Thursday, February 04, 2016

Resting Bitch Face

I thought this was a joke:
Queen Elizabeth has it. So does fashion designer Victoria Beckham. And actress Kristen Stewart — poor thing, she’s practically the poster girl.

Among the slew of pop culture icons said to be afflicted with so-called Resting Bitch Face (alternatively known as Bitchy Resting Face), the vast majority are women, though Kanye West is among the male examples. All of them have been mocked by Internet commenters for having a certain unintentional expression when their faces are not in motion — a look best described as vaguely annoyed, maybe a little judgy, perhaps slightly bored.
No, apparently it is a real condition.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Dawkins booted from atheist conference

Here is the latest atheist controversy:
Controversial atheist Richard Dawkins has been dumped as the keynote speaker at an upcoming New York City sceptics conference after he praised a video equating feminism with radical Islamism.

"We have taken this action in response to Dr Dawkins' approving retweet of a highly offensive video," said a statement by the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS). "We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However, unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and even hateful speech runs contrary to our mission and the environment we wish to foster at NECSS."
The video mocks both Islamism and feminism. I would not expect atheists to be offended at a video mocking a religion.

Feminism means many things, and the ones expressed in the video deserve to be mocked.

Atheism used to mean to deny belief in God. Skeptic used to be a code word for atheist. Now they are conformists more than skeptics, and use the word "skeptic" less often. Their organizations are being taken over by social justice warriors, and now atheists are expected to have leftist politics.

I wonder why atheists even have conferences. Are they trying to learn something? Are they trying to mimic a religious community? Are they trying to induce ideological conformity? Are they really as horrible as they sound from these news stories?

Update: The woman being mocked resembles this Toronto radical feminist activist. There are YouTube videos of her throwing tantrums against Christianity and men's rights at public events.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Democrats celebrate white hatred

Foreign Policy Magazine celebrates the decline of White Christian men:
White men have had a great run. From the rise of the Greeks to the birth of Western-based global empires, they have controlled much of the world or sought to: So much of history is a consequence of decisions made by — and at the behest of — the white guys in charge. ...

Finally, thanks to the mobility revolution of the past century, flows of refugees and migrants of all kinds have shifted the demographics of societies ...

The result is that the status quo of the past several millennia is going to undergo a profound change. In Europe alone, the influx of migrants and refugees is already producing irreversible demographic shifts — a great blending of cultures.

But by mid-century in the United States, the former majority population will be a minority: The majority, according to demographers, will be nonwhite. By that time, Europe will include massive populations from Africa and the Middle East, as well as Asia. This is to say that by 2050 white men will be the ones checking the “other” box on census forms.
The author, David Rothkopf, identifies as non-white and non-Christian, so I guess he is pursuing his ethnic interests.

He is assuming that the white guys in charge are going to commit demographic suicide. That seems likely from leaders like Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, and Hillary Clinton. Oops, these are not white guys. There are hardly any politicians opposed to these trends, except maybe Donald Trump. Rothkopf argues that the demographic changes have already guaranteed that Hillary Clinton will be the next President, and that she will accelerate the attacks on white Christian men.

There will, of course, be good and bad aspects to any such changes. The article does not argue that they will improve the well-being of Americans, by any measures like income, crime, freedom, etc. Instead he argues that we should celebrate diversity for its own sake:
Of course, human mobility is not something to be fought, but rather something to be embraced. While belonging to a community is wired into our DNA for reasons linked to the survival-based social units of our most ancient ancestors, the story of civilization and progress has been one about the blending and reblending of those units. ...

What we need instead are those who will stand up and say, “No. You have it wrong. Diversity is not the threat. It is the answer.” That is, in fact, what has made America and every diverse society great. To be sure, we should not — not for one minute — lament the passing of the white-male era, for there is at least a glimmer of hope that soon to come is the era of “all.”
The story of civilization is one of invaders destroying what others have built, of ethnic differences causing hostility, and of blending by rape.

If this blending really worked, then Israel would absorb the Palestinian Arabs.

We do have a choice about whether to elect Hillary Clinton and to continue the mass influx of Third World migrants.

Before you vote to end the era, you might want to consider what white Christians males have done for modern civilization. I am guessing that it has been over 90% of scientific breakthrus, inventions, and other accomplishments that have created our modern standard of living. Or maybe even 99% of what is important.

The Democrat Party has aligned itself with demographic interests as no American party has before. It wins elections only by getting the votes of non-whites, non-Christians, single women, others with gender identity issues, government dependents, and low-info voters. The Obama administration has stood for the creation of racial animosity with Trayvon Martin and Ferguson Missouri, and Hillary Clinton says the President should be a women because women are better.

I suppose there have always been disreputation publications that promote racial, sexual, and ethnic animosity, but Foreign Policy is a respectable magazine. Rothkopf had a job in the Bill Clinton administration, and looks forward to an offer from the Hillary Clinton administration. Mainstream Democrats now openly say that it is a good thing that White Christian patriarchal culture is being destroyed. They preach hatred of whites, Christians, and masculinity, and they are intolerant of anyone who does not go along with their leftist agenda.

How far does this go? White Christian males are the most tolerant in the world, but at some point, they are going to fight back. They ought to, anyway.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Eurasians did not invade Africa

Nature mag reports:
An error has forced researchers to go back on their claim that humans across the whole of Africa carry DNA inherited from Eurasian immigrants. ...

Manica is not yet sure if Science will change the title of the paper, ‘Ancient Ethiopian genome reveals extensive Eurasian admixture throughout the African continent’. But if the team had caught the error earlier, he says, “I’m sure we would have phrased things differently”.
Eurasians have Neanderthal DNA, and Africans do not. So that claim never made sense to me.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

MLK Dream speech too bigoted

Today's young leftists have to move the blacks to the back of the bus, to make room for all the other grievance groups. Mediate reports:
U of Oregon Debates Removing MLK Quote For Not Being Inclusive Enough

Student leaders at the University of Oregon debated removing a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. from its student center, arguing that the quote was not inclusive enough for modern understandings of diversity.

Oregon’s Erb Memorial Union, which is currently under renovation, had the following famous King quote on the wall: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream…”

But as renovation continues, the Oregon Student Union seriously considered replacing that quote. ...

The problem wasn’t so much the message, but the fact that it only focused on racial diversity instead of gender identity.

“Diversity is so much more than race,” said one sophomore architecture major. “Obviously race still plays a big role. But there are people who identify differently in gender and all sorts of things like that.”
I just wonder how far the Left is going with this inclusiveness fad.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Prosecuting the Unabomber

Yahoo has some new articles on the Unabomber:
David, unaware of what his brother was doing, returned to society and married. Years later, he made one of the most difficult decisions imaginable: to turn in the brother he loved as a suspected killer, which would save the lives of innocent victims, and perhaps Ted’s as well. He made what he still believes is the only rational decision. ...

“I still look back on the decision and know it had to be done,” David said. “He could have and probably would have killed other people. … If there was any way out of having to do what I did and still be a responsible human being, I would have. But I had a responsibility. As painful as it was. As it still is.”
The decision probably did not save any lives. The Unabomber promised to desist from terrorism if his manifesto were published, and there were no incidents after the publication.
David’s stipulation to the FBI, when he contacted it with his suspicions, was that he would be warned before the bureau took action, and that his role would be kept secret. But when word leaked to the media that there was a Unabomber suspect, federal officials moved quickly. David and his family were given almost no notice, and someone leaked his role to the media. Within hours, reporters from all over the world were on David’s doorstep.

A day later, sitting in a jail cell in Lincoln, Mont., Ted asked his public defender how the feds had found him. “Oh, didn’t you know?” the man told him, according to a story that was later recounted to David by a member of his brother’s legal team. “It was your brother.”

