Assorted links

by on April 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 FredR April 13, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Great AI article. Definitely spielberg’s best movie, and probably the best movie of its time. Nothing else is as coherent or as powerful.

2 Cliff April 14, 2014 at 11:06 am

I have a hard time calling a movie great when it has one of the worst endings of all time. Other than that it was pretty good.

3 JWatts April 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm

“Great AI article. Definitely spielberg’s best movie, and probably the best movie of its time.”

I’ve never understood that sentiment. A.I. wasn’t a particularly good piece of science fiction and I (and most people) didn’t find the story telling that compelling. It had great visuals and special effects, but it isn’t as good as 2001 or The Matrix or Blade Runner, etc.

The Matrix was a contemporary of AI and IMO was clearly better. Granted, the sequels to The Matrix were much worse, but if you are judging individual movies then The Matrix was clearly better.

4 Chris April 13, 2014 at 1:13 pm

The A. I. teddy bear was actually sort of contemporaneous with the movie, if you click through to what Kottke links.

5 So Much For Subtlety April 13, 2014 at 1:21 pm

1. Chinese signaling in the East China Sea. Good news, sort of.

So the Chinese government doesn’t talk to them, or anyone, and so they are back to the Chi-Com equivalent of Kreminology? Looking for signals in the smoke coming from the chimneys? Not sure if that is a sensible idea myself.

2. Kling on Krugman on Piketty.

“He sticks to economics, which makes the review quite readable.”

Heh. I like Economists. Sometimes it is what they don’t say that is more interesting than what they do.

“He drops this sentence into the end of a minor paragraph: …. In fact, that is one of the more damning criticisms of Picketty that one is likely to read. Krugman stops short of calling the book an intellectual swindle, but it appears to be one (I have yet to read it).”

So Krugman, faced with what looks like intellectual incoherence verging on fraud, makes a small minor unobstrusive comment. Interesting to see how that compares with people he really disagrees with.

5. “We just visited with the penguins,” she said. “It was very calm.”

Chimpanzee intelligence is clearly over-rated. He broke a branch and lent it against the wall? Or perhaps broke the branch, wondered what was at the top, and then found himself on the other side. The Great Escape it is not.

My many viewings of Madagascar led me to expect more. From the chimps and the penguins both. Again Hollywood has lead me astray. Damn them!

6 Mark Thorson April 13, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Although the immediate cause of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands crisis was the provocative move by far-right-wing politician Shintaro Ishihara, the Chinese could have ignored it. Instead, it was a convenient excuse to bring it to the front page, to pull the spotlight off the Bo Xilai affair that was occurring at the same time. Now that Bo has faded from short-term memory, it’s no longer necessary to keep stirring the dispute over the islands. That too will fade, until the next time the CPC needs to manipulate the domestic public consciousness.

7 Alexei Sadeski April 13, 2014 at 5:26 pm

What the chimps lack in intelligence they make up for in strength and ferocity. The article doesn’t convey just how dangerous of a situation this was.

8 Mark Thorson April 13, 2014 at 5:47 pm

If the chimps learned one thing from this experience, it’s how to get malted milk balls.

9 So Much For Subtlety April 13, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Sure. You don’t want to be near an adult chimpanzee without a loaded AK-47. But strong does not mean smart. They are trying to sell the smart:

It wasn’t careless zookeepers that were responsible for the escape of seven chimpanzees from their Kansas City Zoo enclosure on Thursday afternoon.

It was clever chimpanzees.

That was zoo director Randy Wisthoff’s explanation for the unauthorized excursion that prompted a “Code Red” response among zoo employees, an hourlong lockdown of zoo visitors and finally a careful roundup.

“Chimps are so smart,” Wisthoff said.

One of them, he said, either found or broke off a 5- or 6-foot log or branch, leaned it against a wall and clambered to the top. Then that chimpanzee — the “ringleader,” Wisthoff called him — persuaded six friends to join him.

This is smart? All he did was climb to the top of a branch and found himself outside. Now perhaps he needs to do this for insurance purposes – better than admitting fault. However I find the degree to which SWPL (or in this case what looks someone close enough) is committed to the idea of animal intelligence is bizarre.

10 RR April 13, 2014 at 1:51 pm

2. RR on Kling on Krugman on Piketty

……………………….”.the book an intellectual swindle, but it appears to be one (I have yet to read it).”

Is it really that difficult to read a book before criticizing it ?

11 breaks April 13, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Apparently so.

Kling seems to be a master of arguing against things nobody is saying.

12 TMC April 13, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Kling was commenting on Krugman’s review, which he did read.

13 Engineer April 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm

> 4. “Sluggish cognitive tempo” — the new disability?

Pharmaceutical companies are trying to create new demand for their products. Maybe they are concerned that the statin market is about to collapse.

14 John B. Chilton April 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm

#4 Wait, I thought thinking slow was a good thing.

