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koryo-restaurant-moscow

Went to the North Korean restaurant in Moscow the other day to fight American imperialism.

The food at the Koryo Korean Restaurant was actually rather good – I assume it must have improved considerably since Varlamov’s review from 2013.

The kimchi was properly fermented, as it ought to be (it has been about a year since I last had proper kimchi); the spicy duck soup was genuinely spicy; the cold noodles were superlative; the classic grilled meats were competitive with what you’d get at Korean eateries in the US. The one downside was the sashimi, which someone in our party insisted on ordering for some reason; the fish was almost frozen and the amount of wasabi offered was sufficient for just a couple of pieces. That said, I don’t blame them for that, it serves us right for kowtowing to the Jap aggressors.

However, the service was classically sovok – one dish was not the one we ordered (though it was delicious anyway), one guy’s beer took 40 minutes to arrive, the Nork qt’s waitressing us had minimal knowledge of Russian. Though one might take exception to this at any other establishment, I appreciated it as a nod to tradition – an immersion amplified by the DPRK patriotic songs blasting over from the no frills mirin bar.

And it all came out to just a bit more than to $140 for five people, including drinks ($28 per person; $22 without the lamentable sashimi). I would definitely go there again.

***

Main

* So about North Korea. China has made its position pretty clear in The Global Times, especially by Chinese standards:

China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral. If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.

A reminder that the Chinese don’t actually much like Kim Jong Un – he has blocked Chinese economic expansion in his country, and repressed pro-Chinese political factions (including members of his own family). However, they like the prospect of a collapsed DPRK and the extension of American influence to the Yalu even less.

* “Unite the Right” rally organized by some of the biggest names in the American Alt Right coming up today in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This has prompted Richard Spencer to finally make a manifesto of waht he sees as the core principles of the Alt Right:

In the latest instance of Silicon Valley corporations interfering with the de facto rights of Americans to express their political opinions, Airbnb has been preemptively deactivating the accounts of people it suspects of going to Charlottesville to participate in the rally (one wonders if there were any instances of “friendly fire” on Antifa). Those decisions are not subject to appeal, and will affect all future and duplicate accounts, in effect amounting to eternal excommunication by the high priests of the Cathedral.

Egor Kholmogorov commentary: “In this new world, if your politics aren’t approved of by the owners of Uber, or Airbnb, or food delivery services – you will have to walk by foot and remain hungry and stay at home.”

For my part, I feel ahead of the curve, having given Airbnb the finger half a year ago. :)

* Steve Bannon Wants Facebook and Google Regulated Like Utilities

Russia

* Report by Andrzej Wilk at a Polish think-tank: The best army Ukraine has ever had.

Some observations from it:

  • Claims that military spending in the Ukraine topped out at 2.5% in 2015-16, versus more commonly cited figures of 5%. This is sufficient just to pay for the extra costs of the ATO, with little left over for technical modernization.
  • The mobilization system for calling up reservists was amped up, though 204,000 troops is considered to be its ceiling at present capacities.
  • Notes that mobilization was least successful in the most nationalist far western Ukrainian provinces.

Another account by Vladimir Orlov, a Russian visiting the LDNR on the Colonel Cassad blog (h/t The Saker) is more pessimistic, noting a substantial improvement in the Ukrainian Army’s hi-tech inventory and reconaissance capabilities (going so far as triangulating mobile comms to pinpoint two Russians in the NAF and fielding a night vision equipped spec ops team to capture them).

* RFERL: Luxury cars arrive every day at the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in Kyiv

* Leonid Bershidsky: Why Some U.S. Ex-Spies Don’t Buy the Russia Story

VIPS instead surmises that, after WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016 his intention to publish Hillary Clinton-related emails, the DNC rushed to fabricate evidence that it had been hacked by Russia to defuse any potential WikiLeaks disclosures. To this end, the theory goes, the DNC used the Guccifer 2.0 online persona to release mostly harmless DNC data. …

The former found that 1,976 MB of Guccifer’s files were copied from a DNC server on July 5 in just 87 seconds, implying a transfer rate of 22.6 megabytes per second — or, converted to a measure most people use, about 180 megabits per second, a speed not commonly available from U.S. internet providers. Downloading such files this quickly over the internet, especially over a VPN (most hackers would use one), would have been all but impossible because the network infrastructure through which the traffic would have to pass would further slow the traffic. However, as Forensicator has pointed out, the files could have been copied to a thumb drive — something only an insider could have done — at about that speed.

* Louise Mensch finally gets round to blaming the Jews for Trump. The handshakeworthy are pissed off – only conspiracy theories involving Russian villains are kosher.

* Visits to Sputnik i Pogrom halve a month after Russia blocked them.

* FaceApp releases racial transformation feature, removes it after a day of getting harangued by blue checkmark American SJWs on Twitter. “Based Russia” send you its regards.

World

* Whole set of… whitepills (?) on the US.

Epic series of posts by Audacious Epigone on Generation Z(yklon):

Here is how the electoral map would look like if only whites of Generation Z were allowed to vote.

generation-zyklon-only-whites-vote

AE’s view is that, exposed to Alt Right propaganda, Generation Z has been throwing off the shackles of both progressivism and civic nationalism, and adopting American minority identity politics – which makes a sort of sense, since American whites are becoming a minority.

Based Julian Assange agrees with AE’s theory:

Whites are still over 60% of the voting population. As long as Democrats pander to identity politics the GOP will be able to herd whites into supporting it. It seems too late for the Democrats to disengage with identity politics. So GOP will continue to market itself (sotto voce) as the party of whites. Democrats will be out of most offices until whites lose their majority. That won’t be for a decade. Most countries that do not have a 70%+ super majority ethnic group have ethnicized electoral politics. For example Malaysia, where majority Malays correspond to whites in the US context. There is a risk for the Democrats that GOP will become like Barisan National in Malaysia and win the majority of offices for decades.

Potential problems:

  1. Will they survive the university brainwashing machine? It sure ruined the millennials.
  2. To what extent are Generation Zyklon natural shitlords, as opposed to teens reacting against Establishment shitlibs?

The strange case of Utah is moderately disquieting; it is, of course, one of the very few places in the US where the orthodoxy of the fathers is still conservatism. (Though it could also be the McMuffins eating away at a monolithic Republican edifice).

* White Births A US Majority Again. (Trump is too late to explain that, but one does wonder to what extent both could be viewed as a recovery of White morale).

Science

* Judson, Olivia – 2017 – The energy expansions of evolution:

The history of the life–Earth system can be divided into five ‘energetic’ epochs, each featuring the evolution of life forms that can exploit a new source of energy. These sources are: geochemical energy, sunlight, oxygen, flesh and fire.

The James Damore Affair

james-damore-in-goolag* The misc/culture wars segment this week has basically been monopolized by the James Damore story.

Depositing all the more significant links here for reference purposes:

James Damore

SJWs

Reasonable People

Google Poll

Or, which Silicon Valley oligarch should you trust most to not squash you like a bug in our automated sharing economy future?

google-right-to-fire-james-damore

Twitter Takes

  • Diana Fleischman: A handy graphic for understanding outrage at statements about average differences between groups.

fleischman-graph-groups

  • Julian Assange: “Identity politics 2.0 wars come to Google. Oh no. But mass spying is fine since its equal opportunity predation.”
  • Julian Assange: “Censorship is for losers. @WikiLeaks is offering a job to fired Google engineer James Damore. “
  • Tolerant Man: “These levels of irony shouldn’t be possible.”
  • Jack Posobiec: “Google’s Diversity VP is a Hillary Clinton sycophant. No wonder James Damore was fired”
  • AK: “MIT; Harvard; Princeton; FIDE Master in Chess (Elo 2300); top 15% percentile in physical fitness.” (I.e., not really a basement dwelling neckbeard).
  • Steve Sailer: “E.g., Google must never again hire smart white men like James Damore, just dumb Conquistador-Americans like Alex Hidalgo.”
  • Whyvert: “The liberal state supposed to be neutral? Not in realm of hostile-environment law: only anti-feminism never pro-feminism counts as hostile”

feminism-double-standard

 

  • Eiður Á. Möller‏: “Given how totalitarian Google has become both ideologically and technologically we need to demand separation of Search and State.”

Twitter Takes (SJWs)

  • Many examples at this Breitbart report.
  • Kelly Ellis: “I experienced this at Google, and was frustrated that they did nothing about rhetoric that was harming employees… It’s not just the rhetoric that’s the problem. What this employee said indicates discrimination and hostility. Google should fire him… LMAO I’m so glad I didn’t decide to return to Google. I would’ve flipped my shit. This gives me a new q to ask potential employers.”
  • Girl Who: “Google women: this memo is sexist bc it says women are emotional. Also Google women: we’re too emotional about this memo to go to work.”
  • /pol/: “Google is filled with employees who now feel emboldened to create public lists where anyone with “problematic” views can be flagged as such.”

DGuzQ9gWAAAtA8u

 

  • /pol/: “Google employee wrote a memo explaining how diversity of opinion was more important than just “diversity.” Leftists began to hunt him down.”

beating-damore

.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Google, North Korea, Open Thread 

Today I learned an American journalist friend was stabbed in Moscow. (Not, he was not anti-Putin, quite the contrary in fact, so it won’t be highlighted in the Western media).

Fortunately the injury seems to be quite minor, though I wish him the best for a speedy recovery regardless.

russia-deaths-external-causes-1990-2016 So about crime.

All things considered, Moscow is pretty safe; at any rate, I don’t fear walking the streets at night, even though my neighborhood is one of the more prole ones. It’s certainly a world away from American inner cities and the more “enriched” European banlieues. And this is reflected in both statistics and the “background rate” at which I hear of crime victimization from friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

For my part, the only “bad” experiences I had since returning here was a drunk aggressively demanding a cigarette, and some Gastarbeiters who insisted I pay more for moving some furniture than we had agreed on. Pretty irrelevant, all things told – about what I’d expect in a year in Berkeley.

Main

* Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College Admissions.

Predictably, some people are very unhappy about Trump doing anything for the most underrepresented ethnic minority at the Ivy Leagues relative to IQ (Gentile Whites).

Another take:

unz-betrayal

* Wia, Jonathan & Rindermann – 2017 – What goes into high educational and occupational achievement? Education, brains, hard work, networks, and other factors [pdf]

Specifically, how likely were global innovators and leaders intellectually talented or gifted when younger? This paper reviews retrospective data on multiple US samples (Total N = 11,745), including Chief Executive Officers, federal judges, politicians, multi-millionaires and billionaires, business leaders, elite journalists, and the “most globally powerful men and women”, examining to what extent these groups were in the top 1% in general intellectual talent in youth, also examining their educational backgrounds. About 50% of these leaders were in the top 1% of our indicator of ability, so overrepresented by a factor of about 50. Elite education, and especially the impact of Harvard, was notable, suggesting that in addition to talent, elite education and networks were important.

Unsurprising to anyone who follows the IQsphere, but it’s great to have all the research in one place nonetheless.

wai-high-status-iq

* Katja Grace: The range of human intelligence.

The time it took to move computers from average human to peak human performance across various domains – typically, on the order of several decades for many board games – suggests we should not expect a runaway superintelligence).

Russia

* I have nothing to add to Alexander Mercouris’ comprehensive analysis of the Russia sanctions Trump was cajoled into signing:

Two particularly acute observations. Trump’s (or his team’s) strategic acuity:

In doing so the Presidential Statement calls into question the wisdom of the whole measure, for example by worrying that its effect will be to “drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together”. It is actually remarkable that Donald Trump – a person wholly inexperienced in exercising public office – seems to be the only prominent public official in the US who worries about this.

And care in sidestepping any possible grounds for impeachment:

Indeed the more I think about this bizarre sanctions law the more I wonder whether the impeachment scenario I have just outlined may have been the very scenario that it was intended to engineer.

* Chicago Council: American Opinion on US-Russia Relations: From Bad to Worse

poll-us-attitudes-to-russia

* Alex Jones’ Infowars: Putin’s Top Advisor Warns The World Of Globalist, Satanic AI Takeover Plan

Dugin is not Putin’s advisor, let alone the “top” one. He is a nutcase who is far better known in the West than he is in Russia.

* From the two-bit neocons that brought you PropOrNot, yet another project to “expose” Russian cyber-propaganda.

* Was finally blocked by Louise Mensch. What took her so long?

World

* Gizmodo: Here’s The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google [Updated]

Can’t be bothered reading it all, but a quick skim suggests it’s very tame, common sense stuff.

But the Respectable People are still very triggered by it, so he’ll probably be fired.

If you feel isolated by this, that your views are basically unwelcome in tech and can’t be spoken about… well, that’s a fair point. These views are fundamentally corrosive to any organization they show up in, drive people out, and I can’t think of any organization not specifically dedicated to those views that they would be welcome in. I’m afraid that’s likely to remain a serious problem for you for a long time to come. But our company is committed to maintaining a good environment for all of its people, and if one person is determined to thwart that, the solution is pretty clear.

I’m writing this here, in this message, because I’m no longer at the company and can say this sort of thing openly. But I want to make it very clear: if you were in my reporting chain, all of part (3) would have been replaced with a short “this is not acceptable” and maybe that last paragraph above. You would have heard part (3) in a much smaller meeting, including you, me, your manager, your HRBP, and someone from legal. And it would have ended with you being escorted from the building by security and told that your personal items will be mailed to you. And the fact that you think this was “all in the name of open discussion,” and don’t realize any of these deeper consequences, makes this worse, not better.

* YouTube partners with the ADL to make “the internet a safe space for all.” We can be sure enforcement will be entirely partial.

* Poland wants muh reparations from Germany.

* Eun-Soon Im et al. – 2017 – Deadly heat waves projected in the densely populated agricultural regions of South Asia

Previous work has shown that a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C can be considered an upper limit on human survivability. … We project that extremes of wet-bulb temperature in South Asia are likely to approach and, in a few locations, exceed this critical threshold by the late 21st century under the business-as-usual scenario of future greenhouse gas emissions. The most intense hazard from extreme future heat waves is concentrated around densely populated agricultural regions of the Ganges and Indus river basins.

Here’s a simulation that was run several years ago at a global level. South Asia even then looked like it would be the first major region to start becoming uninhabitable, which is incovenient, since it hosts about 20% of the world population.