Ted shook his head in disbelief. “No,” he said. “David wouldn’t do that.”
Yes, his brother turned him in for the $1M reward.

I don't disagree with prosecuting the Unabomber, but his brother did have another option. He could have simply blackmailed the Unabomber into keeping his promise to stop terrorism.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Rich leftists hate the middle class

A few decades ago, almost all Americans described themselves as middle class. Now the data show that they are increasingly split into the rich and the poor.

This is one reason that they are willing to spend so much for college. There is a consensus that you need a college degree to get the good life.

It is common to hear complaints about the gap between the rich and the poor, so you might think that everyone wants a strong middle class. The Democrat party is entirely dependent on a large underclass. It also likes the rich, but the rich liberals hate the middle class:
The true enemy of the rich is not the poor but the middle class — the hated bourgeoisie for which both international finance capitalists and international communists have so much contempt. If you own your own home, have strong family support, have savings, perhaps run your own business, or have some source of income other than wages paid by an employer, or you work in a career field where demand for your labor is high and you earn high wages, then you are your own person. You can earn a decent living without bootlicking.

If you are an American citizen and middle class, you are a powerful force to be reckoned with. Although you are not rich, you have rights and assets and you have something to lose. You have numbers and the ability to organize and raise funds to pursue your interests.

The rich have more assets than you but they lack your numbers. You can organize against the rich to pursue your own interests and put your considerable collective assets to work to defeat the rich who are smaller in number. You have voting power.

Currently, our richest Americans have global interests, which are in direct conflict to the interests of the American middle class and the American nation at large. While small in number, the rich are winning in their aims and the middle class is losing. The rich are organized and their goal is clear in their minds — at least in the minds of the richest few who are pulling the strings. These few are in firm control of the media, the government, the banks and the monetary system.
The past few decades have seen many liberal policies put in place that have the net effect of damaging the middle class.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Japan has porn, but not real sex

McClatchy reports:
In a Japan seemingly obsessed with sex, few seem to indulge

Birthrate has dropped as surveys show Japanese singles have little interest in relationships

Even married couples say their relationships are sexless

26 percent of men have no sexual experience by age 34

Japan is well known for many things, and its obsession with sex is one of them. It has one of the most robust pornographic and adult-toy industries in the world and airs TV commercials for items as banal as candy that feature sexually suggestive themes. It even has an annual fertility festival that parades two five-foot-tall penis sculptures down a busy street on a Sunday afternoon.

And yet nearly half of singles in Japan have no interest in dating – a situation that many experts predict will help lead to a population decline of one-third in the next 45 years.
Japan is over-populated, so the decline is an improvement. It is also retaining its culture, even if the rest of the world does things differently.

Pretty we will high-quality consumer virtual reality goggles, and probably some ultra-realistic pornography soon thereafter. The Japanese will probably also have robots for sexual relations. These advances may diminish demand for the real thing.

It does appear to me that the Japanese idea of marriage is a lousy deal for both men and women. They are probably obsessed with sex because they have not figured out how to combine it with their marriage customs. Maybe they will figure it out in a century or so, when the country will have been de-populated.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Debating whether to accept Syrian migrants

Intelligence Squared debated Should The U.S. Let In 100,000 Syrian Refugees? (mp3):
Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, more than 4 million Syrians have fled the country, creating the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. The United States has taken in just over 2,000 Syrian refugees since the war’s start, and the Obama administration has pledged to take another 10,000 in 2016. What are our moral obligations, and what are the cultural, economic, and security issues that must be taken into account? Should the U.S. let in 100,000 Syrian refugees?
To my surprise, the affirmative won the debate.

The negative used good arguments, but not good enuf. There was no mention of the billion more people who want to come here. Or that the pro argument was coming from a British man in the business of exporting refugees. Or that Moslems are doing long-term damage to the USA.

The pro argument was mostly emotional, saying that Steve Jobs was a Syrian, and that the Statue of Liberty promises that we will take everyone. The response was logical, saying that the refugees cannot be vetted, that they will go on welfare and cost too much, that it would be more effective to help them in Syria, and that we do not make policy based on a poem on the wall of the gift shop adjoining a statue.

An emotional argument against taking the refugees might get a critic saying that it was like Hitler. Not many people can stand being compared to Hitler.

Just as few people are willing to publicly say that Bruce Jenner suffers from a mental illness, few are willing to say that the Syrian migrants do not belong in the USA.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Testing for marijuana psychosis

NPR radio reports:
The American Psychological Association emailed us to say that the correction they issued on Thursday was incorrect. The email says in part:

I am afraid that the correction we put out regarding the teen marijuana study was not accurate. We are in the process of placing this more accurate editor's note on the release on our website. ...

Although these supplemental analyses indicated that teens who engaged in frequent marijuana use had a higher probability of meeting criteria for a psychotic disorder than infrequent/nonusers by their 30s, this difference did not reach statistical significance using a two-tailed test (p=.09). ...

The group difference on psychotic disorder approached statistical significance and would have been significant if a more liberal test (i.e., one-tailed) was utilized.
It is unusual to make such a big deal out of an obscure statistical test, and to have to correct a correction.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The high-growth era is over

For 80 years, economists have argued that we can finance ever-expanding social programs from economic growth, and that growth will come from innovation and population.

These assumptions are wrong.

There will never be a century with the scientific, technological, and practical advances as the 20th (XXc). We will not see this sort of per-capita economic growth again.

You can raise GNP by increasing the population, but that is not sustainable. And if the increase is from immigration, then it does not help the natives.

The WSJ reports:
Most Federal Reserve policy makers and private forecasters are giving up on the long-awaited breakout and instead predicting little change in 2016 and beyond: an economy growing a little faster than 2%, just like it has for years.
“To tell a story of 3% growth at this point—it’s not that it can’t happen, but it’s unlikely,” said Joseph LaVorgna, the once-optimistic chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank. ...

Economists aren’t sure why growth has slowed down. Some argue it reflects powerful long-term trends affecting the U.S. and other advanced economies. Others point to temporary, if stubbornly persistent, headwinds generated by the financial crisis and recession.
You can read arguments for permanent slow growth in the book The Redistribution Recession: How Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy and in this pdf paper.

Update: See also NY Times article.
Americans like to think they live in an era of rapid and unprecedented change, but this kind of comparison — pitting the momentous changes of the mid-20th century against the seemingly more modest progress of our present era — raises a critical question about the nation’s future prosperity.

What does this portend for our well-being over the next half century? Has technological progress slowed for good?
Update: Paul Krugman writes:
Robert J. Gordon, a distinguished macro­economist and economic historian at Northwestern, has been arguing for a long time against the techno-optimism that saturates our culture, with its constant assertion that we’re in the midst of revolutionary change. Starting at the height of the dot-com frenzy, he has repeatedly called for perspective: Developments in information and communication technology, he has insisted, just don’t measure up to past achievements. Specifically, he has argued that the I.T. revolution is less important than any one of the five Great Inventions that powered economic growth from 1870 to 1970: electricity, urban sanitation, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the internal combustion engine and modern communication.

