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Iran deal: U.S. losing superpower status

A week ago, I suggested that the U.S. was moving closer to Iran by the negotitations, perhaps closer to Iran than Saudi Arabia and Israel, two of Washington's regional allies.

These concerns became much clearer now, once the Iran deal was signed. If you missed it, the deal should make it easier to inspect the nuclear sites in Persia. However, it has pretty much explicitly allowed Iran to enrich the uranium – up to 5 percent or so but the freedom to keep the capability is essential – and it will suspend most of the sanctions.

Washington and London may claim that the deal is balanced but it's clearly not according to the reactions. Israel considers it a "historic mistake". Saudi Arabia formally says the deal is OK but it is revising its doctrines and prepares to fight to oppose Iran's regional hegemony.

Iran's negotiators were greeted as heroes. Iran clearly considers the deal to be a victory. It will allow them to fix the greatest imbalances caused by the sanctions so far and this will allow Iran to undergo a new wave of sanctions in the future when the nation goes "openly rogue" again. Moreover, the six months of "truce" implied by the Geneva deal with make it even harder to strike Iran afterwords, regardless of its violations of the deal.

Czech nuclear watchdog Ms Dana Drábová stated that Iran is a large/great and proud nation that couldn't have surrendered in "all topics". Well, I surely understand where she's coming from. I know some (fine) folks who were born in Iran and I understand their opinion that Iran is intrinsically a modern and progressive country that wants to determine a lot in the region, regardless of their disagreement with the leaders (all this modernity and technology was introduced by the Shah, someone who never seems to get the proper credit, but that's another story).

It's likely that the Iranian leadership is so stubborn that it would simply accept no deal that wouldn't legalize their enrichment. But in my opinion, that does not mean that the West should have okayed the enrichment, something that used to stand behind a red line. (The restrictions on the enrichment seem completely reversible to me.) Instead, it may mean that the time became ripe for a military intervention.

I agree with those who say that the deal exposes the U.S. as a superpower in retreat. The country is suddenly OK with the evolution that allows its key "foes" to acquire a regional hegemony – something that its allies clearly dislike. The underlying theme beneath this "green light" is America's apparent inability to prevent Iran from getting this status.

Iran's new legitimacy and "green light" will allow the country to change the balance in many regional and perhaps global questions including the Palestine issue, the situation in Syria, and others. Peace whatever it costs may sound attractive to some folks but peace, under some circumstances, is just a ticket to worse losses in a looming war.

The greater picture is that America is betraying its allies in the Middle East (Israel and Sunni Arab states) and allowing Iran, an aggressive country with some anti-freedom philosophy, to become the main driver in the region. In this sense, I do think that the deal is qualitatively analogous to the Munich Pact although I do acknowledge that the Geneva deal has some "strings attached" (from the Iran's viewpoint) which the Munich Pact didn't have. Investor's Business Daily compares the appeasement to the new deal, too.

It seems to me that Saudi Arabia plus a few Arab allies couldn't beat Iran in a regional war. Iran's army is too formidable. However, if the Saudis managed to buy a few nukes from Pakistan, the counting could be very different.

Israel could do better and a more or less scrambled Israel-Sunni coalition could beat Iran but it's a very subtle scenario to consider. At the end, I – as a person in Central Europe – care about the power balance in the region for a simple reason: Iran ultimately is the only country that has the desire to expand and influence an ever greater territory, perhaps including Europe at some moment, and I think that the influence is or would be highly undesirable, to put it very diplomatically. I am scared of the idea that some bigots and cranks who believe medieval religious superstitions could gain the power to influence the public discourse, what is OK or not OK to say. And worse things.

Barack Obama who has been fawning over the mullahs has shamefully attacked the critics of the deal – making it clear whether it is the mullahs or the Republican senators who is closer to his heart. "It's always easy to talk tough." Well, it's obviously not easy for you, Mr Obama, except when you talk to freedom-loving folks in your own country who don't have any credible tools to remove you.

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reader BobSykes said...

While an Israeli attack (with or without the Saudis) is a possibility, the spread of nuclear weapons throughout the region is more likely. This would lead to a complete breakdown of the NPT system, and we would get a couple dozen new nuclear powers. Your neighbors Germany and the Ukraine would be among them.

The total list might be Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Libya (if they get a government) Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Ukraine, Belarus (?), South Africa (again), Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Japan, South Korean, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand… Basically anyone with enough money goes nuclear.

Much of this wouldn't matter. It would simply be MAD on the regional level. But the intensity of feelings in the Middle East, and the deep divisions along ethnic and religious lines suggests that a regional nuclear war is possible there.

reader Eugene S said...

They said the same about the U.S. as a "superpower in retreat" when Jimmy "Peanuts" Cah-tuh was in the White House. A weak president invites America's enemies to take advantage. That's what the Iranian leadership did then -- taking U.S. embassy staff hostage -- and that's what they are doing now.

Unfortunately we have to put up with three more years of that empty suit, but then it will be time for the ship of state to right itself again.

Why not give the female of the species a chance? A Sheindlin-Palin ticket could be a winner, striking fear into the hearts of the adversaries of freedom. You just know that Judge Judy won't brook any nonsense from the Dems, and when she finishes cleaning house domestically it will be time to lay down the law in the international arena.

reader papertiger0 said...

You click the button and it says 506 ~ million Hurricane Sandys.

Which Sandy are they talking about? At landfall Sandy was a tropical storm, Over the water it was a cat 2 storm. When you get into times a million that develops into quite an error bar.

reader Someone from Iran said...

I'm really interested to know why are you so sure that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb, When literally zero evidence has been found for that (in Iran's nuclear facilities)

Everything you wrote seems to be deeply rooted in an imaginary conspiracy theory.

reader Werdna said...

The plot is extremely misleading, and seems to be deliberately constructed create an impression of a steep slope that isn't really there.

Anyone with a passing familiarity with how graphs work should be smart enough to spot a trick like this.

Even so, I am confused where they are getting their data in the first place, it doesn't look like the Ocean Heat Content data to me. But then, they have distorted the plot so much who knows.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Hi, I am not sure Iran is developing a bomb. But I personally have a problem even with its potential capability to construct one quickly. I have a problem even with the uncertainty that it could have one somewhere that no one knows. I have a problem with Iran's dominant influence over the whole Middle East even if it has no nuclear weapon.

reader John Archer said...

If the ever was a case for it, isn't this where we should invoke the precautionary principle so beloved of the greentards — in the interests of 'sustainable' civilisation and conflict resolution, that is — and turn the whole of the middle east, bar Israel of course, into a vast glass car park?

Sieg heil, and all that.

You know it makes sense.

Actually, one should extend that to much of the rest of the turd world too, to alleviate the hideously alien immigrunt problem. Get the turd world out of the West.

reader DayHay said...

