Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to save refugees from drowning? Recolonialization

About 800 refugees – mostly from the black Africa – drowned off Libyan shores. Hot Air argues that this tragedy – much like numerous other harmful events – should be blamed on the U.S.-NATO coup against Moammar Qaddafi in Libya.

Some people predict 30,000 migrants to drown just in 2015.

But I want to offer you a more general idea. You agree that something is "imperfect" about the countries from which lots of people are fleeing, don't you? I think it should become standard that the countries that accept lots of refugees acquire a part of the territory – or a partial control over the whole territory – of the countries which are sources of lots of refugees.

It seems fair and natural to me for numerous reasons: The target countries see their population density grow, and that's why it should be natural for them to extend their territory for their increasing population, too.

If some organization of the human society (as symbolized by a country) is successful, it should be natural for its influence to grow. And the attractiveness of a society for immigrants is a great and quantifiable piece of evidence that something is good about it.

With this rule – which could become a habit or even a part of the international law – the mankind could get a nice new tool of self-regulation which could direct the world to the self-improving future. Gaia would become more capable of curing and beautifying itself.

The world politics is full of examples where this principle could have been applied – and I do think that in all the cases, the results would have been positive.

During the Cold War, lots of people fled from the Soviet bloc were emigrating to the West. The West could have argued that it had the right to get some extra territory, due to Motl's convention above.

Motl's convention could also be used by Britain to re-establish its control over a part of Pakistan, and by France to re-establish its control over parts of Algeria and other countries. The same convention may be used by Russia to sensibly argue that (approximately) the current territory of Novorussia should be annexed by Russia to compensate the emigration of nearly 1 million Ukrainian citizens to Russia.

There is another general way to defend my convention as a good principle: By emigrating, parts of those societies prove that there exists a significant domestic desire to live in the target country. Because the advantages of the target countries are mostly about their societal arrangements and not the landscape or the weather, there exists a nice way to allow the would-be emigrants to live in the target country: Just allow the target country expand to the territory where they were born.

I've been thinking about some possible detailed mechanisms how the principle could be converted to particular proposals and enforced but I don't want to annoy you with technicalities.

One of the results would be that the Western countries acquire – and should want and be ready to acquire – some territories in Africa and elsewhere. These territories wouldn't necessarily be treated on par with the original territory of these countries. They could be semi-colonies of a sort. But even this setup could significantly improve the life in those countries.

As kids (and mostly as adults as well), most of us have been been brainwashed by the idea that colonialism is a huge sin and everyone from those former colonies and would-be colonies absolutely despises the idea. But I think that the emigration clearly speaks a different language. There are lots of people over there who would prefer if those territories were governed by Westerners. Try to ask them in a poll.

And it's not just about the Westerners. There are countries – in Africa and elsewhere – that work better than others even though the conditions are very similar. The successful countries of Africa could expand, and the unsuccessful ones should shrink. The drowned people included those from Syria, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia.

Those countries are very poor. The GDP per capita is comparable to $1,000.

But there are other countries that are not so poor anymore. You may see that Nigeria is absent in the list above – although its population is 174 million. You may be surprised but Nigeria has actually become the Africa's largest economy. Their GDP per capita is $3,500 (nominal) or $6,000 (PPP) which is respectable. Nigeria has been praised by the International Monetary Fund for its economy and the successful polls. It's a possible leader of a new BRIC-like bloc in the future.

You should compare Nigeria e.g. with the adjacent Niger whose population is 17 million – but it has the highest population growth rate in the world. Most of the people are young but it is no recipe for wealth as its GDP per capita is $400 (nominal) or $800 (PPP), about 8 times lower than Nigeria's!

Don't get me wrong. I don't believe that Niger's economy may easily become as wealthy (on the per capita basis) as Nigeria's economy. Nigeria's average IQ is 84, Niger's average IQ is 69, a whole one standard deviation lower. The countries may sound almost the same but they are very far from being the same. So much of Niger's economy's inferiority is probably due to other things than the recent unproductive political changes.

But yes, I do think that it's natural that countries that "work" – whatever the reasons are – should naturally manage some issues in the other countries, too.