In “The Rise and Fall of American Growth,” Gordon doubles down on that theme, declaring that the kind of rapid economic growth we still consider our due, and expect to continue forever, was in fact a one-time-only event. First came the Great Inventions, almost all dating from the late 19th century. Then came refinement and exploitation of those inventions — a process that took time, and exerted its peak effect on economic growth between 1920 and 1970. Everything since has at best been a faint echo of that great wave, and Gordon doesn’t expect us ever to see anything similar.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Chickens prefer beautiful humans

Discover mag
Many people believe that our perceptions of human beauty are primarily determined by societal norms. But could there be something innate in our brains that influence whether we think a face is beautiful? Here, a group of researchers tested this hypothesis by determining whether chickens have any innate preferences for certain human faces.
Yes, the chickens prefer the pretty faces.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Happy slave story censored

Everyday I am bombarded by liberals promoting racial hatred. The NY Times reports:
Scholastic Publishing said on Sunday that it would halt distribution of a children’s picture book about George Washington and his enslaved household cook amid an outcry over its visual depiction of the former president’s slaves as happy, smiling workers.
Other papers report:
From the Washington Post:

Very white Oscar nominations leave Academy president ‘heartbroken and frustrated’

From the Los Angeles Times:

Oscars 2016: It’s time for Hollywood to stop defining great drama as white men battling adversity

From the Wall Street Journal:

Black Actors and Directors Shut Out of 2016 Oscar Race
Sometimes I think that the typical Barack Obama supporter has more racial hatred than the Ku Klux Klan.

Failing to control behavior

Andrew Anglin writes:
An 18 year old Austrian woman was “rushed to hospital” in the early hours of this morning after a drink with an Afghan stranger she met on a train turned into a sex attack. ...

At the time of his arrest, the man was found to be carrying a quantity of forged money, and marijuana. He is being kept in pre-trial custody. ...

This is officially a crisis. And feminism is at the root of this crisis.

There is absolutely no doubt that this girl who thought it was a great idea to go to a park at night and drink alcohol with a random Afghani was one of the women out there shilling for the invasion, shouting down everyone who was like “no wait this is completely insane” and calling them Nazis.

If you tell a child they can eat whatever they want, they will eat nothing but candy. Then they will get sick. That is what we’ve done with women, allowing them to make decisions. They called in millions of monkeys from the world over, now they’re getting mass-raped.

Feminism is not a defect in women. It is the natural outcome of men failing to control the behavior of women.

We let them loose and now they’re getting mass-raped, and need our help. And we should help. We should protect them. We should avoid “you stupid slut, this is what you deserve!”-type thinking.

Instead, we should be compassionate, and understand that pretty well every teenage girl who is told she can do whatever she wants, after being inundated her entire life with Jewish propaganda, will go into the woods alone to get drunk with an Afghani man and then be completely shocked by the surprise sex.

If you told a 2-year-old to eat whatever he wants, and he ate only candy and got sick, you wouldn’t say to the child “you stupid brat, this is what you deserve!”
He is often trolling, but he gets his point across. He is hated on this leftist race-baiting site.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Never again let the Africans invade

The August 2015 SciAm cover story is about how African human ancestors conquered Europe and Asia about 70k years ago, and concludes:
Sometimes I think about how that fateful encounter between [Africans] and [Europeans] played out. I imagine the boasting tales [European] Neandertals might have told around their camp-fires of titanic battles against impossibly huge cave bears and mammoths, fought under the gray skies of glacial Europe, bare-foot on ice slick with the blood of prey and brother. Then, one day, the tradition took a dark turn; the regaling turned fearful. Neandertal raconteurs spoke of new people coming into the land — fast, clever people who hurled their spears impossible distances, with dreadful accuracy. These strangers even came at night in large groups, slaughtering men and children and taking the women.

The sad story of those first victims of [African] ingenuity and cooperation, the [European] Neandertals, helps to explain why horrific acts of genocide and xenocide crop up in the world today. ...

Culture can override even the strongest biological instincts. I hope that recognition of why we instinctively turn on one another in lean times will allow us to rise above our malevolent urges and heed one of our most important cultural directives: “Never again.”
I used brackets to clarify some confusing terms. The article refers to Neandertals as "cousins", whereas DNA data has proved that they were direct ancestors to Europeans, with African interbreeding. It also refers to the Africans as "modern humans", whereas it is now known that there has been significant human evolution since then.

What is meant by "never again"? This is some vague political spin on an anthropology article. The obvious meaning is that Europeans should never again allow African invaders to destroy their culture, exterminate their resources, dilute their gene pool, and steal their women.

The article theorizes that the Africans learn to cooperate by fighting to defend shellfish beds, and invented throwable spears while the Europeans just had hand-held spears. The main evidence is from looking that tiny stone blades, but they really don't know what the blades were used for, and the assertions about throwing spears are highly speculative.

The author must realize that Africans and Arabs are currently swarming into Europe, and threatening to destroy its culture. They have evolved to try to exterminate a competing race, he says.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Poor people buy lottery tickets.

I almost bought a Powerball lottery ticket. Here is who does:
Nationwide, people who make less than $10,000 spend on average $597 on lottery tickets — about 6 percent of their income. ...

Nationwide, African Americans spend five times more on lottery tickets than white people. ...

One in five Americans believe the lottery is the only way they can accumulate a significant amount of savings.
I have heard that half of big jackpot winners declare bankruptcy within 5 years. Some are also victims of crimes.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Your cells outnumber bacteria

It is always interesting to see some widely-cited textbook fact proven false.

Nature mag reports:
It's often said that the bacteria and other microbes in our body outnumber our own cells by about ten to one. That's a myth that should be forgotten, say researchers in Israel and Canada. The ratio between resident microbes and human cells is more likely to be one-to-one, they calculate.

A 'reference man' (one who is 70 kilograms, 20–30 years old and 1.7 metres tall) contains on average about 30 trillion human cells and 39 trillion bacteria, say Ron Milo and Ron Sender at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and Shai Fuchs at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.

Those numbers are approximate — another person might have half as many or twice as many bacteria, for example — but far from the 10:1 ratio commonly assumed.

“The numbers are similar enough that each defecation event may flip the ratio to favour human cells over bacteria,” they delicately conclude in a manuscript posted to the preprint server bioRxiv.
So a trip to the toilet can let you outnumber the bacteria.

There are lots of other examples. Astronomers used to say that Saturn's rings were only a few million years old, but now they say billions. They used to say that Earth's water came from comets, but now isotopic evidence has caused that to be doubted.

On another matter, the Wash. Post has now admitted that the Univ. of Virginia Rolling Stone fraternity rape story was a catfishing hoax by a girl trying to make a boy jealous. This is about a year after blogger Steve Sailer said that it was obvious.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Getting directions from a machine

We are being enslaved by robots, and here is more evidence:
The speed at which I’ve started following commands from a computer algorithm shows how easily we will give up our own self-determination in the face of advancing technology.

Instead of using my own knowledge to determine an acceptable route to a known location, I have willingly relinquished control to an app. While I enjoy the time savings that Waze offers me, I fear how I will incrementally and voluntarily give up more of my free will to computers that can process information much more efficiently than I can. Bit by bit, I will have my behavior constrained by the digital cloud, entrapping myself in a prison of my own doing.
I was very much surprised about 20 years ago when I discovered how willing people were to take orders from physicians, optometrists, dentists, and other professionals.

To me, these professionals just give facts and recommendations so that I can make an informed decision. However, I found that most people do not want to go against professional advice, and prefer to get orders.

Three things have accelerated this willingness. First, there is a belief that algorithms are more objective than humans, and therefore people are actually more willing to take orders from robots than professionals. Second, the younger generation has gotten accustomed to taking orders from Apple gadgets and Google. Third, improvements in artificial intelligence has made machine orders more reliable.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Twitter censors archaic opinions

It is popular to complain about economic inequality, but it is also obvious that inequality is necessary for any modern civilized society. It is not so obvious how much inequality is needed, or whether we have enuf or too much today. I assume that economists have studied this, but I do not know what they have found.

