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"David M."
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    Evergreen State is a taxpayer-funded hippie college in Olympia, WA. Kurt Cobain didn't go to college, but he was living in Olympia when Nirvana made its best music because to an artsy kid from the lumber port of Aberdeen, WA, Evergreen State seemed like the coolest place in the known universe. They've been having a...
  • @Anonymous
    I looked over that list like it was an AP college football ranking. Some real surprises. Both West Point and the Naval Academy rank relatively low (not even in top 100). Same with some of the University of California campuses (e.g., Irvine, Santa Barbara, etc.). I had thought that all the Asians had made all campuses in the Univ. of CA system just below Cal-Berkeley. I can't believe how high Northeastern ranks. Even higher than Boston College. I had always thought NEU was sort of like a proprietary school like George Washington U. (I think they were but they have benefited from location and PR). I had always assumed a Wisconsin-Madison grad was just believe Michigan-Ann Arbor. And certainly way above a Gettysburg College grad.

    Btw, I couldn't find the alma mater of the guy whom I think is one of the smartest guys around. Dennis Miller: Point Park University.

    Average West Point and Annapolis SAT scores are driven down for several reasons:

    1. The right tail of IQ distribution is much shorter. They look for more well-rounded applicants, so for instance an applicant with a good SAT score, a varsity letter in sports, and a high score on the physical fitness test is considered a better applicant than the one with an awesome SAT score and a perfect GPA, but poor physical fitness.

    2. The classes are gathered from across the country in relative proportion to population, due to the congressional nominating process. Therefore some regions are far less competitive than others.

    3. The academies both have one year prep schools which enroll prior service enlisted soldiers, and students who are otherwise promising but not up to academic expectations (especially athletes and minorities). These prep schools have high drop out rates, so they select for the individuals who possess the discipline and drive to handle the academics, even if they are not exceptionally intelligent. Part of the reason for the USAFA’s higher average SAT may be that its enlisted ranks have higher average IQs than those of the army and navy.

    4. There is a large minority contingent in the academies with lower average SAT scores. Admittedly the academies have more of a justification for this than a typical academic institution. Also, the minorities who can get into the academies often have free scholarships waiting for them from other schools as well, making the competition for them tougher. That is part of the reason why so many of the minority students come from the ranks of prior enlisted.

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  • I'm thinking of putting together a Best of Steve Sailer book. Any thoughts?
  • It’s probably more work than you were intending, but I think that instead of an anthology you should do a semi-autobiographical study of America that ties in your common themes and experiences. A Tale of 3 Cities; SoCal, Houston, and Chicago. Perhaps what I suggest below may not be an accurate assessment of your personal development, but it’s what I’ve picked up from your writings and would fit into a story arc that matches America’s evolution with your own.

    Start with your childhood in SoCal, focusing on the many idyllic qualities that have since been lost.

    Move on to Houston, where you can compare your youthful ideological purity with that of the movement conservatism of Texas. Emphasize how their growth-friendly policies are resulting in demographic changes that will be their undoing, and that they cannot recognize this due to an ideological framework that designates some thoughts as taboo, and which emphasizes short-term economic gain above all else.

    Make Chicago your epiphany, where the hard realities, ethnic conflicts, and corruption of the city open your eyes (such as the plight of your wife’s family trying to hold onto your house). This is the America hidden below the surface that we tend to ignore.

    Then come back to SoCal, and explain how it has changed from your youth, and how it represents the new America that is coming. Explain your attachment to it in terms of your attachment to your roots, past, and childhood, and how this also extends to your country as a whole, and that you do not apologize for wanting to preserve it from “change”.

    I would suggest staying clear of HBD as much as possible. In my opinion, there is really not much need to get into it, and it is the thing most likely to turn off potential readers. It is also in my opinion the most hypothetical and speculative topic you write on. Just discuss things as they are and that is brave and taboo-shattering enough.

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  • From the New York Times: For the cities with the 3 highest increases in homicide in 2015, I inserted the names of the black males shot by cops that spurred Black Lives Matter protests that led to big increases in murder. Homicide is one of the rare crimes, along with kidnapping, that definitely gets a...
  • And the total number of homicides last year was fewer than 20 years ago even as the country’s population increased, criminologists said. There were 19,645 homicides in 1996 in a nation of 265 million; in 2015, there were 15,696 in a population of 321 million.

    The population increased by about 20%, but the population of 15-34 year olds only increased by about 10%. http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2009/08/us-population-distribution-by-age-1950.html So it’s not quite so dramatic a drop.

    Then consider that the prison population doubled from 1996 to 2015, and the improvements in trauma care and policing, and it is possible that there has been very little decrease in the rate of violent crime among those not incarcerated.

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  • Here's a graph going around to show you that there's nothing to worry about in the big spike in urban homicides since Ferguson: look, the murder rate is down compared to the Carter Administration! For example, Democratic-connected journalist-financier Steven Rattner tweets: But take a look at the single most dominant notable feature of the graph:...
  • I would love to see a similar graph for attempted murders (shootings, stabbings, etc) per 100,000 males aged 15-35. The picture would not look so rosy then, especially in comparison to the early 1900′s when a much larger percentage of the population consisted of young males and differences in medical care and evac, etc. meant that you were much more likely to die when shot.

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    • Replies: @Bugg
    Having ER doctors and nurses that have either themselves been in the Middle East at war almost nonstop since 1991 or trained by professionals who have means if the EMTs can get a gunshot victim to the hospital alive said victim has an excellent chance to survive.

    Liberals were also on board with the police being reactive rather than proactive. One example; until Giuliani became Mayor, NYPD discouraged patrol officers from bothering anyone they observed dealing or using drugs on the street . And that led to a lot of corruption. The documentary "The 75" about Michael Dowd is an excellent example. If you don't enforce the law in the inner city expect those officers of lesser integrity are going to take advantage.
    , @Buffalo Joe
    David, Absolutely agree with your assessment. The number shot and the number killed is a very important number. More Level One Trauma Centers and surgeons trained and experienced in treating gunshot wounds makes a huge difference. And a study by the U of Chicago and their Medical School, pegs the cost of treating gunshot wounds at an average of $85,000 per victim. Many victims suffer life altering injuries, including paralysis, re-sectioned intestines , amputations and breathing problems.
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  • From Taki's Magazine: Read the whole thing there.
  • “serves as an ingenious scheme to boost German exports at the expense of its less superbly industrious neighbors in the sunnier parts of Europe”

    Steve, you should replace “less superbly industrious neighbors” with “somewhat less industrious and much less efficient and organized neighbors”. Germans are not particularly industrious anymore. As an American, you would probably be highly unimpressed with the modern day German work ethic. They are still good at developing SOPs and sticking to them though, which goes a long way.

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  • From Boswell's Life of Johnson (and used as an epigraph to Nabokov's Pale Fire): My family's pet rabbit has died peacefully of old age after a short decline phase of about a week. He was born sometime in 2004
  • I am sorry for your loss Steve.

    Obviously he was smart enough to build his defensive bunker, but I am interested in your thoughts. How would you have compared his intelligence and personality to that of a dog or cat?

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  • Thomas Friedman of the NYT is in Africa. His first column about the increasing inundation we can expect from the booming population of the Sahel a week ago caused the NYT shut off comments after only 84 because most of the commenters focused on Friedman's subversive details, such as the would-be immigrant with three wives...
  • Of course global warming may actually be reversing desertification in the Sahara:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara.html

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    • Replies: @tris
    my gut feeling is that, in addition to the macro trend, the agricultural methods employed in northern Africa are mostly responsible for increased desertification. African farms don't have fences. They just keep roaming around untill nothing is left, then move on.
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  • Paul Krugman opinionizes in the NYT: Of course, as I pointed out a couple of years ago in
  • @unpc downunder
    Religious fundamentalists and communists have killed a lot more people than non-communist atheists. And don't confuse scientific atheists with utopian socialists and spiritual progressives who have a chip on their shoulder about organised religion.

    So what you are saying is that it was the “bad atheists” who killed a lot of people, not the “good atheists”, i.e., the “scientific atheists”.

    Okay, maybe so, but that works both ways. Therefore I contend that it was the “bad religious” who killed a lot of people, not the “good religious”.

    And in the short run they’ve had, the bad atheists have managed to do vastly more damage, per capita, than the bad religious ever did.

    Now that the non-communist good atheists are in charge, we can see how well they do. So far their fortes seem to be engendering potentially catastrophic ethnic displacement and conflict, implementing democracy through blunt trauma, and wiping out undesirables through abortion.

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  • Completely off topic, but the sex imbalance in China could be another issue that results in a serious speed bump on the road to the end of history.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/17/asia/vietnamese-girls-child-brides-china/index.html

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  • No details yet. Possibly related to the recent arrest in Brussels of the Muslim terrorist leader of the fall massacres in Paris, although that's pure speculation. Whatever the cause, the solution is clearly More Immigration.
  • We can hope that this attack brings some realism to the discussion of Muslim immigration in Europe. Of course, it has occurred just after Germany let in enough immigrants to change it’s reproduction-aged population to about 4% Muslim (in addition to whatever percent Muslim it was before). So I am not sure how much good realism does at this point.

    Sort of like the Trojans having a debate on whether to accept the wooden horse after all the Greeks have already scurried out.

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    • Replies: @Sid
    In the Aeneid, there was a Trojan named Laocoon who said that the Trojan Horse was probably a weapon designed to destroy Troy. For his truth telling, the goddess Athena, who favors the Trojans, sends snakes at Laocoon, which strangle and kill him and his two sons.

    The Trojans thought that criticizing the idea of taking in the Trojan Horse would lead to personal ruin, so they went along with the idea, which led to the annihilation of their whole polity.

    Needless to say, the parallel with our contemporary situation is apparent. There will be plenty of snakes who will be ready to strangle us for speaking out, in order to encourage others to keep quiet and do what is expected of them.
    , @Buffalo Joe
    David M, Canada is a seemingly secure nation with about 4% Muslims. Justin Trudeau, a proponent of borderless countries, is trying to change that percentage by inviting up to 100,000 Syrian refugees to take up residence in Canada. We will see how that works out for our northern neighbor.
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  • One of the most common arguments for mass immigration is ethnic restaurants. Immigrants from Thailand, for example, introduced the now ubiquitous Thai restaurants. But, one thing that strikes me is that Thai restaurants haven't improved all that much since the 1980s, while Italian restaurants, despite not much immigration from Italy, have continued to improve. One...
  • “and the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles — the scene of Nicole Brown Simpson’s last meal”

    Seems like an unnecessary and morbid aside for an article about Italian restaurants.

    What’s kind of ironic about the growth in high end trattorias, is that between them and the chain Italian places, they are crowding out the red sauce restaurants. And the red sauce restaurants represent an authentic cuisine – that developed by the very large south Italian presence in the United States in the late 19th/early 20th century. And although I love good Italian food, good Italian-American food is even better.

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    • Replies: @Jack D
    While there is something wonderfully satisfying about a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, fundamentally Italian-American cuisine is a sort of simplified pidgin cuisine (the way Spanglish is a pidgin language) formed out of lack of access to authentic ingredients. In the early 20th century US, you couldn't get real olive oil (or else it was too expensive for a poor immigrant) so you substituted cheap Mazola, made from abundant American corn. You couldn't get fresh basil or fresh mushrooms or other typical Italian sauce ingredients at the grocery store, but you could get canned tomatoes. You couldn't get authentic (water) buffalo mozzarella but you could get "mozzarella" made from American cow's milk (and California "Chianti" and "Parmesan" , etc. none of which were as good as the real thing) On the other hand, there were some upsides to America - meat was incredibly cheap compared to Italy, where you might put a little bit of ground meat into your Bolognese sauce but not great big lumps of it.
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  • From Reuters: Merkel defends open borders for migrants amid German rift ... By John O'Donnell FRANKFURT, Feb 28 German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday defended her open-door policy for migrants, rejecting any limit on the number of refugees allowed into her country despite divisions within her government. Merkel said there was no 'Plan B' for...
  • Trump is likely to be further helped by this issue, as it’s going to get uglier this year.

    Hungary’s example is being followed and barriers are being erected in Macedonia, Slovenia, and Austria. But Merkel insanely refuses to entertain a limit on the number of refugees allowed to enter Germany, keeping the immigrant tractor beam on full force. So more and more are coming, and the result is going to be waves of immigrants stuck in places like Greece, Serbia, and Croatia. It will result in pitched battles at each successive barrier. That’s already started:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/desperate-migrants-use-battering-ram-7463468

    Eventually those defending the barriers are going to resort to lethal force, either in self-defense or as a last resort to staunch the tide. The only solution that could prevent violence at this point is either to let those already in move on and then stop further boats from reaching Greece, or just surrender and let them all in. Of course if they start interdicting a lot of boats there’s going to be a lot of drownings.

    I really don’t know what Merkel is thinking at this point. It was always an idiotic policy, but it is hard to even pretend it is not a disaster at this point. Is she making these decisions from a bunker?

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    A further point is that the 1951 Geneva Convention is no longer 'fit for purpose', as the jargon goes, and must be abolished.
    Unfortunately, EU rules prevent member states from doing this.

    This misbegotten, quite frankly insane, treaty is at the root of this present crisis. A fact which is not publicized enough.
    No 'big-wig' is seriously advocating its unilateral derogation.
    , @Eric Novak
    Serbia and Croatia militarized their southern borders last fall. Few migrants are admitted except for forward transit to Germany.
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  • From my new column in Taki's Magazine: Diversity vs. Solidarity by Steve Sailer January 20, 2016 The upcoming GOP primary donnybrook between the establishment right and the antiestablishment right has had a foreshadowing in Polish politics over the past dozen years in the war between Poland’s two dominant parties, both conservative. If you want to...
  • @AKAHorace
    Steve,

    as an addition to your piece on Poland, I have seen a map on "strange maps" in which the division between the two parties corresponds to areas which were under German and Russian rule. Would be interested to see what you and other commentators here make of this.

    http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/348-an-imperial-palimpsest-on-polands-electoral-map

    I can't get the map to appear on this, but they are referring to:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wybory2007wgPowiatow_Barry_Kent.png

    The Polish electoral map divide is primarily a result of the old German part of Poland being more heavily industrialized and developed. It was heavily settled after WWII by Poles moved west from what is now the Ukraine, so it is probably not an inherited cultural artifact, as those Poles resettled from the Ukraine were also from the former Russian sphere.

    Basically, the west is simply more economically advanced and more closely tied into western Europe.