  1. Hi Lubos,
    We don't really want, nor need, those people, why would we want their (now bare) lands?

  2. Maybe you don't want, but I surely do, and I am convinced that so do many others.

    Why? For the same reason why our ancestors wanted such things 500 years ago.

    Exotic places - including the people there - increase the diversity, reach, self-sustainability of a nation, possibility to spend a tropical vacation at home.

    I find it a defect that my homeland doesn't possess a single squared mile with a tropical weather, for example. And it never had.

  3. I don't want to build another nation. I want to incorporate another territory to my nation, to be particular.

  4. I have had several experiences with this type of refugees in the Mediterranean (in Libya and Tunisia in particular), and I've lived the ethical/economic conflict when facing the decision if stop a campaign of geophysical data acquisition when some vessel of this kind were trying to boarding us. We never stopped our ship because in the end, what could we do (an oceanographic vessel with 40 people on board, including technicians and sailors) with hundreds of persons hungry and screaming and several days' sail from the nearest port?. Too risky, the only sensible option was to collect the equipment that were in tow (which is what forced us to go at a speed that allowed the refugees to approach us), and move away from the area at full speed. Sad but there were no choice ever.

    In other occasions, when the job had to be done with the boat at anchor (above an oil well, for example) many of these refugees come up to us in toy boats with a 40 hp engine, and at least now we can give them some food and gasoline, and let them go their way to Lampedusa, knowing that most likely they would never get to land (usually did not wear nor a miserable compass, something essential -plus a minimum knowledge of navigation- to maintain a given direction). Very sad and very distressing, but then again what else could we do?

    This is a capture of one of these moments (taken by myself 11 years ago in the area, the only time I had the guts to take photos), and here the complete sequence for curious people: http://goo.gl/PbhyUu

  5. On reflection, it seems that our disagreement stems from conflicting opinions on whether there exists such a thing as a country that works (to such a degree that it could withstand the burdens of being a colonial power) and if so why it would want to fool with other countries in the first place.

    Late 19th/early 20th century Britain (with colonies intact) might well have been the pinnacle of human civilization (whether because of or in spite of the colonies might be debated), but it was German envy of those colonies that brought about the first world war which led to the second which led to its current state.

    The safe way to get good things from another culture or country is through free trade.

  6. That said, it should be added that are not the refugees the responsible for his own death, are the traffickers who take to the death of thousands of these individuals every year for decades, to people with zero experience with the sea, and that have very little chance of crossing the Mediterranean on a journey of several days.

    I find that Luboš protocol would be unworkable in the current international political framework, however some liberalization at the borders to allow legal entry to many of these people would be good. In the direction of this article: Let Them in


    "We shouldn’t demonise or infantilise these migrants. We should celebrate them for exercising their autonomy in very difficult circumstances and making a conscious decision to take a very risky journey to Europe. They want to come to this continent so badly that they’re willing to trek across deserts and sail across vast seas, and how do we repay their burning aspiration to join us? By criminalising them or patronising them, negating their desire for citizenship in a new world by treating them either as demons or infants, in need of punishment or parenting. That’s enough. We shouldn’t pity these migrants; we should admire them, for using guile, gumption and perseverance to come here. They’re precisely the kind of people sluggish Europe needs more of, an antidote to our students who can’t even clap without having a mental breakdown and our new generation who think that being told to ‘get on your bike’ to look for a job is tantamount to abuse. Let’s relax the borders and let them in to try their luck in our countries and see how they fare. If we do that, we’ll put the traffickers out of business, end the deaths in the Mediterranean, and, more importantly, do our part to enable the aspirations of human beings who have committed no crime other than wanting to realise their potential in our towns, our cities, alongside us."

  7. I fear we are closer to your wish than one would think and that bothers me, as several politicians already are airing this idea. For myself this will represent a pure liability.
    Most of these African countries aren't anywhere close to being lush tropical paradises and surely not the North African ones. When your ancestors wanted that they wanted also some human resources to go with it. All Libya's oil is worth nothing without such human resources since it won't spontaneously jump into the the tanker.

  8. Some time ago I thought something like that. Imperialism disappeared suddenly in the twentieth century after millennia of existence. We are in an experiment that takes only a few decades, we'll see how it works.

