Sunday, April 27, 2014

Obama on racial offensive again

The hottest news story in the USA this morning is the secret recording of Donald Sterling.

Sterling is the owner of the LA Clippers, changed his name from Tokowitz so people would not know that he is Jewish, and was scheduled to get a lifetime achievement award from the NCAAP for work favoring black people. The recording was of an argument between him and his half-black half-Mexican mistress, and was almost certainly illegally recorded as California is an all-party consent state. The offensive parts concerned how she should promote herself in public.

President Barack Obama is now involved:
"When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk," Obama said when asked to respond to Donald Sterling's reported comments.

"The United States continues to wrestle with the legacy of race and slavery and segregation, that's still there, the vestiges of discrimination," Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia, where he was traveling.

"We've made enormous strides, but you're going to continue to see this percolate up every so often," he added. "And I think that we just have to be clear and steady in denouncing it, teaching our children differently, but also remaining hopeful that part of why statements like this stand out some much is because there has been this shift in how we view ourselves."

Obama said he's confident NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will address the matter. He said the NBA has "an awful lot of African American players, it's steeped in African American culture. And I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this."
This is offensive. The President should not be trying to dictate the private conversations of citizens. And he should not be committing tortious interference.

Obama rarely talks about racial matters, but when he does, it seems carefully calculated to promote racial animosity.

I am waiting to see if anyone says that citizens have a right to express private opinions to their friends about who they associate with.

Update: Here is a link to the audio along with some speculation about the context. The mistress seems to have personally embarrassed Sterling somehow by flaunting her dates with other men. She is also being sued by Sterling's wife for taking marital property.

Update: This story sure hit a nerve. I get the impression that blacks are upset because this confirmed suspicions that Jews just pretend to like blacks, but secretly compare them to dogs. It appears to me that Sterling's main concern ws that his girl was publicly cuckolding him. My concern is that we now have a society where a man can become an outcast on the basis of preferences expressed in pillow talk, and that we have a President who joins in the bullying.

Update: My lessons from this fiasco.

Do not donate to black charities. They will double-cross you in a heartbeat.

Do not buy a Bentley for your mistress. Hire a private investigator to see who she might have conned under other names.

If you complain about your mistress cuckolding you with high-status black men, be sure to similarly complain about other races in the same sentence.

Ditch your mistress the first time she disrespects you, or after any hint of a shakedown.

President Obama needs to send out signals to his base that he identifies with black people against white people.

When black people or liberals go on TV and say we need an open and honest discussion about race in order to counter ignorance, what they really mean is that certain viewpoints must be intimidated into silence.

If you are Jewish, do not even try to explain how Israel makes racial distinctions.

If you want to sell a basketball team, create a scandal first and the bidding will go higher.

Big brains enable self-control

Stephen Jay Gould became the most famous American scientist largely for mocking the idea that brain size could be related to intelligence. Now it is admitted that he faked his data in order to promote his Jewish Marxist beliefs.

There is actually a lot of legitimate research on brain size, and here is the latest:
So what did they find? Bigger brains correlate with greater self-control:

Our phylogenetic comparison of three dozen species supports the hypothesis that the major proximate mechanism underlying the evolution of self-control is increases in absolute brain volume. ...

Can we draw any conclusions about human evolution from this study? It's hard to generalize -- just as we cannot conclude much about cognitive evolution from comparing whales and elephants only to humans, we can't predict much about humans by looking only at the broadest phylogenetic pattern. Yet, the importance of foraging and diet breadth to the evolution of primate cognition is provocative. The study seems to weigh in favor of tool use and foraging as primary drivers of human brain evolution, instead of social dynamics.

But that contrast is surely misleading. Human tool use and foraging depend on social cooperation and social learning.
Self-control is quite different from IQ, but turns out also to be a huge predictor of success in life. It recently got a lot of publicity as part of the Tiger Mom Chinese-Jewish Triple Package.

Gould did not admit his mistakes, even when confronted. I sometimes post things that I have changed my mind about, but Gwern's mistakes has me beat. He has detailed descriptions of his changes.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Non-whites fighting over college admissions

NPR Radio complains that the non-white California Democrat cannot agree about anti-white legislation:
Six black and Latino lawmakers have since withdrawn their endorsements of Sen. Ted Lieu, who is Chinese-American, in a Los Angeles-area congressional race where he faces another Democrat in the primary. And some black and Latino Assembly members this month withheld votes from unrelated legislation about the state's carpool program by Assemblyman Al Muratsutchi, D-Torrance, who is Japanese-American.

The Senate's Democratic leader, President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, acknowledged the animosity. He said in a statement that he wanted "a serious and sober examination" of affirmative action, adding "I am deeply concerned anytime one ethnic group turns on another."
Yes, that is that trouble with race-based affirmative action policies -- they pit one ethnic group against another.
In recent statistics, the University of California system said 36 percent of its in-state freshman admissions offers for fall 2014 are to Asian-American students, 29 percent are for Latino students, 27 percent are for white students and 4 percent of offers are to black students.

