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swan white

Thank you to all those who commented on the “Swanning About: Fooled by Algebra” blog and associated tweets. A number of themes came up, so here are individual responses I made to some comments, and also some general points.

Since Taleb thought he could dismiss a century of psychometry, there are rather a lot of references I needed to give in reply. I thought that if I attempted to list them all out it would swamp the text, hence my suggestion that people should use the search bar on my blog to pick up matters of interest, particularly the researchers I had named in my blog. Some people had difficulty with using a search bar or simply did not want to do so, and felt that the lack of specific references was suspicious, so here are some suggested starting points for the process of fact checking.

Brief guide to references

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/dettermans-50-years-of-seeking/

Doug Detterman founded the journal Intelligence and edited it for years, and has seen the field at close quarter for 5 decades. His overview is amusing and instructive. He did an updating of Jensen’s summary of the many relationships intelligence test have with real life achievements. To get even further detail you would have to do further reading, but you already realized that.

Here is another short cut: https://www.unz.com/jthompson/intelligence-all-that-matters-stuart/

Stuart Ritchie is an extremely active younger researcher, who gives an excellent account of more recent findings, and pays attention to those who think it fashionable to decry intelligence testing.

Another short cut: https://www.unz.com/jthompson/intelligence-in-2000-words

This is my summary of a review paper written by Ian Deary, the leading researcher on intelligence. You could also just put “Deary” in the search bar and look at the selection of his many papers that I have commented on.

To orient yourself as to what intelligence means in everyday life, here is a summary I wrote some years ago. There is more detail to add to bring it up to date, but it serves to show the differences in ability which are often not visible because people tend to associate mostly with those at their occupational and intellectual level.

https://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-7-tribes-of-intellect
http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/1997whygmatters.pdf

For research on occupational selection

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/multiple-emotional-intelligence/
http://www.unz.com/jthompson/can-tests-predict-academic-outcomes/

For research on the achievements of very high ability people

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-comparative-advantage-of-eminence/
http://www.unz.com/jthompson/bright-folk-do-community-stuff/

For research on brain and intelligence

https://www.unz.com/jthompson/intelligent-brains/

For a counter-intuitive finding about high and low intelligence brains

https://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-well-tempered-clavichord/

For a broader look at the field, here is a recent textbook on intelligence, covering the most quoted authors in the field:

https://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-nature-of-human-intelligence-a-textbook

Creativity

https://www.unz.com/jthompson/heave-half-brick-at-creativity/
https://www.unz.com/jthompson/another-half-brick-of-creativity/

Rationality

https://www.unz.com/jthompson/the-tricky-question-of-rationality

The journal “Intelligence” is the main publication for intelligence research.

ISIR runs the international society and its conferences.
http://www.isironline.org/

Two classic texts which cover many issues raised in comments, about bias and the nature of intelligence

Jensen. Bias in mental testing. 1980
Jensen: The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability 1998

Some general points

It is no disproof of a correlation that it is not unity. Of course, there will be bright people who don’t achieve much, and less bright people who do very well. This has been known for a long time, perhaps at least two thousand years. The race is not always to the swift. Jensen explained that the range of intelligence was broadest at the lowest levels. Some bright people, for whatever reason, like simpler jobs. As jobs get harder the range begins to narrow as the lower intelligence levels drop out, finding the demands too high. More demanding occupations require brighter people.

A measure can be important and predictive, and the best available, without being perfect. If you can think of a better one than general intelligence, propose it. That old standby, social class of origin, has been superseded. It accounts for less variance than intelligence measured at 11.

http://www.unz.com/jthompson/social-class-and-university-entrance_28/

Other proposed measures of intelligence are no better than the familiar general intelligence measure.

In summary, the next move should be from those who have something better to suggest, something which predicts human achievements better than general intelligence.

That new something should be better than just guessing.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Heredity, Intelligence, IQ, Psychometrics 
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  1. res says:

    Thanks for all of the references! Some of your first links are not formatted as links, which would be helpful. In addition, there is a formatting issue with “ttps://www.unz.com/jthompson/another-half-brick-of-creativity/” being repeated.

    P.S. Please feel free to moderate away everything after the first sentence.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  2. Sean says:

    Since Taleb thought he could dismiss a century of psychometry,

    The whole thing started with a tweet by Steven Pinker about polygenic scores. Taleb has always hated Steven Pinker and will dismiss anything he says. In an interview Pinker recalled attending a wedding where Taleb, who was also a guest, came up and started berating him.