Interesting artical on the Stuxnete viues, but last time we negotiated with Iran they simply ingnored it later when they felt like it.
http://www.langner.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/To-kill-a-centrifuge.pdf The money shot:

What we do know is that when Iran got serious about equipping
the Natanz site in the early years of the new millennium, they ran
into technical trouble. In October 2003, the EU3 (Britain, Germany,
and France) requested that Iran suspend their enrichment activities
“for a period of time” as a confidence-building measure. Iranian
chief negotiator Hassan Rowhani, now president of Iran, told the
EU3 that Iran agreed to a suspension “for as long as we deem
necessary”. Two years later, Rowhani clarified that the suspension
had only been accepted in areas where Iran did not experience
technical problems. In 2006, Iran didn’t deem the hiatus no longer
“necessary” for the simple reason that they had overcome their
technical trouble. This became evident when the IAEA seals at the
cascades were broken and production resumed. It can be
speculated that the fine-tuned pressure control that the stage
exhaust valves provide was designed between 2003 and 2006.

reader Uncle Al said...

When did Greenhouse Effect, Global Warming, Climate Change models begin to include clouds, mountains, social aerosols ("black carbon"), volcanic dust and sulfur poofs into the stratosphere...? If you want to save the Earth and all its innocent babies, permanently ban all street lighting to end its massive wastrel carbon footprint befouling the planet. Ditto refrigeration, air conditioning, and gas liquefaction; heating, motorized transportation, industrial manufacture; communication, and computation.

reader lucretius said...

No, you must mean the
Strugatski brothers (Arkadi and Boris) who most famous work is "Stalker" that Andrei Tarkovsky turned into a beautiful film. The Strugatski brothers science-fiction novels also contain allusions to the Soviet Union etc., but they are much more ambiguous so the Strugatskis were published and very popular in the USSR unlike Zamyatin who was banned.
Not being a science fiction fan I don't know anything of the Strugatskis' works except "Stalker". However, when we emigrated from Poland (I was 15 at the time) and had to spend several months in Vienna waiting for a country that would accept us, one of the first things I did was to go to the main public library and try to find "We". They had it, but unfortunately for me, only in German. So I finally read it in English, several years later when my English was up to the task.

reader Someone from Iran said...

I understand you concerns, However
The recent deal makes sure that it can't develop one quickly (Iran is even giving up on all over 5% enriched uranium it has stored)
Best way to ease your worries about Iran making a hidden bomb somewhere, is to allow for enhanced international monitoring , which the current deal does
your problem with Iran's dominance has obviously nothing to do with the recent events,but why don't you have the same problem with Saudi Arabia?

reader Luboš Motl said...

I don't believe that it's possible to eliminate the possibility of a "quick enrichment to high values" if the centrifuges are allowed to be produced and to be spinning.

Also, I don't have a problem with Saudi Arabia because I haven't had any feeling at all that Saudi Arabia is trying to control things outside the Arab Peninsula. When I read the news at presstv.com, what I see is a constant effort of the official Iran to influence global politics.

reader Rehbock said...

I would have the same problem with the Saudis and a bunch of our supposed allies.

reader Someone from Iran said...

Coup d'etat? That's just too much!
You're the first person I've ever seen call 1979 revoultion a coup
If that's not bias, I dont know what is.

reader lucretius said...

Please note that in September of 2013 over 1500 American troops died in Afghanistan under Obama compared with about 500 under Bush. The difference is, however, that the troops who died in Iraq and Afghanistan under Bush died in wars that were being fought to be won. Obama, on the other hand, even before sending these troops into battle had already given up the idea of winning the war. Essentially he sent these men to die for his presidency and for nothing more. The hurried and unprepared withdrawal from Iraq and the forthcoming one from Afghanistan and the latest "agreement" with Iran, virtually guarantee that all these soldier s and those of American allies will have died in vain. In fact, this new Munich agreement makes it very likely that many will have to die in the future only to bring things back to the state they were in when Bush left office.

reader Someone from Iran said...

I'm an Irania physics student in the US

I'm an atheist,
I'm also completely against the ruling dictatorship Iran,
Seriously, can you give me a single source on internet claiming that the 1979 revolution was in fact a coup?

reader Uncle Al said...

Natural abundance uranium-235 is~ 0.72 atom-%. Weapons grade U-235 is 90 atom-%. Make lots of 5 atom-% U-235 at high finesse (lots of material handling) under treaty, then run an overall inefficient (laser?) skimmer to HEU fuel a few bombs. Bluff about stockpile size after initial delivery. Fusion-boost pits with DT fill. Li-6 fissions to tritium in Al-Li slugs rabbited in power reactors' high neutron density cores.

There are bottles of catsup smarter than Secretary of Crap John Kerry. (UF_6 is a neutron emitter from F-19 (a,n) Na-22; positron emitter, then gamma.)

reader Some one blocked said...

@Luboš Motl:disqus I am not an advocate of Iranian regime!,
I'm simply questioning your reasoning and prior bias when thinking about Iran.
You are not a criminal for calling Iranian revolution a coup. You are just wrong!
And also an ignorant for not accepting that.
@lucretius When did I say that a revolution a better than a coup?
I'm trying to argue for is that the new moderate government in Iran
deserves a chance, a not giving it the chance it deserves will only lead
to empowering of extremists in Iran.
BTW: brainwashed for saying 1979 revolution was not a coup? I'm rightfully offended.

reader Eclectikus said...

Finally, the The Mother of All Conspiracies, Magneto killed Kennedy:


(just for fun, the site is very well done)

reader etudiant said...

You really have to admire the marketing of this scam.
With no detected global warming over the last 15 plus years, one would have thought this BS would just fade away.
Instead, 'global warming' has seamlessly been transmogrified into 'climate change', so every snowfall or drought can be hyped as another example of the terrors that await us unless we bow down to the all knowing IPCC and its minions.
Where did rational thinking go? There used to be enough common sense that this kind of hogwash would get discarded with yesterdays newspapers, but apparently no more. Either the computer generation is more gullible or we have a marketing breakthrough.

reader Yo yo said...

This is going to be completely off topic. The Amplituhedron computes the amplitudes entirely on-shell. So it is more sound, ontologically, then Feynman's methods.

reader cynholt said...

You have been deceived, Uncle Al. The whole Kerry treaty is a ploy. There has never been a time since 1898 that the US has not sought war or military intervention. That's what empires do, understand that. No, Kerry has signed an agreement he knows is a set up. When I saw Bibi ranting like he did, Shakespeare's old line came to
mind: "The lady doth protest too much." The whole thing smells like a rat.

Think of it as the old "nice cop, mean cop" routine here with the US and Israel on Iran.
The deal with Iran draws yet another line in the sand with Iran and shows the US is at least willing to talk nice with them. We offered Iran the olive branch, and so if they step on it, we can say that we tried to be nice before we crush 'em!

reader Gene Day said...

You are certainly right, Lubos, in stating that Israel is our ally but just as wrong in placing Saudi Arabia in that category. First, consider that Saudi Arabia forced out our airbase in 2003 and, more importantly, it was the spiritual and financial base of the 9/11 attack and it remains the main financial support for extreme Islamists everywhere. As an American I do not consider that Saudi Arabia is our friend. No way, Jose.
There are actually many reasons for accommodation with Iran; the nuclear issue is largely a sideshow but an important political consideration. This does not mean friendship but merely accommodation much in the same way that we reached a detente with the Soviets and with China.
It is not a done deal, either. Four conditions must be met for two opponents to reach such a detent. It must actually suit the interests of both countries and it must be politically palatable in both countries. The first two conditions are pretty clear but the latter two are still in doubt. In the US the pros are leading the antis but that could change. In Iran the IRGC is the strongest opponent and, because of their financial clout, they are not to be dismissed, even though their power is currently waning. That, too, could change.
John Foster Dulles, perhaps the most rabid anti-communists in our foreign-affairs history, once said that countries do not have friends; they have interests and he was quite right.

