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About Virgil61

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    The Dalles, Oregon
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    Uma Thurman, UNC-Chapel Hill Tar Heels, economics and history.

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  1. Virgil61

    Problems posting. Anyone else?

    Just a note. Above the B for bold [B I U] in the reply box is a 'switch' that changes it into html mode [or vice versa]. Click that and you can insert or copy/paste. It was driving me crazy as well for a couple of days. Click "More Reply Options" if you can't see it.
  2. Virgil61

    Latin for Dummies

    A good summation guy. I've learned Italian & Russian with a combination of formal training and immersion. There's just no substitute for immersion unfortunately no Romans around though I'll bet somewhere in Vatican City you might find some few conversations in Latin. Like I said before the issue of case is much more common in other Indo-European European languages as it was in Old English. Ironically I think it makes English grammar more difficult for those coming from other languages, or so I've been told by countless Russians. Living in St Petersburg, Russia I found they taught two kinds of English - American and British. I was told several times by people schooled in British English that they had difficulty understanding me. As a side note I've noticed that the better one has a grasp of English grammar going into Russian the easier their grammar is to pick up, on the other hand your English grammar will get better if it wasn't all that great before.
  3. Yeah that Forbes article is by a Heartland Institute idiot. It's been refuted several times & he's been ridiculed so much he had to get Forbes to give him more space to try and refute it. I just give up, shake my head and laugh.
  4. Virgil61

    What's the last book you read?

    Recently finished Herodotus "Histories" and went on to Thucydides "The Peloponnesian War". They're the first two Greek histories we have in complete form and as different from each other as night & day. Herodotus 'The Histories" reads in part like a travelogue, anthropological study of folk legends which operate as the background culminating in the history of the Persian-Greek war. Herodotus throws in fact and fallacy--I can't count the number of times he says "I don't necessarily believe this but they say...". He's an enjoyable read, he wants to entertain as well as teach. The Barnes & Noble, Oxford and Penguin translations are all pretty good. I have them and read several chapters on each [got a degree in history, it's what history geeks do]. The Oxford is the most 'modern' (done five or so years ago), and the others are old translations 'modernized' by a couple of scholars. The Landmark Herodotus is a must have if you're at all serious about it. The translation is modern & solid but got mildly criticized (I thought it was very clearly written) but the maps and notes just set the bar for anything else. The problem as I wrote in an earlier post is that it's huge; a frickin' brick. Thucydides is another story. He really doesn't care if you enjoy his work he's got a mission; to tell you how the war between the Greeks (post-Persian invasion conflict led by Sparta on one side & Athens on the other) was carried politically and militarily. He's a good guide, he was an Athenian general who screwed up his assignment, got exiled (which was common when you failed) & spent his exile working on The Peloponnesian Wars. He's often held up as an historical standard or the first history written in a 'facts only' dispassionate manner. Thucydides is a lot more difficult to translate, even Greeks just a century later commented on this. He's wording is pretty complex and intricate for lack of a better way of putting it. Mary Beard claims he is untranslatable in terms of accuracy. The Landmark Thucydides is pretty much the standard when it comes to maps and assistance in orienting yourself in his history. Trust me, a copy comes in handy no matter what other translation you use. The Barnes & Noble version is pretty good as well if not just for the footnotes at the bottom (thankfully). The editor is really good at adding to the narrative with small facts one normally wouldn't be aware of (and that Thucydides thinks you already know). Both use an updated translation by Crawley--each a slightly different. For easier going definitely grab the Oxford Classics translation. It's modern and easy to read. The old Penguin by Rex Warner is the same though from the 50s, still pretty readable (Warner was a novelist as well). If you really want to get real buy the Hackett Publishing Steven Lattimore edition--his father is Richard Lattimore who did famous Homer translations. Lattimore's is supposed to be the closest in style to Thucydides.
  5. Yeah the mouth-breathers on the FoxNews, Breitbart, Glenn Beck pander-to-idiots political circus pages are all over it. The Donald is on their side as well. In another time articles would read "Astronomers Trying To Prove Earth Is Round Get Stuck Climbing Up Mountain!" and the peasants laughing about how it only takes common sense to know the Earth is flat. Meanwhile most scientists involved in the climatology field understand that local Antarctic weather on a 500 mile strip of coast wouldn't be a world-wide trend [long-term trends are quantifiable in showing different trends towards cooling]. Record heat waves in Argentina and Australia--thousands of square miles of territory more than the glacier area the ship is stuck in & two continents apart--are ignored. Most important of all is that the ship got trapped between ice chunks that had been part of an extremely large glacier that broke off a couple of years ago [after thousands of years of being connected to it]. But again, no one's gotten poor by underestimating the ignorance of large parts of the population]. Yeah, kind of an important piece to be left out. Big news, Antarctica has ice year round.
  6. Virgil61

