James Heaps-Nelson

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Everything posted by James Heaps-Nelson

  1. Jim, I lived in a country for over 30 years that was practically the back yard of the USA. (No longer, but back then it was.) Of course, Brazilians considered themselves under their own country's jurisdiction. Why wouldn't they? As for petitions of extradition, the lawyers of the defendants had to use Brazilian courts and Brazilian laws. Because of the loopholes and peculiarities of Brazilian law, many times the outcomes were contrary to what the USA wanted. Michael Michael, My point is this. I think it is highly likely that Julian Assange will face trial in the US for actions as head of Wikileaks. The US government will use any and all leverage to make sure that happens. I think it would be almost as likely if Assange were currently in Melbourne as if he was in New York. Assange will be tried according to US law. The only thing local law will do is facilitate getting him on a plane to the US. JIM What law are we talking about? --Brant I see difficulties, but they don't know they are difficulties Brant, Probably the 1917 US Espionage Act. I don't think they will be successful, but that's hardly the point from the US government perspective. They will tie him up in court for years, apply pressure to his associates, ferret out leakers, disable his organization and construct a new State Dpeartment policy after they are able to effectively neutralize Wikileaks. Assange is a very cagy customer. I think he knows exactly how far he can push the US government. His invoking of the US Bill of Rights is not a legal procedure, but a diplomatic and court of world public opinion gambit to counter the US's legal gambit. He is counting on embarrassing the US government enough that they release their legal talons. Jim
  2. Jim, I lived in a country for over 30 years that was practically the back yard of the USA. (No longer, but back then it was.) Of course, Brazilians considered themselves under their own country's jurisdiction. Why wouldn't they? As for petitions of extradition, the lawyers of the defendants had to use Brazilian courts and Brazilian laws. Because of the loopholes and peculiarities of Brazilian law, many times the outcomes were contrary to what the USA wanted. Michael Michael, Take the current Swedish case against Assange. That is only a pretext to get him declared undesirable by a government so that they can deport or extradite him to the US. Note that in cases not involving the US government, local laws have much more sway. If you are a parent and your spouse takes your kid to Brazil or Japan, there is almost nothing the US government can do for you unless you can get your child back on US soil. The reason for that is that they can't elevate your case to a level of general policy or national security. However, in cases like Julian Assange, all manner of special exceptions can be invoked. The US can go over his background with a fine-toothed comb, send agents to interview his known associates, have spurious criminal cases brought on him in foreign countries, use statutory or political leverage to prevent US companies from performing financial transactions for Wikileaks or funding his criminal defense, freeze his credit cards, assets etc. The US can do all these things legally in a way that few other countries have the international muscle to do. This is in a practical, if not legal sense, an extension of US jurisdiction. Jim
  3. The US will not go after Assange as an enemy of the USA because it would increase the likelihood that US Citizens would also be targeted by friendly foreign governments. That would be a terrible can of worms to open up. Jim
  4. Jim, I lived in a country for over 30 years that was practically the back yard of the USA. (No longer, but back then it was.) Of course, Brazilians considered themselves under their own country's jurisdiction. Why wouldn't they? As for petitions of extradition, the lawyers of the defendants had to use Brazilian courts and Brazilian laws. Because of the loopholes and peculiarities of Brazilian law, many times the outcomes were contrary to what the USA wanted. Michael Michael, My point is this. I think it is highly likely that Julian Assange will face trial in the US for actions as head of Wikileaks. The US government will use any and all leverage to make sure that happens. I think it would be almost as likely if Assange were currently in Melbourne as if he was in New York. Assange will be tried according to US law. The only thing local law will do is facilitate getting him on a plane to the US. JIM
  5. Jim, I translated treaties and such for a little over ten years (35,000 pages of technical and legal stuff--with lots of international law among this). Not once have I seen the structure you mention here. I am aware of extradition treaties, but they have to have a correspondence in local law, with extradition being ordered by a local court. I don't mean a USA court, either. I know of no country that places its own citizens under the jurisdiction of the USA within its own borders except for situations like Iraq and Afghanistan. Michael Michael, sure. The mechanism for implementation of US law in foreign countries is local law. However, it is highly unlikely that many of those local laws would exist without pressure from the US. The US more aggressively pursues the projection of legal prerogative across borders than almost any other country. So if you were a foreign national and your government passed a bunch of laws to become in compliance with a US negotiated international treaty and you were remanded to the US for trial under those laws, would you really consider yourself under your own country's jurisdiction, especially if the trial were prosecuted in accordance with US criminal procedure? Jim