* Jean Raspail says that publishing Camp of the Saints would be impossible now. He could be persecuted 87 different ways for it based on current French legislation.

* Green, Christopher & Martin – 2017 – Historical impact in psychology differs between demographic groups

men-vs-women-on-eminent-psychologists

Interesting to see the women mention both Charles Spearman and even Hans Eysenck (!).

* Argument #97832 from Julia Ioffe on America’s pressing need for a big wall.

ioffe-argues-for-wall

* 24/26 Somali federal Ministers have their families outside the country.

somali-ministers

.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

This week’s Open Thread.

Main

* Russian sanctions

“Trump doesn’t want to be friends with China, the elites won’t let him be friends with Russia, and the EU doesn’t want to be friends with Trump.” – Egor Kholmogorov.

As pithy a summary of this last week’s clusterfuck as any.

Germany (!) considers the US sanctions to be in violation of international law, and has told the European Commission to look at countermeasures.

Russia expelling 755 US diplomats and seizure of US diplomatic compounds is a delayed reaction to Obama’s analogous step at the tail end of his Presidency. The response had been suspended to give Trump time to normalize relations, but with the prospect of that going out of the window with the Senate’s 98-2 vote in favor of widening Russian sanctions, there was no longer any point to holding it off.

Russia’s response to the actual US sanctions are a different matter and will be formulated as the situation develops.

Russia

* Alexander Mercouris reviews How I Lost by Hillary Clinton, by Joe Lauria.

* Alexey Kovalev seems to confirm that the guy who runs the legendary @RussianEmbassy Twitter account is Alexander Kramarenko, vice ambassador in London.

This is a guy in his 60s who posts pepe memes. Based boomer?

* Mikheil Saakashvili has been deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship, formally on the basis of him having neglecting to inform the authorities he was wanted in Georgia. Since the Georgians had stripped him of his Georgian citizenship in 2015 by dint of him having received Ukrainian citizenship, this effectively makes him a stateless person.

His mistake was to take Maidanist rhetoric about reform and the war against corruption at face value. As Ukraine’s most popular (least unpopular) major political figure, his increasing oppositionalism to the Poroshenko clan must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Latest word is he is now living with his relatives in the Bronx (as an undocumented alien?). How the mighty are fallen.

* Eighty years ago Stalin launched the Great Terror.

World

* North Korea

The past few weeks have seen a spate of North Korean missile testing successes, so much so that there I have been saying many comments to the effect that China or Russia must be helping them out (even though its evident that neither supports the nuclearization of the Korean peninsula).

For HBD-aware people, there’s a much more succinct explanation: The average IQ of North Korea must be close to 100. And of course a huge percentage of North Korea’s brighest are engaged in military R&D. This is why Israel, South Africa(n whites), and now North Korea have been successful at developing a nuclear deterrent – while the likes of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and even Iran, who are a standard deviation lower – have failed at it.

* Who funds the Press Freedom Index? The usual suspects.

* Sperm counts fall by 50% in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand between 1973 and 2011 – but not in Asia, Africa, or South America. The hypotheses put forth there don’t seem all that likely.

Misc

* So it seems that Game of Thrones has basically stopped paying any heed to logistics or manpower realities.

* Hilarious Wheel of Time review.

* Best defense of corruption ever?

pigdog-corruption-is-good

* PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS gets the record for the highest peak player count of any non-Valve game.

 

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

moscow-rain

This is the weekly Open Thread.

This week I also participated in a podcast with Robert Stark about transhumanism and effective altruism.

***

HBD/IQ

* Baptiste Dumoulin & Emil O. W. Kirkegaard – The Decline of Brussels: Immigration and social inequality in Belgium

* Via James Thompson who is at the ISIR conference in Montreal:

***

Russia

* The Navalny vs. Strelkov debate on July 20.

I am going to have a separate post on that. Strelkov performed a lot better than I feared and expected, and handily won the debate. (Even many liberals had to concede that).

little-russia

* DNR head Alexander Zakharchenko declared the formation of Malorossiya, consisting of all of Ukraine, with its capital in Donetsk.

The idea was put forwards without any consultations with the LNR, and apparently even the Kremlin, and was almost immediately forgotten. Just like Zakharchenko’s bizarre proclamation this March that Ukraine would cease to exist in 60 days.

The idea is total nonsense, of course, even from a Russian nationalist (i.e. historical) perspective. Little Russia is the territory of central Ukraine around Kiev, which was brought into the Tsardom of Russia by the Treaty of Pereyaslav in 1654. Southern Ukraine, i.e. Novorossiya, was a land directly conquered by the Russian Empire’s force of arms.

I don’t know how this came to be. Maybe some part of the Kremlin “towers” wanted to give things a push to see how Poroshenko/the West would react. Maybe it was the result of a Zakharchenko and Zakhar Prilepin and some other DNR honchos going on a drunken bender. What it is not is anything serious.

* Patrick Armstrong on the “Russia’s economy is smaller than Italy’s[Canada's/California's/Spain's] trope”.

* Vincent Law: What Is Russia Turning Into?

* China, Russia Sign Media Agreement to Challenge “Dominance of Western Media”

At the present time, most discourse on China itself in Russia happens through a Western prism (as far as I’m aware, the same is true of China). Since Russia only has a few dozen academic China specialists, this could hardly be otherwise. This is a good initiative, but there needs to be more Chinese who know Russian, and many more Russians who know Chinese.

* Former Novorossiya Armed Forces soldier from UK jailed for five years for “preparing terrorism.”

No idea why he plead guilty; nobody apart from the Ukraine considers the NAF/DNR/LNR to be terrorist groups.

* Affirmative action Kremlinology:

brazile-kremlinology

reid-kremlinology-1

reid-kremlinology-2

***

World

* I suppose the John McCain brain cancer jokes write themselves – no need for futher commentary on my part.

My favorite McCain story is when he demanded Pravda give him an op-ed like NYT did for Putin – learly the only Russian newspaper he and his idiot staff knew about. Pravda was a bottom-tier tabloid big on alien abduction stories that very few read, and McCain duly got his op-ed there.

* Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

It would be hilarious (though oddly appropriate) if Ziocons were to put the First Amendment out of its misery – instead of the SJWs whom we were expecting.

* What American people care about vs. what American fakestream media cares about:

american-people-vs-press

* Israel Shamir: Are Non-Jews Human?

* Ugo Bardi on why asteroid mining is a Muskian pipedream.

* The Economist: Poles apart – Why central and eastern European children lag behind in British schools.

Unexpected result. Though as Philip Owen explains, “It is just Lambeth.”

* Review of Garett Jones’ Hive Mind by Jeremy Cooper.

* Ireland, along with the US, is much richer than its national IQ would suggest. Why? Well, its GDP figures might be ridiculously overvalued.

* Rolf Degen: “The alphabet was originally designed by illiterate miners from the templates of a few Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs”:

alphabet-invention

The invention of the alphabet was a central event in global cultural/scientific history; all else equal, it allows far more people to be literate than under logographic systems. It would be hilarious if a contingency like this contributed to Europe beating China to the industrial revolution.

* Blank, Meredith et al. – 2017 – Political Regime Type and Warfare: Evidence from 600 Years of European History

Using a novel database of interstate conflict in Europe between 1200 and 1800, we perform the first quantitative analysis of domestic political institutions and warfare across the pre-modern era. We find that early parliamentary regimes — the institutional predecessors of modern democracies — were disproportionately more likely to experience armed conflict than their absolutist counterparts.

* Louisa Lim: How Class in China Became Politically Incorrect

Research by the University of Sydney’s David Goodman has found that around 84% of today’s elite are direct descendants of the elite from pre-1949. This suggests that six decades of Communism may not have a dramatic impact upon the elites, who have the advantage of decades of capital accumulation — including economic, cultural and social capital — which have apparently continued to benefit them under the party-state system.

***

Culture

* Looks like GabeN is experimenting with movie-making with Oats Studios.

My favorite from Volume 1:

Rakka is what I imagine a Tyranid invasion would be like.

Zygote is insanely horrific.

* ADL: From Alt Right to Alt Lite: Naming the Hate. Cucking hard didn’t save the latter from featuring on antifa’s hitlist.

* Some blackpills:

* FEMEN have fired up the coal furnaces. So predictable.

* Skinner, Allison & Hudac – 2017 – “Yuck, you disgust me!” Affective bias against interracial couples

Study 1 demonstrates that bias against interracial romance is correlated with disgust. Study 2 provides evidence that images of interracial couples evoke a neural disgust response among observers – as indicated by increased insula activation relative to images of same-race couples. Consistent with psychological theory indicating that disgust leads to dehumanization, Study 3 demonstrates that manipulating disgust leads to implicit dehumanization of interracial couples. Overall, the current findings provide evidence that interracial couples elicit disgust and are dehumanized relative to same-race couples. These findings are particularly concerning, given evidence of antisocial reactions (e.g., aggression, perpetration of violence) to dehumanized targets.

People are also more disgusted by faggots than maggots despite a few decades’ worth of homosexualist propaganda.

Social engineering can make people say they approve of race mixing and fag marriage in opinion polls but can’t change base human nature.

* Ananda Coomaraswamy:

coomeraswamy-anti-west

***

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

brotherhood-without-banners

SPOILERS UP TO END OF SEASON 6

Review: 6/10

I am no longer a big fan of the series (the only TV series I follow through the excellent cable alternative qBittorrent). It’s not even that I’m a stickler for book accuracy, or a “bookfag”; as I have pointed out, I believe that some things the show did do better. A few characters and organizations – Tywin, Bronn, the Faith Militant especially come to mind – were fleshed out better. The absence of Lady Stoneheart was a welcome departure from the book. Even Sansa’s “ordeals” with Ramsay Bolton were a bold, if questionable, plot decision.

Still, as the book/show timelines have continued to diverge, it has become increasingly clear that Benioff & Weiss (or “D&D” as they’re disparagingly called) are talentless hacks incapable of maintaining interest in the story without a constant stream of illogical “surprises” and shock deaths. The Dorne episode has been universally panned as a disaster from start to finish, and yet IMO it was still good in comparison with the ridiculous fate of Show!Stannis, who rage quit on the Baratheon family line thanks to Ramsay Bolton and his 20 good men. And Brienne just had to be there in the midst of a chaotic battle to personally put Stannis out of his misery.

Season 6 hasn’t much much of an improvement over the disaster that was the previous one.

Kingslaying is supposed to be this great taboo in Westeros, but we are to believe that the Dornish guards stood by by as their popular and benevolent ruler was cut down by his dead brother’s consort and her bastard daughters. It doesn’t even make any sense from Ellaria Sand’s viewpoint; are we really to believe that the dying wish of the man she loved would have been for her to avenge Elia Martell by… killing all of the rest of the family line? (Not even going to go into the mechanics of how the Sand Snakes managed to instantly kill that massive black dude, the captain of Doran’s guards, with a single dagger in the back). That entire scene made no sense from either common sense or the ethical framework of Westeros.

Anyhow, I found that particular scene so overly ridiculous that, on seeing it a year ago, I didn’t even bother watching the rest of the season in disgust until a week ago.

The Dorne debacle could have perhaps been excused as the price the show had to pay for putting an end to all that nonsense with the Sand Snakes. To the contrary, kinslaying and kingslaying have actually become entirely normalized affairs – in a society where Jaime Lannister faces widespread opprobrium for betraying and killing the “Mad King.” Euron openly bragged about killing his king and brother at the kingsmoot of the ironborn, apologizing only for not doing it sooner, and was duly elected king to voluble applause; at which point he immediately proceeded with a further attempt at kinslaying. Ramsay stabbed his father, Roose, and assumed lordship of House Bolton without any major problems or resistance… even though the Boltons kill and torture peasants pretty much at will, surely that should have been a step too far even for them. But apparently not.

That said, I can’t say it was too bad, especially relative to the low expectations I had developed for it. I would even say it was better than Season 5, though perhaps primarily because that was when we had to come to terms that GRRM’s story was finished, and that D&D didn’t have a tenth of his talent.

It also featured what is IMO the finest soundtrack of the entire show, by Ramin Djawadi:

What’s going to happen in Season 7? (no spoilers)

The newly crowned Cersei is in a completely untenable position. The Tyrrells, the single richest House in the Seven Kingdoms, with an army of 80,000, are now her sworn enemies; with all its direct heirs dead, the House’s matriarch Lady Olenna has nothing to lose, and has made common cause with Dorne, with its army of 50,000 spears untouched by the War of the Five Kings.

As if that isn’t enough, they have made an alliance with Daenerys, who has a host of 50,000 Dothraki horsemen, 8,000 Unsullied, a bunch of mercenaries, an armada, and three dragons. The North and the Vale are also hostile; the former has been wracked by years of war, but the latter are at their prime strength, having remained neutral in the war. At least there is the hope that the northern kingdoms are going to have their hands full now that winter has come and the White Walker invasion is imminent.

And if all that isn’t bad enough, the Lannisters’ gold mines have run dry, and the Crown owes untold amounts of septims to the Iron Bank of Bravoos (my pet theory: The Iron Bank also has the Faceless Men at their beck and call… there’s presumably a good reason why the Bank always get its due. And who’s the conveniently located Faceless Man in Westeros with a grudge against Lannisters?)

The Lannisters have, at most, perhaps 40,000 worn down troops, including the King’s Landing city guards. Furthermore, if the first episode of Season 7 is anything to go by, a significant propotion of their army now consists of green recruits.

The commonfolk, the septons, and the nobles whose friends and relatives were burned to a crisp by wildfire at the Sept of Baelor all hate Queen Cersei.

Their only allies are the Freys, who are of questionable worth in the first place, and whose continued existence is, in any case, open to doubt following Arya’s assassination of their patriarch Walder in the final episode of last season.

What do these ominous comparisons presage for the Lannisters? Their triumph, of course.

Yes, this is going to be my bet for this season. For Daenerys to put Cersei out of her misery and team up with Jon against the White Walkers would be too logical, boring, and predictable. The game of thrones will not stop even as the song of ice and fire reaches its apocalyptic crescendo – and for that to happen, Cersei will have to hang on for just a bit longer.

Here is how I think the season will go, to be proven or disproven in the next seven weeks.

