and paper, and today we use computers to create computers. […] The most significant acceleration is in the paradigm shift rate itself, which I think of as the rate of technical progress. And all of these are actually not exponential, but double exponentials because not only does the process accelerate because of our evolution’s ability to use each stage of evolution to build the next stage, but also, as the process, as an area gets higher price performance, more resources get drawn into that capability.

Meyer: As you’ve pointed out, technology’s rate of change continues to get faster and faster. If change is exponential, what will that mean for our future?

Kurzweil: The whole 20th century, because we’ve been speeding up to this point, is equivalent to 20 years of progress at today’s rate of progress…

3 Insightful criticism of the proposed accelerating curve of technological change: September 2004 WIRED magazine The Evolution Will Be Mechanized: Inside the unfathomable superhuman future after the “singularity.” by Bruce Sterling

Hey Skipper Wednesday, 14 October 2009 at 17:42

… there’s a 0.6 percent decrease in the overall mortality rate.

So it is less than 100%? Wow.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 14 October 2009 at 18:02

Personally, I think we’re hitting a limit on technological growth because of limitations in human cognition. Technological knowledge, like other resources, will turn out to have a rapid initial expansion phase followed by a much slower growth mature phase. This is because the amount of knowledge needed to advance is less than the capacity of a human mind. But as the knowledge base increases and easy connections are exploited growth becomes more limited. While technology will continue to advance, it will be at a more sedate pace in the future and the exponential growth will taper off.

Bret Wednesday, 14 October 2009 at 18:25


I’ve read Kurzweil’s stuff and don’t necessarily disagree with that part.

However, where I completely disagree with your analysis is that I believe that all of the healthcare reforms proposed will RADICALLY SLOW innovations in healthcare, so the young will be even worse off when they get old relative to what would’ve been if we don’t hand health care over to the government bureaucrats.

Progress may be double exponential per Kurzweil, or it may not (perhaps its more of a sigmoid and will start slowing any moment now), but in either case health care innovations will, in my opinion, occur at a much slower rate because of government meddling. There is only downside for the young and healthy, and as a parent, it makes me sick to know that my children will be worse off.

erp Wednesday, 14 October 2009 at 18:54

Bret, Unfortunately, all innovation suffers when there is no profit motive, whether that profit is fame or fortune. The compassionates don’t like to admit it, but without it, everything stagnates.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Friday, 16 October 2009 at 03:39


At the end of the first day of the [Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas] conference in Denver, we were treated to a fantastic presentation on the oil potential of the sub-salt basins on the margins of the South Atlantic Ocean given by Dr Marcio Mello who presented the evidence for a half trillion barrels of reserves in this new frontier province. So has a new Saudi Arabia been found?

Marcio Mello is president of HRT Petroleum, a Brazillian geological services company. Dr Mello’s talk began with some background to the Tupi discovery in the Santos Basin, Brazil, and went on to extrapolate the geological and petroleum systems of Tupi to basins off southern Africa, the Amazon Basin, The Gulf of Mexico and The Congo Basin.

Dr Mello explained how the discovery of “diamondoid” structures in oil at shallow depth in Brazil gave evidence for mixing two types of petroleum, one that must have been formed at great depth below the Salt that blankets this basin. He had for many years tried to persuade Petrobras to drill deep, into the sub-salt strata, which of course they did eventually do leading to the discovery of Tupi.

The Tupi Field occurs in limestone reservoir at extraordinary depths of around 6000 meters beneath a salt layer that is around 2000 m thick. At such depths, temperatures would normally be too high for oil to survive but the secrets here are a combination of deep water and the conducting character of the salt which results in hot but tollerable temperatures at these great depths where the drill bit has proven intermediate grade crude oil to exist.

The geological story

The story starts during the Early Creataceous when the continents of S America, Africa, Australia and Antarctica were joined in a supercontinent called Gondwanaland. […]

A mirror image in Africa?

When the continents split apart, roughly half the rift basin strata followed S America and half followed Africa. Dr Mello then went on to speculate that a mirror image of the Santos Basin may exist on the African side. I believe it has already been identified on seismic. Somewhat higher heat flows on this side would likely mean a gas and condensate play instead of oil. […]

Dr Mello […] speculated that the sub-salt basins on the margins of the S Atlantic together with the Amazon and Congo basins may contain 500 billion barrels of oil. So is this our oil supply problems solved? If he is right, then another Saudi Arabia may be found, but in much more hostile environment.

Well, the physical environment might be much more hostile, but the Middle East doesn’t seem too inviting socially, and hasn’t for almost two decades now. Besides, this stuff, even if found and developed, won’t be coming on line for decades, by which time the M.E.’ll be running dry(er) anyhow.

Good resource for commodity and economic info, if one can stand the leftist tilt: Energy Bulletin

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