Wednesday, February 15, 2017


"It is a cruel mortification, searching for what is instructive in the history of past times, to find that the exploits of conquerors who have desolated the earth, and the freaks of tyrants who have rendered nations unhappy, are recorded with minute and often disgusting accuracy, while the discovery of useful arts, and the progress of the most beneficial branches of commerce, are passed over in silence, and suffered to sink into oblivion."--John Kenyon’s 1983 volume, The History Men

Puberty-blocking drugs are emerging as therapy for "gender dysphoria."
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders under “Gender Dysphoria without a disorder of sex development” it states: Rates of persistence of gender dysphoria from childhood into adolescence or adulthood vary. In natal males, persistence has ranged from 2.2% to 30%. In natal females, persistence has ranged from 12% to 50%.”  Simple math allows one to calculate that for natal boys: resolution occurs in as many as 100% – 2.2% = 97.8% (approx. 98% of gender-confused boys)  Similarly, for natal girls: resolution occurs in as many as 100% – 12% = 88% gender-confused girls

The Russian/Wikileaks problem is fascinating. The Russians deny it. Wikileaks says it was not the Russians, it was a Democrat insider. (Craig Murray insisted that the DNC and Podesta emails published by Wikileaks did not come from the Russians, and were given to the whistle-blowing group by Americans who had authorized access to the information. As an envoy for Wikileaks, former UK ambassador Murray claims he flew to Washington for a clandestine hand-off with one source, who "had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks... Neither of [the leaks]  came from the Russians." )
More, the effort was not typical disinformation; the information was true. So, apparently to the American press, the truth of the story is less important than its source. We are in the crazy situation where our enemies are accused of trying to influence us with the truth and we are angry over it.

Dyson says physics is a young man 's game but not because the intelligence deteriorates. Rather the older you get the more attached to things you get. You are unable to adapt and grow in new ways.

During the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, Nanking, the capital of China, fell to Japanese forces, and the Chinese government fled to Hankow, further inland along the Yangtze River.
To break the spirit of Chinese resistance, Japanese General Matsui Iwane ordered that the city of Nanking be destroyed. Much of the city was burned, and Japanese troops launched a campaign of atrocities against civilians. In what became known as the “Rape of Nanking,” the Japanese butchered an estimated 150,000 male “war prisoners,” massacred an additional 50,000 male civilians, and raped at least 20,000 women and girls of all ages, many of whom were mutilated or killed in the process.
A very talented American of Chinese extraction decided to write a history of it and it became a classic work. She, however, was so upset by her research that she fell into a deep depression and eventually took her life.

Who is...Beatrix Potter?

According to Reuters, the so-called overseers of the U.S. intelligence community (as it supervises the 17 agency-strong U.S. intelligence community), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), while not disputing the CIA's analysis of Russian hacking operations - something which would be unprecedented for the US spy industry and would telegraph just how partisan and broken the country's intelligence apparatus has become - has refused to endorse the CIA's assessment "because of a lack of conclusive evidence" that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Wait. What?

A free society, by its nature, is bound together and operates through devices and channels of individual aspirations and anticipations.  It relies not on authoritarian decrees enforced with the thumb screw, but on induced coordination of largely autonomous people who, in pursuing their personal ends, contribute to the well-being of the community. So wrote William Allen. The idea here is that there are innumerable personal pathways to the present which contribute to each individual's decision in the marketplace. No one, not even the great Khan, can anticipate and direct such decisions.

At the start of the 20th century, average life expectancy globally was just 31 years. Today it is 71. Every country in the world has seen improvements in infant and child mortality since 1950. The so-called Green Revolution has increased food supply and reduced famine in parts of the world where malnutrition and starvation had long seemed inevitable. Throughout the world, there’s less violence, more literacy and greater political freedom.
--Norberg's new book reviewed in the WSJ

As of the first week of December, the U.S. market has gone 1955 days without a 20% correction. That is more than three times the average of 635 days for the whole period from 1-3-1928 to 12-8-2016.

Students at the University of Pennsylvania removed a portrait of Shakespeare from a prominent location in the school’s English department after complaining that he did not represent a diverse range of writers.
The chair of the department confirmed in a statement that the portrait was stripped from the wall by his students as “a way of affirming their commitment to a more inclusive mission for the English department,” The Daily Pennsylvanian reports. Department Chair Jed Esty explained that the portrait was “delivered” to his office and replaced with a photograph of Audre Lorde, a celebrated African American feminist and author.

