CHALLENGE
THE PREMISE

Newsmakers

ARCHIVE - NOVEMBER 2017

Issues, News & Views


NEIL GORSUCH
JOINS SCOTUS




Gorsuch
Sworn In
April 10, 2017




A Tremendous Day for
sound jurisprudence and
our Constitution!



Watch the swearing-in and
savor the prospect of a
Supreme Court Justice
who will defend our
Constitution:




Below is our rating of
Supreme Court justices
based upon judgement of
their fidelity to the
Constitution:


As the chart illustrates,
there are too many rogue
justices on the Supreme
Court. These appointed,
life-term judges take it
upon themselves to
arbitrarily unilaterally and
autocratically over-rule the
will of the people. They are
the equivalent of tyrants.

It is crucial to our
Democracy to fill all open
seats on all Courts, as
they arise, with true-to-
the-law judges. With
originalist, textualist
judges who apply the law
as passed by the
representatives of the
people.

It is NOT the role of judges
to over-rule laws they just
happen to dislike. As
Gorsuch said at the
ceremony:

"A judge who likes every
outcome he reaches is
very likely a bad judge..."



Gorsuch
Confirmed
April 07, 2017






A Supreme Court seat
opened with the passing of
Antonin Scalia just months
before the 2016 election.

President Obama
nominated Merrick Garland
as a replacement, but
Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
blocked the nomination,
claiming that the voters
should decide.

Elections have
consequences. Democrats
were certain they would
hold the White House and
regain the Senate in 2016,
thereby giving them full
control of the nomination
process.

But the GOP held the
Senate, and won the
White House, against
all predictions.
Republicans campaigned
on the Supreme Court
issue, and won.

And that's why Democrats
lost the Supreme Court
nomination: because they
didn't win the election. The
people spoke. As it should
be.



Gorsuch
Nominated
January 31, 2017




President Trump has
nominated Neil Gorsuch to
the United States Supreme
Court. View the
proceedings at the White
House:


As the President so
appropriately remarked at
the nomination ceremony:

"I have always felt that
after the defense of our
nation, the most important
decision a president of the
United States can make is
the appointment of a
Supreme Court justice.
Depending on their age, a
justice can be active for 50
years and his or her
decisions can last a
century or more and can
often be permanent."


We anticipate that Neil
Gorsuch will be an
outstanding Supreme
Court Justice, just like
Antonin Scalia, the great
man he will replace.

Neil Gorsuch: a judge who
understands both what a
judge's role is; and what a
judge's role is not.

RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND AUTONOMOUS DRIVING

2017/11/27 - Back in March I went down to South Florida to do some cycling. I bought my plane ticket to Miami on my American Airlines credit card, as I did with my car rental, hotels, meals and gas. When I stopped for my final fill-up before returning the car, my card was declined for "suspicious activity".

Suspicious? A New Yorker flying to Miami in March? Renting a car? Staying at a hotel? Going to a restaurant? Buying gas? Indeed, buying gas near MIA after checking out of a hotel, but before returning a rental car? Really? Indeed, NOT buying gas would have been suspicious.

That got me thinking about data mining and AI. How did the Citibank/MasterCard algorithm dredge up my purchase as suspicious? Shouldn't it have worked the other way? Shouldn't their AI and data miners have predicted that I might soon be purchasing fuel near MIA? If I had been MIA, that would have been suspicious - send out an S&R!

There's a lot of cutting-edge research out there, and you routinely read about break-through technologies coming out of best-of-the-best labs in Silicon Valley. But what about the garden-variety folks pressing the AI buttons and pulling the AI levers across America as part of their work-a-day world? Like the Homer Simpsons running nuclear power plants?

What if the mid-tier developers and their mediocre managers across corporate America (and around the world) just aren't up to the task?

It's safe to assume the best of the best are doing research at some prestigious institution. So who's programming the credit card AI algorithm at Citibank? One would have to presume that Citi chooses from among not the-best of the best - they're at Stanford, remember - and anecdotally that would seem to be the case.

As the usage of AI grows can we expect more and more misadventures caused by poorly programmed algorithms?

Autonomous driving seems to be one of the major applications for AI. A lot of talk about self-driving cars. But will it work?

Imagine driving down the highway and the wind blows a shopping bag or piece of newsprint across our path. We drive on without a second thought, but the AI sees only a large opaque object and slams on the brakes.

Or driving down a suburban street, where the autonomous driving system cannot distinguish between a pile of leaves and a skid of bricks. Never having jumped into a pile of leaves as a kid, your AI has no way to learn sensually, experientially, what it is, and is not, in for.

Think about this: The number of cars that a lane of highway can expedite is a function of the speed of the cars, and the distance between the cars.