Here is an inequality defender:

In their sights is Paul Graham, one of the giants of Silicon Valley start-ups and one of the most thoughtful and impressive men in the tech industry. Graham co-founded Y Combinator, widely regarded as the most prestigious and effective accelerator for fledgling tech companies. It has invested in over 940 companies, including Reddit, Dropbox, and Airbnb.

The controversy began when Graham, who is popular essayist in his spare time, published a long defence of economic inequality on his website. In it, he made the reasonable point that inequality is a fundamental necessity to a successful culture of entrepreneurship.

“Almost by definition, if a startup succeeds its founders become rich,” wrote Graham. “And while getting rich is not the only goal of most startup founders, few would do it if one couldn’t. So when I hear people saying that economic inequality is bad and should be decreased, I feel rather like a wild animal overhearing a conversation between hunters.”

How often does a Powerball winner make good use of the money?

Twitter is censoring those who criticize social justice warriors. Their definitions of hate speech are getting stricter and stricter:
Michael Moritz, the chairman of Sequoia Capital and one of the most successful investors in Silicon Valley history, has amended his televised remarks on the lack of women partners at his firm.

Discussing the topic on Bloomberg TV’s Studio 1.0, Moritz said, “We look very hard. What we’re not prepared to do is to lower our standards. But if there are fabulously bright, driven women who are really interested in technology, very hungry to succeed, and can meet our performance standards, we’d hire them all day and night.”

That comment, televised on Wednesday night, was met with outrage on Twitter, where people condemned Moritz for archaic thinking and for not working hard enough to attract a diverse partnership.
Really? Refusing to lower standards is archaic?

Atlantic mag has an inequality complaint:
The main reason it’ll fall short, though—the reason that that remaining one-quarter of benefits hasn’t yet materialized—is that the method of funding for Social Security was calibrated to an America with much less inequality than the nation currently has.

Since the late ‘70s, most of the growth in workers’ earnings has gone to the people who have made the most money. To be precise, the wages of the top 1 percent of workers have grown 138 percent since 1979, while the wages for the bottom 90 percent grew only 15 percent during that period.

If all of that income growth were taxed evenly, Social Security would have no shortfall. But it’s not taxed evenly: Any dollar that an American earns beyond $118,500 is, under current laws, not subject to Social Security taxes. In other words, someone who makes $118,500 this year is going to pay the same amount in Social Security taxes as someone who makes $4 million this year.

For most people, this doesn’t really matter: Less than six percent of wage-earners last year took home more than $120,000. But because lots of the last three decades’ earnings growth has been in the realm beyond $118,500 a year, much of it has escaped Social Security taxes.
No, this is just a weak attempt at class warfare. The Social Security system pays benefits in proportion to taxes received. It does tax high wages and does not pay high benefits. The rich are left to fund their own retirement, if they want more. The SS system does not care if someone makes $200k a year or $2M a year, no one needed to make a judgment about how rich the rich would be.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Condemned for laying an egg

I had heard about medieval witch burning, but I did not know that sometimes animals were punished:
In 1474, a chicken passing for a rooster laid an egg, and was prosecuted by law in the city of Basel. Now, we are inclined to dismiss the event as fowl play, but in those days lusus naturae was no joke. The animal was sentenced in a solemn judicial proceeding and condemned to be burned alive "for the heinous and unnatural crime of laying an egg." The execution took place "with as great solemnity as would have been observed in consigning a heretic to the flames, and was witnessed by an immense crowd of townsmen and peasants." 1 The same kind of prosecution took place in Switzerland again as late as 1730.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

American pronunciations are more correct

Eugene Volokh writes:
English pronunciation of place names is a question related to the English language, not to the foreign language — that Kiribatese say “Kiribas” means very little to what is linguistically correct in English. ...

Just as we have our own English words for “cat” and “house,” so we have our own English words for “Russia,” “Spain,” “Sweden,” and “Kiribati.” And this isn’t some peculiar English thing. It’s certainly true in Russian (“Angliya” for “England,” “Frantsiya” for “France,” “Shvetsiya” for “Sveriye,” “Germaniya” for what the natives pronounce as “Doychland”).
Yes, and I would say the same for personal names, business names, foreign foods, and everything else.

Often someone tries to correct me, and tell me that some word is pronounced differently by foreigners in some other language like Spanish or Arabic. I have to explain that I am speaking American English.

Update: Here is a Mexican-American news anchor in Phoenix lecturing her audience to justify her mispronunciations.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

The current crypto war

Here is an essay about the second crypto war:
Some people claim that it is impossible to make a secure system that also provides government access. Which is true if your security requirement is to not give government access. As I have argued above, the purely technical arguments against government access are not very convincing. Unfortunately, it is exactly those arguments that are most often raised in the debate.
I agree with that. A counter-argument is that the Juniper backdoor ies an example of a govt backdoor that got subverted for nefarious purposes. But we have no proof of that. Juniper may have been using the pseudo-random number generator in recommended and secure ways.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Accusing males of social development issues

Bruce Perens writes:
It’s unfortunately the case that software development in general and Open Source communities are frequented by males who have social development issues. I once complained online about how offended I was by a news story that said many software developers were on the autism spectrum. ...

It’s still an open issue whether males and females have built-in biases that, for example, lead fewer women to be programmers, or if such biases only develop as a response to social signals. There is more science to be done.
Assuming that this is a problem, the attempt to pathologize men is annoying.

Maybe the men have social development issues, but it is more likely that the women have social development issues.

Suppose that the software development process requires contributors to be told when their programs do not work, and that women take offense at such harsh judgments. One inference might be that men should use more gentle words with the women. Another is that the women should learn to face the facts.

Apparently the more common conclusion is that the men have some psychological disorders or misogynistic habits that make them rude to women.

No, this is crazy feminist social justice warrior propaganda.

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Muslim and the fascist

Consider these statements:
Barack Obama is a Muslim.

If Barack Obama were a Muslim, he would not behave any differently.
Unless you are a mindreader, these statements have the same meaning.

The meaning depends on the definitions, of course. If Muslim excludes those who profess to be Christian, then he is not a Muslim. If Muslim includes those who were born Muslim and have not publicly repudiated it, then he is Muslim. Those are legitimate definitions. But if Muslim is defined by inner beliefs, then others cannot be sure, unless they are mindreaders.

Among those who claim to be able to perceive Obama's inner beliefs, some say he is an atheist, some say Christian, and some say Muslim. In my view, those disputes cannot be resolved.

He does appear to have unusual sympathies for Muslims, and those views do seem to have influenced many policy decision. Saying Obama is a Muslim is useful shorthand for a long description of those policy preferences.

Likewise consider:
Donald Trump is a fascist.

Donald Trump's top priority is making America great.
These mean essentially the same thing.

The leftists who call Trump a fascist do not make any comparison to Mussolini or Nazi policies. It is nearly always just a meaningless leftist epithet, or based on some sort of mindreading about what Trump thinks or might do. Pro-immigration rivals and neo-con Republicans have also called him a fascist.

The New Yorker mag reports:
Part of the problem is a definitional one. Even historians who have spent their lives studying Fascism can’t agree on what the word means. Were Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini Fascists? To be sure. ...

But if historians of Fascism can’t write down on paper what it is, they can recognize it when they see it. And when Vox’s Dylan Matthews interviewed a number of them before Christmas, they agreed that Trumpism doesn’t meet the standard.
So why do they call Trump a fascist? They do not like him sticking up for American interests.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Biggest threat humanity faces

NY Times columnist Paul Krugman writes:
Everyone who isn’t ignorant or a Republican realizes that climate change is by far the biggest threat humanity faces. But how much will we have to sacrifice to meet that threat?
If it is really the biggest threat, then we should prepare to fight a war over it. Maybe we should bomb all the coal-fired power plants in China and India, and put an embargo on all the OPEC countries.