    Received wisdom in the establishment is Taleb is massively overrated and overstating the significance of his arguments. However he is Antfragile in this controversy, meaning he only gets stronger the more he is attacked because he sought battle with Pinker on IQ. How can he lose? No one in the mainstream is going to criticism Taleb on this. Slick!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  3. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean

    It was Niall Ferguson’s wedding:

    https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/observations/2018/03/world-really-better-ever-steven-pinker-case-optimism

    In a pleasingly dialectical coincidence, I interviewed the Lebanese-US philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Pinker’s most voluble critic, immediately after our meeting. “I met him at [the historian] Niall Ferguson’s wedding [in 2011],” Pinker recalled. “I was with my wife, standing in line to board a bus from the church to the reception hall, when he [Taleb] found me and started pompously lecturing me out of complete ignorance of what I’d written.”

  4. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean

    Taleb claims Pinker misrepresented the wedding exchange:

    • Replies: @Sean
  5. Thanks for sharing this. Taleb is overrated as a public intellectual. Most of the stuff he says is wrong . not just about IQ.

    • Replies: @gate666
  6. Sean says:
    @Anonymous

    Taleb does not speak well and I find him very difficult to follow–even his book is like that and I really have to go elsewhere to understand what he is on about . I think his basic concern is that people will be bureaucratically placed in positions of power on the basis of their IQ and education, a system of top-down hierarchical control by scientifically selected managers prepared to overseeing incrementally altering patterns, but vulnerable to anything else. Like French technocrats. He wants to encourage an economic order that arises spontaneously when people compete and take risks they have to pick up the tab for.

    Everyone knows this genes and intelligence stuff is scientifically true since Eysenck and his student Jensen (who both were believed because they had skin in the game). Knowing that does not solve the problem, the taboo against admitting it may be true is there because of consideration of societal cohesion, and the role playing that so many people in authority seem to be motivated by.

    In summary, the next move should be from those who have something better to suggest, something which predicts human achievements better than general intelligence.

    That new something should be better than just guessing

    Why do we need anything, the people who have the right qualities will find their way to their station in life.

  7. @Sean

    We only need good predictors if we are searching for understanding.

  8. dearieme says:
    @Sean

    “Eysenck and his student Jensen (who both were believed because they had skin in the game)”: I don’t understand. What do you mean by saying that Eysenck had skin in the game?

    • Replies: @res
  9. DFH says:

    That fraud Molyneux made similar racist remarks linking me to the IQ of a presumed "ethnicity". Alt-Right pple tend to suffer from clinically low levels of intelligence.Incidentally, for these cranks obsessing over race-IQ, East Med genetics haven't changed since the Bronze age pic.twitter.com/qoSHaeRjJa— Nassim Nicholas Taleb (@nntaleb) January 6, 2019

    This study explores the Levant, a region flanked by the Middle East and Europe, where individual and population relationships are still strongly influenced by religion. We show that religious affiliation had a strong impact on the genomes of the Levantines. In particular, conversion of the region’s populations to Islam appears to have introduced major rearrangements in populations’ relations through admixture with culturally similar but geographically remote populations, leading to genetic similarities between remarkably distant populations like Jordanians, Moroccans, and Yemenis. Conversely, other populations, like Christians and Druze, became genetically isolated in the new cultural environment. We reconstructed the genetic structure of the Levantines and found that a pre-Islamic expansion Levant was more genetically similar to Europeans than to Middle Easterners.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3585000/

    Almost makes you feel bad for the big guy.

    • Replies: @Hail
    , @Hail
  10. AaronB says:
    @Sean

    Why do we need anything, the people who have the right qualities will find their way to their station in life.

    Every non-meritocratic elite needs a myth to legitimize their rule.

    A genuinely meritocratic elite simply goes about the business of accomplishing at a high level and is self-evidently competent. It is legitimized by its concrete fruits, not theory.

    A general principle in life is that talk begins to emerge when concrete reality is lacking – people verbally insist on having a quality when it is not self-evident, i.e they do not have it.

    Under feudalism, the warrior elite was self-evidently more competent at fighting, more lethal, than the other classes – however, at a certain point, advances in weapons technology, tactics, and the decay of the fighting prowess of the aristocracy (probably through a process of civilizing refinement), made this no longer true.

    It was at this point, when the greater fighting prowess of the nobility was no longer self-evident, that the theory of “divine right” of kingship supplied the lack.

    That is how it goes.

    Every non-meritocratic elite needs a “mandate from heaven” – if it’s competence is non-evident, it must be justified in terms of the current notion of “heaven” – intrinsic right.

    Today, people ambitious of rule and power justify their rule using Darwinian theories, because that is what is widely accepted as “heaven”. Asian commenter JLK, for instance, who belongs to an ethnic group that is today ambitious for power, argues strenuously for the primary of spatial IQ, seeking to convince others that his group has the mandate of heaven.

    IQ began of course as a mere tool to identify potential talent in the absence of fuller information – a useful heuristic with low scientific value but some limited practical value – but has been seized upon for all sorts of psychological and sociopolitical reasons.

    That is the fate of ideas, to be adopted by so sorts of causes that have little to do with why they originated.

