Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Free oneself from the climate illusion

I just found this 2010 article:
The latest case in point comes from United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) official Ottmar Edenhofer. In a recent interview with Germany’s NZZ Online, Edenhofer lays out just what the climate talks are all about:

NZZ: The new thing about your proposal for a Global Deal is the stress on the importance of development policy for climate policy. Until now, many think of aid when they hear development policies.

Edenhofer: That will change immediately if global emission rights are distributed. If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there. This will have enormous implications for development policy. And it will raise the question if these countries can deal responsibly with so much money at all.

NZZ: That does not sound anymore like the climate policy that we know.

Edenhofer: Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War. Why? Because we have 11,000 gigatons of carbon in the coal reserves in the soil under our feet — and we must emit only 400 gigatons in the atmosphere if we want to keep the 2-degree target. 11 000 to 400 — there is no getting around the fact that most of the fossil reserves must remain in the soil.

NZZ: De facto, this means an expropriation of the countries with natural resources. This leads to a very different development from that which has been triggered by development policy.

Edenhofer: First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.
Is this for real? If so, the whole UN climate dealing is more politics than science.

If CO2 is so deadly that we have to keep it in the ground, how will throwing a lot of money at Africa help that? Just the opposite. CO2 is a population problem. If the coal should stay in the ground, then Africa should stay undeveloped.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Diversity harms productivity

A reader recommends this podcast:
Garett Jones returns to the podcast to discuss the issue of ethnic diversity. There is a wide body of research showing that ethnic diversity can reduce the productivity of teams, firms, and even whole countries. ...

Williams and O’Reilly (1996)
review dozens of studies showing that ethnic diversity has a negative impact on group performance. In the two decades since, more research has reinforced that result. Alesina and La Ferrara (2005) find that increasing ethnic diversity from 0 (only one ethnic group) to 1 (each individual is a different ethnicity) would reduce a country’s annual growth by 2 percent. Multiple studies (La Porta et al., 1999; Alesina et al., 2003; Habyarimana et al., 2007) have shown that ethnic diversity negatively affects public good provision. Stazyk et al. (2012) find that ethnic diversity reduces job satisfaction among government workers. Parrotta et al. (2014a) find that ethnic diversity is significantly and negatively correlated with firm productivity. ...

Given that diversity is so costly for organizations, there is a huge industry dedicated to diversity training to mitigate these effects. However, a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review argues that diversity training seems to be a general failure.
These studies are new, but I think that the main ideas were known in ancient times. Most of those arguing for the benefits of diversity today are just lying to you.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Chinese race is a big family

The London Financial Times reports:
“The Chinese race is a big family and feelings of love for the motherland, passion for the homeland, are infused in the blood of every single person with Chinese ancestry,” asserted Chinese premier Li Keqiang in a recent speech.
The article goes on to explain that the Chinese do not distinguish "Chinese nation" from "Chinese race".

I am not agreeing or disagreeing. Just pointing out ethnic allegiances.

While we often hear of Mexican-Americans or Russian-Americans, we often hear "American-born Chinese" instead of Chinese-American. In other words, even if they are born in the USA, they think of themselves as primarily Chinese.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Man is more attached to his family

Here is one way of looking at the difference between Left-wing and Right.

Sailer quotes:
Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg writes: "This is our challenge. We have to build a world where everyone has a sense of purpose and community. That’s how we’ll bring the world closer together. We have to build a world where we care about a person in India or China or Nigeria or Mexico as much as a person here."

“It is a known fact in human nature, that its affections are commonly weak in proportion to the distance or diffusiveness of the object. Upon the same principle that a man is more attached to his family than to his neighborhood, to his neighborhood than to the community at large, the people of each State would be apt to feel a stronger bias towards their local governments than towards the government of the Union; unless the force of that principle should be destroyed by a much better administration of the latter.”
Alexander Hamilton, Federalist XVII
The leftist Zuckerberg seems to just assume that global togetherness is a good thing. He does not attempt to explain why it is good to care about a person in India as much as someone next door.

It is not a good thing. The world would be a horrible place if Zuckerberg got his way. He won't, because of human nature.

Hamilton directly addresses human nature. I guess he is arguing that sometimes local govt should let federal govt handle some matters, but he recognizes that the federal govt is going to have to it better to convince ppl.

Right-wingers are more likely to start by recognizing human nature. Sometimes they will propose something that goes against human nature, but at least they understand what they are up against.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Progressives want to kill white babies

I am seeing more and more explicit white-haters, such as this:
Beyond Pro-Choice: The Solution to White Supremacy is White Abortion ...

White women: it is time to do your part! Your white children reinforce the white supremacist society that benefits you. If you claim to be progressive, and yet willingly birth white children by your own choice, you are a hypocrite. White women should be encouraged to abort their white children, and to use their freed-up time and resources to assist women of color who have no other choice but to raise their children. Women of color are in need of financial and humanitarian resources.
Crazy as this sounds, there is a logic to it. Aborting white babies is helping the progressive cause.

Do you ever hear progressives say that we need more white babies? No, I don't. Such views are denounced. They do everything to reduce white babies, relative to non-white babies.

The web site complains that it gets negative emails about its offensive articles.
I dared to voice my opinion online, and Internet Trolls descended on me
The Wash. Times reports:
A Connecticut college professor has created a firestorm for calling white people “inhuman a-holes” who need to “die” following last week’s shooting attack on congressional Republicans.

Trinity College’s Johnny Eric Williams’ social media feed after the June 14 shooting of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise included racial tirades and commentary calling on minorities to “confront” white people and “end this now,” a reference to an alleged system of “white supremacy.”

“It is past time for the racially oppressed to do what people who believe themselves to be ‘white’ will not do, put end to the vectors of their destructive mythology of whiteness and their white supremacy system. #LetThemF–ingDie,” the associate professor of sociology said June 18 in a series of Facebook posts. “The time is now to confront these inhuman assholes and end this now.”
Yes, they are teaching white genocide in the schools now.

Update: The above white abortion article may be a hoax. It has other articles that hilariously take Ctrl-Left thinking to its logical extreme.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Our most unpopular President

I am beginning to think that Barack Obama may have been the USA's most unpopular President.

Sure, his approval ratings were good, he got his Nobel Peace prize, and the TV comedians did not make fun of him. But what is his legacy?

A better measure would be to look at the long-term electoral consequences of his presidency.

The public has firmly rejected everything he stood for:
During his eight years in office, the Democrats lost 11 seats in the Senate and 69 in the House, relinquishing control of both chambers. Add to that a loss of 13 governorships and nearly 1,000 state legislative seats around the country — and now, of course, the White House. By those measures, the Democrats are politically weaker than at any time since the Coolidge administration.
Has any other President done so poorly?

Richard Nixon was widely disliked, but many of his policies were popular and he did not damage his party very much.

Donald Trump causes embarrassment among liberals, and he triggers wacky emotional responses, but is he turning Republicans into Democrats? On balance, I doubt it.

Jimmy Carter was bad enuf to lose the White House and the Senate, but did not also lose the House.

When was the last time Obama even said anything that anyone paid attention to?

Let's face it. He was just a figurehead President, and he did not work out well for his political party.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Population Bomb Is Still Ticking

The NY Times reports:
In tiny Lesotho, a landlocked kingdom in southern Africa, about one-third of its estimated two million people spent much of the past two years in danger of starving because of the lingering effects of a drought. ...

More than 40 years ago, I made Lesotho the centerpiece of a book, “The Alms Race,” that explored why so many development projects kept failing. I chose it because in 1974 it received more development aid per capita than any other nation.

It could also have been voted most likely to vindicate Thomas Malthus’s warning in 1798 that human numbers would inevitably outrun the resources on which our lives depend. ...

