Tuesday assorted links

by on December 26, 2017 at 1:19 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 chuck martel December 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm

6. Lame attempt. Buying or annexing even contiguous territory is ethically dubious. Selling what you don’t really possess is fraud. See the Louisiana Purchase and Alaska. Enlightenment figures had no problem throwing their morals out the window when an opportunity to capture wealth for peanuts or free came along. Modern nation/states have no intention of diminishing their size. Spain won’t willingly give independence to Catalonia and the UK won’t return Gibraltar to the Spanish. An independent Republic of Hawaii wasn’t what US business interests favored. The Danes figured stasis was the best approach.


2 msgkings December 26, 2017 at 1:46 pm

But as the article showed, it wasn’t the best approach. It’s costly pride.


3 A clockwork orange December 26, 2017 at 4:38 pm

Blockchain is the cufflink the daisychain wears to signal to other dandys.


4 Alistair December 27, 2017 at 6:33 am

Collorary: the UK long-leased Diego Garcia to the US. No complaints or regrets so far.

And there were people on Diego Garcia!


5 dearieme December 27, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Britain made a gift of the Ionian Islands (Corfu etc) to the newish Greek Republic. It seems to have worked.

After defeating the Boer Republics, Britain incorporated them with her own South African colonies into the Union of South Africa, and gave it independence as a Dominion in 1910.

I’ll bet here are other examples of large empires shedding territory voluntarily (perhaps not Brazil?). Maybe the problem with Greenland was that Denmark didn’t have much colonial territory.


6 Anonymous December 26, 2017 at 1:50 pm

1. Good article, the author’s explanation sounds reasonable, having overseas colonies was a matter of national prestige in 1946, the Danes had just got done with German occupation and didn’t want to be another country whose borders shrank as a result of the war. But as for the explanation of why they don’t cut the Greenlanders off now the author seems to miss the point:

“Greenland is a poor country. Perhaps Denmark simply wants to help out. This is ethically reprehensible. Greenland is poor, but compared to many African countries it is fabulously wealthy regardless of whether you take the $20k per capita at face value or discount subsidies etc to get a smaller number like $10k per capita. Investigations of African intervention estimate the cost of saving African lives at >$1000 a life but let’s be conservative and increase the cost by an order of magnitude to $10,000 a life; is helping a bit the 57,000 Greenlanders ethically preferable to instead saving 50,000 African lives (500,000,00010,000/10,000)? I do not think they are even close, and if that is Denmark’s true reason, shame on them for letting distance or ethnicity warp their ethical judgement to such a freakish extreme. (It is not as if European countries sending foreign aid to Africa is some hugely novel and experimental concept. It is well-understood how to do good in Africa and the Danish would be more competent than most at the job.)”

It’s strange to cite ethnicity as a reason, as the Greenlandic Eskimos are only slightly more related to the Danes than Africans are. The Greenlanders do share a type of civic relationship with the Danes, though without much enthusiasm on their part. It’s similar to Puerto Rico, and they won’t be kicked out for the same reason we are told we can’t kick out Puerto Rico, civic nationalism is considered “bigoted” but the globalists will appeal to the importance of common citizenship when our fellow citizens are not White.


7 Anonymous December 26, 2017 at 1:50 pm

I meant 6.


8 rayward December 26, 2017 at 1:53 pm

4. According to tradition, the Apostle Thomas (as in doubting Thomas) took the gospel all the way to India where he was martyred – he is often referred to as the Patron Saint of India. Here is a link to the Gospel of Thomas: http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html The Gospel of Thomas is considered Gnostic. It is not in the canon, which isn’t surprising since it was discovered in Egypt in 1945 along with 12 other ancient books near the city of Nag Hammadi; thus, the Nag Hammadi Library.


9 Vox clamantis in deserto December 26, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Actually, according to Father António Vieira, one of the most important Brazilian/Portuguese writers and priests of the 16 th century, Saint Thomas preached the Gospel in Brazil soon after the Ascension of Christ. There is good reason to believe the Brazilian branch of the Church was the first of the Western World.

As for the rest, there is little, if any, reason to take Indian pretensions seriously. It as serious as https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-little-known-legend-of-jesus-in-japan-165354242/


10 Anonymous December 26, 2017 at 2:16 pm

……”any, reason to take Indian pretensions seriously. ”

Nor those of Thiago, whatever nom de plume he posts under. I guess Thomas reached Brazil by having Scotty beaming him up.


