The John Batchelor Show

Friday 25 October 2019

Air Date: 
October 25, 2019

Hour One
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 1, Block A: Dan Henninger, WSJ deputy editor of the editorial page; and Wonder Land columnist; in re:  Mrs Pelosi’s delay of actual impeachment.  Schiff hearings going on in secret; meanwhile, a sort of impeachment press is alive.   In the summer, she did not want to go down the impeachment path: If the Senate trial is in January, that will oblige all Senators to be present in Washington, including six Democratic Senators running for the Democratic nomination. Iowa, NH NV, and ___. 
Split-screen primary season: on one, candidates running around in the snow; on the other, the solemn trial in DC. Or, maybe [puckishly] Mrs Pelosi’s plan is to let Joe Biden (no longer a Senator) campaign while the others are stuck in an impeachment hall.
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 1, Block B: Mary Anastasia O’Grady, WSJ Americas columnist, in re: Canada & Venezuela.  Anent the 22 Oct Canadian election: Trudeau’s Liberal party much about energy policy; Western Canada is flush with oil and gas, and so supports fossil fuel development. If Alberta can't get its crude to market – Trudeau seemed to be anti-energy – its economy will suffer.  Much anger in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta against Ontario.  Trudeau’s apparent softness on China: an electoral priority?  
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 1, Block C: Chris Riegel, CEO, in re: The SCALA Report.  Analogue computers; enter data as fast as possible. Nature Magazine anent: Quantum supremacy.  qubits.  Repeatable experiment: can do in 200 seconds what a [familiar] computer could do in ten thousand years.   . . .  WeWork founder bounced out with a billion dollars or so. Softbank. Masayoshi San.   Some start-up shares: a pig in a poke.
           Quantum supremacy using a programmable superconducting processor   Abstract    The promise of quantum computers is that certain computational tasks might be executed exponentially faster on a quantum processor than on a classical processor1. A fundamental challenge is to build a high-fidelity processor capable of running quantum algorithms in an exponentially large computational space. Here we report the use of a processor with programmable superconducting qubits to create quantum states on 53 qubits, corresponding to a computational state-space of dimension 253 (about 1016). Measurements from repeated experiments sample the resulting probability distribution, which we verify using classical simulations. Our Sycamore processor takes about 200 seconds to sample one instance of a quantum circuit a million times—our benchmarks currently indicate that the equivalent task for a state-of-the-art classical supercomputer would take approximately 10,000 years. This dramatic increase in speed compared to all known classical algorithms is an experimental realization of quantum supremacy for this specific computational task, heralding a much-anticipated computing paradigm. /
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 1, Block D: Jeff Bliss, Pacific Watch, in re:  Enormous Californian wildfires. PG&E shut off its low-voltage lines, but for some reason left on high-voltage line, 200,000 volts, apparently thereby causing catastrophic fires.  At least seven major fires. Worst: electricity turned off to homes and businesses. Up to two million people may lose power for one or more days. 
Downtown Seattle, elderly RVs:  camps of otherwise-homeless people. 
Hour Two
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 2, Block A:  Michael E Vlahos, Johns Hopkins, in re: Are we in a civil war?  Will we even know for sure within our lifetimes?  Blue team: impeachment inquiry, Did the president abuse power on a phone call?  Follows Mueller probe.  Goal is to roll back time and unelect President Trump.  Red team: what is now a criminal inquiry under AG Barr and US Atty Durham.  Mifsud, Papadapoulos, FISA court, Carter Page.   All together, regicides. 
                  Recall Rome’s comparable experience in the First Century, BC.  US is now in a factional battle worthy of the city on the Tiber 2,000 years ago.  The struggle over legitimacy, Red and Blue each trying to corral legitimacy: Blue: regicide; Red: overturn that.
Mexican civil war of the last century’s ’Teens and ’Twenties.  Also the Spanish civil war.  Roman Republic unraveled messily and in a convoluted way – many of the early battles were over legitimacy. Run the risk of destroying the constitution, itself – Rome had none; Caesar created [a sense] of how things needed to be done. 
                  Belief that the other side must be forced . . .   Marius and Sulla
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 2, Block B:  Michael E Vlahos, Johns Hopkins, in re: The previous king used the national security apparatus to forward his own goals.  Marius had been Sulla’s old commander, were close friends.  In Rome: the sanctity of office; how Consuls were elected and served. Eventually, Sulla had to declare Marius an enemy of the State. Once the requirements were overturned, then everyone understood that it could be done again – which led to Caesar, and the end of the republic.  Red and Blue together have allowed impeachment to become a normative political tool. A huge mistake. Soon:  the losing side will declare the winning side to be illegitimate.    In 2000, the Supreme Court decided who was president, which stopped that process. But now, the Court is no longer is in such high esteem. Current American process cannot be stopped because the gravity of the matter is not recognized; Blue thinks it's doing the right thing by pursuing its goals, which can in turn set in motion a most dangerous set of events.
