September 2007


I’m off to Basic and Officer Candidate School. To friends and family who read this, thanks.
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Many guerrilla war tactics are not new. They’ve just grown more effective because economies are far more sophisticated and more vulnerable.

Infrastructure is one vulnerable network. The rest of the economy relies on communication, transportation, and energy networks. Information and resources flow through these networks. If critical nodes fail, or the links are severed, it causes a cascade failure throughout the economy.

Our infrastructure is built as a scale-free network. These types of networks are robust against a large number of random internal errors. However, hostile agents can observe the structure of scale-free networks and identify critical hubs. Scale-free networks are extremely fragile when under external attack.
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Religious men of the 19th century believed that a benevolent God would only create a moral nature. How does one explain carnivores? At least they killed swiftly and prevented longer suffering from starvation. This was a form of just killing, so goes the reasoning. But they were at lost to explain the extreme cruelty Ichneumon Wasp. Stephen Jay Gould describes the nonmoral nature of this wasp. Wasp females paralyze other insects, then they lay their eggs inside the host. When those eggs hatch, they eat the immobilized but living host inside out, bit by bit, and kill it slowly.

The nation-state is playing host to its parasitic killer.
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The Industrial-era nation-states were a marriage of convenience. The central government took too much power from local states. It’s distant and unresponsive yet it gobbles up money and runs up an unsustainable debt. So why not break-up? In today’s world with free trade and currency unions, why bother with the central state anymore? Power is shifting back to the regional communities.

Even in Europe, the nation-state is facing breakup.
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Syria is supposed to have taken nuclear material or weapons from North Korea (or Iran), Israel tracked it and destroyed it in the airstrike last week.

Maybe. But it’s looking more and more like it.

MIT Technology Review has an article on Joshua Epstein and artificial life models. (registration required)
Epstein:

“Artificial society modeling allows us to ‘grow’ social structures in silico demonstrating that certain sets of microspecifications are sufficient to generate the macrophenomena of interest.”

In other words, after 250 years we’re back to the Invisible Hand. A small number of factors motivate and inform individual decisions about gathering scarce resources and how to use them. All “complex” social behavior is a result of a large number of simple interactions.
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Empires have been the most historically stable form of government. The purpose of historical empires was to create and secure an economic zone.

Empires were not about the acquisition of land, much less looting. It just extended a unified political and legal system over new territory and provided the means to defend it against criminal and foreign predatation. Societies need an economy of scale and specialization needed to create a complex economy.
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