Monday assorted links

by on March 27, 2017 at 1:09 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Ray Lopez March 27, 2017 at 1:15 pm

David R had a nice beetle collection too.

2 Ray Lopez March 27, 2017 at 1:28 pm

#1 – a competent analysis: “The book [by David R.] is very heavily influenced by Frank H. Knight…Uncertainty in the Knightian sense (the absence of clear-cut objective probabilities) can induce a planner to build a plant of great flexibility but at the cost of not being at minimum technological cost for any output. All of this is designed to show that there is no sense in equating unused resources with waste from the point of view of the firm. Certainly this is true in the ex ante sense but also in the ex post if we do not hold entrepreneurs to the standard of perfect foresight. … So what is waste? This is the unrealized net value that could be attained but is not….There is Austrian content in the book — mostly in the overlap area between Hayek and Knight. But Rockefeller was a Knightian.”

Knight was influenced by the Austrian boom-and-bust theory, as well as his electic views on risk (‘unknown unknowns’). But you can also view Knightian risk as simply a byproduct of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. It just is, there’s no ‘why’. For example, an ICE engine (Internal Combustion Engine) at the perfect limit of a heat engine (1-T1/To, from memory, wow I’m good) will ‘waste’ about two-thirds of its heat. All kinds of ‘cranks’ (get it?) try and make a ‘perpetual motion’ engine from this waste heat but in fact it cannot be recovered (don’t confuse reheating intake fuel with exhaust fuel as is done with turbo and liquid natural gas ICE engines, because they’re not operating at the ICE limit). Another example: a messy desk or hard drive (laws of entropy). Another: roughly two-thirds of farm food is lost from farm to table in the USA (in the USSR it was 90%). Sure you can improve on this, but to a degree it’s entropy at work.

Bonus trivia: F. Knight anticipates a post-scarcity (aka Star Wars) economics society with this sentence: “But in a world where a breath could transform a brick factory building into a railway yard or an ocean greyhound there would be no need for economic activity or economic science.” – Knight, F. H. (1921) Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit. Boston, MA: Hart, Schaffner & Marx; Houghton Mifflin Company

3 JWatts March 27, 2017 at 2:19 pm

“anticipates a post-scarcity (aka Star Wars) economics society with this sentence:”

FAIL. Post scarcity is an aspect of Star Trek. The Star Wars economy isn’t anywhere near post scarcity. Indeed they have slavery, hunger and subsistence level incomes throughout the films.

4 Lurker March 27, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Yet they have super duper technology. It may seem a minor (non) flaw to many, but it is the biggest hangup I have about (mostly dystopian) science fiction.

5 Rock Lobster March 27, 2017 at 3:23 pm

How is that different from our world today? We have lots of super duper technology right now but large swaths of the world have no access to it and live in poverty and have hunger and slave-like conditions.

In other words, Aalderan is to a Western country as Tattooine is to Yemen or some other ME country without oil.

6 Art Deco March 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm

‘Slave-like’ conditions are rare. Malnutrition less so, but it is strongly atypical outside of tropical Africa and a half dozen other countries.

7 Rock Lobster March 27, 2017 at 7:04 pm

You’re nitpicking. To what end?

The point remains: technological advancement in one place does not preclude relative backwardness elsewhere. And we all live on the same planet. So I don’t think it’s unrealistic to have a similar paradigm in science fiction settings.

8 Alain March 27, 2017 at 11:45 pm

There are very few places in the world more than 100 years behind in technology.

Heck, for some of the inexpensive and life changing technologies, e.g.: antibiotics and cell phones, there is almost no place on earth without them.

9 Rock Lobster March 28, 2017 at 8:58 am

I hate myself for getting into this stupid argument.

10 Tim March 27, 2017 at 1:22 pm

#1 has a great kicker.