    You could make the argument that many areas of the former German territory held Polish majorities or large Polish minorities, and that therefore they transmitted the cultural inheritance from their former days of Prussian tutelage. But if this was the case, then the most heavily orange districts would be those on the eastern edge of the blue half of the country, as those areas would have experienced the least population movement from the east, and those areas closest to the border would be the least orange, as they were previously almost completely German and took in so much resettlement from the former Russian east after they were emptied out.

    Also note that two former centers of industry in the Russian Empire, Warsaw and Łódź, are also both orange despite being in the blue half of the country. So basically, to me it seems almost certainly an economic divide rather than cultural, which means that as Poland gets richer perhaps it will fall into the typical western European mindset. On an optimistic note, however, the Czech Republic is already wealthier than Portugal and Greece, and just behind Spain, but is still almost wholly opposed to the migration. Hopefully Poland will continue to resist as well.

    It is interesting to note that the old Austrian portion of Poland is the bluest, and also happens to still be the most religious part of Poland.

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    • Replies: @AP

    those Poles resettled from the Ukraine were also from the former Russian sphere.
     
    The ones from Volhynia - yes. But the ones from Galicia were of course from Austrian territory. Much of Wroclaw's population is from Lviv.
    , @szopen
    You are partially wrong. Eastern Pomerania and ziemia lubuska had no good industry before the WWII, just as Lower Silesia. Higher Silesia was industrialized quite heavily.

    Greater Poland (Poznan) and Western Pomerania had Polish majorities even before WWI.

    I'd say it's rather the effect of mass movement: which destroyed the old social ties and traditions plus large cities effect.
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  • Last September, the government of Hungary was widely condemned as "un-European" for attempting to defend the European Union's external border against intruders from other continents. This winter, Sweden, which, along with Germany, had been causing the mass migration that Hungary had attempted to defend the European Union against, has imposed border controls for the first...
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/21/world/europe/hungary-viktor-orban-migrant-crisis.html?_r=0

    Summary of this NYT article:

    “Orban is a nasty, snarling, evil racist, but maybe he was kind of right about this whole refugee thing, in an unnecessarily belligerent sort of way. But did we mention that Orban is a shrill bigot, because just to be clear that is what he is. So don’t think that he deserves any credit or anything.”

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks.
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  • From the Washington Post: A wary start to Syrian refugees’ new life in Kentucky By Eli Saslow LOUISVILLE —America’s newest family of Syrian refugees flew in late at night, and Sarhan Aldobai, 36, looked down from the plane at the distant lights of his new home. His wife was nursing their baby in the next...
  • @Dave Pinsen
    There are 94 million American working-age adults who have dropped out of the labor force. Why not pretend they are refugees and have the government pay churches to help them get back on their feet?

    I think that reclassifying struggling Americans as refugees is a brilliant idea, although to make it truly effective we may have to turn them into actual refugees. Perhaps we could stir up a little homicidal and fratricidal war between West Virginia’s Baptists and Methodists? Then we could resettle the refugees en masse in Greenwich Village.

    We would just need to explain to the insular and old-fashioned residents of the Village that Lynyrd Skynyrd music, Nascar races, and other elements of West Virginian culture should be embraced rather than feared as they will only add to the rich tapestry of the area.

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    • Replies: @Jefferson
    "We would just need to explain to the insular and old-fashioned residents of the Village that Lynyrd Skynyrd music, Nascar races, and other elements of West Virginian culture should be embraced rather than feared as they will only add to the rich tapestry of the area."

    Never underestime their purchasing power. These Rednecks who like Lynyrd and NASCAR are the reason Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy are multi-millionaires. It is certainly not SWPL types who are paying good money to see their brand of stand up comedy. White Liberal Democrats like Jeff and Larry about as much as Anon likes the Jews. That is why they are a lot more popular in flyover country, than they are in Seattle and Manhattan for example.
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  • Here's a video by Ami Horowitz showing Yale students signing a petition to repeal the First Amendment. Obviously, put that baldly, most people wouldn't go for it, at this point. Still, it's clear that large swathes of elites see Diversity / Immigration -- the Zeroth Amendment -- as trumping the First and Second Amendments. Americans...
  • The Zeroth Amendment is a natural and necessary outgrowth of the Zeroth Commandment.

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    • Agree: Chrisnonymous, AndrewR
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  • Early in the 21st Century, noted education experts Ted Kennedy and George W. Bush got together to push through Congress the bipartisan No Child Left Behind act mandating that 100% of American public school students be above average by last year. As luck would have it, that didn't actually happen. But now Obama has just...
  • I feel we are making this much harder than necessary. If we could just increase the minimum Harvard class-size to 4 million students, then we could ensure that every American student reaches the pinnacle of academic success. There, problem solved.

    Even without counting any additional tuition and relying just on the endowment, that leaves Harvard about $9,000 per student, which is certainly doable.

    The next obvious step would be to increase the Harvard class-size to 100 million, so we could ensure that all children everywhere succeed. Remember, it’s “every child succeeds”, not “every American child succeeds”. We just need to get the Harvard endowment up from 36 billion to 910 billion. But after they start graduating 4 million high-achieving alumni each year, that should not be a problem.

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    • Agree: Travis
    • Replies: @Cloudbuster
    Simpler solution: just pass a law mandating that all colleges and universities are named "Harvard."
    , @Anonymous
    Even easier, simply pass a piece of legislation naming every school "Havad Univercity", and making it mandatory that ALL children be issued diplomas regardless of completion or indeed even attendance beyond registration, oh an also requiring them to relabel whatever graduation diploma they issue (whether high school, junior high, elementary, or heck even kindergarten) as being a "Doctoral degree"... and just like that, ALL of the children will have "Doctoral" degrees from "Havad Univercity".

    Yes, I know I misspelled it... that's intentional, after all the REAL "Harvard University" may have a "trademark" on the correct spelling, and this will circumvent any lawsuits (it will create a technical "loophole" that is large enough the courts can drive a truck through it -- at least on behalf of the government -- as they have done with so many other things through much tinier {even virtually non-existent, infinitesimally microscopic, loopholes}).

    And the thing is that the misspelling won't matter, because whut wid da knu educratz runung thangs virtually everyone sux at speling thees dayz, sos deyl naver no da defernts, dayl jes ce dat is dun sez "Havad Univercity" (whatch is howz dey pronuns pronown... howz dey SEZ it in Bastun anywaz).
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  • The globalist ruling class is starting to notice that voters are starting to notice that globalism is running into diminishing returns. While the intelligent response would be moderation -- okay, we've done the globalist thing for about all it's worth, so let's back off on that for awhile -- instead they seem to have decided...
  • Beard closes instead with the “culminating moment,” in A.D. 212, when the emperor Caracalla declared every free inhabitant of the empire a full Roman citizen, eroding the distinction between the Romans and the people they had conquered, colonized, and ruled.

    And that “culminating moment” was followed about 20 years later by the crisis of the third century, when foreign-born soldiers and generals completely tore apart the empire and changed it into a radically different entity, such that historians now consider the periods before and after the wars as different historical eras (“classical antiquity” and “late antiquity”).

    But I guess that’s just coincidence right?

    And if not, what’s the worst that could happen to us? The dawn of a new historical period should at least be interesting right?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Fifty years of civil war followed by a restoration under a series of Balkan hard men, proto-Titos like Diocletian and Constantine.

    Could be worse ...

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  • Awhile ago, in explaining the real reasons behind Newsweek's cover story about how the Ogden metropolitan statistical area in exurban Salt Lake City has the least inequality in the country, I pointed out that Ogden was second to Provo, Utah in having the biggest gender gap in wages in the country. Now Bloomberg has a...
  • “Utah ranks last in the U.S. for the percentage of mothers with young children in the labor force, at 52.8 percent. ”

    So more than half of mothers with small children are working outside the home, even in Utah. Considering that we are talking not just about mothers, but mothers with young children, in the most conservative state in the Union, you would think they would be satisfied with their progress? But I guess we can’t get complacent can we? We need to continue striving until no left child is behind (at home with his or her mother).

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  • From the New York Times op-ed page: Uh, you know, that's called Germany trampling on the rule of law. Instead of
  • @Hippopotamusdrome


    Facebook as a racist platform, Gerod Roth and Stuff that White People Do.
    ...
    By Chekesha Roberts
    ...
    co worker ‪#‎GerodRoth took it upon himself to take a photo of the child and post it on his facebook page.
    ...
    Gerod Roth has since been fired from his job at Polaris
    ...
    Update: Geris/Gerod has been fired from both of his jobs and Emily (his friend on the original post) has been fired from her job as well.
    ...
    Here’s a person, one of Gerod Roth’s friends who made racist comments on his photo. He has since changed the last name on his account, from his real name Kleeman to a fake name
    ...
    Facebook bloggers were able to screen shot and get names of some of the friends of Gerod Roth before Gerod Roth deleted his account.
    ...
    Lara Croft
    October 5, 2015 at 11:54 am

    https://m.facebook.com/dylan.kleeman Here is another one Facebook still active , he changed his name!
    ...
    Stacy GGG
    October 5, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Dylan Kleeman is from Idaho. He can be found on linked in. Tom Zheng is from Hawaii. He can also be found. I think he is connected to Hawaiian airlines but I am doing more research. We can do this. Our only recourse is using their employers against them.
    ...
    Mrs. B
    October 5, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    On LinkedIn it says that Dylan Kleeman works for TAG restaurant group but is in the greater Chicago area. I called to make a complaint about him and they TAG group says that they only have restaurants in the Colorado area…I think he is attempting to throw us off the scent. Anyone else know anything more. What about this Baron O’Malley character. I want him put in his place. This level of hatred is annoying and stupid. Idiots!

     

    The zeal to hunt these people down and destroy their lives is indeed scary.

    On the other hand, I certainly wouldn’t want to employ anyone who used the 3 year old child of a co-worker as the butt of a cruel joke. So while it is a frightening phenomenon, I am having a hard time mustering much sympathy.

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    • Replies: @jon
    This particular person may not seem very sympathetic to you, but he is one of many people who have been destroyed by online activity.
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  • From the Los Angeles Times: Germany's open-door policy in migrant crisis casts nation in a new light A migrant from Syria holds a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel as he arrives from Hungary at Munich's main railway station on Sept. 5. Germany has agreed to set aside more than $6 billion next year to...
  • @Dave Pinsen
    Germans can kill two birds with one stone, in that case: pay the Greeks to take in the Syrians.

    Right, good idea, send them all to the Greeks. Then when a bloody civil war breaks out between the newcomers and the Greeks, the Germans can parachute into Crete to save the day. Oh wait..

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  • As I mentioned in a comment last week, Germany looks at this as a “reverse Holocaust”. They can finally remove the indelible stain by greeting the trainloads of miserable masses with teddy bears instead of barbed wire. Sending large sums of money to Greeks via electronic transfer just doesn’t offer the same opportunity for moral preening. Plus Greeks are Christians and members of the EU, so their victim status is highly suspect.

    It makes even more sense when you consider what a romantic and sentimental people the Germans are (popular American conceptions about the Germans are way off – http://www.amazon.com/The-Europeans-Luigi-Barzini/dp/0140071504). The long term consequences of this must compete with the short term emotional high of symbolic reconciliation.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    The connection of the migrant flood with holocaust imagery seems to be very popular with American commentators. So to expunge their "indelible" genetic guilt (how would that even be possible if it's "indelible"?), it is the consensus that Germans have to embrace their own demise with enthusiasm.
    Would have been more honest to follow through with the Morgenthau plan in 1945.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Germans can kill two birds with one stone, in that case: pay the Greeks to take in the Syrians.
    , @Erik Sieven
    I cannot see any substantial differences between the ruling ideology and its consequences of the USA, France, Germany or any other western country. There is a tradition in the European Union that whenever there is something to pay for, everybody first looks to Germany, and the german regime is always willing to take the burden. But all in all antiracism is as strong in other western countries as it is in Germany
    , @anon

    Germany looks at this...
     
    Germany does - I didn't notice a vote?

    So far all I see is concerted media propaganda.
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  • Commenter Romanian calls our attention to this relevant passage from Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire about the decision of the Emperor Valens in 376 A.D. to permit -- and even assist -- the crossing of the Danube, until then the frontier of Roman civilization, by German barbarians. In the opinion...
  • While many of the barbarians were Arian Christians, they were still duly impressed with the Empire they overran. Most of them attempted to govern as if they were a continuation of Roman rule, and there was even some semblance of normality in the 6th century AD. Over time though, social order, infrastructure, trade, and overall well-being decayed as the new elites did not possess a cultural identity which could maintain civilization. They played at being Roman elites, but the inner barbarian takes a long time to suppress.

    But I think there is another historical analogy we should concern ourselves with – the Arab conquest of the Middle East. The Arabs were for a long time a minority in the territories they conquered. They were content to rule and let their subjects continue life much as before, as that was the best way to make their Islamic rulers comfortable and wealthy.

    In the same way, the migrants arriving in Europe are not duly impressed with our culture. They like our gadgets and material things, but the rest they feel only contempt for, and they possess a religious belief that they should conquer for Islam. They also view Europeans as soft and weak. So I do not think they will try to adopt Western culture like the barbarians tried to adopt Roman culture and religion, but rather will attempt to rule over Europe as a minority population, as has been the pattern of Muslim invasions past. The process will not start out with an attempt at outright conquest, but with special privileges and autonomy achieved through a combination of the threat of mob violence and exploitation of Leftist multiculturalism. Over time that will evolve into more direct control.

    So in that sense, things could be even worse.

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    • Agree: Romanian
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  • From the BBC: Summary: Because fellow Arab countries like Qatar -- which is reportedly budgeting a quarter of a trillion dollars on the 2022 World Cup -- have rules against it.
  • This is a problem primarily of Germany’s making, as it has thrown out the welcome mat in an attempt to pull a “reverse-holocaust”. This time they will greet the trainloads of miserable masses with teddy bears and medical supplies. This time they are the good guys, and the Hungarians, Czechs, and other unwilling countries are the fascists for not wanting to take their “fair share” of the deluge created by Germany.

    Of course the irony is that this makes Germany most responsible for the suffering and loss of life during migration, since many of the refugees would have never made the voyage had Germany not publicly stated its willingness to accept them. But instead of acknowledging the source of the problem, the hardships are presented as evidence of the need to accept more migrants, thus only making the situation worse.

    But at least the Germans feel good about themselves.

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  • From The Week: Social media, which largely consists of bragging about how aweso
  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/austria/11836027/Budapest-station-orders-evacuation-due-to-migrants-after-Vienna-sees-biggest-daily-influx-by-rail.html

    Look at all the evacuating families of 18-29 year old males that are bringing absolute chaos to Central Europe’s rail stations.