I would also argue that our influence in the world is not weakening; it is actually strengthening. We are still in a unique position in the world and that will not change anytime soon.
In the US the Affordable Care Act has cost Obama and his supporters an enormous amount of political capital. It is too early to predict that the Senate will go Republican in 2014 but that has just become a hell of a lot more likely. I don’t think such an election result would change things re. Iran very much despite the rhetoric, however.

reader Gene Day said...

You are technically correct, Someone, but the issue is that Iran could develop a bomb very quickly. Of course a credible Iranian nuclear arsenal would take years and it would not serve Iran’s purpose anyway. No one wants that.

reader cynholt said...

Saudis are ruled by Wahhabi scum. The Saudis were banished from the
Islamic world for most of their existence, they lived in the middle of
the Arabian desert and were the enemies of Islamic progress in the realm
of literature, politics, law, and philosophy.

the British divided the Ottoman Empire, they used the radical Saudis
(the Arab version of the KKK) to gain control of the Holy cities, put
them in power, and gave them lots of money and guns. So long as they
kept the oil flowing and kept people beaten into submission, then they
were allowed to run the “Kingdom.”

you see, Islam has been hijacked by a bunch of radicals cloaked as
Muslims, when really they are just Godless scumbags paid by Western
governments and corporations.

reader Gene Day said...

Iran cannot dominate the whole Middle East but it can serve as a stabilizing force if a reasonable accommodation is reached with the West. When there is significant DFI (direct foreign investment) in Iran things will look a lot better. Given the relative stability of Iran’s government in that part of the world, that is a realistic hope.
The “Arab Spring” will reach Saudi Arabia one day and you would not want to be there when it happens. It does look like Iran has a peaceful way through this. Let’s hope so.

reader Gene Day said...

All countries pursue their national interests and Saudi Arabia’s military support of the minority regime in Bahrain is proof that they do, too. We all do.

reader Gene Day said...

My son-in-law, who lived in Tehran in 1979, and his whole family have told me that the Shah ruled by terror, at least near the end. One word against the Shah and you just disappeared forever. Today, private criticism of the Iranian government is tolerated so long as you don’t try to organize anything. It’s much like China in that respect.
And, yes, it was a violent revolution. Most of them are.

reader Gene Day said...

An Israeli attack on Iran is implausible but, as you say, not completely impossible. I think the spread of nuclear weapons throughout the area is equally unlikely. No one wants that, including Iran.

reader K. van der Pool said...

As we speak, the Saudi's are materially supplying and financially supporting their favorite (Sunni) rebel group in Syria. Trying to control things outside of the peninsula? You bet.

reader Werdna said...

Should we buy you a dictionary?

reader Rehbock said...

Yes. The Shah perhaps not as vile as the religious whack jobs that replaced him but he was no modest nice guy when faced with opposition.
I thought we should have nuked all their oil fields but we didn't. Now is see from another post that the sun is throwing many Hiroshima at us every second. So perhaps a few warheads can still be sent to them and also to the Saudis and the rest of the bunch. That way we can get their attention . But I know that is never happening. I was younger then but I don't think I have mellowed on the subject of the Middle East. I think all our presidents have failed to show the only thing that would make our point. Might makes right but it doesn't make money

reader etudiant said...

It is surprising that the discussion here focuses on Iran, when Iran has been a veritable pillar of stability in an area rocked by turmoil. Iran experienced a war of aggression which cost it a million casualties, launched by Iraq after the Shah was deposed by a popular revolt. That is a trauma that impacts almost every family in the country, hardly the stuff for military adventures.
Separately, nuclear weapons are stupidly easy to make. No country that has tried to make them, even destitute tyrannies such as North Korea, has failed to succeed. Iran has more money and more educated people, they could make bombs if they wished. They do not need to, even as self protection, because unlike Libya or Syria, Iran is pretty cohesive and so much less vulnerable to outside intervention.
The apparent frenzy among parts of the political
leadership is even more puzzling. Iran's military leadership was educated alongside their Israeli counterparts at places such as Ft Meade, by the US, at a time when the two countries were close friends. Despite the anti Zionist rhetoric by the last Iranian President, Iran is about the only Muslim country in the region that has a respected and vibrant Jewish community, so the seeds for peace and cooperation are still very much there.
It is downright weird that there is paranoia about Iran sponsoring terrorism, when our abundantly nuclear armed 'good friend' Pakistan is gradually disintegrating under the pressures of Islamic insurgencies that elements of that state have fostered. It is incongruous that we ignore the reality of Islamic terror closing in on a substantial nuclear arsenal while fixated on the fear that a country with strong central control and much to lose might gather the potential to begin to build one.

reader Kimmo Rouvari said...

Pst... need for antimatter bomb? ;-) To be honest, what do you think that "the other side" thinks about "your side"...? Exactly.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Why do you think that "ontological soundness", whatever it is, is correlated with "being purely on-shell"? I think that being purely on-shell is a disadvantage because in many contexts, like the whole AdS/CFT, the whole off-shell information is equally important as the on-shell one.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Gene, I haven't used the word "friend" for Saudi Arabia, just "ally", and I meant the official picture of the country, not every single person from that country. There are lots of terrorists and other folks over there - much like in any country with a critical mass of the Muslims - and in other countries, too.

But the military of Saudi Arabia is controlled by very different folks than those who were behind 9/11 and these folks have been the ally of the U.S. for quite some time, whether one likes everything about the life in Saudi Arabia (and both of us agree that there's a lot of wrong things over there). But the "alliance" is primarily about the direction in which the countries want to influence the international politics.

Being in a "unique position" is something different than being a "superpower". Czechia is also in a "unique position", the forking place of the West where it may meet the East blah blah. Allowing Iran to regain its legitimacy and build its regional clout is a surrender by the U.S. It's de facto a path allowing the birth of another power that will be in a Cold War with the U.S. (at least I hope that the convergence won't be *that* dramatic from the U.S. viewpoint).

reader Luboš Motl said...

The description of Iran as an island of stability and peace is bizarre.

Just the civil war in the late 1970s led to the death of tens of thousands of people and since the victory of the Islamists, Iran has been sponsoring and sometimes planning the violent actions of Hezbollah, Syrian regime, and Hamas, among others. Much/most of the deadly traffic in the region would arguably not exist without the influence by Iran.

Pakistan could be as worrisome as Iran if not more so, with its nukes, but the regime over there provides us with some relief so far.