At some campuses, including UC San Diego and UC Irvine, Asian-American students accounted for more than 45 percent of admitted freshmen last year.

Hispanics have slightly overtaken whites as the largest ethnic group in California, although both groups represent about 39 percent of the population. Asian-Americans — a population that includes Filipinos, Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Vietnamese, Laotians and others — comprise about 13 percent. Blacks are less than 6 percent.
So whites have dropped to No. 3 in Univ. Calif. admissions. Something is fishy here.

Another NPR story reports:
The experience with the ban in California "has been difficult because immediately following the ban on race-conscious affirmative action, the enrollment of African-Americans and Latinos plummeted in the selective higher education institutions," says Christopher Edley, former dean of the UC Berkeley law school. He adds that the school "has yet to fully recover."

Other states with bans have had similar precipitous drops in minority enrollment, but some have seen minority enrollment stay steady or even climb.
Plummeted? According to the above figures, Latinos are being admitted in higher numbers than ever, even higher than whites. And blacks are admitted (4%) at close to their population (less than 6%).

It is increasingly clear that hostility to whites and Christians is what is holding the Democrat party together. The black, hispanic, and Asian American legislators vote for their racial groups.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Math crazies in the movies

Hollywood usually portrays mathematicians as crazy, such as in Good Will Hunting, Pi, A Beautiful Mind, Proof, and others. I just saw another. The 2008 movie Revolutionary Road featured a mathematician who had electric shock treatments to eliminate his interest in math! The actor was nominated for an Oscar.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Apple lock-in strategy

A major part of Apple's success has been its ability to lock-in customers. The NY Times explains:

Apple generally offers proprietary software and services that run only on Apple hardware. For example, iMessage is Apple’s free text messaging service offered only for iPhones and iPads. Analysts have called this approach Apple’s “lock-in” strategy to keep customers loyal, a term that has been described as cynical because it has a connotation of imprisonment. But in his e-mail, even Mr. Jobs recognizes that Apple’s goal with its cloud services is to “tie all of our products together, so we further lock customers into our ecosystem.”
There is a lot of confusion about Apple's success. Some people think that Apple invented the iPod, or that it was easier to use or better than the competition. There were several portable mp3 players before Apple. The Apple iPod did not sell very well at first.

Apple managed to take over the market for two reasons. First, Apple pumped 100s of millions of dollars into advertising its iPod as the cool trendy product. The market at the time could not really justify that kind of advertising, but Apple did it anyway because it was promoting its company image, and driving people into its stores to buy Macintosh computers. None of the other companies could compete on ads.

Second, Apple managed to find a digital rights management (DRM) scheme that satisfied the record labels and that its customers accepted. The customers were locked into Apple products in a way that customers of other companies would not accept. Somehow Apple customers like being locked in to Apple.

I found competing players easier to use. I could buy non-DRM music from Amazon, and just copy it to the player just like files. I like the players made by Sandisk. They have a history of offering many useful features not available from Apple, and sell at about a quarter the price. The are other good brands also. Most people call these players ipods, whether made by Apple or not.

A startup company is offering a player for higher quality music, but the Apple fanbois are very upset that a product would be so technically superior to Apple. Here is a typical Si Valley columnist badmouthing it:
Yet, despite the enthusiasm surrounding it, Pono is an anachronistic and ill-considered solution to an all-but-nonexistent problem.

The service is modeled on how people used to listen to music five or 10 years ago, not how they listen today.

By and large, consumers are replacing stand-alone digital music players like the iPod with smartphones. And instead of plugging those players into their computers to sync their music, they're getting music on their smartphones wirelessly -- either by syncing their songs over Wi-Fi or, increasingly, streaming them from services such as Spotify, Pandora or iTunes Match.

Pono would have consumers step back in time. They would have to carry around separate phones and music players again. And they would pay $400 for that music device -- which, in an increasingly connected world, is resolutely disconnected. The only way to get music on it is by transferring it from a computer over a USB cable.

You can't buy a song when you're away from your computer and you can't stream it to the device. The company's not even working on a smartphone app that might be able to offer Pono customers some connectivity or instant gratification.
Yes, most people might be happy with low-quality audio on their smart phones. That streaming music is usually significantly worse than FM radio, while the Pono promises something much better.

This review is like telling people not to buy a Tesla car because you won't be able to buy cheap used parts at you local junkyard. The whole point to buying a Tesla is to get something much better than what is in that junkyard.