  9. It seems (a while back) Canada had the opportunity to absorb the West Indies (or at least part of them). Apparently, the whole issue became a logistical nightmare and Canada basically backed away from the idea. So maybe not everyone does :)

  10. Most of those countries you advocate to be colonized in order to be saved are victims of CIA and other global hyenas. They install puppet regimes in return for favors to the dictator's family and friends. Either you're joking (assuming all scientists are humanist) or you're a fascist in which case you're a poster-boy of how Western education systems misteaches all sorts of sci-tech tricks but fails to teach how to be humane. What's science if you groom sick ideas like that in the back of your overworked mind? You're just a Nazi piece of šit, aren't you?

  11. A good point. Many leftists love to talk about various "experiments" such as the usage of fossil fuels, and things like that. Well, burning fossil fuels isn't much different from burning e.g. wood that people have done for thousands of years.

    But to leave billions of people who were previously managed by more advanced civilizations to govern itself is a much more self-evident experiment with possible risks, but that's exactly the kind of experiments that those leftists wouldn't ever dare to even contemplate.

  12. OK, Canada has too low a population density. It's not the kind of a country where managing a greater territory would be attractive.

    But people in nations with 10 times higher population densities may see it differently.

  13. I believe the solution is to make politics into a profession on the same level as medicine, law etc, so that any politician needs to pass a number of exams, having acquired the necessary experience over a number of years to prove they're competent enough to manage the affairs of a nation.

    If a nation isn't developed enough to produce native competent politicians, the United Nations allocate their own.

  14. I wrote a "paper" much to the same effect in the mid 80'S while still in elementary school. Needless to say, the teacher was horrified. What I failed to point out, and also until now I have not found in Lumo's original piece nor in any comments so far, is the mechanism how to establish exactly what part of the land would be annexed and by whom exactly it would be governed.

    One cannot consider annexin private land to a foreign country. Also, giving some land to rule over to today's incompetent, socialist fools, who run every country in Europe, would be no improvement. All of their current "ideas" are based on taking money from others and "investing" it in some idiotic schemes which feel "good" and "the right thing to do", such as wind power.

    Anyway, looking at the big picture, this line of thought is certrainly worth developing further.

  15. Here is a black African who agrees with you: http://chimurengachronic.co.za/in-over-our-heads/

  16. Dear Lubos, one of your compatriots, Mr Vít Jedlicka (or should I say President Vít Jedlicka) is not thinking about extending the borders of Czech republic to more exotic southern locations, but has instead created a new country, Liberland (http://liberland.org/en/news/liberland-enters-history-president-jedlicka-provides-one-interview-after-another-25.htm), somewhere between Serbia and Croatia. I'm considering applying for citizenship.

  17. Nigeria's average IQ is 84, Niger's average IQ is 69, a whole one standard deviation lower.

    Is that with the world average set to 100? Or what?

  18. By the way I learned about this problem form Arkani-hamed, you can see he talks about this problem between 55:00-1:05:00 :


  19. Dear Tom, there is no contradiction.

    First, the expulsion of Germans after the war isn't a result of my convention. It is a punishment for their role in the war they lost, and their acts that preceded the war. Their bulk didn't lose voluntarily, so they cannot be counted as "votes" that Czechoslovakia didn't work well at that moment.

    Your phrase "return of the Sudetenland to Germany" is historically nonsensical because Germany hasn't controlled the territory at any moment in the last 1,000 years with the exception of a few years that are universally acknowledged to be legally non-kosher.

    The total emigration from Czechoslovakia between 1945 and mid 1960s was about 0.5 million people, about 3%. That would correspond to Czechoslovakia's losing something like Aussig, plus a few small spat towns, or something like that. That loss could have made Czechoslovakia to readjust its future so it's likely that with my regime, communism would have been much shorter.

    Moyotte isn't following anything similar to what I have in mind. First of all, it is no colony if people born on that land enjoy the exact same right as people born in the parent country. It is often totally desirable to have different laws in the colonies - or even parts of the parent country - and restrict the motion of people between colonies and the parent country. These restrictions always existed. So you are blaming my - flawless - proposal for the defects that are actually caused by your version of colonialism which is actually anti-colonialism.