  6. James, How would the USA do that? Letters rogatory with petition for extradition? Using the logic that foreigners have USA government protected rights, wouldn't the petition to remove him from one country to another by force without a conviction violate his rights? I don't see this at all as correct logic. Michael Not if a country had wide-ranging extradition treaties with the United States. By living in such a country, you are bound by US law in an attenuated sense. The degree to which a foreign government agrees with US jurisdiction over its own citizens in certain matters is the degree to which foreign nationals are subject to US law and afforded US Constitutional protections. Likewise, if you are a US citizen, you are bound by foreign law to the degree that the US is willing to acknowledge it. In many cases, if a US citizen was found to be stealing or receiving British, French or German classified state documents, he/she could expect to be extradited to those countries for trial. Jim
  7. Bob, Actually, it's both, isn't it? But back on the idea, you either believe that the USA Constitution is made by and for USA citizens--with provisions (emanating from the power of the USA citizens) for how to deal with foreigners who are within USA territory, or you believe that the USA Constitution is a document that extends citizenship protections to all non-citizens of the earth when they are within the territory. I hold to the first. I don't think the Founding Fathers were legislating over foreigners and intending to treat them as citizens when they drew up the founding documents. Michael Michael, I think that the Declaration of Independence is as much a founding document as the Constitution and it extends inalienable rights to all people. If the US wishes to build a legal case, it needs to build it according to statutory or Constitutional law. If the US wishes to try Julian Assange in a US criminal court then he is afforded all of the rights of a US citizen. If the US government wishes to treat an Australian citizen as subject to extrajudicial sanction, the US government is hypocritical in hoping to extend consular protection to its own citizens. In fact, the right thing for the US to do is to try Assange in a US criminal court with Constitutional protections. The right thing for Great Britain and Sweden to do, if they have any level of self-respect, given the level of US State department malfeasance, is to refuse to extradite Assange and to tell the US government to go pound sand and clean up its act before trying to assert jurisdiction anywhere else. Jim
  8. Another of my favorite Scots lines: The bairnies cuddle doon at nicht, Wi muckle faught and din My mother used to read that to me so often as a "bairnie". Jim
  9. What was that Ted, a Yayoi Kasuma imitation in print? Jim
  10. I'm not joking and don't call me Shirley...He will be missed. Jim
  11. These are possible but not necessary misconceptions, and I see no hint of them in what Dennis wrote above. Indeed, Rand dealt with such mistakes in her treatment of the Frozen Concept. Entity doesn't mean unchangeable existent. The hylomorphic Objectivist metaphysics deals with such change. An acorn is no less an entity because it changes into an oak. If it is the nature of a particle to decay by emitting photon and other particles, then that is its nature as an entity. Ted, sure. I don't see any problem with quantum behavior or other unpredictable phenomena with regard to Rand's identity-based metaphysics. What is a problem is when certain a priori preconceptions of what an entity can or cannot be or can or cannot do are made without making observations. Take the example of what happens in muon catalyzed nuclear fusion. One method of getting two heavy hydrogen atoms to fuse is to chemically bond them with a muon which has a much bigger rest mass than an electron. Now the interesting part is that without quantum behavior, the two hydrogen atoms would be too far away from each other to fuse via the strong nuclear force, but they do anyway because of quantum tunneling. Thanks, Jim. Can you explain, wikipedia says that the mass of the Muon is 207 that of the electron, and that it draws the two atoms 207 times closer. Do they simply mean that the gravitic attraction due to the muon is 207 times greater than that of an electron, small but less than the mass of the nucleus? Or are the actually saying that the distance between the nuclei is reduced to 1/207 of the former distance? If so, in relation to what charges at what powers? Fascinating in any sense. It is something new and brilliant, again, my thanks. Ted, The reduction of distance is due to the fact that a lepton in circular orbit around a hydrogen nucleus occupies quantized energy levels. The quantized angular momentum nhbar=mvr. So if the mass goes up 207 times, the radius decreases 207 times for the muon to occupy the lowest quantized energy level. Jim Understood. Thanks. Thank you for your interest in the topic! My interest in high energy and particle physics goes back to when I was a kid. I had an uncle who worked at Fermilab and SLAC. The heyday for particle physics was in the 1970's and 1980's, Hopefully some discoveries about the strong force will come out of CERN. Approx. 1% of the world's stored computer data will now come from the LHC experiments. Jim