It is not "easy" to build nuclear weapons. The world's best physicists had to work on them. Germany had some of the world's best physicists but they have failed, proving your assertion wrong by a counterexample. The development became easier because of the available know-how; but it has become harder because of the international non-proliferation treaties and related pressure. It's this *pressure* that the U.S. and others should keep on exerting. Your suggestions that it's "easy" to develop the weapon are not only untrue but more dangerously, they are a wishful thinking designed to make itself true.

reader lucretius said...

You seem not to distinguish "Iran" from Ayatollah Khamenei, Ayatollah, general Mohammed Ali Jafari, Mohammad Reza Naqdi and others who make all the important decisions in this country. Your arguments are exactly as valid as the arguments of those who argued in the 1930 that Germany would not start a war because it's people had suffered so much in the one that had just finished and Hitler only brought stability after the confusion and turmoil of the Weimar Republic. Exactly in the same way, post war "fellow travellers" argued that the Soviet Union only wanted peace because it had lost 40 million people in the second world war.

Foools like, who never understand how power operates in such political systems or who believe that all politicians are the same and one need not take seriously what they say, and who identify rule terror with "stability" are the curse and the sickness of free countries.

Unfortunately in a free country this disease has to be tolerated for this is the nature of freedom but at least those of us who care about freedom not only for ourselves should show the carriers and spreaders of this disease the contempt that they deserve.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Gene, do you still believe that the term "Arab Spring" has ever been appropriate? I can't believe after all the stuff that has happened and showed that there was no reason for euphemisms like that.

Iran's government has been stable for decades for similar reasons why the Soviet government has been stable. It's dealing with the opposition "swiftly". If Iran's influence increases beyond its current borders, it may indeed create a similar stability in a big portion of the Middle East. You may like this vision but I don't.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Shawnet, the mistake you are making is very simple: you are listing completely wrong numerical values of the situations that you claim to be "gauge-equivalent" to one another.

By the gauge invariance, an uncertain inflation between 1% and 3% isn't gauge invariant to the interval 10%-30%. Instead, it is gauge-invariant to 10%-12.18% interval, for example. The ratio 1.03/1.01 is equal to the ratio 1.01218/1.01.

The uncertainty of the inflation has nothing to do with its mean values - they're completely distinct, independent quantities.

reader TomVonk said...

Dear Lubos
PERs are actually rocket science.
Or more precisely microscopical semi-science.
Like somebody wrote, an "average" local PER is irrelevant and about as irrelevant as an average temperature is for understanding or predicting the regional climate which is the only thing that matters for people.
The time scales that matter in fixing stock prices are much shorter than what you suppose in your post - you may distinguish one scale at or less 1 year and another around 5-7 years.
The reasons to invest in stocks are also multiple and don't rely only on interest rates and their cousins inflation - these things actually matter mostly only locally and in a limited way.
Broadly you may consider 3 categories of stock investments :
1) Stock price expectation. Here you consider that the company has an above average growth potential for a given time scale. Typically you may find here gold (mines), Net companies, Biology (enzymes, genetic manipulations) etc. An investor expects a dramatic increase in turn over and in the value of the shares. The short term net profit doesn't matter and so doesn't the PER (it may even be negative what wouldn't fit in your thesis anyway). This kind of investor works with shorter time scales and basically obeys only a simple but fundamental principle : buy cheaper than you sell. The rotation speed is high.
2) Dividends expectations. Here the time scales are longer. The investors are betting on mature and solid businesses (Exxon, hospitalized residences, coal etc). Also here the PER doesn't matter much because the dividend policy doesn't necesarily impact the stock price. On the other hand this kind of investment motivation is typically one where the dividends policy (dividends/stock price) competes with bond rates and in a way with interest rates. The rotation speed is low.
3) Basket investments. Here the motivation is the same as in 1) but one tries to equal and perhaps to slightly beat some index. This may be the DJ for the most primitive and naive strategies. But more sophistically it is an index crossing regions (countries) and business sectors.
For instance I invested along an index I created - India and X business sector (won't give the nature of X) and doubled my investment. But there are banks that offer sectorial index investments too.
For this kind of investment PERs don't matter much because one is mixing countries and businesses with very different PERs, currencies and interest rates. The rotation speed is semi low.
Considering that the above is what real investors do in a real world, you see that there is little to no correlation between (average ?) PERs in a country and the macroeconomical policies all over the world.
In fact what I find discutable in your post is that you neglect spatial variability. Yet it is the spatial gradients (like in climate) in taxes, inflation, exchange rates, growth rates and interest rates that drive more the profitability in stock investments than the time variability of different parameters.
If the whole Earth was a single state with same rules and behaviors then your arguments could apply. But it is not.

reader Eugene S said...

Good post except for the bit about Pakistan's government being infinitely preferable to Iran's.

Gen. Hamid Gul, possibly the most evil man on this planet and in my opinion the true puppet master of Al Qaeda and director of 9/11, embodies the energy, cunning and viciousness of Pakistan's elite.

And there are proportionally fewer Pakistanis than Iranians who are educated and (actually or potentially) resistant to the message of Islamic supremacism.

P.S.: That "bomb song" video linked in the article is da bomb LOL.

reader lucretius said...

Perhaps you are right, but I was taking into account the fact that the military are not directly in power in Pakistan and are clearly split. Moreover, the Pakistani military are obsessed with India, which reduces their freedom of action elsewhere. I agree completely with your comments on the Pakistani vs. Iranian population but the populations are not in power in either country. In fact I know quite many Iranians and if one were only to judge by the educated part of the population, Iran would have to be considered the most pro-Western country in the Middle East after Israel. But it is not the population that makes the decisions.

As for Pakistan I have long believed that the creation of this country was a disaster. The only time ever that I sided with the Soviets in anything was during the events prominently featured in this video.


Sam Manekshaw got the credit for India's great victory but the it's true author was general Jacob (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._F._R._Jacob ) India's Jewish Chief of Staff in that war:


reader TomVonk said...

You are basically right but confuse the discount rate and the inflation rate.
What professionals do in projects with high return times is to use a discount rate.
The discount rate is typically : bond rate for a duration similar to the life of the project + risk premium.
This formula is rather rational because the bond rate (we assume you invest in a country that looks more like Germany than Greece even if both begin with a G) is per definition what you can do with your money with risk almost 0.
So the whole difficulty is to define the risk premium and this is no exact science.
In practice when the risk premium is estimated largely above the bond rate, the discount is so fast that only the few first years of the project matter.
The consequence is that no resident investor would actually invest if the time of return was higher than 1-2 years.
The standard rational behaviour in a hyperinflation environment (e.g when the discount rate is very high too) is twofold.
First is that resident investments in (industrial) projects, stocks included stop altogether.
Second is that residents who happen to have some money seek refuge in low risk assets. These are typically and in that order - real estate, foreign hard currency, gold.
This also explains why the first thing a state with hyperinflation does is to install currency control.
However while the above is true for the residents of the hyperinflation country, it is false for investors of a low inflation country.
These enjoy a competitive advantage which would allow them (if they know how to go around the currency control) to acquire interesting assets in the hyperinflation country for a very low price and their production costs (expressed in their hard currency) would mechanically massively decrease every year making them even more competitive.
So, like much in economy, what is a danger for one is an opportunity for another. No absolute truth in there.

reader papertiger0 said...

