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I think the way to think of it is as a violation of airspace in the context of being belligerents by proxy.

For various reasons (confessional and otherwise)Turkey has been firmly and outspokenly anti-Assad since the early demonstrations and since they evolved into civil war.

Russia has intervened effectively on behalf of the Assad regime. Since the Assad's failure today would almost certainly result in a jihadist Syria, this is not looking so terrible to the rest of Turkey's NATO allies, like France. Turkey is by some (fairly loose) definition engaged in proxy war with Russia.

At the same time Lebanese, Iraqi & Syrian airspaces to their south and east are free-for-alls with 8 national forces bombing as they see fit in Syria. This is probably making Turkey paranoid about their own air space.

I suspect they see/saw this as Russia testing their resolve to defend their border. There have been previous violations and stern warning had been made. There's also the possibility that this is a bad decision made by field officers in the short decision window they had.

>There's also the possibility that this is a bad decision made by field officers in the short decision window they had.

That's an excellent point, and one I think is often missed. These are decisions made by commanders in the field in a short amount of time, with limited information. They have many concerns, worries, and instructions to comply with. What if it was misidentified as a Russian plane? What if they did nothing, and the plane dropped bombs on a Turkish village? There's lots of potential outcomes, limited information, and consequences and repercussions far beyond the event itself. And it's a mistake to think national leaders are involved directly in this process.

To give my personal views for a moment here, this is why it's so important they recognize, that whenever force is involved, regardless of intent, aim, or goal, it's messy, and things like this will occur, without fail. There will be accidents, without fail.

I think this is a fairly known scenarios, that strategists and leaders taught well in advance with all possible and military personnel are trained on. I also read in an article that the order to shot it down came from the turkish president.

> I also read in an article that the order to shot it down came from the turkish president.

Can you link to that article?

I can't remember which source it was was I read different articles from FB trending news, I tried to find it but couldn't, later I'll have another go.

^On larger conflicts, I think it's a real danger.

France is hysterical right now, and I imagine they are considering an "all arms" invasion with Russia at their side. There is growing international support for Kurdish independence. Even Assad might agree to it. This is a Turkish red line. Turkey is still keen to oust Assad. The longer IS & other jihadis can demonstrate unprecedented achievements like capturing and holding territory, the more the danger grow in other ME countries. Russia has lost a civilian airliner to IS & a military jet to Turkey in a few weeks. The combination of successful IS terrorism, daily reports of raids on Jihadi safe houses, and massive refugee migration has made Syria the number 1 political issue everywhere in Europe.

It's all a tinderbox and Turkey just shot down a Russian jet.

And it occurred to me that Russia might have "accidentally" intruded into Turkey's airspace to provoke a reaction to give Russia a pretext to take stronger action in Syria.

I don't know if that even makes sense, but Russia is in the driver's seat. The U.S. is taking a nap.

For 9 seconds.

I don't see how they could have been warning him for 10 minutes if he was over their airspace for nine seconds.

Well they probably were warning him before he hit Turkish airspace

> almost certainly result in a jihadist Syria

What does that even mean?

Computers are used more and more but do not play a creative role

It's always difficult to get concepts straight when talking about any of these AI-ish questions. The thing that we describe before the fact as "intelligence" is generally stuff we can't imagine mechanizing. Once it is mechanized, and we see the mechanic we don't really like to call it AI. I think it's the same issue for "creative."

When humans do mathematics they look for theorems that are interesting intuitively. We don't really understand what this intuition is. If a computer does it, say along the way to solving some other problem, we will be able to look into the mechanic and it probably won't seem like intuition to us.

I think there's a touch of "my adversary is a super-villain" paranoia to the anti-tracking sentiments. I mean Facebook or Amazon get talked about occasionally for being able to predict pregnancies or breakups an monetizing that. But, IMO, it's much overblown. Predctive analytics are not at that point, if they ever will be. The vast majority of ad targeting is a lot simpler than that. It's either common sense understandable (advertise nanny services to people who read parenting magazines) or trial and error. Trial and error is still the more powerful of the two.

FB & Google have the option to scan your site, pick audiences and advertising strategies and run everything on autopilot. it doesn't work very well.

If your strategy is to collect toilet break statistics, user listening habits or some other bit of "data" for a large number of free users than monetize it somehow, good luck.