11 Thiago Ribeiro March 27, 2017 at 1:22 pm

“The book is very heavily influenced by Frank H. Knight (…) The topic of the dissertation (and hence the book) was suggested by F.A. Hayek when Rockefeller was at student at the London School of Economics for one year in the mid-1930s.”

“He (David Rockefeller) earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago at the age of 25 in 1940. I knew a man who once visited his office. He noticed a copy of Ludwig von Mises’s book, The Theory of Money and Credit (1912), on one of the bookshelves. He mentioned that to Rockefeller. Rockefeller dismissed the book as being old-fashioned. He didn’t say why it was not a good book. He just thought it was old-fashioned. He did not have an analytical mind.” –

Maybe there were two economists/bankers/ philanthropists/collectors with the same last name and only one of them died…

12 Ray Lopez March 27, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Look T.R., I know you like to be unique, but the proper place for #1 posts is under my post upstream. You don’t like stealing other people’s credit, do you? It’s not the Brazilian honorable way. In scientific papers, this is a big deal (the order of who goes first, in authorship). In patent law, it’s immaterial. I’ve even seen the patent attorney sneak in their name in the inventor list, under the guise of helping the inventor(s) come up with an idea during drafting of the patent; such vanity.

13 Thiago Ribeiro March 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm

I wrote about his influences before you did, so I have the priority. As we say in Brazil, those who ask for the ball are favored, but those who move themselves to be at a good place must get the pass.

14 Paul Fallavollita March 27, 2017 at 1:38 pm

#6. The government claims I have 42 years left of life in me, and the site says I’ll read between 504 to 2100 books (realistically). My Ecoian “Anti-Library” contains a few books on life extension, transhumanism, and some Kurzweil material, so maybe I should prioritize those and see if I can bootstrap that lifespan.

15 rayward March 27, 2017 at 1:39 pm

5. What do you think of Joan Baez?

She was something else, almost too much to take. Her voice was like that of a siren from off some Greek island. Just the sound of it could put you into a spell. She was an enchantress. You’d have to get yourself strapped to the mast like Odysseus and plug up your ears so you wouldn’t hear her. She’d make you forget who you were.

16 Anon March 27, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Quite true. Still prefer listening to her sing Bob Dylan , than hear him singing his own.

Though I may be in a minority on that.

Quite rare of Rayward to quote verbatim and not offer his opinion.

17 rayward March 27, 2017 at 5:07 pm

It’s the romantic in me. Not mentioned in the interview is that the two were lovers, her with that wonderful voice and Dylan without one, that she took him under her wing and helped promote his career (at the time she was the far bigger star). It had to grate on him, with that voice, with her popularity. I’ve interpreted some of his lyrics (from songs written long ago) as referring to her, but probably not. Just lovers who moved on. Cowen recently had a post about Laura Marling, the jazz singer, who is Marcus Mumford’s former lover. Not really relevant to Dylan and Baez, except former lovers who moved on (although Marling not so much). Like I said, it’s the romantic in me.

18 Faze March 27, 2017 at 6:59 pm

I recommend you read the book “Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña, and Richard Fariña” By David Hadju. It presents a young Bob Dylan and Richard Farina as opportunistic and not particularly subtle-about-it young men on the make, basically using Joan Baez (who was already enormously, Time-magazine cover famous) to become famous themselves. It is not flattering to either man. Dylan won out, and Farina had to settle for Joan’s little sister Mimi. Not very romantic. Once Dylan was through with Joan, he dumped her.

19 Larry Siegel March 27, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Grrr. Richard Farina had a lot of success with the ladies; I don’t feel sorry for him. Bob Dylan would have become famous no matter what. And I’m not married to my first girlfriend either; most relationships end.

20 chris purnell March 28, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Dylan on song writing is far more interesting than Baez or their love affair.

