Saturday, June 3, 2017


“The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”--Salena Zito 

Markets require that one consider the point of view of others and alter one’s behavior to satisfy their desires.  This disposition supports three liberal virtues.  The first is deliberation, the ability to consider an opposing viewpoint.  The other two virtues are negative.  Markets weaken loyalty to tribe and family, cultivating the ability to relate to strangers according to impersonal criteria.  Finally, markets break down aristocratic habits, encouraging people to relate peaceably as equals. --Nathan Oman

".... people "have taken an expectation that previously applied to the private sphere — control over our environment — and are increasingly applying it to the public sphere." Social media's "self-affirming feedback loop" encourages "expectations for a custom-made reality" and indignation about anything "that deviates from our preferences." The consequences of what Stewart calls "our growing intolerance of an unedited reality" are enumerated in Tom Nichols' new book "The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters." Our devices and social media are, he says, producing people who confuse "internet grazing" with research and this faux research with higher education..." (Will)

Say you have a study that shows a drug significantly improves the life expectancy of someone with a particular illness. Is it ethical to try to reproduce the results of the study?

Who is....Patrick Frank?

Since 2010, when the government took over student lending, direct government lending to students has gone from approximately $200 billion to more than $900 billion—creating dramatically increased student defaults and a population that is rightfully angry about how much money they owe, particularly since it reduces their ability to get other credit. (from Jamie Dimon's letter to shareholders)

"In horrible madness Caligula wished that the entire Roman people had one head so that he could strike it off. The civilization of the twentieth century has made it possible for the raving madness of the modern imperialists to realize similar bloody dreams. By pressing a button one can expose thousands to destruction. It was the fate of civilization that it was unable to keep the external means that it had created out of the hands of those who had remained estranged from its spirit. Modern tyrants have things much easier than their predecessors. "

This is von Mises musing on the first great war with the ability of the nations to kill and the inability of the citizen to hide.

According to the NYT, current academic definitions include the following changes: "sex is never truly consensual between adults unless they both have equal power." You may mull that over.

The U.S. military was the world's 17th largest in April 1917, smaller (less than 250,000) than Romania's, and smaller than Britain's casualties in one battle. America's military became a melting pot for a nation in which one-third of the population had been born abroad or whose parents had been. Forty-three languages were spoken in one Army division raised in New York. (Will)

That "melting pot" unleashed a flu pandemic that killed more people in a year — somewhere between 20 million and 50 million — than the war killed in four years.

Toshiba--Toshiba!--expressed doubt for the first time over whether it can continue as a going concern, citing huge losses at its U.S. nuclear subsidiary which filed for bankruptcy last month.

Golden oldie:
You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or...
You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or...

The writer Deborah Levy was asked which she preferred, modernist or post-modernist and she replied, "Modernism. Post is like having a conversation with someone who never looks at you."

Which is more simplistic, "Let the market with its millions and millions of self-interested participants handle it" or "Let the government handle it?"

The reason elite values have been enshrined as ‘the truth’, right from the Ancient Greeks onwards, is because the rulers of society need to secure the deference of the masses. The masses are being encouraged to defer not to the power of the elites, but to the truth of elite values. While each revolt of sections of the public against the values of the elites has been met with the riposte that people are no longer interested in the truth, what the elites really mean is that people don’t care about their version of the truth. So when the French celebrity philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy asserted that people have ‘lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth’, he was venting his frustration at an electorate that no longer shares his values. A recent essay by suggests the era of deference toward elite values may be over.

Mrs. Clinton, who was Sec. of State during the infamous "Red Line" speech by Obama, had the gall to urge military action against Syria recently..

Measurement errors: Patrick Frank is a scientist at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), part of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University. Frank has published papers that explain how the errors in temperatures recorded by weather stations have been incorrectly handled. Temperature readings, he finds, have errors over twice as large as generally recognized. Based on this, Frank stated, in a 2011 article in Energy & Environment, “…the 1856–2004 global surface air temperature anomaly with its 95% confidence interval is 0.8˚C ± 0.98˚C.” The error bars are wider than the measured increase. It looks as if there’s an upward temperature trend, but we can’t tell definitively. We cannot reject the hypothesis that the world’s temperature has not changed at all.

Sometimes people are just not able to process and explain and overt idiocy should disqualify them from doing so.
A Syria theory on the Right: The U.S. government actually carried out the chemical weapons massacre in Syria last week — a "false flag" to trick President Trump into retaliating, thus entangling himself in a foreign war. A slightly more convoluted Syria theory on the Left: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump — distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia by provoking the missile strike.
That theory — evidence-free — was laid out on a small anti-Trump site shortly after the missile strike.
But it went mainstream Friday night, when Lawrence O'Donnell advanced similar speculation on his MSNBC show, "The Last Word."  
How can anyone be asked to take these people seriously?

Tesla’s market cap surpassed that of Ford. But Ford sells a lot more cars than Tesla. When the cost of capital is zero or less, many unreasonable things are possible.

Bogel recently said this: "Find a company that is the right company, even if it is the wrong job for you. Once you get in the door, it will be a much wider opportunity,"

At least two-thirds of federal spending can be described as Congress’ taking the rightful property of one American and giving it to another American, to whom it does not belong.  So-called mandatory spending totaled $2.45 trillion in 2015.  Thus, two-thirds of the federal budget goes toward Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, food assistance, unemployment and other programs and benefits that fall into the category of taking from some and giving to others. (Williams)

"Certainly misogyny played a role, I mean that just has to be admitted," Hilary Clinton said yesterday in discussing her loss to Trump. And she offered a mixed religious/biologic non sequitur: "The things that come out of some of these men's mouths, like why do we have to cover maternity care? Oh I don't know, maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception?" she said.

V-P Pence does not attend one-on-one dinners with women other than his wife Karen, and he does not drink alcohol in social settings when Karen is not with him. This has raised all sorts of strange questions on the Left. Jonah Goldberg's good line: "Elites say we have no right to judge adultery, but we have every right to judge couples who take steps to avoid it."

More on measurement error by Patrick Frank:
Climate models are used to assess the CO2-global warming hypothesis and to quantify the human-caused CO2 “fingerprint.”
How big is the human-caused CO2 fingerprint compared to other uncertainties in our climate model? For tracking energy flows in our model, we use watts per square meter (Wm–2). The sun’s energy that reaches the Earth’s atmosphere provides 342 Wm–2—an average of day and night, poles and equator—keeping it warm enough for us to thrive. The estimated extra energy from excess CO2—the annual anthropogenic greenhouse gas contribution—is far smaller, according to Frank, at 0.036 Wm–2, or 0.01 percent of the sun’s energy. If our estimate of the sun’s energy were off by more than 0.01 percent, that error would swamp the estimated extra energy from excess CO2. And, unfortunately, the sun isn’t the only uncertainty we need to consider.

Freedom means freedom: not necessity, but choice; not responsibility, but the choice between responsibility and irresponsibility; not duty, but the choice between accepting and rejecting duty; not virtue, but the choice between virtue and vice. --Frank Meyer

AAAaaaaaannnnnnnnddddddd.....a graph:
It was a Scotsman named William Playfair who invented statistical graphics in the 18th century, during that period when the Scots were building the modern world. Here is a lovely line graph of his from 1786 showing England's trade balance with Norway and Denmark.

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