    Translation Help if possible

    The first post after the initial one seems to have a decent enough if not perfect translation but a more fluent linguist could confirm that. Reading his post I've noticed something about English speakers who go to learn another Indo-European language. They complain about that language because of the declension & cases involved without realizing that most European languages from the Indo-European group have them and modern English is the odd man out [not old English though].
  7. The Daily Mail anti-AGW? Shocking. Nice find Einstein. What's next physics using a FoxNews article? Evolutionary theory by USA Today? It's not my job to pick up where your high school teachers failed. Being that you're almost pathologically threatened or made insecure by any sort of education I doubt you'd come along anyway. Let's meet at the reading room at Dumbarton Oaks, you know the one you were going to fly to in Washington state. Yeah, right. Arctic Sea Ice expansion. Seasonal weather events aren't long-term trends. There are different sorts of ice--thin, thick, seasonal, multi-year each having different causes: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Has-Arctic-sea-ice-recovered.htm Why are there cold spells? Let some more scientists explain it to you. Careful they have advanced degrees & you know, might actually know more than you. http://www.skepticalscience.com/December-2009-record-cold-spells.htm There is abundant evidence of climate change driven by humanity; About 40% of human CO2 emissions are being absorbed, mostly by vegetation and the oceans. The rest remains in the atmosphere. As a consequence, atmospheric CO2 is at its highest level in 15 to 20 million years (Tripati 2009). A natural change of 100ppm normally takes 5,000 to 20.000 years. The recent increase of 100ppm has taken just 120 years. Additional confirmation that rising CO2 levels are due to human activity comes from examining the ratio of carbon isotopes (eg ? carbon atoms with differing numbers of neutrons) found in the atmosphere. Carbon 12 has 6 neutrons, carbon 13 has 7 neutrons. Plants have a lower C13/C12 ratio than in the atmosphere. If rising atmospheric CO2 comes from fossil fuels, the C13/C12 should be falling. Indeed this is what is occurring (Ghosh 2003). The C13/C12 ratio correlates with the trend in global emissions.
  8. Science is hard. Harder for some than others.
  9. Virgil61

    Corn vs Grain Dole vs American Indians

    I believe in England corn was a general word for grain crops, there meaning mostly wheat, in the U.S. maize. As American English has spread in influence it's becoming more and more the word for maize only I think. Most of the old translations of Caesar's Gallic Wars for instance use 'corn' meaning wheat since most of those were written by writers living in England. At least that's how I understand it.
  10. Virgil61

    Revised edition of Leo VI Taktica coming out Feb '14

    I worked on K Street in D.C. for years, Dumbarton Oaks wouldn't make more than a single-A ball club in the world of DC snobs. Leo's work is supposed to be a heavily revised version of Maurice's Strategikon with an interesting number of changes and inclusions. George Dennis translated my copy [probably the upenn press copy of Strategikon everyone uses] in '84. I think he translated this revised Leo in 2010 [apparently he died that year].
  11. I'll go further in that I think climate change deniers are becoming akin to the those whose who deny evolution. Like evolution it's almost developing into a litmus test of whether a person is anti-intellectual & anti-science to be blunt about it. To paraphrase JS Mill; 'I'd never say people who deny climate change are generally stupid, but almost every stupid person tends to deny climate change'. I agree that mass media isn't where one should get one's science from--in the US we have media like FoxNews that loudly trumpets the other side of the issue--but I think any thoughtful person who digs into the issue can't help but come out understanding there is a big deal going on in terms of the Earth's climate & human beings play a part in it. The scientific consensus on the subject is telling. A major paper by NOAA came out showing evidence of warming in the last 50 years - LINK. The evidence goes on and on to the point where counter-arguments are pretty much swamped by the data and reality. Yet people still argue against it like they do evolution. At some point one realizes that it's just what people want to believe. I think it sucks, I'm more than happy to have a planet where we can use the hell out of oil and other natural resources w/no damage. Economies would grow faster, regulations would diminish etc., but as John Adams once said; 'Facts are stubborn things'.
  12. The only other place I've been able to find one of these is at the university library in Univ of Washington & I really didn't want to spend $200-$400+ for a hard copy. It's looks like it's now available in Feb at under $40 in a revised edition. It's a Dumbarton Oaks study. Dumbarton Oaks is a research library dedicated to Byzantine studies located in D.C. near the embassy row/Naval observatory part of town [one of a thousand reasons I wish I lived in D.C. again]. It's put out quite a few studies on Byzantine military affairs [among other things] a lot in small batch academic printings which are ridiculously expensive. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/088402394X/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
  13. Virgil61