So what do you think, worst president in history bar none?

On a scale of 1 to 10

You know this guy is still using the IRS to suppress the Tea Party. All political opposition actually.


I'm expecting an audit any second now. ...

Ok. Not just yet, but pretty soon.

reader Luboš Motl said...

One more update, Gene.

It's been a few days since the deal and Iran is already accusing Obama of lying about the deal:


Obama's interpretation is "one-sided". And make no mistake about this, I think that Iran is right, Obama is not. Obama *has* signed a surrender and he is trying to mask this fact.

Iran will keep on spinning the centrifuges forever, we also hear today:


Iran is much more defiant, speedy, and aggressive than Hitler was after Munich. How much time will you need to notice the direction that the deal determined?

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

I have already voted to reopen, but they have unilaterally taken it out of the queue .

reader Dilaton said...

Yes and I have seen that Brandon Enright, tpg2114, etc say "leave closed" to every question that should be reopend, as can be expected from good politicians who beleave that the closevoters are Gods who are always right by definition and nothing should therefore ever get reopend ...

The review queues are now completely dominated by the bad reviewers, reasonable people who helped me getting good things done when I was still active like Twistor59, Michael Brown, Dan, and many others who are interested in and knowledgeable about higher-level topics, have stopped being active in the review queues ...

From talking with collegues in the real world, I guess that the political moderation atmosphere which becomes more and more oppressive on Physics SE, resembles what people experienced in the former Eastern Germany (DDR) which was ruled by a communist regime. The StaSi (Staatssicherheit) informers who lived among the normal population had their eyes and ears everywhere, and immedeately informed the regime as soon as somebody (in private too!) did something the regime would probably not approve. And for being allowed to persue an academic career the right political attitude was much more important than knowldedge ...

Oh Physics SE, the StaSi informers correspond to the sourpusses and rascals who close good questions for political reasons, prevent that good questions which should not have been closed get reopend, and flag anything that is more or less strongly discouraged by discussion that have taken place on MSO. For example there obviously exist some horrible sourpousses and party poopers who flag clever, on topic comments, which are formulated as funny statements and jokes:


Even on MathOverflow which is a very serious site, they appreciate some good humor expressed in funny, joky, geeky comments.

It helps maintaining a nice welcoming community feeling.

But I always suspected that Stack Exchange is rather not happy about the formation of nice tight-knitted communities on any site in the network... With a tight-knitted community that holds together, the site can no longer be patronized so easily by the central regime ...

This is why undemocratic regimes place their informers among the population too, to seed distrust among people such that they are less likely to work together and take actions against rules, policies, etc the regime wants to enforce...

Yes, I think that we have an increasing number of "informers" on Physics SE too ...

And that a not negligible amount of them has > 3000 rep and gives the review button no rest while awake is quite damaging... :-/

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

Right, but by "they", I meant a unilateral moderator action.

reader Dilaton said...

Yep, the unilateral moderation actions and the locking of questions that are at the verge of getting community reopend even tops it ... :-(

reader Vangel said...

Not at all. But sadly the Onion sometimes gets a lot closer to the truth earlier than the mainstream press. But I do consider any comparison to Hans-Hermann Hoppe to be a huge compliment so I thank you for it even though it was unintentional on your part.

reader Vangel said...

Our friends don't seem to get it. They keep accepting 'official' reports as gospel even though they used to question all reports coming from 'official' foreign sources. They question central planning when Cuba or North Korea does it but not when it is done by the EU or US.

reader John Archer said...

"So you see, Islam has been hijacked by a bunch of radicals cloaked as Muslims..."

That's a pretty radical suggestion. So they're not real muslimes then?

Can you substantiate your claim with examples of what they say and do which goes against tenets of that repulsive stone-age totalitarian political creed, one not even worthy of the name religion but one that has world domination as an imperative, by force if necessary?

Moreover, given that almost any deviation from its orthodoxy could only be in the direction of improvement, are you really saying we should we be grateful to this knuckle-dragging turd-world simian filth and hold back on the only rational policy prescription, namely their extermination?

It's clear you're full of shit. Only the dangerously naive, fanatical leftards or regular (brain-dead) muslimes could entertain the idea that anyone with a functioning brain cell would fall for the crap you spout.

There's no difference between so-called islamists and muslimes. They're the same thing. The term islamist is a propaganda lie.

reader John Archer said...


I guess they're not much enamoured of us.

But then they hate everyone, especially themselves (rightly in their case, of course) — why else would they inflict a cancer on their lives? And misery just loves company.

It's best put them out of it. It's the only humane thing to do.

reader Vangel said...

"In fact, there is nothing in the world more “academic” than libertarianism although perhaps the word “fetish” is more appropriate."

Actually, most libertarians are not academics. Look at any faculty and you see Monetarists, Keynesians, Social Democrats, and outright Communists. Most universities don't hire Austrians, anarchists, or libertarians. And since most economists work for regulators or to deal with regulators libertarians are not to be found in great numbers among the economists working for big companies and government.

And I would argue that history shows us that there is nothing more utopian than the 'middle way' of limited government or the belief of the State as a force for order and good.

"By your very nature you are impotent: you can never gain power either by force or by choice and if by some miracle it was handed to you, you would immediately loose it to the first taker."

What makes you think that libertarians seek power over others? They do not belong to the cult of Suaron that looks for the ring to power as the means of ruling over all others. They simply want to be left alone to engage in voluntary social and economic transactions with their fellow men. I see nothing wrong with that.

"The only thing libertarians and anarchists have ever achieved is to discredit freedom and help autocrats and demagogues seize power, because when the people of any country experience your proposed “cure” they (quite rightly) much prefer the disease that you claim to treat."

What freedom? As Logan Albright asked, "Is it right to imprison people, robbing them of their liberty, when they have harmed no one and violated no property rights?" Libertarians say no. Statists on both the left and right say yes. So who exactly is against freedom again?


If you want to see someone who hates freedom look no further than your mirror. And if you want to understand you might try avoiding baseless rhetoric and actually doing some of your own research on the topic.

reader Vangel said...

"The uncertainty of the inflation has nothing to do with its mean values - they're completely distinct, independent quantities. If the projected or expected inflation rate is high, it does *not* mean that there's a very high uncertainty as well. And if the projected inflation is low, it doesn't mean that there can't be a large error in that, either."

I am sorry my friend but you have no clue what the reported inflation really is because there is no way to measure it. You would never accept such a category in your field so why would you accept it in economics?

reader John Archer said...

Yes, it's all à la mode with the pre-Cambrian faecal slime these days — the sheight of fashion for the shite of the world.

I recommend a good bleaching followed by a full flush. One shouldn't forget to wash his hands afterwards either.

Gentlemen, please also check your dress before leaving. Others are easily embarrassed. Thank you. The Management, Izal

reader lucretius said...

