Apple's GENIUS-NUTS Chip Designers & OS Programmers, "Some Democrats"; & BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-05-20 Th

Things that went whizzing by that I want to remember...



On startup, the Apple Silicon M1 notices that it has lots of background and housekeeping work to do—mds_stores, bird, cloudd, kernel_task, & c.—and so it starts doing it. It immediately full-throttles all four of its IceStorm efficiency cores.

Then I start working. And it responds, giving me FireStorm core #5, with occasional spillover to FireStorm core #6, holding FireStorm cores #7 & #8 in reserve, just so if I ask it to do anything heavy, it can respond instantaneously, rather than get caught up on its background and housekeeping by letting those processes onto the performance cores.

Let’s see if I can get it in gear… Here I have an unconverted terabyte zoom session lying around…

PEDAL to the METAL, Commander!

Zoom & MacOS are not able to feed the FireStorm cores fast enough to fully-occupy all four of them, but it definitely gets us to a heavy workload…

And yet the fan never goes on. The thermal envelope of the machine is so far from being a constraint that it needs no boosting at all.

I haven’t felt like this with the performance delta of a new machine since the high tick-tock days of Moore’s Law, back before the beginning of the Great Recession:

But I do wish this from <> said “TSMC-Apple” or “Apple-TSMC” rather than just “Apple”. TSMC is doing a lot of the heavier lifting here:


Somewhere in the past I remember reading Matthew Yglesias talk about being on a panel with Mike Allen, in which Mike Allen said that his way to do journalism was to (a) write the story between Republicans insisting that the earth was flat while Democrats claimed it was round so that 90% of readers would think the point was “opinions of shape of earth differ”—thus pleasing Republicans—but dropping breadcrumbs so that the 10% who read it properly and then thought about it would realize that the Republicans were bullshitting—thus making it so the Democrats could not complain. And, he said, his bosses at the Washington Post were pleased.

That Mike Allen seems to me to have had a much firmer moral compass than this one. Allen (& Nichols, who I think needs to move quickly to get away from his current associates before it is too late) says “some democrats…worry…”, “some economists… fear”, “some Democrats… arguing behind the scenes…”, yet White House officials insist…” and “Yet Biden still wants to spend more…”

Yet when we look for a referent for “some Democrats…” and “some economists…” we find—Larry Summers. Allen and Nichols didn’t even bother to talk to and get a quote from Olivier Blanchard. Or from Charles Goodhart, who fears that debt accumulation will put the Fed in the position of having to walk a knife-edge ridge, blindfolded. Phoning it in. If you don’t bother to find three examples of what you are talking about, you aren’t being serious.

Larry rarely has opinions for no reason (although he is prone to overenthusiasm). And I very much hope that demand will be strong enough that the Federal Reserve will be able to accomplish liftoff from the zero lower bound on interest rates—that would be a good thing. But as best as I can see Biden is not intending to pump up demand any more: he wants his additional spending to be paid-for, after all:

Mike Allen & Hans NicholsFear grows Biden Is Doing too Much, too Fast & Risking Inflation: ‘Some Democrats and economists have begun to worry that President Biden, intent on FDR-like transformation of a wounded America, is doing too much, too fast…. Some economists fear that all this spending will crank up inflation, and put Biden’s economic legacy at risk. You see this in complaints by employer—along with some early data, and loads of anecdotal evidence—that people aren’t taking jobs because of the boost to unemployment payments… budget deficits in states weren’t nearly as bad as expected…. Yet Biden still wants to spend more. Larry Summers… told Axios he’s more concerned than he was several months ago…. The other side: The White House contends that more Americans will join the labor force when the country is fully vaccinated and everyone feels safe…. As for inflation, White House officials insist that it’ll be temporary….. Higher wages might be needed to convince some Americans to look for work. Some Democrats have begun arguing behind the scenes that Biden needs to show Americans credible evidence that tax increases will be timed with the spending. “If the spending is coming up front, and the taxes are coming down the road, then on net, that’s going to add fuel to the fire,” Summers said. But Summers mostly blames the Fed for rising prices: “I think it is bizarre to be buying $40 billion a month of mortgage securities, when the housing market is on fire.”