Euron’s Iron Fleet will triumph over Daenerys’ armada. I don’t know how he will deal with the dragons. In the books, Euron has a horn that can “bind” dragons, but including it in the show would be too much of a deus ex machina (though nothing can be excluded with D&D). In any case, Daenerys’ armada will be destroyed and a large percentage of the Dothraki and Unsullied will have to pay their mite to the Drowned God. She herself will be confined to Dragonstone, like Stannis after his defeat at the Battle of the Blackwater.

This will demoralize the Lannisters’ enemies. The Dornishmen will start asking WTF they’re doing fighting for kingslaying usurper bastards, and the lesser Houses of the Reach will rebel against the ruling Tyrrells and their Redwyine allies (the Tarlys are prime candidates to head this betrayal). Highgarden finishes the season under the gold-red flag – as well as its vast grain, manpower, and monetary resources. The Iron Bank is satiated, and extends Cersei a new loan.

Seeing no realistic chance of furthering her claim to the Iron Throne in the near future, coupled with Jon’s insistence that the real struggle is the one against the White Walkers, Daenerys will decide to follow in Stannis’ footsteps, taking her dragons and what remains of her army and fleet to the North – as well as copious dragonglass supplies. Since this is the penultimate season, the final highlight will surely be hordes of White Walkers and the undead poring south over the Wall.

Cersei will eventually meet an exceedingly sticky end, her murderer’s hands wrapping about her pale white throat and choking the life from her – at least, going by the valonqar prophecy – but that is for the last season.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Film, Game of Thrones, Review 

moscow-street

On a quixotic quest to find a cheap watering hole around central Moscow. So far the best price/quality ratio I’ve found is 190 ruble beer (Siberian Corona) at the Duckstar’s chain.

There are 150 ruble beers at the Kristiss cafe by the Patriarch Ponds but it’s really bottom-tier stuff.

My favorite central Moscow bar for casual meetups remains Dati Rayka, though the beers there are pricier at 250-300 rubles.

I went to my first Indian restaurant in Moscow, Aromass, last Tuesday. Unimpressive, at least relative to what I was used to in West and Tandoor in SPB. The samosas were cool and bland, the naan seemed store-bought, the curries and palak paneer were underwhelming, the masala chai had a predominantly bitter flavor instead of the mix of spices it should be, though the service was nice. Are there any other Indian restaurant recommendations in Moscow?

***

* Ron Unz has some new improvements to the site.

Science

* William D. Hill et al. – 2017 – A combined analysis of genetically correlated traits identifies 107 loci associated with intelligence

* James Thompson has a writeup of the Zabaneh, D. et al. 2017 paper.

* Timeline of anti-ageing developments since 2015.

* G.K. Chesterton on eugenics: In this sense people say of Eugenics, “After all, whenever we discourage a schoolboy from marrying a mad negress with a hump back, we are really Eugenists.” Again one can only answer, “Confine yourselves strictly to such schoolboys as are naturally attracted to hump-backed negresses; and you may exult in the title of Eugenist, all the more proudly because that distinction will be rare.” (h/t Anon)

Russia

* Russian economics/demographics blogger zemfort1983 estimates Russia’s population, adjusting for undocumented longterm Central Asian residents and other factors, at 150.1 million versus the official 146.7 million as of 2016.

zemfort1983-russia-real-population

* Sputnik i Pogrom has an update on why they were blocked. Roskomnadzor sent their YouTube channel a takedown notice, and YouTube sent it on to Sputnik i Pogrom.

Here is one example of their extremism:

In the article “The Kyrgyz again got a gift of $240 million Russian money” it says the following: “The Russian Federation has sinned against the Kyrgyz. Russian skinheads forced a simple guy from the town of Osh, Akbardzhon Djalilov, to blow himself up in the metro.” (This is in reference to the SPB metro terrorist attack).

Which social/ethnic group, exactly, is this supposed to “insult”? Russian skinheads? /s

Or maybe, as Israel Shamir posits, this is a Jewish plot to sabotage Russian relations with the great superpower of Kyrgyzstan.

Anyhow, as I suspected, the lameness of the justifications goes to confirm that the authorities have had it with Sputnik i Pogrom and with nationalists who refuse to toe the Kremlin line.

* One LDPR deputy is going to send an official request for clarification to the Prosecutor General asking for an explanation as to why it was blocked. Reminder that Zhirinovsky has also come out against this, as has at least one Communist deputy.

* Incidentally, I can still access Sputnik i Pogrom without any workarounds with Rostelekom. #BasedISP

* John Helmer: The new proposed US sanctions directly target Kremlin-friendly oligarchs: “… lines of credit to international banks; the brokers, repositories and clearinghouses of their shares and bonds; their trade with the US and Europe; their US companies, bank accounts, boats on the high seas and homes abroad. If targeting the oligarchs is followed by formal sanctions, the aim will be to destroy their power at home and abroad.

* Leonid Bershidsky on how Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer figuring in the latest round of the Russiagate scandal, is actually a minor, unimportant figure.

* Leonid Bershidsky’s obituary for Ilya Glazunov.

* Russia’s leading libertarian Mikhail Svetov appears to have written an inordinate amount of pro-pedophilia blog posts several years back (according to some cyber-sleuthing by ROGPR contributor @pigdog).

* Eric Garland overdosing on the ROGpill. That entire Tweetstorm is amazing.

World

* Andrey Martyanov: The Russo-Chinese Alliance Explained. Incidentally, there’s a great discussion in the comments (see especially Thorfinsson and Randal).

* Friedrich Zauner: Is it Too Late for Germany?

He cites an article by Jochen Renz, a German professor in Australia, who has some interesting statistics on crime rates by immigrant group in Germany.

Unsurprisingly, it tallies with my post and Emil Kirkegaard’s paper. He also has data per year.

renz-german-crime-rates-ethnic

* Chinese tertiary enrolment rises to 40%. Yet another gap is closed.

china-tertiary-enrolment

Culture War

guardian-fewer-white-children

* The Guardian: Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children. (White children, to be precise).

* Israel Shamir on the Jewish Question:

Anatol, being against Jews is the essence of Right Nationalism, and Left Nationalism. It is not “weird obsession”. You can read a very anti-Jewish author Simone Weil (d. 1944) who explains that by “Jews are the poison of uprooting”, the sentence that T.S. Eliot used much. Jews-friendly Nationalism is a clear sign of manipulated lot. Your “do not care” shows that you are not aware of metaphysical depth of Nationalism. For you it is just a form of Neo-Darwinism. But people are not squirrels, and nationalism without metaphysics is tribalism, like a Georgian-Abkhaz quarrel.

* Macron is becoming even more of a /pol/ meme. His comments on African fertility have managed to trigger Ross Douthat.

macron-pol-meme

Anyhow, it’s not yet time for existential panic. He’s still liberalism.txt to a tee.

macron-iphone

* SoundCloud might be close to bankruptcy. Good riddance.

* TIL Nick Land has a book called Fanged Noumena and it is as impenetrably arcane as you’d expect.

hypervirus

nik-land-cold

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

moscow-summer

One of the many underappreciated aspects of commie blocks: It’s almost like living high up in a forest.

Went out for July 4 to some American expat bars. The ones who are still here are usually Western media-hating vatniks. One of the many underappreciated aspects of the sanctions.

Week’s links.

Science

* Many statistical methods were first developed by psychometricians (via Emil Kirkegaard).

This reminds me of a longstanding principle in statistics, which is that, whatever you do, somebody in psychometrics already did it long before. I’ve noticed this a few times. Once, about ten years ago, I was at a conference where computer scientists were talking about some pretty elaborate statistical models, and I realized these were the same as some things I’d seen Iven Van Mechelen and his colleagues working on in the Psychology Department at Leuven. Then, more recently, I wrote this article with David Park on splitting a predictor into three parts, and it turned out that similar work had been done in 1928! by psychometric researcher T. L. Kelley (and, oddly enough, E. Cureton in 1957).

* Woodley, Michael et al. – 2017 – Holocene selection for variants associated with cognitive ability: Comparing ancient and modern genomes.

Summarized by James Thompson: Are we cleverer than the ancients? Genetic studies are suggesting: Yes. (As expected).

* Kulivets & Ushakov – 2016 – Modeling Relationship between Cognitive Abilities and Economic

We propose that problem solving is the mediator between human competencies and achievements. Creation of goods and services is based on problem solving in design, production and delivery. The quality of problem solving depends on human competencies and, in turn, determines economic achievements. More importantly, the choice of problems to be solved creates or does not create the possibility for application of highly qualified labor and, as a result, for full-fledged realization of human capital. We propose a mathematical model based on these assumptions. The simulation reproduces most important traits of Lynn and Vanhanen’s (2002) findings. The simulation shows a non-linear growth of economic achievements with national IQ growth as well as an increase of between countries variance. Thereby the proposed model can serve as a satisfactory explanation for empirical data on links between national IQs and economic achievements.

* Read through a couple of papers (1, 2) on the persecution of geneticists and eugenicists under Stalin. Sovok bastards. What else can you call them? (I suppose its very unfair to literal bastards).

There is a theory energetically propounded by one particular commenter here that the 1920s Soviet Union was awful, full of crazy leftist ideologues, but the 1930s were a period of transition to a much better conservative society. In reality, researching even these potentially controversial topics was perfectly safe in the 1920s and actually enjoyed the support of elements of the Communist Party (while they did suppress non-leftist currents in philosophy and the arts, they left hard sciences alone). Then a certain Georgian penal colony graduate decided genetics was a “bourgeois perversion” and within a few years a huge proportion of the leading Soviet geneticists were dead or abroad.

Anyhow, all this finally triggered a meltdown on the part of our commenter, so I doubt he’ll be back anytime soon (though the doors are always open).

* Zabaneh, D. et al. – 2017 – A genome-wide association study for extremely high intelligence

We used a case–control genome-wide association (GWA) design with cases consisting of 1238 individuals from the top 0.0003 (~170 mean IQ) of the population distribution of intelligence and 8172 unselected population-based controls. The single-nucleotide polymorphism heritability for the extreme IQ trait was 0.33 (0.02), which is the highest so far for a cognitive phenotype, and significant genome-wide genetic correlations of 0.78 were observed with educational attainment and 0.86 with population IQ. Three variants in locus ADAM12 achieved genome-wide significance, although they did not replicate with published GWA analyses of normal-range IQ or educational attainment. A genome-wide polygenic score constructed from the GWA results accounted for 1.6% of the variance of intelligence in the normal range in an unselected sample of 3414 individuals, which is comparable to the variance explained by GWA studies of intelligence with substantially larger sample sizes. The gene family plexins, members of which are mutated in several monogenic neurodevelopmental disorders, was significantly enriched for associations with high IQ. This study shows the utility of extreme trait selection for genetic study of intelligence and suggests that extremely high intelligence is continuous genetically with normal-range intelligence in the population.

* Hill, William et al. – 2017 – A combined analysis of genetically correlated traits identifies 107 loci associated with intelligence

This allowed us to utilize a novel approach, Multi-Trait Analysis of Genome-wide association studies (MTAG; Turley et al. 2017), to combine two large genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of education and household income to increase power in the largest GWAS on intelligence so far (Sniekers et al. 2017)… We found 107 independent loci associated with intelligence, implicating 233 genes, using both SNP-based and gene-based GWAS. We find evidence that neurogenesis may explain some of the biological differences in intelligence as well as genes expressed in the synapse and those involved in the regulation of the nervous system. We show that the results of our combined analysis demonstrate the same pattern of genetic correlations as a single measure/the simple measure of intelligence, providing support for the meta-analysis of these genetically-related phenotypes. We find that our MTAG meta-analysis of intelligence shows similar genetic correlations to 26 other phenotypes when compared with a GWAS consisting solely of cognitive tests. Finally, using an independent sample of 6 844 individuals we were able to predict 7% of intelligence using SNP data alone.

Russia

* PutletZOG blocks Sputnik i Pogrom. See my two posts on that:

* Alexander Mercouris: The 12 baseless claims that form Russiagate

moscow-23rd-century* Futurist stamps from 1914, envisaging Moscow in the 23rd century

* Moscow Times closing its print edition and relocating to the Netherlands. It has bled cash for years, and with the sanctions, its consumer base – clueless base – has also dried up. The businesspeople who remain in Russia are those for the long-haul, and they don’t tend to be interested in the Very Important Opinions of interns fresh from US colleges.

aris-svidomy-kiev* The correct English language spelling of Kiev is Kiev, not Kyiv. This is acknowledged even by Ben Aris’ Twitter followers, despite him having campaigned for “Kyiv” for years. It is also gramatically correct to write “the Ukraine,” though I don’t generally do that myself because I’m lazy.

BTW, did anyone else notice that it is generally loser countries who care about how their names are spelt in English?

* Emil Kirkegaard: Negative correlations between % of population with a degree and Putin’s share of the vote.

kirkegaard-moscow-degree-putni

Those of you who’ve read my posts on Moscow won’t be surprised by this.

Putin’s electorate is Fishtown (Uralvagonzavod in Russia), especially since his conservative-populist tilt for 2012 elections. This is a global trend, and Russia isn’t an exception.

World

* Cool comment by Al on my article on Africa. He has personal experience there and is highly optimistic on Ethiopia.

For a supposedly reality-based community, the HBDosphere has a major blind spot regarding where Africa is today and possible scenarios for its future. Africa has 55 countries; doom and gloom is not applicable to them all. …

Someone expressed doubts about the increasing crop yields. They’re true. Ethiopia has been growing at or over 10% year-on-year since the turn of the millenium. This growth has been obtained by investment on family farms (there are very few large private estates in Ethiopia, since the Communist dictatorship of 1974-1992 had expropriated all land). This means growth has been broad and benefited a large proportion of the population. It also means it is sustainable. Ethiopia is set to be the fastest growing economy in the world this year, despite suffering from a drought (more below).

* Steve Sailer collects his Africa graphs in one post.

* Buried within the GSS, Audacious Epigone finds that 5% of non-US citizens voted in the 2016 US elections – or at least claimed too.

With non-citizen residents in the US comprising around 8% of the population, a 5% turnout rate up against a total turnout rate of 57% for the 2016 election gets us under 1% of all votes cast and so not enough to give the popular vote to Trump, but plausibly enough to flip New Hampshire and possibly even Somali-saturated Minnesota.