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  • With the Los Angeles suburb of Compton back in the news due to the hit biopic "Straight Outta Compton" about the 1980s gangsta rap group N.W.A., it's worth noting that Compton has a pretty interesting real estate history. In the 1950s and 1960s, Compton represented the black version of what Kevin Starr and Benjamin Schwarz...
  • Speaking of meticulously groomed lawns, what is surprising to me is how all the lawns of inhabited homes in America seem to be mown nowadays, even in the worst slums. When I was a kid I remember how the shape of the lawn told you a lot about socio-economic status of the residents living inside. Even in middle-class neighborhoods a fair number of lawns were overgrown. But, for instance, take a google earth drive down some of Detroit’s worst streets (or for the brave, try it in person). You’ll see abandoned houses with overgrown lawns, but next door often an inhabited home with obviously impoverished residents, but with neatly mown lawns. I just took a google earth drive through Compton and most lawns were well taken care of their as well.

    Is this because most homes in the slum are now section-8, and lawn care is cheap enough that owners just hire lawn care? Or is it owner-residents taking pride in their homes? I guess it is probably a combination of both. But if many of these homes are occupied by welfare-dependent single mothers, it would seem unlikely that the residents are maintaining the equipment and mowing the lawn themselves.

    I know it seems like a trivial thing, but it really does puzzle me as it is so at odds with my childhood impression of what a slum should look like.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    In 2002, I drove around the Florence-Normandie neighborhood where the 1992 Rodney King riot started. The yards on the residential streets were well kept up, with maybe 1 out of every 8 scruffy.

    But that's not a particularly impoverished neighborhood.

    Here's a picture of a house for sale in the Florence-Normandie neighborhood:

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/8020-S-Normandie-Ave-Los-Angeles-CA-90044/20947236_zpid/

    In 1977 I drove around Watts where the 1965 Watts Riot, not surprisingly, happened. It wasn't as nice as Florence-Normandie in 2002, but it wasn't as bad as I had expected from reading about it.

    Driving around the affluent 99% black neighborhood of Baldwin Hills, or whatever the north-facing hillside neighborhood with the great views toward Beverly Hills is called, I noticed the lawn care was outstanding. With the way my lawn is this summer due to the drought, I'd probably get tarred and feathered if I lived in Baldwin Hills.

    I have a vague impression that lawn care is a big deal to black homeowners in L.A. (My impression is that Mexicans care a lot less about a green lawn. That may have something to do with coming to L.A. from the fairly dry to very dry northern half of Mexico rather than from very green places in the South like Louisiana and East Texas). Maybe that's a warning sign that black homeowners employ to decide when to go talk to their neighbors about property values and how things can slip away pretty fast for everybody?

    Due to the drought, there's a big push on from the bigshots like Jerry Brown and Mayor Garcetti to move past all this outdated green lawn stuff and put in gravel and cactuses in front of your house, or at least stop watering your lawn. And a lot of people seem to be getting into permanently giving up on lawn care under the guise of being drought-sensitive. It's global warming!

    I wonder if a decade from now, white people will decide that back in 2015 they managed to screw up black home-owning neighborhoods by demonizing lawn care, a traditional standard by which black homeowners monitored and regulated each other's behavior? Thus giving layabouts an excuse to let everything go to hell?

    I may be just making this all up, but, also, I might be on to something.

    , @Anonymous
    Perhaps it has something to do with the availability of cheap Mexican labor? In my small (under 90,000 people) city in south-central Indiana, there's very few Hispanics and most of the lawncare businesses are still owned and staffed by local working-class whites, and there seem to be a suspiciously large number of unkempt lawns around here. Heck, even my comfortably middle class white high school math teacher neighbor doesn't seem to mow his lawn more than once a month or so. My grandmother's twentysomething neighbors are even worse; their front yard looks downright wild.
    , @AndrewR
    I used to work for a landscaping company here in MI. A large part of the company's business came from mowing lawns. We had multiple customers that paid with some sort of government voucher that allowed them to get one lawnmowing every two weeks. I don't know if that was only for disabled people or what though.
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  • From the New York Times, With High-Profile Help, Obama Plots Life After Presidency By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and GARDINER HARRIS AUG. 16, 2015 President Obama, at the White House in June, is privately mapping out a postpresidential infrastructure that could cost as much as $1 billion. WASHINGTON — The dinner in the private upstairs dining...
  • Eva Longoria, check.

    Malcolm Gladwell, check.

    Steven Spielberg, check.

    Toni Morrison, check.

    But wait – where was Ta-Nehisi?

    I guess he’s moved on to bigger and better things.

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  • The recent broadcast of videotapes taken of persons employed at Planned Parenthood -- the prolific and notorious abortion provider -- has brought the issue of abortion to the national consciousness again and front and center to the Republican presidential primary campaign. The tapes were made secretly by a pro-life group determined to show to the...
  • @WorkingClass
    Abortion kills a fetus. You can't get baby parts from a fetus.

    I understand why you want to pretend that a fetus is a baby. Because killing a baby constitutes the crime of murder and you want to equate abortion with murder.

    I prefer safe and legal. And contraception. We appear to be on opposite sides of the argument. I doubt either of us will be persuaded. People (persons?) on my side of the argument stop reading as soon as they see "baby killer". I'm only trying to help.

    Well thank you for your help then. Let me see if I’ve got everything straight.

    Fetuses are not babies and should not be referred to as babies lest you offend people who are in favor of fetus killing. A fetus, regardless of whether it is viable or how developed it is, is still just a fetus so long as it is still in the womb. And killing fetuses is not murder, because after all it is just a fetus.

    But take that fetus out of the womb, and it becomes a real baby (i.e. it is no longer a “pretend” baby as you say). Then killing it is murder, because it is now located several inches away from where it was previously, which is of course the key distinction.

    Now this is where it gets a bit confusing. A foot (let’s say) taken from a fetus remains a fetus foot so long as the fetus was killed (but not murdered!) inside the womb, even though that foot is now outside of the womb and to the untrained eye might look exactly like a baby foot. But if you first took the fetus out of the womb, thus making it into a real baby, then killed it (now it’s murder!) and cut off its foot, that same exact foot would now be a baby foot. Got it.

    Please note, I was very careful to never call a fetus a baby in this post, so hopefully you were able to make it through the comment and you can continue helping me.

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  • @casey
    "overlook or forgive this fault because they are engaged in the act of preserving human life. Not so in this case, and that is the point."

    Actually saving human life through research IS the point in this case.

    Since we are on the topic, here’s another example of researchers harvesting body parts to save lives:

    https://owlspace-ccm.rice.edu/access/content/user/ecy1/Nazi%20Human%20Experimentation/Pages/Bone%20Grafting.html

    I don’t think they charged for the body parts like planned parenthood does though.

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  • @WorkingClass
    Well, a fetus is not a baby so you can stop saying that. Is a fetus a person? Perhaps. But a woman is a person also. I think you will eventually overturn Roe by sheer persistence. But you will not end abortion.

    Since you have such a good handle on the terminology, can you please clarify something for me? Considering that the difference between a fetus and a baby is that a fetus is located inside the womb and a baby is located outside the womb, does that mean pp is murdering fetuses, but selling baby parts? Perhaps the logical solution to this problem would be for pp to deliver the parts to the buyers in a portable womb, so they would become fetus parts again.

    You are right though, we will never end abortion, just like we won’t ever end armed robbery, rape, and other assorted ills. Perhaps we should just legalize all of them.

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    • Replies: @WorkingClass
    Abortion kills a fetus. You can't get baby parts from a fetus.

    I understand why you want to pretend that a fetus is a baby. Because killing a baby constitutes the crime of murder and you want to equate abortion with murder.

    I prefer safe and legal. And contraception. We appear to be on opposite sides of the argument. I doubt either of us will be persuaded. People (persons?) on my side of the argument stop reading as soon as they see "baby killer". I'm only trying to help.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @casey
    You cannot protect the rights of the fetus-person without taking away the rights of a fully realized person. Every time I've challenged someone on this they simply say it doesn't matter the woman (or girl) should have been more responsible, a poor response that doesn't answer the charge. It's a zero sum game. You can't give them each 50% rights protection. You have to choose.

    PP didn't agree to sell any baby parts as far as I know, and the numbers thrown about were ridiculously small- $30, $100. You call those big profits? Have you had a medical procedure lately? An aspirin costs more at a medical facility. Finally, abortions are a tiny, single digit part of PPs budget. This is a very misleading and illogical article.

    Oh, also: people talk like this all the time in the medical profession. Especially when they think they are speaking to others in the profession. Again, a poor argument. Let medical professionals, ethicists, and patients make their own decisions about things occurring inside the bodies of people who already exist and have rights that need protecting.

    PP didn’t agree to sell any baby parts as far as I know, and the numbers thrown about were ridiculously small- $30, $100.

    The videos made abundantly clear that there is already an existing market for the parts which the pp affiliates participate in.

    That the body parts are sold for small amounts only increases the horror and inhumanity of it all, but anyway:

    325,000 murdered babies x 3 body parts per corpse x $65 per part = $63,375,000

    Sounds like real money and a real market. And there would not be much of a market if the fetuses did not “already exist”.

    Medical professionals may speak cavalierly about human life, but we generally overlook or forgive this fault because they are engaged in the act of preserving human life. Not so in this case, and that is the point.

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    • Replies: @casey
    "overlook or forgive this fault because they are engaged in the act of preserving human life. Not so in this case, and that is the point."

    Actually saving human life through research IS the point in this case.
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  • For decades the Financial Times has hardly had a good word to say about the Japanese economy. It is a special irony therefore that the paper’s longtime British owner, the Pearson group, has now agreed to sell it to the Tokyo-based Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) group. How come it is Nikkei that is buying the...
  • Remarkably few significant Japanese employers ever go out of business – and indeed for the most part they do not even make layoffs (the nearest they get is to ask older workers to take early retirement and to let temporary workers go).

    Well 40% of workers are so-called temporary workers, and lots of Japanese are also nearing retirement age, so this is not as remarkable as it sounds.

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  • Gov. Jerry Brown suggests that California can take in another 10 million immigrants, if only we build more rapid transit (and more giant water projects, and some other stuff). But in a California that already has 40 million people, rapid transit isn't very rapid in the sense that the planning, design, approval, litigation, and even...
  • @The Last Real Calvinist
    You make some good points, David, about the drawbacks of buses.

    It does depend, though, on the type of buses in use. I take all kinds of public transport regularly in Hong Kong -- subway, above-ground trains, buses, minibuses, taxis, etc. I end up standing quite often. The typical buses here are double-decked, extremely solid, and have the ability to lower their chassis to make it easier for wheelchairs and the elderly to get on board. I agree they're not quite as smooth out on the road as trains, but they're still pretty good; standing is still very much feasible at urban speeds.

    I agree completely about the self-driving vehicles on fixed routes. An often-overlooked key to the success of HK's superb public transport system is the ubiquity of 16-seat minibuses. They both link population centers (e.g. individual housing estates) to bigger forms of transport (usually the MTR, i.e. the subway/train system), and run longer routes that can't support full bus routes. Without them, although HK is very dense and compact, many people who don't live right next to subway stations or major bus routes would still end up doing a lot of very sweaty walking up and down hills. Instead, they take a five or ten-minute minibus ride, and it all works pretty well. This kind of route would be very well-served by a self-driving vehicle.

    It's important to get the right size of vehicle if it's going to be self-driving. Taxi-size is fine, since you then don't need to share it with anyone else. Bus-size is fine, because you then have safety in numbers. But somewhere in between there will be problems: if you have a vehicle that's unsupervised by a driver, and that seats say 8 or 10, many people may balk if they don't like the looks of the others getting on board. I wonder if minibus size, say around 15-20, would be the minimum needed to achieve the feel of a 'public' conveyance rather than just a 'shared' one.

    I think the best way to deal with the “right size” question would be to compartmentalize the vehicle, sort of like a tall limousine. Each compartment fits only a few people, with special compartments for strollers, bikes, etc. The compartments are separated by walls. This way you don’t have to worry about who you are riding with.

    The cost could be per compartment. So if you want to save money you share compartments, if you want to pay for your privacy, you take your own. The key would be getting enough vehicles that you would not face social pressure to share your compartment. Of course that would not stop bums from trying to share a free ride in your compartment.

    The compartments would also help because each compartment could specify a destination along the fixed routes. The vehicle would stop upon reaching it, those doors would open, and as soon as those doors close, the vehicle takes off again. An algorithm could also take multiple destination points and work out the best compromise for everyone to limit stopping, with special consideration giving for those traveling with small children, the elderly, the disabled, etc. Hopefully though obesity would not count as a disability.

    Of course private self driving cars could also run the same routes for those who want to pay more.

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  • @Steve Sailer
    In the 1930s, my dad used to take the trolley from Altadena to the beach. It took about about two hours each way.

    Light rail (i.e., rail without exclusive right-aways and street crossings above or below grade level) just isn't inherently better than buses, except that it appeals to tourists as quainter and less NAM.

    Anonymous (comment #22) already hit on some of the reasons light rail is better than buses, but let me just add that the advantages are even greater in a city where public transportation is heavily used. Standing in a crowded bus is far less comfortable than standing in a crowded tram. Getting a stroller or wheelchair on and off a tram is much easier than a bus, even when the bus has a low entry point. Buses don’t always pull up evenly to the curb for instance. It may also be more difficult to change a tram line than a bus line, but this is also an advantage, as if you are unfamiliar with the local transport lines you can at least see which direction the tracks are heading. And the routes are far easier to familiarize yourself with, as you see the physical evidence of the route.

    Also, a well designed light rail system will include right-of-ways and controlled intersections that allow it to travel much faster than traffic (and a whole hell of a lot faster than 3.5 miles an hour). Finally, once out of heavily congested areas, light rail can travel quite fast but still be comfortable for those who are not sitting. Having to stand on a bus going 50 miles an hour or more is not a pleasant or safe experience.

    Trust me, as someone who uses public transportation extensively in numerous cities, trams are better than buses. It is SWPL, but every once in a while there are good, practical reasons why hip young white people like something. This is one of those cases.

    That said, whether L.A. should invest in light rail is another matter. The main point is to connect people from where they live to where they work. A circle around downtown is not going to do that. Most of the people who both live and work in downtown L.A. are young and healthy, so they are perfectly capable of walking to work and will certainly prefer to do so if the light rail is as slow as they expect it to be.

    And with regards to the self-driving cars, it may be true that the technological barriers are too significant to completely replace cars. On the other hand, it will only be a short time before we can create special routes for the self-driving cars. If limited to these routes, the self-driving cars are already close to feasibility. They could also be built lower to the ground, drive more smoothly, and basically have all the advantages of a tram while also offering more flexibility and more frequent scheduling. In light of that, investing in a completely new tram line at this point is just silly.