  20. An excellent example from Cameroon. How did you know/find about him?

  21. Dear scooby, he's not just my compatriot but also my Facebook friend. ;-) If you were reading TRF more carefully, you would have learned about it on the same day:


    While applying for citizenship, don't overlook the detail that the official language of Liberland is Czech. Good luck to learning! ;-)

  22. Yes, the world average at every moment should be set to 100, and the distribution of the whole world population should be Gaussian with the standard deviation of 15.

    Most of people in Niger are below 70 - two standard deviations below the average. People in the 50-69 range are technically known as morons.


    Half of Niger's population belongs to this set or lower groups - imbecile 20-49 and idiot below 20. Note that an imbecile is actually smarter than an idiot, a detail that is usually misunderstood and reverted in the everyday usage of the words.

  23. It seems that English is welcomed too. In Spain there are Liberland official accounts on Twitter and Facebook (in Spanish), and has had some impact in the media. Hopefully initiatives of this kind multiply, I think it's the only effective way to enact libertarianism.

  24. Due to higher birth rate in those countries. (Niger 7 children per woman) average IQ of whole world will be down very quickly.

  25. I doubt it. The higher birth rate is people's insurance against higher child mortality rate, too. At the end, the population growth in Niger is just 3% per year. And nations not managed properly hit some natural barriers. In the West, natural selection no longer works, but in black Africa, it does.

  26. BTW while I find this to be an amusing childish game so far, if it led to a country, it would be a great example for my principle.

    With those tons of people in Spain and elsewhere who "emigrate" to Liberland, the country could have been given some new decent territory. ;-)

  27. Beware, in Spain some territories could be a poisoned gift ;-)

  28. I worked for 8 months in Prague (Prague 8) and had enough fragments of Czech at the end to order my polévka at lunch time. But that's all gone now.

  29. 3% -> Doubles in 24 years. Compare it with developed countries, even with negative rates. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Niger-demography.png

  30. The realm in which any government can be expected to act competently is severely circumscribed. When the responsibility of a government is enlarged to include the administration of a foreign people that competence is instantly taxed beyond reason. The successful administration of a foreign nation has proven time and time again to be beyond the competence of the government of any nation.

  31. I already signed up yesterday. Hopefully more initiatives like this appear. (Also there is http://www.seasteading.org/) and forms some wide 'libertarian federation' or something similar.

    I see that Croatia has only 4 million people, I think it will be good for them if they allow and facilitate Liberland, on the benefits of tourism, etc. in nearby towns. (I think there are already hundreds of thousands registered)

  32. "I believe the solution is to make politics into a profession on the same level as medicine, law etc, so that any politician needs to pass a number of exams, having acquired the necessary experience over a number of years to prove they're competent enough to manage the affairs of a nation."

    We've tried this in France and it doesn't work. Most of the members of the current government are graduates of ENA (National School of Administration) and they're clearly incompetents.

  33. kashyap vasavadaApr 22, 2015, 6:14:00 PM

    Interesting solution to the refugee problem Lubos! But I am afraid powerful nations may take disadvantage of these situations if such things are allowed by united nations. You can always argue that government in a particular country is not serving needs of the people in that country. There will be always poverty somewhere. Even in my own city in U.S. there are people who have a life worse than third world country. So where do you draw line? Allowing only when lots of people die while trying to find a better life in another country? As you know U.S. has a big problem with illegal immigrants. What is the best solution in your opinion?

  34. I see now that Niger population growth is 3.9%, then 18 years to double (And the rate of increase also increases, surprisingly.)


    Here are the countries with the highest population growth rate:

  35. According to the number of messages by language in the Liberland forums:

    Czech 222, English 1270.
    Turk 1377, Arabic 1043.

    It seems that may end up being a caliphate :)

  36. I am proposing that nations learn to think that it's "fair" that the nation that is getting refugees gets some extra territory from the troubled country that the people are leaving. At the end, it's supposed to be consensual.

    The Mexican immigrants problem is a canonical example how things could improve. Parts of Mexico corresponding to the percentage of the migrants should be given to the U.S., and U.S. government institutions should manage those lands so that they effectively create a U.S. for Mexicans. Existing illegals could be deported to those territories, too.