21 Ray Lopez March 27, 2017 at 1:41 pm

#3 – lungs make blood platelets, not just bone marrow. “So how did we miss such a crucial biological process this whole time? ” – because you did not read the ancient Greeks. They discovered everything. For example Aristotle said a certain species of octopus found in Greece reproduced using a tentacle as a testicle, and was dismissed as a folk teller, until the 20th century when it was discovered he was right. Likewise, how much longer before we discover the eyes actually emit light, like the ancients thought? Yeah I’m joking (about the light emitting eyeballs).

Bonus trivia: bone marrow produces every conceivable antibody, in T-cells, both known and unknown, in every conceivable variation both now and in the future. Nobody knows how they do it. Yeah I’m serious.

22 rayward March 27, 2017 at 1:42 pm
23 Rich Berger March 27, 2017 at 1:57 pm

5. I wonder where this interview came from. Did Bob just approach Flanagan and ask him for an interview with his website?

24 JWatts March 27, 2017 at 2:24 pm

“3. Do the lungs make blood?

In experiments involving mice, the team found that they produce more than 10 million platelets (tiny blood cells) per hour, equating to the majority of platelets in the animals’ circulation. This goes against the decades-long assumption that bone marrow produces all of our blood components.”

Wow, how the hell did we miss that fact up to the present time.

25 Scott Mauldin March 27, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Yeah, I’m a little skeptical of this. Seems to be a pretty big thing to miss.

26 Ray Lopez March 27, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Medical science is actually pretty primitive, from what I’ve seen. Lots of low lying fruit.

Bonus trivia: they measured Michelangelo’s David wrong, and for years, as in centuries, they had listed the height as three feet less than it really was. Finally it was corrected late in the 20th century. But the error is understandable: the artist had intended that the statue be viewed from the ground, looking up, and he deliberately made optical illusions to give foreshortening. Hence the statue looked smaller than it actually is.

27 thfmr March 27, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Further, how does this affect blood constituents in academics, who spend all day huffing each other’s farts?

28 Vercingetorix March 27, 2017 at 10:02 pm

The original source[1] says that platelet progenitor still comes from the marrow, but some portion divides in the lungs.

29 Calvin X Hobbes March 27, 2017 at 2:47 pm

“2. Should military training be gender-integrated?”

Sure, if the primary goal of our military is to do SJW social engineering.

Maybe not if the primary goal is to fight effectively. If we want a military that can fight effectively, maybe we should have physical fitness requirements that are the same for men and women.

30 JWatts March 27, 2017 at 3:04 pm

I’m not sure that is the correct answer. There are plenty of reasons to have women in the military and it’s quite possible that keeping them artificially segregated is worse than integrating them at a earlier functional level.

“The training regulation that implements these mandates reads like a prison manual: Doors separating male and female living areas are to be equipped with audible alarms and panic door locks. Guards of the same gender are to be posted at the entrance to sleeping areas during sleeping hours.”

Colleges exist across the country with co-ed housing and outside of the media narrative, there’s no great rape epidemic.

31 Parker March 27, 2017 at 4:09 pm

There’s no rule against “fraternization” in those co-ed dorms.

32 Mike W March 27, 2017 at 6:17 pm

“Colleges exist across the country with co-ed housing and outside of the media narrative, there’s no great rape epidemic.”

I believe the rate of “sexual assault” (which is defined much more broadly than “rape”) is about the same on college campuses as it is in the military.

33 Some Guy March 27, 2017 at 7:07 pm

So almost entirely non-existent.

34 MattW March 27, 2017 at 8:56 pm
35 P Burgos March 27, 2017 at 3:46 pm

I am not sure how Israel does it, but I am sure that they have women in their armed forces, and I am pretty sure that they take the effectiveness of their military very seriously.

36 So Much For Subtlety March 27, 2017 at 6:08 pm

In the Israeli Army the women only provide support service to enable more men to fight. And they act as, essentially, comfort women for the soldiers. That’s it.

That is pretty much all women have ever done in the military.

37 Thiago Ribeiro March 27, 2017 at 6:33 pm

“And they act as, essentially, comfort women for the soldiers” You better clear it up with the Israelis.