    • Troll: DFH
  11. res says:
    @dearieme

    What do you mean by saying that Eysenck had skin in the game?

    Hopefully Sean will clarify, but I took it as Eysenck’s professional reputation being at stake.

  12. AaronB says:
    @AaronB

    Some more general thoughts on meritocratic elites vs non and IQ –

    Meritocratic elites tend to focus on hard work. They tend to see their status as the result of personal ethical qualities, or will.

    Non-meritocratic elites tend to focus on “innate ability”. They want to see their status as independent of effort, keenly aware they cannot demonstrate competence.

    Examples of meritocratic elites might be imperial British or Romans, who justified their right to rule through personal ethical qualities.

    Examples of non-meritocratic elites would be the French aristocracy, who justified themselves through “divine right”. (The IQ of the time)

    A sobering thought is that from “divine right” to the French Revolutions is but a few generations, and from IQ theory to the fall of our elite will probably also be but a few generations.

    “Innate ability” theory or “divine right” theory (interchangeable) seems to be the stage before elite collapse – elites go from demonstrated self-evident competence, to “divine right” theory (IQ), to collapse.

    Modern day non-meritocratic elites would be today’s Jews (but not Jews till around WW2), American Asians (but not Asian Asians), and Silicon Valley type whites.

    The talk in America about the “difficulty” of STEM is caste-guarding behavior – intended to deter all but the most determined and artificially raise the status of those already in.

    In reality STEM and math is not hard and accessible to anyone slightly above average, perhaps even average. It may be boring and uninteresting, but it is not hard.

    Asian commenter gmachine79, who sometimes comments here, after moving back to China and immersing himself in a more meritocratic environment, has begun speaking on his blog about how he wants to raise awareness of how STEM isn’t hard, and gas begun criticising American Chinese like Steve Hsu for perpetuating the myth of “hard STEM” for caste-guarding reasons.

  13. Hail says: • Website
    @DFH

    Context: Several days ago, Taleb Twitterblocked Molyneux, then sent off some tweets insulting Molyneux / bragging about his skill at antagonizing racists.

    Not a good look for Mr. Taleb:

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb [Verified account] @nntaleb

    The extra benefit of blocking ignorant people so they get angry and promote your ideas far and wide.

    I blocked Stephan Molyneux (simply because I don’t like him & his racial theories) so he just did an entire video on my IQ paper to his 800k followers.

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb [Verified account] @nntaleb

    So I can imagine Molyneux hit with episodic bouts of anger (gets worse at night): “he blocked me, he blocked me”, let me have my revenge… on Youtube.

    He also bragged about blocking “a bunch of psychologists” incl. Dr. Geoffrey Miller, who had retweeted to his 63k followers Dr. Thompson’s first response article to Taleb.

    (From comment-189 in a recent Taleb-related Steve Sailer thread.)

  14. Hail says: • Website
    @DFH

    We reconstructed the genetic structure of the Levantines and found that a pre-Islamic expansion Levant was more genetically similar to Europeans than to Middle Easterners.

    Note that Mr. Taleb is of Christian-Arab heritage (see comment-145 in Dr. Thompson’s “Swanning About” essay).

    We are, in an important sense, on your side, Taleb; please stop antagonizing us.

  15. @AaronB

    This is one of your best comments yet. I would say I am in agreement with 98% of it, with the minor quibble that it seems a slight tincture of materialist historicism beclouds your description of the French aristocracy and the divine right of kings. However, I will not at this juncture allow that point to hinder me from giving you my hearty congratulations on a job well done. You’re adding a lot of value to this forum, whether others recognize it or not.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  16. APilgrim says:

    It is curious how little ‘hard science’ is present in the Unz Review, given that Ron Unz studied theoretical physics at the graduate level. It is also curious, how little Ron Unz contributes to the scientific discussion, as an author.

    Clearly there is a LOT of garbage, masquerading as science. And there is a LOT of science which is hidden.

    And we are misdirected as a result of these distortions, which are based upon private agendas, profit, monopolistic market forces, and political correctness.

    • Replies: @DFH
  17. DFH says:
    @APilgrim

    Are there a lot of ‘interesting, important and controversial perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream media’ in the area of hard science and theoretical physics?

    • Replies: @APilgrim
    , @James Thompson
  18. APilgrim says:
    @DFH

    Certainly, reams of interesting, important and controversial perspectives are largely excluded from the mainstream media’ in the area of hard science and applied science.

    For example, the VAST nuclear fallout from the Japan Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Four Nuclear Reactors melted down, exploded and completely breached containment. At least 3 cores melted through the concrete containment basements, and into the groundwater. The environmental effects upon the North Pacific Fishery, North Pacific Islands, North American West Coast are immense. The health effects upon the unfortunate residents of several US states and Canadian Provinces are concealed.