  37. Yes.

    As empires go I'd ours was the best. But that's not saying much. Besides, the vast majority of Britons had no say in its creation or its maintenance and many were conscripted into serving it. Screw that. Anyway if people want to take up the white man's burden let them do it on their on penny — they can keep their filthy mitts out of my pocket.

    So my prescription is for us keeping our noses well out of it too for the reasons you state—government needs to be minimised, not expanded; either that or for attacking and annihilating those nation states abilities to wage the various kinds of warfare they're conducting against the West, including the facilitating of alien immigration, mass or otherwise. Sod the inhabitants if they can't keep their own governments under control. That's their lookout.

    Everyone's concerned, and quite rightly, about pisslamic Persia acquiring nuclear weapons technology but the Saudis and others have been wielding a weapon of mass destruction, albeit a slow-motion one, for decades. If I had any say in it I'd do something about that. And the rest.

    The only difficulty here is that any unilateral action would be seen as a strategic power grab by other blocks. That's a tricky one.

  38. We never had any qualms about sinking the Bismarck or the U-boats. They were a threat to our way of life.

    But hoards of hideously repulsive aliens aren't? GTF. Take a look around Southall and many other infected sites now around Britain.

    To all you bleeding hearts: Put your hands in your own pockets and put the hideoids up in YOUR OWN beds. But make sure the rest of us don't ever have to hear, see or smell them.

  39. Hi Lubos,
    it certainly is true that Canada is not interested more needless territory. But there certainly is good motivation to absorb an exotic place: Many Canadian retirees spend 6 months in Florida (to keep health insurance they cannot stay any longer). Actually, some places in Florida (Hollywood) even print French language newspapers for the minority. So, the desire to absorb an exotic place is certainly well motivated. It would be interesting to find our more about why the whole thing fell through.

  40. They've been on the verge of famine for the last decade. They can sustain the growth only through foreign aid.

  41. The Motl Doctrine is brilliant (re the post-WWII Marshall Plan through which the US colonized Europe, albeit no more well done than the English Crown in India) ) if and only if the receiving country gets to choose its real estate compensation.

    Mexico loosed some million Mexicans/year into the US for decades. What does the US claim in trade for those tens of millions of relocated reproductive warriors (more followers for the Pope)? Baja Mexico has some 1800 miles linear miles of coastline that are about 2500 miles counting inlets and bays . That is hundreds of $billions of seaside real estate development lying fallow for centuries. Fair trade of what is nothing now in pesos to soon be something spectacular (assuming all vice is played by Tangier rules) in dollars is acceptable.

    If Mexico cedes Tijuana, Juarez, and other social and economic cesspools, who is the double fool?

  42. Dear Lubos, you didn't believe Landau, so I will directly quote Bohr himself.

    I only write them to show position of Bohr, not argue it is correct.

    The phrases written in capital are my emphasization.

    From Discussions with Einstein on Epistemological Problems in Atomic Physics

    "As a more appropriate way of expression, I advocated the application of the word phenomenon exclusively to refer to the observations obtained under specified circumstances, including an account of the whole experimental arrangement. In such terminology, the observational problem is free of any special intricacy since, in actual experiments, all observations are expressed by unambiguous statements referring, for instance, to the registration of the point at which an electron arrives at a photographic plate. Moreover, speaking in such a way is just suited to emphasise that the appropriate physical interpretation of the symbolic quantum-mechanical formalism amounts only to predictions, of determinate or statistical character, pertaining to individual phenomena appearing under conditions DEFINED BY CLASSICAL PHYSICAL CONCEPTS."

    From On the notions of causality and complementarity, page 52:

    "Strictly speaking, every reference to dynamical concepts
    implies a classical mechanical analysis of physical
    evidence which ultimately rests on the recording
    of space-time coincidences"

    From “Introductory survey,” in Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature, p. 16:

    "According to the view of the author, it would be a misconception to
    believe that the difficulties of the atomic theory may be evaded by
    eventually replacing the concepts of classical physics by new conceptual
    forms. . . . No more is it likely that the fundamental concepts of
    the classical theories will ever become superfluous for the description
    of physical experience. The recognition of the indivisibility of the
    quantum of action, and the determination of its magnitude, not only
    depend on an analysis of measurements based on classical concepts,
    but it continues to be the application of these concepts alone that
    makes it possible to relate the symbolism of the quantum theory to
    the data of experience."