  12. These are possible but not necessary misconceptions, and I see no hint of them in what Dennis wrote above. Indeed, Rand dealt with such mistakes in her treatment of the Frozen Concept. Entity doesn't mean unchangeable existent. The hylomorphic Objectivist metaphysics deals with such change. An acorn is no less an entity because it changes into an oak. If it is the nature of a particle to decay by emitting photon and other particles, then that is its nature as an entity. Ted, sure. I don't see any problem with quantum behavior or other unpredictable phenomena with regard to Rand's identity-based metaphysics. What is a problem is when certain a priori preconceptions of what an entity can or cannot be or can or cannot do are made without making observations. Take the example of what happens in muon catalyzed nuclear fusion. One method of getting two heavy hydrogen atoms to fuse is to chemically bond them with a muon which has a much bigger rest mass than an electron. Now the interesting part is that without quantum behavior, the two hydrogen atoms would be too far away from each other to fuse via the strong nuclear force, but they do anyway because of quantum tunneling. Thanks, Jim. Can you explain, wikipedia says that the mass of the Muon is 207 that of the electron, and that it draws the two atoms 207 times closer. Do they simply mean that the gravitic attraction due to the muon is 207 times greater than that of an electron, small but less than the mass of the nucleus? Or are the actually saying that the distance between the nuclei is reduced to 1/207 of the former distance? If so, in relation to what charges at what powers? Fascinating in any sense. It is something new and brilliant, again, my thanks. Ted, The reduction of distance is due to the fact that a lepton in circular orbit around a hydrogen nucleus occupies quantized energy levels. The quantized angular momentum nhbar=mvr. So if the mass goes up 207 times, the radius decreases 207 times for the muon to occupy the lowest quantized energy level. Jim
  13. I disagree with this. Our knowledge of all causes derives from our knowledge of entities which have certain natures and exhibit certain behaviors. There are no behaviors not of entities of which we know. When you get down to subatomic particles you run up against the Heisenberg uncertainty principle which explains that, since our tools have a necessary limit in their bluntness (Bob will scream Plank length) you cannot measure both the position and velocity of the smallest particles without affecting them. In macroscopic observation, the mass energy of the light that reflects off the moon is insignificant in comparison with the moons mass. It can safely be ignored and we can very accurately measure the moon's position and motion. But with subatomic particles, the mass energy of the photons and the particles involved approach parity and we reach a horizon across which we cannot observe. This epistemological limit due to the bluntness of our instruments does not amount to a metaphysical claim about the entities at that level. The uncertainty in the measurement is not a lack of identity in the thing. That is the problem with modern philosophical interpretations of subatomic physics. This is not to say that the identity of the thing is not to fluctuate in ways that are not observed at macroscopic levels. That is the problem with some Objectivists' views of physics. The law of identity does not require subatomic particles to behave like discrete billiard balls. Perhaps we will never achieve the energies necessary to observe the scales we need to reach to get to the next level of understanding. Perhaps we will never have the ability to make the observations needed to posit the entities underlying the phenomena. This does not mean a priori that such entities do not exist. Furthermore, if we were to reach some smaller level underlying the Planck level (I don't imagine we can, but let's posit it) the we would still run up against the uncertainty principle, simply moved down to the next lower level of scale. All knowledge comes at a cost and all effort to achieve it is finite. There will always be horizons and singularities limiting our knowledge. This does not mean that nothing exists beneath those singularities or beyond those horizons. Ted, I just read Stephen Boydstun's article of Identity and another connected post where he talks about causality consisting of entities, actions, attributes and relations (from Aristotle). This is a richer conception of causality than the stress Objectivists sometimes put on entitities and actions. I think conservation laws etc. that form the cornerstone of a lot of physics fall under the category of relations of attributes. They aren't really captured by entities and actions inclusively. Food for thought... Jim