No, I do not hear anyone suggest these things. I guess no one sees climate change as such a big threat.

If you want to help people on the other side of the world, you might want to read: Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help Hardcover – September 29, 2015 by Larissa MacFarquhar:
What does it mean to devote yourself wholly to helping others? In Strangers Drowning, Larissa MacFarquhar seeks out people living lives of extreme ethical commitment and tells their deeply intimate stories; their stubborn integrity and their compromises; their bravery and their recklessness; their joys and defeats and wrenching dilemmas.
She finds that these people of "extreme ethical commitment" are really suffering from a mental illness, and dealing with their own personal demons.

Update: In Gallup polls, no one thinks climate change is a problem.

Friday, January 01, 2016

New California law against earbuds

California announces a new law, effective Jan. 1:
DMV Reminds Motorists of New 2016 Laws

Earbuds or Headsets (SB 491, Transportation Committee): This law, among other things, makes it unlawful to wear a headset covering, earplugs in, or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in, both ears, while operating a motor vehicle or a bicycle. This prohibition does not apply to persons operating authorized emergency vehicles, construction equipment and refuse or waste equipment while wearing a headset or safety earplugs.
Not so fast. Here is the new law, compared to the old law:
27400. A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, or earplugs in, or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in, both ears. This prohibition does not apply to any of the following: ...
Okay, that clearly adds in-ear headphones or earbuds to the law, but this exception is unchanged:
(d) A person wearing personal hearing protectors in the form of earplugs or molds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or molds shall be designed in a manner so as to not inhibit the wearer's ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.
My ear buds do attenuate injurious noise levels without inhibiting my ability to hear a siren or horn. So I do not see how this law has any effect on me wearing earbuds in my car or bicycle.

The police and judges may have another opinion, but safety is the intent of the law, and I do believe that earbuds are safer because they allow controlling volume to the ears. The law appears written to allow for that.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What I learned in 2015

I should post every year what I have learned in the year. Here is where I have changed my mind in 2015.

I have wasted time chasing down accusations of anti-semitism and racism, and discovered that these terms are used almost entirely by people who hate white Christians.

White Christian Americans are the least racist people in the world, by far.

After fighting nationalist wars for millennia, I did not think that Europe would be so easily invaded. Or that Germany would ban criticism of immigration policy on Facebook.

More than ever, the USA is ruled by elites who are selling out the interests of the American people. It appears that Donald J. Trump is the only one who can save us.

The biggest threats to modern civilization are social justice warriors and Mohammedans.

Most people will happily submit to robot overlords. I used to think that the threat of AI bots running our lives was grossly exaggerated.

It is usually counter-productive to give people benefit for having good intentions or empathy. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

It is useful to categorize people with conspiracy theories, even if there is no literal conspiracy.

The public cares very little about the privacy issues raised by Snowden and leftist civil libertarians.

The Earth really does have overpopulation problem.

Six months ago I thought that Donald Trump was a buffoon. Now I think that he is a genius.

Colleges no longer stand for free speech and individual rights. They will punish innocent people if it suits their political ends.

Empathy does more harm than good. It is not good to teach your kids to be empathetic.

Climate change is mainly a leftist term for various political objectives, most of which are harmful.

The Psychology profession is even worse than I thought.

Humans are much more social than any other animals, except possibly for some insects.

Frequentism and Bayesianism are widely misunderstood.

Google created a bot to automatically classify hate sites on the web, but abandoned the project when the top hate site turned out to be the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Professional sports leagues have really lost their way.

I did not expect the new Star Wars movie to be just a remake of the 1977. The major media reviews did not tell me either. How was this kept such a secret? The LA Times now admits:
The simple answer is that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," is not very good. It's professionally made in the sense that it displays an industrial level of Quality Control. But it's depressingly unimaginative and dull in long stretches, and -- crucially -- reproduces George Lucas' original 1977 movie slavishly almost to the point of plagiarism.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Gay hero shrink dies

From the AP obituary of Robert Spitzer:
Dr. Allen Frances, a professor emeritus of psychiatry at Duke University and editor of a later edition of the manual, told the Times that Spitzer "was by far the most influential psychiatrist of his time."

Gay-rights activists credit Dr. Spitzer with removing homosexuality from the list of mental disorders in the D.S.M. in 1973. He decided to push for the change after he met with gay activists and determined that homosexuality could not be a disorder if gay people were comfortable with their sexuality.
So I guess also that narcissism is not a disorder if narcissists are comfortable being narcissists.
At the time of the psychiatric profession's debate over homosexuality, Dr. Spitzer told the Washington Post: "A medical disorder either had to be associated with subjective distress — pain — or general impairment in social function."
And no one has any distress about sexual orientation?
Dr. Jack Drescher, a gay psychoanalyst in New York, told the Times that Spitzer's successful push to remove homosexuality from the list of disorders was a major advance for gay rights. "The fact that gay marriage is allowed today is in part owed to Bob Spitzer," he said.
Ah yes, there is no science here. Just a political advance for gay rights.
In 2012, Dr. Spitzer publicly apologized for a 2001 study that found so-called reparative therapy on gay people can turn them straight if they really want to do so.
Why were they even getting the therapy in the first place? Because they had distress.

If you want the story about how some closeted gay psychiatrists schemes to get a political vote to drop homosexuality as a disorder, see 81 Words, an NPR Radio broadcast.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Animals do not know to make babies

Science articles are frequently stressing news that animals have human capabilities, like using tools, and refusing to recognize differences between humans and animals. Here is a paywalled SciAm article to remind us of the huge differences.

What Animals Know about Where Babies Come From
In fact, there is no literature on whether animals understand reproduction. ...

To comprehend unobservable phenomena such as gravity or impregnation, a creature has to be capable of abstract reasoning, the ability to mentally form representations of unseen underlying causes or forces. Humans use abstract reasoning to transfer knowledge from one situation to another, which allows us to solve problems we have never encountered before and to even invent new diversions for ourselves. Although animals such as chimpanzees are far cleverer than scientists have traditionally acknowledged, they do not appear to have this particular cognitive skill. I'm reminded of the time an astute sixth grader answered my question about “Why don't chimps play baseball?” not with their anatomical incompatibilities but with “Because you can't explain the rules to them.” ...

Koko can, as a result of years of training, name hundreds of objects when prompted, but she does not engage in discussion. ...

Indeed, limited verbal skills are the norm among wild primates. Vervet monkeys have what is perhaps the closest thing to human language, and it does not begin to measure up in its complexity. As Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth of the University of Pennsylvania have observed from their extensive studies of these animals in East Africa, the vervets make distinct predator alarm calls for “eagle,” “snake” and “leopard.” These buzzy shrieks or “words” are not learned like human words but are innate. Although the alarm calls are arbitrary, like our words, they are never used to gab about a snake they saw yesterday or to fear-monger about a leopard they may encounter tomorrow. Even if one argued convincingly that these calls are monkey words, it is difficult to get from that rudimentary “language” to one in which the speaker can explain, “When we have sex, that's what starts a baby growing.”
Animals just do not have the communication skills or the future planning or the cognitive development that would indicate understanding.

There are lots of studies claiming to show how smart animals are, but usually the researchers are fooled into a richer interpretation of the data, when a leaner one will suffice.