38 So Much For Subtlety March 27, 2017 at 7:22 pm

I think they have noticed. Israeli soldiers used to hang women’s underwear outside their tents. I don’t think they are allowed to do that any more. But the IDF still tells women that living and serving in Israel is the most important Mitzvah of all – more important than all the others.

Which others do you think they have in mind?

39 Thiago Ribeiro March 27, 2017 at 9:25 pm

All the others. Yes, I guess defending the Holy Land or simply their home is considered an important Mitzvah. If it weren’t, they’d better be selling bagels in New York City instead of facing enemies from all the sides.

40 Rocinante March 28, 2017 at 2:36 am

> “And they act as, essentially, comfort women for the soldiers. That’s it. That is pretty much all women have ever done in the military.”

Maybe in the American military. Back in WWII, Soviet female snipers like Lyudmila Pavlichenko killed German soldiers like flies. (Pavlichenko had around 300 confirmed kills, including 30-something enemy snipers. To put that in perspective, a Marine sniper legend like Carlos Hathcock had roughly 90 confirmed kills. Obviously it is problematic to compare sniping feats accomplished under such different conditions as the eastern front during WWII and Vietnam, but still…)

41 So Much For Subtlety March 28, 2017 at 4:42 am

The Soviet Union lied about a lot of things. One of the things they were committed to was female liberation in the Communist sense. As their pupils in the PKK are today.

There is no reason to take them seriously. Confirmed? Confirmed by whom exactly? Oh yes, by Pravda.

42 Peldrigal April 7, 2017 at 11:26 am

You are, of course, mistaken. The IDF has mixed combat infantry battallions, and have recently opened positions for women in the armored corps.
There are other armies that practice mixed barracking, the Swedes come to mind.
And if you’d care to read the article, it’s all about improving combat effectiveness and fostering trust within the corps.

43 Art Deco March 27, 2017 at 6:41 pm

If I’m not mistaken, the use of women in combat was discontinued after 1949.

44 NatashaRostova March 27, 2017 at 6:54 pm

I don’t even think it’s the physical fitness that’s the big deal, it’s just the most visually visible.

In terms of squad cohesion, male bonding dynamics, and the psychological ability to literally murder your enemies, men are–sadly–truly–created to do such things. Humans are complex, and have massive distributions. Surely some women can handle this, but most can’t.

Plus there is the more… reactionary (sane?) idea that we should be protecting our daughters and mothers from the horrors of war, and the psychological trauma of murdering other humans. But I’m old-fashioned.

45 Thiago Ribeiro March 27, 2017 at 9:26 pm

I would keep the government as much far as possible from protecting adults from themselves.

46 Miguel Madeira March 28, 2017 at 5:40 am

“maybe we should have physical fitness requirements that are the same for men and women.”

Whayt this have to do with the question of training being or not being gender-integrated? If anything, gender-integrated training will be more conducive to the same physical fitness requirements (after all, if they make the exercises together…).

47 A Black Man March 28, 2017 at 10:11 am

Except that women are not men and lack the strength and cardiovascular capacity of men.

How did you make it to adulthood not noticing these things?

48 celestus March 27, 2017 at 2:49 pm

6. The site fails to note that the median American reads only 4 books per year. Setting 12 as their base case and then going up to 50+ results in some pretty intimidating numbers. It also doesn’t account for re-reading books, which has made me extremely curious what the function of “percentage of books which are re-reads” looks like as a person ages.

49 Rock Lobster March 27, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Also not all books are created equal. Unless you’re a very fast reader, which I’m not, I always suspect that people who read 50+ books per year are just reading worthless dreck with Fabio on the cover, or a book where little is lost by skimming. If I find myself skimming a book, I stop and ask myself why I’m even bothering to read it if it’s not worth paying full attention to, and I usually put it down.

50 John Hall March 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm

I probably read between 40-60 books a year. It’s become an expensive habit!

