p(aliens) is one factor. Significance is another. Significance in this case is large - thus some of the interest. p(aliens) needs to be very small to make aliens worth ignoring. Scientific consensus is that p(aliens) is indeed very small, but overconfidence is a common bias, so not everyone will be convinced.

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Banks only real special feature is their credibility. Anyone can issue promisory notes, and if the person or organisation is credible enough and enough notes are issued, then those notes become a type of money. That's all paper money was for several hundred years. Now there is legislation regulating things, but money is still at heart the same thing. Yes it is created by bank lending, but in the absence of bans on lending in the form of transferable and convieniently denominated forms money will always spontaneously come into existence.

Governments can spend, and that might help things sometimes, but if they spend in the form of transferable and conveniently denominated debt, then from a money point of view they are just doing the same thing as a private organisation issuing promisory notes. Provided inflation stays within reasonable bounds, there's no monetary problem. If the government spends on useful things then fine.

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Still...new money is being continuously created, endogenously, by private banks on behalf of their selected customers, and for the profit of the lending bank.

They are allowed to privately print money that is legal tender. Nice work, if you can get it.

Such banks are highly leveraged, and borrow short to lend long.

What could go wrong?

John Cochrane suggests outlawing fractional-reserve banks. Too fragile.

Why not money-financed fiscal programs MFFP)? BTW, I am a fan of small government, really small.

MFFPs do not require more spending. Tax cuts do the same thing.

Why not inject new money into the economy via tax cuts on productive people----people who work or invest?

A small government (say 10% of GDP) sometimes cuts taxes to 8% of GDP, financed by money printing.

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Canada, Australia. Neither had any central bank functionality until the 1930s. Neither have reserve requirements. I'm not sure they ever did. The Fed temoved reseeve requirements in March 2020. It was only established in 1913. So prior to that there was no reserve requirement either.

Reserve requirems are not essential to banking. Some places have required them at times in an effort to create stability.

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many countries have no reserve reqiurements, and banks worked passably well without a central bank to stabilise things.---AL


Care to name a few?

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Banks create money when they loan it. Bank accounts are just a way of tracking the status of loans and the circulation of the loaned dollars. Money has value because borrowers have to earn it back to pay off their debts. There is no need for commmercial bank reserves - many countries have no reserve reqiurements, and banks worked passably well without a central bank to stabilise things.

Money that is not borrowed into existance is counterfitting. A little bit of that doesn't do much harm, but it is fraudulent because it introduces dollars that no one has to earn back -i.e. the currency is not backed by anything. A lot of it causes real ptoblems.

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Probably true.

I tend to be wary of any system that borrows short to lend long, and does so on a 10-1 leverage. That is commercial banking as invented by commercial bankers. Murphy's Law....

So, bloggers say "central banks" print money. Actually, the vast bulk of money is endogenously created. By a banking system that relies on fractional reserves.

I suspect that injecting fresh money into the economy through "money financed fiscal programs" is a perfectly good idea, and avoids debt peonage.

That said, I would cut the federal government in half, if I was Czar of Everything.

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Imagine being a fan of models that have early technological civilizations percolating across the galaxy to form and establish hegemonic control - I like the model, but I'm basically saying "Ancient Aliens" which is a term that associates it with the trash that The History Channel puts out.

How do I argue a model with ancient aliens without being associated with the demonstrably crazy behavior of some enthusiasts?

A couple of personal tenets:

-- UFOs might be a thing, but we have no good evidence. Some witness accounts by trained professionals are compelling enough for me to keep an open mind, but once again, I have seen no GOOD evidence.

-- I do not hold the standard of evidence for the existence of extraterrestrials any higher than I hold the existence of black holes. To do so ascribes a mythology to the topic that I think is unnecessary. The work of Andrea Ghez at UCLA over the last decades mapping the motion of stars around the hypothesized black hole is the sort of evidence I like to see before I "believe" something.

-- Fear of association with the crazies predisposes otherwise rational people towards opinions that shut down the crazies at the cost of honest evaluation of the actual parameter space that we have explored.