I agree with your comments on Cynthia and her post but there a difference between Muslims and Islamists. First, there are, of course, many secular Muslims, just as there are secular Christians, who celebrate the festivals, holidays etc., but completely ignore the warlike and hegemonist contents of Islam (and many of them are either atheists or believe in God who is not tied to any particular religion). You may find it hard to believe, since you probably only have had contact with Muslims from the Middle East and Pakistan (because these are the kind you have in the UK) but in post-Soviet Central Asia, Azerbaijan (by the way, a country with very close ties with Israel), Bosnia and Albania are of that kind. Even in Poland there is a Muslim community (the Lipka Tatars) who have been here since the 14-th century, have always served in Polish armies and in no respect except for some traditions are in anyway different from other Poles. They also call themselves Muslims (and have been in a conflict with resent Muslim arrivals from the West).

But even if you forget secular Muslims entirely, there is still a difference between traditional Muslims (however bad their religion - and I am certainly no fan of it) and “Islamists”.

You see a traditional religious Muslim can’t do lots of things that Islamists do as a matter of course, and that really makes it almost impossible for a traditional religious Muslim to live in an “infidel” country. In fact, there have been many fatwas through the ages that stated clearly that a Muslim should not live among infidels. Read this and you will get the idea:


Islamists, on the other hand, have no problems of this kind. Their movements, like the Muslim Brotherhood, are based on ideas derived from Nazism and Communism, with a dose of Islam mixed in for added potency. Islamists can break all Muslim restrictions on food and dress, have no problems with using Western technology and adopting Western ideas whenever it suits their purpose. They can live in the West, even adopt the style of “moderation” and “modernity” to pursue their ends. If they could not do that they would not be half as dangerous.

Many or most Muslim activists in all kind of “dialogue between religions” movements etc. are, in fact, Islamists since to a traditional religious Muslim any such activity is absurd.

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

Qmechanic's recent unilateral decisions, including closing this,, and many more, have made me lose all faith in him, too. With the evil moderator trio (DavidZ, dmckee, ManishEarth) influencing Qmechanic, and a basically dead (in terms of PhysSEs participation), unsuccessfull (in terms of protecting PhysSEs) mbq,...

reader Nathan Cook said...

That assumes that the classical equations of motion are ontologically prior to the quantum behaviour of a system. But it seems clear that classical properties always and only emerge as the limit of a quantum system.

reader Dilaton said...

Yes, I dont know what is currently picking him ... :-/

I have seen him dequeueing questions that should be reopend too ...

The trio consisting of Brandon Enright + tpg2014 + (CrazyBudy/John Rennie/***) is often quite harmful in the close/reopen queues too. They too often close good questions (or prevent them from getting reopend) for political reasons and/or because they dont understand them, or what else picks them ... :-/

And there are not enough good knowledgeable people (such as Frederic Brünner for example) actively reviewing to countervote and overrule them ...

reader Umesh said...

But 'loosing superpower status' seems like an emotional reaction; not that I don't share it though. Sooner or later the US has to face up to the fact that there would be regional power centers and the hegemony (or asymmetry) would monotonically decrease, wouldn't it? I'm trying to say that the 'superpower' tag is not here to stay forever, at least as it is/was understood post the cold war era and till recently; it evolves with history. That equilibrium would be established is inevitable I guess. That said, it's maybe true that by entering into this deal now, US is somehow showing diminished confidence (which would have been different in its heyday and which otherwise we're used to so far), as in just keep up the pressure via sanctions and other non-proliferation treaties etc. On the other hand, building an atomic bomb needed the best physicists of the 1940s, not 2013, and in my opinion it's largely an 'engineering problem' that has been and can be solved, provided the know-how is there. Be sure that I'm not suggesting for a moment that it's easy; but surely not as tough as requiring the best physicists to solve, which Iran might just cope with, if the problem was only to 'mechanically find a way round the sanctions' rather than some technical issue. There's no telling what the intelligence input would have been that has hastened the US govt. to broker this deal, but I agree that it might be just an over-appeasement rather than a rational response to any input they might have had.

reader etudiant said...

Well, if it was wisdom that brought us Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria and Libya, not to mention Egypt, count me among the fools.
That said, you are quite right that the memory of one military disaster does not preclude another, given a war oriented leadership.I question however whether that exists in Iran.
Iran has more of a representative government than any of the other states in the region, except Israel. The leadership is not suicidal and has shown no expansionist aggressive tendencies. They have supported their fellow Shiites in words and with material aid, not a surprise or a crime.
Iran is a sovereign nation, like it or not.
The UN charter and international law give nations such as Iran considerable autonomy.
The US is not a global arbiter and perhaps that is an indication of the concept of a US decline, but that is a constraint the US willingly accepted when it sponsored the creation of the UN. Iran is a member of the global community and I applaud when the community works together to remove sources of conflict. There is plenty of reason for mistrust on both sides, but there much to be gained and little to be lost by trying to work together rather than being at loggerheads.

reader etudiant said...

It is not bizarre to describe a country that has remained at peace, with regular elections that are hotly contested, as an island of stability. Apart from Israel and Turkey, no other country in the region gas done as well.
Yes, the country had a revolution in the late 1970s, kicking out a corrupt monarch installed in a foreign sponsored coup twenty five years earlier. In that context, the US War of Independence was much bloodier.
Since then, the regime has minded its own affairs, helping its fellow Shiites but otherwise quietly working to build up Iran internally, at peace externally. Indeed, Iran was helping the US in the early years of the Afghan war, because they did not care for the Taliban either. It was the US that closed that channel of communication, even though it was really helpful to our Afghan effort.
The Iran nuclear effort is a reality which is legal under the UN treaties which Iran has signed. We cannot claim they are illegal just because we are afraid they might abuse them. Admittedly, India did so, with their 'peaceful' nuclear explosion, in clear violation of their accords with Canada, which furnished the reactors that bred the material, but the rules are what we wrote.
I strongly reiterate my opinion that nuclear devices are simple engineering at this point, too much information gas leaked into the public domain. The reality that the US is rebuilding 20+ year old warhead designs clearly illustrates that nuclear weapons today are not physics, but engineering issues.
Pakistan is an ongoing disaster imho, much worse than Iran, simply because the country is disintegrating. Large areas of the country are in open revolt against the central government, which is deeply corrupt and riven by factions. To pin ones faith on 'the regime' there is difficult to justify, especially as the US is clearly looking to bail on Afghanistan.
Iran has a leadership we can threaten with some confidence. I doubt we can do the same in Pakistan, we don't even know who the real leaders are.
So I stand by my view that Pres. Obama has achieved a useful step forward, rather than destroy the US superpower status.

reader lucretius said...

I see.

Supplying missiles, bombs etc. to terrorists in Iraq, who not only slaughter Sunnis (in order to provoke civil war) but also fellow Shia and, of course, a huge number of Americans (never avenged) is “supporting fellow Shia”. Building up Hezbollah in Lebanon, and arming it with every kind of missile (in additional to everything else) is not showing expansionist and aggressive tendencies. Supporting Hamas with weapons and actual terrorists advice is “supporting fellow Shias”. (Oh, except that Hamas are not Shia, so it must be something else? I wonder what.)

Blowing up the Jewish center in Buenos Aires (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/22/world/iran-blew-up-jewish-center-in-argentina-defector-says.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm ) is “supporting fellow Shia”. Sending fighters, including Hezbollah puppets to , fight for non-Shia Assad (yes, you ignorant idiot - the Alawites are not and have never been regarded as Twelver Shia and Iran’s suppost for Assad has nothing to do with religion).