Apple's biggest success was with the iPhone, which partially stemmed from iPod success. But the iPhone is not as dominant as some people think, as Android phones outsell it about 5 to 1 worldwide. The competition is described in Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution. What is not so well known is that Google announced its amart phone before Apple did, and Apple copied Google as much as Google copied Apple. Steve Jobs went into a vindictive rage against Google, and Google removed the only features that supposed copied Apple. Apple has sued several Android phone makers, but has not sued Google.

The Apple iPhone strategy is also all about lock-in. You get locked into carriers, contracts, app store, etc.

Update: The Apple emails became public because it is losing a lawsuit for locking in its employees.

Update: Here is another foolish rant from someone who cannot believe that a non-Apple product could have superior quality music:
Digital music wouldn't have taken off the way it did if sound quality was a widespread concern. ...

Am I saying you shouldn't buy FLAC files from Neil Young's new store? No, I'm saying you should literally go back to buying CDs. ...

For research purposes, I went on a $50 shopping spree and came away with 14 albums, all downloaded in the same high-resolution format that Neil Young wants you to start buying at exponentially higher prices.
No, that is incorrect. Young will be selling music in a higher resolution than CD. It will sound about the same on cheap equipment, but that is why Young is selling a better player.

Here is an Apple fanboi giving up on the iphone: Why I'm making the jump to Android

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Mathematician wants sex gossip

The mainstream news media seems to be going all-gay all the time, but I thought that I could get away from that by reading technical mathematics journals.
But the reviewer, in describing the relationship of Alexandrov and Kolmogorov as “friends and collaborators” does a disservice to Graham and Kantor, and to the unsuspecting reader of the review. Graham and Kantor make a very clear case that Alexandrov and Kolmogorov (and, also, Alexandrov and Urysohn) were lovers, and that the tenuous position of homosexuals in Russian society (which, sadly, continues to this day) shaped at least some of their political behavior, in particular Alexandrov’s and Kolmogorov’s denunciations of Luzin and Solzhenitsyn. If Glutsyuk has evidence to challenge Graham’s and Kantor’s claims, he should mention it. But simply avoiding the issue avoids one of the major themes in the book, and continues to hide an aspect of history which is too often hidden.

—Judith Roitman
University of Kansas
I can only assume that she has some sort of feminist belief that exposing homosexuality will help undermine the patriarchy.

The review was of
Naming Infinity: A True Story of Religious Mysticism and Mathematical Creativity. The author of the review did not reply, presumably because he did not think that such gossip and speculation was appropriate for a math journal. None of the Amazon reviews mention the homosexual theorizing, except for this one:
After a somewhat superficial description of the Soviet-era politics which consumed two of the principal Russian figures it deteriorates into such things as an extended description of the homosexual amours of famous Russian mathematicians including (but not limited to) Alexandrov and Kolmogorov (a couple, actually). Yuck. What's up with that?
Andrey Kolmogorov was a brilliant Soviet mathematician who is particularly known for work in probability theory.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Gene testing will allow insurance fraud

The NY Times is pushing for law restricting insurance info:
Fearing Punishment for Bad Genes ...

But many people are avoiding the tests because of a major omission in the 2008 federal law that bars employers and health insurers from seeking the results of genetic testing.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, known as GINA, does not apply to three types of insurance — life, disability and long-term care — that are especially important to people who may have serious inherited diseases. Sponsors of the act say that they were well aware of the omission, but that after a 14-year effort to write and pass the law, they had to settle for what they could get.
It then goes on to explain the story of a guy to wants to commit insurance fraud by buying cheap life insurance after being diagnosed with a fatal disease.
Dr. Robert C. Green, a genetics researcher at Harvard Medical School, studied the behavior of those who had recently learned they carried a genetic marker that predisposes them to early Alzheimer’s disease. They were five times as likely to buy long-term-care insurance as those in a control group. ...

Just three states — California, Oregon and Vermont — have broad regulations prohibiting the use of genetic information in life, long-term-care and disability insurance.
So the guy can just move to California, and cash in for millions of dollars for his heirs.

The article says that medical ethicists want to expand the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, so that it will be easier to experiment on humans:
Fear of discrimination affects research participants as well as patients. Dr. Green said that 23 out of 94 volunteers who walked away from a sequencing study did so because of concerns about insurance.
The whole concept of insurance is to reduce risk by selling to a company that can spread risk over a group. If people can insure against a disaster they know is going to happen, it defeats the point. Or to use industry jargon:
Insurance industry representatives, by contrast, argue that they may need genetic information to make underwriting decisions.

Barring long-term-care and life insurers from obtaining applicants’ test results “could lead to adverse selection and impact the stability of rates,” the American Academy of Actuaries said in a statement.
Obamacare is also anti-insurance, because much of it pays for routing and predictable care, like check-ups.
As for Brian S., he and his wife want to have a baby. But because he has decided not to be tested for the fatal neurological disorder, they are considering in vitro fertilization with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.