Even with only 1.2 million inhabitants in 1974, Lesotho’s leaders saw the country was overpopulated. A 1966 British Colonial Office study estimated that the land could support 400,000 people at best — a number Lesotho had reached by 1911.
The article goes on to explain that international aid is futile, as the Africans there reproduce until they die of starvation and AIDS.

Normally it would seem racist to point out these facts, because they lead the reader to some uncomfortable conclusions. But the article goes on the argue that it is all Donald Trump's fault!

Telling the story of Lesotho probably would not have made the pages of the NY Times in the Obama administration.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cars will punish jaywalkers warns:
In January, Carlton Reid wrote that Makers of driverless cars want cyclists and pedestrians off the roads. He quotes Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn, who says pesky cyclists "don't respect any rules usually." ...

In the Guardian, Laura Laker describes Street wars 2035: can cyclists and driverless cars ever co-exist? She worries that, because AVs are designed to recognize and not run over pedestrians or cyclists, chaos will ensue. ...

Proposed solutions include RFID beacons built into bicycles to warn AVs (and perhaps our cellphones, talking to lamp posts and cars, as we showed a few years ago) or criminalizing walking in front of cars, which would take a photo and send it to the police department, who “will come and arrest you for annoying an autonomous vehicle.”
This is plausible. Pedestrians and others will learn that they can take advantage of autonomous cars being programmed to avoid pedestrians at all costs. So jaywalking will become popular. But then the car lobby will demand that the cars become a jaywalking police force, and videorecording all bad behavior by pedestrians and others and reporting to police. Maybe if you even just make an obscene gesture on the sidewalk, a self-driving car will record it and report it. We have red-light cameras now, but this will be 100x more intrusive.

I suspect that we will also see Mohammedans reprogramming the autonomous cars to be deadly weapons, and to run over pedestrians. These cars will not have secure operating systems, the necessary code will be downloadable from ISIS.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Cosby got hung jury

Bill Cosby has about 60 accusers, but I assume that the trial was based on the strongest case against him. We got a hung jury:
The New York Times asked some top criminal law experts who have been monitoring the case to provide their assessments of the trial. Here are their analyses.

Some jurors were no doubt moved by Ms. Constand’s contradictory statements to police during the initial investigation. She denied having been alone with Mr. Cosby before the alleged assault; she denied having contacted him afterward; and stated that the assault occurred in March of 2004. All demonstrably false.
NPR Radio reported this by interviewing a woman who complained about an incident with Cosby in 1969!

Constand said that she voluntarily took drugs with Cosby, but I am not sure that her alleged symptoms are consistent with any known drugs.

I knew a girl once who suspected that she was drugged at a college fraternity party. She went to the emergency room, and her blood tested positive for the drug. The perps were prosecuted. So it is possible for an accuser to prove her case.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

How Scotland abolished marriage

A divorced man writes:
In 2006, Scotland changed its laws so that a person who says that he or she lived with someone else can, within a year “after the day on which the cohabitants cease to cohabit.”, go down to the family court and sue for property division and alimony, just as if the two parties had been married. ...

In litigation-oriented societies, I wonder if this Scottish idea will catch on. If the opportunity to litigate is a positive thing for people who were once married, why not for people who once lived together, however briefly?
This is more evidence of the end of marriage.

Some will say that it is pro-marriage, because it recognizes various relationships as if they were marriages, thus inducing more de facto marriages.

Marriage used to mean voluntarily making a deal, and then becoming an autonomous unit. This is putting Scottish couple under the arbitrary supervision of the state. It is the leftist totalitarian state taking over their private lives.

The USA has its own goofy leftist court decisions:
But what happens when a child born abroad to an unmarried couple has one parent who is a U.S. citizen, and one parent who is not? Well, strangely, until today, it all depended whether the foreign parent is the child’s mom or the child’s dad. ...

Under §1409(c), that ten-year requirement is reduced to just one year as long as we’re talking about the year prior to the child’s birth, and as long as we’re talking about the child’s unmarried mother, and not the child’s father. If you’re thinking that this sounds kind of unfair to fathers, you’re definitely getting it.
No, the law was not so strange.

I am all in favor of being fair to fathers, but if the mom is in the USA for the year preceding birth, then the unborn child is also in the USA for 9 months of it. The same cannot be said for the dad. This is a biological reality, and just some arbitrary discrimination.

The article says the vote was 8-0, but it was really only 6-2 in favor of the dicta against the discriminatory law. Under tradition legal interpretation, such an opinion is meaningless, because it did not affect any party to the case. But the court liberals are determined to deny that pregnancy makes women different from men.

Stop the cultural appropriation

An Indian-born British writer dares to say:
For this is an essay in defense of cultural appropriation.

In Canada last month, three editors lost their jobs after making such a defense.
United Nations Wants to Outlaw “Cultural Appropriation” Worldwide:
The UN wants to expand intellectual property regulations to include cultural entities and concepts, such as clothing, dances, arts, medicines, etc. The UN’s efforts would allow for legal action to be taken by minority groups against those who supposedly steal or monetize a piece of their culture.

The United Nations has been making efforts to outlaw “cultural appropriation” for over fifteen years.
Maybe this idea is not so crazy, and we should start by stopping non-whites from appropriating white culture. The next time you see some non-white or MENA guy driving a car or using a cell phone, tell him that UN policy considers him a thief.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Evergreen college chaos continues

Here are some anonymous college Jews who hate whites:
A Letter to Bret Weinstein from some Jews bent on the destruction of White Supremacy

... However, the fact that Jews have not always been enmeshed in whiteness does not negate the fact that today many Jews in this country benefit from and uphold white supremacy. ...

We will not allow him to invoke our history, the history of our ancestors, as an excuse for his vile and inexcusable behavior. We, Jewish people, wish to express our unequivocal support and solidarity with undocumented, Latinx, black, MENA and Arab, Native, disabled, and trans and queer students, staff, faculty, and residents of the surrounding Olympia area.
The term MENA is used for the purpose of identifying Jews and Arabs as non-white.

This letter seems like a parody, but I don't think it is. Weinstein is a typical Jewish leftist professor, and not a white supremacist. But it appears that he has been kicked off campus anyway.

The letter is saying that Jews should unequivocally support the invasion of the USA by illegal/undocumented non-whites. They will support anything that undermines and demeans white ppl, I guess.

Speaking of weird Jewish views:
Oliver Stone started a “cringe-worthy” fight about Israel with Stephen Colbert on the latter’s CBS show that never made it on-air. ...

Stone said words to the effect of: “Israel had far more involvement in the US election than Russia.”

The “Platoon” director further challenged Colbert by saying, “Why don’t you ask me about that?” — but we’re told that the host shot back, “I’ll ask you about that when you make a documentary about Israel!”

(The source described Stone’s Israeli argument as “a classic anti-Semitic canard.”)
So the major news media goes crazy with paranoid fantasies about Russian influence on the American election, but mentioning Jewish or Israeli influence gets you censored from a supposedly-live show.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hayek was wrong about central planning

Friedrich Hayek is known for making this argument against a centrally planned economy:
When Hayek explains the obstacle to effective central planning, his claim is not merely that information is widely dispersed and therefore hard to acquire. Rather, it is impossible to acquire (Hayek 1973, 51). When prices are set periodically by a central planner, rather than instantaneously by consumers and producers who are the first and typically the only people to have that information in reliable and timely form, prices inevitably carry less reliable, less timely information. ...

A central planner could have the world’s most powerful computer, beyond anything imagined when Hayek published “Use of Knowledge” in 1945. No computer, however, could solve the problem that Hayek was trying to articulate. The problem is not lack of processing power so much as a lack of access to the information in the first place. ...