If animals lack the abstract reasoning, language and future planning capabilities needed to intentionally procreate, then they must know what to do (have sex) even if they do not know why (that having sex is what allows them to produce offspring and perpetuate their species). Indeed, animals may carry out all kinds of seemingly complex behaviors without actually anticipating the outcomes. Cognitive scientist Sara Shettleworth of the University of Toronto points to the example of crows that drop walnuts on hard surfaces and thereby break the nuts open. Many observers assume that the crows consciously perform this behavior with the aim of obtaining food. But a more scientific approach to understanding the nut cracking, Shettleworth notes, is to assume the cause is “proximate”: the bird's internal physiological state — hunger — is linked to the presence of walnuts and hard surfaces. That is, physiology that encourages conditioned food-procurement behavior based on past success is what causes a crow to fly above hard surfaces and drop nuts, not the crow's logic about how to best satiate its hunger.

Looking to proximate causes for animal behavior is a difficult concept for humans to accept. We assume that because we know why we do things, other animals doing something similar must also know, and we anthropomorphize their behavior. But that kind of reasoning lacks the rigor needed to truly understand animal cognition.

It is more logical to explain gorilla behavior, and indeed most of the things that animals do, without attributing to them any of our powers of imagination, especially where baby making and biological paternity are concerned.
This principle is particularly difficult for dog owners and other animal lovers to accept. They typically insist that their pets are conscious, and experience all sorts of human emotions.

I previously criticized rich explanations for monkey morality, when a lean explanation suffices. I am beginning to think that a lot of rich explanations of human behavior are also unwarranted.

Update: From Bizarro:


Here is an Economist mag essay on how smart animals are.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Freedom means permitting Islam criticism

I keep seeing people make the argument that we must not criticize Islam, or blame Islam for terrorism and other problems, because doing so just helps ISIS or Al Qaeda recruit more jihadists.

The argument says that ISIS et al must convince their followers that Islam and Christendom are locked in a long-term war for Earth domination. Maybe if we are nicer to them, they will stop attacking us.

Many high officials have give variations of this argument, including Hillary Clinton. I would vote against her just for that.

The problem with the argument is that it takes two sides to make peace, but only one side to make war. ISIS et al can be at war with us, whether we like it or not.

The opportunity for pacifism is long gone anyway. The USA has already taken sides in Islamic wars in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and probably a few other countries where we have sent drone missions.

Western countries have started to suppress free speech, in order to try to placate Islamic enemies. It will not work.

Some say that we need to persuade Islam to reform itself, as maybe only 20% of the billion or so Moslems believe in killing infidels. I do not know whether this can work, but it has not worked for the last millennium.

At any rate, saying that we must not criticize Islam is anti-American and offensive. We cannot be free if we are not even free to criticize those who are trying to kill us.

Update: Here is George Soros arguing that support Trump and Cruz is somehow siding with the terrorists.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Ethics of telling lies

Gerald Dworkin has a list of lies that he says are all justified:
1. A man lies to his wife about where they are going in order to get her to a place where a surprise birthday party has been organized.

2. A young child is rescued from a plane crash in a very weakened state. His parents have been killed in the crash but he is unaware of this. He asks about his parents and the attending physician says they are O.K. He intends to tell the truth once the child is stronger.

3. Your father suffers from severe dementia and is in a nursing home. When it is time for you to leave he becomes extremely agitated and often has to be restrained. On the occasions when you have said you would be back tomorrow he was quite peaceful about your leaving. You tell him now every time you leave that you will be back tomorrow knowing that in a very short time after you leave he will have forgotten what you said.

4. A woman’s husband drowned in a car accident when the car plunged off a bridge into a body of water. It was clear from the physical evidence that he desperately tried to get out of the car and died a dreadful death. At the hospital where his body was brought his wife asked the physician in attendance what kind of death her husband suffered. He replied, “He died immediately from the impact of the crash. He did not suffer.”

5. In an effort to enforce rules against racial discrimination “testers” were sent out to rent a house. First, an African-American couple claiming to be married with two children and an income that was sufficient to pay the rent would try to rent a house. If they were told that the house was not available, a white tester couple with the same family and economic profile would be sent. If they were offered the rental there would be persuasive evidence of racial discrimination.

6. In November of 1962, during the Cuban Missile crisis, President Kennedy gave a conference. When asked whether he had discussed any matters other than Cuban missiles with the Soviets he absolutely denied it. In fact, he had promised that the United States would remove missiles from Turkey.

7. A woman interviewing for a job in a small philosophy department is asked if she intends to have children. Believing that if she says (politely) it’s none of their business she will not get the job, she lies and says she does not intend to have a family.

8. In order to test whether arthroscopic surgery improved the conditions of patients’ knees a study was done in which half the patients were told the procedure was being done but it was not. Little cuts were made in the knees, the doctors talked as if it were being done, sounds were produced as if the operation were being done. The patients were under light anesthesia. It turned out that the same percentage of patients reported pain relief and increased mobility in the real and sham operations. The patients were informed in advance that they either would receive a real or a sham operation.

9. I am negotiating for a car with a salesperson. He asks me what the maximum I am prepared to pay is. I say $15,000. It is actually $20,000.

10. We heap exaggerated praise on our children all the time about their earliest attempts to sing or dance or paint or write poems. For some children this encouragement leads to future practice, which in turn promotes the development–in some — of genuine achievement.
I thought that I would be more likely to justify lying that some philosophy columnist showing off his ethics, but I found the opposite.

(2) and (4) are cruel, and ought to be contrary to medical ethics.

(5) is entrapment, and it ought to be illegal to build a case against someone this way.

(6) is treasonous, and ought to be grounds for impeachment. I could understand keeping a secret from the public if there is a national security purpose in keeping from the Russians. But here, the enemy knows the info, and the American citizens do not. No excuse.

(7) involves an illegal question.

(8) is also a violation of medical ethics, if it involves a lie. If proper protocols are followed, then there is no need to lie.

(10) is harmful to the kid.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

NPR Xmas story

I was just listening to NPR world news, and it had a long "uplifting" Christmas story about an American Christian girl from Arkansas who was determined to expand her horizons. So she lived in China for 4 years, and met a Muslim man at an "interfaith dinner" and married him. She said that she married him because she wanted a religiously mixed marriage. After 9-11, she wanted to make a statement against Islamophobia. The segment ended with him badmouthing Donald Trump.

I never hear anyone on NPR radio who supports Trump. NPR host Neal Conan said something in 2011 that had some linguistic similarity to something Trump recently said, so now Conan is apologizing! I guess he does not want anyone to think that he used a time machine to support Trump.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Social meda will control political speech

Infowars reports:
China’s largest social networks have partnered with the country’s Communist government to create a credit score system that will measure how obedient its citizens are, a chilling prospect that could one day arrive in America if social justice warriors get their way.

Entitled ‘Sesame Credit’, the program, “Aims to create a docile, compliant citizenry who are fiscally and morally responsible by employing a game-like format to create self-imposed, group social control. In other words, China gamified peer pressure to control its citizenry; and, though the scheme hasn’t been fully implemented yet, it’s already working — insidiously well,” reports Zero Hedge.

Sesame Credit is operated by Alibaba and Tencent, two companies that run all the top social networks in China, including Weibo, which has over 200 million users. It works by measuring not only purchase and bill paying history but also “political compliance.”

“Among the things that will hurt a citizen’s score are posting political opinions without prior permission, or posting information that the regime does not like, such as about the Tiananmen Square massacre that the government carried out to hold on to power, or the Shanghai stock market collapse. It will hurt your score not only if you do these things, but if any of your friends do them,” warns the ACLU.