    Another example: 20 years ago, a Nobel Prize was awarded for use of the Hubble Telescope, to measure the meteoric volume hitting the earth’s atmosphere. An immense volume of ICE is added to the earth each year, also stone meteors. It had previously been assumed that most meteors were metallic. This piece of hard science is completely covered up.

    Lots of immensely useful technologies are obscured in the same fashion.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
  19. @DFH

    String theorists sometimes feel a little marginalized. Those who argue that global warming is net positive also feel excluded.

    • Replies: @APilgrim
  20. @APilgrim

    I thought that the main effect of Fukushima was the damage to pensioner’s health after an unnecessary evacuation. Would be good to see the epidemiological papers for Japanese people.

    • Replies: @APilgrim
  21. APilgrim says:
    @James Thompson

    Whether the solar system faces an eon of warming or cooling is entirely driven by the energy output of our sun. Anthropomorphic and/or anthropogenic climate influence is insignificant, relative to solar output.

    And the physical mechanisms determining solar output are at best misunderstood, and more likely fraudulent. This much is, I suppose accurate. “The output of the Sun (~˄ ergs/second) comes from turning about 7×1014 gms of hydrogen into about 6.5×1014 gms of helium (each helium-4 nucleus produced releases ~4×10-5 ergs, you need 10˄38 such reactions, each of which uses 4 protons at 1.7×10-24 gms). So in 5 billion years, the Sun has fused ~10˄32 gms of hydrogen. This is only 1/20th the mass of the Sun (although about 1/2 the core).”

  22. APilgrim says:
    @James Thompson

    You will never see such papers, while the WHO and IEAE continue to exist.

  23. res says:

    Anthropomorphic and/or anthropogenic climate influence is insignificant, relative to solar output.

    Variability is important and solar output varies in a fairly narrow range. For instance, see slide 47 of http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Snow_teacher_summit_system_overview_snow_2012_Part2.pdf
    which since 1890 estimates that TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) is increasing temperatures 0.005K per decade while anthropogenic forcing is responsible for 0.054K per decade.

    What’s worse is that both trends are in the same direction.

    • Replies: @APilgrim
  24. APilgrim says:
    @res

    Plausible until about slide #44.

    Thereafter, unfounded drivel … IMHPO.

    • Replies: @res
  25. res says:
    @APilgrim

    Interesting response. I’d be interested in actual arguments or even specific points of disagreement, comments like “unfounded drivel” are much less useful…IMHO.

    • Replies: @APilgrim
  26. APilgrim says:

    Reportably (and plausibly) Our Solar System is traveling at an average speed of 828,000 km/h (230 km/s) or 514,000 mph (143 mi/s) within its trajectory around the galactic center, a speed at which an object could circumnavigate the Earth’s equator in 2 minutes and 54 seconds; that speed corresponds to approximately 1/1300 of the speed of light.

    And, I posit … The Sun is being refueled with VAST volumes/mass in the forms of ice, stone & metal meteors along the way. The solar output responds to this fueling, in presently undetermined ways.

  27. APilgrim says:

    Did I just have a comment vanish?

    Why?

  28. APilgrim says:

    Why did my remark, that a previous comment was missing, vanish?

    Is there some technical difficulty with the thread?

    • Replies: @res
  29. res says:
    @APilgrim

    I see all three of your comments 29-31. You will probably see them as well now that they are out of moderation. Unz.com has an intermittent problem where comments submitted for moderation disappear from view (just happened to me in the other thread). Not sure what causes it, but that problem has been reoccurring intermittently for months if not years. My guess is it is responsible for most of the double posts we see–especially the ones that are minor rewordings of each other.

    • Replies: @res
    , @Hail
  30. APilgrim says:
    @res

    These are some of the points of disagreement, and they have been DEMANDED for 20 years, by the usual suspects.

    None of them have been proven, to date.

    And they have not provably occurred.

  31. res says:
    @res

    Turns out the same thing happened with comment 32 here. The problem is annoying both because of the double posting issue and because it makes it impossible to edit comments after they are submitted.

  32. APilgrim says:

    Money and Time spent on anthropo(morphic/genic) ‘climate-change-hypotheses’ detracts us from more fruitful lines of investigation.

    There is a large opportunity cost, for all this unsubstantiated ‘global-warming’ crap.

  33. Sean says:
    @AaronB

    Every non-meritocratic elite needs a “mandate from heaven” – if it’s competence is non-evident, it must be justified in terms of the current notion of “heaven” – intrinsic right.

    Elites are judged against other elites by the way the the countries they lead grow or diminish in relative power. The mandate of heaven is nothing but success in steering the nation state; the leadership countries that lose ground against other countries as France had lost against Austria prior to the revolution and England had lost to the Hapsburgs prior to the English Civil war and Russia had lost to the Germans in WW1, are perceived as losing that mandate. America has certainly lost ground to China in relative terms .

