Jan. 31st, 2017

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Singapore is hedging its bets and reconsidering alliances:
The Year of the Rooster has ushered in two pieces of good news on ties between Singapore and China. First, the highest-level annual bilateral meeting, also known as the Singapore-China Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, will take place next month.

In today's turbulent global environment, countries with similar ideologies have a stronger need to cooperate. As we mark a new Chinese New Year, I look forward to a new chapter in Singapore-Sino ties that paves the way to a brighter future.


In just one week Trump has managed to blow decades of efforts by the American business and diplomatic community to counteract China's economic pull in SEA. Fucking idiot.
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“But high in his stronghold Aeolus wields his scepter,
soothing their passions, tempering their fury.
Should he fail, surely they’d blow the world away,
hurling the land and sea and deep sky through space. ”

-- Virgil (translated by Robert Fagles). "The Aeneid."
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“The pricing has been astronomical,” Trump said to chief executives of some of the world’s biggest drugmakers, who came to Washington after his criticism of the industry earlier this month sent drug and biotechnology stocks plunging. “You folks have done a very great job over the years but we have to get the prices down.”


Trump speaks the language of entertainment — "astronomical, good job, get the prices way down" — not the language of business. In business, "astronomical" means nothing because it doesn't translate into specific numbers. "Good job" also means nothing because it's a typical platitude equivalent to a pat on the back. "Get the prices way down" is meaningless because it lacks specificity: down to what levels? should we start firing workers to cut down the costs? reduce R&D?

He talks about reducing regulation costs, but he has no idea about by how much. Negotiating without knowing the value of your offer is an obvious bluff. Everybody around the table sees through it. Furthermore, he has no idea about the liability aspects of fast-track pharma approvals. To any corporate CEO, he looks like a dangerous buffoon who can destroy an entire industry and hurt consumers because of his total lack of knowledge. Or he may do something that benefits the industry in the short term but kills a bunch of patients in 10 years, long after he's gone. Who's going to pay for that?


Jan. 31st, 2017 02:08 pm
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It turns out that in the Aeneid Love is a male god:
“So Venus makes an appeal to Love, her winged son:
“You, my son, are my strength, my greatest power—
you alone, my son, can scoff at the lightning bolts
the high and mighty Father hurled against Typhoeus.
Help me, I beg you. I need all your immortal force.”

Virgil (translated by Robert Fagles). “The Aeneid.”
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...imagine the instant of suspense before a catapult hits the target, or a pulley system lifts a huge column, or before the water finally rushes through the conduits and an aqueduct is inaugurated after years of work — perhaps hope is the quintessential virtue of an engineer.

SERAFINA CUOMO. A Roman Engineer's Tales. The Journal of Roman Studies. Vol. 101 (2011), pp. 143-165. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41724876

I knew it!

Jan. 31st, 2017 11:15 pm
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Donald J Trump, through his unofficial spokesman Jon Stewart, proclaimed Bullshit to be the official language of the United States.


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