LINK: <>


One Video:

Aristophanes’s Νεϕελοκοκκυγία: The LEGO Movie: Cloud Cuckooland: <>

Share Brad DeLong's Grasping Reality

Very Briefly Noted:


Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Our problem now is to get the country vaccinated, the boosters in preparation, the economy reopen, and full employment reattained. Inflation over the next year and a half is an aid to that. The problem of controlling inflation is a problem for 2023 and beyond, which means that the Federal Reserve should start thinking about it and acting to prepare for it in mid-2022, not now. So I wish Noah Smith were writing now about how to make reattaining full employment go smoothly, not painting bad-case inflation scenarios:

Noah SmithWhen to Worry About Inflation: ‘Joe Weisenthal notes that if you take out used cars and trucks, core inflation (which already takes out food and energy) only ran at a little over 2% in April. The used car shortage, he argues, was due to highly specific factors…. The inflation of the last two months is probably a blip…. But there actually is a scary inflation scenario…. 1) cost-push inflation from supply bottlenecks —> 2) Fed is afraid to raise rates because it would tank the economy and/or increase government borrowing costs —> 3) businesses decide that the Fed is no longer willing to contain inflation —> 4) businesses start raising prices rapidly leading to high and sustained inflation…. Inflation is a weird thing.. a coordination game… happens when people think inflation is going to happen…. By pulling out the bazooka, Paul Volcker convinced America that the Fed would do whatever it took to beat down inflation. He carried out a reéime shift in policy, which in turn generated a régime shift in expectations…. High and persistent inflation will return if the opposite régime shift happens…. [If] inflation stays significantly above 2% for quite some time… and the Fed doesn’t hike rates…. If policymakers start seriously talking about price controls as a way to manage inflation, it’s a very bad sign. If you look at episodes of inflation, they’re usually preceded by a failed regime of price controls… 

LINK: <>

Very true from Paul Krugman: “Anyone can offer praise for qualities a man actually has; only the truly subservient will humiliate themselves by offering flattery totally untethered from reality…” That is, I think, the explanation for the obsequious dérogeance of Republicans like Tomas Philipson and Kevin McCarthy: only by abandoning any reputation they had for not routinely lying can they demonstrate that they are properly loyal to Donald Trump. In what coin they expect a man who is not very healthy and already 74 to reward them for their dérogeance is not clear:

Paul KrugmanThe Strange Death of American mMdesty: ‘Once upon a time Republican leaders posed as regular guys even when they were anything but…. Today, of course, the Republican Party has turned into a Trump personality cult, even though Donald Trump’s actual accomplishments are hard to find. A failed nuclear deal with North Korea, a failed trade deal with China, a tax cut that never delivered the promised investment boom, a mishandled pandemic? Never mind. Obsequious professions of loyalty aren’t just expected, they’ve become a requirement for those who want to stay in the party…. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, enthused about Trump’s physical vigor. (Hey, he drives a mean golf cart.)… Tomas Philipson, a Chicago economist who worked for a time in the White House, returned to academia, his parting letter praised the famously non-reading Trump as someone whose “economic instincts were on a par with many Nobel economists.” These absurdities… are proof of loyalty. Anyone can offer praise for qualities a man actually has; only the truly subservient will humiliate themselves by offering flattery totally untethered from reality… 

LINK: <>

Dan Pfeiffer watches Republicans trying to replay their 2009-10 playbook: betting on a weak recovery and then on blaming the bad policies of the Democratic President for it. Any unemployment remaining in October 2022 will be the fault of enhanced U.I. This time, however, they do not have a cautious President Obama who wants to undershoot the return to full employment—to close only half the output gap—and who will further water down his policies away from what is best for the country in a fruitless search for bipartisan comity. If the Republicans win this one, it will not be because of any triangulation by Biden, but rather because of Manchin and Sinema’s triangulation:

Dan PfeifferThe Republicans Return to ‘47 Percent’ Politics: ‘The hottest trend in Republican politics is taking money away from their constituents, presumably for the purpose of owning the libs. Over the last couple of weeks, more than eleven states run by Republican governors have ended their states’ participation in the enhanced unemployment benefits program…. The most important point to remember about the enhanced U.I. issue is that the Republican argument is almost entirely bullshit…. Republicans are dealing with a political paradox. The narrow Democratic majorities, the map. and history suggests that the 2022 elections should be a great opportunity for Republicans. But President Biden is very popular, and his agenda is even more popular…. Given an array of bad options, the party has decided to once again run against “big government.” If government is seen by the voters as relief checks, vaccines, small business loans, and rebuilt roads and bridges, the Democrats will succeed. The Republican obsession over the supposed generosity of the unemployment benefits is part of a desperate effort to change the focus. This an uphill battle for the Republicans…

LINK: <>

GAME & SET TO: Chris Best, Hamish McKenzie, and SubStack on their quest to <strike>relieve venture capitalists of some of their excess money & burn it</strike> build the New Discursive Habermasian Jerusalem & sleeve it in the flesh of the Second Coming of the Blogosphere!!