    IQ began of course as a mere tool to identify potential talent in the absence of fuller information – a useful heuristic with low scientific value but some limited practical value – but has been seized upon for all sorts of psychological and sociopolitical reasons.

    No, IQ began as a way of identifying people who were of too low an intelligence to benefit from normal education, and even Steven Jay Gould found it useful for determining what help his mentally handicapped son needed. The selection of elites has absolutely no connection with IQ tests anywhere in the world. That is not to say intelligence is not recognized everywhere in the world.

    Elites distinguish themselves by simply getting on in life. In France the current leadership is a product of that country’s educational system producing technocrats who remain in their jobs come what may rather than people with skin in the game.

    The French woman verified by French experts to be to be 122 when she died was obviously the same person identified in an easily available book as her daughter. But they had no skin in the game and in fact it was better for her if she was genuine. France is falling under the sway of Germany because people like ex-banker Macron are running it for sectional interests (in his case bankers), and the French will reject him eventually whatever great EU ideal he claims to be the instrument of.

    The fate of ideas is to be grist to the Darwinian premise of selection for reproductive fitness in which ideas that are true can be less advantageous than evolutionarily useful illusions. This is why we have gone beyond past human beliefs in some things but ethereal ideals influencing the perception that about our group, people or county are being worth fighting and dying for will endure as ling as humans are around.

    • Replies: @DFH
  34. Hail says: • Website
    @res

    It looks like there are problems Unz.com-wide today. (See latest Announcement). I have noticed the same: various small bugs, post disappearances, Agree button problems; some of them resolve themselves in time.

  35. DFH says:
    @Sean

    The selection of elites has absolutely no connection with IQ tests anywhere in the world.

    Totally absurd. To get into many elite universities, you have to pass tests which are essentially IQ tests. Same for graduate schemes for companies like McKinsey, from which many of the ‘elite’ in other fields come

    • Replies: @Sean
  36. APilgrim says:

    Algebra, Probability & Statistics are very low-level, ancient, foundational mathematics. These fields were augmented by the Calculus of Lawrence Isaac Newton, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and Seki Kōwa Takakazu.

    It is sad to be fooled or bested by Algebra, or Calculus for that matter. Mathematics has advanced far beyond these basic problem solving skills.

  37. APilgrim says:

    Gravity on the surface of the earth is 9.8 m/s^2. Gravity on the surface of the sun is 274 m/s^2, or about 28 G’s.

    You could line up 109 Earths across the face of the sun. The radius of the Sun is roughly 432,450 miles. The cross-sectional area of the Sun is about 12,000 times that of the earth.

    So, as the Solar system sweeps around our galaxy, the circle which funnels meteoric ice into the sun is defined by the larger cross-sectional area and the greater gravity of the Sun. Also the earth spends much of its time functionally blocked by the Sun, from ‘deep-space’ meteoric impacts.

  38. APilgrim says:

    There are are at least five (5) possible overall steps available to the components that make up then entire “hydrogen into helium” processes in the Sun:

    1) Two protons (hydrogen-1) fuse together, producing deuterium (hydrogen-2) and other particles plus energy,
    2) Deuterium (hydrogen-2) and a proton (hydrogen-1) fuse, producing helium-3 and energy,
    3) Two helium-3 nuclei fuse together, producing helium-4, two protons (hydrogen-1), and energy,
    4) Helium-3 fuses with helium-4, producing beryllium-7, which decays and then fuses with another proton (hydrogen-1) to yield two helium-4 nuclei plus energy.
    5) Tritium decays via negative beta decay into helium-3 and releases 18.6 keV of energy in the process.

    These processes would proportionately vary according to the radius from the center of the Sun.

  39. APilgrim says:

    The ‘take-away’ is …

    To properly study and predict the energy production of the Sun and the effect on Earth’s climate …

    We would need satellites on the leading edge of the Solar System, ie in front of the Sun.

    These satellites could monitor the matter being swept into the Sun, which become its fuel.

  40. APilgrim says:

    Leading and trailing solar satellites in the outer reaches of the Sun’s gravitational field, would give us a clearer ‘before and after’ picture of the mass added to the Sun each day, year, century.

    I posit that the Sun and other stars are dependent upon this continuing mass accretion process for fuel, and their form, size, thermal output, and color are quickly affected thereby.

  41. APilgrim says:

    The Earth is in front of the Sun, (leading edge) during the month of August. No matter where you live worldwide, the 2019 Perseid meteor shower will probably produce the greatest number of meteors on the mornings of August 11, 12 and 13. In a dark, moonless sky, this annual shower often produces some 50 meteors per hour … often many more. But this year, in 2019, there will be plenty of moonlight on the peak nights of this shower (August 11, 12 and 13).