    What's the last book you read?

    Thanks for the warning but my background in economics is solid, besides graduate work in macro and micro, I've worked in the real world around economists & the international trade scene in D.C. for years. I'm quite well-read on the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. The whole 'bankers were forced or threatened' is pretty much BS as a cause of the subprime meltdown--a position backed up by the Fed inquiry committee, countless studies including by individual Fed banks. It's no mistake it's relegated to opinion pages more than economic studies of the crisis (there are a few, but not many). The truth is that government-backed CRA mortgages failed at a rate far less than the national average. The proof is in the pudding, Countrywide's horrendous mortgages weren't sold on political pressure. They sold them because once that was done they packed them in groups of mortgage backed securities & collateralized debt obligations then sold off ending up on Wall St as part of Lehman Brothers or bought up by foreign entities. They made money on the sale and were not liable for the mortagages [EDIT: I should've say were not harmed if the mortgages weren't paid], the next guy they sold the MBS' & CDOs to was--understanding this is key to understanding the crisis. No. Lehman Brothers & Bear Stearns [and JP Morgan, and almost all the major players] had nothing to do with selling the original mortgages to homeowners. They took the mortgages packaged, repacked them when needed then resold them. Lehman leveraged themselves 16 to 1 to borrow to buy more. Sixteen to One (that needs repeating). They were insured for losses by whom? AIG. Morgan was responsible for reselling billions & billions of dollars of repacked mortgaged security packages that were toxic and were as responsible for representing them as AAA. AAA securities they sold and that failed. They weren't wet-behind-the-ears guys from Missoula playing the stocks they were at the top of the financial profession. If they weren't responsible no one was. They made tens of billions in profits from these sales & came out smelling like a rose by bailing out some bad stuff w/gov't backing [they would have been in danger of going under as well with the financial ****storm that would have followed]. I can go deeper into the mechanics of what happened but would probably put everyone to sleep, if they aren't already. Yes and I remember last month GM--owned in part by the Autoworkers union--came out ahead of Toyota for the first time in perceived quality--specifically GMC & Chevrolet. Not even close to what happened. GM Corporation folded in a federal bankruptcy & is now Motor Liquidation Company. Period. A separate entity was the beneficiary of the bailout funds. As part of the dissolution it sold it's name and factories to another entity which was backed by money from the Ontario gov't, the UAW's pension fund and US gov't backed funds. The 'new' company is 'GM Company' and has no legal relationship with the old GM. It wasn't populism by any measure it was sound economic policy. Letting GM and Chrysler go under would have driven steel, tire and other sub-contracting suppliers out of business. That possibility scared Ford so much that in spite of not accepting gov't money it's CEO went in front of Congress with GM and Chrysler's to ask for the bailout. I have to laugh at the 'hundreds of years of bankruptcy law' thing going around. I'm not sure what law you're speaking of. I graduated from law school and what I remember is creditors always come ahead of shareholders. Shareholders are almost always wiped out in bankruptcy and have the last claim to assets. The US Gov't lost $12 billion in bailout loans to GM. in 2011 alone the auto industry paid over $130 billion in state and federal taxes. The Austrians got their lunch handed to them on this and their theories certainly haven't risen in stature among economists in general though not on the far to fringe right.