    Of course high speed rail is even more crazy. As I mentioned in a previous iSteve comment, they could instead just build a self-driving car route between SoCal and the Bay Area. There is no reason why self driving cars could not drive 150 mph or faster if given their own dedicated route and linked into a system coordinating all the self driving cars on the route. And of course this would be far cheaper and far more flexible.

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    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    You make some good points, David, about the drawbacks of buses.

    It does depend, though, on the type of buses in use. I take all kinds of public transport regularly in Hong Kong -- subway, above-ground trains, buses, minibuses, taxis, etc. I end up standing quite often. The typical buses here are double-decked, extremely solid, and have the ability to lower their chassis to make it easier for wheelchairs and the elderly to get on board. I agree they're not quite as smooth out on the road as trains, but they're still pretty good; standing is still very much feasible at urban speeds.

    I agree completely about the self-driving vehicles on fixed routes. An often-overlooked key to the success of HK's superb public transport system is the ubiquity of 16-seat minibuses. They both link population centers (e.g. individual housing estates) to bigger forms of transport (usually the MTR, i.e. the subway/train system), and run longer routes that can't support full bus routes. Without them, although HK is very dense and compact, many people who don't live right next to subway stations or major bus routes would still end up doing a lot of very sweaty walking up and down hills. Instead, they take a five or ten-minute minibus ride, and it all works pretty well. This kind of route would be very well-served by a self-driving vehicle.

    It's important to get the right size of vehicle if it's going to be self-driving. Taxi-size is fine, since you then don't need to share it with anyone else. Bus-size is fine, because you then have safety in numbers. But somewhere in between there will be problems: if you have a vehicle that's unsupervised by a driver, and that seats say 8 or 10, many people may balk if they don't like the looks of the others getting on board. I wonder if minibus size, say around 15-20, would be the minimum needed to achieve the feel of a 'public' conveyance rather than just a 'shared' one.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The New York Times reports on the newly discovered Microwave Gap: Reminds me of Garry Shandling's story about driving to Sequoia National Park to stay at the Sheraton:
  • My late, beloved dog could also cook. When I would make a ham sandwich, instead of eating the proffered doggie biscuit, she would whine and cry until the doggie biscuit was transformed into a slice of ham. In this manner, she could even cook prosciutto ham sometimes, which is certainly no mean feat.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    How could she afford that?
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  • Commenter Venator writes: From the German wikipedia, too good not to translate:
  • It just shows you what tremendous acting skills Jenner possesses, as none of her viewers even realized she was only playing a male role.

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  • I was thinking Jose Canseco or Sammy Sosa. Who knows what kind of endocrine systems they have left ... Maybe James Cameron because of the sci-fi angle, but a sci-fi movie director has already been done ... Arnold or Sly? Larry Summers? Eddie Murphy? Lindsey!? If he ever gets overthrown, maybe Vlad ... But what...
  • I think this O.J. / Kim Kardashian thing actually has some legs. If O.J. gets out of jail in 2020, Kardashian will be 40, at which point some other, younger “famous-for-being-famous” celebrity will be pushing Kardashian into Paris Hilton irrelevancy. What better way to revive public interest than with a tempestuous marriage to the Juice? This ought to be good for a new reality series and a solid 4-5 years of continued celebrity.

    And when the public again begins to tire of her, and Kim is faced with the bleak, hopeless prospect of a life without fame, she could ensure near eternal notoriety by simply enraging O.J. with an affair that leads to her murder. Sure, it’s not the most pleasant way to go, but in comparison to the alternative – aging and well-deserved obscurity – it’s a small price to pay.

    And if O.J. turns into a “woman” somewhere in the process, that is just gravy.

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    • Replies: @Sailer has an interesting life
    Holy crap, O. J. Simpson is in jail!? I guess this shows how unfamiliar I am with pop culture.

    Hey Steve, here's a suggestion for you. Apparently Kim Kardashian started out as an assistant to Paris Hilton. After something-something-I-don't-know-poop-about-vapid-pop-culture, she became popular, and now no one talks about Paris anymore.

    Write about the popularity of reality starlets and the golf courses that they lounge in when their fathers think about, and make a reality show about, their MtF operation. But go sideways and also write about a Mexican Illegal-I-mean-Immigrant family who has to work on those grounds and keep the grass watered.

    Then write about how the Olympian-formerly-known-as-Bruce wasn't really a golfer (not sure if any of this is true) and come up with the Golfer-or-Tranny (Got) Index.

    This is gold Stevie. GOLD!!

    And also write about how Kim was probably held down because she may or may not be or identify as Black. Then write about how the grandfather of Paris wrote her out of his will (I think).

    , @gjk
    "And when the public again begins to tire of her, and Kim is faced with the bleak, hopeless prospect of a life without fame, she could ensure near eternal notoriety by simply enraging O.J. with an affair that leads to her murder. Sure, it’s not the most pleasant way to go, but in comparison to the alternative – aging and well-deserved obscurity – it’s a small price to pay."

    ROFLMAO
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  • During the Cold War Washington was concerned about communists fomenting street protests that they could turn into revolutions, with groomed politicians waiting in the wings to take over the new government, thus expanding the Soviet empire. Today this is precisely what Washington does. We recently witnessed this operation in Ukraine and now it seems to...
  • “Armenia and Azerbaijan are east of the Caspian Sea” They are actually west of the Caspian Sea.

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  • Porter14159 tweets: Sweden's strategy is to make Africa's northern sea the Arctic Ocean.
  • @anonymous
    "China will be taking Siberia within the next fifty years, especially if it warms up a lot."

    Maybe not, with all those nukes and new Sukhoi models, many of which probably make pretty good strike planes. Maybe not the best planes in the world, but maybe adequate against China. Can China even make good jet engines yet? That seems a lot harder than it sounds.

    And those S-400s sound pretty good, we and the Israelis seem countered due to the Russians finally deciding to supply the Iranians with S-300s.

    Lead times for this stuff is getting longer and longer.

    Russia is building up its presence in Siberia. Their new big rocket-launch complex, to replace Baikonur in Kazakstan, is Vostochny in the Russian Far East.

    China will probably also realize that it is cheaper to just buy the resources from Russia rather than fight a costly war over them. Russia seems quite enthusiastic about selling resources to China. Also China’s population is not growing very fast, and it already has a large underpopulated and inhospitable hinterland to fill up, so there’s no need to conquer a new one.

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    • Replies: @Anon 2
    China's population is currently growing at the rate of 7 million a year, India's at 16 million a year, the world's population is growing at about 85 million a year
    , @Peter Akuleyev
    The Russian Far East and Siberia may actually be a perfect place to send the superfluous Sub Saharan population. As you say, the Chinese are not breeding, neither are the Russians or Koreans. The Africans can go work in the timber and extractive industries, and maybe the climate will keep their birth rate at a reasonable level. We could offer African refugees a choice, go back home or work in the Siberian timber industry.
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  • From the Jewish Telegraph Agency:
  • Speaking of cabinet posts, perhaps the solution is a new federal Department of Humor Regulation. Instead of dealing with embarrassing and potentially harmful humor mistakes such as this one, joke-tellers could instead submit their jokes beforehand to the department. Then the department, with sub-departments representing each disadvantaged minority group, would determine whether the joke is offensive or not. When a joke is insensitive, punches down, or creates a conflict between two minority groups, the department could even propose a reasonable alternative, such as changing the subject of the punchline to a more appropriate target, such as whites from West Virginia. A federal registry of joke-tellers could also be created, to keep track of who exactly is attempting to joke about whom, and to share information with organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. The department would have the added benefit of no doubt increasing the average quality of jokes. For instance, Trevor Noah would no longer have to worry about making either insensitive jokes or poor-quality jokes, such as those double offenders he recently took such flak on. It is a win-win for all, except for those federal employees who will no doubt have to put in grueling hours at their new jobs.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Analogies need to be regulated, too.
    , @Anonym
    This is one of the most witty comments I've read on this blog. But I don't think "Oscar Gold!" will ever be topped.
    , @silviosilver
    I think you'd need to add an enforcement arm to rein in Inappropriate Laughter for those few jokes that slip through the regulatory regime too.
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  • At The Edge.org, Daniel Kahneman interviews an Israeli historian named Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. I've skimmed the book and would have found it more persuasive about 15 years ago. But then Steven Pinker is called in to pour cold water over much of this: ... I’m skeptical, though,...
  • @Fart in the Wind

    When did I say anything about free will? At all?
     
    This doesn't matter, actually. My posts contain arguments intended to show that free will (of the sort I defined in my posts) is impossible. You objected to these arguments about free will with your reminder that there are ideas and phenomena beyond our conceptual grasp. Since you positioned your argument against the assertion that free will is impossible, you're implying that one should at least remain "agnostic" regarding free will on account of the fact that we can't rule out the existence of currently unknown or incomprehensible phenomena that make free will possible. If you just wanted to add in a general reminder that we should exercise caution in reaching conclusions and not become too sure of the conclusions we draw because there surely are things we don't understand, then OK; this point is understood. However, don't be surprised if people think you're making an argument in defense of free will if you make this point directly in response to arguments intended to show that free will is impossible.

    No, I am simply amused at the utter certainty you seem to have that you understand the nature of consciousness.
     
    I don't think I understand the nature of consciousness. Wherever you're getting this idea from, it's not from my comments.

    The lack of free will is one of those things people convince themselves of, but their actions belie the fact that they don’t actually believe it themselves. If there is no such thing as free will, why spend a very long time trying to laboriously convince others of it? Their decision as to whether they believe your proposition or not is entirely beyond their control. I guess that the only logical response is to admit that even though your efforts are futile and pointless, you don’t have any choice in the matter.

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    • Replies: @Fart in the Wind

    The lack of free will is one of those things people convince themselves of, but their actions belie the fact that they don’t actually believe it themselves. If there is no such thing as free will, why spend a very long time trying to laboriously convince others of it?
     
    I do it because I like talking about the subject. Other people, I suppose, have their own reasons. Is everyone who believes free will doesn't exist supposed to just lie down and die because they're ultimately not really in control of their actions or others' responses to their actions?

    Free will doesn't need to exist in order for organisms to exist that behave as though they're in control of their actions, that behave as though they can independently exert an influence on their surroundings and the future, that produce internal models of the outside world that affect their responses to it, etc. If doing so is sufficiently advantageous in certain environments, then the genes that build organisms that behave in these ways sometimes will be "naturally selected."

    Also, I'm just reading between the lines here, but it seems like you think I'm arguing that free will doesn't exist because everything is determined by cause-and-effect relationships. This is not what I'm saying. I'm saying that regardless of whether we live in a causal or acausal universe, the idea of free will (when defined as an agent/actor/system being in control of its choices and actions) is incoherent.

    Their decision as to whether they believe your proposition or not is entirely beyond their control.
     
    Yes, exactly. If a choice of yours stems from causal events, you are not in control of that choice. If a choice of yours stems from acausal events (which, by definition, are not caused or necessitated by anything), you are not in control of that choice.

    I guess that the only logical response is to admit that even though your efforts are futile and pointless, you don’t have any choice in the matter.
     
    Yes, right again.

    Just because something seems futile and pointless, or even genuinely is futile and pointless, doesn't mean it's not true.
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  • In the past technology resulted in efficiency improvements, which resulted in higher profits, which resulted in new investment, which resulted in new employment for those made redundant by the efficiency improvements. That is why the industrial revolution did not result in widespread unemployment, but in a labor shortage that fueled America’s late nineteenth century immigration surge.

    The basic dynamic has not changed. Today efficiency improvements also result in less need for labor and higher profits. And the beneficiaries of those increased profits do invest it in new labor services – for instance services like the pool cleaner and the dog groomer. However, those profits now also fund the social safety net, which acts as a sort of competing minimum wage. Thus, in order to avoid competing with the social safety net, we take in immigrants to keep the price of labor low (and to get more submissive and motivated servants, but that is another issue). If we cut off immigration, and made going on welfare less attractive, we would see a massive move of native-born Americans into services, such as being the personal servants of the upper and upper middle class.

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  • David Coleman is the former Rhodes Scholar and former McKinsey consultant who sold the Common Core idea to Bill Gates, who controls the direction of education reform in this country by having his Gates Foundation buy off most potential respectable critics. Like I've said, it's kind of absurd that two guys get to decide on...
  • While the Communist shadow economy certainly did not produce abundance, it did produce more than you would expect. For instance, holiday houses were often built using supplies acquired at building sites of official projects, and not just by those who were well-connected. People traded favors to get things, rather than money. So that nice cut of steak that the butcher did not have might suddenly appear if you could tip him off on where and when he would be able to buy a television. So while the author may have made an overstatement, it is certainly an interesting question of how this system developed organically to distribute goods outside of the official money economy.

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  • From the NYT: Review: ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ Delves Into Infamy in the Age of Social Media MARCH 29, 2015 By JANET MASLIN [Jon Ronson's] overall point is something we already understand: Public shaming in the age of social media has the kind of power that no form of shaming ever had before. ......
  • I am all for social shaming. I just wish we could go back to shaming people for things that are actually shameful. But try that, and you will be the one shamed.

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  • The top story in the NYT: A masterpiece of misleading grammar ... How much blood do Eric Holder and George Soros, who pays for many of the protests, have on their hands? There is Zemir Begic, the two murdered cops in Brooklyn, and now these two Missouri cops, who appear to be survivors. The toll...
  • Two police officers Thursday morning threatened to reopen the well of anger, unrest and racial tension, as they blocked the paths of two small projectiles passing through a community already troubled by previous acts of police overreach.

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  • Long time readers know I've been interested in the question of school test scores in the two biggest states, California and Texas. In the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress scores, Texas routinely beats California across all racial groups. But the NAEP is low stakes to students, which makes it easier for state officials to...
  • @Anonymous
    California's public universities use the selection index for admissions. The selection index is some combination of test scores and GPA. The kids in California have to take the test in order to be admitted. The public universities in Texas have the top 10% rule. If you are in the top 10% of you high school class, you are automatically admitted regardless of test scores. (UT Austin has been allowed to deviate, and one's class rank must be in the top 7% for automatic admission there). The last time I checked, if their class rank is high enough, kids don't even have to take the SAT / ACT in order to be admitted. I think the top 10% rule in Texas might be skewing the results somewhat.

    Texas A&M explicitly requires an SAT composite of 1300 (89th percentile) with a minimum of 600 on each section for students who are not in the top 10% of their graduating class (or good at football). They require an ACT composite of 30 (95th percentile) with a minimum of 27 on each section. A&M is a large enough school that I would trust they have worked out the predictive value of each test quite well.