Assassinations and bombings against both Iranians and Israeli’s around the world is “being a member of international community”.

Regular murder and torture of political opponents is “having a representative government” (http://www.freedomfromtorture.org/news-blogs/7163). (You are obviously incredibly ignorant as you seem to to know that all genuine opposition candidates and even anyone remotely suspected of not being fully obedient to the Supreme Leader, were banned from participating in the parliamentary or presidential elections

http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/05/24/iran-threats-free-fair-elections ).

Given the evidence of the past as well as the easy access to information, there is no doubt that you and your ilk are much greater fools that those who cheered for Chamberlain at Munich and insisted on the good intentions of “Uncle Joe”. The existence of a large number of people like yourself is the most tragic thing about liberal democracy. Perhaps the Iranians are not suicidal but if we listen to incurable idiots like you will ourselves will be.

reader Eugene S said...

etudiant could be professor of middle eastern studies at a u.s. university... he sounds like juan cole.

reader lucretius said...

Yes, unfortunately, he could be - although he seems to be just too ignorant and not devious enough. Perhaps he is a poet. His posts remind one of this:
"On 8 May, the day Germany surrendered, he told a reporter from the Philadelphia Record who had managed to get into the compound for an interview that Hitler was "a Jeanne d'Arc, a saint", and that Mussolini was an "imperfect character who lost his head".
(The "he" refers to Ezra Pound)

reader Dilaton said...

However, at least in the past, Qmechanic was friendly open to reconsidering the issue concerning questions he has closed. He once even reopend one which we thought is difficult to answer, such that I could put there as a CW answer something Lumo said. And he protects one of my questions, because I was getting spam answers on it


What is very annoying is that David Z is now going after reasonable level technical questions, to shoot them down, unilaterally of course (!):


I wonder how long it will take him to kill user20143's questions ... :-/

reader lucretius said...

An insider view of the "deal":


reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

[This](http://physics.stackexchange.com/review/reopen/29146) got 3 reopen votes pretty quickly, nice.

reader Dilaton said...

The bad thing is the Qmechanic said "leave closed" such that it is probably out of the queue now. I am not sure if an edit would but it back in, or it that trick works only once after a question has been closed ...?

reader Dilaton said...

The bad thing is that Qmechanic said "leave closed", such that it is probably now out of the reopen queue ... :-/

Not sure if an edit would put it back in, or if that trick works only once after a question has been closed (I could ask this on MSO if knowbody else already has...)?

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

Yes, exactly, 3 reopen votes and a mod, just jumps in and gets it out of the queue ? !

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

Just noticed that and have asked on the hbar. http://chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/12388930#12388930

Wonder what ridiculous excuse these idiots would come up with next?

reader Dilaton said...

Yes, and Frederic Brünner was among the reopen voters, the moderators should really it a bit more serious if such good knowledgeable people thinks that a questions is a good and legitimate one ...!

The suppression of community reopen of in partiular medium to hign-level questions on physics SE is really offensive and off putting :-( !

Maybe you can ping Qmechanic and ask him why he did this? A possible reason could be, as I have often observed that nobody (dares to) reverse David Z's horrible unjustified mod-hammer ...

But maybe Qmechanic would be accessible to the argument that such reasonable level technical questions should not be allowed and not prevented on Physics SE, the even higher-level ones should not even get tagged as homework (-like) ...

reader Dilaton said...

And some rascal has just deleted your comment below that question, those rascals :-(0) ...!

reader Dilaton said...

I guess that next thing the mods will do is locking the question and delete all reopen votes, as they usually do to suppress community reopening of mediate up to higher-level questions ... :-/

Maybe we should bet on this ...

Qmechanic pressed the wrong button, he should have said reopen if anything or leave the question alone and let the community decide ...!

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

I've already pinged him in chat.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Interesting. I view it as a confirmation of what I write in the following points:

1) the deal isn't viewed as a step to any peace by Iran's leaders

2) the main difference is deeply ideological, not just some tactics about details

3) negotiators are primarily ruled by the mullah-in-chief and his main rule is that "enrichment must be accepted as a right"

4) that's why they view the deal as a victory

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...


: (

Just look at his comment:

This would be a naive question for a physicist, but it's quite a perceptive question from a non-nerd. I certainly don't think it warrants the rather feeble attempts at humour in the comments above.

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

It's either Manish Earth or Qmechanic, most likely Manish Earth, he was in the chat room when i posted my message?

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...


reader cynholt said...

Putin and China are driving this wagon, methinks. Iran has oil and gas that China wants to buy. Russia wants Syria and
Iran left alone because they are buffer states and allies.

The USA and UK
are a joke now, especially the USA. The Germans are
friendly with Putin. The US gave Putin Eastern Europe and the
Baltics. The Europeans are looking East in disgust of the US Drone in
Chief. Gazprom has pipelines to all of western Europe. Putin comes
off as serious, intelligent and sensible.

The Saudis and Israel can fume with their ally France. Iran and Hezbollah engages in less terrorism than the House of Saud.
McCain and the RINO-AIPAC wing of the GOP need to stop supporting the Saudis Al Qeada terrorists, killing Christians in Syria.

reader Dilaton said...

Yep the laymen are much more wellcome on Physics SE these days than people who want to learn about QFT for example at a technical level ... :-/

The bad reviewers (sometimes helped by mods) heartily welcome basic and popular questions, whereas they now attack legitimate technical questions of serious (advanced) physics students.

And if some good knowledgeable people try to reopen wrongly closed question, mod-hammers fall immediately. I can tell you, on Math SE (and probably on MathOverflow too) the community would not tolerate such long-term abuse of mod-hammers as it is observed on Physics SE since the beginning of this year ...

Qmechanic has not been active since then, so I am curious what he has to say ...

With him I could always come to a fair agreement at the end, we will see.

Some retags of Brandon Enright are simply ridiculous, if he does not put homework tags where they dont belong, he adds a lot of that bad tags that exist but should not be there on an at least slightly professional site. Once Qmechanic tried to suggest a quit resonable two-level tagging scheme in the chat room, which has some broader subfield tags (such as quantum mechanics, QFT, fluid dynamics, etc) at the first level and the second level should consist of more specialized tags dedicated to each first level tag. I guess Brandon Enright did not understand it at all, neither did anybody else present in the chat room, which is really too bad.

I hope the mods are not planning something bad against you (?), because you said in chat that on Math SE people consider the unneeded falling down of mod-hammers against the will of the community as an extreme abuse of power which is nothing but true and the mathematicians are right on this ...

Ok, now I have to cheer me up with Lumo's newest physics post, looking at the bright side of TRF and my Zweibach book later :-)

reader Dilaton said...

Yep, Manishearth was in the chat room and now again ...

