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November 28, 2007

Comments

EW,

This is OT, but just caught this goodie from IrishJim over at FDL: Judge: Feds must release telecom records

An electronic privacy group challenging President Bush's domestic spying program scored a minor victory when a judge ordered the federal government to release information about lobbying efforts by telecommunications companies to protect them from prosecution.

It sounds almost like the no-fly list ... except that there doesn't seem to be a way off the no-fly list.

(And if you never let anyone know which groups are on the list to begin with, you can go after anyone you want.)

EW,

More OT goodies on ruling about Telco lobbying for Retroactive Immunity as reported now by scribe over at FDL:

The EFF victory was a little more substantial than that: the judge granted an injunction compelling the DNI to produce the documents re the contacts between Telcos and McConnell and the the DNI re amending FISA, and that it be done by 12/10, precisely because Congress is considering whether and how to amend FISA and this information has a possibility of being very important in that debate.

Go read the opinion (it's a 12 page .pdf):

http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/foia_C0705278/eff_v_odni_order.pdf

Here's what they wanted, and what the judge compelled the government to produce:

On August 31, 2007, plaintiff faxed two letters to defendant that requested, under FOIA, all records from April 2007 to August 31, 2007 concerning briefings, discussions, or other exchanges that Director McConnell or ODNI officials have had concerning amendments to FISA with (a) representatives of telecommunications companies, and (b) offices of members of the Senate or House of Representatives, including any discussions immunizing telecommunications companies or holding them otherwise unaccountable for their role in government surveillance activities. Hoffman Decl. Exs. K & L.

Infinite recursion, the bane of every geek's existence, comes to the real world. In the hands of a determined dictatorial regime, this is ultimate financial weapon. Even if they started from somebody who really was trying to destabilize Iraq, you can get to any political enemy you want in roughly 7 degrees of separation.

There back after the people who buy falafels, WO, just via a different route.

And did I use infinite recursion properly here? It has been many many years since I sat through a math class. Mr. emptywheel (in an attempt to seduce me, not doubt) wants us to enroll in a non-Euclidean geometry class together. But it hasn't happened yet.

If you get into an infinite loop through recursion then a stack overflow will often save the day, if not the run. Maybe "infinite regress" was the phrase you were thinking of? Anyway, Mr. EW is a sharp one. I've never met a girl yet who didn't swoon while visualizing the Ricci tensor.

Shit. I originally had regression in the title--do I need to change it back?

Ricci, huh?

Mostly he wants to do it because I quit math, after having been the math whiz in high school, because no one ever accounted for the fact that two parallel lines WILL cross at some point, twice, as they're affected by gravity.

Or something like that.

ew @ 18:27

Yep. that's non-Euclidean geometry. Don't ask me which flavor, because I never got that far in math: I can't get past diff eq. Or through it, either (families of curves? I get the idea, but I can't do it.

Recursion is probably fine, I just thought that maybe you were thinking of the more common phrase (which is more often associated with paralysis of thought than self-reference in a definition, so maybe even less applicable?).

Even some high school math can be interesting when you're not in high school anymore. And the theory of general relativity (which is based on Reimannian geometry) is one of the most beautiful accomplishments of the human intellect. Learning about it is like walking through the Louvre (as long as there's no pending exam hounding your enjoyment).

Not to be a wet blanket, but transitivity is a better word for what you're talking about, i.e.,

A relation is transitive when A-related-to-B and B-related-to-C implies A-related-to-C.

A recursive definition is one that uses the term to be defined as if it's already (at least) partially defined, (e.g., two people are defined to be "cousins" if and only if their respective parents are either siblings or cousins).

The confusion is that you can often define a transitive relation recursively, but recursion can be used in lots of other ways as well.

Relations like "ancestor of" and "descendant of" are transitive; relations like "cousin" or "friend" are not.

Granted, using recursion in law could also be deemed somewhat dubious given that it's sometimes non-trivial to figure out when such a definition is well-founded, and I have no idea what percentage of lawyers/judges are trained in that sort of thing. But that's a different problem from what you're talking about.

wrog

I may be using recursion wrong, but this is not about transitivity. The point is that every definition of people targeted by this EO depends on taht first definition--the first person defined as undermining the stability of Iraq. So it's not A to B and B to C implies A to C. It's that The definition of B depends on the definition of A. The definition of C depends on the definition of B, which depends on the definition of A. And so on. As such, it's much closer to your definition of recursive than transitive.

I guess I think of it more like

A supports B and
B supports Terra

implying that

A supports Terra,

no matter how many steps there are in the middle there. So it's the supposed transitivity of the "supports" relation that's the real problem.

Granted, I'm not Writer enough to know how to make a pithy post title out of that, so...

Oh, I see what you're saying. I was thinking cumulatively because it puts the emphasis on that first determination.

I think recursion works quite well for the blog post and the title. You'd actually have to spend more time explaining the transitivity relation perspective for it to be semantically useful considering most of your audience are not Math specialists.

I would recommend auditing a non-euclidean geometry course if you can find the time for the commitment

Rove would probably just call these people a 'network of terrorists'.

We call them suspects.

Republicans don't WANT to know the difference.

In embedded programming, recursion is simply a subroutine that calls itself. I use it to parse text files and command lines repeatedly to get to the character level. Simple text searches can use a form of it.

Your use in that context is perfect.

I read this from an angle similar to WO's.
In MacSpeak, 'infinite recursion' is more familiarly referred to as 'The Spinny Ball of Death', and is dealt with via Opt+Cmd/Esc (which initiates a 'Force Quit' option out of the infinitely recurring spinny ball).