Although computers cannot solve the problem, Hayek thought radically dispersed decision making by buyers and sellers can and does solve the problem, so far as it can be solved. Sellers who charge too much end up without customers; they learn to be more efficient or else go out of business.
I never found this argument convincing. Nowhere does he estimate or compare the computational resources needed.

Sure, it was obvious in 1945 that computers of the day could not do it. He may not have been aware of any computers at all. But what about today?

If radically dispersed decision making by buyers and sellers can solve the problem, then surely computers can if enuf info is digitized. Amazon could soon understand the buying habits of consumers better than they understand them themselves, if it has not already.

Hayek would have said that Amazon is impossible, as Amazon is essentially an empire that is bigger and more complicated that the centrally planned economies that he contemplated.

Amazon seems to be more efficient than the markets it is replacing. Isn't it a counterexample to Hayek? Wouldn't Hayek have said that dispersed independent bookstores would be more efficient than Amazon?

There are other arguments for the freedoms that Hayek advocated, but I am not buying this one.

I had this exchange with a Hayek buff:
You should send this to Russ Roberts of Econ Talk. He is a big Hayekian and is very interested in this type of discussion. You've got some credentials... get on the show!
How can he be a disciple of a guy who wrote in 1945 about the limits of computers, and there aren't even any numbers or formulas in the analysis?
Well, he would argue that you are never going to be able to run the whole economy that way. There is an infinity of markets, prices and preferences, always changing. I' m serious. Russ is a good guy, I've met him. Put your argument in a concise form and get a dialogue going. He loves this kind of stuff.
This is sometimes an argument against AI: a computer can never make an optimal choice among an infinity of possibilities.

First, it doesn't have to make an optimal choice. It only has to outperform humans.

In 1945, these arguments said that computers would never play chess.

Look at Amazon today. I don't have any hard data, but I bet its complexity is already greater than that required to manage the whole economy of more than half the countries of the world.

I log into Amazon, and its seems to already know what I want to buy and what I am willing to pay. In some cases it is better, as it recommends a product that I would not find on my own. And it gets better all the time. It may soon be the case that its predictions are better than my own
shopping skills.

If you look at its distribution system, where it can buy products in China or wherever, ship them to warehouses in my state, and deliver them to me on a 2-day order. That is already better than what humans can do. Only a centrally managed computer system can do that.

I can't keep up with a serious Hayekian tho. He'll probably point to the failure of managed economies like N. Korea. But there has never been one with the ruthless efficiency of Wal-mart or Amazon.
Well, there is no doubt that computers have come farther, faster, than most people predicted. Kasparov has interesting things to say to Harris on this, and points out that a man-machine blend will beat the strongest computer. But ultimately, you have to bet on the pure machines (I don't think Kasparov does, yet).
Kasparov is engaging in wishful thinking. As I understand it, the best chess computers are now rated above 3200. Kasparov at his best was about 2800, while the average grandmaster is 2400 and the average expert is about 2000. So the computers will beat him every time, and man is no help to a man-machine blend.
Amazon and Walmart are a little different story. In principle, they are like huge supermarkets (which were themselves a tremendous innovation). They know what you like, and what you might like (like a good store clerk who has waited on you before). They also have a very efficient delivery service. They are outstanding at reacting to local information, like shipping out salt when there is a sudden outbreak of snowstorms. As a book addict, it is truly magical how Amazon has "gathered" all the used books out there and made them available for about $5 each. But to manage an entire economy... well, that is very different. There is so much local knowledge that would have to be constantly gathered, updated, collated, predicted-upon, reacted-to.. and it is a lot more complicated than what Amazon is doing, because you have the whole logistics and manufacturing chain behind it, not to mention agriculture, which is dependent on weather... Layer on top of that finance, investment, capital markets... Anyway, we have a history of being scared by bigness. And of course the biggest problem of all (forget the system becoming to vulnerable to hacks/viruses, etc.) is the control of the system. Big government anyone? I think a healthy fear of centralization is a good thing... who tweaks the inputs to that vast computer algorithm? Thanks, I think I'll opt for a chaotic, dispersed ecosystem that contains some huge megafauna like Amazon, but leaves plenty of space for the little guys. Don't you know some fancy complexity/chaotic systems theorems that would give you pause?
Let's figure out what is possible before discussing the policy implications.

If Hayek is right that big govt central control of the economy is impossible, then why fear it? If it is possible and harmful, then we need to take steps to prevent it. If it is possible and beneficial, then we should welcome our new robot overlords.

The new high-tech economy appears to be a winner-take-all economy. Look at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, etc. have all thrived by using massive economies of scale and central planning to dominate their markets. The Libertarian-Hayekian dream of a diversity of vendors is needed to address a diversity of consumers has turned out to be false.

We are finding out that at the billion-user scale, it is a whole new game, and computer AI takes over. Humans and Hayekian bargaining are as useless as humans trying to team up with that 3200-rating chess computer. The systems are just too complex for humans to tweak. It is big-data and AI all the way.

There are a lot of professors who projected limits to AI based on their experiments will millions of data items. But a lot of those problems evaporate when you jump from the million-scale to the billion-scale.

There are some AI programs used by Google and others with as many as a billion parameters that are determined by training on billions of data items. No one knows what the parameters do. No human can eyeball the parameters and tweak them for better results. It is impossible for any human to even understand 1% of it.

Look at this recent WSJ article:
Facebook is launching new tools to help marketers optimize their ads to target the people most likely to buy their products.

Some advertisers already share purchase data from their websites with Facebook via a tracking pixel so they can measure whether ads on the social network are generating sales. But the launch of the new tools, announced in a blog post Monday, will be the first time advertisers can use this data to optimize their campaigns toward the highest-spending customers.

Advertisers spend huge amounts of their budgets on researching the desired target audiences for their products. The idea for both new tools is to reduce the amount of money advertisers spend targeting the wrong people—known in the ad industry as wastage.

Facebook is hoping its algorithms, which take advantage of the rich set of data it has on its 1.9 billion users, will be able to do some of this job for them, or at the very least help them focus their ad campaigns on driving real purchases rather than just clicks. If Facebook can prove it is driving sales, advertisers are likely to increase their spending with the platform.

“This is a priority product for the company,” a Facebook spokesman said.

The first of the new tools, Value Optimization, uses prior purchase data to estimate how much money a person might spend in an advertiser’s store over a seven-day period. The tool then adjusts the advertiser’s campaign to send ads to the people it anticipates are most likely to actually spend the most money.

The second new product is an add-on to an existing tool called Lookalike Audiences, which launched four years ago and finds people on Facebook who display similar traits to advertisers’ existing customer lists. The add-on, called “Value-Based Lookalikes,” as the name would suggest, finds the Facebook users among those with similar traits who are also most likely to make a purchase after seeing an ad.

Both tools are rolling out from Monday and are free for marketers to use.
This is only possible because Facebook has a billion users, has millions of computers in server farms, and has sophisticated big data AI program managing everything.

The Hayek vision of a farmer bargaining with a vendor in his local village is obsolete.

Sure, there is room for little guys selling products, but more and more of them are going to end up advertising on Google or Facebook and selling on Amazon. Soon the little guys will not even be setting their prices, as they find it more efficient to let Amazon AI programs set them. They will just be cogs in a massive centrally-planned machine.

Maybe the Hayek fans have answers for all this, but I doubt it. What do they say about what Amazon and Facebook have already accomplished?
Here is the classic article:

Sowell wrote an outstanding book on this called Knowledge and Decisions. ... Always thought it was the best econ book I ever read. It re-launched my interest in free-market economics.
If they are thinking of markets on the million-scale, they might be right. But on the billion-scale I think that they are wrong.