Low sample size, but merits vigorous investigation; this is huge if true.

* @akarlin88: Macron proclaims Jupiterian Presidency, glories of monarchy. Faustian man’s yearning for Caesar’s return transcending ideological lines?

* Elite attitudes to immigration (via @whyvert):

elites-on-immigration

* Winston Churchill on National Jews, International Jews, and Terrorist Jews.

Culture War

cnn-jews* Glenn Greenwald: CNN Warns It May Expose an Anonymous Critic if He Ever Again Publishes Bad Content

The /r/The_Donald shitposter’s sin was to notice “something strange” about CNN. Incidentally, is this chart accurate? I mean I realize Jews have huge influence over the media, but to this extent?

* Sarah Palin: Trump Gives Speech to the People of Poland, Says 14 Words That Leave Americans Stunned. Big if true! :)

* Happy 20th anniversary Harry Potter! Reminder that Voldemort did nothing wrong.

voldemort-nothing-wrong

The MQ (magic quotient) has been in dysgenic decline for centuries, at least judging by the feats of Hogwarts’ founders.

Unless magic is a function of cognitive ability, as Eliezer Yudkowsky insists.

In that case, the induction of Muggles might even increase the average MQ of the wizarding world – but only if Hogwarts adopts stringent academic entrance exams. Which are for all intents and purposes the magical world’s equivalent of borders.

* @rishikesh_news: In the past countries were proud of their scientists and writers, now they are proud that their gays can marry.

* @SOBL: Would love your opinion on whether 21stC progressives will take science down Lysenkoistic road or just primitive http://www.socialmatter.net/2017/07/02/progressives-will-make-science-primitive/

Denial will become harder as genomics moves ahead in next 10 years. Neo-Lysenkoism will either collapse or will become more authoritarian.

Hopefully the former, of course, but I can’t exclude the latter. The USSR did have the late Brezhnev.

Not that I’m a fan of *any* ideological approach to science but Right’s main saving grace is that it’s fixations are likely less harmful.

.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

I’ll be busy the next few days, there won’t be many poasts, so I suppose now is as good as any for a big linkfest covering the past month.

My more interesting posts from last few days

I also published the notes and slides for my SPB lecture on HBD and the Alt Right (in Russian, obviously).

As well as a Facebook “debate” with pozzed Russian liberals about it. (In response to Greasy William’s question: “isn’t everybody already HBD aware in Russia anyway? Don’t think there will be much a market for alt right views in a culture where everybody is alt right by default.” Well, here’s your answer. Nothing Russian liberals do at this point can really surprise seeing as they are a living sketch of a Marquis de Custine vignette. Even so it was still pretty surreal to hear the phrase “maga chuds” in Russian, and to have a “follow your leader” meme thrown at me by a fairly prominent figure in the anti-Putin liberal opposition, who then proceeded to block me.

***

Syrian civil war update

map-syria-afrin

* At this point Afrin canton is probably living on borrowed time, if persistent rumors in the past few weeks are to be believed.

As soon as the SDF finish taking Raqqa, or maybe even sooner, the TFSA (Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army) will move into Afrin, apparently with Russia’s and Iran’s acquiescence.

Russia has no obligations to Rojava, whose primary sponsor is the US. Though Russia does have good relations with it, and with the administration in Afrin especially.

But chaining yourself to Erdogan like this is risky. He is treacherous in the extreme, and linking up the TFSA zone in North Syria with the main jihadist stronghold around Idlib could really blow up in Russia’s face if Erdogan decides to shove another knife into Putin’s spine (a Runet meme by now). Especially considering that…

* Seymour Hersh: Trump‘s Red Line

Confirms Syria sarin attacks were false flags. But who cares now? Nikki Haley now basically egging the jihadists on to make another.

* The Saker seems to have finally stopped peddling the fiction that Russia is capable of doing anything to stop its modest Syrian forces from being swept off the board in the event of a full-scale confrontation with the US in that region.

I am pretty sure that Iran isn’t going to throw itself on a sword for Russia, so I have long been of the opinion that Putin’s main options would be to either (1) retaliate in theaters where Russia has military predominance, such as Ukraine or even the Baltics; or (2) retreat in ignominy and focus on beefing up the police and propaganda apparatus to avoid Milosevic’s fate.

***

IQ/HBD, Interesting Odds and Ends

* London psychometrics conference. Lots of excellent presentations by all accounts, here is a video of Emil Kirkegaard on “Differential immigrant group performance: A matter of intelligence?”

* James Thompson’s series of posts on on Davide Piffer (1, 2, 3, 4)

* Map of psychometrics (Unz.com is a central node)

* Sniekers et al. – 2017 – Genome-wide association meta-analysis of 78,308 individuals identifies new loci and genes influencing human intelligence

Intelligence is associated with important economic and health-related life outcomes. Despite intelligence having substantial heritability (0.54) and a confirmed polygenic nature, initial genetic studies were mostly underpowered. Here we report a meta-analysis for intelligence of 78,308 individuals. We identify 336 associated SNPs (METAL P < 5 × 10-8) in 18 genomic loci, of which 15 are new. Around half of the SNPs are located inside a gene, implicating 22 genes, of which 11 are new findings. Gene-based analyses identified an additional 30 genes (MAGMA P < 2.73 × 10-6), of which all but one had not been implicated previously. We show that the identified genes are predominantly expressed in brain tissue, and pathway analysis indicates the involvement of genes regulating cell development (MAGMA competitive P = 3.5 × 10-6). Despite the well-known difference in twin-based heritability for intelligence in childhood (0.45) and adulthood (0.80), we show substantial genetic correlation (rg = 0.89, LD score regression P = 5.4 × 10-29). These findings provide new insight into the genetic architecture of intelligence.

* Scott Alexander’s series of posts on Hungarian Jews and human accomplishment (1, 2, 3).

I wonder about this because of a sentiment I hear a lot, from people who know more about physics than I do, that we just don’t get people like John von Neumann or Leo Szilard anymore.

There’s a banally simple explanation for this: The problems get harder.

* Salvatier et al. – 2017 – When Will AI Exceed Human Performance? Evidence from AI Experts

salvatier-hlmi-arrival

Scott Alexander has a summary.

Despite faster than expected progress since the last expert survey in 2012 by Bostrom and Muller, projected dates have actually become more pessimistic. Scott’s explanation seems persuasive:

But as we saw before, expecting AI experts to make sense might be giving them too much credit. A more likely possibility: Bostrom’s sample included people from wackier subbranches of AI research, like a conference on Philosophy of AI and one on Artificial General Intelligence; Grace’s sample was more mainstream. The most mainstream part of Bostrom’s sample, a list of top 100 AI researchers, had an estimate a bit closer to Grace’s (2050).

* This is useful: A Compendium of Clean Graphs in R

* Hou, Xue, & Zhang – 2017 – Replication Anomalies

Capital markets are more efficient than previously recognized.

* Mike Johnson: Why we seek out pleasure: the Symmetry Theory of Homeostatic Regulation

***

Russia, Eastern Europe

* Massive report on the Russian economy by Jon Hellevig’s AWARA group.

* Oliver Stone’s Putin interviews. I need to watch them. But this summary by Alexander Mercouris looks good.

* Stephen Cohen vs. Julia Ioffe:

* Prosvirnin, a leading Russian right-wing intellectual, gets no platformed from a Saint-Petersburg “Geek Picnic” tech conference by SJWs.

Amerikwa pretty much needs to be nuked from orbit at this point.

Some of those freaks even grumbled about the presence of Alexandra Elbakyan, who – they claim – has “pro-Kremlin/imperialist” views. Even though as the founder of Sci-Hub, she has probably contributed more to technological progress than everyone else at the Geek Picnic combined.

* Started reading Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s more political writings, thanks largely to Egor Kholmogorov. Gaining an even greater appreciation for him.

There’s a reason the Western media and academic establishment props crazies such as Dugin as “Russian nationalists” while shunting off people such as Solzhenitsyn (once he made it clear he wasn’t going to be an anti-Russian patsy) to the sidelines.

* I am enjoying Matt Forney’s new Medium blog on European and Hungarian politics. E.g.

* Zhuravlev: The Russian recession is receding into the distance:

zhuravlev-russia-economy

* Russia population map

map-russia-population

 

* NBF: Russia Armata tank will outmatch the Abrams in active armor and triple range missiles

***

World

* WSJ: China’s All-Seeing Surveillance State Is Reading Its Citizens’ Faces

Face-scanning drones, restricted floors… powerful Deus Ex vibe.

* Where Automation Poses the Biggest Threat to American Jobs. This is basically a map of Belmonts (blue) and Fishtowns (red).

automation-threat

* Burke, Hsiang, & Miguel – 2015 – Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production

Russia needs Tropical Hyperborea.

burke-temperature-economy

* Schuenemann et al. – 2017 – Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods

* Enke et al. – 2017 – Kinship Systems, Cooperation and the Evolution of Culture

***

Culture war

* Corey et al. – 2017 – Our moral choices are foreign to us

Though moral intuitions and choices seem fundamental to our core being, there is surprising new evidence that people resolve moral dilemmas differently when they consider them in a foreign language (Cipolletti et al., 2016; Costa et al., 2014a; Geipel et al., 2015): People are more willing to sacrifice 1 person to save 5 when they use a foreign language compared with when they use their native tongue.

* Long simmering tensions between Richard Spencer/Daniel Friberg (AltRight.com) and Greg Johnson (Counter-Currents) have finally flared into the open.

I don’t have a dog in this fight. Bring on the popcorn.

* I learned legendary Twitter suicide bomber @jokeocracy was Pax Dickinson about a week ago. I’m slow.

* Added to favorite quotes list: “In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.” – Lee Kuan Yew

* ‘Straight out of the Nazi playbook’: Hindu nationalists try to engineer ‘genius’ babies in India. Sounds cool, until…

Jani explained that the program consists of a “purification of energy channels” and body before a pregnancy, and mantra-chanting and “proper food,” such as meals rich in calcium and vitamin A, after the baby is born.

… and then you realize eugenics is also g loaded.

* Mark Yuray: Why Homosexuals Are A Signalling Hazard In Traditional Societies

* O’Handley – 2017 – What do two men kissing and a bucket of maggots have in common? Heterosexual men’s indistinguishable salivary α-amylase responses to photos of two men kissing and disgusting images

The results of the current study suggest that all individuals, not just highly sexually prejudiced individuals, may experience a physiological response indicative of stress when witnessing a male same-sex couple kissing.

* Hard to imagine the depth of SJW madness in American academia.

* Deus Ex world:

.

 

As some of you are aware, last week I was traveling in Saint-Petersburg.

I went upon the invitation of a local politics club, but decided I stay several days to explore the city. I haven’t been to SPB since 2002, so this doubled as an opportunity to see how the northern capital has changed in the past 15 years.

spb-foggy-canal

City Observations

As with the rest of Russia, the city itself has certainly changed for the better in all the usual respects. More cars, and far newer ones. Roofs appeared much cleaner and shinier from the top of St. Isaac’s Cathedral than in 2002. As in the rest of Russia, virtually everyone who wants Internet access has it (SPB actually has slightly higher Internet penetration than Moscow, for some reason).

That said, whereas I distinctly remember liking Saint-Petersburg more than in the early 2000s, this is no longer the case.

spb-metro-station(1) Moscow is and technologically advanced, e.g. it has free WiFi in the metro for several years now, which SPB and other backwards cities like London and San Francisco have yet to adopt.

(2) I greatly prefer acontinental climate to a cold maritime one.

(3) There is a reason Slavophiles have traditionally viewed Moscow as Russia’s “true” capital. The architecture is more authentically Russian. It also tends to be more human-scale. Central Saint-Petersburg is a place of wide imperial avenues, and the grand pomposity of the buildings and palaces, though initially impressive, gets monotonous after a while (in this respect it is actually reminescent of Washington DC).

This is of course a simplification – there are plenty of oppressive open spaces in Moscow too, and SPB has its fair share of quaint courtyards and interesting corners – but as an architectural ensemble Moscow definitely wins out.

(4) The Moscow metro is far more developed, so distances between stations are shorter. This makes Moscow more walkable, especially since SPB is also intersected by a massive river. Finally, although SPB’s bridges are a nice tourist magnet, they can be a pain in the ass for locals who can be cut off from their homes if they don’t leave the bar in time (not helped by the SPB metro closing one hour earlier than the Moscow metro).

(5) Whereas in 2002 Saint-Petersburgers – at least in my limited, one-week tourist experience – were more civil than Muscovites, Muscovites have improved greatly since then, and there is now no longer any difference.

spb-bookshop One easy way to test civility is how frequently drivers make way for pedestrians on zebra crossings. 15 years ago in Moscow, it was perhaps 10%, and 25% in SPB. Nowadays I’d estimate it’s about 75% in Moscow, about the same as in the US. In SPB, however, it might be closer to 50%. Still, these are all extremely approximate figures, especially for SPB where I only spent 6 days.

I noticed that many Saint-Petersburgers seem to have a sort of inferiority complex, a lingering resentment towards Moscow at being deprived of their capital. Unfortunately, they have a point. I don’t like it and I think the hyper-centralization that accounts for this is very bad for the country, but the fact of the matter is that least 50% of everything interesting and significant taking place in Russia happens in Moscow.

Moscow is the undisputed political (executive, legislative), economic, and scientific center of Russia.

SPB has some modest share of influence in the political-legislative and cultural sphere (though probably not near as much as Moscow), but otherwise, it is ultimately just the largest gorod-millionnik.

That said, as one person I talked to optimistically pointed out, SPB does have a “marginalistic charm” to it, and she continued, “all the most interesting and disruptive phenomena come from the margins.” If there’s one thing that SPB suffers no shortage of relative to Moscow, it is hipsters.

spb-lecture-on-hbd

Politics

I was invited to Saint-Petersburg was to give a lecture to a local right-wing politics club about “HBD and its Role in the Alt Right.”

There is a loosely affiliated network of such clubs through Russia in Moscow, SPB, and the bigger cities. (Vincent Law, whom I had the pleasure of meeting, wrote about the SPB chapter here).

This invitation was perfectly congruent with my wider meta-goal of redpilling Russian nationalists on HBD/IQ-realism, so of course I accepted.