  14. These are possible but not necessary misconceptions, and I see no hint of them in what Dennis wrote above. Indeed, Rand dealt with such mistakes in her treatment of the Frozen Concept. Entity doesn't mean unchangeable existent. The hylomorphic Objectivist metaphysics deals with such change. An acorn is no less an entity because it changes into an oak. If it is the nature of a particle to decay by emitting photon and other particles, then that is its nature as an entity. Ted, sure. I don't see any problem with quantum behavior or other unpredictable phenomena with regard to Rand's identity-based metaphysics. What is a problem is when certain a priori preconceptions of what an entity can or cannot be or can or cannot do are made without making observations. Take the example of what happens in muon catalyzed nuclear fusion. One method of getting two heavy hydrogen atoms to fuse is to chemically bond them with a muon which has a much bigger rest mass than an electron. Now the interesting part is that without quantum behavior, the two hydrogen atoms would be too far away from each other to fuse via the strong nuclear force, but they do anyway because of quantum tunneling. Jim
  15. Jim, I'm a little astonished that you would say that "there is no global requirement for entity action causality." What other kind of causality is there? Actions without entities that act? The whole purpose of axioms is to set certain ground rules for all further scientific inquiry. If you toss out causality, you toss out identity (since the capacity for a range of action is necessarily limited by a thing's nature). And since such axioms are subsumed by all knowledge, you effectively invalidate all human knowledge. Incidentally, the error of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is the notion that certain things are, in principle, unknowable, as opposed to simply unknown (due to deficiencies with present methods of measurement). That is a Kantian premise, and absolutely without foundation. It would require some sort of mystical celestial omniscience to "know" that certain things cannot be known. Dennis, I'm also going to make an attempt at what I'm trying to say and maybe it will be a better explanation. It is not that quantum mechanics is unknowable. It is that it is fundamentally statistical and discontinuous with respect that certain attributes or combinations of attributes that human beings care about. The statistical nature of quantum mechanics is quite regular, predictable and reasonable to handle in the aggregate and scientists and engineers do it all the time because the statistics follows a normal distribution. It is not that the properties of quantum behavior are not knowable, it is that attributes that we are familiar with on the macro level do not exist in continuous and nonstatistical quantities at the subatomic level. Now there is chaotic behavior that is unpredictable. It is knowable to a very tight precision at any given point in time. Imagine that you are taking an infinite sum of the digits of a nonrepeating irrational (not expressable as a fraction) number like pi. There are mathematical procedures for generating the series, but someone says predict the sum after the 3070th digit before computing the series. Is it unknowable? No. But it is unpredictable, until you sum the series. How do scientists and engineers handle chaotic behavior. By taking repeated measurements of the quantities they care about in real time and making predictions about small intervals of time later. This is much more difficult than quantum behavior and at some finite, sometimes small period of time later, we cannot predict what the behavior will be. Jim
  16. By the way, if anyone with a basic calculus background wants to see a cool explanation of what Bob is talking about, check this out from John Baez: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/noether.html Jim
  17. You have adumbrated the spirit of the "least action" principle and the preservation (invariance) of the Lagrangians (and other action functionals) under transformation. This is the center of Noether's theorem which ties together conservation and invariance under group transformations. This is a very rarified and abstract notion of causality but it has turned out to be the most fruitful approach taken by physicists. This trend in physics started way back in the day of Lagrange, D'Lambert, Benoulli, Hamilton and others. Ba'al Chatzaf You're right, Bob. I went as far as I could go in the explanation without the math. Thanks for stating it in a more exact and technically correct way. Hopefully my explanation will pass muster with Phil :-). Jim