They would probably say that the larger the market, the more you need independent human decision-makers. That is probably true up to the point up to the limits of the human brain. When you get to the billion-scale market, humans are useless and computer central planning becomes much more efficient.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Regulators killed the electric car

From Tesla's Elon Musk:
Here’s a screenshot of Musk’s missive, which he later followed up with a tweet urging people to watch the 2006 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?”
I saw that movie, and my recollection is that California regulators tried to artificially create a market by requiring the car companies to either sell a lot of electric cars or sell none. The companies decided that the minimum sales could not be met, so they had to abandon the electric cars.

Musk's company depends on huge subsidies for all its sales. The subsidies are based on a theory that the cars are good for the environment, but nothing that expensive is good for the environment. If you pay a lot of money, then a lot of resources will get used somehow.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Cars will double as security cameras

Many new technologies are privacy-invading, and most of the companies like Google and Facebook try to hide this problem. Intel just revealed one problem.

CNBC reports:
The benefits of having self-driving cars go far beyond automatic parking or fewer accidents, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told CNBC on Thursday.

Among those other benefits: Driverless cars will double as security cameras, he said from the sidelines of the Code Conference in California.

"I always say that the cars are going to be out there looking, so the next time an Amber alert comes up and they're looking for a license plate, the cars should be able to find that license plate quite rapidly," said Krzanich.

The idea could bring up concerns about privacy, but Krzanich has already thought of how to minimize those worries.

"We'll have to put limitations on it," he said. "We'll have to encrypt that data and make sure I can't tell that it's John's [car] necessarily," said Krzanich.

"I think there will be rules and new areas we'll have to explore, but the amount of social good that can come from that far outweighs those concerns," he said. "We just have to deal with them."
Most Amber alerts are based on a dad seeing his child outside the court-approved hours, and the mom calling the cops on him.

For that, we will have 10 million cars video recording everyone in public, and keeping a record of where everyone is at all times. In a few years, you will not be able to go anywhere without your trip being recorded in a database accessible to law enforcement, advertisers, credit bureaus, insurance companies, and subpoenas in civil lawsuits. Get used to it.

Banned from SoundCloud

A UK site reports:
Richard Spencer has had his podcast banned from SoundCloud because it violates the audio platform’s terms of use which explicitly forbid hate speech.

The leading white supremacist, who rose to fame for being punched at an anti-Trump protest, is credited with coining the term “alt-right” and used his podcast to discuss his controversial views with guests. ...

A spokesperson for SoundCloud told The Independent why they had chosen to remove the podcast, saying: "SoundCloud is an open platform, so freedom of expression is important to maintain credibility and authenticity with our creators and users. ...

A gym in Virginia recently removed Mr Spencer's membership after a university professor confronted him while he was working out and accused him of being a neo-Nazi. ...

Spencer, who is president of the far-right National Policy Institute, has previously said he rejects the label of white supremacist and instead calls himself an “identitarian”. He supports a white homeland for a “dispossessed white race” and calls for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to put a stop to the “deconstruction” of European culture.

He once claimed: “Hispanics and African Americans have lower average IQs than whites and are more genetically predisposed to commit crimes.”
I suspect SoundCloud is a Nazi service. If they want everyone to believe that Spencer is right, the best way is to announce that what he is saying is so dangerous that it cannot be refuted.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Losing sleep over climate change

Wondering about the consequence of opting out of the Paris climate agreement? The temperature will be about the same, but you might lose some sleep. Or maybe not.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Treating a socially-created disorder with drugs

From a nutty 2013 essay:
Like every feminist I interviewed, Tauni echos that gender needs to be dismantled and that transgender individuals are perpetuating stereotypes that hurt women. More worrying to Tauni, however, is how lesbians are being pressured to transition, often by their partners: ‘There is this particular aesthetic you have to be—it is the coolest thing to be trans. The hottest lesbian now is the trans man and so a lot of lesbians are going this way. The other lesbians can pressure their partners to become trans. They fetishise other trans men and then they pressure their partners through their sexuality.’ Noting some of the changes in Australian society Tauni adds: ‘What I am really concerned about is that young girls are being channeled into sex reassignment rather than encouraged into thinking about lesbianism. Children in Australia are exposed to transsexuality before being exposed to ideas of being lesbian and gay. Children in Australia at the age of ten are put on hormone blockers and they don’t know at that age what their beliefs will be like as an adult. It is a human rights violation that these drugs are being pushed onto children and vulnerable adults. Essentially they are treating a socially-created disorder—treating a social illness with drugs.’
These essays just seem like jokes to me.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Alabama white man complains about blackface

Here is a tiresome opinion:
When (if) the tykes finally rumble into the two new Gardendale elementary schools in the fall, will someone please immediately begin teaching them their history?

Yes, their history -- the history of their families and their neighbors' families, of their city (Birmingham, not just Gardendale), their state and their nation, with all its wonders and heroes, its villains and ugliest warts.

Especially its warts.

Like why it is never, ever, ever a good idea to wear blackface.

No, trying to silence expression is not teaching history with its warts.

99% of blackface was completely innocuous. It is mainly white ppl and Jews who complain about it, and they complain for the purpose of stirring racial hatreds. No one is actually offended by blackface.

I guess he wants to teach little kids that black skin color is shameful and grotesque, and giving an appearance of black skin is something so disgusting as to be avoided at all costs. When he says that blackface must not be tolerated, he has just found a politically correct way of saying that the appearance of black skin is disgusting to him.

Update: If the man really wants the truth out, then he should be happy about this:
Yes, Trump Is Making Xenophobia More Acceptable

A scientific experiment shows that the election liberated people to express feelings they’d otherwise keep to themselves.

By Cass R Sunstein ...

The upshot is that if Trump had not come on the scene, a lot of Americans would refuse to authorize a donation to an anti-immigrant organization unless they were promised anonymity. But with Trump as president, people feel liberated. Anonymity no longer matters, apparently because Trump’s election weakened the social norm against supporting anti-immigrant groups. It’s now OK to be known to agree “that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”

Movie celebrates adultery

I watched the movie Never Forever (2007), as described by this review:
Watching this movie was a breathtaking experience to me. From the very first scene, it grabbed my attention, and I became more and more involved with the story of this beautiful and desperate woman, Sophie Lee.

The movie touches so many important issues such as interracial marriage, faith and religion, class determined by economic factors, and illegal immigrant. Yet those issues are so well blended without distracting the audience' attention from the main story.

The main story is purely simple. It's a woman's struggle to keep a man she loves happy. But in the end, she realizes that she has to pursue her own happiness.

It's the story of my own life. It's the story of so many women that I know. It's also the story of so many sons and daughters, wives and husbands, and fathers and mothers. That's why this movie touches the very core of my heart - anybody's heart.
She aborts her husband's baby, without telling him, and has a secret affair with an illegal alien. She gets pregnant and rejects her husband while her lover gets deported.

Pursue her own happiness?! Does this reviewer really know many women like that?

Is this supposed to glorify a wife becoming a degenerate slut, like Eat-Pray-Love?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Transracial transsexual trendiness

The NY Times announces:
‘The Physics of Forbidden Love’
Malcolm Conner, Trinity University

The winning essay from our Modern Love College Essay Contest explores an unlikely romance between a transgender man and an immigrant Indian woman.
From the essay:
I was told by my doctor that I had gender dysphoria, the product of a mismatch between body and brain. ...

She was truly unfazed by my transness. I exulted in this; it seemed as though I had finally cleared the last hurdle between me and the mundane heterosexual existence I had yearned for. Joking about reincarnation once, she said I must have had great karma to be a human in this life.

“It couldn’t have been that good,” I said, “or I wouldn’t have wound up in a girl’s body.” ...

She and I are still together, and we will almost certainly break up. Our relationship is based on mutual respect and trust — like any healthy pairing — but also on denial. She cannot marry me. We both know this, though I think she knows it better than I do.