    Have you thought about looking at the test scores for the PSAT / NMSQT? They are broken down by state. There is probably a lot more selection bias there, but PSAT scores are provided for each state, and are conveniently broken down by race.
    http://research.collegeboard.org/programs/psat/data/cb-jr

    In addition to the 10% admissions rule, there are also 25% rules for schools like UTSA, which further reduces the stakes of the SAT for many students.

    The SAT is also less “high-stakes” in Texas because of overall less competitive admission to state schools than in California. The UC system attracts more out-of-state and international students, meaning in-state students have to try harder to get in to a state school, or at least avoid having to go to UC Santa Cruz or a CSU school.

    I think the test is most important to those Texas students who want to go to an elite out-of-state school, and those students who are not in the top 10% of their class, but who really want to go to UT Austin or A&M. So basically smart students in good suburban public schools where competition to get into the top 10% of the class is tough.

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  • From the NYT: Building a Face, and a Case, on DNA By ANDREW POLLACK FEB. 23, 2015 There were no known eyewitnesses to the murder of a young woman and her 3-year-old daughter four years ago. No security cameras caught a figure coming or going. Nonetheless, the police in Columbia, S.C., last month released a...
  • @unit472
    Got news for the NYU law professor, Erin Murphy. Technology is always ahead of the 'popular debate and discussion'. I recall a NOVA program from a couple of years back that showed the state of the art on 'lie detection'. It is way beyond polygraph machines. The real problem in the decades ahead is what are we going to do with all of our law enforcement personnel as crime detection and identification become just a matter of downloading video, traffic and other data bases. When your car will convict you of traffic violations. When every financial transaction you make is available from your bank. Only the cleverest, most hi-tech criminals will stand a chance. The hoodrat's are going to be put out of business.

    As you say, perhaps only the most high-tech criminals will have a decent chance of success, but what makes this really scary is that some hoodrats will still decide to make a go of it anyhow. Combine a cashless economy with a higher likelihood of getting caught, and criminals will resort to higher payoff, more violent methods. Home invasions for one thing, but also something along the lines of – “I am going to hold this gun against your spouse’s head while you go into the diamond store and empty out your bank account buying me some diamonds.” So crime may become comparatively more rare, but on balance much worse.

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  • The graph above is one of many from an Atlantic article arguing that increasing imprisonment from 1980 onward didn't have much impact of the big drop in crime from the mid-1990s onward: This may, or may not, be true, but it looks a lot more persuasive if you leave off your graphs America's huge experiment...
  • The incarceration rate and the drop in crime rate seem to correlate fairly nicely, except for the period of 1984-1991, when the crack epidemic occurred. If not for the rising incarceration rate, the spike probably would have been higher.

    What should also be pointed out is that the rate doesn’t actually level out so much at the end. The figure is per 100,000 people, but the age distribution of the U.S. is getting older, so all things being equal, we should expect the incarceration rate to decrease simply due to the fact that young people make up an increasingly smaller share of the population. And by the way, we should expect the crime rate to decrease as well.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The crack era was one of very young criminals, perhaps because the older ones were locked up.
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  • There aren't all that many Pacific Islanders in Southern California, but a sizable fraction of them play high school football because they are so huge. It's becoming traditional for some high school football teams in the L.A. area to do the haka Maori war dance from New Zealand. Above is a short video of the...
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV2eo9w3Xlw#t=423

    My main take away from this Chechen dancing video is that Chechen girls are pretty hot. And Tsarnaev sure is getting a lot of love despite being a child murderer. Perhaps the Chechens should consider getting out of the international terrorism business and into the international modeling business.

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    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    That's a Lezginka, a dance done throughout the Caucasus in many different forms. You'll always see it at armenian weddings. The style is supposed to be smooth and flowing. The guys are imitating the flight of eagles, the gals gentler birds like doves. There';s even a Russian ballroom dance version that became popular after the Russian conquests of the region.
    , @jimB
    Isn't that true for all fierce white tribes? All those hot women you see on ads for Russian brides are from tribal areas. And nearly all the woman-on-man spousal abuse stories I've read in US papers for the past twenty years feature some dumpy middle age milquetoast having the crap kicked out of him by his twenty-something Russian bride. Another example are the Scandanavians. Their genetic code dates back to Vikings when they raided Europes coastline all the way down to Italy seizing only the best looking women. They also left their genes in Ireland which is why Irish women are undoubtedly the best looking ethny in the US.

    Unfortunately for the Scandanavians the pussy gene crept into their DNA.

    , @a name
    I am not sure why this makes me think of the flamengo or bull fighting
    , @me
    not so much hot... as... acting like women - wearing feminine dresses, long hair, feminine demeanor, you know, thing american women don't do....
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  • Audacious Epigone has posted his table of white IQ estimates by state, using NAEP scores for 8th graders (public and private), ranging from 108.0 in Washington D.C. (which isn't a state) and 104.4 in Massachusetts and 103.5 in New Jersey to 97.7 in Oklahoma, 97.5 in Alabama and a hurting 95.1 in West Virginia. Thus,...
  • The range is really extraordinarily narrow. I am guessing about half of the average gap is explained by differing qualities of state education systems and differing emphases on the test. So assuming that is correct, you would have a difference of only 2 points between Mississippi, a state undergoing brain drain since the Civil War, and Connecticut.

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  • A commenter on the Michel Houellebecq thread replies: Jaakko Raipala says: January 29, 2015 at 11:59 pm GMT • 500 Words Replying to @Whiskey: “There will be nothing but say, Pakistan writ large all over Europe. Fundamentally European men lack the will to fight and kill to keep what is theirs from about 1.5 billion...
  • “Westphalian nationalism was a solution to the Wars of Religion that depopulated some of the more fertile parts of northwestern Europe in 1618-1648.”

    The devastation of the 30 Years War also had a great deal to do with nationalism. Much of the fighting was Catholic versus Catholic and Protestant versus Protestant. The misery had even more to do with how the war was fought – with poorly controlled mercenary forces who shifted from side to side and theater to theater, and who relied almost entirely on theft from the peasantry for survival. Religion had little to do with the latter dynamic. Basically, both religion and nationalism played a part in unleashing a war during an era where there was the means to fight on a grander scale, but before states had developed control over their armies. The result was overwhelmingly greater casualties among civilians than soldiers.

    European wars were also endemic to the period between 1648-1789, so Westphalian nationalism did not reduce the frequency of war. What the period was notable for was the professionalism of small armies and less abuse of civilians. This had more to do with the increased central authority of the states, which learned to more effectively control and supply their armies. The armies were the tools of the monarchs, and the armies were led by nobles and aristocrats who were influenced by a combination of Enlightenment ideals, remnants of chivalry, and religious sentiment. The soldiers were often impressed into long-term service and were motivated less by nationalism than by material concerns and unit camaraderie.

    In this environment, wars were waged between states rather than peoples and were more limited in their ferocity. This is admittedly an exaggeration and civilians still suffered during wartime, but in comparison to the eras before and after, it is largely true. After the French Revolution, however, armies become tools of the nation rather than the monarch, and the levee en masse led to mass armies of soldiers motivated by nationalism. This process culminated in the disaster of 1914-1945, when states were able to effectively control their militaries but were also motivated by fanatical mass nationalism.

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    • Replies: @Jim
    I've read estimates that the Thirty Years War reduced the population of Germany by 50% and that full economic recovery took about a hundred years.
    , @ic1000
    > Much of the fighting was Catholic versus Catholic and Protestant versus Protestant. The misery had even more to do with how the war was fought – with poorly controlled mercenary forces who shifted from side to side and theater to theater, and who relied almost entirely on theft from the peasantry for survival. Religion had little to do with the latter dynamic.

    This is true enough, but you offer a sophisticated appreciation of the Thirty Years War that might obscure the cause of that conflict from those who don't know much European history (i.e. most people).

    The war began because of Catholic-Protestant conflict within the Holy Roman Empire, especially Germany. The religious element remained important throughout that terrible time.
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  • The graph is from the Wall Street Journal based on a study here. Connecticut is off playing in its own league, probably due to the hedge fund industry being headquartered in Greenwich, CN. By the way, the lack of economic dynamism in very expensive Hawaii is pointed out once again. New Mexico's lack of economic...
  • @Jefferson
    I wonder why Target does not get the same hate from the Left Wing that Walmart gets. How does Target manage to stay out of the Left Wing's hate list ?

    How does Target away with it? Branding and market segmentation.

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  • Here are pictures of the most wanted criminals in Sweden: These kind of most wanted lists tend to fill up with immigrants because immigrants or their sons or grandsons are more likely to stay out of jail longest by fleeing back to the home country (from which they often claimed they needed refuge in Sweden...
  • If too many people start pointing out the disproportionate number of immigrants on this list, I imagine Sweden will have to do the multi-culturally correct thing and pad the list with some more white guys wanted for petty crime. You know… the notorious Sven Svenson and his ten unpaid parking tickets.

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    I imagine Sweden will have to do the multi-culturally correct thing and pad the list with some more white guys wanted for petty crime. You know… the notorious Sven Svenson and his ten unpaid parking tickets.
     
    With hate crimes statutes it shouldn't be too hard to fill up that list with native Swedes.
    , @Fredrik
    They already did
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  • In relation to what happened in Paris today, Ezra Klein ends a passionate post with this: Much of the above is so wrong that it is jaw-dropping. Does Klein really believe this? Is it copy rushed out in the moment? If you read history and observe patterns in human culture it is clear that most...
  • I disagree that current Western culture accepts blasphemy. There are many sacred beliefs in the West, and transgressing those beliefs results in punishment. The significant differences in the modern West today are:

    1. That most of these beliefs are now secular in nature (but no less sacred)
    2. That punishment is less severe (but most punishments are now less severe)
    3. That punishment is often carried out without resort to the law (although that is increasingly changing with hate speech laws).

    It is interesting to see from the reaction in France that in today’s West freedom of speech has itself become a sacred idea. The thousands protesting in the streets seem most upset by the threat to free speech, rather than the loss of lives. The fact that these people died for freedom of speech in effect sacralized their deaths.

    I think we will increasingly see a conflict between these two secular tenets – freedom of speech and multi-culturalism. As you point out they are in a state of inevitable confrontation in a multi-cultural society. What I think we may see is a redefinition of free speech as that which is “open-minded” or “tolerant”, because only speech that is not dictated by hate is truly free. Of course I disagree, but that is just one possible way I see for the Left to overcome the cognitive dissonance.

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  • Via a commenter responding to my new Taki's Magazine article, here are percentages of words in new books that were either "nerd" (blue) or "geek" (red) from 1960 through 2008 (with no smoothing) from Google's nGram. You can see a late 1960s counterculture spike in "geek" (probably related to circus geeks and the like), then...
  • I always thought the difference between a nerd and a geek is that a nerd cares about studying and getting good grades, whereas a geek is also smart but doesn’t care so much about these things. A geek is also more weird than a nerd, while a nerd is more square than a nerd, although they are both weird and square. Anyway, that’s my impression.

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  • Merry Christmas to everybody out there! It's been a fun year and I want to thank all who have contributed along the way. Sometimes I get a little blue, but then I think about everybody who has helped me, through comments, emailed ideas for posts, verbal support, and (let's not forget) money. And then I...
  • “And then I would also remember that each and every day, no matter how little else I might have accomplished”

    Nonsense. If you don’t get the credit you deserve in this life, rest assured that in the future some historian will find your work and think to himself, “Wow this Sailer guy explains this historical period a lot better than all those Slate articles I have researching – in fact he even explains why I am so confused by the Slate articles.” In the end, your writing will be accorded respect and influence completely out of proportion to your reach now, like that of many other now famous thinkers who were relatively obscure in their own day.

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    • Replies: @MC
    "If you don’t get the credit you deserve in this life, rest assured that in the future some historian will find your work and think to himself, 'Wow this Sailer guy explains this historical period a lot better than all those Slate articles I have researching – in fact he even explains why I am so confused by the Slate articles.'"

    It's more likely to be a future version of Mencius Moldbug than any historian.
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  • From CNN: #IBelieveInHavenMonahan .
  • Our modern culture’s treatment of rape accusations as sacrosanct is ironically resulting in this whole affair being dragged out. In a sane world, this story should have died shortly after first appearing, as reasonable people made reasonable assumptions. It certainly should have disappeared after the catfishing evidence appeared. Clearly, this is a minor story about a confused and troubled girl.

    But because of the wide-spread belief that accusations of rape have a special, unquestionable status, it must be incontrovertibly proven that the rape did not occur before the allegations can be put to rest. So long as Jackie continues to claim it happened, we must assume that something did happen, and that it also has consequence for the wider world. Thus rather than just being salacious reporting, further investigation even at this point is still merited, and ironically just results in further exposure of how ridiculous it all is.

    The same principle can be applied to other sacred cows of the Left, which result in dogmatic religious narratives being applied to situations which quickly turn out to be different in reality. See Ferguson for a recent example.

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  • People are much exercised nowadays over "cultural appropriation" by whites of black innovations, such as uh twerking (e.g., the vast Miley Cyrus Controversy of 2013). But the subject of cultural appropriation has a longer and more interesting history. Prolific commenter dna turtles responds to the flap among Afrocentrists over Sir Ridley Scott's upcoming Moses movie...
  • It’s unfair to compare eras without considering the fact that each generation builds upon what it inherited (or squanders what it inherits). For instance, our current standard of living is much higher than it was in the 1950′s and 1960′s, but is American society more impressive today than it was then?

    In the same way, comparisons of the Medieval Era to the Renaissance are unfair. A better question is this – when did culture, standard of living, technology, etc, progress more, between 1000-1350 AD, or between 1350-1600 AD?

    It’s actually a very difficult question to answer; perhaps an impossible question to answer. In fact, many historians view the High Middle Ages as one of the most dynamic periods in Western Civilization, although the climate gets much of the credit. The point is simply that treating each new generation as if it springs forth unformed from the primordial mists is wrong. The Renaissance mind was an evolution of the Medieval mind, much more than it was a rebirth of the Classical mind. The eras overlap in terms of time and geography. You cannot give credit to the one without giving credit to the other.

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  • Update: Now there is video of the aftermath. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Bosnian community in St. Louis outraged over fatal hammer attack in Bevo Mill neighborhood 10 hours ago • By Joel Currier Bevo area residents express frustration with violence against Bosnians after a man was attacked overnight by teens with hammers. ST. LOUIS...
  • Off topic, but touches upon a few of the recurring themes on Steve’s blog:

    http://www.salon.com/2014/11/30/i_quit_miseries_of_an_uber_driver/#comments

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  • From the Washington Post: The implication is correct. It quickly became personal. Giuliani and Dyson talked over each other for most of the
  • Also, some real perspective would be added by separating the murders into categories of “murder by stranger” and “murder by family member / close acquaintance”. In the former category, I bet the percent of whites murdered by non-whites would rise dramatically above the overall average.