Anne TrubekPaying Writers & Pitying Men: ‘People are continuing to talk about Substack, but few are discussing what I find the most interesting part: people are paying! Individuals are choosing to subscribe. It’s extraordinary…. What startles me are not the advances the company pays, but the sheer number of individuals who volunteer to become paid subscribers. More takes on this, please! (About 10% of you reading this have elected to become paid subscribers, and I am very grateful.l If you want to join this lovely gang, here’s the link—or wait—let’s do this…

LINK: <>

I think—I hope—that in the end historians will conclude that America was so lucky that the first fascist it had who tried to seize power was off-scale both in his grittiness, his incompetence, and his clownishness. It could, already, have gone much, much worse:

Jeet HeerTwo Paths to a Military Coup: ‘On the one hand, Trump tried to use the military as his personal toy… surrounded himself with generals… had big parades… pardoned war criminals… wanted to use the military to crack down on protesters. Trump’s baneful effect continues with a raft of retired generals (echoing their French counterparts) proclaiming conspiracy theories about the election…. The good news is that the military resisted…. But this resistance came at a price. Because from the start the military leadership didn’t respect Trump and because he was too ill-informed to shape policy, civilian-military relations broke down. The Pentagon carried out policy for four years often in open defiance of the duly elected president…. Trump was foiled at every turn by both the staff he himself assembled and also the national security establishment…. The sabotaging of Trump’s agenda involved lying to him…. The Axios article should disturb anyone who believes in democracy…. Trump’s weak and buffoonish authoritarianism incited two competing types of military coups: a coup by the military brass against Trump and a coup by Trumpists against the constitutional order…

LINK: <>

Is the official CCP take on Mao still “two parts good, one part bad”? Mitt Romney needs to work harder to raise his “parts good” score. Just saying:

Daniel LarisonNo, China Is Not an ‘Existential Threat’: ‘Romney likes to present himself as something of a responsible elder statesman of the Republican Party, but with his alarmism about China he is falling back into the same pattern of hawkish hyperbole that made him such a ridiculous presidential candidate…

LINK: <>


I confess old Alex’s confidence that “the science of politics, however, like most other sciences, has received great improvement” since the days when the Athenians could vote to execute all the men and old women in Mytilene, and enslave the rest, and then on Tuesday overturn their decision and send out another message ship, hoping that it would catch up before the massacre had been accomplished:

Alexander HamiltonThe Federalist Papers No. 9: ‘It is impossible to read the history of the petty republics of Greece and Italy without feeling sensations of horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were continually agitated, and at the rapid succession of revolutions by which they were kept in a state of perpetual vibration between the extremes of tyranny and anarchy. If they exhibit occasional calms, these only serve as short-lived contrast to the furious storms that are to succeed. If now and then intervals of felicity open to view, we behold them with a mixture of regret, arising from the reflection that the pleasing scenes before us are soon to be overwhelmed by the tempestuous waves of sedition and party rage. If momentary rays of glory break forth from the gloom, while they dazzle us with a transient and fleeting brilliancy, they at the same time admonish us to lament that the vices of government should pervert the direction and tarnish the lustre of those bright talents and exalted endowments for which the favored soils that produced them have been so justly celebrated.

From the disorders that disfigure the annals of those republics the advocates of despotism have drawn arguments, not only against the forms of republican government, but against the very principles of civil liberty…. It is not to be denied that the portraits they have sketched of republican government were too just copies of the originals from which they were taken. If it had been found impracticable to have devised models of a more perfect structure, the enlightened friends to liberty would have been obliged to abandon the cause of that species of government as indefensible. 

The science of politics, however, like most other sciences, has received great improvement. The efficacy of various principles is now well understood, which were either not known at all, or imperfectly known to the ancients. The regular distribution of power into distinct departments; the introduction of legislative balances and checks; the institution of courts composed of judges holding their offices during good behavior; the representation of the people in the legislature by deputies of their own election: these are wholly new discoveries, or have made their principal progress towards perfection in modern times. They are means, and powerful means, by which the excellences of republican government may be retained and its imperfections lessened or avoided…

LINK: <>

A very smart catch by Buce here:

BuceKissinger Gazes into the Chinese Mirror: ‘I feel a warm personal relationship with Henry Kissinger and China because he once got me kicked out of a hotel in Kashgar.  Nothing personal, really: apparently the rule is that when the Chinese elite want to move in a distinguished visitor, everybody gets bumped, including the paying customers…. If you take time to read Kissinger on China, the chances are that you already know something about China, and are hoping to learn something more about Kissinger’s views….