The foolhardy logic I use to rationalize my commitment to her will no doubt worsen my inevitable heartbreak. But for now, it sustains me. As animosity toward brown-skinned immigrants seems to worsen daily in this political climate, and anti-transgender bills that strip me of my dignity draw closer to becoming law in the Texas Legislature, there are days when we wake up scared, go to bed scared and navigate our isolation in between.

Why not find refuge, however finite and daring, with each other? In a time of such upheaval and uncertainty, our reckless, quiet love feels like deliverance.
This sounds like a sick joke, making fun of leftist Jewish efforts to debase American culture.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Feminist professor denies male risk-taking

Australia history professor and feminist Cordelia Fine
What on first inspection seemed like a sex difference was actually a difference between white males and everyone else.
She denies that men are bigger risk-takers. They might be more likely to go skydiving or tightrope walking, but then they usually take safety precautions so that it is not really so risky!

Women take risks in other ways, such as buying lottery tickets. White male risk-taking just seems riskier, because they are better able to control their risks.

She is confused. Men are willing to take more risks, but that does not mean that they are stupid about it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Marxist view of identity politics

Here is a Marxist view of identity politics:
Marx's surprising claim in OtJQ is that, while calls for equal treatment of disenfranchised ethnic and religious minorities may seem to subvert the prevailing social and economic order, they are actually often welcomed by it for reasons having to do with the logic of capitalism. ...

However, these calls for emancipation are, in another respect, regressive. The extension of formal legal equality to disenfranchised groups is perfectly in keeping with the logic of capitalism, which seeks to erode all ethnic, national religious and ideological barriers among people so as to integrate them more effectively into a world market - one in which the only division left is the class division between laborer and capitalist (a division the market itself masks). Concretely, the ability to own property and participate in markets should be as widespread as possible for this to function, and that ability is unthinkable without legally protected rights of various kinds. So the call for emancipation, though partially emancipatory, is, in this instance, something of a capitalist ruse.

"Political emancipation", the granting of formal legal equality, and other less tangible forms of equal status to disenfranchised religious and ethnic minorities, would never be sufficient for true, human emancipation - a fact evidenced for Marx by the fact that the most formally egalitarian nation on earth (the USA) remained among the most religious, and therefore, most alienated (here, Marx is relying on Feuerbach's insight that the persistence of religion is evidence of frustrated human aspirations). True human emancipation would come about not through the inclusion of disenfranchised minorities into the prevailing social and economic order but, rather, through its revolutionary overthrow and the replacement of a mode of production driven by the interest of a particular class by one governed by the general will.
So the Marxist revolutionaries are foolishly falling for a capitalist ruse to assimilate more workers into the world labor market.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Leftist cries "hypocrisy" as usual

From the blog of leftist-Jewish-atheist professor Jerry Coyne:
Looking at the new first thing this morning, I saw photos of Donald, Melania, and Ivanka with the Pope [JAC: see below], and was immediately struck by the fact that both women were wearing head coverings. I was pleased that the Trump delegation did not kowtow to Saudi dress codes for women, but to turn around and abide by Vatican ones strikes me as being incredibly disrespectful to the Saudis, and to Muslims in general. ...

This of course is a form of hypocrisy: kowtowing to Christianity—seen by many as the Official United States Religion—while slapping Islam in the face. If I had my way, no leader of a secular state would wear religious garb on any official state visit—UNLESS they’re visiting a religious site, in which case I have no big objection. But if you’re going to osculate the rump of one faith, you’ll have to osculate the rumps of all of them.
(For nitpickers, I know he does not call his blog a blog.)

I guess that since Coyne is Jewish, he excuses Trump wearing Jewish garb in Israel.

No, this is not hypocrisy. Coyne is usually outspoken about the evils of Islam, and about allowing free speech to let ppl make whatever statements they want. And yet his Jewish atheist leftism requires him to say that all non-Jewish religion must be treated alike, even in the use of minor symbols.

Religions are not all the same. Even for an atheist religion-hater like Coyne, there is much more reason to disrespect Islam than Christianity.

Saying: there is no evidence

Here is a
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli history professor. ...

First published in 2011 (in Hebrew) and then in 2014 (in English), it’s a Jared Diamond-esque trip laced with Harari’s Big Thoughts on evolution, religion, life, people, all of human history, etc. Harari is a 40-something gay vegan who lives with his husband on an Israeli kibbutz, according to Wikipedia.

Sapiens begins tantalizingly enough, with a discussion of imagined orders and how they serve as touchpoints for mass human cooperation. Division of humans into “superiors and “commoners” might be a figment of the imagination, he says, but so is “equality.” “All men are created equal”, he observes, is a purely aspirational declaration.

“According to the science of biology, people were not ‘created’. They have evolved. And they certainly did not evolve to be ‘equal.’

In addressing the Interbreeding v. Replacement theories of out-of-Africa evolution, he notes that if the Interbreeding theory is right, “there might well be genetic differences between Africans, Europeans and Asians that go back hundreds of thousands of years. This is political dynamite, which could provide material for explosive racial theories.”

And, he concedes, the appearance of small amounts of Neanderthal DNA in humans, discovered in 2010, pushed the Interbreeding theory to the front.

But then, on page 152, he preserves his tenured position, book sales and popularity with this: “Between blacks and whites there are some objective biological differences, such as skin color and hair type, but there is no evidence that the differences extend to intelligence or morality.”
I didn't think that same-sex marriage was legal in Israel.

There are many educated scholars who insist on using the phrase "there is no evidence" when there is obvious evidence as well has 100s of published papers. What do they even mean, as they obviously do not mean that there is literally no evidence?

One possibility is that they want to be as transparently wrong as they can be. If you lived in a Communist country and you were not allowed to criticize Communism, you might say "Communism is the most perfect system ever invented". It is so silly, it is just a clever way of signalling that you believe the opposite.

Another possibility is that they have some technical or political reason for saying that the published evidence is not really evidence. Maybe they categorically reject anything influenced by the white Christian patriarchy, for example.

Maybe they believe that the evidence has been refuted somehow. If so, it is more accurate to say that the evidence has been refuted, not that there is no evidence. Scholarship then requires a reference to where a refutation can be found.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Human evolution started in Europe

The London Telegraph reports:
The history of human evolution has been rewritten after scientists discovered that Europe was the birthplace of mankind, not Africa.

Currently, most experts believe that our human lineage split from apes around seven million years ago in central Africa, where hominids remained for the next five million years before venturing further afield.

But two fossils of an ape-like creature which had human-like teeth have been found in Bulgaria and Greece, dating to 7.2 million years ago.

The discovery of the creature, named Graecopithecus freybergi, and nicknameded ‘El Graeco' by scientists, proves our ancestors were already starting to evolve in Europe 200,000 years before the earliest African hominid.

An international team of researchers say the findings entirely change the beginning of human history and place the last common ancestor of both chimpanzees and humans - the so-called Missing Link - in the Mediterranean region.
I am doubtful about this, because it is a lot to conclude from one jaw fossil.

Also, those creatures were still apes. It is much more reasonable to say that Neanderthals were the first humans, or perhaps the Neanderthal-African hybrids.

Monday, May 22, 2017

For and against school choice

Kevin Carson writes:
Right-libertarian shills for school charterization like to use the euphemism “school choice,” which is about as misleading as referring to proprietary walled garden platforms like Uber as the “sharing economy.” The charter school movement’s inroads occur, almost without exception, in places where choice has been suppressed by the state. The Charter Mafia hates choice. Charterization, where it occurs, is imposed by a process about as free and democratic as the National Party coup that established Apartheid in South Africa. ...