But here's where it gets interesting. The Swiss physicist Bernoulli in 1738 showed that as the velocity of a fluid is increased, the pressure decreases. Similarly, as cars move faster, the space between them increases, and you can put more cars on the highway.

The ramifications of this principle of physics is important. When drivers travel faster than the posted speed, it resists congestion (pressure) and perpetuates a virtuous cycle of continued free-flowing traffic. When slower traffic enter the highway, it creates congestion and a vicious cycle where congestion self-creates even more congestion.

The fact is that in most urban centers the posted speed is far too slow to sustain a virtuous cycle of traffic flow. Everyone drives 75+ miles per hour in a 55mph zone, and no one gets a ticket. Anyone attempting to do 55mph - and some disrespectful, law-abiding people do - bring traffic to a grinding screeching halt. Ever wonder where traffic jams come from?

What would happen if everyone drove the posted speed one morning, say 55mph? And maintained the recommended distance between vehicles of 5.5 car lengths (l length / 10mph).

See the chart below. Using a 2017 Ford Fusion as our standard vehicle, and observed speed and spacing of 75 mph and 3 car lengths of separation, a lane of highway has a maximum theoretical capacity of 6,194 vehicles. But at the standard speed limit of 55 mph and standard spacing of one car length per 10 mph, that lane's capacity falls by more than half, to only 2,795 vehicles.

Here's what would happen: there would not be sufficient capacity to move the required number of cars. Long before the height of rush hour that highway would be at full capacity perhaps sixty miles out from the city center until perhaps mid-morning. Anyone attempting to get on the highway, say, forty miles from the city center, might get their first chance around noon; and anyone, say, twenty miles out? No chance. That entire town would be a parking lot all day, of log jam of vehicles - occupied by people - lined up waiting for a slot that will never come up.

And so we cheat, and it works. We drive far faster than the posted speed, and we leave not even half the recommended distance between cars. Do we drive 55 @ 5.5 car lengths? Ha, try 75 at 3 car lengths! That's how we cram the necessary number of vehicles through the system.

It doesn't help when drivers coast and cruise in the passing lane. You've seen the signs: "Slower Traffic Keep Right" and "Keep Right Except to Pass". And yet there are those selfish buffoons who have no idea what's going on around them, or know but don't care. Georgia passed a law back in 2014 requiring slow drivers to keep right or face severe penalties - good on 'em! Hopefully the autonomous driving programmer programs the car to keep right!

But this raises an interesting question - what does a programmer of AI/autonomous program a car to do? Does she program the car to break the law, since we all know we all break the law anyhow? And what about following to close? What kind of civil and criminal liability might be embedded in that programmer's code?

If you are regularly driving on highways where the ambient is speed is 20mph above the posted speed, will you be happy about your trip times increasing by 50% when autonomous vehicles pull the average speed down? Will you still be able to coach baseball? Will you need to get up an hour earlier - and go to bed an hour earlier the night before - to beat the doddling and dithering? Will your 2-hour drive to your weekend cabin turn into 3-hours of dreary drudgery?

Will commuters move to city centers? Or will large corporate employers be forced to move back the 'burbs, a repeat of the '50's and '60's? Or will more highways be constructed? Or will the greenies get their way and give up on individual transportation entirely, and replace highways with railways and force us all to take the train everywhere, even to places where trains don't go?

Or will AI/AD enable policy makers to increase speed limits? Perhaps autonomous vehicles will communicate and coordinate so well with each other that safety will be greatly enhanced, while simultaneously allowing for both increased speeds and reduced spacing, thus greatly expanding capacity?

Will autonomous driving attain true autonomy? Can AI/AD eliminate DUI's - will it have a "party mode"? Could your autonomous vehicle have an onboard breathalyzer, and if the driver blows over .08%, block all driver input and take the occupants directly to a pre-set location, probably the owner's residence?

Will you even own a car in the future? Or will you just purchase rides? Will the car dealer (and hopefully those obnoxious commercials) go the way of the buggy whip, if people just order rides from car fleets sitting in garages?

Most cars on the highway have one occupant, the driver. If that one occupant is no longer a driver, one presumes that the geometry and architecture of an automobile will completely change. Perhaps club seating with two rows, each of two or three seats, facing each other rather than facing the same direction? Or perhaps four seat/desk compartments facing outward from the center in an "x" or "+" configuration, so each occupant can in privacy bury themselves in their devices?

We are at just the beginning of a major transformation of our society, perhaps the greatest transformation ever. AI may be a bigger advance than the wheel, harnessing fire, metal tools, the industrial revolution... and perhaps even better than sliced bread. Or maybe a disaster worse than 20th Century tyrants.




Analysis


November 29, 2017 - Turns out the story of the "War on Women" really was true - just not the way you heard it.