That would allow any embryos carrying the dreaded mutation to be silently screened out, keeping him ignorant of his own status — and able to apply for life and long-term-care insurance without fear of being turned down.
The IVF tests do not work that way. Whoever does the test will have to known whether he carries the bad gene. He can ask now to be told, but there will be a record of the result.

I guess they did not ask the ethicists about having a baby with a 50% chance of growing up without a father. I guess they figure millions of kids do anyway. It seems crazy to me that someone would forgo a $100 test, not learn whether he has a fatal disease, spend $20k on IVF, put his family thru misery -- all so it will be easier for him to buy a life insurance policy in the future?

DNA tests scare a lot of people. It is as simple as that. The law sill not change that. Maybe someday everyone's DNA will be sequenced at birth and attached to the birth certificate. Then maybe people will accept it.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Who cares about high-frequency traders?

I listened to several interviews of Michael Lewis plug his sensalized new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, and I don't get it. Exactly why is it such a bad thing that some big firms are making rapid trades?

Stock markets have always had market makers who profit from order imbalances, with some risk to themselves. Advancing technology has allowed the high-frequency traders to become part of the system. But Lewis does not explain how anyone is being cheated. Maybe the traders are making the market more efficient.

Lewis sounds as if he is on to something when he talks about how millions of dollars can change hands in less time than the blink of an eye. But usually liquidity is a good thing, not a bad thing, so I do not see the point. Of course someone could be illegally wiretapping, stealing information, defrauding clients, etc, and that would be a criminal matter. But I did not hear that being alleged.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Double standard for Si Valley CEOs

Perhaps the most narrow-minded and vindictive political group is the LGBT lobby.
Do you agree with everything your boss believes? Is this a requirement for working under them? The challenge issued this week to Mozilla – creators of the Firefox web browser and advocates of the "open web" – is whether their new CEO's alleged support for anti-gay marriage campaigns is at odds with their inclusive, community-driven stance.

The boss in question is programming guru Brendan Eich, creator of the hugely popular JavaScript language and general web evangelist. Mozilla have been operating under an acting CEO,
See also complaints here and on okCupid.

All Eich did was donate $1k for a 2008 initiative that merely confirmed existing federal and state marriage law as between a man and woman. 7 million people voted to pass it, and it has not been overturned or repealed. It did not affect same-sex couples getting all the state law benefits of marriage, but California did not call it marriage.

Meanwhile other Silicon Valley CEOs have leftist politics that are directly harmful to Americans and its employees. Apple, Google, and others are currently on trial for antitrust violations against employees. The Facebook CEO actively campaigns for illegal alien amnesty and cheap immigrant labor. And they all have anti-privacy policies that go far beyond what the NSA is accused of doing.

To me, inclusiveness and tolerance means not trying to get someone fired for a mainstream political opinion expressed 6 years ago.

Update: Eich has now been fired:
In Silicon Valley, where personal quirks and even antisocial personalities are tolerated as long as you are building new products and making money, a socially conservative viewpoint may be one trait you have to keep to yourself.

On Thursday, Brendan Eich, who has helped develop some of the web’s most important technologies, resigned under pressure as chief executive of Mozilla, the maker of the popular Firefox web browser, just two weeks after taking the job. The reason? In 2008, he donated $1,000 in support of Proposition 8, a California measure that banned same-sex marriage. ...

The letter, which has since been removed, concluded that “those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.” ...

Andrew Sullivan, a prominent gay writer and an early, influential proponent of making same-sex marriage legal, expressed outrage over Mr. Eich’s departure on his popular blog, saying the Mozilla chief had been “scalped by some gay activists.”

“If this is the gay rights movement today — hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else — then count me out,” Mr. Sullivan wrote.
Of course Eich did not seek to deny love or enforce misery on anyone. His position only became public from an illegal IRS leak.

Update: NY Times adds:
And Brendan Eich, who resigned as Mozilla’s chief executive on Thursday after just two weeks in the job, may not have been the person to run a company with such expanding interests. ... Instead of addressing the criticism head-on, he insisted that his personal views should not matter to Mozilla.
The spineless and intolerant Mozilla board members were Mitchell Baker and Reid Hoffman. Eich should not have to cooperate with this witch-hunt and explain his views. It should be known that Mozilla (Firefox), LinkedIn, and OkCupid are enemies of free speech. Apple, Google, and Tahoo are probably no better.

Bill Maher says:
"I think there is a gay mafia," Maher said. "I think if you cross them, you do get whacked."
The comments to Mozilla are overwhelmingly negative.

Update: The leftist Mother Jones reports:
OkCupid's co-founder and CEO Sam Yagan once donated to an anti-gay candidate. (Yagan is also CEO of
Yagan has apologized.

Update: The IRS has admitted responsibility for leaking the confidential tax return, and paid $50k in damages.