That’s how the “school choice” sausage gets made. The main forces behind it are corporate lobbyists and their pet “nonprofit” foundations working to impose their agendas through government with the help of their special insider access, and to line their pockets from the public treasury. They achieve success mainly in areas where elected governments have been suspended and replaced with appointed dictatorships that share their agenda. And for all their rhetoric of “empowerment” and “choice,” they do everything in their power to keep the public out of the policy process and minimize public scrutiny.
He has various complaints about charter school oversight, but does not really explain his problem with "choice".

In many areas, charter schools offer parents and students a public school choice that would not be available otherwise.

Here is a good audio debate over the question Are charter schools overrated? While there were disagreements about the management and effectiveness of charter schools, little was devoted to what seems to me to be the crucial issue: they offer a public school choice.

The libertarians don't really like any govt activity, whether it be charter schools or regular public schools. The leftists like centralized brainwashing of the next generation of students. If the charter schools are superior, they don't like the inequality, and otherwise they don't like the loss of govt control.

Choice is really the key issue. Do you believe all kids belong in the same cookie-cutter schools, or should they have the freedom to choose alternatives?

Some parents and students may well have reasons for preferring a school that do not necessarily apply to other students. Our whole economy is based on different ppl having different needs and preferences. Why should schools be any different?

Choice also underlies debates about Common Core. Leftists believe that the state should decide what is best for all kids, and then everyone should do that. Others wants some choice in the matter, and do not believe that they should have to prove superiority according to externally-defined criteria.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Secure Blessings for our Posterity

Jim Goad writes:
Even in the Preamble to the US Constitution, it was understood that a nation that was something to be preserved for one’s “posterity.”

When I searched the word “posterity” on Google, the first definition to pop up was telling: “all future generations of people.” The idea that “posterity” meant “the descendants of a person” was described as “archaic.” Still, Merriam-Webster refuses to get with the program and still defines “posterity” as primarily meaning “the offspring of one progenitor to the furthest generation.” I highly suspect that this is the sort of “posterity” that the Founding Fathers intended.
The Constitution says "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". It is reasonable to assume that this means for the descendants of the free citizens at the time.
The cobwebbed wombs and the blank-shooting scrotums that currently rule Europe obviously have no personal genetic stake in what happens to Europe after they die. To them, the Europeans of the future will be “all future generations” that inhabit Europe, not the biological descendants of those who’ve inhabited Europe for dozens of millennia.

A continent ruled by the sterile and inhabited by those who’ve been brainwashed or demoralized into choosing sterility themselves will have no posterity in the classical sense. Instead, they will be overrun by people from alien cultures who may not have developed much in the way of technology or philosophy but who at least possess the genetic wisdom to be fertile.
It does appear that the future of Europe is being sold out by its childless leaders.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

What are Traditional Gender Roles?

This is from a site that trolls a lot, so I don't know how serious it is, but here is a weev rant:
Because of the critical importance of this discussion for the survival of the white race and its European civilizations, I wanted to take a minute to explain to all the men and women claiming to be so-called traditionalists all the concepts and social boundaries that defined traditional relationships. ...

Coverture was the reality for all of European history up until the mid and late 19th century, when feminist agitators, the media, and academic establishment triumphed with their agitations through its abolition. The basic principle of coverture is that the rights of the woman are completely subsumed into that of her husband’s. A married woman could not own property, sign legal documents or enter into a contract, obtain an education against her husband’s wishes, or keep a salary for herself.

William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, Volume I:

The very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing; and is therefore called in our law - French a feme-covert; is said to be covert-baron, or under the protection and influence of her husband, her baron, or lord; and her condition during her marriage is called her coverture. ...

Rape is a property crime and nothing more. First a crime against the property of the father, and then a crime against the property of the husband. This change only finished in the US and UK in the nineties, when I was 8 years old. Women existing in a state of slavery to the sexual whims of their husbands is not some barbarism of prehistory. This was universal common sense for whites up until a couple decades ago. ...

Be honest about what you are. Don’t sit here and pretend you’re a nice traditional girl when you fight against any implementation of traditional values.
This gives the impression that women had no rights at all, and I do not think that is correct. Even women in the Roman Empire had various rights.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Women like men with beard stubble

I thought that conventional wisdom was that men shave their faces in order to be more attractive to women. However it appears that such wisdom is wrong, as is a lot of other advice about what attracts women.

The NY Times reports:
The answers, which were published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, varied depending on what the woman was looking for. Overall, the women said the sexiest men were those sporting heavy stubble, followed by short stubble. Men with full beards and clean-shaven men were rated the lowest on the overall sexiness scale.

What kind of man is most attractive to a woman looking for a short-term fling or one-night stand? Men with light stubble won that contest, closely followed by men with heavier stubble, suggesting that the scruffy look appeals to women looking for fun, but not commitment.

But when it came to choosing a long-term partner, a guy with whom a woman could have babies or settle in for the duration, the more facial hair the better. Men with heavy stubble and full beards were the clear winners on this question, suggesting that men who are ready to commit might do better if they shave less often.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Buying insurance for bad genes

The NY Times reports:
Under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Privacy Act, companies cannot ask employees to take gene tests and cannot use any such results in employment decisions; insurers are not permitted to require gene tests or to use the results in coverage decisions. ...

The 23andMe test results will not appear in people’s medical records, and the company promises not to disclose identifiable findings to third parties. It is up to the customers to reveal them — and the fear for insurers is that many will not. ...

Yet even if just a minority of 23andMe customers decided to game the current insurance system, “it’s enough to perturb the market,” ...

But he also found that those who learned they had the gene variant — Ms. Reilly was one of them — were nearly six times more likely to buy long-term care insurance than those who did not. The ApoE4 gene variant is present in about a quarter of the population.
Insurance depends on companies being able to assess the risk. If insurance companies have to ignore genetic risks and pre-existing conditions, then healthy ppl will have to pay more for policies, because the insurance companies have to deal with those as if they are gaming the system.

Insurance would be more efficient if the companies could use genetic and other risk info.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Arguing with a psychic psychiatrist

The Dilbert cartoonist explains:
How to Know You Won a Political Debate on the Internet ...

Absurd Absolute

An absurd absolute is a restatement of the other person’s reasonable position as an absurd absolute. For example, if your point is there is high crime in Detroit, the absurd absolute would be your debate opponent saying something such as “So, you’re saying every person in Detroit is a criminal.” ...


Analogies are good for explaining concepts for the first time. But they have no value in debate. ... No one needs an analogy when facts and reason can do the job.

Attack the Messenger

When people realize their arguments are not irrational, they attack the messenger on the other side. If you have been well-behaved in a debate, and you trigger an oversized personal attack, it means you won. ...

The Psychic Psychiatrist Illusion

The Psychic Psychiatrist Illusion involves imagining you can discern the inner thoughts and motives of strangers. I’m talking about the unspoken thoughts and feelings of strangers, not the things they have actually said. If your debate opponents retreat to magical thinking about their abilities to detect secret motives and mental problems in strangers from a distance, you won.
He nails it. In certain types of discussions, I am invariably confronted with absurd absolutes, analogies, and ad hominem attacks. But most of all, someone will make some crazy mindreading assertion about what someone else is thinking or intending.

Someone might say, "Yes, Trump said ABC. But a woman would know that Trump intended XYZ."

Many times I have heard someone say that he is continually surprised by what Trump says, and cannot make sense of his words, and yet he somehow knows what Trump is thinking.

Not just Trump. I have had ppl argue with me and tell me what I am thinking!

So yes, an internet arguing who starts ad hominem attacks and playing psychic psychiatrist is grasping at straws.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Geneticist afraid of genetic knowledge

NPR radio rebroadcast this:
Today's guest, Siddhartha Mukherjee, has written a best-selling book called "Gene," which is now out in paperback. It tells the history of genetics and reports on new breakthroughs and ethical questions resulting from gene manipulation. ...