My talk itself covered the basics of HBD/IQ:

  • The largely separate evolution of the world’s three great races since they split ~50,000 years ago.
  • The validity of psychometrics
  • The importance of psychometrics, esp. wrt life outcomes and national differences in GDP per capita and other development metrics
  • The direction of causality – exceptions (Communist legacy; oil windfalls) prove the rule!
  • Why should this be the case?
  • FLynn effect: Will immigrant performance converge?
  • Would HBD-informed prescriptions apply to Russia? (e.g. immigration policy, positive eugenics, genetic augmentation of IQ)

I was very impressed by the quality of the responses and questions. Many people were familiar with the material, and asked pointed and relevant questions, such as the technical details of how national IQs are calculated, the extent to which emotional intelligence is important, and why US Jews cleverer than Israelis.

Clearly young Russian nationalists are informed, intelligent, and intellectually curious, having avoided the ideological skeletons of the boomer nationalist mindset in Russia (e.g. Eurasianism, “geopolitics,” Heidegger, extreme Orthodoxy, and various other obscurantisms). This is incredibly encouraging for the future.

Many interesting and spirited discussions about the Alt Right, Milo, Karelian nationalism, censorship, and many other weird and esoteric topics followed.

The politics club is only one element in SPB’s nationalist ecosystem, which even extends to having their “own” bars with discounts for nationalists. I would shill them but I don’t know if they’d appreciate the publicity.

code-russian-officer The city also hosts the Black Hundreds publishing group, which specializes in republishing Tsarist-era classics as well as modern nationalists authors. I bought two books from each category.

The first was a 1916 edition of Valentin Kulchitsky’s The Code of Honor of the Russian Officer (widely distributed to Russian officers during WW1 because the accelerated wartime training schedule meant that many of them didn’t have time to fully absorb the culture of the General Staff).

The second was Vitaly Fedorov’s (“Africa”) Notes of a Terrorist (in the good sense of the word) – possibly the best war novel from the Donbass to date (an English translation is available on Amazon).

A third major nationalist organization in SPB is the Russian Imperial Movement.

Its nationalism is explicitly based on religion, not ethnicity – you don’t have to be an ethnic Russian to join, but you do have to be an Orthodox Christian. However, they are also considerably more hardcore than the others, having been directly involved in the events in Donbass through their Imperial Legion batallion.

spb-night

Tourism

When not delving deeper into extremism and padding my files at Langley and Lubyanka I did the usual touristy stuff.

Transport/Hotels

spb-sapsan I traveled to SPB via the Sapsan high speed train, which at 250kph takes about 3.5 hours to get there from Moscow.

$75 normal ticket, $100 business class. The latter has far better conditions, and includes a meal, so it’s worth considering.

Alternatively, you can take the overnight train for $25 or $40 (platskart and kupe, respectively), depending on your desired privacy level.

spb-katyusha I stayed at the Katyusha hotel. It’s right next to the Neva River – right past the arch in the photo to the right – and about 200m from the Hermitage. One night there costs a mere $50.

This really brings home the point why PPP-adjustments to GDP per capita are absolutely relevant when gauging living standards. Russian wages might be far lower than in Western Europe, but so are the prices.

Food

spb-brynza In addition to the standard Western fast food chains, such as McDonald’s/KFC, Russia now has many of its own indigenous equivalents. Being a tourist in SPB, unlike in Moscow, I took the opportunity to explore some of them. Teremok is a national chain that features very traditional Russian fare such as common soups (borscht, obroshka, ukha, solyanka, etc.), pelmeni, pancakes, cutlets with buckwheat for prices similar to a MacDonald’s. Even better, though, was the SPB-specific Brynza chain, though it is marginally pricier (right: Cod Leningrad style).

spb-tandoori I last had Indian food half a year ago and really wanted to try my favorite national cuisine again. Fortunately, Saint-Petersburg has an excellent Indian restaurant right in the city center called Tandoor. It compares well even with Indian restaurants in London and the Bay Area. A business lunch of yellow daal, spicy vegetables, and butter chicken costs $10. So do most curries (e.g. the vindaloo on the right). The masala chai is also very good. It is run by Russians, though the cooks are Indians.

Note that traditionally Russia traditionally hasn’t had anything spicier than, I dunno… paprika? So you have to order your Indian food very/extremely spicy to get it moderately spicy by British/American standards.

Museums

Finally visited the Kunstkamera. It is by and large a standard ethnographic museum, the most interesting part of the exhibit being the original Petrine collection.

spb-naval-museum I was very impressed with the Central Naval Museum. It hosts a series of huge halls with thousands of naval paintings, ship models, figureheads, guns, munitions, uniforms, and other naval objects, all exhaustively documented and woven into a comprehensive history of the rise and fall of Russian naval power. Unfortunately, there are few English translations.

Visited the Yusupov Palace. TIL they were Christianized Tatars, descended from one 15th century Khan Yusuf.

spb-petropavlovsk-fortressPetropavlovsk Fortress includes the cathedral where the Russian Tsars since Peter the Great are buried, including Nicholas II and his family, who were interred there in the 1990s. The Russian Orthodox Church objected to burying a person who abdicated the throne inside the main cathedral, so they repose in an adjoining room to the main hall which can be considered a separate chapel.

There are several other separate museums.

spb-petropavlovsk-prison One is the prison with its 69 rooms that held revolutionaries. The tour group leader made a point of how horrific conditions were, though in my experience, that’s part and parcel for historical prison tours everywhere. But to the casual eye the rooms sure look spacious even by the standards of modern US prisons, to say nothing of typical jail conditions a century ago. And the sentences tended to be remarkably lenient considering prisoners were often involved in assassination plots, terrorism, etc., which in many other states would have warranted the death penalty. It was surely much more humane than Guantanamo.

There was a museum of the history of SPB from the early native inhabitants who lived there in their log cabins. One room was famous for having been the scene of the sentencing of the Decembrists, of whom five were put to death. This was cited as an example of Tsarist cruelty and caprice in Soviet history textbooks, but come on… this was ultimately a violent mutiny against the sovereign. The vast majority of the plotters were exiled to Siberia for some period of time, or even pardoned. Even many West European countries at the time would have been far less lenient.

One building that used to host a secret rocketry R&D facility in the early USSR is now a space museum. One thing I was struck by was how many people both interested in and technically capable of developing modern rocket technologies there were in the late Russian Empire (starting with Tsiolkovsky, the concept’s father). It seems inevitable to me that there would have been a strong Russian missile and space program regardless of whether the USSR had appeared or not.

spb-winter-palace-library I visited the Hermitage. I have been there before, but it is so vast you need to spend a few days to properly see all of it anyway. My favorite room there in the original palace section was Nicholas II’s library. Most of the Winter Palace was for all intents and purposes a “museum,” even when it was still the living quarters of the imperial family (the status signalling problem really reached absurd proportions in the Russian Empire, as in ancien regime France). The library looks like a place where you could actually sit down and get some work or reading done over a glass of red wine.

spb-popovPopov’s Central Museum of Communications is one of the oldest science and technology museums in the world. Amongst other exhibits, it hosts Alexander Popov’s original radio set. He actually made his revolutionary discoveries slightly earlier than Guglielmo Marconi, but the Italian became known as the inventor of radio in the West because of his greater interest in and success at commercializing it.

spb-museum-of-democracy I also passed by the Chubais Museum of the Implementation of Democracy in Modern Russia (what a mouthful, even in Russian). As Lazy Glossophiliac commented, “Should have been housed in a 90s-style kiosk store with lots of gaudy advertising all over it.” You had to make an appointment to enter the museum, which I suppose says something about its popularity.

I couldn’t be bothered, having better things to do with my time, such as drinking with the people who will one day kick those squatters out of such a fine building and open a Museum of Autocracy in its stead.

 

The American Interest’s Karina Orlova writes:

A group of young independent filmmakers (Sota Vision) captured a moment that perfectly sums up not just what it was like yesterday in Moscow, but also what it’s like living in Russia these days. This is the reward you get for going out of your way to praise a dictator.

(Original).

His protestations of his “innocence” in the police van went unheeded.

Predictably, this video evokes a gushing flood of Schadenfreude amongst anti-Putinists, while pro-Putinists experience a jittery “there but for the grace of God go I” feeling.

But from a neutral perspective, how exactly does this reflect badly on “teh regime.”

What we see in it is unsanctioned protesters getting treated the same under the law, regardless of their fealty or lack thereof to the national leader.

This is the marker of civilization.

Let’s compare and contrast to Ukraine, the country where Navalnyites won – and what the Western elites want for Russia.

There, anti-war protesters are not only arrested, but jailed, whereas on the rare occasions that much more aggressive Maidanist “activists” are arrested they are let off with apologies soon after.

In fact, in Ukraine, so long as you belong to the appropriate faction, you can even shoot taxi drivers with pneumatic pistols for refusing to chant “Glory to Ukraine” along with you and get off with just house arrest.

This is the marker of barbarism.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Color Revolution, Law, Russia 

Currently traveling, posting this from my cell phone so discuss the UK general elections, the ROG inspired spat between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, or whatever.

So Jeremy Corbyn has soared to a point where he’s neck and neck with Theresa May after being 20 points behind. Reminder the Conservatives called this election to expand their dominance in Parliament. Instead, they’ve put themselves in a position where they can lose power outright. Same story with Brexit. Talk of hubris.

I do like Corbyn as a person, more so than May who evokes only the most dreary sensations. To be sure Corbyn is a sandal-wearing open borders socialist who will drive the economy into the ground, but his foreign policy stances at least are solid, and as a perennial sandal wearer myself, I can only approve of his sartorial choices (minus his heresy of pairing them with socks). Anyhow, it’s clear May’s ideas about dealing with Islamic terrorism revolve around the same old of cracking down on Internet “extremism” (read: porn, islamophobia, etc). Whereas at least with Corbyn we have some chance of him unleashing his inner tankie against the jihadists.

Saudi Arabia has presented a list of ten basically unfulfillable demands to Qatar or else a full blockade commences. Well that escalated quickly, LOL. If it goes ahead, Qatar’s only lifeline in the region will become… Iran. At a stroke, the Saudis sideline a rival geopolitical competitor in Syria, and consolidate a new Arab Authoritarian International with themselves at its head. They played Trump well.

I am currently in Saint Petersburg. I was last here in 2002. Back then I liked it more than Moscow. No longer the case. Whatever advantages it might have had back then in terms of civility have now been matched or superseded, since Muscovites themselves have come much more polite and considerate in the past decade, while the technological and infrastructural gap between the two capitals has widened significantly since then in favor of Moscow (e.g. I have been sufficiently spoiled to expect WiFi in the metro). Finally, I now realize that I definitely prefer a continental climate over a maritime one.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

* Reports just coming in that there has been a terrorist attack in Manchester.

Manchester a pretty well-off city, by the standards of the English North-West, though the city’s penchant for hedonism has given the city the lowest female life expectancy in England.

16% of the population are Muslims. Not as vibrant as Luton or Birmingham yet, but it’s getting there.

* New podcast with Robert Stark about automation and basic income.

Also, if you understand Russian, a reminder that I participate in a weekly Russian language podcast ROGPR. We are on our 14th episode as of this week.

* Vincent Law: Who Are Russia’s Black Hundreds?

This is a good article.

* Neo-Nazi converts to Islam, murders Neo-Nazi roommates for disrespecting Islam. TFW you take the WHITE SHARIA meme a bit too seriously.

Of course it happened in Florida. And of course the perpetrator is a ginger. The perfect memetic trifecta.

orb-of-power* #RiyadhSummit: “Three values to embrace to propel ourselves forward. They are tolerance, diversity and hope, and that’s what makes us human.”

They’ve learned the Davosi dialect well, I’ll give them that.

Anyhow, about Saudi Arabia: On the grand list of things to fault in Trump, continuing the bipartisan American tradition of cosying up to the House of Saud is one of the smallest and most irrelevant ones.

They basically subsidize the American military-industrial complex to the tune of several billions of dollars a year (I am pretty convinced the massive price gouging they tolerate is done on purpose and is a sort of bribe).

Frankly for that sort of money I think just about everyone would agree to say some bad things about Iran, turn a blind eye to Yemen, and worship a glowing orb for a day.

zuckerberg-new-vision

* I am not usually one for conspiracy theories, but the Seth Rich affair is very suspicious.

* Zuckerberg’s (new) vision via P.T. Carlo (also discovered this other article of his about the most loathsome neocon bugmen).

* Daniel Chieh’s comment on servitude in traditional China.

* About Ukraine’s banning of VK.com, Yandex, and basically half its Internet – will have separate post on that.

* Sinotriumph #1: China’s hyper-competitive schools are forcing parents to take IQ tests before accepting pupils (h/t whyvert)

Meanwhile, the US is still rehashing the same old Bell Curve debates, each one more farcical than the last.

Even as society lags, science continues to move forwards: James Thompson – IQ Brain Map. In the long run, Gnon always wins.

* Sinotriumph #2: The evolution of metros in China 1990-2020 (Peter Dovak).

china-metros

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: China, Open Thread, Terrorism 

* Russian nuclear weapons expert Pavel Podvig is giving an AMA at /r/Russia right now.

christianity-middle-east* Christians, in an Epochal Shift, Are Leaving the Middle East

Eurabia is demographically implausible during this century. Greater Lebanon, however, is.

* The curious rise of the ‘white left’ as a Chinese internet insult

Although the emphasis varies, baizuo is used generally to describe those who “only care about topics such as immigration, minorities, LGBT and the environment” and “have no sense of real problems in the real world”; they are hypocritical humanitarians who advocate for peace and equality only to “satisfy their own feeling of moral superiority”; they are “obsessed with political correctness” to the extent that they “tolerate backwards Islamic values for the sake of multiculturalism”; they believe in the welfare state that “benefits only the idle and the free riders”; they are the “ignorant and arrogant westerners” who “pity the rest of the world and think they are saviours”.

Critical context from bloody shovel. Dynamics in Russia are remarkable analogous, though unlike the Chinese, I don’t think we’ve even progressed to the point of having our own term for SJWs.

* Opinion poll on radical life extension.

About 27% of Americans might be considered transhumanists in the sense that they want radically increased healthy lifespans of 200+ years.