15 BenK April 13, 2014 at 3:31 pm

There are several projects that appear to be doing well relative to our present assessment of professional intelligence. On GJP, I’m somewhere in the upper 10% range, I think, not the top 1%, for a variety of reasons. There are other judgement projects which take the human out of the loop entirely. This ultimately might make us think more clearly about what we use intelligence for – asking the right question, for example, is not covered by these prediction projects.

16 Justin April 13, 2014 at 3:39 pm

#6. Perhaps the first and only positive contribution the social sciences have made to humanity.

17 Joël April 13, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Kling writes : “For example, suppose you look at the Forbes 500 or somesuch, meaning a list of the wealthiest Americans. Compare the list in 2010 to the list in the supposedly egalitarian era of 1950-1970. I will wager that the 2010 list has a smaller fraction of inherited fortunes as opposed to fortunes that were amassed by the wealthy themselves.” I wonder if anyone has really done this comparison. Any pointer ?

18 joan April 14, 2014 at 2:36 am

I do not think using Forbes would give a reliable answer. Only about 20% of the wealth in the world is held by people on Forbes billionaires list and much of the old money has been split between so many heirs by now that most are not on the list.

19 Doug April 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm


The author basically argues that the diagnostic is bad because it will result in many people being given pharmaceuticals unnecessarily. Modafinil has been shown to significantly increase performance in low IQ subjects. “Sluggish cognitive tempo” basically seems like code for stupidity, so it probably shouldn’t be labelled a medical condition. Yet due to our bizarre drug policy, doctors can’t simply prescribe drugs without some accompanying medical condition. There are probably drastic benefits to widely dispensing modafinil to low IQ people, particularly in the modern age of ZMP workers. And unlike ADHD amphetamines, modafinil comes with few if any negative effects. This is probably a case of two wrongs making a right.

20 NPW April 13, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Just my luck. They finally have a drug to make people smarter, and I’m not dumb enough to get any benefit.

21 CD April 13, 2014 at 9:50 pm

It’s not hard to source on the ‘net. I tried some several years ago and decided I prefer being stupid.

22 Cliff April 14, 2014 at 11:09 am

Modafinil is an anti-narcolepsy drug used for cramming and the like.

23 Claude Emer April 13, 2014 at 7:01 pm

#6 The Bush administration tried something like this to predict future terrorist events and the program was promptly shutdown. As counterintuitive as the method is, it seems efficient. One rare gem from unexpected economics that’s not about political biases masquerading as science

24 Shane M April 13, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Thanks for posting #6. I applied to see if they’ll take me. Interested to see what it’s all about. Reminds me of findings of this study:

More knowledge can decrease accuracy, while increasing confidence.

25 JasonL April 14, 2014 at 8:47 am

2 – one of the problems I think for non professionals considering the Picketty claim is the distinction between “returns to capital” and “returns from an equity stake”. I mean, executive pay is high and paid in shares. Share appreciation is a big part of the story is it not?

26 Sam Penrose April 14, 2014 at 11:42 am

Fred Wilson, the prominent venture capitalist:

“I think there are a few people in the venture business in New York who come from families that have the resources to start their venture capital careers. In New York, because of the media industry, the real estate industry and Wall Street, there are a lot of families with large capital bases. It wouldn’t surprise me that we’d continue to see young people getting out of college and deciding that this is what they want to do and having their families support them in that. That could be an emerging trend. In the Bay Area, too. I’m sure something like this has happened in the Bay Area as well.”

27 Douglas Knight April 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Anyone with barest contact with the Piketty’s book knows that he addresses Kling’s point. At least Kling admits he hasn’t read the book. But why is Tyler, who claims to have read the book linking to it? And why does Krugman, who claims to have read the book spark it?

28 triclops41 April 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm

I have read several reviews of the book that make no mention of counterargument to the capital accumulation disagreement. Please give us that argument, or at least a link then.

29 Chris April 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm

A.I. was a terrible movie. Interesting first twenty minutes that turned into complete garbage. Only movie I ever been to that caused the audience to revolt. There were a lot of angry people leaving the theatre that two hours of their lives were wasted. Never met anyone in real life who liked the movie, much less thought it was a masterpiece.

I am not surprised that there are many people better than CIA analysts. Analysts are plagued by several things ordinary people don’t have to deal with. Real people 1) do not have to worry that their superiors will be unhappy about conclusions that invalidate their preferences and thereby modify their analysis for political reasons, 2) do not feel compelled to succumb to group think of the “expert community”,3) are not educated by ideological academic blinders that cause them to ignore evidence that contradicts flavor of the year/decade academic theory, and 4) do not confuse what they think will happen with what they would prefer to happen (this last one also seems to strike 100% of New York Times columnists and 90%+ of the pundit class). Of course, even ordinary folks have some sort of bias, and some people much more than others, but the reasons and pressures are a lot less to succumb to group think and wishful thinking of various types.

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