For years deceitful Democrats have - falsely - accused Republicans of waging some kind of vague unexplained "War on Women". A political attack slogan, wholly without merit, but somewhat effective.

But the list of Democrat sexual predators - abusers of women - just keeps growing and growing. Harvey Weinstein, Ben Affleck, Mark Halperin, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Representative John Conyers, Charlie Rose, Senator Al Franken, Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor and on and on... loyal Democrats all.

And in fact it turns out that the Queen of these lies, is, well none other than the Queen of Lies personified, Nancy Pelosi. Putting politics ahead of everything, she is trying to defend the predator John Conyers.

And Representative Kathleen Rice (D-NY) put the final nails in the coffin. She told Politico "I think that her comments on Sunday set women back and quite frankly, our party back decades."

So there you have it - it is in fact the Democrats who are what they have long accused the Republicans of being.

Pretty sure you won't be hearing about the "War on Women" for a long, long time.




November 16, 2017 - This one comes straight out of Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" - "The lady doth protest too much, methinks".

Hilary Clinton is blowing a gasket over the possibility of the DOJ investigating her infamous Uranium One deal that richly enhanced the Clintons' wealth in exchange for transferring control of much of America's uranium to Russian interests.

Suddenly she thinks investigating Russian malfeasance is the worst idea ever.

Yes of course the DOJ should investigate. And if there was no "there" there, why would she be screaming in such shrill opposition?

If she was innocent, wouldn't she welcome an investigation in order to put the issue behind her as she prepares for 2020?

Shouldn't she relish the opportunity to be vindicated against her critics (like us here at Chalprem)?

"The lady doth protest too much" indeed.

Except that in the situation of Hilary Rodham Clinton the term "lady" should be used loosely, not rigorously. The gender-neutral term "crook", rather than "lady", might better capture the essence of her being.



November 13, 2017 - Last week we gave you the number one reason for Alabamans to vote for Roy Moore - Moore may be a flawed person, but his opponent would be a terrible Senator.

Remember, this is an election for "Senator", not "Pastor".

Here's another reason to vote for Moore: The Washington Post. Isn't it troubling that that paper would wait until after the Republican Primary to make these allegations against Moore?

Roy Moore has been a public figure in Alabama for decades. If that paper, and Moore's accusers, were serious about this issue, shouldn't they have teamed up before the Republican primary? And given GOP voters actionable information?

Or did they want Moore to win the nomination because they had dirt on him? Why now, when it is most beneficial to Democrats? Or is asking the question the same as answering it - because it's most beneficial to Democrats?

That paper seems to be attempting Todd Aiken 2.0 - gaming the GOP primary. But this time it won't work.

If that paper wants to politicize abuse of women, and meddle in elections, then Chalprem hopes The Post gets what it deserves: Senator Roy Moore (R-AL)!



November 09, 2017 - Oh my. It seems this Roy Moore is rather unsavory character.

To this point we have had little to say about the process to replace former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions who is now our Attorney General. It hasn't seemed like it would matter - whoever the Republican is he would easily win, and be a reliably conservative vote on every vote that came before him or her.

Unfortunately this Roy Moore loves young girls. Like, really loves, really young. Really creepy. Shivers-down-the-spine creepy.

Chalprem has argued in the past that if the Republicans chose a monkey as a candidate, voters would be better off electing the monkey who would randomly vote correctly 50% of the time, than vote for a Democrat, who is usually right about two times a day less than a broken clock.

Looks like we're going to have to vote for Roy Moore. Hundreds of people will be negatively impacted by the election of Moore, but that is far less worse than hundreds of millions of people being negatively impacted by a Democrat Senator from Alabama.

Hopefully a way will be found to replace Roy Moore. But do not under any circumstance replace Jeff Sessions and Luther Strange with a Democrat. Ever.

Remember, this is an election for "Senator", not "Pastor". Better the devil we know, than a Democrat.



November 01, 2017 - An Islamic activist attack yesterday afternoon in New York City has left at least seven dead and at least a dozen others with injuries of various degrees of severity.

The attack, perpetuated by a follower of Islam, was of the low-tech "drive-truck-into-a-crowd" formula.

Using a pickup-sized medium-duty work truck rented from Home Depot, the Muslim drove into and down a bike path and struck as many as two dozen people. He was shot and killed by an NYPD officer in the subsequent chaos.

The path was barricaded to protect users from traffic; in this case, the barriers encumbered the users' escape from the Islamic activism.

I rode my bike down this same path only a few weeks ago. But the attack really hasn't struck any "terror" in me. The hordes of skill-deprived inattentive drivers, these folks strike terror in me; terrorists, not so much.

Other than reinforce the growing perception that Islam is a messed up religion, what else did this terrorist (so-called) accomplish? Nothing, really.



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