Curiously, there is a huge gender split: 36% of men want that, but only 18% of women.

* His Kampf. Not a bad profile of Richard Spencer, though the journalist’s evident disdain for him does seep through somewhat.

One thing that goes unmentioned: Despite the repeat Nazi comparisons, Spencer himself doesn’t subscribe to one of their core beliefs, that of the hierarchy of races: “… There is no universal, cosmic criterion for determining when one individual is better than another.”

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Open Thread 

About time to update my sidebar (current one dates from November 2015).

Blogroll: Added a few sites, removed a few. Version with slightly more links here: http://akarlin.com/links/

My linking policy is that if your blog is at least somewhat active and interesting, and if you link to me, or if you make a… contribution (just make sure to let me know), then I will reciprocate with a link under the Friends/Allies section.

Removed the Quotes section at the bottom, since it was taking up too much space. I now have a dedicated quotes page at my website: http://akarlin.com/quotes/

Thank to everyone who responded to my first donations drive! (esp. Bruno and Ben via Paypal, my seven patrons on Patreon, and whoever sent the 4.31979mBTC). As I said, while I’m under no imminent danger of immiseration, if you think that what I do is positive value added, well – money is always good for greasing the wheels of productivity.

***

ANATOLY KARLIN joined the Unz Review in January 2015 to blog about Russia, geopolitics, HBD/IQ, and futurism.

Here is a guide to my various websites and projects.

***

Panhandling

karlin-cliodynamicsThe more help I get from my readers, especially of the pecuaniary kind, the more time I can devote to my blogging and original research.

You can donate to me via one of the following methods:

(1) Sponsor me on Patreon
(2) Payment to my email address with Google Wallet
(3) Paypal donation
(4) If you bank with Wells Fargo, you can use Surepay (go to “Transfer and Pay,” “Send Money”) to send money to my email address
(5) Bitcoin: 17tDufZUEK3DvQh3rY75F3xtVgxj4TzdtB

***

Blogroll

This is not so much meant to be comprehensive as to illustrate the themes and individual thinkers whom I follow and am inspired by.

I do not bother including any MSM outlets, since I’m sure they can do just fine without my publicity.

Blogs which I consider to be particularly good and/or prominent are highlighted in bold, and blogs that appear to have gone dormant appear at the end in italics. While I try to keep these things objective, if you include me in your blogroll that does vastly increase the chances that I’ll reciprocate.

/pol/, HBD, H+

Journals/Websites

Politics & Geopolitics

HBD & Psychometrics

History, Economics, Futurism

Russosphere

Alt Media (Russia)

Russosphere

Friends & Allies

Friends/Allies (Politics)

Friends & Allies (HBD, Futurism)

Friends/Allies (Russia)

.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Administration, Blogging, Open Thread 

karlin-cliodynamicsThis appears to be my 1,000th post at The Unz Review (including the archives from my old blogs).

Coincidentally, it will also be my 100th post this year, which would represent an almost threefold increase in intensity relative to 2015-2016.

So I guess now is as good a time as any to launch my first ever fundraising drive.

Back when I was in California I didn’t feel too comfortable asking for gibs, since I spent most of my working time on unrelated freelance jobs and my volume of blogging didn’t merit much in the way of donations. Since then, though, I’ve moved back to Russia, and started doing all this effectively full-time.

Now please don’t feel obligated. Only give if you like what I do, if you can afford to, and if a much more deserving charity or cause doesn’t come to mind. I am not going to starve anytime soon, and my long-term financial plans still revolve around writing books.

That said, if you like what I do, want to see more of it and sooner, and are not yourself impoverished, I could certainly do with your alms.

(1) Sponsor me on Patreon
(2) Payment to my email address with Google Wallet
(3) Paypal donation
(4) If you bank with Wells Fargo, you can use Surepay (go to “Transfer and Pay,” “Send Money”) to send money to my email address (advantage: No extra fees)
(5) Bitcoin: 17tDufZUEK3DvQh3rY75F3xtVgxj4TzdtB

This is my first time panhandling, and I haven’t thoroughly tested all of these methods, so please let me know if anything goes wrong. I would also very much like to know if there are any good alternatives to the above methods.

Thanks in advance for your generosity!

***

Moving on, a few administrative announcements.

Following my blog

Back in the “golden age” of blogging a decade ago, feeds and feed readers were all the rage. Then along came Twitter and Facebook, Google Reader closed down, and the golden age was over. However, with Twitter’s problems, I suspect we might soon see a resurgence of the old ways.

So why not get ahead of the curve if you haven’t already. If you’re the sort of person who likes keeping up with many different blogs and columnists, I suggest getting a feed reader such as Feedly, or The Old Reader (which reproduce much of the functionality of the much missed Google Reader). To follow my blog in particular, just insert one of the following feeds:

A few months ago, I also set up a Twitter bot that automatically reposts everything I write here and at my other blogs – follow https://twitter.com/KarlinBot.

Last but not least, you can also keep tabs on my recent posts not just from The Unz Review’s interface, but also from my main website at http://akarlin.com/.

***

Blogging Plans

Almost a year ago, I carried out a large survey on what I could do to improve my product.

The one thing for which there was overwhelming demand for was more in the way of reviews. Unfortunately, I singularly failed at that. The pace of history has picked up radically of late, and commenting on breaking news stories has been trumping other considerations.

Still, the publicity (and monetary) success of Gregory Cochran’s recent review of Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine does demonstrate there is a demand for good reviews, so I’ll commit to filling in this lacuna.

I wouldn’t want to fail my 2017 predictions, after all.

  • I will write 30+ book reviews: 50%.
  • I will write 5+ game reviews: 50%.
  • I will write fewer than 5 movie reviews: 80%.

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New and Ongoing Projects

Some other stuff I’m doing at the moment:

ROGPR

Weekly podcast on the Russian Occupation Government with Kirill Nesterov and @smug_vatnik on Russian realities from an IQ/HBD-realistic perspective.

We are the official podcast of United Russia and the Republican Party. /s

If you speak Russian, or are learning it, you can follow it at ROGPR.com or directly at SoundCloud.

Note that I also have a Russian language blog at http://akarlin.ru/, though I don’t update it all that regularly.

Books

ami-book-name As I mentioned above, now that I have more free time (no longer have to do freelance work), I can finally get on with my book plans.

While I’m still very serious about getting Dark Lord of the Kremlin and Apollo’s Ascent written, I am taking a small break to write a shorter book on my Age of Malthusian Industrialism concept.

Incidentally, I need a name for it. Looking for something that crisply conveys at least some of the following ideas/themes/feelings:

(1) Far from the best possible outcome, though not catastrophic either
(2) Industrial economy
(3) Idiocracy
(4) Overpopulation – due to selection for higher fertility preferences reversing the demographic transition. my estimate is that our current technological level translates to a theoretical global carrying capacity of approximately 100 billion people.
(5) Possible the “Clarkian selection” that will follow afterwards.
(6) The idea of the millennial delay/opportunity cost it would impose.

Current preference is “Dark Equilibrium,” but its not optimal.

Papers

In the meantime, I’m also currently involved in writing two papers, which I hope will be ready to be published sometime by the summer.

***

Updated Blogroll

I also have a new blogroll and quotes page, which I will soon integrate with my column’s sidebar at Unz.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Admin, Blogging, Open Thread, Panhandling 

beer-and-books

I was privileged to meet one of the columnists at The Unz Review. Feel free to guess who.

Ironically, we met up at Jean-Jacques cafe on Nikitsky Boulevard, the favorite watering hole of the rukopozhatnaya kreakl crowd (handshake-worthy/”respectable” “creative” hipsters). It’s a solid enough place, though – slightly pretentious French style lunch with wine for 1,000 rubles.

Finally got Twenty Years to the Great War, a massive tome on the late Tsarist industrialization by HSE professor Mikhail Davydov.

A taste of some of what it covers in the intro to an an interview with the author:

The development of Magnitogorsk? Planned by the State Council of the Russian Empire in 1915. The irrigation of Central Asia? Started in 1901, by 1912 there were working excavators… About the poverty of the people: In 1906-1913 credit cooperatives gave farmers loans totalling 2.5 billion rubles (equivalent to six naval modernization programs). In 1913, 30% of families in the country possessed savings books.

People lived considerably better than Soviet propaganda would later claim, and in fact many of the big “signature” Soviet modernization projects were first planned out and initiated in the waning days of the Empire (even including electrification).

But there’s really a lot more to it. One thousand pages, many of which are devoted to statistical tables. Looking forwards to reading it and reviewing it properly.

moscow-decoration

A mundane example of how Moscow has really been spruced up in the past couple of years.

Some more culinary notes, since we haven’t had those for a while:

nutria-burger

At around the time of the New Year, I tried out a nutria burger at the Krasnodar Bistro, thanks to a “recommendation” of sorts from The Guardian’s Shaun Walker (“Hot rat is so hot right now: Moscow falls for the rodent burger“).

It was entirely fine, a bit similar in texture to a beef patty, but with a distinctive flavor and a greasier texture. Not perhaps the best meat, but still, 2033 should be perfectly survivable.

The more relevant and encouraging sociological observation is that its one example of many in which Russia is developing its own culinary traditions as opposed to aping from abroad (nutria is particular to Russia’s Krasnodar region).

likuria-wine

Thanks to JL for the Likuria recommendation – I got a set of them. I thought the Blend and the Merlot were pretty good, but the Cabernet Sauvignon disappointed, and the Shiraz was very bad.

The Agora bastardo from Crimea remains my favorite dry Russian red, but frankly none of them are anything to write home about. For now at least its better to just get the European imports.

That said, the Abrau Durso champagnes, with the partial exception of their bruts, are surprisingly good and continue to gain on me.

I enjoyed Ararat cognac from Armenia, the standard product in this class here, but I am not a conoisseur of cognac, so my opinion isn’t worth much.

I am not exactly a big cheese fan, I don’t even buy it normally, but I do like to make Greek salad from time to time, and that means feta. I suspect it is directly on the sanctions list because I haven’t been able to find it in the usual supermarkets (though I haven’t bothered searching). The alternative here is a thing called bryndza, but it is most decidedly not feta; the Serbian bryndza I bought first is far closer to cheap standard cream cheeses. That said, the “classical” version is the one that’s at least very faintly reminscent of feta.

kharcho

As I explained in one of my earlier open threads, in my opinion Georgian cuisine is overrated (it’s only particularly interesting or “exotic” by Soviet standards).

That said, the one exception to that assessment – and its a real bigly one – is kharcho.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Moscow, Open Thread, Russia, The AK, Travel 

zvezda-interview

Not even a week in Moscow, and I get contacted by a Zvezda TV journalist requesting an interview about life in America and why I returned to Russia. In a deserted billiards room, I began talking about my theory that there is a civility-friendliness spectrum, with Britain on one end of it, Russia on the other, and America in between. However, I rather embarassingly botched it. I kept saying that while Britons are more civil and polite, Russians tended to be more open and genial, at least once you broke the ice with them. The problem is that my brain hadn’t fully adjusted from English to Russian, and so one of the key words I kept using, “genial,” didn’t actually mean what I thought it meant in Russian – in effect, I have been arguing that Russians were more ingenious than the Anglo-Saxons (they are not). But it was only at the end of the interview that I suddenly recalled that genialnost’ is not genialness. The quizzical looks my interviewer and the cameraman had given me at the start of the interview also suddenly made sense.

I explained what had happened to them, and suggested they cut that part since it made no sense. Relieved that I was in fact sane, they agreed. Unfortunately, my little joke about the only polite Russians being the Polite People would also have to go into the trashbin. But no matter – that episode only accounted for 10% of the entire interview, with almost everything else being about the burning political topic of the day in Moscow right now: Donald Trump. Is the Establishment trying to organize a Maidan against Trump? (Sort of. But in such a lame-assed way that more electors abandoned HRC than Trump himself). Would Trump be a friend to Russia? (Consult Palmerstone and Alexander III. So, most likely, not. But as a successful businessman and a non-ideological “America First” nationalist, it would be easier to make deals with him). What do you make of his apparent hostility towards China? (Let the Eagle and the Dragon claw at each other. Why we worry?).

***

My friend Artem Zagorodnov, whom I met in London, presented a talk in Juneau, Alaska deconstructing some of the major Western myths about Russia – that is, the sort of material I have written a lot about.

You can watch it here: Putin and Russia’s Evolving Image in the United States.

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In more mundane news, I continue renovating my apartment, enjoying the cold dry climate, and making observations of potential interest.

In contrast to just a decade yore, it is now quite safe to use zebra crossings. (Two decades ago, you couldn’t even say that of a pedestrian crossing at a green traffic light). You should still look round, but then the same applies to London, and New York might even be marginally worse. Even as civility in Russia has risen, it has been falling in both Britain and America, so that we are steadily seeing a sort of ironic convergence between the two.

Possibly related: I see a few people with face masks everyday. I approve of this East Asian tradition. If you really have to go out while ill, at least make an effort to avoid transmitting it.

***

Shopping is a mixed experience. Many security guards. Low efficiency – took me three times longer to order a piece of furniture than it would have in the US or Britain. But I don’t suppose it matters that much right now – the shopping centers were surprisingly empty, especially for this time of year. Russia might be climbing out of the recession according to the latest indicators, but it’s clear that it is not yet being reflected in consumer confidence on the ground.

That said, the quality of service is now very good. At my local El Dorado, the staff were very helpful in explaining the different products on sale and speeding up access to out of stock items. Thanks to the devaluation, Russian made products in most categories of electronic goods are competitive. Online ordering also works smoothly, at least in Moscow. There is no central super-vendor like Amazon in the US, but shipping is fast and and you have the option of paying in cash on delivery.

Hauling large pieces of furnitures up the stairs can be relatiely expensive. But you can hire a couple of Tajiks to do it for much cheaper. No formal agreements, just pluck them off the streets, where the municipality pays them by the hour, and they are grateful for the couple hundred extra rubles while on the taxpayer’s dime. Still probably not a good reason to allow hundreds of thousands of them in, but since they’re here anyway, why not make mutually beneficial deals?

***

There are two sorts of item which were traditionally cheap in Russia, but are no longer so.