GROSS:... I want to ask about your own genes. Have you decided whether to or not to get genetically tested yourself? And I should mention here that there is a history of schizophrenia in your family. You had two uncles and a cousin with schizophrenia. You know, what scientists are learning about schizophrenia is that there is a genetic component to it, a genetic predisposition. So do you want to get tested for that or other illnesses?

MUKHERJEE: I've chosen not to be tested. And I will probably choose not to be tested for a long time, until I start getting information back from genetic testing that's very deterministic. Again, remember that idea of penetrance that we talked about. Some genetic variations are very strongly predictive of certain forms of illness or certain forms of anatomical traits and so forth.

I think that right now, for diseases like schizophrenia, we're nowhere close to that place. The most that we know is that there are multiple genes in familial schizophrenia, the kind that our family has. Essentially, we don't know how to map, as it were. There's no one-to-one correspondence between a genome and the chances of developing schizophrenia.

And until we can create that map - and whether we can create that map ever is a question - but until I - we can create that map, I will certainly not be tested because it - that idea - I mean, that's, again, the center of the book. That confines you. It becomes predictive. You become - it's a chilling word that I use in the book - you become a previvor (ph). A previvor is someone who's survived an illness that they haven't even had yet. You live in the shadow of an illness that you haven't had yet. It's a very Orwellian idea. And I think we should resist it as much as possible.

GROSS: Would you feel that way if you were a woman and there was a history of breast cancer in your family?

MUKHERJEE: Very tough question. If I was a woman and I had a history of breast cancer in my family and if the history was striking enough - and, you know, here's a - it's a place where a genetic counselor helps. If the history was striking enough, I would probably sequence at least the genes that have been implicated in breast cancer, no doubt about it.


MUKHERJEE: I recommend this for my patients.

GROSS: OK. Thank you for that.
This opinion is weird.

Genes are the most important thing in the world but he does not want to know his own genes because of a mixture between thinking that genes are predictive and that genes are not predictive. Which is it? Are they too predictive, or not predictive enuf?

But if a feminist interviewer asks him to recommend gene testing for women, to show that he supports women, he complies.

If the genetic info is bad for him, why wouldn't it be bad for the woman?

Obviously he has some sort of phobia about learning about himself. If he cannot face his genetic data, then probably millions of others cannot either. I understand Jim Watson of DNA discovery fame was also afraid to learn his genes.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Do not call my daughter Caitlyn

AP reports:
A year after Caitlyn Jenner announced her new name and gender, the popularity of the name Caitlyn plummeted more than any other baby name, according to Social Security's annual list of the most popular baby names.

In fact, the four names that dropped the most were all variations of the same name: Caitlin, Caitlyn, Katelynn and Kaitlynn. ...

All four versions of Caitlyn fell out of the top 1,000. ...

Wattenberg said it would be wrong to blame Caitlyn's drop in popularity solely to the fact that Jenner is transgender.
Yeah, that would be wrong, but no one wants his daughter identified with Jenner anyway.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Watergate burglar was CIA agent

I missed this story last year:
CIA report reveals mole among Watergate burglars – Cuban exile Eugenio Martinez

President Richard Nixon, left, and Watergate burglar and CIA agent, Eugenio Martinez. (Photos: Associated Press)

President Richard Nixon, left, and Watergate burglar and CIA agent, Eugenio Martinez. (Photos: Associated Press)

Forty-four years ago, a handful of men broke into an office in Washington, D.C., and two years later the president of the United States resigned.

There have always been questions about the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement in the most famous burglary in the history of the U.S., at the Watergate Hotel offices of the Democratic National Committee in June 1972. Likewise, the connection to the Cuban exile community in South Florida has long been noted.

Now, a report released thanks to a Freedom of Information request has revealed that one of the five men arrested at the Watergate complex, Eugenio Martinez, was both: a Cuban exile and a CIA agent.
I thought that the most incriminating accusation against President Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal was that he obstructed justice by telling an aide to tell the DoJ that the Watergate burglary was a CIA operation.

Now it turns out that Nixon was telling the truth!

I have found that, in casual conversation, everyone agrees that Nixon was guilty, but no one can tell me what he did wrong. Now I learn that I was also mistaken about what he did wrong.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Kimmel wants free surgery

CBS News reports:
On Monday night Jimmy Kimmel held back tears as he told the story of his new son William's birth. ...

"Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there was a good chance you would never be able to get health insurance because you had a preexisting condition," Kimmel said.
That is not true. Under the old law, he could add a newborn child to his policy at birth, regardless of the health of the baby.

Apparently Kimmel's is that he wants to buy health for heart surgery after the baby's heart defect is diagnosed. He makes millions of dollars, and can easily afford to buy insurance for a new baby. But he wants to wait until he finds out that surgery is needed, and then get someone else to pay for the surgery.
"If your baby is going to die and it doesn't have to, it shouldn't matter how much money you make," he said with tears in his eyes. "We need to make sure that the people who are supposed to represent us, the people who are meeting about this right now in Washington, understand that very clearly," he added.
They need to understand that millionaires should get free heart surgery for their uninsured babies?

I did not know that Kimmel was such a creep.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Not desirous of importing a problem

A NY Times op-ed argues:
Selecting refugees based on their spiritual beliefs is a form of state-supported prejudice that secular societies like Australia have a moral obligation to reject.

As one of Australia’s foremost experts on refugees points out, specific religions don’t have a monopoly on peaceful behavior. “Some Buddhists, for example, are extremely spiritual and peaceable,” William Maley, a professor at the Australian National University and author of “What is a Refugee?,” said in an email. “But there are Buddhist extremists in Sri Lanka and Myanmar who might better be classed as fascists.”
Okay, I am convinced. Keep out the Buddhists.
Muslims, especially those from the Middle East, have an image problem in the Western world. Concerns are fed by a legitimate fear of terrorism and the alienness of Muslim and Arabic social norms, clothing and language. ...

“As we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one by encouraging any scheme of large-scale foreign migration,” a government official said in 1938.
The Australians do not just have a legitimate fear of "alienness". The Muslims are against much of what Australians are for, and importing Muslims will cause a lot of problems.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The crime of deadnaming

A scholarly journal apologized for this:
Former NAACP chapter head Rachel Dolezal’s attempted transition from the white to the black race occasioned heated controversy. Her story gained notoriety at the same time that Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner graced the cover of Vanity Fair, signaling a growing acceptance of transgender identity. Yet criticisms of Dolezal for misrepresenting her birth race indicate a widespread social perception that it is neither possible nor acceptable to change one’s race in the way it might be to change one’s sex. Considerations that support transgenderism seem to apply equally to transracialism. Although Dolezal herself may or may not represent a genuine case of a transracial person, her story and the public reaction to it serve helpful illustrative purposes.
What's the problem? Here it is:
The sources of those harms are multiple, and include: descriptions of trans lives that perpetuate harmful assumptions and (not coincidentally) ignore important scholarship by trans philosophers; the practice of deadnaming, in which a trans person’s name is accompanied by a reference to the name they were assigned at birth; the use of methodologies which take up important social and political phenomena in dehistoricized and decontextualized ways, thus neglecting to address and take seriously the ways in which those phenomena marginalize and commit acts of violence upon actual persons; and an insufficient engagement with the field of critical race theory. Perhaps most fundamentally, to compare ethically the lived experience of trans people (from a distinctly external perspective) primarily to a single example of a white person claiming to have adopted a black identity creates an equivalency that fails to recognize the history of racial appropriation, while also associating trans people with racial appropriation.
Wow, I did not even know that "deadnaming" is a thing that generates leftist disapproval. I guess they disapprove of saying "formerly Bruce".