    From Essays 1958-1962 on Atomic Physics and Human
    Experience, p.3

    essentially new feature in the analysis of quantum phenomena is,
    however, the introduction of a FUNDAMENTAL DISTINCTION between the
    measuring apparatus and the objects under investigation."

    I can continue but I am really tired. I think you can see why people are confused about measurement for such a long time. It is because Bohr assumed that measurement is fundamentally different as Landau claimed. Remember that Weinberg also criticized Copenhagen School for this in his quantum mechanics book. But all he could say about Consistent Histories was I don't like it.

    I must say that while searching what Bohr have said, I have learned that Heisenberg actually disagreed with him (I suspected this but wasn't sure). I think that Heisenberg understood everything very well, but I am not sure about others. Note that some of the statements by Bohr above written after 1950.

    I will write about position of Heisenberg later but I am really tired now.

  43. Incompetent relative to whom?

    I very much doubt the recent bloodshed in Ukraine would have occurred if their leaders had been taken from a professional organization similar to the ENA. Viktor Yanukovych had a criminal past for assault, graduating in mechanical engineering; Petro Poroshenko started out as a law graduate, but then ended up in business.

    The French system may not be perfect, but it's certainly the lesser of two evils compared to an electorate voting in charismatic, but utterly clueless social engineering cowboys wrecking havoc upon a nation.

  44. Most refugees are economic migrants.

    If your house was burning down, you would seek help from a neighbor. These "refugees" ignore neighboring countries and cross tens of thousands of kilometers, often waiting in staging area countries (France, Papua) for years, to await passage into a "nirvana" country, like Australia or the UK.

    Mots immigration rule should have the condition that the seeker has applied to neighbors first, otherwise they are benefit seekers not refugees.

  45. I'm skeptical. My IQ is 150, which is 5.4 SD higher than the alleged Niger average, so in their population of approx. 17 million there would be almost no one as smart as I am - certainly fewer than 200 people and perhaps none at all. And I'm not really very smart!

  46. John, I wrote the same statements hundreds of times myself. The interpretation of the observations in quantum mechanics uses the same classical concepts and classical language.

    But that doesn't mean that one is using a parallel classical theory to make sense of quantum mechanics. It just means that the character of statements one can make about observables is the same in both theories.

    But the theories - the methods to deduce or calculate the right statements about observables, to assign the questions with answers - are *inequivalent* in classical physics and quantum mechanics.

    I don't understand what may be difficult about these matters.

  47. Dear Smoking Frog, there is indeed at most 0-1 people in Niger who are as smart as you or smarter. I am confident that 0 is closer to the right answer than 1.

  48. Ok, I will be very precise.

    First of all, Landau said that, Quantum Mechanics *requires* in its formulation classical mechanics. He said he learned this from Bohr and Bohr made similar statements. I can't understand how you agree with it and say that anyone says this is a crackpot.

    But this is just history and not about physics.

    I have learned about CH firs from your blog, and then read books Omnes and Griffiths and some articles written by them. They make complete sense to me, there is nothing wrong with them.

    However you told me that most of the best physicist even haven't heard about CH/DH and they don't see problems with quantum mechanics. They only consider questions which involve some experiment or measurable quantities. I thought that I can make sense of it, if I assume existence of arbitrarily classical objects and only consider the following question. What happens to *classical properties* of a measuring apparatus, when it interacts with a system (and repeat it infinitely many times). This question makes complete sense if you can have in principle arbitrarily classical objects and make arbitrarily many times. Here you can't talk about closed quantum systems but only what happens when a quantum system interact with classical system. I should note that Arkani-hamed precisely teach quantum mechanics in that way, for example in his lectures in Perimeter. That also made me thought that this is the right idea. It is also I think same as Landau's approach and it is fine. And I am thinking in terms of observer/observed for some time and fine with it.