    Actually, the first week of August will offer darker skies, although the number of Perseid meteors won’t be nearly as high. We recommend the weekend starting on Friday, August 9. There will be considerably more moon-free viewing time in the predawn hours during that weekend than at the Perseids’ likely peak on August 12-13 (late evening August 12 till dawn August 13).

    If you trace the paths of the Perseid meteors backwards, you’d find they all come from a point in front of the constellation Perseus. Don’t worry about which stars are Perseus. Just enjoying knowing and observing that they all come from one place on the sky’s dome.

    https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-perseid-meteor-shower

  42. APilgrim says:

    The total rainfall on Earth data is readily available.

    However the pre-processed results are not useful for detecting variations by day, week and/or month.

    I am curious if terrestrial rain increases in August, relative to February.

    I have not gotten around to crunching the numbers for myself.

    I have actually not gotten around to putting the task on my ‘to-do-list’.

  43. APilgrim says:

    A credible planetary asteroid defense system would probably be best deployed ahead of the Sun, on the pathway our Solar System is traveling.

    A few hydrogen bombs could deflect a large asteroid, a thousandth of a degree, to a harmless trajectory. That trajectory could be either into the Sun, or far outside the orbit of Pluto and Uranus.

  44. APilgrim says:

    I am not hitting the panic button about a few missed conferences … but this is a consideration …

    ‘Hundreds of federal scientists miss conferences in shutdown’, By CLAIRE GALOFARO, Associated Press, (AP), January 6, 2019, https://apnews.com/bab6ca69ba754fb094b76bf66b500d8f

    Some 700 federal employees who planned to attend the American Meteorological Society conference in Phoenix are staying home. Another 500 will miss the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ SciTech Forum and Exposition in San Diego. The American Astronomical Society estimates that between 300 and 450 scientists will be absent this week from the world’s largest annual astronomical meeting, where the NASA plane was supposed to be. But it’s hard to get a firm count, said Rick Fienberg, the organization’s press officer: Organizers emailed a survey, but furloughed government employees aren’t even allowed to check their email. … Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s new administrator, and the leaders of the National Weather Service are no longer able to attend the weather conference, and the organizers scrambled to replace their presentations.

  45. APilgrim says:

    IMHPO,

    The National Weather Service, NASA Climate Unit, Center for Disease Control and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration have been participating in a LOT of fraudulent science in recent years.

    As has East Anglia University … and other key players in PC Science.

    Again … IMHPO

  46. APilgrim says:

    Have the other actual readers noticed that the TROLLS are gone, everywhere?

    Somehow, the federal government is paying them, and this function is out of money.

    We … are paying them to harass us.

  47. APilgrim says:

    Ron Unz,

    Do you think that the Sun receives substantial refueling from meteoric ice, as our solar system travels through the Milky Way?

    Or do you suppose that the Sun substantially burns the hydrogen it started with, on the order of 5B years ago?

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
  48. Sean says:
    @DFH

    Ron Unz went to an elite university studied physics and became a very successful businessman. All a good indication that he would have score very high in a IQ test when young. But I doubt anyone knowing his youthful IQ score would have been willing to predict his future.

    To work for McKinsey one has to accept a certain company culture, go where they send you, and believe what they tell you. The highest reaches of a country or organisation is where you find intelligence, yes. But also the greatest indoctrination into acceptance of untruths for the good of the group. It is a bit like a military in which if a unit has to die to accomplish the mission their officer has to have the strength to die first. Taleb is against that kind of thinking, and selection for the elite position being filled by high IQ people who fit in, because he thinks it leads to serious mistakes.

    • Replies: @DFH
  49. DFH says:
    @Sean

    Ron Unz went to an elite university studied physics and became a very successful businessman. All a good indication that he would have score very high in a IQ test when young. But I doubt anyone knowing his youthful IQ score would have been willing to predict his future.

    And? Is the fact that it can’t serve as a predictors of someone’s future supposed to count against IQ as a measure?

    To work for McKinsey one has to accept a certain company culture, go where they send you, and believe what they tell you. The highest reaches of a country or organisation is where you find intelligence, yes. But also the greatest indoctrination into acceptance of untruths for the good of the group. It is a bit like a military in which if a unit has to die to accomplish the mission their officer has to have the strength to die first. Taleb is against that kind of thinking, and selection for the elite position being filled by high IQ people who fit in, because he thinks it leads to serious mistakes.

    All the evidence (and just common sense and anyone’s anecdotal experience tbh) shows that high IQ people are less conformist than low IQ ones though.

    • Replies: @Sean
  50. Sean says:
    @DFH

    It may be true that high IQ people are less conformist but organisations don’t necessarily want that. Actual IQ tests have little say in the selection of people for high positions in management or research.

    And? Is the fact that it can’t serve as a predictors of someone’s future supposed to count against IQ as a measure?