The first such items are books. The time when you could get high quality hardbacks for a few dollars appear to be long gone. This is especially surprising since Russian book publishing takes place in Russia, and as such should have benefited from the devaluation. But apparently not. For instance, I was planning on acquiring a hardback copy of “Twenty Years to the Great War,” a recent published magisterial 1,000 page study of late Tsarist industrialization by the historian Mikhail Davydov, but at $50 it will have to wait.

Incidentally, local bookshops are a favorite haunt of mine, since they – especially their politics and history sections – reflect the ideas of the intelligentsia, or at least the sorts of ideas the elites want their intelligentsia to have. For instance, in a Waterstones in London, Richard Shirreff’s “War with Russia” was very prominently featured. In this poorly written Red Storm Rising remake, the “self-obssessed nutter” and “ruthless predatory bastard” Putler launches a brutal war of aggression against the West. The undertone is crystal clear – Four legs good, two legs bad, and we must never falter in our faith (and funding for) NATO!

The history section of my local bookshop is a decidedly more lowkey affair. The books most prominently featured in that section were Ian Morris’ “Why the West Rules – For Now,” Niall Ferguson’s “Civilization”, and the first two volumes of Boris Akunin’s ongoing project “The History of the Russian State.” Respectively, these books represent: An ideologically neutral study of big history and social evolution from a quantitative perspective; populist dreck based on a lame catchphrase transparently designed to appeal to the Intellectual Yet Idiot crowd; ahistorical dreck from a popular detective fiction writer with a severe animus against the state he is chronicling.

So the next time you encounter a Western hack claiming that Russian bookshops are brimming with ultra-nationalist fantasies and xenophobic tracts, recognize it for what it probably is: Projection.

***

The second item that was more expensive than you might expect in Russia was vodka. This was not surprising to me personally, since over the years I have written a lot about Russia’s mortality crisis, how it is primarily vodka bingeing that is to blame for it, and how Putin has been successfully tackling the problem by raising excise taxes on alcohol, amongst other measures. Still, it was good to see the effects of those policies in person – the cheapest 0.5 liter bottle was 219 rubles, while the average bottle cost 350 rubles. These prices are not far from American ones in absolute terms and far higher relative to Russian salaries.

The flip side is that this encourages “left” production – the fatal poisoning of 74 people in Irkutsk due to a bad batch of alcohol extracted from bath oil has been at the top of the news this past week. And everytime something like this happens, populists inevitably demand the government lower vodka prices, even though every ruble decrease in vodka prices would result in far more aggregate deaths than the odd Boyaryshnik poisoning now and then.

***

Thanks to g2k for the Amtsa recommendation – it is indeed the best adjika I have tried to date. Still can’t say I’m a fan, I would prefer any standard Mexican salsa, but I can imagine buying it again.

As I said previously, Russia isn’t the best country for spicy food. As far as I can gather the hottest pepper widely available here is something called “Ogonek,” which I think is similar to jalapeno on the Scoville scale. Most Russians regard it as excruciatingly hot.

I did manage to finally find a cheap, drinkable dry red wine – the Agora bastardo from Crimea. Very far from the best, rather too sour for my taste, but at least I won’t have to become a teetotaller in Russia for lack of options.

I am looking forwards to trying out the Lefkadia/Likuria wines recommended by JL.

That said, I don’t want to give off the impression that Russia, or at least Moscow, is a consumer hellscape. Far from it. While the wine and spice departments are subpar relative to what an American or Briton might be used to, the local teashop has about thirty sorts of Chinese teas on sale, some of them remarkably rare, but all of them at rather reasonable prices. In London, you’d probably have to go to something like the venerable Algerian Coffee Store to find a similar Chinese tea collection.

***

 

moscow-snow

Rapidly becoming who I am.

So I have fulfilled the demands of some of my most committed detractors and self-deported myself back to Russia.

My first sociological observation on landing in Domodedova this Tuesday, and perhaps the one most germane to Unz.com readers, was that about 100% of the airport cleaning stuff were Uzbeks and Tajiks, and well more than 50% of the black leather jacket-wearing taxi drivers aggressively hustling their services to arrivees were Caucasians. Of course I used Uber. It was twice cheaper – 1,000 rubles versus 2,000 for the shady taxi ride – and most likely considerably safer to boot.

That said, the title of this post is (mainly) exaggeration. Official census statistics say that Moscow remains well more than 90% Russian. This is patently untrue, and nobody argues otherwise. Even so, it’s fair to say that a good nine out of ten faces you see on the streets are Slavic, and I say this as someone who now resides in one of the more “enriched” (and nationalist) areas. The bottom line is that Moskvabad might or might not become a reality by 2050. Londonistan is a reality today.

Since my last visit was more than a decade ago, I needed to make good on a considerable amount of bureaucratic backlog. The general impression amongst informed observers is that the Russian bureaucracy has gone from being atrocious to merely adequate. I concur. What in 2006 would have likely taken me several days to resolve only took half a day. It is still a far cry from North European digital nirvanas but the paperwork has become crisper and more efficient.

One of the main points I have made over and over again on this blog is that while wages in Russia might be low, they are countered by the banal fact that prices are much cheaper, so the gap in living standards between Russia and the developed Western world is not so much the fivefold difference you see in nominal GDP per capita comparisons, but rather the twofold difference you get after a purchasing power adjustment.

DSC_0394

Food is very cheap. Twice cheaper is the general rule of thumb, and that is with respect to Moscow, supposedly one of the most expensive cities in the world (incidentally, this was only ever true for the most clueless expats, and has in any case ceased to be the case since the devaluation). The Big Mac, a classic component of comparison, costs 130 rubles in the Moscow suburbs, which is twice cheaper than in Britain and the US. Salted cucumbers – the real deal, not the vinegar soaked abomination that passes for them in the Anglosphere – cost close to nothing, while in California you can buy a modest bottle produced by “artisan farmer” types from Whole Foods for the princely sum of $5. Ergo for alcohol – pictured above is Massandra Muscat, a Crimean dessert wine that was actually pretty good. (However, I have yet to find a good Russian Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Any suggestions?).

Despite fond early childhood memories, I was decidedly underwhelmed by all the Ajika sauces I have sampled thus far. They’re too mild and far too salty – in other words, I guess you can say I’ve been spoiled by Mexican salsas and Indian spices. (Georgian food was traditionally considered to be this cool, exotic cuisine for meat-and-potato Russians in the USSR, but from a global perspective, my opinion is that it’s rather unimpressive). I was surprised to find that the typical Russian supermarket carries Tabasco Original sauce – my favorite hot sauce, luckily enough – and though as an import, it is twice as expensive as in the US, it’s not exactly a daily grocery item. Finding spices much more exotic than cinnamon and turmeric is a challenge. Indian food, unlike Japanese or Korean, never took off in Russia, so I plan to scout Moscow’s specialized spice shops in the coming weeks for my star anise and garam masala.

moscow-internet-speed

My lifeblood, the Internet, is dirt cheap: $8 (500 rubles) for 72Mbps. In terms of upload speed, they don’t even exaggerate, as is typical everywhere.

In London, it was $45 for 10Mbps downloads and 0.5Mbps (!) uploads. In California, it was $80 (!) for 15Mbps downloads and 5Mbps uploads with Concast.

I also got a cell phone plan for $6.5 (400 rubles) with 10GB data- I don’t use anywhere near that much, but why not after paying $35 for 2.5GB from Cricket Wireless and $20 for 2GB from EE?

Ironically, many Russians complain about the high cost of Internet, cell phone plans, and other utilities. Things are always relative.

I will be busy furnishing my office and visiting friends and relatives in the coming days and weeks, so blogging will initially be slow but will gradually pick back up.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Moscow, Open Thread, Russia, The AK, Travel 

back-in-russia

This October, I will be following the “advice” of some of my most ardent critics and literally “going back to Russia.”

I’m joking, of course. I don’t care for those trolls. That argument was always self-refuting because I had left in Russia in the early 1990s as a dependent. My parents had left because the Russian government had ceased to pay its scientists their salaries (i.e., Egghead Emigres). You could blame the pro-Western Yeltsinite kleptocracy for that brain drain, or you could blame the commies who had led the USSR into stagnation and ended up selling a superpower for some jeans, but you certainly couldn’t blame either Putin for that nor could you legitimately condemn my supposedly “Russophile” writings from abroad as hypocrisy or even a matter of “revealed preferences” for the West. (In any case as soon as I go back to Russia I am sure my critics and trolls will transition seamlessly from condemning me as a Putler stooge enjoying the good life in California and ignoring the plight of ordinary Russians to claiming that I am held hostage by the KGB and/or shilling for all I’m worth to survive the Russian economic collapse).

The more banal reality is that I have not lived permanently in Russia since the early 1990s – my last visit, for that matter, was a decade ago – so I am exceedingly curious to see for myself how it has changed since then. I suspect most of those changes are for the better, since most of the statistics seem to point that way and it’s not like I invent them or manipulate them. Still, it never hurts to see things for oneself, to become grounded, or “based,” as some might say.

I also like to think I will be fulfilling Richard Spencer’s dictum of “becoming who you are.” That said, I am under no particular illusions that I will ever truly belong to either Russia or the Anglosphere, and that my fate is to remain a rootless cosmopolitan until death or technological singularity. Charles de Gaulle is alleged to have said “He who does not love his mother more than other mothers and his country more than other countries, loves neither his mother nor his country.” A corrolary would be that he who has more than one country has none. In Guillaume Durocher’s essay on the phenomenon of Third Culture Kids (TCKs) – the highly mobile and frequently bilingual children of expats – it is pointed out that they have a number of “rather strange” characteristics: “They tend to be more educated, more likely to experience depression, more likely to commit suicide, more likely to feel alienated, and, paradoxically but perhaps unsurprisingly, more likely to be nationalistic (they often superficially embrace and advertise their nation of origin in response to identitarian unease).” So I suppose one could also view my repatriation as a sort of psychotherapy.

I will be leaving on October 3, but I will be stopping in London for a couple of weeks to a month, so blogging is likely to remain light until sometime in November. However, I expect to pick up pace once I’m settled down in Moscow thanks to the magic of purchasing power differences (aka shit is cheaper in Russia than in California), which will free up more time for blogging and pursuing my other projects. I suppose this also makes my move a case of “downshifting,” that quintessential expression of rootless millenial anomie.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Russia, The AK, Travel 

I would like to thank everyone for participating in the Reader Poll 2016.

The responses have been very helpful and have helped spur me on to make some strategic changes to the way I’ll proceed with my blogging forthwith.

reader-poll-2016-results

First off, it’s good to know that the average “quality of posts” mark was 4.2/5, so I guess deleting my account and doing something more productive online, like mining gold on Warcraft, is premature. The “regularity of posts” marker could do with some improvements. There seems to be general satisfaction with the commenting policy, so I will largely keep to my hands off approach (apart from cracking down on some of the most egregious trolls). Otherwise, since the quality of comments are largely a function of the quality of the blog posts they are responding to – for instance, no-one would bother trolling the blog of someone like pseudoerasmus – the onus here is on me more than anyone else.

In terms of topics – geopolitics, Russia, HBD, futurism – no change is merited. Although my Russia/geopolitics fanbase is the biggest one, it is not absolutely preponderant, and besides, there are plenty of people who like the mix and match approach (e.g. Russia + futurism, geopolitics + HBD, etc). Besides, of the top 5 listed blogs that people read in addition to mine, three are HBD blogs (Sailer, GNXP, West Hunt) while The Saker is only third.

Finally, there is pretty overwhelming demand for me to start writing reviews, which is something I’m entirely happy to accomodate. As a base for future reviews here, I have created a special web page at my home website here: http://akarlin.com/library/

It contains a sortable list of most of the books I’ve (fully) read, the video games I’ve played, and some of the films I’ve watched as well as the categories they belong to, their publication dates, my ratings of them, and where available, links to my already existing reviews of them. That list will remain updated in the future.

The biggest change I will be making, however, is in regards to social media.

zucky-and-peons

Zuck Walks Past His Oblivious VR Addled Peons

I am leaving Twitter and Facebook.

There are good reasons for this, which I will soon expound on, but just in case you mostly follow me on Twitter and/or Facebook, the most convenient way of continuing to do so as well as keep up with multiple other blogs is to use a feed reader. Feedly is generally acknowledged to be the best in existence today, though there are also others such as the The Old Reader which reproduce much of the functionality of the much missed Google Reader. To follow my blog in particular, just insert one of the following feeds:

… into the search/input box on your feed reader and click to subscribe. This is an extremely convenient tool if you follow multiple blogs or even individual columnists. (Most, though not all, news websites now have separate feeds for individual categories, authors, etc).

Now back to the social media question.

The proximate (or “selfish”) reason is that the Reader Poll revealed that I do not depend near as much on social media for my audience as I had imagined. Although a third of respondents follow me on Twitter, only 11% use it as the primary way to follow my posts. A mere two respondents follow me on Facebook. Now if those figures had been inverse, at 90%, then obviously abandoning those platforms would have been unfeasible. But if I only stand to lose at most 10% of my more engaged readers – and that’s assuming none of them switch over to other ways of following my blog (see above) – then its a price worth paying for cutting my reliance on a facet of modern society that I have gradually come to view as being even so much superficial as negative value added.

Yes, that’s right. Much like Soviet factories in the early 1990s, or arguably the metastasized financial sector in the West today, my argument is that social media consumes far more useful resources than the questionable “benefits” it produces. Far from “democratizing” global discourse, as techno-utopians hoped it would in the optimistic days of the first decade of the 21st century, it has in fact privileged soundbytes over sound analysis, confounded and contaminated rather than clarified, decelerated and devalued intellectual progress, and entrenched the power of the economic and political elites.

Let’s look at these bold claims one by one.

First, social media has been heralded for increasing the amount of information at the fingertips of the “global citizen” (a creature that is just as mythical today as he was in the days of its inventor Immanuel Kant). This may be so, but the banal fact is that for a long time now, the problem has not been so much a lack of information as a surfeit of it. (In the big picture, historians only suffer from a paucity of sources as regards pre-Early Modern Europe; since at least the nineteenth century, the struggle has been over what to include and emphasize). There is still a problem of limited access to important information – the Bilderbergers don’t seem to be in any particular rush to open up the minutes of their meetings, for all that their counterparts (largely the same class of people) at Davos wax lyrical about this brave new world of openness and transparency. There has been some formidable theoretical and more importantly, practical and technological work to undermine this, spearheaded by Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and the rest of the “cypherpunk” mileau, but guess what percentage of that had anything whatsoever to do with social media. That’s right – zilch.

