by Tyler Cowen
on October 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm
1. Origins of the term “Great Stagnation”; was it Lester Thurow?
2. Deposits in Irish banks rise for the first time in a year.
3. Is there too much default correlation for EFSF leverage to work?
4. Smith on Caplan on single mothers; “Baby lust is quite real, almost certainly genetically determined and probably explains a fair fraction of the differences in outcome among women.”
5. The Japanese electricity forecast from the culture of the Swiss in Japan.
6. Monkeys, typewriters, Shakespeare, etc.
“Monkeys, typewriters, Shakespeare” has my vote for the most worthless link Tyler ever posted.
“Monkeys, typewriters, Shakespeare” has my vote for the most interesting article in this post.
Anytime the nonsense of conventional wisdom and quotable quotes is challenged, we take a marginal step toward greater knowledge.
Understanding just how infinite infinity has to be for remote possibilities to be realized has broad applicability in physics, biology, statistics, and economics. We learn that the equillibria we see in the world are NOT merely the result of random selection.
If there is SELECTION involved, then order appears fairly rapidly. The idea of natural selection is that there is a sorting mechanism that keeps patterns that “work” and discard those that don’t.
The odds of the universe “popping into” existence the way it is now out of a state of entropy is like monkeys typing Shakespeare, but the odds of some rule of nature conspiring to create local pockets of negative entropy that self perpetuate (life) is nothing like that.
Actually, the type of selection used in this “experiment” is more like Intelligent Design than Natural Selection. The omnipotent selector knows exactly what he’s looking for, and he selects only the 9-letter sequences that fit into his predetermined end-product. Natural Selection involves a more random series of changes toward an unknown product.
Are you making a distinction between conspiring rules and intelligent design?
Probably not, because I’m not sure what “conspiring rules” would be. I was merely noting that the selection process in this particular experiment didn’t seem to resemble natural selection, and coyly noting that in some ways it did resemble an intelligent design selection process. Do you think the selection process could be better described as Conspiring Rules?
That’s a strong position. Are you sure you’re well enough informed to have it? Or is that more of a gut feeling?
Well enough informed? as opposed to whom?
1. It still wasn’t a good title for the book.
Better than “Create Your Own Economy” was for what was later rightly titled “The Age of the Infovore”.
Those simulated monkeys could reproduce Shakespeare much more quickly if they produced random 1-character strings and then pieced them together, instead of random 9-character strings.
The simulated monkeys aren’t actually piecing the strings together. Assembly of the pieces is done by the guy conducting the experiment. But you are correct that he could reproduce Shakespeare’s work much quicker if he did it in one-character pieces instead of 9-character pieces.
I’ve always thought we need more nuance in “single mother”. A never married mom, a divorced mom, and a widowed mom are clearly all different things. Single mother is far too broad, especially vis a vis widowed mothers.
‘Smith on Caplan on single mothers; “Baby lust is quite real, almost certainly genetically determined and probably explains a fair fraction of the differences in outcome among women.”’
And is one of the only things we are still selecting for.
‘And is one of the only things we are still selecting for.’
Nope – until birth control became effective, inexpensive, and legally accessible to women in the last two or so generations (depending on society and time frame, and ignoring infanticide), the only consistent selection process involving women having children was the man’s choice of woman being inseminated. This most definitely includes marriage – rape was impossible in the context of a marriage in the U.S. for example, while women were signed over like property (more properly, livestock), even in the 1920s in Virginia.
We have just begun a possible selection process, after following an entirely pattern for all previous human history. One in which subjugation played a major role.
Strangely, something of the same point about changing patterns for the first time in human history can be said for feeding infants anything but human milk, though the time frame in this change is more on the order of 4 generations.
People tend to casually assume that how things are now is the same as in the past – unsurprisingly, the people most likely to make that mistake are the ones trying to use biology to justify some cultural framework which they consider normal.
What type of design.http://www.ommrudraksha.com/
While ma po tofu is occasionally served with pork, the dish only refers to spicy tofu and a sauce made with doubanjiang. For what it’s worth.
I find it revealing that the woman in the babylust article is on bipolar medication. Wanting a baby definitely does NOT mean a woman is crazy- of course not! But this is at least the 4th article I’ve read in which a woman on bipolar medication is obsessed with having yet another baby- even when she knows it’s not a great idea for her or for her family.
The drive to procreate is perfectly natural, but like all drives it exists on a spectrum. Has there ever been a serious scientific study of women obsessed with childbearing? Sometimes when I read interviews with women determined to get pregnant, no matter what, their self-image and style of reasoning strongly reminds me of anorexics. At what point does the drive become pathological?
It appears that the deposit increase in Irish banks is being overstated as the discussion here and here show. There is a fairly neat presentation at the end of the first link that illustrates the drop in deposits in Irish banks over the past year.
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