Assorted links

by on July 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Songs from the International Society for Bayesian Analysis.  The Society is here.  And measuring the impact of Ramadan.

2. Experimental Vancouver coffee shop with no WiFi, texting, cell phones, etc., only coffee.  You also pay by donation and you are…supposed to talk to the other people in the shop.

3. Best books of 2014 so far? (not my list)

4. Another good review of Transformers 4.

5. Quora thread on how to start learning economics.

6. Arvind Subramaniam on Modi’s first budget.

7. Public choice of the Iron Dome.

FredR July 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm

None of these ‘good’ reviews of Transformers 4 you keep linking have recognized that it’s nowhere near as good as Transformers 3, preferring instead to take some jokey meta tone that has nothing to do with the movies.

andrew' July 13, 2014 at 3:49 am

People are confused as to why they keep making money. That part is easy. It is a great brand with good visuals. Bay keeps making them because he has nowhere else to go.

Willitts July 13, 2014 at 4:34 am

Neither did Richard Gere.

dearieme July 12, 2014 at 12:52 pm

“3. Songs from the International Society for Bayesian Analysis.” That was certainly unexpected.

Ram July 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm

It is worth noting that the ISBA is a society of statisticians. In statistics, especially in applied statistics, “Bayesian” means something different from what it means in many other fields. In philosophy, for example, “Bayesian” usually refers to an interpretation of probabilities as degrees of belief, or to the idea that Bayes’ Theorem is the centerpiece of inductive logic/rationality. In philosophy of science, one view described as Bayesian is that the scientific method itself is just a special case of updating. In many fields besides statistics, “Bayesian” refers to ideas related in one way or another to these notions.

In statistics, what separates a Bayesian analysis from a classical analysis is that Bayesians put probability distributions on parameters. Much of the rest of Bayesian statistics looks a lot like classical statistics, suitably modified to allow for probability distributions over parameter spaces. Indeed, many Bayesian statisticians care a lot about coverage, which is unintelligible from any of the perspectives mentioned above.

It’s interesting that Bayesian statisticians, who only differ from classical statisticians in this very minor respect, feel the need to band together and celebrate their outsider status. In many other fields, the Bayesian view is dominant, except that “Bayesian” means something far more strong than it means in statistics. What that says about statistics as compared to other fields, I’m not really sure.

slip July 12, 2014 at 8:30 pm

There is also the MR commenter definition of Bayesianism, which is where one just randomly uses the words “Bayesian” or “prior” in contexts in which one wants to appear to be smart and thoughtful when discussing one’s beliefs.

andrew' July 13, 2014 at 4:18 am

Bayesianism is when you think a movie can’t get any worse and yet you know deep down you will have to update your priors.

Willitts July 13, 2014 at 4:33 am

You sound smarter already.

Ram July 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm

+1

My Bayesian bullshit detector usually goes off when I see lots of mentions of “Bayesian”, “prior”, “update”, etc., without ever seeing any mention of Markov chain Monte Carlo. No problem if folks don’t know what that is or why it is relevant, but if so, you probably have never actually used Bayes Theorem for anything besides a binary hypothesis test, which missed almost everything interesting about Bayesian methods.

Self-taught doctor July 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm

I’m sitting in the above-mentioned Cafe as we speak…

Marie July 12, 2014 at 1:31 pm

+1, especially if the “as we speak” part is supposed to be a joke, too.

TMC July 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm

How’d you post?

dearieme July 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm

“Experimental Vancouver coffee shop with no WiFi, texting, cell phones, etc., only coffee.” I propose an experimental coffee shop where you are permitted to talk on a mobile phone only if you strip down to the waist (women) or up to the waist (men). But could they make a living off the drunken exhibitionists trade?

John July 12, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I suspect self-taught doctor is cheating, and for punishment should be depantsed.

Yancey Ward July 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm

I also support the banning of the numbers 1 and 2.

Marie July 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm

First #4, used to have those. They called them kitchens.

General MacArthur July 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm

4. None of the reviewers mention that transformers was an Asian (japanese) idea to begin with. The movies have always been based on asian bombast dwarfing the insignificant humans. It’s altogether fitting that they now earn most of their money in the East. To call this an expression of ultimate Americanism is a bit odd.

Willitts July 13, 2014 at 4:31 am

Post-war Japan IS ultimate Americanism.

Ali Choudhury July 13, 2014 at 2:58 pm

The original toyline was Japanese with different toys from different lines being agglomerated by Hasbro from Takara. The world-building of the fictional universe was all done in America with Jim Shooter, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, writing a treatment for the TV show and Bob Budiansky coming up with names, personalities and powers for all the different charcters. Denny O’Neill, long-time editor and write of Batman, came up with the name Optimus Prime. It’s a good example of a very successful American cultural export.

An on July 14, 2014 at 2:01 am

“There’s also a proper way to write these things that’s part pitch piece, part story. You have to convey the sizzle, write it with some sturm und drang, with Flight of the Valkyries playing in the background. A few football clichés help. “He would not be denied!”

Says transformers creator Jim Shooter.

M July 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Is this a good review? I feel like it is more of a moron’s version of that annoying “America” thing Hunter S Thompson and Bill Hicks do (that warped inverse breed of American Exceptionalism). The tone that decries and defames America as a junk food culture, and then revels in how much cooler the writer is than the puritans who aren’t down with junk food. Which is popular these days. With poor writers.