This hints at a related problem, a paradox even: Even though there might be a surfeit of information, there is at the same time a deficit of useful information. Nicholas Nassim Taleb, one of the few public intellectuals worthy of the title, made the brilliant observation in Black Swan that “news shared with millions gives you no real advantage,” since it is inevitably already priced into people’s models of the world. Furthermore, apart from wasting your time, there is a real risk that reading newspapers might even “decrease your knowledge of the world” insofar as the media foist upon you a narrative interpretation of reality that often has little or nothing to do with reality itself. Now if this is the case for newspapers, how much more so for Twitter? Taleb’s recommendation is to “denarrate, that is, shut down the television set, minimize time spent reading newspapers, ignore the blogs.” Very good advice, even if mercenary self-interest makes me argue for making at least a partial exception to that last part…

Second, social media has been praised for enabling “people power” and unleashing the revolutionary energies that would overthrow creaky old authoritarian regimes – a Whiggish faith in progress that approaches cult status, or technological solutionism as Evgeny Morozov called it. To be sure, it is true enough that social media has of course played a substantial role in fomenting so-called “color revolutions” across the post-Soviet and Islamic worlds – Moldova, Egypt, Ukraine, Armenia, Syria, etc. (with not inconsiderable help from “activist training programs” run by the State Department and its various affiliates-in-practice-if-not-name, Western oligarchs like George Soros, and the tech giants themselves).

The problem is that a monkey clattering away at a keyboard is still a monkey. Almost without exception, all the countries where color revolutions prevailed have proceeded to collapse in on themselves. This pattern is not surprising to anyone who has bothered to acquaint himself with the accounts of these color revolution activists, many of which are characterized by a distinctive mixture of boorishness, gratuitous profanity, parochial nationalism, and a vindictive authoritarian streak that in the case of Ukraine extended to using the #banderakaratel hashtag to organize the mass abuse of Twitter’s report function to get opposing voices banned from the platform (despite this being an egregious violation of its own TOS, it took Twitter almost two years from the time of Euromaidan to do anything about this, by which point the campaign had long ceased to be very relevant). Once in power, these Yuropean intellectuals turned their attention to renaming everything after Bandera, even as their country collapsed around them. What was prophesied to be a torch for liberty has become a bullhorn for demagoguery and destruction.

Third, and again paradoxically, the real influence of social media – at least as a means for promoting truly original ideas, as opposed to their pastiches – remains highly marginal and circumscribed. Now I realize that this will raise some hackles at a time when Alt Right shitlords on Twitter are seemingly at the forefront of a popular reaction against the elites, while SJWs and Tumblrettes have appropriated the discourse on the Left from crusty old Communists (now “tankies“) and trade unionists. But think about it: In a hundred years, assuming that the Great Filter doesn’t do us in, who of the following will be remembered, and who will be but a footnote in the history books at best? Will it be the ephemeral, half-virtual protest movements, or the writers of the Big Books?

Look around you. Almost none of the hardcore intellectuals are on Twitter. Where is Andrew Wiles? Perelman? Shinichi Mochizuki? At best, they occasionally update their academic home page. Voluntary reclusion seems to be a constant prerequisite for getting serious intellectual work done. Who is the most prominent scientist on Twitter? Neil deGrasse Tyson. A professional publicist whose real achievements in astronomy are close to zero. The same goes for social scientists and historians. Those who are now primarily showmen are active on Twitter. Emmanuel Todd is not.

The flip side of the coin is that there are a number of potential intellectuals who instead crashed and burned on social media. The most prominent example in our parts might be Michael Anissimov, whose rather good and original ideas on neoreactionary political philosophy have been overshadowed by his misadventures on Twitter. The platform might have some marginal benefits in terms of publicity, but it carries the risk of cognitive contamination, and the ROI in terms of time does not look good. This is not something I have been immune from myself. For instance, I might have had a dopamine high from “winning” (perhaps) a debate on HBD/immigration with Leonid Bershidsky, but at the end of the day, he is a highly influential journalist with a column in Bloomberg and I am not.

The banal reality is that if you are a publicist on social media you are probably not near as witty as you think you are, probably quite superfluous, and many other people do what you do much better anyway (for instance, much of the Alt Right can quit any day, safe in the knowledge that Ricky Vaughn will continue hitting out of the ballpark). You are also, in all likelihood, just repeating yourself. My last Facebook post as of the time of writing, dated June 23, is a link to former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul’s Tweet in which he acknowledges that Putin is “not responsible” (for Brexit):

Come to think of it, isn’t this ironic ReTweet more or less what I have been saying since… I started blogging? And haven’t I been writing about the link between IQ and economic development since 2008, when I was less than two years out of high school? Yes I have, but in the meantime, Garett Jones has written an actual book about this, while low energy types such as myself, whom The Donald rightfully mocks, whiled away their time on frivolous activities. Shitlibs LOL. SJWs LOL. Svidomites LOL. Let’s write 140 characters on their latest inanity. It elicits a chuckle and is soon forgotten in the poorly indexed cyberwastes that are social media’s archives.

Social media has pretty much single-handedly killed off the once flourishing discourse across the blogosphere, reminiscent of the “culture of letters” in the long bygone heyday of European civilization. Here is Scholar’s Stage evocative account of what happened in the strategy sphere, though I can confirm from personal experience that exactly analogous processes were under way in the Russia watching world, and almost certainly in many other topical networks:

Many of the 200 word hot takes that would have ended up on a blog or forum in the days of yesteryear now happen on social media sites. Likewise, most commentary that would have ended up in a comments thread is now tweeted and retweeted on Twitter.

This brings me to a broader point I want to make about social media’s intersection with intellectual progress (or the lack thereof).

I was once at a futurist debate where one of the speakers was ranting some technoutopian nonsense about how high-bandwidth brain to brain communication systems would revolutionize science and allow much faster progress. I remarked, not at all facetiously, that we already have such a system: It’s called Twitter.

After all, it’s not the bandwidth or the ease of communications that’s bottlenecking anything; it’s a plain lack of the sort of very high-level intelligence that we increasingly need as the Flynn Effect grinds to a halt and we slam against the technological frontier. Social media do almost nothing to extend it. Bandwidth is already superfluous, more than our Dunbar Number brain can handle anyway, and is swamped by a low signal-to-noise ratio besides. Admittedly, social media does probably make information marginally easier to find, but I would argue that Alexandra Elbakyan’s humble academic paper sharing/piracy project Sci-Hub by itself has already achieved at least as much for global intellectual progress as Facebook and Twitter combined.

Finally, by rewiring so many first class brains from deep analytical mode to dopamine-seeking wisecrack mode – Charles Murray and even (ironically) N. N. Taleb himself might be in the early stages of that – social media might have ultimately retarded progress. This is not to even mention the considerable cognitive effort that has been expended directly to develop and maintain Facebook and its various clones and applications like Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc. as well as Twitter, Instagram, etc. It certainly pales besides the epochal misallocation of cognitive resources that is the modern financial sector, but it is probably quite considerable nonetheless.

Finally, it would be remiss in an extended critique of social media not to touch upon its increasingly cataclysmic political aspects.

In the past five years, social media have become ever more overt instruments of the globalist elites and their geopolitical and domestic agendas. Increasingly, they operate under the principle of “For my friends, everything; for my enemies, the law.” For instance, Russian nationalists who still maintain active Facebook accounts are far likelier to get hit with bans than their Ukrainian counterparts and other assorted color revolutionaries (see above). Ergo for Twitter, even though there has never been a Russian or Novorossiyan equivalent of the #banderakaratel campaign. This goes in tandem with support for pro-Western revolutionary forces across Eurasia, China, and the Islamic world. Ultimately, the major information companies are almost all US based, so it is only natural that they would seek to cater to American geopolitical interests. And needless to say, the Chinese and Russian governments use the tools they have at their disposal, such as domestic alternatives (Vkontakte, Sina Weibo, etc) and a policy of either banning foreign companies entirely (China) or making them keep their data on their own territory (Russia). It might be pointless to rail against this state of affairs, but it is outright dishonest to pretend that geopolitically, social media is some sort of global kumbaya circle.

The domestic agenda will be more familiar to Unz.com readers. Conservative and especially Alt Right voices are far likelier to get banned than their liberal and SJW opposites. When Return of Kings journalist and provocateur Matt Forney experienced a torrent of death threats from SJWs, it was his account that got banned for reporting them. Breitbart resident kebab Allum Bokhari compiled a list of five of the most egregious cases of Twitter unpersonings, which included reporting on (scrupulously documented!) instances of alleged pedophilia, fraud, and abuse on the part of SJW leaders. Meanwhile, a leading SJW and Gamergate critic who uses “set yourself on fire” as a universal comeback to any criticism of her positions has the personal ear of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

That said, these cases are atypical, if demonstrative; for the most part, the social media giants have taken a more nuanced approach to rigging the visibility game, shadowbanning politically inconvenient users (removing or reducing their visibility on search results and timelines) while promoting loyalists to the Eye of Soros. Politically inappropriate hashtags are manually suppressed from the trending lists. These processes are, if anything, even more overt at Facebook, what with the stunning recent revelations that its trending topic curators removed stories popular with conservatives and rumors that Facebook employees asked Zuckerberg if they could try to influence the elections against Trump. Although the Facebook CEO was quick to engage in damage control, his active personal support for Sorosian causes like #BlackLivesMatter and principled stand against all walls (except his own) put his company’s ultimate political neutrality under serious question.

picus-network-deus-ex

Picus HQ, Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Potentially, Facebook (Google, Twitter) are far more powerful enterprises than even the MSM and the six major corporations that own 90% of it, since they have the power to manipulate and control access to who sees what. /pol/ is always right. So is Deus Ex. We are seeing the materialization of Picus News, a globespanning media conglomerate that directly or incorrectly controls most of the world’s news, complete with shadowy globalist cabal in the background and reinforced not by elite teams of cybernetically augmented assassins but your own Likes and RTs.

Though you might get censored and banned for expressing the wrong viewpoint in the US, at least you won’t go to jail (yet). But warnings, fines, and arrests for expressions of wrongthink about the women and children who are also doctors and engineers on social networks in Europe are now a weekly occurence, and things are only going to get much worse as trans-European regulations on “hate speech” are adopted under the auspices of the EU with the active connivance of Zuckerberg and Merkel, in which “extremism” functionally translates to “anything critical of the EU’s current catastrophic immigration policy.” In practice, these policies will likely extend to the US as well, because of the multinational nature of Facebook’s moderation and its cross-Atlantic ideological unity.

The US plans to start collecting social media profiles as a condition of entry into the country. Apps are being created that scour your social media profiles for financial and political reliability, and in the not too distant future might become a condition of getting hired or taking out credit. These apps have floundered thus far, but this might not be indefinite, as technology advances and the bargaining power of labor gets further diminished by mass immigration and automation. Facebook is taking steps to stake out its territory in Virtual Reality before it has even properly emerged, buying up the Oculus Rift and immediately refocusing it on advertising.

Should we continue feeding this machine? As Zuckerberg himself once said in a private message when founding Facebook, “They “trust me.” Dumb fucks.”

Let’s listen to him.

So we have established that social media contains almost no useful information, yields marginal if not outright returns on intellectual progress, promotes the baser elements of political discourse, and is increasingly blatantly manipulated by a historyless elite that will stop at nothing (except to make a buck off selling your personal information) in pursuit of its chiliastic dreams of social justice and an end to national sovereignty. Perhaps better alternatives will come along in time – for instance, some sort of social network based on the blockchain/Ethereum? – but as of today these systems have become forces for regression across almost all spheres of human activity.

All this is why I’m announcing a permanent end to my presence on Facebook and Twitter.

I will not delete them, because this is ultimately a kneejerk response, and I will feasibly use them twice a year to make very big announcements in the future (e.g. whenever I finally get a book published). Unfortunately, it also has considerable vestigial value as a big network that many people continue to use for its purely social functions like organizing meetups.

But the period in which I made active investments into my social media presence is definitively over.

So to sum it up here are the changes I’ll be making:

1. As per above, an end to social media. Anyway, after so much talk, it’s not like I can avoid the walk.

2. I will read more books, especially Big Books. As a political economy major it is ultimately rather embarassing that I have yet to read Capital in the 21st Century.

Taleb again: “I then completely gave up reading newspapers and watching television, which freed up a considerable amount of time (say one hour or more per day, enough time to read more than a hundred additional books per year, which, after a couple of decades, starts mounting).”

antilibrary

 

3. I will resume studying math – possibly the only intellectual sphere in which BS is impossible in principle, and which is quite possibly the ultimate basis of physical reality.

Not to mention that I have long wanted to explore and understand the real nitty gritty of The g Factor.

Ironically, what inspired me to this was this Tweet by N. N. Taleb. Even more ironically, it is in all likelihood the last ReTweet I will ever make.

4. I will focus anew on whittling down my ridiculous backlog in planned but unwritten books.

books-ak-future

5. As per the wisdom of the Unz.com crowd, I will write fewer short posts and shitposts, and will refocus on the longread and on reviews of books and the better sorts of video games.

The culture of letters might be dead, but perhaps it is not yet too late for individuals to continue to nurture its saplings behind walled gardens, like the Green Man in the Great Blight, in the faith that the day when the Troll-ocs and the other minions of Soros are driven out will eventually dawn.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Administration, Social Media 
Anatoly Karlin
About Anatoly Karlin

I am a blogger, thinker, and businessman in the SF Bay Area. I’m originally from Russia, spent many years in Britain, and studied at U.C. Berkeley.

One of my tenets is that ideologies tend to suck. As such, I hesitate about attaching labels to myself. That said, if it’s really necessary, I suppose “liberal-conservative neoreactionary” would be close enough.

Though I consider myself part of the Orthodox Church, my philosophy and spiritual views are more influenced by digital physics, Gnosticism, and Russian cosmism than anything specifically Judeo-Christian.


PastClassics
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The evidence is clear — but often ignored