Obama made it clear today….civility is the Washington D.C. substitute for integrity. Go along with with military-industrial complex and you get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Speak truth to power, and you lose your job. Land of the free and home of the brave? Not in Washington, D.C.
Phi Beta Iota: These are smart people. To tell the lies they do, to behave as they do, is not out of ignorance. It is the elevation of personal greed and political ideology over integrity. The Republicans are just as guilty–one bird, two wings, same stink.
Today in cyber threats: more than four million Windows PCs have been commandeered by a botnet that cybersecurity experts are calling nearly “indestructible.” Known as TDL-4 (it’s the fourth iteration of the malicious program), this particular little nuisance hides in places security software rarely checks and speaks with other infected machines and their overseers in a novel encrypted code. Some are calling it the most sophisticated threat out there today. Watch your back, Stuxnet.
Phi Beta Iota: Apart from the known fact that the US Government ignored documented warning from Winn Schwartau, Jim Anderson, Bill Caelli, and Robert Steele in 1994, what we have here is the culimination of fifteen years in which governments continue to operate as Industrial Era hierarchies, choosing secrecy to protect incompetence rather than multinational sharing to achieve resilience–they are as a result inept beyond belief. The cloud–given the plethora of proprietary and therefore generally insecure hardware and software–is not going to be cleaned up on the present course, where spam is 75% of all email despite the best (isolated) efforts of all concerned. M4IS2, anyone?
6 Star Special–Soros Out-Grows Broken System, June 24, 2011
On its own merits, without the Foreword from George Soros, this book is a solid five. With the most extraordinary Foreword, a Foreword that draws the lines of battle between a totally dysfunctional global governance and financial system of systems all lacking in integrity–where truth is not to be found–and the need for transparency, truth, and trust, the book goes into my top 10%, 6 stars and beyond.
The essay is a *major* part of the book, the first 57 pages out of just over 335. The essay is available free online and is a “must read” item for any person who wishes to be part of restoring the Republic and laying the foundation for creating a prosperous world at peace. Searching for <George Soros My Philanthropy> will lead directly to both the New York Review of Books and the GeorgeSoros.com offerings–select the latter to get the full article without subscription nonsense from the New York Review of Books.
I confess to having lost faith in George Soros–he fell for the Barack Obama Show and wasted a lot of time and money on what ends up being the Goldman Sachs Show–to the point that Goldman Sachs not only continues to own the Secretary of the Treasury, but now has installed its own man in the role of National Security Advisor. The irony does not amuse me.
This essay is phenomenal, and bears on the book at large, because Soros has finally put his finger of the sucking chest wound that I, John Bogle, William Grieder, and most recently Matt Taibbi have been sounding the alarm on: the lack of intelligence and integrity in the system of systems. Soros is halfway there; he is now outside the system looking in, and that is good news for all of us.
“I am looking for novel solutions in order to make an untidy structure manageable.”
(Reuters) – Thrown by a mounting series of extreme events over the past four years, global policymakers and investors are being urged to think long and prepare more systematically for the worst.
. . . . . . .
Part of the problem today is that the latest wave of globalization was led solely by transnational corporations and their interwoven supply chains and by financial markets’ 24/7 worldwide blizzard of electronic transactions.
While this greatly facilitated the transmission of shocks worldwide, it was not matched by countervailing global governance and regulation to keep this activity in check or mitigate its most socially- or systemically-threatening aspects.
More information on the OECD’s Future Global Shocks project is available at: www.oecd.org/futures, including case studies on cyber attacks, pandemics, geomagnetic storms, social unrest and financial crises.
Released Wednesday by the sponsoring Watson Institute of Brown University, a new multi-author study of the costs of the post-9/11 wars is available. Most prominently, the study finds the appropriations thus far to have been between $2.3 and 2.7 trillion; with an additional $884 to $1,334 billion to already have been incurred for future costs for veterans and their families. This would make a total, incurred thus far, of from $3.2 Trillion to $4.0 trillion. (Find a summary of these costs at http://costsofwar.org/article/economic-cost-summary.) It is important to note that these are basically budget costs to the federal government, not the broader economic costs to the economy or other costs to state and local governments. The study also addresses still other expenses, such as the human costs in terms of civilian dead, the wounded, refugees, and more.
There is certainly some you will find to disagree with, but it is clear that advocates of the various conflicts who pretend the costs have been only the $1 trillion that President Obama articulated last week are feeding the nation grotesquely inaccurate information. Others, like departing SecDef Gates, who pretend that DOD spending is not a major factor in the size of our deficit are not particularly skilled in “math,” an elementary skill for government types that Secretary Gates has chosen to deride and to leave to others to perform.
I participated in the Costs of War study; see my paper on the DOD . It makes two basic points on p. 14:
1) “… while [the Congressional Research Service] and others have done long, hard, and excellent work to capture the identifiable appropriations to the Pentagon for the Post-9/11 wars, the $1.2 trillion CRS has, for example, identified in current dollars is problematic, but the fault is not with CRS, CBO, or GAO. The available figures have gaping holes and problems in them because of the sloppy, inept and misleading accounting of the costs by the Defense Department and Congress.”