I think the right not to be interfered with is important too. This includes property rights, but I wouldn't necessarily put it at the very top of the list morally. They're pretty important economically.

In any case, I think it's interesting you said "freedom to smoke pot in one's home." Many aspects of liberalism/libertarianism are fairly incompatible with fundamentalism, though people try. Once you accept that a little taxation is necessary to fund police or something, you give up on a fundamentalist purity. Once you put in a caveat that you're freedoms end where they diminish another's you end up with grey areas.

The grey area here is that what you do with your property affects your neighbours. If you have a rock garden or an unkempt mess (or a wrong coloured door if you're in the Netherlands) the neighbourhood is different. Everything we do affects other people and we need some lines. AirBnB built an entire society in the grey area. The whiter sections are renting a couch to travellers. A darker shad might be a setup that rents out 4 apartments in a 10 unit building with appeal to a noisier or more disruptive market segment.

You're right and I don't think you can think of this in isolation of the cost of housing more generally… On one hand.

On the other hand, I think the marketing schpiel has more than pure dishonesty to it. There are bigger "transient young urban singles" groups today. SSomewhere between student and work, lifestyle-wise. In earlier generations they would be coupled or living with family. Some do spend a lot of time working or just out of the house. So convenience, location and of course price are big concerns.

Basically, people who aren't students that live a lot like students.

Like you say price is the strangest current here. If you could rent a normal flat for the same money, most would. That said, I'm not sure if there's ever been a time where decent single person housing has been available at a reasonable price.

Government intervention-wise I think the worst thing possible would be to try and shit this kind of thing down. That just takes away the option for these who don't have a better one. Use it instead as a canary.

This is interesting. It's the kind of topic that can easily be interpreted as anyone into their pet big issue and/or worldview, dangerously so.

This could be about The Plight of The Middle class and the cost of housing. Are we really returning to a world of boarding houses? It could be about a less is more world where people are discarding processions, home and contents and living a smaller, more environmental and simpler existence. It could be about demographic and cultural shifts. More single people. It could be about the decline of extended families, communities and multigenerational households. The continued accession of cities…

Anyway, interesting.

Beyond anything else, I think this points at how much of any issue housing is these days. Manufactures goods have dropped in prices for generations to the point where looking back a few generations to a time when cutlery and crockery, salt and other things were wealth is ridiculous. Transport has improved more slowly. Air travel has certainly become a lot cheaper and international travel has become more accessible over the years. So have services like restaurants, gyms and lots of recreational goods. Information has been revolutionized. But housing, it's not really improving with time. We're not better off than our grandparents in many cases.

More like real estate. The amount of land is fixed, after all. And some are more valuable than others.

Even the materials used to build houses had gotten cheaper, presumably.

Skyscrappers and high density housing can increase supply but only if regulations and market conditions allow it.

Here is a list of cities by population density. They're not the ones you would expect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_population_d...

It is possible to have lo-rise, high-density. As for "regulations and market conditions?" Everyplace has those.

That list doesn't tell us much, because what counts as the official city limits is completely arbitrary.

There are some parts of London for example that are very suburban.

Exactly. San Francisco is just twice the size of Manhattan and Houston is about 200 times as big of an area.

Hong Kong has closet sized apartments. That trend didn't always get the favourable write ups though. E.g. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/photos-lif...

Can't wait for the next trend after this one for the neo hipsters: hobo-housing. It's so affordable. You just push a vintage shopping trolley loaded with your stuff to a homeless shelter. Make an app to find the closest bunk bed!

Are there any capsule hotels in the US?

I think the short answer is no--not in the Japanese sense. There are hotels optimized around small (say 170 sf total) rooms. But in most (all?) cases they still have private bathrooms and you can certainly stand up and walk around. They're sometimes called "pod hotels" but that's sort of marketing; lots of hotels in a city like New York have pretty cramped rooms.

If you already have a keyboard, monitor and mouse or can get them cheap you get a cheap Chrome PC.

I suppose that's a market. Google isn't Apple. Not every product is an attempt at a revolution.

Lowering prices and adding form factors is great, but for me, I kind of wish they the chrome project had started immediately after rather than before the smartphone revolution. I think they got locked into "The Web is Enough." Smartphones reminded us that apps matter too.

Chrombooks sell well, apparently, but I rarely see them in the world.