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    • Replies: @ben tillman

    Also, some real perspective would be added by separating the murders into categories of “murder by stranger” and “murder by family member / close acquaintance”. In the former category, I bet the percent of whites murdered by non-whites would rise dramatically above the overall average.
     
    Yes, excellent point, and that's really what we worry about when we discuss crime and public policy.
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  • “Iraq no longer exists.” My young friend M, sipping a cappuccino, is deadly serious. We are sitting in a scruffy restaurant across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It’s been years since we’ve last seen each another. It may be years before our paths cross again....
  • I agree with numbers 1, 3, and 4. On number 2, I think the Persian Gulf does have a major influence on us, for reasons elucidated by JoaoAlfaiate above. On the other hand, I figure that the oil would continue to flow in some form even without our presence. The cost might be higher, or the supply disrupted, but probably not to such an extent that it comes close to justifying our involvement at the current scale. If we really needed to be permanently involved, we could probably just limit ourselves to keeping the sea lanes clear.

    I cannot agree on number 5. We have been lulled into a sense of security by the lack of follow up attacks rivaling 9/11. But that doesn’t mean we might not in the future face an attack that eclipses 9/11 by an order of magnitude. Read about some of the things that the French bomb maker David Drugeon was working on in Syria, for instance. I hope he really is dead.

    I am not saying that I am sure that Islamic terrorism is an existential threat, but rather that I don’t see any reason to be confident that it is NOT an existential, or at least very serious, threat. It may in fact only be the relative incompetence of our enemies in the Middle East that has protected so far. In my opinion, if a state exists which is openly dedicated to the goal of slaughtering American civilians, such as ISIS, and also shows some organizational competence, by all means, let’s treat them as a serious threat and take them out. The assumption that they can be ignored and managed with internal security measures is just that – an assumption, and one that was proven wrong in the past.

    We also need to drop this idea that we have an obligation to fix any broken state where we conduct military operations. Sticking around to manage the chaos just results in resentment and further complications (for instance ISIS) not to mention feeds the perception that we can be defeated. Let’s get out of dodge after we do the job.

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  • I went to Moscow as a correspondent in 1984, just as the Brezhnev generation of leaders was beginning to die off or be replaced. There was nothing to suggest that Soviet control of Eastern Europe had only another five years to run and that the Soviet Union itself would disintegrate a few years later. In...
  • “This was not like a sudden tsunami – after the levees broke the city filled up slowly and gradually but the Big Easy was even slower to respond.”

    It depends on how close you were to the levees. Some levees suddenly collapsed (gave out from below) and thus did flood the nearby neighborhoods like a tsunami.

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    • Replies: @Jim
    New Orleans is an extremally dangerous place to locate a large population, particularly one as dysfunctional as that of New Orleans. Many people in Holland may live below sea level but in addition to the fact that the Dutch are far more intelligent and less prone to violence than the population of New Orleans Holland is not subject to being struck by anything like a major tropical cyclone.
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  • One reason Amazon is so dominant despite not making much money is because of all the free content contributed over the decades by customers. For example, my man in Kiev/Kyiv, sociologist Graham H. Seibert, has posted countless reviews of serious nonfiction books upon Amazon, which typically combine a thorough synopsis of what the author is...
  • User provided content is eventually going to run into a wall. Two significant problems are manipulation by the company hosting the content (believe me, it happens, as the website is often in a form of competition with the reviewed), and manipulation by those being reviewed, as several commentators have pointed out. The latter phenomenon is causing some websites to screen out many reviewers, in an attempt to stop fake reviews. The problem then is that you end up moving towards a mix of unpaid but honest professional reviewers and paid but dishonest “professional” reviewers who have figured out how to beat the system, rather than the typical consumer reviews that the system is supposed to encourage. Eventually people are going to stop trusting.

    These sites will eventually face an even bigger problem. The anonymity of the web allows posters to post straight up defamation. Often posters aren’t even actual customers. By a strict reading of the law, a website is responsible for defamatory content if they are informed of it. Right now, they are avoiding that responsibility through various measures, but there have already been some cases where the defamed party has won against the review site:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2536956/Court-orders-Yelp-reveal-anonymous-reviewers-identities-defamation-case.html

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  • From the Boston Globe: Perhaps Candidate Obama's essential objection to the policies of the national security state was that President Obama wasn't in charge of them? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist
  • @whiskey

    “The Dollar is the world’s reserve currency. It is a call on US military strength, essentially. That alone gains the US considerable advantages and being weak is never a winning argument. Regardless of what Medea and Pat think.”

    This is an excellent point. The U.S. gets a good return on its military investment in the form of cheap credit. Of course don’t overlook two points; 1) that in the long run this cheap credit is hollowing out our economy, and 2) we could use our military more strategically and get the same benefit with less cost in money, blood, and lost prestige. Put it this way, it’s not about how many flies we swat, but about how big our flyswatter is.

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  • There has been a fair amount of speculation about how the advent, Real Soon Now, of the self-driving Google Car will change life as we know it forever. Because the temper of the times is flowing toward urbanization and away from suburbanization, lots of people have assumed that having a robot car would be like...
  • @Downward Slope

    “But how can “only one small lane” be maintained, and driven on, at the same time?”

    You would still need gravel shoulders and the actual lanes would still need to be about double the width of the vehicles. With automated cars not easily distracted or interested in rubbernecking, it would be safe for the construction workers to share the road. If they need to work on the whole width of the road, the cars would slow down and pass them on the shoulders.

    In cases where more serious construction is needed and even the shoulders are unavailable, you would have to either divert traffic to an adjacent normal roadway, or build a temporary bypass, perhaps using something similar to what the U.S. Army already uses for its mobile bridges, which can be put together in about an hour depending on the length of the crossing.

    @International Jew

    “Nice idea, but it assumes public institutions both better-funded and more efficient than the ones we have now. Somehow, that doesn’t seem a likely prospect for the glorious diverse future America.”

    It would definitely need to be a mostly private enterprise. But there is not only money to be made in ticket sales, but in real estate, so I see the profit incentives there. Imagine cheaply buying up some land in one of the mountain ranges in between L.A. and the San Joaquin valley, connecting it via spur to the main line, and then allowing people to live in this idyllic village while still being connected to downtown L.A. in twenty minutes.

    It’s a feasible way to overcome the limitations of the technology, and goes back to Steve’s original point about the potential for exurbanization.

    The biggest hurdle I can think of is construction within the urban centers. Sure, I-5 has unused right of way, but with all the interchanges and other complications, especially political, it would be difficult to build another lane. Houston has added lanes pretty successfully though, in rather difficult situations. But Houston generally has its act together more than L.A.

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  • @Steve

    “We currently have public jets, various forms of private jet sharing, and private jets. Rich guys, really, really like private jets. Why?”

    I worked for a guy with a private jet. He had a full time pilot, but most of the time he actually flew it himself.

    On those occasions when I traveled with him, the main appeal to me was the time and hassle saved getting on and off the plane. We would show up at a small regional airport, hop on the plane, and take off. Then we would land at another small airport, and they would have the rental car pulled up next to the plane. There were no security checks, no hassles, no nothing except for a plate of free chocolate chip cookies in the terminal. Just get on the plane and fly.

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  • I think with the advent of automated cars the number of cars would drastically decrease. Only the wealthy would need private cars. The rest would just use ride-share systems. So the car circling around the block issue wouldn’t be a significant one. As far as the technological issues, it does seem pretty daunting.

    One easy and feasible way to actually use the Google car in the near future would be to build a private, narrow, fenced-in, one-lane road instead of the high speed rail line in California. At intervals along the road, there would be wide portions. The Google cars traveling in opposite directions would be tracking each other so that they can adjust their speeds to pass each on the wide stretches. Hundreds of vehicles of differing sizes could be running the road at the same time, meaning a much more flexible schedule than a rail line could have. Prices would be set by the size of the vehicle (plebs would ride the buses, rich people would get a private ride) and the number of stops.

    With only one small lane to build and maintain, this could be a much smoother surface as well, meaning the ride could be almost as comfortable as that of a rail line. A fleet of drones would be monitoring the roads, allowing human intelligence to deal with any unconventional situations, and for the removal of any obstructions. The Google cars would have the roads mapped down to the finest detail, and Google would be aware of any changes. Speeds could easily exceed 130mph in such a controlled environment.

    So it would be cheaper, more flexible, and easier than a high speed rail. Google has the cash and connections to make it work. Why haven’t they already thought of this?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    We currently have public jets, various forms of private jet sharing, and private jets. Rich guys, really, really like private jets. Why?
    , @Steve Sailer
    The middle section of I-5 between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area in California's Central Valley is a very straight 1970s divided superhighway, the West Side Freeway, that was built with lots of room for more lanes in the middle. (I don't know about bridge abutments and the like, however). This isolated, boring stretch is maybe 225 miles long. Wikipedia says it was built with room to expand to 6 or even 8 lanes.

    It would seem like an ideal location for Google's automated car/electronic highway. (I believe Heinlein's 1940 short story about "The Roads Must Roll" involves roughly the same Central Valley location.)

    , @Justpassingby

    With only one small lane to build and maintain, this could be a much smoother surface as well....
     
    But how can "only one small lane" be maintained, and driven on, at the same time?
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  • @JerseyGuy

    “By the way, most Europeans travel using budget airlines as they are much cheaper than high speed rail (even after including all of the subsidies).”

    Depends on the length of the journey and speed of the rail connection. If its doable in a few hours by rail, then usually the low cost airlines will not even try to compete. Check out Brussels to Paris for instance here:

    http://www.whichairline.com/search/#/Brussels,%20Belgium/Paris,%20France/2014-10-31/

    See – no direct flight. Flying is far more unpleasant and difficult (think check in and security) than rail, so you really have to save some time and money to make it a better option. Try Berlin to Madrid and of course you’ll get a ton of low cost flights.

    @RegCaesar
    “Paris is said to vote to the right of the rest of France. Where l’enfer else does that happen?”

    This is not uncommon in Europe.

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    • Replies: @Bill M
    Paris is closer to Brussels than NYC is to DC. Most people travel by train, bus, or car between NYC and DC.

    Low cost airlines have become quite popular in Europe recently and taken a lot of business away from the trains, despite the high subsidies of the rail system.
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  • From The View From Hell: The average Englishwoman from 1200 to 1800 got married in her mid-20s, about a half dozen years later than the average Chinese woman. China's population tended to grow faster during good times, but crater during bad times, while England seldom had catastrophic famines. A new pattern, allowing for controlled fertility...
  • “The nobles kept killing each other in wars too effectively to pass a lot of their elite genes down to modern times, and as horrible and dysgenic as that must look from the noble point of view, it didn’t end civilization.”

    Death in battle (and tournaments) was relatively unimportant in comparison to the effect of primogeniture. Younger sons often either became clergy or were left bachelors with a poor prospect of attracting a suitable wife. Of course these younger sons actually did pass on their elite genes, just not through legitimate unions.

    “Ethnic German fertility had also begun dropping quickly in the last half of the 19th century. This is how the Czechs ended up getting the upper hand in Bohemia by 1900 and helps explain the increasing insecurity and hostility among Reich Germans towards their Polish and Jewish minorities.”

    Do you have a link for this? I would be very interested to read it if you do. It doesn’t really seem likely to me though, as areas of Bohemia which were German-speaking at the beginning of the 19th century remained German-speaking until the expulsions following WWII. The real demographic shift occurred in the towns in the Czech-speaking areas of Bohemia. In the early 1800′s these towns still had substantial German speaking minorities, and often even majorities. When urbanization accelerated in the 19th century, Czech-speakers from the countryside moved into the towns in overwhelming numbers, rapidly transforming the cities. Of course Czech-speakers had been for centuries the primary source of immigration to the towns, but in the past, the migration had been slow enough that many were assimilated into the German-speaking population. It is interesting to note that this is basically what happened in Vienna, where about a 20% of names today are actually Germanized Czech names.

    Where the fertility gap seems more likely would be in Prussia, where Protestant Germans were often surrounded by Catholic Poles, and the government waged the Kulturkampf in response.

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  • A Wendy's training video, apparently from 1989: We didn't have training this epic when I worked at Burger King in 1977. Is that Elizabeth Shue of Leaving Las Vegas fame at 1:45?
  • Well, Elizabeth Shue starred in Adventures in Baby Sitting in 1987, so this would have been quite a step down for her.

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  • I haven't been following as closely as I should the whole contretemps involving ... ISIS? ... ISIL? (ISIS, ISIL, USIS, USIL / Let's call the whole thing off). But one interesting aspect is that a lot of the sharp edge of ISIS's sword is comprised of its Chechens, rebel raiders exiled by Ramzan Kadyrov's consolidation...
  • “If the Bomb Father named his sons Ivan and Mikhail Tsarni and raised them in some random Russian town like Rostov as Russians, nobody in Russia would think twice about seeing them as Russians.”

    I was with a Russian friend recently when we ran into a friend of hers from Crimea. He looked dark skinned, so later I asked her whether or not he was a Tartar. She replied that he says he is Russian, and that she does not know whether he is a Tartar, but probably was. She added that I shouldn’t ask, because it is better not to speak about it.

    She elaborated that in Russia people still feel very sensitive about this, and that most members of ethnic minorities want to emphasize that they are as fully Russian as the next guy. Speaking about their ethnic origins can be viewed as questioning their Russian-ness, and can thus offend.

    It sounds sort of like how things were in America not too long ago, when people wanted to emphasize that they were simply Americans, rather than hyphenated Americans.

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  • From Slate: SlateStats: they're the opposite of HateStats.
  • “The FBI reports 155K arrests for violent crimes by black perps in 2012. The black population is 45M. 155K/45M ~= 1/300, so the number is accurate … if you don’t understand the difference between annual and lifetime crime rates. ”

    Let’s try to figure out a lifetime violent crime rate. Let’s start by also factoring in the following:

    - Many people commit violent crimes without ever actually being arrested of a violent crime
    - Many people are taken into custody for suspicion of committing a violent crime, but are charged with more easily proven crimes (i.e. drug possession)
    - Many non-violent offenders spend some of these years in prison, reducing their window of opportunity for an offense that would be included in FBI crime statistics, even though there is a very good possibility that they may have committed a violent act in prison

    So considering all this, let’s double the number of annual instances of violent crime by black males, bringing us to 310K violent offenses. Now let’s assume that 3/4 of offenses are repeat offenses, so let’s divide it by four, bringing us back down to 78K new violent offenders a year.