    It is not an indication of how much of a conscientious team player someone is, or how much of an outside the box thinker they are. For the army maybe it is a good way of filtering out those with too low an IQ to be worth having. Most things now you need a track record and qualifications to be considered anyway. That is the way of natural selection like the neurons that are looking for work in your brain, so that they can get energy to flourish and establish more connections. Top down planning and selection by IQ does not work in the long run is Taleb’s point.

    There is also the argument that blacks cannot be discriminated against in modern society because they have lower IQs, but Watson’s statements were about black as employees which he put down to lower IQ. According to Steve , Watson had took on blacks as workers who had no no track record in comparable employment. It would be astonishing if such people worked out even if they had the IQ, they were probably difficult and insubordinate The old principal–agent problem.

  51. Sean says:

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb

    Verified account

    @nntaleb
    Follow Follow @nntaleb
    More
    When someone refers to psychology “results” for backup, ask: what is the SINGLE significant result psychologists have discovered that is both correct and not well known (and used) by ancients, used car salespeople, magicians, & swindlers.

    Ignore psychologists.

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb

    Verified account

    @nntaleb
    Follow Follow @nntaleb
    More
    Psychologists use “IQ” to politely put people & entire races in boxes with the label “idiots”, and stick them there for a lifetime.
    They ruin people’s careers and potentials. Politely.

    Taleb is agreeing with the elite while critiquing IQ and psychologists, all the while portaying himself as a outsider battling the establishment. Slick!

  52. APilgrim says:

    Ron Unz,

    Regarding the Japan Fukushima Nuclear Power Station in March 2011 (311).

    Four (4) nuclear reactors suffered total core meltdowns, explosions & breached containment. At least three (3) cores burned through the basements and into the ground water table. The North Pacific Fishery received a massive dose of nuclear fallout. The spent fuel pool for Reactor-4 was destabilized & very nearly collapsed, which would have dumped fuel rods down the mountain, and into the ocean. This would have likely been an Extinction Level Event, in the Northern Hemisphere. Reactor-3 exploded in a (supersonic) detonation.

    Q: Do you personally consider the Reactor-3 detonation to have been a nuclear explosion?

  53. Okechukwu says:

    Since Taleb thought he could dismiss a century of psychometry

    That century of psychometry is all over the place and certainly doesn’t support your beliefs. For example, a century ago the IQ of whites was around 70. I’m sure you’ll dismiss that with some atrocious pseudoscience but it is what it is.

    Generally, the citations proffered by race/IQ exponents tend to be the best evidence against their claims.

    • Replies: @James Thompson
    , @JLK
  54. @Okechukwu

    You do not lack confidence in your own abilities.

    • Agree: res
  55. APilgrim says:

    The Cold-War Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT)

    In January 1967, President Lyndon Johnson called for Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT), and in 1967, he and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin met at Glassboro State College in New Jersey to reduce the number of Nuclear Warheads and end the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) race. President Richard Nixon and Soviet Union General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev signed the ABM Treaty and interim SALT agreement on May 26, 1972, in Moscow. Gerald Ford and Brezhnev agreed on the basic framework of a SALT II agreement. This included a 2,400 limit on strategic nuclear delivery vehicles (ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers) for each side; a 1,320 limit on MIRV systems; a ban on new land-based ICBM launchers; and limits on deployment of new types of strategic offensive arms. President Jimmy Carter asked the Senate not to consider SALT II for its advice and consent, and it was never ratified. Both Washington and Moscow subsequently pledged to adhere to the agreement’s terms despite its failure to enter into force. President Ronald Reagan, agreed to abide by SALT II until its expiration on December 31, 1985, while he pursued the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and argued that research into the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) adhered to the 1972 ABM Treaty.

    Ultimately, Nuclear Warheads and Anti-Ballistic Missiles were reduced, Ukraine unilaterally disarmed and the two superpowers agreed to use most of their fissile material as (MOX) fuel for nuclear reactor generation of electrical power. “Beating their Swords into Plowshares.” In recent years, the wheels have come off most of these wagons.

  56. Sean says:

    Ukraine unilaterally disarmed

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mearsheimer#Nuclear_weapons_and_Ukraine
    After the break up of the Soviet Union, the new independent Ukraine had a large arsenal of nuclear weapons on its territory. However, in 1994 Ukraine agreed to give up nuclear arms, became a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and within two years had removed all atomic weapons. Almost alone among observers, Mearsheimer was opposed to that decision because he saw a Ukraine without a nuclear deterrent as likely to be subjected to aggression by Russia. [57]

    They had a bad theory about how the international order could be organised top down.