51 Islander March 27, 2017 at 5:38 pm

I’m curious about re-reads as well. Personally as I grow older, I re-read books less than in my teens and twenties. If I want to revisit a book, I’ll just remember it.

That said, I’ve only ‘read’ one book in the last year, during holidays (the pleasure of finding things out, by feynman, as inspiration for how to interest my kids in science). Although I much prefer reading there is never time for it. Thank goodness for audiobooks. I listen to a new one about every 3 – 5 days, mostly during work-outs, driving or gardening.

52 Anon March 27, 2017 at 7:09 pm

+1 for Audio books.

I am the only person I know who regrets the commute going down from 40 mins one way to 10 mins, there by reducing the books I listen to.

53 Jeff R March 27, 2017 at 3:19 pm

#4: She labels these cases DP, short for delusional parasitosis. Some entomologists prefer Ekbom syndrome, because it carries less stigma. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which most psychiatrists use, the condition is listed as one kind of delusional disorder, defined as an unshakeable belief that you are being attacked by bugs or parasites even when there is no evidence of infestation.

Sounds like people using too much Substance D, like Bob Arctor and his pals.

54 Floccina March 27, 2017 at 3:57 pm
55 Floccina March 27, 2017 at 3:58 pm

You missed one (above).

56 So Much For Subtlety March 27, 2017 at 5:33 pm

2. Should military training be gender-integrated?

It depends on what the purpose of the military is. If it is to fight, no. Women cannot and will not fight. If it is to tick some politically correct boxes, appease a tiny minority of women and further the careers of some sell-out generals, then sure, why not? It is not as if the military is important or anything.

57 JWatts March 27, 2017 at 6:01 pm

“Women cannot and will not fight.”

There’s plenty of historical evidence that this is not true. However, it’s generally been true that women don’t perform as well directly in ground combat.

In point, my wife’s uncle retired about 5 years ago as a Ranger instructor. He doesn’t believe that women should be Rangers. He thinks that the only way to get a significant number of women to pass Ranger training is to water it down by a considerable margin. And when women are considered fully qualified to take Ranger training, there will be substantial pressure to get the Pass rate for women up.

This is some recent data on the subject:

“All-male squads, teams and crews demonstrated higher performance levels on “69% of tasks evaluated (93 of 134)” as compared to gender-integrated squads, teams and crews, according to the executive summary of the study.”

“The two female Army officers that recently made history by graduating from Army Ranger School said that the most challenging part of the grueling 62-day infantry leadership course was their lack of infantry experience.”

58 So Much For Subtlety March 27, 2017 at 6:06 pm

All the historical evidence is that women cannot and won’t fight. There is no evidence to the contrary. There are, at best, some odd claims made mainly for propaganda reasons and some myths. In every single war the US has fought since Panama, women have refused orders when asked to do something even mildly dangerous and cried until they have been excused. Some men have been sent instead. As far as I know, none of them have been punished.

Those two women who “passed” Ranger school only did so because standards were dropped, they were given massive support and allowed to re-try and re-try until they passed. As with the rest of the military, women can only succeed if standards are dropped.

59 Art Deco March 27, 2017 at 6:34 pm

All the historical evidence is

It’s doubtful there is any sociological proposition for which ‘all the historical evidence’ is uniform.

60 Cliff March 28, 2017 at 1:04 am


61 Anonymous Bosch March 28, 2017 at 2:46 am
62 So Much For Subtlety March 28, 2017 at 4:54 am

Don’t look at what their lying propagandists say, look at what they do. As soon as there was no need for “campaign wives”, the Soviet Army sent their female soldiers back to their families.

It is almost as if they realized women couldn’t be good soldiers.