In other words, people will face the threat of not only becoming a target of state surveillance, but also losing their friends if they express political views frowned upon by the state. This social pressure would obviously make individuals far less likely to criticize the government or to counter a dominant social narrative. The credit scores can also be seen by anyone, adding the further burden of potential public shaming for controversial opinions.
I would not be surprised if Facebook and Twitter do something similar soon. They are already complying with Germany to suppress criticism of immigration policy.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Office jargon

Good list of office jargon:

1. Blue sky thinking (freedom to think without influence or preconception)
2. Think outside the box (think creatively)
3. Touch base offline (let’s actually meet IRL and talk)
4. Close of play (by the end of the day)
5. Going forward (in future, from now on)
6. No brainer (it’s so obvious)
7. Action that (put into practice)
8. Drill down (investigate thoroughly)
9. Thought shower (fancy new word for a brainstorm)
what are you talking about
10. Flogging a dead horse (wasting your efforts)
11. Hot desking (sharing several desks with colleagues and their germs)
12. Heads up (a notification, forewarning)
13. It’s on my radar (I’m aware of it, I’m considering it)
14. Joined up thinking (thinking about all the facts as a whole)
15. Bring to the table (the contribution offered to the group)
16. Punch a puppy (to do something detestable but good for the business)
17. Run this up the flagpole (try something out)
18. Cracking the whip (to use your authority to make someone work better)
19. Moving the goalposts (changing the criteria)
20. EOP (end of play)
21. Working fingers to the bone (working very hard)
22. Game changer (something that causes a fundamental shift)
23. It’s not rocket science (it’s not difficult)
24. Hit the ground running (start work quickly
25. Ping (get back to, send, as in email)
26. Low hanging fruit (easy win business)
27. Singing from the same hymn sheet (all on the same page, all in agreement as to what the plan is)
28. Strategic staircase (business plan)
29. Park something (hold an idea, potentially for later use)
30. Benchmark (point of reference)
31. COB (close of business)
32. Reach out (contact)
33. Re-inventing the wheel (spending time developing something that already exists)
34. Dot the Is and cross the Ts (pay attention)
35. Best practice (most effective way)
36. Al Desko (lunch at the desk)
37. Backburner (de-prioritise)
38. Pick it up and run with it (move ahead with an idea)
39. Play hardball (act forcefully)
40. This idea has legs (it’s a good idea that has lasting appeal)
41. Synergy (these things will work well together and complement one another)
42. I’m swamped (you’re just busy, ok?)
43. It’s a win / win (it’s good for both sides)
44. Look under the bonnet (analyse the situation)
45. Quick and dirty (rapid solution that might not be the most well-developed or elegant but will do the trick)
46. Peel the onion (examine the problem later by layer)
47. Out of the loop (not involved in the decision-making process, not up to date with developments)
48. Wow factor (amazing, eye-catching appeal)
49. Helicopter view (broad view of the business)
50. Elevator pitch (brief presentation, the broad idea distilled into a 30 second to one-minute pitch, as if you were pitching int he time it took your lift to ascend/descend.)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

New form of climate denialism

I have come to the conclusion, along with many other experts, that if global warming is really a serious problem, then nuclear power is the only practical way to provide the necessary large-scale energy without carbon.

Another possibility might be to start World War III in order to de-populate big Third World countries like China and India, or to otherwise cripple their ability to build coal-fired power plants.

Now I learn that this makes me a climate denialist.

Naomi Oreskes writes in the London Guardian:
There is a new form of climate denialism to look out for – so don't celebrate yet

At the exact moment in which we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel, we’re being told that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs

After the signing of a historic climate pact in Paris, we might now hope that the merchants of doubt – who for two decades have denied the science and dismissed the threat – are officially irrelevant.

But not so fast. There is also a new, strange form of denial that has appeared on the landscape of late, one that says that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs.

Oddly, some of these voices include climate scientists, who insist that we must now turn to wholesale expansion of nuclear power. Just this past week, as negotiators were closing in on the Paris agreement, four climate scientists held an off-site session insisting that the only way we can solve the coupled climate/energy problem is with a massive and immediate expansion of nuclear power. More than that, they are blaming environmentalists, suggesting that the opposition to nuclear power stands between all of us and a two-degree world.

That would have troubling consequences for climate change if it were true, but it is not.
Note how she uses the term "climate change" to mean the leftist energy agenda. That is, a nuclear shift might solve the global warming problem, but that would be troubling because that is not the energy plan that the leftists want.
Even in the US, where nuclear power is generated in the private sector, it has been hugely subsidized by the federal government, which invested billions in its development in order to prove that the destructive power unleashed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be put to good use. The government also indemnified the industry from accidents, and took on the task of waste disposal – a task it has yet to complete.
This is not true. The nuclear waste problem is mostly created by govt regulations, and the industry has been taxed maybe $50B to build a waste disposal site. The Nevada site was then killed for Democrat political reasons.

Oreskes was also on Science Friday yesterday arguing that scientists were systematically understating the threat of global warming, and urging a carbon tax.

The host suggested that scientists do not want the public to get too alarmed, or they might panic.

She quoted Ashley Montagu: "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."

If it is really so essential that the OPEC oil stay in the ground, then somebody should be proposing a war or embargo to stop the export of that oil. The countries do not have the navies to protect their ships on the oceans. And yet no one proposes this. So I guess it is not that big of a problem.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Reasons to accept conspiracy theories

It is useful to believe in certain conspiracy theories, even if they are false. Eg, from 1985 to 2010, Intel and Microsoft appeared to be in a conspiracy where Intel made faster chips and Microsoft made more bloated software to run on them. They both profited from this arrangement because users had to frequently upgrade.

I very much doubt that this was a conspiracy in the literal sense of the CEOs making a secret and nefarious deal. No such explicit deal was needed. But you could explain the business decisions of the companies based on assuming such a deal, and get correct predictions about their business decisions.

I find that most of the time, it is not that useful to worry about whether there is a real conspiracy. I only care whether the conspiracy theory predicts behavior reliably.

For a political example, a lot of campaign donations come from business interests that are pro-immigration. Most voters are anti-immigration, and no politician admits to any influence by bribery. The conspiracy theory would say that the elite donors have conspired with the politicians to promote immigration.

I cannot test this theory by following the politicians into the secret meetings. But I can test it by looking at predictions. The most obvious one is that the anti-immigration candidates would be the ones independent of big donor money. Sure enuf, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the most anti-immigration candidates, even tho they have very little else in common.

Theory confirmed.

For another example, there are web sites that complain about White Genocide, and act as if there is a world-wide conspiracy to exterminate white Christian culture. Often Jews are blamed, altho a majority of the alleged conspirators are non-Jews.

I cannot see how any such conspiracy could exist, or how that many Jews could ever agree on anything. But that is the wrong way to look at it. What does the theory predict, and how can those predictions be tested?

The theory predicts that Europe would be flooded with Moslem migrants, and that white Christians would be blamed for all sorts of things that defy reason.

The web sites that talk about white genocide have some wacky stuff. I found one that calls Taylor Swift a Nazi! The author meant it as a compliment, I guess, but then found that others called her a Nazi for other reasons. It is hard to tell, as many of these opinions appear tongue-in-cheek.

Of course Swift is not a Nazi. But does saying that fit into a useful theory?

Consider an ant colony. The ants all appear to be cooperating in some master plan for the good of the colony. But they do not seem capable of a conspiracy, as they only have minimal intelligence and communication abilities. Even lower life forms, such as plants and bacteria, appear to act with a coordinated purpose sometimes. The conspiracy theory is a useful metaphor for explaining the behavior.

Likewise it is a useful metaphor for human groups. Lot of human groups act as if they are part of a conspiracy in their behavior, voting, and political actions.

The obvious response to this is that there is no document detailing how the group is getting its orders, and that there are individuals in the group who do not appear to be on board with the program.

But you could say the same about ants. There is no master plan, and if you watch carefully, you can find individual ants who are not doing what they are supposed to do.