    I also thought the approach above is very physical/safe and you should think in that way. I always thought that this is in accordance with radical conservatism. We had classical concepts before invention of quantum mechanics and we can still use them if we you them in proper way. And I also think that, this mode of thinking made people to discover quantum mechanics and otherwise probably they couldn't. But they didn't talk about properties of quantum mechanical system without reference to a classical system. In my knowledge this is first done by Neumann. He tried build a theory of quantum logic but he couldn't (I don't know why).

    The problem (again I am not sure, that is why I asked you in the first place) with quantum mechanics in De Sitter space I think is the following. In the history of science, whenever you couldn't measure something or talk about it precisely *even in principle*, we learned that it didn't exist. For example, we can't measure arbitrarily short intervals of space because we form black holes, and we learned that indeed space is emergent. Here I think we have a similar problem. We can't make arbitrarily classical objects *in principle* and can't make arbitrarily number of experiments. You can't talk about observer or measuring apparatus in the same way you talk before. Concept of probability itself isn't very meaningful I think, since you can't have an arbitrarily large sample.

    Again I am not sure and I know that it is dangerous to play with quantum mechanics. You must be an excellent physicist to even try that. I just want to understand it better.

  49. Yes, you are right. "Return to Germany" was a wrong expression I meant "return to a situation where there are German in (part) of Sudetenland again".
    Otherwise this is exactly what I meant - something like 5 000 km² counting only the population fled between 1945 and 1989.
    But 5 000 km² while being smaller than the historical Sudetenland is still a good chunk of 50 x 100 km that would go under German administration. Actually I would take the industrial part, your home town Pilsen included and not necessarily only Sudetenland.
    Note that then your uncle wouldn't have had to move :)
    Otherwise I think that you are also right by estimating that this would shorten the life of the communist regime. It seems very plausible.
    Regarding Mayotte I tried to explain that having a control of a territory has consequences - administration, police, justice, education, taxes etc.
    This has a cost and in the case of Mayotte or any other territory be it a "colony" or not, these costs are paid by those who have money and these are almost always the citizens of the parent country. And nobody would want to pay for controlling some far away worthless piece of land.
    It is also not clear what you mean by "not exact the same right".
    For instance a civil servant is sent to Mayotte from France and has a child there - his child is then French. Of course there can be no restriction of citizenship or movement for him or his family. Symetrically a civil servant hired in Mayotte and sent later to France can have children in France who will then be French too.
    The devil is in the detail - what EXACTLY would be the rights that are the same and what rights would be different ?
    And what would be the distinguishing parameter ? Place where one is born ? Place where one is living at a given moment ? Place where the parents were born ? The grandparents ? Other ?
    It is impossible to tell whether the proposal is flawless (or can be generalised to all boundary conditions) before one analysed these practical and very fundamental "details".
    My experience and travels are telling me that it is not worth to exchange population against territory unless you can cherry pick the population or the territory (ideally both).

  50. Dear Tom, one's losing a piece of homeland to another country is an emotional thing but in a certain regime, it could become understandable. When something doesn't work domestically, things could become better.

    The detailed rules could say that the part of the country (the district of the correct enough size) whose area is close enough to the required one and where one has the highest support of (lowest opposition to) annexation by the other country could be transferred.

    This could indeed very well mean that e.g. Germany or the U.S. would overtake Pilsen, unless there would be rules that it has to be a border region. I am a Czech patriot but yes, I am still totally convinced that everyone in Pilsen would be better off if Pilsen would have been another West Berlin since 1960, for example. ;-)

    Whether one gets money or has to subsidize a colony depends on his behavior. It is in no way guaranteed that Mayotte had to become a net financial liability. I don't have a great business proposal for Mayotte. But if one just holds a territory and makes it pay some modest taxes, and otherwise behave independently, it may easily be seen to be profitable. And one can do better than that, I am sure.

  51. I'm still a little skeptical. You say "contact with reality," but I knew a girl from Niger who I think was probably in the 120s. Then again, maybe not.

    Come to think of it, there is something ... Ninety-six percent of utterances in the Niger languages begin "Duh,..." :-)

    In case I overcome my skepticism: How can I donate my brain to Niger science? I know, I know, you'll say they'd just eat it or use it as a decoration or something, but I'd get in touch with that girl and have her tell them to actually cut it up and study it. :-)