63 Li Zhi March 28, 2017 at 10:06 am

So, either 1. Women aren’t physically able to fight. False, based on the few women who have passed the applicable tests (whether or not those tests accurately gauge combat performance is a different question). Some women are. Only an idiot would make a contrary claim. 2. Women are less willing than men to engage in hazardous combat. Hmmm, we can’t possibly know this until a sufficient number of physically able, combat trained women are put to the test. Women place themselves in harms way all the time, in all sorts of jobs, it’s unlikely that combat is an exception, imho. 3. Women will disrupt unit cohesion. This is the one that seems to me most likely to be correct. We are sexual creatures, existing to reproduce. Prohibiting sexual behavior is impossible, imho. Whether squad, platoon, company dynamics can be adjusted for this isn’t clear to me. Although, I’d point out it isn’t the women per se, but the sexual liaisons which are of concern here. Obviously, there are and always have been gay liaisons which would probably shed useful light on this question. At least for the question of how a pair bond affects the unit. I’d guess it’s either neutral or generally positive. For the other question, about wide-spread jealousy, gay soldiers experiences are less likely to have anything useful to say. 5. We shouldn’t forget that if the purpose of combat training is to create killers, and if making disciplined predators is part of that, then the question of whether those same conditions and training will significantly increase sexual predation (guards and alarms on doors, for God’s sake!). Not everyone who enlists is John Wayne or Gomer Pyle. This could very well be an egg/omelet situation.

64 Mike W March 27, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Ranger school is a pretty extreme example…only a small percentage of men can pass that training.

65 So Much For Subtlety March 27, 2017 at 7:19 pm

If consistent standards were applied only a small percentage of women would pass Basic. What women in the military means is that the men have to do more work to make up for all the things women cannot or will do. Like digging fox holes.

66 Doug March 27, 2017 at 11:23 pm

In the US military of 2017, for every one active duty solider digging foxholes there are about 3,000 doing clerical work, laundry, cooking, IT, and nursing. You’d have a point if we were fighting World War 2. But for the most part the vast majority of the military is routine middle-skilled labor, which never sees combat.

67 JWatts March 28, 2017 at 10:48 am

“In the US military of 2017, for every one active duty solider digging foxholes there are about 3,000 doing clerical work, laundry, cooking, IT, and nursing. ”

That’s not true. It’s not even close to true. That’s called the Tooth-to-Tail ratio.

In WW2 the ratio was 19%, in Korea & Vietnam it dropped to 7%, by the Iraq war it was back up to 11%. Furthermore, this discussion isn’t about having women in the military. It’s specifically about women being involved in combat roles.

68 mkt42 March 27, 2017 at 5:58 pm

4: the article about the entomologist dealing with non-existent bugs was excellent, but they also deal with real life insect invasions. In New England, the infamous discovery of Asian longhorned beetles in Worcester provoked an immediate response by the agricultural department:

‘Douglass spotted one of the insects, confirming with her own eyes a scenario that she and others at the USDA had long feared—an ALB outbreak in New England. She grabbed Massie’s arm. “Oh, God,” she said. “They’re really here.”‘

69 Faze March 27, 2017 at 7:08 pm

I love vintage Bob Dylan. “Triplicate” and his other albums of standards are an abomination. Dylan’s once remarkably beautiful and expressive voice has been gone since the early 90s. I no more want to hear Bob Dylan sing these songs than I want to hear Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett, or any of these other exhausted voices sing them. If Dylan truly loved these songs, he should have gone out and discovered some fresh-voiced young singers and financed an album of decent renditions, instead of releasing these ear-grating ego-trip albums.

70 Alain March 27, 2017 at 11:38 pm

Makes sense. I’ve been saying for a while that Trump should tax the media just like Obama taxed the banks. The banks were, generally, not his ally and he showed them the error of their ways. Trump needs to do the same to the media. It is a simple blueprint.

71 Golden Elephant March 28, 2017 at 3:29 am

Bob Dylan is overrated.

72 tjamesjones March 28, 2017 at 4:20 am


73 smith platypus March 29, 2017 at 6:43 pm

Everything the Baby Boomers like is overrated. The Baby Boomers are overrated.

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