    Now let’s assume that black males aged 15-29 represent about 12% of the total black population, so that is 5.4M individuals.

    Now let’s change this to a lifetime statistic, multiplying it by 15. That is 1.17M.

    So take a random cohort of black males at age 15. By the time they reach age 30, there is about a 22% chance they will commit some sort of violent crime (1.17M/5.4M). Then consider that the violence is heavily concentrated among poorer, urban blacks. When viewed in this light, being wary of young, poor, urban black males seems to be a highly rational decision.

    Obviously there is a lot of guessing in these numbers, but there is a 28% chance that a black male will go to prison in his lifetime, so it seems like a fairly reasonable guess. More so than assuming 99.8% of blacks will never commit a violent act.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Right, it's reasonable to guesstimate that Slate's 0.2% figure is off by somewhere around a couple of orders of magnitude.
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  • As the years go by and the evidence continues to pile up for what we might call the iSteve worldview, a general trend seems to be for public figures to make ever more strident and boneheaded declarations of True Belief in the Dogmas of the Age, whether to protect themselves or to bully their victims....
  • “wasteland of Irish pogromists”

    If he had written “wasteland of black pogromists” would that still have been okay?

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  • Subprime mortgages have a rather poor reputation, so the marketing campaign to bring them back concentrates on how they are good for blacks and Hispanics: Remember when "Ozzie and Harriet" = "normal people"? Now it means an unrealistically high standard: married white people. And the U.S. is, proportionately speaking, running out of married white people....
  • My comment was an attempt at sarcasm. That it could be taken seriously says something though – something bad.

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  • “It’s still easiest to qualify for a mortgage if a household has one primary breadwinner who is paid a regular salary, has a history of repaying other loans and has enough money saved or inherited to make a significant down payment.”

    This is just the sort of prejudiced, old-fashioned thinking we must wipe out. I know, I know.. it kind of sounds logical and reasonable. But once we describe it with terms like red-lining, disparate impact, credit exclusion, etc, you’ll understand just how irrational it actually is.

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    • Replies: @Otis McWrong
    David M. says:
    September 10, 2014 at 7:26 am GMT

    "“It’s still easiest to qualify for a mortgage if a household has one primary breadwinner who is paid a regular salary, has a history of repaying other loans and has enough money saved or inherited to make a significant down payment.”"

    "This is just the sort of prejudiced, old-fashioned thinking we must wipe out. I know, I know.. it kind of sounds logical and reasonable. But once we describe it with terms like red-lining, disparate impact, credit exclusion, etc, you’ll understand just how irrational it actually is."

    If it's irrational, then it's also inefficient and there are therefore opportunities to profit from that. Its not difficult at this time to raise money for a lending operation. You should start a bank and lend in a way you view as rational. Best of luck. I won't be investing with you however.
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  • Reader joey/joe/joe comments: Yet, high iq isn’t a guarantee of curiosity about the world. If you are like me, when you meet someone for the first time, you can very quickly tell if they are ‘interesting’- specifically, if they are what I’m calling ‘curious.’ This isn’t exactly identical to iq, though iq is almost always...
  • @ Aaron

    “Geniuses like Newton and Gauss were infinitely more useful specialising in just one particular field than say diverging their interests into art, philosophy, other scientific fields where they would apply their genius intellect.”

    Maybe, but Newton is a bad example. He spent much of his time and energy on alchemy, Biblical interpretations, metaphysics, and the occult.

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  • From the Washington Post: My initial response was: Because, ultimately, that's where the Air Force officer with the nuclear weapons code "football" chained to his wrist is. Maybe that's a little too reductionist, but it's probably not a bad idea to assume that people will pay a lot of money to be near people who...
  • One of my professors had been the guy that carried the nuclear football for Reagan. Boy, he loved Reagan. He used to tell stories about how they would go to the ranch and then clear brush, fix fences, and do other cowboy work all day long. I always used to wonder how you do these activities with a nuclear football. I mean what happens if it falls off the horse and rolls into a gully? I guess I should have asked.

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  • A reader writes: In general, as I've been pointing out in movie reviews and the like, there has been a moral panic building over white violence in the increasingly distant past against blacks, thus justifying black violence in the present against whites (or pretty much anybody who happens to object to blacks taking what is...
  • http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2014/08/mississippi_man_beaten_after_h.html

    “Mississippi man beaten after he’s warned restaurant wasn’t safe for blacks, witness says”

    Wait, why isn’t this horrifying development major news?

    Oh, woops, I got the headline a little mixed up. Here’s the actual headline.

    “Mississippi man beaten after he’s warned restaurant wasn’t safe for whites, witness says”

    Sorry to waste your time with this totally irrelevant local news item from Hicksville.

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  • For a long time I've been pointing out that a number of liberal cities and suburbs that vote Democratic in Presidential elections adopt policies that have negative disparate impact on blacks and Hispanics, making housing expensive and diminishing the number of lower end jobs. Noah Millman has now christened this the Sailer Strategy in contrast...
  • “the interesting part of the city is tiny”

    No it’s not. If you walk across Canal Street from the French Quarter, get bored by the CDB, and assume the rest of the city is like that, I can see why you would think so. That’s what Derbyshire did for instance, and then wrote an article about it.

    Most of the area between the lake and the river, from the Jefferson Parish line to the industrial canal, is fairly interesting and scenic in comparison to the average American sprawl. Old Algiers across the river is also quite nice. Neighborhoods like the Garden District, Uptown, Mid-City are actually exceptionally scenic, and Marigny (although not my cup of tea) is pure hipster bait. Even parts of the CBD are interesting. There are obviously some ugly and blighted areas, but gentrification can quickly change that because of the base of good architecture. The large Audubon Park and City Park both rank among the prettiest city parks in the country. The neighborhoods within this area that are intrinsically unexceptional and bland, are few.

    The massive gentrification taking place is not just accidental or a result of film credits. It’s because of three things mainly:

    1. Money from reconstruction jump starting the local economy during the recession
    2. Demographic change after the storm and all the associated effects
    3. People who stay a while figure out there is more than the French Quarter and they like what they see and the price they can get it at

    The last of these is at least as important as the first two. I don’t understand the strange motivation of some people to trash a city they don’t know much about. I think it is probably because they resent all the gooey-eyed sentimentality with which liberals regard the city, which is understandable but still doesn’t make their critiques valid.

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  • What American football can learn from soccer: The point-after-touchdown placekick, which NFL placekickers maker 99% of the time, is a vestigial organism that serves little purpose except providing time for another TV commercial. I think this is a shame in part because NFL placekickers are highly skilled professionals, but they have one of those semi-thankless...
  • Just drop the PAT kick and give the team the following options:

    1. 7 points
    2. 6 points plus a potential 2 point conversion from the 2 yard line
    3. 5 points plus a potential 4 point conversion from the 12 yard line

    Think how many fun endings that would make for.

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  • I coined the term "affordable family formation" a decade ago to suggest to Republican strategists a coherent plan for long term survival. From the Financial Times: The current system is a ma
  • “Personally I’d raise awareness about how ‘everyone goes to college’ just leaves everyone at the same place, but further in debt. It’s obvious even with an 85 IQ if you think about it–if everyone goes to college, but the same jobs have to be done…”

    What, what, what? The same jobs have to be done? But if everyone goes to college, everyone will use that rigorous education to become a future builder. And if everyone is a future builder, everyone will soon be employed in socially aware, social media-driven green energy enterprises that will help create an America that lives up to the promise of its founders.

    We just need to get that last 40% of American youth in college for 5-8 years so they too can invest in their future. And of course it would help if we could get all those dreamers in Latin America into U.S. colleges so they too can build our future.

    In my opinion the best way to do this is to load up every young American with more government-guaranteed debt, and figure out complex, bureaucratic ways for them to avoid ever having to pay it. This way everyone wins – the future is built, every young American (and Latin American) gets to go to college, no one is weighed down by debt they actually have to pay, banks make more money, bureaucrats are employed administering an increasingly byzantine and larger debt program, college campuses finally give students the level of comfort and luxury they deserve, and multitudes are employed educating marginal students in the same things they learned in high school, except at higher salaries and with opportunities to move into interesting positions such as diversity officer and campus feng shui advisor. You see everyone wins!

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  • Back on Blogger, it was an excruciatingly slow process to add a link to somebody else's blog or website, which is my excuse for not doing it as often as I should: adding three new blogs to my blogroll might have taken a half hour. But now, I hope, on WordPress, the process will be...
  • mansizedtarget.com

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  • In the Washington Post, movie reviewer Ann Hornaday explains that the Santa Barbara slaughter was the fault of white men.Indeed, as important as it is to understand Rodger’s actions within the context of the mental illness he clearly suffered, it’s just as clear that his delusions were inflated, if not created, by the entertainment industry
  • "In Germany and Netherlands you do not have these kind of virgin shooters or 72-virgin terrorists, because you can window shop for tall beautiful women and *know* them every few days for 30/40 Euros."

    Um, have you ever been to an American strip club? I know this may shock the sensibilities of some readers, but there is actually more for sale there than just pole dances.

    On the other hand, hookers have historically been one of the best sources of victims for serial killers, so I am not sure more prostitution is really the silver bullet we are looking for.

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  • I joke around about the existence of a Steveosphere, but you'll notice that much of the current attention being paid to Nicholas Wade's new book A Troublesome Inheritance seems to follow its contours.Tyler Cowen in Marginal RevolutionRoss Douthat in the New York TimesAndrew Gelman in SlateArnold Kling in AskBlogGreg Cochran in West HunterRobert VerBruggen in...
  • Dalrymple/Daniels makes an excellent point on the murder rates and the supposed decline of violence.

    Another problem with the declining murder rates argument, besides the difference in medical care, is the different age structures. Let’s say we compare present day murder rates with those of 1900. Not only were the murder rates lower in 1900 despite the dramatically poorer quality of emergency medical care and evacuation, but more importantly, the age distribution is very different, which totally invalidates the comparison.

    The average 75 year old is much less likely to commit murder than the average 20 year old, yet senior citizens were comparatively rare in 1900. What that means is that if you were to isolate the murder rate to the population most likely to commit it, the murder rate per 100,000 15-40 year old males, rather than the rate per 100,000 of total population, the rate would have been much lower in the past, simply because 15-40 year old males made up a much larger percentage of the total population.

    So when viewed in light of all these other factors, our current murder rates do not look the slightest bit comforting.

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  • Statistics professor Andrew Gelman reviews Nicholas Wade's A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History in Slate: The paradox of racism is that at any given moment, the racism of the day seems reasonable and very possibly true, but the racism of the past always seems so ridiculous. ... One of Wade’s key data points...
  • Here's another one of the crude huts thrown together by the 13th century European savages:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cath%C3%A9drale_Salisbury_int%C3%A9rieur.JPG

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  • From The Wire:Here's a semi-off-topic question. Leaving aside affirmative action and all that, how unusual is it for a high school student to be accepted at all eight Ivy League schools?Top colleges would have at least a couple of self-interested reasons for sharing information with each other on who they want to admit and agreeing...
  • I realize that immigrants from Africa are often the elites of their former countries. On the other hand, being an elite in Africa has less to do with how smart you are, and more to do with who you are related to. Considering that, isn't their relative success in America versus native blacks a point in favor of environmental influences on intelligence, since native blacks have a much higher percentage of white DNA? Or is it just the type of African immigrant that America attracts?

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  • A reader who is either paranoid or brilliant or both calls my attention to a Hollywood Reporter story:As one of the few surviving men to have experienced being in the studio audience of an Oprah show while free stuff is being given out, he writes:Oprah POTUS ... I think this is a trial balloon and...
  • It's too bad Obama didn't pick a Vice President who was a competent executive, closely shared his values, and was very loyal to him. I could easily see him quickly and contentedly slipping into the role of ceremonial head of state and letting the VP run things. After 8 years, we would have a precedent, and would just need one more such ticket to solidify it.

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  • A commenter writes:The UCLA professor writes:It would be helpful, however, if Kleiman would read me more carefully, for example, my March 6 posting "Obama Is Right, Mostly." I've been writing about Easte
  • A. "Other areas" given to Poland were Posen and Upper Silesia. Posen was majority Polish, while Upper Silesia was majority Polish in the countryside, but highly German in the cities. Regardless, the Poles lost all of the plepescites that were held, and no plebescite was allowed to be held in Posen, Danzig, and West Prussia out of fear that they might go the wrong way also, leading one to suspect that even many Poles did not want to live in a new Poland, something confirmed by the continued electoral divide of Poland along the 1815-1914 border. The German part of Poland was economically advanced and wealthy and offered the opportunity of working elsewhere in Germany for more money. The Russian part was backwards and poor.

    D. Yes, you're right here, but for the most part the German victories in the plebiscites were honored – East Prussia remained German, and Upper Silesia was split between the two, although perhaps not as fairly as it should have been based on the results. Posen would have been unlikely to vote for German unification, given its strong Polish majority and resentment over Germanization efforts and the Kulturkampf. The parts of West Prussia given to Poland had large Polish majorities as well. Danzig wasn't actually given to Poland as mentioned earlier, but given the choice to stay within Germany you are right that it certainly would have voted that way.

    Also consider that many Polish votes went to Germany out of fear that Poland was about to conquered by the Soviet Union, if the votes had been held a few months later (after Polish victory that is), the results may have been considerably different.

    Overall, I would not argue that the post-war results were ideal, and as I mentioned earlier, I sympathize with the Germans, and I think American involvement in WWI was a monumental mistake. But.. again, the situation after the war was not a great injustice on the grand scale of things. The Poles living under German rule complained about the same sort of injustices before the war, when the roles had been reversed. And if the Germans had won, the Poles would still be facing Germanization campaigns.

    Is any of this really so horrible? No. Was it so horrible before the war? No. Was any of it worth launching the most horrible war in human history, especially considering that Europe had long been a patchwork of ethnicities? Hell no. And that's my point.

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  • David M – Anonymous – David M.

    [D. Original Post] For instance, the Sudetenland (a term that dates back only to the late 1800s) was not purely German speaking, nor had it been part of Germany (it was part of the Bohemian crownlands of Austria, not Germany).

    A. Sudentenland included parts of Bohemia, Moravia, and Austrian Silesia.

    D. Which were all parts of the Bohemian crownlands. That is why I specifically wrote the Bohemian crownlands, not Bohemia.

    A. Bohemia and Moravia had been a part of Germany since the time of Charlemagne and were only separated after the German-Austrian war in 1866.

    D. They had been a part of the Holy Roman Empire, which is not the same thing as Germany. They were a part of the Austrian Empire before 1866 and remained so after 1866. The Czechs were offered membership in Germany by the Frankfurt Assembly in 1848 but they turned down the offer.