People object to any group comment anyway, such as this NY Times op-ed:
The word “Muslim,” without any further qualification, and the word “person,” are, for practical purposes, synonymous.
Is the NY Times really so stupid as to think that the word Muslim has no meaning?

No, it makes more sense to say that the NY Times is part of a conspiracy. They want to defend Muslims and attack Trump, but that does not explain it, because they almost surely like Trump better than Muslims. No, they hate the Americanism that Trump stands for, and so do the Muslims. The NY Times and the Muslims behave as if they are in a conspiracy to undermine America.

Stefan Molyneux made a video on How to Destroy the World. It sounds like a complete crazy conspiracy theory, until you compare it to what is actually happening in the world. Then it seems like a documentary. The only implausible part is that people are really intending to destroy the world this way. But do the intentions matter? We cannot be sure of the intentions of others, so it is better to focus on results, and on theories that explain results.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Islam is not a religion

A WSJ letter says:
Islam isn’t a religion in the Western sense of the word. It is in fact an all-encompassing religious-political-legal system. Muhammad wasn’t only a prophet, he was chief of state, supreme judge and top general of the army of conquest. He presided over an entire system of law called Shariah. While a relatively small percentage of Muslims embrace terrorism, a much larger number support this Islamic worldview.

Until we recognize that we are engaged in a war of ideas (freedom and democracy versus theocracy) rather than a war of methods (i.e., terrorism), we are doomed to lose.
Opposition to Islam has very little to do with what is usually called religion.

A lot of people seem to think that Islam can be reformed by teaching the next generation that killing infidels is a good way to get to heaven, or by teaching girls to attend college or wear more revealing clothes. If they could only reduce their religion to praying at the mosque, they no one would care about them. But Islam cannot be separated this way.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The discontinuous distinction fallacy

Whenever someone wants to make a distinction, there is often some fool arguing that distinctions are impossible. Maybe this is one of Zeno's paradoxes, but it is probably too stupid.

So people argue that you cannot distinguish day and night, innocent and guilty, white and black.

Here is the latest example, from a NY Times op-ed:
Donald J. Trump’s scandalous proposal that the United States bar entry to all Muslims — though he later clarified his view that American citizens and a few others might be allowed in — raises two fundamental but largely unaddressed questions: Who and what is a “Muslim”?

Mr. Trump presupposes that the government could create an immigration policy that discriminates against Muslims. But implementing such a policy would be completely impossible under the current circumstances.

How would consular or immigration officials determine who is, and is not, a Muslim? This is the most obvious question, but almost no one is asking it. Instead, the debate churns on as if this problem does not exist. ...

While my father was a devout Sunni Muslim, my mother remains a devout Anglican Christian. ...

Seen in this light, the range of Muslim beliefs and behaviors is more or less indistinguishable from that of the rest of humanity. The word “Muslim,” without any further qualification, and the word “person,” are, for practical purposes, synonymous. One doesn’t actually tell you anything meaningful beyond what is already suggested by the other.
The USA does have to decide whom to let in, and often religion is a factor. If his devout Muslim father makes him a security risk, then that is a good reason to deny him a visa.

Mathematically, it is obviously possible to have a discontinuous function of a continuous parameter.

If it turns out to be truly impossible to figure out whether someone from Lebanon is likely to plant pipe bombs, then maybe we should not let anyone in from Lebanon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Feds refuse to look at terrorist Facebook pages

I posted below about academic leftists pretending to take a great and good moral stance by opposing govt surveillance. Now we have a good example of how such stances are killing people. ABC News reports:
Fearing a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations” for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end the secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, according to a former senior department official.

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.
I am all in favor of privacy and civil liberties, but we have jihadi Ialamic terrorists applying for visas to come to the USA, and declaring their allegiance to ISIS on their Facebook pages, and our immigration officials are not allowed to check it out!

This is really sick. People are saying that it is against common sense, but that understates the problem. We have shitlibs, cuckservatives, and leftist elites who are doing everything to destroy this country. I hate to think what electing Hillary Clinton in 2016 could do.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cryptology professor has moral crisis

Bruce Schneier reports:
Phil Rogaway has written an excellent paper titled "The Moral Character of Cryptography Work." In it, he exhorts cryptographers to consider the morality of their research, and to build systems that enhance privacy rather than diminish it.
Rogaway's 46-page essay explains that he conducts his own personal inquisition:
Nowadays I ask computer-science faculty candidates to explain their view on the ethical responsibilities of computer scientists. Some respond like a deer in headlights, unsure what such a question could even mean. One recent faculty candidate, a data-mining researcher whose work seemed a compendium of DoD funded projects for socially reprehensible aims, admitted that she felt no social responsibility. “I am a body without a soul,” she earnestly explained. It was sincere — and creepy.
Rogaway is the creepy one here. It is more likely that she sensed his knee-jerk leftist disapproval, and chose not to give a political defense of her work in a job interview that is supposed to ignore such matters.

Here is his justification:
Mass surveillance has motivated the contents of this essay, but is it so serious a thing? Before the Snowden revelations, I myself didn’t really think so. Environmental problems seemed more threatening to man’s future, and my country’s endless wars seemed more deserving of moral consternation. It wasn’t until Snowden that I finally internalized that the surveillance issue was grave, was closely tied to our values and our profession, and was being quite misleadingly framed.

This essay was set in motion by the courage of Edward Snowden.
This is hard to take. What Snowden revelations tipped him over?

I doubt that any of those revelations was any great surprise. Rogaway is at the center of the cryptology community, and those issues have always been discussed a lot. His essay show a lot of desire to take a moral stand on something, but he doesn't really say anything about any specific Snowden or NSA issue.
The Russell–Einstein manifesto galvanized the peace movement. It launched the Pugwash Movement, for which Joseph Rotblat and the Pugwash Conferences themselves would eventually share the Nobel Peace Prize (1995). Rotblat credits the manifesto for helping to create the conditions that gave rise to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT,1970).
Did it make the world safer? I doubt it.

The pacifist academics might feel better after announcing that they are in favor of world peace, but their Doomsday Clock is in nearly its most precarious position. Go figure. The physicists who helped build better bombs have prevented another world war. With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that the threat of nuclear war kept the Cold War cold, and the military programs that brought down the Soviet empire were precisely the ones that the leftist pacifists opposed the most.
But a creeping surveillance that grows organically in the public and private sectors, that becomes increasingly comprehensive, entwined, and predictive, that becomes an instrument for assassination, political control, and the maintenance of power — well, this vision doesn’t merely seem possible, it seems to be happening before our eyes.
Yes, it is happening, and it is being led by Google, Facebook, Apple, banks, IRS, Obamacare, credit agencies, and data resellers. These are all vastly more invasive than the NSA, but Rogaway is strangely silent about them.

As explained here, the surveillance state is essential to Leftism and Leftism is essential to the surveillance state. The only way to oppose the surveillance state is to oppose Leftism.

The cypherpunks are libertarians, but most of the professors like Rogaway are leftists. There is nothing moral about his stance unless he is willing to address what Leftism is doing to the world.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Trump is the last free man

The mainstream news media is really starting to disgust me.

Complaining that Justice Scalia is a racist, because he asked a lawyer to respond to an argument in an amicus brief during oral argument.

Attacking Donald Trump for wanting to expel all Muslims, when what he said was that he wanted a "shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on." The only way to disagree with this is to argue that we should let Muslims enter while we do not know what is going on.

Constant name-calling of Trump as a fascist, nazi, or new Hitler. You only see this from people who have no coherent arguments.

These are just the latest examples. Almost everything they say, from global warming to politics, can be explained by a hatred for American values.

Trump is the last free man. He can say that the emperor has no clothes because no one owns him. For that, he is both admired and hated.