  18. Jim, I'm a little astonished that you would say that "there is no global requirement for entity action causality." What other kind of causality is there? Actions without entities that act? The whole purpose of axioms is to set certain ground rules for all further scientific inquiry. If you toss out causality, you toss out identity (since the capacity for a range of action is necessarily limited by a thing's nature). And since such axioms are subsumed by all knowledge, you effectively invalidate all human knowledge. Incidentally, the error of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is the notion that certain things are, in principle, unknowable, as opposed to simply unknown (due to deficiencies with present methods of measurement). That is a Kantian premise, and absolutely without foundation. It would require some sort of mystical celestial omniscience to "know" that certain things cannot be known. Dennis, I'm perfectly OK with entity action causality as a bookkeeping entry and how it's used philosophically outside a physics context. It is much, much better than Humean event driven causality. There are several problems and assumptions for using it in a physics context for subatomic particles. I will list only a few to avoid being tedious: 1. You are assuming that a particle is an entity that is "separable" causally from the space surrounding it. 2. The term particle connotes things which import a Newtonian context such as fixed mass, energy etc. or even a fixed character as a certain kind of particle. Probably the term energy resonance is better for subatomic "particles". What happens when physicists add energy to a particle in a particle accelerator is that it becomes a very different "entity". To use the example I gave above, something very strange happens at 100 GeV to accelerated charged particles. The electric and weak nuclear force become unified and are the same force. Probably what happens is that a 100 GeV photon (which mediates the electric force) acts very much similar to a 100GeV W or Z boson that mediates the weak nuclear force. I'm OK with using the term entity when it's used for things just above the atomic scale because it denote something that has fixed attributes upon which "causal bookkeeping" can be performed. Physicists do bookkeeping on conservation laws because they represent quantities which remain the same globally before and after a subatomic interaction. Incidentally, I don't think the foregoing presents any particular problem, except for philosophers that want to read something mystical or skeptical into contexts that are very difficult and counterintuitive conceptually. Jim
  19. I disagree with this. Our knowledge of all causes derives from our knowledge of entities which have certain natures and exhibit certain behaviors. There are no behaviors not of entities of which we know. When you get down to subatomic particles you run up against the Heisenberg uncertainty principle which explains that, since our tools have a necessary limit in their bluntness (Bob will scream Plank length) you cannot measure both the position and velocity of the smallest particles without affecting them. In macroscopic observation, the mass energy of the light that reflects off the moon is insignificant in comparison with the moons mass. It can safely be ignored and we can very accurately measure the moon's position and motion. But with subatomic particles, the mass energy of the photons and the particles involved approach parity and we reach a horizon across which we cannot observe. This epistemological limit due to the bluntness of our instruments does not amount to a metaphysical claim about the entities at that level. The uncertainty in the measurement is not a lack of identity in the thing. That is the problem with modern philosophical interpretations of subatomic physics. This is not to say that the identity of the thing is not to fluctuate in ways that are not observed at macroscopic levels. That is the problem with some Objectivists' views of physics. The law of identity does not require subatomic particles to behave like discrete billiard balls. Perhaps we will never achieve the energies necessary to observe the scales we need to reach to get to the next level of understanding. Perhaps we will never have the ability to make the observations needed to posit the entities underlying the phenomena. This does not mean a priori that such entities do not exist. Furthermore, if we were to reach some smaller level underlying the Planck level (I don't imagine we can, but let's posit it) the we would still run up against the uncertainty principle, simply moved down to the next lower level of scale. All knowledge comes at a cost and all effort to achieve it is finite. There will always be horizons and singularities limiting our knowledge. This does not mean that nothing exists beneath those singularities or beyond those horizons. Ted, You make a persuasive case, but when would you concede that the universe in certain cases, does not have more secrets to yield, that things just act too strangely for our imagination? Why does one 100 GeV particle have a weak nuclear interaction and another simply give off more energy as a lower energy photon and itself become a lower energy photon? At 100 GeV, a photon probably acts identically to a W or Z boson. A good part of the reason our universe is the way it is lies in this symmetry-breaking. There is no lower scale, only different fundamental particles at higher energies. The word particle is fuzzy too. You could call each higher level at which symmetry-breaking occurs an "energy resonance". The real unknown is where these energy resonances occur. That is the real frontier in particle physics: at higher and higher energies. Jim