2) “The $667 billion in 2011 dollars ($617 billion in current dollars) appropriated to the Defense Department’s base budget since 2001 as a result of the wars, while squandered, should be included in any comprehensive attempt to capture the total cost of the wars. These amounts would bring the total DOD costs of the wars to $1.98 Trillion in constant 2011 dollars and $1.82 trillion in current dollars.”
A Reuters story below summarizes the overall “Costs of War” study.
(Reuters) – When President Barack Obama cited cost as a reason to bring troops home from Afghanistan, he referred to a $1 trillion price tag for America’s wars.
Staggering as it is, that figure grossly underestimates the total cost of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the U.S. Treasury and ignores more imposing costs yet to come, according to a study released on Wednesday.
The final bill will run at least $3.7 trillion and could reach as high as $4.4 trillion, according to the research project “Costs of War” by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.
Phi Beta Iota: Emphasis added above. Brown, like Rutgers, is a hotbed of left-leaning intellectuals who probably wonder how a Democratic President could have become a neo-fascist war-monger. The answer is simple: corruption has no ideology. It is pervasive. Interestingly, the wire services (AP, Reuters, AFP, Bloomberg on occasion) and Russian Television as well as Al Jazeera, are emerging from this period as examples of integrity in action.
Given that the Greeks invented democracy, it’s only fitting that they’re now being given the chance to reinvent it. And yes, I know we Greeks have a reputation for mythmaking and drama — but, as I found out during my trip to Greece last week, those really are the stakes.
Until I went over and witnessed what’s happening, I too had become convinced that the real issues were the ones the media were obsessively covering: the effects of a potential sovereign default on the Euro and worries about the crisis spreading to other European countries.
But here’s the bigger issue: Can a truly democratic movement break the stranglehold of corrupt elites and powerful anti-democratic institutional forces that have come to characterize not just the politics of Greece, but most Western democracies, including our own? Greece is only an extreme example of an unfolding seismic social shift that is challenging democracies the world over.
What happens in Greece might very well tell us whether democracy will recover from the crisis of legitimacy exacerbated by the financial crisis or whether it will shrink — undermined by the very forces that brought on the crisis in the first place.
It’s way too early to tell whether the forces of democracy will prevail, but I came away extraordinarily moved and heartened by the courage, passion, engagement and dedication I witnessed during a trip in which three different perspectives converged.
The golden era is gone, but this is not because the law itself is becoming less relevant. Rather, the sea change reflects an urgent need for better and cheaper legal services that can keep pace with the demands of a rapidly globalizing world. The Great Recession—a catalyst for change—provided an opportunity to re-examine some long-standing assumptions about lawyers and the clients they serve.
Internet prime mover Vint Cerf echoes what I’ve been hearing from other architects of the TCP/IP network: we should focus on building much fatter pipes, and get away from the enforced/legacy scarcity and build gigabit broadband networks. Nothing here about the cost of providing gigabit access, nothing here about the fact that much of the (rural) U.S. has no access to broadband at any speed. What policies do we need to have pervasive gigabit broadband, urban and rural, in the U.S.? Who will pay for the buildout? [Link]
I’m aware of open spectrum… I’m in other conversations with various wonks & engineers who’re discussing bandwidth, spectrum, etc. Of course we could have a much different scene if we weren’t constrained by markets and politics. People how can see one sense of the obvious often miss another, which is that the world we’re in is not an ideal world, and the ideals we can conceive are not necessarily easy or even possible to implement. I pay less attention to the “next net” list we’re both on because so much of it is fantasy and masturbation.
I own a nice home in rural Texas but I can’t live there because I can’t even get 500kbps. I thought it was amusing that Vint is arguing for gigabit bandwidth when most of the U.S. is dark and there’s too little monetary incentive to bring light to the darkness. Of course I think we need a public initiative to make it happen, but in this era “public” is a dirty word. I halfway expect to see all roads become toll roads; a world where only the elite can travel, and only the elite will have broadband access. Though aging, I’m struggling to remain part of the elite… *8^)
Robert Steele Comments:
Open Spectrum was part of my comment to Jon, but much more pointedly, I observed that Vint went to the dark side with Google, and has completely neglected both the Dutch model that Gordon Cook has documented so ably, and the desktop analytics as well as the back office M4IS2 processing that is required to create the World Brain and Global Game. I do not wish to publish the Operation Cloudburst memorandum that is before Microsoft, but now that Office 365 is out the way is open for some SERIOUS human-centric, data-centric, intelligence-capable M4IS2 innovation (Microsoft BI, Access, and MySQL are baby steps). Google, IBM, and Oracle are all great in their respective niches, but no organization–including Microsoft–is trained, equipped, and organized to create a global grid that is Open Everything. This is my specific calling in my last 25 years of productive work.