No, none of those things are harms. They are delusions by crazy ppl.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Web to support encrypted content

Tim Berners-Lee of the W3C writes:
The question which has been debated around the net is whether W3C should endorse the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) standard which allows a web page to include encrypted content, by connecting an existing underlying Digital Rights Management (DRM) system in the underlying platform. Some people have protested “no”, but in fact I decided the actual logical answer is “yes”.
Much as leftist web activists hate DRM, the logical answer is indeed yes.

I am all in favor of wanting control over my own machines. That is why I don't like advertisers running javascript in my browser, and why I don't like Apple and Facebook. I appreciate tools for blocking javascript, ads, and itunes. But I also want to watch movies that cost millions to make, so I want DRM-capable hardware and software.

For related reasons, the Apple and Linux folks are ideologically opposed to using technologies like TPM to help secure your computer. They make it impractical to securely store info on those computers. So enterprise customers buy Microsoft.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Election explained by white hatred

Thomas Wood of Ohio State U. writes in the Wash Post:
Finally, the statistical tool of regression can tease apart which had more influence on the 2016 vote: authoritarianism or symbolic racism, after controlling for education, race, ideology, and age. Moving from the 50th to the 75th percentile in the authoritarian scale made someone about 3 percent more likely to vote for Trump. The same jump on the SRS scale made someone 20 percent more likely to vote for Trump.

Racial attitudes made a bigger difference in electing Trump than authoritarianism.
Those conclusions are probably correct, but you have to read the definitions of the terms, as they do not mean the ordinary dictionary definitions.

The Democrat Party has become the hate-white-Christian-men party. Voters for both Clinton and Trump continued the trend of being predictable by demographics and racial attitudes.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Neanderthals and the great leap forward

Razib Khan writes:
In the year 2000 I broadly accepted the thesis outlined a few years later in The Dawn of Human Culture. That our species, our humanity, evolved and emerged in rapid sequence, likely due to biological changes of a radical kind, ~50,000 years ago. This is the thesis of the “great leap forward” of behavioral modernity.

Today I have come closer to models proposed by Michael Tomasello in The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition and Terrence Deacon in The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain. Rather than a punctuated event, an instance in geological time, humanity as we understand it was a gradual process, driven by general dynamics and evolutionary feedback loops.

The conceit at the heart of Robert J. Sawyer’s often overly preachy Neanderthal Parallax series, that if our own lineage went extinct but theirs did not they would have created a technological civilization, is I think in the main correct. ...

One of the major holy grails I see now and then in human evolutionary genetics is to find “the gene that made us human.” The scramble is definitely on now that more and more whole genome sequences from ancient hominins are coming online. But I don’t think there will be such gene ever found.
The two competing claims are that (1) humans radically advanced biologically 50k years ago; and (2) Neanderthals had what was needed to evolve into a technological civilization.

Why can't these both be true? Maybe Neanderthals had that magic gene or set of genes, and Africans did not, and maybe the Neanderthal-African hybrids of 50k years made that great leap forward only because their inherited those magic Neanderthal genes.

Nobody seems to consider this possibility, and maybe there is some technical reason for rejecting it, but I don't see it. Recent research has shown that Neanderthals were more advanced than anyone thought, and that the biggest human advances came after Neanderthal interbreeding.

Wikipedia says
The Late Upper Paleolithic Model, or Upper Paleolithic Revolution, refers to the idea that, though anatomically modern humans first appear around 150,000 years ago, they were not cognitively or behaviorally "modern" until around 50,000 years ago, leading to their expansion into Europe and Asia.[6][17][18] These authors note that traits used as a metric for behavioral modernity do not appear as a package until around 40–50,000 years ago. Klein (1995) specifically describes evidence of fishing, bone shaped as a tool, hearths, significant artifact diversity, and elaborate graves are all absent before this point.[6] Although assemblages before 50,000 years ago show some diversity the only distinctly modern tool assemblages appear in Europe at 48,000.[17] According to these authors, art only becomes common beyond this switching point, signifying a change from archaic to modern humans.[6] Most researchers argue that a neurological or genetic change, perhaps one enabling complex language such as FOXP2, caused this revolutionary change in our species.[6][18]
That was exactly the time that African interbred with Neanderthals, according to the latest DNA evidence.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Animal fats are good for you

Nutrition advice is usually based on weak evidence or no evidence. In some cases, the evidence points to the opposite of the expert advice. Here is such an example, and the embarrassing study with the best science behind it was not even published for 40 years.

SciAm reports:
Ramsden, of the National Institutes of Health, unearthed raw data from a 40-year-old study, which challenges the dogma that eating vegetable fats instead of animal fats is good for the heart. The study, the largest gold-standard experiment testing that idea, found the opposite, Ramsden and his colleagues reported on Tuesday in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal).

Although the study is more than just another entry in the long-running nutrition wars—it is more rigorous than the vast majority of research on the topic—Ramsden makes no claims that it settles the question. Instead, he said, his discovery and analysis of long-lost data underline how the failure to publish the results of clinical trials can undermine truth.

Absent a time machine, it’s impossible to know how publication of the study, conducted in Minnesota from 1968 to 1973, might have influenced dietary advice. But in an accompanying editorial, Lennert Veerman of Australia’s University of Queensland concluded that “the benefits of choosing polyunsaturated fat over saturated fat seem a little less certain than we thought.”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Immigrant prof wants more immigration

Russian-American law professor Ilya Somin writes in USA Today:
Perhaps the biggest negative impact of immigration restrictions is the enormous economic cost. Restrictions prevent millions of people from freely seeking employment and other opportunities. Economists estimate that abolishing migration restrictions around the world ...
So his idea of "economic cost" means immigrants suffering the cost of not being able to steal your job.
Immigration restrictions also threaten the liberty and property rights of Americans. Most obviously, they curtail American citizens' freedom to associate with immigrants. Jim Crow segregation laws restricted the freedom of association of whites as well as African-Americans.
This is a odd view. If freedom of association is what is most important, then you should be all in favor of whites-only country clubs, and the ability to keep Syrian refugees to move into your neighborhood.
In 2014, the Department of Homeland Security concluded that immigration enforcement requires large-scale use of racial profiling in areas where some two-thirds of the U.S. population lives.
Put another way, failing to enforce immigration law will result in a non-white invasion of much of the nation.

Somin makes it clear that he does not believe in nations, and favor open borders regardless of the effects on crime, social cohesion, and the quality of life.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Looking good there, girl!

Wondering why Fox News fired Bill O'Reilly? The Daily Beast reports:
one of O’Reilly’s heretofore anonymous accusers, Perquita Burgess, who spent several weeks as a clerical temp worker at a desk near The O’Reilly Factor’s offices in 2008 and, according to her account on ABC’s daytime television show, endured relentless sexual and racial harassment from Fox News’s top-rated anchor. ...

But, she continued, “within the first week and a half of me working there, he walked past my desk and he made a grunt noise—like that,” Burgess said, clearing her throat. ...

“Fast forward — maybe after three weeks — we were on the elevator, coming up to our floor. He let me off first, as gentlemen usually do with a woman, and I walked in front him.”

At which point O’Reilly, walking behind her and apparently looking her up and down, exclaimed: “Looking good there, girl!” ...

“It was so important to us that Perquita come out and speak out … and she had this wonderful Twitter history,” said her attorney, Bloom, who was seated in the audience. ...

Burgess, meanwhile, said she felt “triumphant” about O’Reilly’s sacking — prompting applause. “Very cathartic. Very cathartic,” she added.
This is her story after 9 years of trying to think of something to complain about, plus coaching from a lawyer to make it sound as bad as possible for O'Reilly.