  20. One of the interesting fundamental asymmetries of our universe is the prevalence of matter over antimatter. Particle collisions show that this did not have to be the case as positrons and antiprotons are created as easily in collisions as electrons and protons. A number of interesting medical technologies including positron emission tomography are based on this fact. Jim
  21. As a post script to my previous post, there is a particularly interesting field of spectroscopy, called Auger spectroscopy which is based not on the spontaneous emission of quantized light when an electron passes from a higher energy level to a lower energy level in an atom. In the Auger case, it is not a photon which is emitted, but an electron that is created from the energy difference in the transition of a different electron from a higher energy state to a lower energy state. In a particle accelerator, a number of different outcomes of a collision are possible as long as a small collection of conservation laws are not violated. Jim
  22. I disagree with this. Our knowledge of all causes derives from our knowledge of entities which have certain natures and exhibit certain behaviors. There are no behaviors not of entities of which we know. When you get down to subatomic particles you run up against the Heisenberg uncertainty principle which explains that, since our tools have a necessary limit in their bluntness (Bob will scream Plank length) you cannot measure both the position and velocity of the smallest particles without affecting them. In macroscopic observation, the mass energy of the light that reflects off the moon is insignificant in comparison with the moons mass. It can safely be ignored and we can very accurately measure the moon's position and motion. But with subatomic particles, the mass energy of the photons and the particles involved approach parity and we reach a horizon across which we cannot observe. This epistemological limit due to the bluntness of our instruments does not amount to a metaphysical claim about the entities at that level. The uncertainty in the measurement is not a lack of identity in the thing. That is the problem with modern philosophical interpretations of subatomic physics. This is not to say that the identity of the thing is not to fluctuate in ways that are not observed at macroscopic levels. That is the problem with some Objectivists' views of physics. The law of identity does not require subatomic particles to behave like discrete billiard balls. Perhaps we will never achieve the energies necessary to observe the scales we need to reach to get to the next level of understanding. Perhaps we will never have the ability to make the observations needed to posit the entities underlying the phenomena. This does not mean a priori that such entities do not exist. Furthermore, if we were to reach some smaller level underlying the Planck level (I don't imagine we can, but let's posit it) the we would still run up against the uncertainty principle, simply moved down to the next lower level of scale. All knowledge comes at a cost and all effort to achieve it is finite. There will always be horizons and singularities limiting our knowledge. This does not mean that nothing exists beneath those singularities or beyond those horizons. Ted, I've always maintained that the strangest, most interesting part of physics is not quantum mechanics or general relativity which are interesting enough, but what actually happens in the standard model. At energies that we know about when we have collisions among particles, the only requirement for the end state is that certain conservation laws are not violated. Jim
  23. Phil, I know Heinlein meant it in a playful, benevolent, appeal to mankind's best kind of way. The problem I have with Harriman is not the lack of mathematics. It is that his model of causality is fundamentally flawed. Physics, at bedrock, is based on a small cluster of conservation laws, which globally cannot be broken. Conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, conservation of angular momentum, conservation of charge and conservation of certain quantities related to weak and strong forces plus gravity. There is no global requirement for entity action causality. That it happens to be true in most cases to a reasonable approximation is of great benefit to us, but it does not fully describe some of the most interesting physical phenomena out there. Jim
  24. Neither you nor Dr. Cox explained how induction was used. Merlin, That's OK. Harriman doesn't explain how physics is used either :-). Jim
  25. Phil, I have a different take on Baal. For people who have taken the time to understand mathematics at a deep level, it is often irritating that people brazenly comment on that which they don't understand. I think Objectivist arrogance is much more a hallmark of Harriman and Peikoff who apparently believe that you can understand the world at a deep level without mathematics, debate or precision. I think Baal's take is much more Heinlein than Objectivist. Here's a choice quote from Heinlein, not one with which I agree, but one that does have a certain piquancy: "Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house." Jim