I just think it's past time for a new desktop OS. Windows is not a great option for most home users. OSX's job is to sell a premium apple product. I wish there was an android of laptops and I think chrome OS would be doing it if not for the bad timing.

It might also be the a solution for TV.

What "app" are you saying matters that couldn't be built as a chrome app? It's just a different platform. It could be argued it's a better platform than most operating systems and more similar to the smartphone app model than not.

I still have faith in chrome os as an idea. I really believe most personal machines will be front-ends only. There is no reason I should need more computing power than it takes to display things on my screen.

I look forward to the day I have a passive box running git and ssh and I can run a terminal and editor in a browser tab wherever whenever I need to from a usb stick. In fact I don't know why that stick couldn't also be my phone.

This is a sort of pattern. (1) We create categories and concepts that rely on categories: molecules, organisms, species, galaxies; water, rebecca, potatoes, multiple personality disorder. (2) We use those categories to describe and understand things, engineer and theorize using them. We have evolution and chemistry and potato salad recipes. (3) Then we discover that these categories aren't really real. They're real, like, but not really real, you know what I mean. Tasmanian devils are being decimated by a contagious cancer. A mutated cell in some devil reproduced until it was lumps, then the devils bit another delve in the face (they're not nice animals) and some of that cancer jumped into another one and spread. Now, that cancer has outlived his maker and is going around spreading in the world with complete disregard for the concepts of organism or species and behaving like a bacteria, virus or somesuch. Instead of spreading normally like the rest of the devil by sexy with other devils it jumps into the other devil's face (sometimes during sex, they are not nice animals). Maybe one day it will evolve into our replacement. Maybe it will find symbioses with sheep and become a beneficial gut fauna (it is a taste devil after all).

We make up these categories for convenience. They are not obligated to comply.

This, and a lot of related observations are discussed at length in articles in [0]. Highly recommended!

Personally, I like to imagine concepts as boundaries in the abstract multidimmensional "thingspace" - you can cast and recast them as you like, but some are more useful than others. Some things naturally group together along one axis but spread out when you look along another one. The most important point is, concepts are tools of understanding and communication that we invent, not parts of reality itself. They're multiple ways of drawing a map, each with different focus, but each representing the same territory.

[0] - https://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/A_Human's_Guide_to_Words

Exactly! Language is a reduction of reality. A way for finite pattern recognizing feedback loops like ourself to deal with the patterns we experience around us. And to make some provincial sense of them.

In reality it's all patterns overlapping other patterns with no clear divide other than the one language forces upon it.

I kind of wonder if there's something else going on as well.

I mean, on one hand these categories are uncomfortably loose. Not just obviously made up ones like race or species. Things like molecules and galaxies are uncomfortably loose categories rather than actual things. Thingness seems to be a matter of degrees everywhere.

On the other hand, reality seems to make use of these close enough categories just like we do. It's building stuff out of molecules, stars and galaxies. It's evolving new species and problem solving using organisms and species despite the leaks in the abstractions.

I don't think its just a matter of crutches for our puny human perception. Something fishy is ging on.

This topic is, I think, most succinctly explained in Isaac Asimov's The Relativity of Wrong[1]. These concepts which rely on categories that you describe are wrong, but they're far less wrong than many other ideas. Don't forget that often science is used for prediction, and for prediction a good approximation is very useful. Yes, Tasmanian devils are a counterexample to the idea that cancers are never communicable, but it's an extremely rare counterexample. One can achieve great results in the study of cancers based on the assumption that cancers are never communicable.

[1] http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

The posterchild for categorization failure is 'species'. The closer you look at what a species is the more nebulous it becomes.

Most of the models that we use everyday are "leaky abstractions". They are useful in most contexts, but they get fuzzy at their boundaries.

My favourite example is the "chicken and egg" problem. The difficulty of it is to define what a chicken is, everything is trivial afterwards. The answer, IMHO, is that "a chicken" was born from an egg put by a "non-chicken".

I really like Richard Dawkins explanation of this, where he has you imagine taking a photo of yourself from your are born to you reach adulthood with 1 minute intervals.

If you stack these pictures, there is no single picture you can pull out and say: "Here I transitioned from child to adult" e.g. Likewise with animals and evolution. Changes are so minute that you can speak of a transition from one species to another happening at the point of birth.

Only when you look at pictures of yourself far away from each other in the pile can you start differentiating them. Likewise with animals.