This post is particularly interesting when mixed with the latest updates at Iraq Oil Report (http://iraqoilreport.com/), which as of Nov 28th update offer these nuggets, "Lukoil, the private Russian major that claims rights to develop Iraq’s largest oil fields....
Of more interest to TNH readers may be another item, "Two top Kurdish leaders are a long way from the mountains of northern Iraq this week. On Monday night, Omer Fattah Hussain was the toast of a dinner held at the 10,000-square-foot McLean mansion of Ed Rogers, a Reagan White House political director and current chairman of the lobbying firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers...

If logically applied, the term 'anyone who threatens stabilization in Iraq' tosses together Russian oiligarchs, former Reaganites, Republican lobbying firms, the Kurdish government, various militias, and Texas oil desparados, Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil minister Ashti Hawrami, Hunt Oil, Baker Botts, Halliburton, Chevron, Total, Saudi's...(In other words, anyone who's ever talked to anyone who ever heard anyone who knew someone who might have....)

Four degrees of separation may be sufficient for this nightmare to play out.

This 'taint by association' methodology seems borrowed from Epidemiology - a risk of (contagious disease/evil ideology) transmission through contact.

There's no respect for the rights of Citizens in the calculus that I see - it's Hoovering On Suspicion, not Probable Cause.

The application of the Law based on Suspicion will surely be the end of our Noble Experiment - for the 'cure' of "Inmate Security" can only drown the flame that made this Country great.

ok, mr. posaune says that looking at this as mathematical induction: that even if the induction step works [n to n+1] but the proof fails for the zeroth term [zeroth step false], then the whole induction is bogus. emptywheel's emphasis on the zeroth term is apt. of course, if the logic in the induction step is bogus, then the induction fails. and, for these folks this is true almost certainly (measure theoretic sense).

there are non-euclidean geometry courses which avoid Ricci tensors, e.g. projective geometry

EW's comment about parallel lines crossing twice sounds like spherical geometry and great circles. And since she mentions gravity she likely was thinking about general relativity and the bending of light in gravitational fields, and Ricci tensors are fundamental there.

there are non-euclidean geometry courses which avoid Ricci tensors, e.g. projective geometry

EW's comment about parallel lines crossing twice sounds like spherical geometry and great circles. And since she mentions gravity she likely was thinking about general relativity and the bending of light in gravitational fields, and Ricci tensors are fundamental there.


Just delurking to mention that when I was a young TA, the phrase 'explaining non-Euclidean geometry' had the same connotations in my peer group as 'discussing Ugandan affairs'...(coined I think by the British satirical magazine 'Private Eye'...

Will that be mashed potatoes or stuffing with your martial law, dear?

Dedekind would be so proud.

This is guilt by association, conceivably several times removed, each more tenuous than the last. It's similar to basket warrants, which to me are a contradiction in terms because they remove the specificity required by the Fourth Amendment (knowledge or reasonable belief, based on competent investigation, of specific facts and the credible threat they pose), thus gutting its limiting, protective purpose.

An administration that has so amply demonstrated its disdain for rules, proportionality or restraint can be relied upon to use this power to the nth degree.

It boils down to that great parenting template, "Because I said so!" In the hands of a powerful government, it's not a system of justice based on public and universally applicable laws. It's the institution of a systematic method of terror in order to ovecome the threat purportedly posed by a chaotic one.

This is guilt by association, conceivably several times removed, each more tenuous than the last. It's similar to basket warrants, which to me are a contradiction in terms because they remove the specificity required by the Fourth Amendment (knowledge or reasonable belief, based on competent investigation, of specific facts and the credible threat they pose), thus gutting its limiting, protective purpose.

An administration that has so amply demonstrated its disdain for rules, proportionality or restraint can be relied upon to use this power to the nth degree.

It boils down to that great parenting template, "Because I said so!" In the hands of a powerful government, it's not a system of justice based on public and universally applicable laws. It's the institution of a systematic method of terror in order to ovecome the threat purportedly posed by a chaotic one.

Is Guilianni Partners on the list? Apparently they have been quite cozy with poeple who help people who are terrorists.

" ... anyone who provides similar support to that person could likewise be swept up in the expansive terms of the order. And so on, without end."

MrX

Understand, I wasn't referring to any brand of mathematics I knew about. Rather, in a fit of boredom with calculus, I was being contentious. It just seemed to me that all of mathematics was so abstract, that once you applied certain conditions of reality (like gravity) its nice neat system would fall apart.

Thus mr. emptywheel's desire to see me take non-Euclidean geometry, to channel that boredom, twenty years after the fact.

In another fit of boredom, I insisted the math class take a field trip to the local park to use calculus to determine the volume of the lake there.

this may have been addressed in the comments (apologies; not enough time to read them all), but it sure seems that if nasreddin's name was dropped from the list because there is no case against him, he'll be filing an enormous lawsuit against individuals in the administration.

so, if he files a lawsuit, then we can surmise that there was no case. if he does NOT file a suit, then we can guess that either there was a case and they made a deal, or there was not a case and they made a deal.

in both scenarios, i'd suspect a lot of money ended up in someone's bank account, wouldn't you? and i doubt it would be nasreddin's account.

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." - Philip K. Dick

I wish I had something profound to say about the power and beauty of mathematics. Unfortunately, your observation regarding its occasional disconnect from reality can be confirmed by some impossible theorems, such as the Banach-Tarski paradox. Be cautious of infinities of all kinds, although countable infinities are mostly well-behaved.

And to be a little more pedantic, the title of this post should be spelled ... Infinite ...

If this Executive Order 134338 is in place when the Dems finally take over, could it possibly be used to sieze the assets of many in the current administration? They have certainly destabilized Iraq!

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