    A. The leading cities – Prague, Brunn, Olmutz, Pilsen, and Budweiser, were all German towns, with Prague gaining a Czech majority only late in the Hapsburg period.

    D. This would take a full length post to explain, but no, they weren't German cities, they were Bohemian and Moravian cities, although at times a majority of residents spoke German. Keep in mind that for most of Austrian rule German was the language of commerce, business, and education, even for those who spoke Czech at home. Bohemia and Moravia were not explicitly associated with the Czech language for a couple hundred years (1600's to early 1800's).

    A. Traditionally, Germany was considered to consist of what is now Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, South Tyrol, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Pommerania, and Silesia. It did not include Prussia, which was a military province first of the Church through the Teutonic Knights and then of itself, eventually swallowing whole the rest of Germany.

    D. Under this definition you should include northern Italy as well, as you are equting the Holy Roman Empire with Germany. Many of these places never considered themselves German, and it's not even really all that relevant, since the idea of a German nation was a very nebulous concept in pre-national times anyhow, especially in places like Belgium and Italy.

    [D. Original Post] While the city of Danzig was majority German it had long ago been a Polish city and the so-called Polish corridor and other areas given to Poland were majority Polish.

    A. Danzig was not a "Polish" city in any recognizable sense of the word. It was founded by and inhabited by Germans, governed under German law, and maintained autonomy after conquest by Poland until the time it was retaken by Prussia.

    D. It was founded by the Poles, but by the end of the Middle Ages had a German-speaking majority, although with a significant Polish and Jewish population. It was part of the Polish crownlands until I believe the first partition of Poland in the late 1700's. Danzig was not actually given to Poland after WWI – it was the Free City of Danzig, which was even governed by the Nazis during part of the 1930s. The Poles just had access to the port and transportation facilities .

    A. The "Polish Corridor" was not majority Polish until around a half a million Germans were removed after World War I. All of the major towns in the corridor were heavily German – Thorn, Bromberg, Graudenz, and of course Danzig.

    D. From wikipedia on the Polish corridor: The Prussian census of 1910 showed that there were 528,000 Poles (including West Slavic Kashubians, who had supported the Polish national lists in German elections[24][25][26][27]) in the region compared with 385,000 Germans (including troops stationed in the area)

    CONTINUED IN NEXT POST

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  • "You fail to mention via the terms of the Westphalian treaty, the Allied powers should therefore have been discouraged from hiving off 30% of Germanys territory and ethnic population, industries, cities, infrastructure and then giving them to either never before seen in the history of the world states (Czechoslavakia) or failed states such as Poland which already had a demarked, historic zone, yet the Allies felt would do much better with a huge chunk of German cities, towns, populations, industries, weapons, soldiers, etc…"

    At the end of World War I, Germany was also a failed state.

    The status quo before the war was Germany and Austria-Hungary encompassing ethnically mixed territories. The status quo after the war was other countries encompassing ethnically mixed territories. For instance, the Sudetenland (a term that dates back only to the late 1800s) was not purely German speaking, nor had it been part of Germany (it was part of the Bohemian crownlands of Austria, not Germany). The borders were not pulled out of thin air and many areas were allowed plebiscites to determine their allegiance. For instance, Czechoslovakia's borders with Germany were based on the roughly thousand year old borders of Bohemia. While the city of Danzig was majority German it had long ago been a Polish city and the so-called Polish corridor and other areas given to Poland were majority Polish. In other words, there was a lot more to it than just stealing German land.

    While I would agree that the creation of Czechoslovakia was a mistake (a federal Czechomoravia similar to Switzerland would have made much more sense), and the removal of Danzig was a mistake, there is nothing in the arrangement that was inherently more unjust than the previous borders, which were also the result of wars. Westphalian sovereignty had from the beginning included states with ethnic minorities. Now the roles were just reversed. If Germany had won, you can be sure that there would have been more ethnic non-Germans living under German rule.

    It was only after WWII, when Germany (which was once again a failed state) was again carved up, and large numbers of Germans deported to its new borders, did all those pesky ethnically mixed areas disappear. Europe has been peaceful since then, except for places like Yugoslavia where population transfers did not take place. And on the whole those invented ethno-states have proven lasting, in fact, they've moved towards even smaller and less diverse ethno-states (for instance Czechoslovakia to Czech Rep. and Slovakia).

    So while I sympathize with the Germans and Austro-Hungarians (especially with the Austro-Hungarians actually) and while I think the Treaty of Versaille was not sensible foreign policy, it certainly was not in conflict with Westphalian sovereignty and in fact was in keeping with modernity's growing association of Westphalian sovereignty as something applying to states related to national peoples. It was not ideal for some German-speaking minorities, but overall, not so horrible, and not noticeably more unjust than what it replaced.

    The fact that Hitler could not leave well enough alone resulted in truly horrific peace terms, where millions of people lost their historic homelands and untold thousands died in the process. Now that was an unjust settlement, but one that was entirely predictable based on the ethnic conflict that the Germans had themselves taken to an extreme of cruelty and disruption. So basically, I am not going to lose much sleep crying over the predicament of the inter-war Germans.

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  • Here's an op-ed from the NYT by a Muscovite defense analyst. I don't know how much this is accurate -- Here's Putin's secret genius plan! -- and how much of it is intended to say, Hey, Putin, listen up, I love ya, you big dope, so here's a way out of what you got yourself...
  • ""the obscure war in 1919 between Poland and the Soviet Bolsheviks": obscure = unknown to Americans. That means that, by God, almost every war in history is obscure, eh? "Who was this Napoleon dude, dude?""

    In 6th grade I had to explain to my history teacher that the inspiration for the 1812 Overture was Napoleon's invasion of Russia, not the War of 1812. She was quite skeptical, but eventually came around.

    Ironically she was one of my better history teachers.

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  • We've all heard lately that the western and eastern halves of Ukraine have different cultures, with western Ukrainians, from Kiev west voting one way and eastern Ukrainians the other, but I'm wondering if that's not oversimplifying thingsSamuel Huntington's famous 1993 article in Foreign Affairs, The Clash of Civilizations, suggested:As the ideological division of Europe has...
  • I think that the Ukrainian/Russian language gap is oversimplified. In the media, you get the impression that there are two completely distinct languages, spoken exclusively in one region or the other. It seems in reality that there are three rough areas, 1) the far west, i.e. Galicia, the old Polish/Austro-Hungarian areas, where the Ukrainian language is dominant, 2) the far east and Crimea, where Russian is dominant, and 3) the areas in between, which are another story. In the areas in between there is admixture of the Russian and Ukrainian, both in the sense that people use one or the other language depending on the situation (i.e. one for work, one for home), and in the sense that the languages are actually mixed together in varying degrees.

    So in some areas, the Ukrainian language is actually just a dialect of Russian, or even an affected slang, and in other areas, it is a different language but possesses a lot of borrowings from Russian. Then in the West it is as fully distinct a language as Polish is from Russian.

    Look at it like Eubonics. There are some blacks in Atlanta, for instance, that can only speak Eubonics (much to the detriment of their employment prospects). There are many blacks in the city who switch without effort between standard American English and Eubonics depending on whether they are at home or at work, and then there are many blacks who speak standard American English but who have an accent and use black slang words when they feel like emphasizing their ethnic identity. Finally, there are some that couldn't speak Eubonics any better than I could if their life depended on it. And, depending on the neighborhood, the language itself changes. While people in a tony black neighborhood in Atlanta may certainly speak with a different accent and use some different words than the tony white neighborhood down the street, they are really just speaking standard English, whereas in some impoverished inner city neighborhoods, you are really talking about a distinct language (I know we call it a dialect, but break down the grammar and vocabulary and I bet we will find as much or more difference as between Ukrainian and Russian.) Anyway, that sort of how I figure it is in the Ukraine.

    But what the hell do I know? Anybody from the Ukraine who can enlighten us?

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  • Fareed Zakaria, the Indian princeling (his father was the deputy leader of the ruling Congress Party in India), has enjoyed a glittering career in America. He reviews the diaries of American diplomat George Kennan (1904-2005), author of the "containment" strategy of the Cold War that successfully threaded the needle between WW3 and Soviet domination of...
  • "Germany has been seeking a docile Ukranian colony since at least 1914. Splitting the country in half with Russia and creating a German economic colony in western Ukraine akin to Czech Republic, Croatia and Poland would amply fulfill this aim. And this time, the Ukranians would even be foolishly grateful for this new master for "freeing" it from Russia."

    Adding to Peter the Shark's comment above, I can say the Czechs were also quite happy with the bargain. In fact, so happy that they've been recently trying to degrade their currency after catching up too much with the western Europe.

    Of course, much of the rest of the world is also playing this game. The Euro currency is in large part a story of how Germany was able to play the game itself – giving up its strong currency in exchange for near full employment. Poland, the Czechs, Slovaks, etc have also benefited from the Euro because they are so closely tied into the German economy (even though the Czechs and Poles are not on the Euro).

    With respect to the Ukraine, it would only make sense to partition the country into east and west. The east would be able to keep its heavy industry and integrate into the growing Russian economy, and the west would become a new low cost destination for western industry. Culturally, both sides would also feel more at home. I really don't see why the territorial integrity of a 23-year old country is such a sacred thing, especially when many of its own citizens don't respect it either.

    Of course a Ukrainian split would leave Greece, Spain, etc, in even more pain than now, so I also don't see how being involved in this Ukrainian brouhaha is in way, shape, or form beneficial to most of the EU. The Germans, Czechs, Poles, etc who would take the lead in economic expansion there would benefit greatly, while the Greeks, Spanish, Italians, etc would find it even harder to attract industrial investment.

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  • From the WSJ:Meanwhile, as the Russkies fly troops into Crimea, the Russian diplomats continue to point out that the president of the Ukraine was overthrown in a violent coup by street fighters and demand that the peaceful deal worked out with the opposition and with American proxies like Slate columnist Anne Applebaum's husband Radoslaw Sikorski,...
  • "American proxies like Slate columnist Anne Applebaum's husband Radoslaw Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister"

    In their defense, the Poles actually do have a vital interest in the Ukraine. Indeed, for most of Poland's history, large parts of the Ukraine were Poland.

    The sensible role the U.S. should have played in all this was to assure Poland that it had its back and not to worry too much (although Poland's confidence in American guarantees has decreased a great deal since the missile defense debacle). Instead the U.S. was more aggressive than Poland was.

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  • From Bill Moyers' website:... Are the troops in Afghanistan fighting for our freedom? If so, the package of things they fight for inclu
  • "Bacevich's son was killed in Iraq so it's probable that he regrets not having done something to prevent him from going there in the first place."

    He was already opposed to the Iraq war well before that. I haven't looked into it that closely, but I think his opinions seem pretty much the same as before the loss of his son.

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  • Thomas Friedman writes in the New York Times:Okay ... It's funny that, say, 98% of the readers of Tom Friedman don't find this funny. They're just nodding along ...From the Wikipedia article on The g Factor:The terms IQ, general intelligence,
  • Yes, the flower analogy was a bit confusing. Perhaps he meant that the different components of intelligence are represented by different flowers in the bouquet, and the further they spread out from the common stem, the more exceptional these individual qualities are.

    So when the bouquet is held at a lower spot, more flowers are spread out, i.e. there are more instances of exceptional intellectual ability. The individual's general intelligence keeps all the flowers upright with ease, leaving plenty of intellectual capacity left to pursue further refinement. In other words, the intelligent person has the spare capacity to develop exceptional cognitive capabilities.

    If the bouquet is held at a higher spot, then the flowers can't spread out much. In other words, the general intelligence strains just to keep the necessary components of intelligence functioning, meaning there isn't much spare intellectual capacity remaining for further insight.

    Anyway, that's my guess at an explanation. Perhaps another reader who is holding his bouquet at a lower spot could provide a better explanation?

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  • Chen, not ChuaFrom Time Magazine:Suketu Mehta writes in TIME that the book represents “the new racism—and I take it rather personally.” Mehta adds that “the language of racism in America has changed .
  • Next Time Article:

    Vivia Chen's article calling Suketu Mehta racist for calling Amy Chua racist is racist

    The article employs all the typical anti-Indian racial stereotypes – that they are whiny, anti-women, and hostile to other cultures. Clearly, it is very racist.

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  • Economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz writes in the New York Times:This boy preference is surprising for two reasons. First, the top websites returned for these queries are overwhelmingly geared toward women, suggesting that women are most often making gender conception searches. Yet in surveys, women express a slight preference for having girls, not boys; men say they...
  • If it's South Asians in the U.S. and Canada that are driving the preference for sons, why wouldn't there be an even larger effect in Britain?

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  • You've probably heard that the Obama Administration's demand to put women in combat has stumbled upon only 45% of females at the end of Marines boot camp being able to do the minimum required three pull-ups. That's compared to 99% of men, which suggests a z-score difference of two to three standard deviations.The Marines have...
  • Back in my West Point days, the British Sandhurst cadets would visit for a military skills competition. The Sandhurst cadets won every time. There were a few reasons for this. One, the competition was invented by and named after Sandhurst, so they really knew what they were doing. Second, each West Point company would field one team, whereas Sandhurst sent a best-of-the-best team. But thirdly, and I think perhaps most importantly, the Sandhurst cadets devised an ingenious way of overcoming the fact that each team was forced to field a certain number of females. They would literally tie the females to the strongest men on the team with a rope, and then drag them between events. Since time of completion was an element in determining victory, I am sure this proved to be very important. The look on those girls' faces though was truly something else – a thousand mile stare as they simply strove to move their feet fast enough to keep from falling flat on their faces.
    I wonder if they are still employing this tactic?

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  • Consider three levels of classroom technology:- Blackboard- Whiteboard- SmartboardThe second doesn't do much that the first can't do, but dry erase markers are more convenient than chalk, so whiteboards are replacing 18th Century technology blackboards (but some teachers still prefer chalk due to the nicer smell, or whatever). Electronic smartboards can do more than either, but...
  • "C-130 Hercules turboprop cargo plane — in service since 1957. My father worked on this some when I was young, although my impression is that it didn't need much fixing."

    My experiences with the C-130 left me with the impression that they need plenty of fixing now. For instance, I was ferried back and forth across Iraq at low altitude because the pilots couldn't get the landing gear up. But I guess that's what you should expect from a 40-50 year old plane.

    "A-10 Warthog ground attack jet — since 1977, although the Air Force has been trying to get rid of it since roughly 1978; but the lowly groundpounders like it."

    Yes, the Air Force almost managed to get rid of the A-10, but then the Army offered to take the planes off their hands, and suddenly the Air Force decided they wanted them after all.

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