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 2, Block C:  Gene Marks, Small Business America and columns in The Guardian and TheHill, in re:   Philly Fed, positive picture; Richmond Fed, a very positive picture. Every couple of months, report that looks at all the states, certain factors: four state-level indicators – unemployment rate. hours of production workers, non-farm employment; all together called a co-incident index.  Almost all states have reported positive activity.  All metrics across the board are sufficiently favorable to suggest no plummeting economy. No growth, but [comfortably] stable.  American Institute of Architects.  Democratic candidates wishing to tax the rich.  Warren wants to tax people’s assets (is that Constitutional?), while Sanders wants to tax salaries.   Corporations are composed of people who spend their salaries in local businesses.   The Economists writes an editorial on Warren’s plants: half the stock market and ___ firms would break up. She sees government as benign and effective; she sees business as [dangerous].  Were she to win, she’d have battles on her hands.   . . .  When the government becomes the lender of last resort, it becomes the only lender. Seventy per cent of small businesses need some sort of financing.
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gene Marks, Small Business America and columns in The Guardian and TheHill, in re:   Does small business ($70K) need big business? Small bz make 30-50% of their income from big business. Small banks: 9% of small bz surveyed say that their bank meets all of their needs.  Ouch. Banks should be going all-electronic, and much improve service. They just aren't doing enough. Customers are not happy.
                  American Express: Report entitled, The State of Women-Owned Businesses – which now represent 42% of all bz; 9.4 million employees, generate almost $2 trillion (?).  Are reshaping the American economy. 
                  Company makes robots that make pizzas. Smart pizza-store-owners will use the significant savings to open more businesses , and thereby hire a lot more employees.
Hour Three
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 3, Block A: Robert Zimmerman,, in re:  RocketLab – the only successful operational small-sat company for cube sats or nanosats.  Can deliver sats to LaGrange points or even lunar orbit.
Blue Origin is not a commercial success.  It’s increasingly like Branson.
NASA buys ten more fantasy SLS launches from the fantasizing Boeing – at cost-plus!  [Grab your wallet and flee.—ed] Actually, NASA doesn't have enough money to do this, so its announcing what it’d like from Congress. Boeing Space is somewhat separated for Boeing Aerospace
Hypersonic engine: two giant tanks, one caries fuel, the other carries oxygen.  Saber Hypersonic Engine.   
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 3, Block B:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re:  Chang-I 4: Ten lunar days and nights; eleventh day on the far side of the Moon. Lunar Rover.  YuTu 2, a thousand feet west of Chang-I. Vikram, India’s lunar lander.  Chandrayan2 had a rover attached; problem during landing; crash.
                  To the surface of Mars:  a drill to go inside, but the drill stopped digging. Managed to get “a coupl’a inches down”  Speculate that the soil is alien and unexpected:  depended on the friction of the hole to keep the drill in; but pounded, and the hole became too wide. Soil properties on Mars are most different from Earth’s.
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 3, Block C:  Richard A Epstein, Chicago Law, NYU Law, Hoover; in re: The Dubious Morality of the Modern Administrative State.  The Atlantic magazine. Who’s in charge? Who executes the Constitution?   Intervening bodies of experts . . . Driving force is change in substantive law.  Nineteenth Century: cottage industry; modest substantive program.  Rules of customary practice.
                  Twentieth Century: “Property doesn’t really matter” Virtually plenary power to regulate trade, mining agriculture – everything,  Can’t run this system with direct control; need to confer [ability] on a [specialized, appointed] crew.  An ambitious administrative state: huge grants of discretionary authority. Justice Felix Frankfurter, 1943 decision;  he believed that administrative decisions are better than market forces. FCC was originally part of Dept of Commerce; separated [and empowered] by Herbert Hoover. Radio and TV. NBC broken into blue and red networks. Govt almost always gets allocations wrong.
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 3, Block D:  Richard A Epstein, Chicago Law, NYU Law, Hoover; in re: The Dubious Morality of the Modern Administrative State.  Fair Labor Standards Act*: govt can order overtime for some, minimum wage for others. SEC vs Chenery (I & II) 
* The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping, and child labor standards affecting full-time and part-time workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments.
Hour Four
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 4, Block A:  The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America, by James T. Patterson
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 4, Block B:  The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America, by James T. Patterson
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 4, Block C:  The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America, by James T. Patterson
Friday 25 October 2019 / Hour 4, Block D:  The Eve of Destruction: How 1965 Transformed America, by James T. Patterson
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