Even on MSO they said that the reviewers should stand behind their votes in the review queue, who voted how is publicly accessible, so there was nothing wrong with your comment disagreeing which Qmechanics "Leave closed" votes. But in particular on Physics SE, they hardly tolerate people expressing disagreement with specific moderator actions or unilateral mod-hammers, as we know ... :-/

I have not yet decide about going back into the review queues next year, having to contervote and counteract so many bad reviewers and their votes (including bad unilateral mod-hammers) is very time consuming if one wants to do it efficiently, and it is emotionally very straining ...

And as the mods obviously will never stop to use their power to suppress real fair community moderation (in particular reopen), it seems pretty pointless too. So ...

reader Dilaton said...

Ok, it is a misunderstanding, Qmechanic did not see the reopen votes ... :-)


However, I was right that nobody dares to question David Z's unilateral mod-hammers ... :-/. I mean, why can Qmechanic not act as an independent referee, think about it if he agrees with David Z or the people who want the question reopend, and than act accordingly ...?

This is exactly why each site has not a single moderator but a small number of them, such that if one takes a wrong decision it can be corrected by the others. And in the case at hand the community (among them very knowledgeable people such as Frederic Brünner!) clearly disagrees with David Z as can be seen by the reopen votes.

I would bet quite an amount of money, that David Z on the other hand would have absolutely no remorse when (unilaterally of course) reversing any decision taken by Qmechanic, Manishearth, or Dmckee, if he wants to enforce his opinion ... :-/.

And in the case at hand, Qmechanic would not even unilateraly reverse David Z's mod-hammer, there are already 3 ordinary community members who want the question to be reopend too and have voted accordingly ...

Somehow I wish Qmechanic could see this comment of mine ...

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

I think you should come back to the review queues; now that Frederic Brünner is also heping luty

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

I think we should stop fantasising that Qmechanic's decision was just a misunderstanding. I guess that Qmechanic has also been "gollumised" by the rest, or maybe he was always like this, but now he is just proving it to erase our misconceptions.

If that was really the reason for him saying "Leave Closed", then why didn't he reopen it? I think he actually agrees with David Z, there are no repurcussions if he reverses any of David Z's actions, anyway.

Also, in the review queue, it' is very obvious when the question is edited and that's why it's in the reopen votes queue. It says so at the top, with "edited" in italix.

I was just not expecting this crap from Qmechanic.

reader papertiger0 said...

From the generic to the specific.

Cancer patient who spoke after losing his insurance because of Obamacare now being audited by the IRS

reader Eugene S said...

Don't that jest make you pig-biting mad?

It's enough to make one want to load up a tanker with manure and dump it on the lawn in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

reader papertiger0 said...

I've never been that mad.
Don't do it Eugene. The capital police will shoot you dead if you do.

reader Dilaton said...

Qmechanic has given an astonishingly large number of "leave closed"s recently on questions with a number of reopen votes ...

And unfortunately, the bad reviewers have obviously successfully convinced jinawee in chat that voting to reopen is bad, because the closevoters are Gods who never fail by definition ... :-/


His votes in the review queues are mostly exactly in line with Brandon Enright, tpg2114, CrazyBody, John Rennie, etc ... :-/

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

I wouldn't ;make any judgement about jinawee just yet, it's just a few such votes that he

reader ES said...

There are 14 calendars, 0 to 13 that all years fit into.
1963 was #2 as well as 2013. It repeats’ every 11 years or 6 years like: 11,11,6 11,11,6… years between when calendar is applicable.


reader mrbuffalo said...

Oswald was in the lunch room. There was a guy who thought Kennedy killed himself with a little derringer he held in his mouth, he could fire with his tongue. He used his hands to reposition the tiny gun for a final shot.

reader Dilaton said...

It is really too bad that they absolutely refues to narrow down the notion of "homework" to something reasonable on Physics SE:

Their current practice of attaching "homework" to any technical question that contains LaTex (not the most insulting example but still)


and leave it for the well known quintett of bad-reviewers to shoot it down, is really off-putting.

By this means, Physics SE now systematically and very efficiently discourage and forbids any technical questions of serious students, researchers, and generally of people interested in advanced topics not only on an equation free popular level :-(

Somebody should really suggest to narrow down the current way to broad "homework notion" down on Meta and explicitely ensure that the new homework policy still allows for technical questions of students and researchers, who are reading advanced books, follow high-level courses, and are reading research papers.

But of course, the current Meta crowd and the ruling caste would vote any such suggestion to make the definition of homework and the current homework policy more reasonable and less prone to abuse (yes, I have already too often observed bad reviewers and specific mods abuse the new rule to shoot down good questions, and heck they sometimes abuse it to shoot down clearly conceptual questions!), down to hell :-(

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

Yay, the old background is back!

reader Eugene S said...

I think this is on-topic, too: TRF's very own anna v has been recognized in Slate Magazine for a posting she made on Physics Stackexchange! Yay anna, way to go! (And quite a fascinating story it is that prompted the posting.)

reader Dimension10 (Abhimanyu PS) said...

Why are there so many crackpots from Stack Overflow?

reader Dilaton said...

Yep, on SO they may do reasonable things and be very knowledgeable about the topics and issues relevant for that site, but some of them have no clue about physics which does not prevent them from flooding physics SE, in particular since the last elections ...

And the new SE top bar, optimized for long-range (between the sites) negatively interacting propagators without any massive knowledge about a specific topic of the sites they visit, will make this not better ... :-/

reader Dilaton said...

I dont believe this, David Z is now outright trolling on Physics SE :-(0) !

He simply gives a damn about the new books policy we have and keeps (obviously for some pathological personal reasons) shooting down any book or reference-request question (as defined by physicists and not SE politicians) as soon as he sees it, which can be within 10 min after being posted:


He should really get his diamond removed, for continuously abusing his mod power to fast and unilaterally down despite the new books policy. He behaves if Physics SE were his personal homepage where he can do what he wants and give a damn about what other people have decided ...

reader Dilaton said...

This is terrible, now David Z has explicitely written below jdm's very reasonable and appropriate for physicists point of view


that he wants to disallow any technical questions, that involve a computation / derivation, etc indeed (and be sure that I will vote to reopen that questions he has abusively shoot down!) ... :-(

So the answer to this (and other related meta question asking why there are no questions from experts on Physics SE)


First of all, many expersts and good contributers have been driven away by SE abusing its power in the course of the events a year ago, such that the number of experts has fallwn below the critical value for research-level questions getting answered:


Second, by blindly (like stupid but agressive robots) applying rigid policies against so-called homework-like questions (including high up to research-level technical questions), the ruling caste on Physics SE efficiently prohibits that good theoretical physics students, professionals, and researchers can ask technical questions (involving LaTex, computations, and mathematical derivations) they themself are thinking about, anymore.

Why does David Z or other members of the ruling caste not simply ask Stack Exchange to disable LaTex on Physics SE, if they dont want to tolerate technical theoretical questions anymore and forbid them?

Physics SE is now isomorphic to any communist dictatorship, where formal (Stack Exchange) political correctlness is now necessary and sufficiant to define what is a good and allowed question, whereas the physics content and level of questions has become completely unimportant. If anything, the low-level and / or popular stuff is largely prefered by the crowd and the dominant ruling caste ...

reader Brandon Roberts said...

conspiracy theories are sometimes true. and yes i'm somewhat crazy