Warning: This parody is a shameless exploitation of Bogart’s “Treasure of Sierra Madre” and Hemingway’s “Old Man & The Sea.” It pokes fun at the rising elite of consulting, i.e. those involved with performance analytics or “the revolution in analytics.” Yet it raises serious issues around the capabilities and limitations of certain kinds of analytical modeling.
The Old Man & The Blogger
The Blogger sat in The Cantina on a hot, lazy afternoon sipping a Corona. Managers and marketing types gathered around him, hanging on his every word. He spoke of “integrated business planning” and “executives getting fast answers to important questions.” Then he crossed the line. “I think we’re about to witness a revolution in how companies use analytics in business processes. I don’t use that overworked term lightly. I expect this to be as revolutionary as the impact that client/server computing had on transaction processing and related systems such as ERP and CRM.”
Revolution! The Old Man, a bearded Operations Research analyst in the back of the bar stirred from his siesta. He moved slowly, almost painfully as ancient bones strained to come alive. But his eyes were coal-black, glinting with some sort of passion or maybe just crazy from the heat. He tipped his sombrero and squinted..the eyes said it all: “I’ve been in the mountains with Fidel!” A relic of the past hung from the Old Man’s belt, a HP RPN calculator. They said he belonged to the old Operations Research Society of America (ORSA). They said when he has too much tequila he did matrix math with a pencil and paper. He scares the undergraduates. Maybe he had been in the Sierra del Escambray’s with Fidel doing some sort of weird linear programming or optimization? Rumors? No one really knows.
It’s About Insight “Revolution in Analytics? Revolution in Analytics?! We don’t need no stinking Revolution in Analytics.” he mocked. “Hey Amigo, we’ve been doing quant math and running yield management optimization programs since before you were born.” The Old Man was getting more and more agitated now… “You go back and tell Sam Palmisano what he can do with his ‘revolution’ and where he can stick his predictive analysis. It ain’t about crunching numbers! It’s about insight! Ain’t nobody s-plained to you about complex adaptive systems or CAS? Eh? No? Well you can kiss your assumption about equilibrium and stationarity goodbye! No more stochastic processes. No more deterministic solutions!” Getting in The Blogger’s face now: “Do you know anything about indeterminacy and heuristics? Emergent properties? Yeah! I didn’t think so. And neither does Palmisano!” The Old Man was on a roll now and there was no stopping him. He was animated, a cross between Zorba the Greek and Hunter S. Thompson. It was frightening but fascinating at the same time…we were spellbound.
“You go down to Santa Fe (he meant the Santa Fe Institute which does research on CAS) and ask them what they think of predictive analytics! And they will tell you that CAS solution landscapes DANCE! Because the system adapts, it morphs, and it laughs at us!”
But now the Old Man was spent. He was tired and needed rest. So he went down to the sea to watch the waves dance and was lost in the hubris of the past.
Hopeful but Cautious
There’s a lot of hype going around about analytics. And that’s to be expected in fields that re-emerge every twenty or so years into managerial mainstream. We had Operations Research during World War Two, the RAND years of quantitative systems analysis during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, Chaos Theory and the hedge funds during the 1990’s, and so on. When good data and good theory converge the results can be astounding, as in the airlines yield management and optimization innovations. We also can look at predictive analytics in maintenance and equipment failures, and I recently wrote a piece reviewing a JAMA study on how performance analytics were reducing the risk of heart attacks mortality during hospital stays. Even though this is a “healthcare” orientation, the methodology and epistemology is brilliant and can serve as a template for virtually any industry. And although I poke fun at combining quantitative analysis with the high levels of uncertainty accompanying CAS, I am optimistic we can accommodate both views simultaneously (see my CERTS posting). However, when bad theory dominates, as in the RAND/ McNamara employment of Planning, Programming & Budgeting during the Vietnam War….well, in that case a lot of good people died. We can never let that sort of analytical hubris happen again…. see Marke “Approaches to Risk Under Conditions of Uncertainty and Complexity” presented at the Society for Risk Analysis 2007 for a critique of McNamara’s approach.
So here’s the deal: if you position yourselves as a bunch of quants who do regression analysis or multivariate data analysis or whatever (being defined by the tool kit rather than the problem) you are doomed to work on relatively deterministic problems conforming to stationarity and living in equilibrium. Alternately, if you proceed to highly stochastic or indeterminate problems, the chances of hubristic failure are very high. The two small power point pages at the bottom of this posting will graphically explain the typology. Remember the folks at Rand and don’t “Pull A McNamara.”
I think there is a middle ground. It focuses on a multi-disciplinary approach that is not dominated by the tool kit. Yeah, yeah, I know….you already spent a lot of money positioning this “new” service as “analytical.” Repositioning is gonna drive the marketing-types nuts.
Or maybe it’s just time to go down to the sea and watch the waves…
Here are slides from the SRA presentation (referenced and linked above) that may prove helpful (click to enlarge). They were adapted from John Sutherland’s A General Systems Philosophy for the Social and Behavioral Sciences; 1973. I am happy to discuss at length should there be interest in the field. And keep smiling!