Also Dawkins posits a relatively good empirical definition of species boundaries (although I'm not quoting him verbatim, and I may be extending/synthesizing some of the ideas somewhat), but...a species is basically the pool of organisms available at a period of time that can generate progeny that themselves can generate progeny. That is, they have replicator compatibility...

Under that definition, humans make a species. Horses make a species, donkeys make a species, but mules do not. Apparently in the world of Star Trek, Klingons and humans make a species: Worf (Klingon) had a child with a half-human/half-Klingon woman, and Tom Paris (human) had a child with a half-human/half-Klingon woman. Not sure about Vulcans and Romulans...obviously they can mate, but I'm not sure Spock himself can have children, perhaps we'll find out in a future movie. In Futurama, Kiff reproduced with Leela.

As to the concept of a human as a "super-organism", the problem with bacteria being part of the equation is that they do not transmit their replicator payload through the germ-line transmission vector. They are not integrated into the next generation in whole or in part. Via the concept of the extended phenotype they may alter and extend their environment to improve their chance of success (and often mothers and children have the same bacteria flora), but it's better to think of it as symbiosis (or in the worst case, parasitism) than true "super-organism" reproduction. (Me thinks!)

> a species is basically the pool of organisms available at a period of time that can generate progeny that themselves can generate progeny

That's what we learned in high-school too, but as you mentioned, it doesn't make sense for donkeys, nor does it work for ring species[1], or organisms that reproduce asexually[2]. Mules can occasionally become mothers[3].

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_species

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asexual_reproduction

3. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1226025...

I wasn't familiar with the term "Ring Species" (I've only gotten interested in evolutionary biology in the past few years), although I had considered that a "pool" might have a relatively fluctuating degrees of mutuality and incompatibility among candidate members.

Also, I hadn't considered to qualify "sexual reproduction", as asexual reproduction might be better thought of as strains (perhaps), the classification systems for simpler organisms tends to be more structural than fecund. In my defense, I tend to refer to organisms as assemblages of organs of which simpler biota can loosely be said to possess, though I always thought of the "organs" of single-cellular creatures as organelles as they are not made up of "tissue" as they are in multi-cellular organisms.

In Star Trek Enterprise a body from the future had DNA fragments from something like a dozen different "species". Vulcans, Klingon, and Human were all included.

The thing about life boundries though in biology is that the more you know the less it makes sense. All bacteria are technically a single species, as are Archaea. Virus's aren't considered alive at all, though they do evolve. Then there are asexual creatures entirely. I vaguely recall a lizard that has no real genetic diversity because they are all females that reproduce without any sex, and there are no males. So... they're not a species either, but are still reproducing. Biology is screwy.

And all navel oranges are effectively clonal (with the requisite amount of replication drift). Dawkins chief subject of study was insects, so his books are filled with descriptions (and math!) of genetic similarity and divergence within different insect colonies. Some insect species have colonies whose members have a better than (human) sibling relationship with their "sisters", and in fact may even be (1/2) clonal instances of the queen, and full clonal instances of each other. The workers themselves are non-fecund, but their genes replicate on through the fertile queen. We certainly don't want to say the sterile workers are without species, and it may make more sense to think of the insect colony as a "super-organism"...if we could get past the fact that tissues and organs are distributed, but the long term success of the genetic line is concentrated in the germ-line.

This is somewhat complicated by royal jelly. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_jelly

Post menopausal woman and some adult workers have both lost the ability to reproduce. But, they did have it in the past.

Which suggests the question; should we consider tribes a 'super' organism? As it includes and benefits from sterile members. What about things like monastic orders or wolf packs whose members forgo reproduction?

> Horses make a species, donkeys make a species, but mules do not.

Rarely, sometimes mules are fertile.

And as far as humans, no one's entirely sure that chimps and humans aren't inter-fertile... at least at the level of horses/donkeys.

Exception, not the rule, but I did warn it was a relatively good empirical formula, not a law of nature :-) I am of the mind that categories such as species are mental constructs to turn the phenomenal world into an approximate model-space so that understanding and action planning can be improved.

So for me rather than concepts like "species" being meaningless, they can have meaning (or at least value), but best not to think of them as iron laws. Mostly the point I was hoping to get to in my root response before I diverted myself reading my own text while typing it.

It's easier to create iron laws for categorical manipulation than it is to place observations into categories to begin with.