    • Replies: @APilgrim
  57. APilgrim says:
    @Sean

    The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left Soviet strategic nuclear weapons—both strategic nuclear warheads and delivery systems—located on the territory of four newly independent states: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. Soviet tactical nuclear weapons were even more widely scattered. Moscow quickly secured the return of all tactical nuclear warheads to Russia during the first half of 1992. Moscow also in relatively short order reached bilateral understandings with Belarus and Kazakhstan on the removal or elimination of the strategic nuclear weapon systems on the territory of those countries. The Trilateral Statement, was signed in January 1994, under which Ukraine agreed to transfer the nuclear warheads to Russia for elimination. In return, Ukraine received security assurances from the United States, Russia and Britain; compensation for the economic value of the highly-enriched uranium in the warheads (which could be blended down and converted into fuel for nuclear reactors); and assistance from the United States in dismantling the missiles, missile silos, bombers and nuclear infrastructure on its territory.

    REPORT: ‘The Trilateral Process: The United States, Ukraine, Russia and Nuclear Weapons
    Steven Pifer’, Monday, May 9, 2011, Author: Steven Pifer, Nonresident Senior Fellow – Foreign Policy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Center on the United States and Europe, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative, https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-trilateral-process-the-united-states-ukraine-russia-and-nuclear-weapons/https://twitter.com/steven_pifer

    I do not recall the name of the US Military Colonel, of Ukrainian extraction, who served as the 1st Defense Minister of Ukraine, (with congressional approval) who supervised the unilateral disarmament of Ukraine. Ukraine trusted neither the Russians, nor their own generals to serve as their 1st Defense Minister, at the time.

  58. APilgrim says:

    Ukraine received security assurances from the United States, Russia and Britain; compensation for the economic value of the highly-enriched uranium in the warheads (which could be blended down and converted into fuel for nuclear reactors)

    Nuclear reactor fuel, in commercial electrical generation applications was initially U-235 enriched U-238. The waste products are Plutonium isotopes, and fission byproducts such as radioactive: Iodine, Cesium, Strontium and a witches brew of other isotopes. 2nd generation commercial reactors use an enriched Uranium Oxide (UOX) of U-235 and U-238, and produce the same waste products. If the fission byproducts are removed, the Plutonium can be used as nuclear reactor fuel.

    The PLAN was to mix Plutonium Isotope Oxides with Uranium Isotope Oxides into a blended nuclear fuel known as Mixed Oxide (MOX). The MOX was to be slightly stronger than UOX, and commercial nuclear power plants were to be upgraded to produce about 15% more electricity. The Fukushima Daiichi Reactor-3 was ‘hot-loaded’ somewhat more than that, when the 311 Tsunami hit the power plant. The ensuing nuclear detonation, was an accidental violation of the various nuclear proliferation treaties. So the nuclear waste disposal plan produced a treaty violation. Roh Roh!

  59. @APilgrim

    Why did the interstellar visitor, Oumuamua enter the solar system on a trajectory somewhat perpendicular to the ecliptic?

    The Sun must be recharged somewhat by the flow of matter attracted to it by its gravity. Ultimately, all the radiation emitted from a star is absorbed by matter somewhere in the Universe. The expanding-radiation/condensing-matter cycle is continuous and eternal–theories of black holes that never give up their horde and entropy notwithstanding.

    Why does the collapsing cloud of interstellar gas condense into a rotating disk? I understand the basic laws of conservation of momentum and energy, but don’t get why it forms a thin disk. I’m reading more on Wiki now. It’s complex.

    • Replies: @APilgrim
  60. APilgrim says:
    @ThreeCranes

    Perhaps this article on Elliptical Galaxies from New Mexico State University will help. http://astronomy.nmsu.edu/geas/lectures/lecture29/slide05.html

  61. JLK says:
    @Okechukwu

    That century of psychometry is all over the place and certainly doesn’t support your beliefs.

    I don’t think that you’re completely wrong about this. I’ll address the issue of a singular g in another post. This one has to do with fairness to minorities. As I pointed out in another comment-thread (note hyperlinks), Arthur Jensen was telling the world that:

    For example, on the widely used Wechsler Intelligence Scale, comprised of 11 different subtests, blacks do better on the culture-loaded subtests of vocabulary, general information, and verbal comprehension than on the nonverbal performance tests such as the block designs. Just the opposite is true for such minorities as Orientals, Mexican-Americans, Indians, and Puerto Ricans.

    This may have led black leaders and other well-intentioned people down the garden path a bit, so they would support a PSAT/NMSQT and SAT format, for example, that was heavy on vocabulary and verbal comprehension questions. At least one notable Jensen scientific paper seem to say different. Figure 3 of that link shows Arithmetic to be more of a black strength than vocabulary and verbal comprehension, and not too much of a difference between black vocabulary and spatial block design abilities.

    As I wrote previously, the double-Verbal, one Math, no Spatial format of the PSAT/SAT isn’t very friendly to the skillset of East Asians, Native Americans or Mexicans. It might also not be as friendly to African-Americans as the urban myths would have us believe.

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