I feel that this article has been written already about every Michael Bay movie ever, by many writers.

What is it with these writers that seem to try and find the essence of America in just about every cultural product? Does these people enjoy trying to reduce the country and all the complexity of it to fit that much? Do they lack imagination that much?

Nyongesa July 12, 2014 at 10:08 pm

The review was an excellent proxy for the movie itself, in tone, pacing and sheer decibel level. It was close to 1/3 the way in before he even began talking about the specifics of the movie. I for one was left with the same throbbing headache and disorientation, afterwards.

rpenm July 12, 2014 at 11:04 pm

+1

Alexei Sadeski July 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm

TC, have you seen Pain & Gain?

Hoover July 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm

#5

Is it best to “learn” economics by learning what other people have said about economics, as numerous commenters on Quora suggest?

Or might the person asking the question be wondering why people behave as they do? If so, I tentatively suggest that he should pick up a habit of thought which consists of thinking about actions in terms of wants?

Doug July 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Enough of the Transformers reviews – I’m waiting for Tyler’s review of Snowpiercer (which I liked, FWIW). It is a film with many, many layers.

andrew' July 13, 2014 at 4:15 am

Or maybe one actual review. Or maybe not since it would be pointless.

andrew' July 13, 2014 at 6:25 am

The one about how bay cobbles movies together out of a hundred 90 second ads using zoom lenses was interested ng, but it wasn’t a movie review. OTOH, I guess it kind of was.

Willitts July 13, 2014 at 4:30 am

2. I drink coffee when I don’t want to talk to people.

When I need to talk to people, I drink alcohol.

andrew' July 13, 2014 at 5:39 am

I find it interesting people assume people want to talk on the phone simply because your are in a place people don’t enjoy you talking on the phone.

By all means, I’ll hand you the phone and you can touch base with whoever.

carlospln July 13, 2014 at 6:28 am

#7: re: the latest official iron dome campaign

remember the usa’s patriot missile embarrassment in GW 1?

http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/how-many-rockets-has-iron-dome-really-intercepted.premium-1.508277

ChrisA July 13, 2014 at 7:25 am

Maybe the initial Iron Dome implementation was not great, but I bet that it is slowly and surely being improved. The reason I can say this is that there are bound to be smart, motivated and well funded people working on it (the US has provided alone more than $400m for further development alone this year). These kinds of systems are usually fairly unreliable because the operators generally fire too few of them in actual warfare conditions to iron out the bugs, but this is not the case here.The Israelis are going to become the worlds experts in these kinds of systems. But it is probably not going to matter strategically. All the Palestinians are doing is poking a stick into a lion’s cage with their rockets, they know there is no hope of them actually having a material effect on Israel’s infrastructure. I see on the news where I am lots of crying children in Gaza when the Israelis retaliate with their much more effective airborne systems, but never see any of the effects of the Palestinian rockets on Israelis, probably because there are none, or they are very minor. So the war looks disproportionate to outsiders which generates sympathy for the Palestinians, even though they are the ones provoking the incident. This gives them moral and economic support. So an even better Iron Dome will just make the disproportion worse. Israels best tactic to deal with this would be to not retaliate and invite the world media to see every rocket crater mixed in with cute blond children crying about how they can’t sleep at night because of their fear of the rockets. But perhaps the politically they don’t want to seem this weak.

carlospln July 13, 2014 at 5:20 pm

“Maybe the initial Iron Dome implementation was not great, but I bet that it is slowly and surely being improved” (snip)

conjecture + non-sequiturs = what exactly?

Jer July 13, 2014 at 8:23 am

“2. Experimental Vancouver coffee shop with no WiFi, texting, cell phones, etc., only coffee… You also pay by donation and you are…supposed to talk to the other people in the shop”…

Funny, I always wondered where those people (subject coffee shop owners) came from who say “get off my lawn”, “do that [chore] it builds character”, “we are going to sit here as a family and have a pleasant conversation – whether you like it or not…” and so on.. You know. Those people who believe they are making the world a better place by instituting a value system that was likely taken off a commemorative plate by Norman Rockwell or other such nonsense. Of course, when everyone is talking then no one really hears anyone – similar to a high school cafeteria. If you are trying to create a ‘salon’ atmosphere you need to attract a certain type of person with certain props – say, intellectual, conversational board games; a ‘topic’ board where you need to talk out and provide a solution to get a coffee; an interactive speaker on a mildly controversial but highly technical field…

jseliger July 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm

You also pay by donation and you are…supposed to talk to the other people in the shop

I have noticed “no laptop” signs in many better New York coffee shops, and some of them are so small that laptops can’t be effectively used anyway.

For coffee people the NYT’s “The Scoop” (also an app) is amazing. I suspect it is less good for restaurants but can’t speak from experience.

Thomas July 13, 2014 at 5:06 pm

#4. 10 to 1 that the author (without looking for a name) is a self-identified liberal. Why? Because, “here’s what wrong with America, man, guns, anti-intellectualism, rural areas, rural people, violence, explosions, low-brow culture, and oh yeah, distrust of the government.”

We get it. You value large cities, small cars, prestigious universities, and non-profits. And you want the government to impose your urban utopia on the rest of us. The use of unrelated media to push the liberal worldview, and Michael Bay’s entertainment formula is tired?

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