Isn't that a bit like complaining about definitively stating in which square a chess piece currently sits because previously it had been on other squares?

Exactly, they are minute because they are constant. We are in constant flux so to speak.

It seems to me that difficulty is not so much defining what a chicken is, but what a chicken egg is - is it an egg laid by a chicken, or an egg a chicken hatches from?

Just pick one. That's easier than picking the bird that is a chicken whose parent is not a chicken.

Sorry to be pedantic - but every model is, by definition, an approximation of reality. Everything we experience is a blurry rendition of the inconceivable volume of information dancing around us.

To look at models as 'blurry' is misleading. Models are imperfect, but the imperfect model can be more crisp than the underlying reality.

Newtonian physics are very useful and less blurry than reality.

More relevant, categories are useful and less blurry than reality. There doesn't need to be a sudden major difference between a chicken and a not-chicken. They only need to have a clear distinction in the model.

For comparison, let's look at integers. 11 is very similar to 12, and 13 is at least as similar, but 11 and 12 are not-teen and 13 is teen. There's no ambiguity, there is only the definition of the category/model "teen".

The distinction is arbitrary, but there's still a distinction. You can easily "draw a line" as the sibling comment says.

Re: Blurry, I think that and Dancing are Thru the glass darkly type references.

The answer, IMHO, is that "a chicken" was born from an egg put by a "non-chicken".

And the thing is, you could not determine when exactly the non-chicken became the chicken i.e. when it is chicken enough. You could not draw a line.

Richard Dawkins gives a fantastic and compact illustration of this problem here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz8KEF8oid0

Nonsense, you just use git bisect to find the oldest ancestor that can still mate with a modern chicken and produce fertile offspring and there's your first chicken.

I think you'd enjoy this philosophical dive into why we have categories and how to properly use them.


> They're real, like, but not really real, you know what I mean.

You mean.. the real reality? The reality that can't be easily explained through observation and empirical evidence? The reality that can't be perceived through our basic physical senses? The reality where causation and correlation don't mean a thing? If you mean that reality... there's no such thing, and even if there is, there's no point in talking about it, it's way beyond our reach.

If you mean the reality in which we've done most of the division and classification work very poorly due to lack of data... I know what you mean.

It's not way beyond our reach [1], how can you even say that?

As Celia Green says: "Only the impossible is worth attempting, in everything else one is sure to fail."

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman

> there's no point in talking about it, it's way beyond our reach

All of humanity's scientific progress has been a step-by-step widening of the circle of our knowledge into that vast universe of the unknown. There is certainly a point in acknowledging it, acknowledging its vastness in comparison to what we actually know, and looking for the next tiny pebble we can chip out of that wall of ignorance.

All of humanity's scientific progress has been built gradually upon principles, that have been the same for ages. Start experimenting with the fundamentals and you start wandering in a sea of abstractness - holographic universe, multiverse, one-electron universe... you name it. Theories that you can either prove or disprove and theories that bring no progress.

That's just my opinion of course.

> Theories that you can either prove or disprove and theories that bring no progress.

Of course you can "prove"/"disprove" them, otherwise they wouldn't be discussed by scientists but by philosophers or theologians. For theories to be different, there must be an experiment that in principle could be done, for which each of them predicts different result. If we get around doing that expriment, we'll learn which theory is the right model.

This is an universal principle of science and applies at every level - both fundamentals and macro/practical.

Algebraists were way ahead of the curve: look at the properties of an object with respect to an operation.

i.e. integers are commutive under addition and multiplication but not under subtraction or division.

The way that can be followed isn't the real way.

The name that can be named isn't the real name.


>Then we discover that these categories aren't really real. They're real, like, but not really real, you know what I mean.


I this "western foreign policy" plays a complex role, some of it has been negative. In some cases, like Iraq, it is more a failure of that policy that has had a negative effect.

However, I think this features far too prominently in a lot of people's outlooks than it should. Nothing, including terrorism is born in a vacuum but I don't think American involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts is the primary cause. Various Tsarist policies at the turn of the century are responsible for the conditions that gave rise to revolutionary communism in Russia, but communism was a greater force than Tsarist policies.

We are talking about a spectrum of religious-nationalist beliefs that are turning other wars, conflicts, slights, frustrations, rivalries and any other available fuel and putting it to use. This includes American policies in Iraq. They are fuelling it, but I really do not think they are creating it.


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