-- The capability of our instruments is increasing at such a rate that there is an opportunity for people with differing opinions to reconcile and kindly face these questions in a "Let's see what we see!" sort of way. There's so much good science to look for - M Dwarf atmosphere compositions, possible technosignatures, prevalence of atmospheric oxygen, the formation of early galaxies / Pop III stars.

There are lots of reasons to stay positive and investigate different perspectives and the implications of models vs. observations. I count myself lucky to be in this time where we might get answers.

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I of course meant a "serious" topic for researchers to study.

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We had free banking system without a central bank until thhe early 1900s, and it was more straight jacketed than with central banks.

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The news media's job has always been to make intetesting stories to attract people's attention that they then sell to advertisers. Nothing changed in 2008, except perhaps you became aware that news stories are stories. They are stories constructed out of facts, but selected facts selected for the purpose of making the most attention attracting story. The end result is news media full of exagerations and outright false impressions, but it has always been that way. 200-80 years ago stories supporting white superiotity were popular, 150-60 years ago gay people were as good as pedophiles(or thought to be likely pedophiles). 80-40 years ago the communists were coming to get us.

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Robin your assertion that people did not think sex was an important topic is incorrect. Sex was always been considered a serious topic. Perhaps too serious to be left to intellectual simplification and hand waiving. All serious topics require more than simple models that permit a nearly infinite number of possibilities.

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Well, how likely do you really think it is that aliens are responsible for any UFOs? If your honest answer, like mine, is, "exceedingly unlikely," then why devote so much attention to questions about how exactly, aliens could be involved, while probing details of their various objectives, politics, etc? You might as well be arguing about whether hurricanes might possess intelligence, and if so, could we communicate with them, and by what means, and ultimately could we ask them to avoid our populated areas? After all, hurricanes are very real and undeniably a very serious concern! But of course, you (probably) wouldn't ever assert that hurricanes could have intelligence! I mean... how likely is that?? Perhaps it would even be "beyond the pale" to assert such a thing and it would expose you to ridicule? But fear not, you could simply pose the potential intelligence (or not) of hurricanes as an interesting "what-if" question for discussion! My point here is that there is no limit at all to the extent of possible and weird "what if" questions, if one simply ignores the likelihood of what is being suggested. If you truly consider a possibility exceedingly unlikely, why consume any time on it? Ergo, people suspect you consider the likelihood that aliens may be operating UFOs to be much greater than do most other people. Hence the snickering!

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Sex was once not "serious", even though it is well known to be real. I have not made any of the implications or likeliness claims you object to.

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UFOs are (and always have been) a "serious topic" in so far as they represent real-world concerns about unidentified/peculiar observed real-world phenomena. But unidentified/peculiar alone doesn't imply that these phenomena are the work of intelligent beings from other worlds. So, if you start from the premise that they do, you can and should expect criticism, up to and including ridicule, if you go so far as to assert that aliens are not just a possible explanation, but are likely explanations. "Great claims require great evidence." Any assertion that UFOs are (or even that just one particular UFO is) the product of advanced intelligent non-human/alien beings is undeniably a "great claim." It's as simple as that.

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Yup, that's how I feel whenever I try and think carefully about various issues related to racial issues or partisan politics. Particularly when it's about punishing violators of supposed rules.

But I’m wondering why the things you see make you suspect/consider aliens but not angels, demons, ghosts etc etc.. Is it just that you have such a higher prior on aliens visiting that the evidence you see pulls that probability up over a threshold but none of the others? Or is there something about the evidence that you think points only to aliens?

I admit I may be allowing that to influence me but, while there are weird things some pilots see, it's not even obvious to me that's more than I would have expected conditional on no visiting aliens (ppl see Bigfoot too and he would need ancestors etc). Also, I guess my prior on visiting aliens is much lower than the prior I have on their being multiple kinds of unknown atmospheric phenomenon that mimic alien craft.

Of course, if there was an incident which produced strong evidence in multiple different ways (say both evidence of physical collusion plus video or simul clear recordings from multiple viewpoints with radar readings etc). But the biggest reason I’m not yet convinced is that the way the evidence quality seems to hit a wall.

What am I missing as to why these weird things boost the alien hypo specifically? I don't think you would believe this if you didn't find something a lot more persuasive here than I and now I feel obliged to look for what I’m missing.

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