What I suspect you get here is a lot of Kissinger on Kissinger…. The point struck me early on when I read Kissinger’s sketch of Li Hongzhang, who dominated what passed for foreign policy under the decrepit Qing Dynasty late in the 19th Century.  Here’s Henry on Li:

Ambitious, impassive in the face of humiliation, supremely well versed in China’s classical tradition but uncommonly attuned to its peril, Li served for nearly four decades as China’s face to the outside world. He cast himself as the intermediary between the foreign powers’ insistent demands for territorial and economic concessions and the Chinese court’s expansive claims of political superiority. By definition his policies could never meet with either side’s complete approbation. Within China in particular Li left a controversial legacy, especially among those urging a more confrontational course. Yet his efforts—rendered infinitely more complex by the belligerence of the traditionalist faction of the Chinese court…

When Henry says “[a]mbitious, impassive in the face of humiliation, supremely well versed,” surely he is thinking of himself? So also “his policies could never meet with either side’s complete approbation”—?  And perhaps most: “controversial… especially among those urging a more confrontational course.”… 

It’s perhaps difficult to recall the shock and impotent rage Kissnger and his boss the Emperor President withstood from their old allies on the right when they so shattered Cold War orthodoxies by establishing as relationship with our great enemy.   The only other betrayal of equal magnitude would be when Ronald Reagan yanked the pins out from under the Neocons by sitting down to chat with Mikhail Gorbachev…

LINK: <>

Why can’t I find MOAR articles like this one to read?:

Howard OakleyHow M1 Macs Feel Faster than Intel Models: It’s About QoS: ‘Whether Intel or ARM cores, macOS has to manage how tasks are run side-by-side on the same processor…. The developer puts the code and data into an Operation, like a task, which can then be run on one or more cores at a time. Two common features which they can specify are the maximum number of concurrent operations, and their importance, or Quality of Service (QoS)…. Apple provides four QoS levels, and a fifth which leaves it up to macOS to decide….

On an Intel Xeon W 8-core processor, when there’s no competing processes, all QoS settings result in the operation being performed as quickly as possible. My test 10 GB file… 5.6 to 6.6 seconds…. When there were competing operations… running one compression at a QoS of 9 (background) and another at 33 (userInteractive), the process with the higher QoS… completed in normal time, and that with the lower QoS… taking as much as 24 seconds…. Hyperthreading was seen in Activity Monitor, with virtual second cores taking some of the additional load….

Similar tests on an M1…. All operations with a QoS of 9 (background) were run exclusively on the four Efficiency (Icestorm) cores, even when that resulted in their being fully loaded and the Performance cores remaining idle…. With a QoS of 9 (background), the standard compression task took 38–43 seconds, changing little with loading of higher QoS operations. When two intensive background tasks were run at the same time, one completed in that same time (40 seconds), while the other took almost twice the time (77 seconds), both remaining constrained to using the Efficiency cores…. With higher QoS… completed in much the same time as when run alone, and that with the lower QoS extended to around 15.5 seconds….

The pattern of use of cores is that almost all the activities of macOS are run on the Efficiency cores, with only the occasional blip on the Performance cores. Running apps and performing other user tasks is the other way around, with the brunt borne on the Performance…. User tasks are more likely to run with QoS of at least 17, and in many cases 25 and 33. As far as the processor goes, an M1 Mac is divided into two: the four Efficiency cores are there largely to run macOS and its many background tasks, freeing the four Performance cores for the apps which you run. It feels so much faster….

Few events give a worse impression to the user than the interface slowing down in the face of a problem in the operating system…. Because those processes are handed over to the Efficiency cores, all they do now is slow other macOS background tasks, to which we’re much less sensitive….. Because Macs with Intel processors can’t segregate their tasks onto different cores in the same way, when macOS starts to choke on something it affects user processes too…

LINK: <>

Leave a comment

(Remember: You can subscribe to this… weblog-like newsletter… here: 

There’s a free email list. There’s a paid-subscription list with (at the moment, only a few) extras too.)