Golden oldie:

Le Guin gave an interview a while ago to the "New Yorker" on The Left Hand of Darkness, her groundbreaking sci-fi story where an earth ambassador meets a gender ambiguous culture. She said this:
"But science fiction in 1968 wasn’t about women. It was about men. It was a man’s world. I felt I was taking a huge risk as it was, presenting a largely male readership with these weirdly re-gendered people. I thought the guys would hate it.
I was wrong. They liked it fine. It was the feminists who gave me a hard time about it for years. They wanted me to have been braver. I guess I wish I had been. But I did the best I knew how to do. And Genly does learn a lot! "
But there is no middle ground for the enthusiast, no process.

Trump has said he would not attend every daily intelligence meetings when President and some are upset. Obama skipped 62.5 percent of intelligence briefings this year.  President Barack Obama had only attended roughly 40 percent of his daily intelligence briefings throughout his presidency, according to the Government Accountability Institute (GAI).Oct 2, 2014. The Government Accountability Institute? Anyway, nobody is upset.

Protectionism is theft.  First, it robs consumers of freedom of choice in their purchase..  Second, it robs consumers of some of their wealth by compelling them to pay higher prices for protected goods and services. That theft is reflected further in the economic community as paying unnecessarily higher prices for protected goods and services reduces the goods and services, current or future, that consumers are able to acquire.

In 1901 Beatrix Potter published The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Having been turned down by a half-dozen publishers, Potter financed this first edition herself -- 250 copies with her own black and white illustrations. Within a few weeks, another 200 copies were needed; within a year, Potter had a deal with a major publisher and orders for the entire first printing of 8,000 copies; by now, forty million copies of Peter Rabbit have been sold, in just about every language. A first edition copy of the 1902 edition can cost $20,000 today; a copy of Potter's own 1901 edition is expected to fetch upwards of $70,000 at an upcoming auction.

Russia's disinformation program has been on all cylinders for decades and has been  causing all sorts of trouble. Why is it so important now? And who, aside from the Russians, should we hold responsible? Should the government be protecting us from this kind of thing?

Biology is moving very fast and so the same kind of people who became physicists in those days now tend to become biologists. (Freeman Dyson, comparing the great age of physics in the 1920s to the present.)

The right wing has worries about national power rankings the way the left wing has worries about individual income rankings.  But in uplifting the poor, rank is not the point.  Level is.  Modern economic growth is not about seventh-pessimism rankings, and was not caused by exceptional national power to do violence.  After all, backward Russia in 1812 and 1941-1944 turned back invasions from a technologically advanced and militarily powerful Western Europe, as it had done in the Great Northern War against Sweden in 1709.  The Great Enrichment is about an irreversible arrival of the poor at the Washing Line … caused by their own efforts made productive by accepting the Bourgeois Deal of letting the bourgeoisie innovate for the long-run good of us all.  Not national rank.--McCloskey (The "Washing Line" is a reference to Hans Rosling 's notion that the most important invention of the modern era is the washing machine.)

A Rose By Any Other Name Department: Oxford University is encouraging students to use the gender-neutral pronoun 'ze' instead of 'she and 'he'. The students' union wrote in a leaflet that the move was intended to reduce the risk of transgender students being offended. Students hope that the use of ‘ze’ will continue into university lectures and seminars, reported The Sunday Times.
According to Oxford University's behavior code, using the wrong pronoun to define a transgender person is an offence.  

Inspectors from the U.S. and other countries are probing whether a decades long cover-up of manufacturing problems at a key French supplier to the nuclear-power industry are a safety threat to reactors. Read that again.

Now, as the Jill Stein investigation of the votes of several states peters into irrelevancy, perhaps some bright eyed journalist will explain why she did it. She was not involved, practically, in the recount. She and her agents admitted there was no evidence of fraud or tampering with the votes. So why was it done? I hope it wasn't motivated by the desire for chaos, doubt and mistrust--to make the citizens question the democracy. That, of course, would be opposed to the well-being of the culture, something the Russians would do.

Vanity Fair is reporting the Clinton camp is beginning to implicate Huma in the election defeat. "[Abedin] was enjoying the red carpet and enjoying the photo spreads much too much in my opinion," one campaign insider reflected. "She enjoyed being a celebrity too much." She is blamed for "reinforc[ing] all the bad habits" throughout the campaign. "Where in most presidential campaigns the circle grows broader and broader, [Clinton's] grew smaller and smaller," one insider source explained to Vanity Fair.

 AAAAaaaaannnnnnddddddd.....a photo of the Pyramids of Giza:

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