11 Vox clamantis in deserto December 26, 2017 at 3:34 pm



12 A totally acceptable, non-banned person December 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm

1) It is widely known Columbus was not the first European in America. Nor were the Vikings.
Is it coincidence the Irish knew an “island” called Brazil? I wonder. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brasil_(mythical_island)


13 A friend December 26, 2017 at 3:48 pm

I am tired of being trwated that way. I will take my business elsewhere.

14 Borjigid December 26, 2017 at 7:06 pm

That’s an astonishingly quacky first link, and the second describes at length why you should not wonder.

15 athEIst December 26, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Thiago(who lives in Ohio where the weather is more BRRR..than Brazilian) usually posts now as “truth seeker”. He’s easy to find, just post Brazil sucks and he’ll pop up with Brazil does not suck it’s the best place in the world which is why I ive in Ohio.


16 Anonymous December 26, 2017 at 5:46 pm

I think he has moved from seeking the truth to ” Vox clamantis in deserto.”
Though was not aware there are deserts in Ohio.

17 Alistair December 27, 2017 at 6:39 am

I for one are always intrigued by these accounts of the far, fair country of Brazil from the honourable Thiago….

18 rayward December 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm

There’s a very smart blogger who I would describe as Gnostic. Who might that be?


19 Vivian Darkbloom December 26, 2017 at 2:56 pm

“Why Japanese universities continue to fall in the national rankings”.

This one had me stumped. I had always assumed that in national rankings some universities would inevitably fall (and others inevitably rise). So, what’s the story here?

I assume you meant *global* rankings or “international* rankings.


20 Potato December 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm

It’s Japan being punished for not bowing down to English.

That’s literally the entire story.

They’re notoriously protective of their culture and language. Now rankings will punish them for not publishing in English.



21 Rafael R December 26, 2017 at 5:24 pm

It’s because English is catching up in the rest of the world among academics. So Japanese universities remain one of the few academias that didn’t get assimilated into the English speaking academia. Even China is joining in with several Chinese universities in the top 100 even though it is already the world’s largest economy and a very proud civilization as well.


22 Candide III December 27, 2017 at 1:09 am

China isn’t a US ally and de facto protectorate, they can more easily afford to use English without succumbing to Anglo-worship. Even so, although CCP is constantly on guard against infiltration of foreign devil Cathedralite ideas, they still take root in Chinese students. When you adopt English as the language of academia, ipso facto you adopt the status ladder of the English-language academia which terminates in HYP, and it’s no secret what sort of political and cultural ideas dominate there. Dropping in international university rankings compiled heaven knows how by heaven knows whom is a small price for keeping out hordes of international students, the blessings of diversity, and social justice warriors.


23 Steve Sailer December 27, 2017 at 6:31 am

From the paper:

“It should be noted that the scores in citations are given only to papers written in English”

Japan represents The Resistance to the global domination of English. Freeman Dyson, perhaps the last survivor of the legendary generation of physicists who contributed to the WWII war effort, offered a general theory in his 1979 book Disturbing the Universe of why national languages are superior to universal ones:

“It is true that a world with a universal common language would be a simpler world for bureaucrats and administrators to manage. But there is strong evidence…that plasticity and diversity of languages played an essential role in human evolution. It is not just an inconvenient historical accident that we have a variety of languages. It was nature’s way to make it possible for us to evolve rapidly…. Biological progress came from random genetic fluctuations that could be significant only in small and genetically isolated communities. To keep a small community genetically isolated and to enable it to evolve new social institutions, it was vitally important that the new members of the community could be quickly separated from their neighbors by barriers of language.”



24 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm

6. The article, and everyone above, forgets Peter Freuchen. Greenland was Denmark’s land of danger and adventure. To give it up would be worse than losing a leg.


25 Thor December 26, 2017 at 4:24 pm

I think that can be subsumed under his last, concluding point: that Denmark has retained Greenland for symbolic reasons.


26 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 26, 2017 at 7:17 pm

I took that to mean something more generic and nationalist rather than the particular adventure of the Arctic:

“Greenland has become symbolic. Possession of Greenland has become a symbol of Denmark’s status as a modern independent developed nation. ”

Not at all the same.


27 Transnational Pants Machine December 26, 2017 at 3:33 pm

6: Great piece. One of the rare diamonds-in-the-rough that make MR worth reading occasionally.


28 Anonymous December 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Unfortunately the author seems to have managed to read the Wikipedia article on Greenland without figuring out the inhabitants are Inuit?


29 Rick Hyatt December 26, 2017 at 6:16 pm

The inhabitants are not all Inuit, if you can manage to read even 2 WP articles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danish_people_in_Greenland


30 Anonymous December 26, 2017 at 10:49 pm

That’s why I didn’t say they were ALL Inuit. The Author makes it sound like they are all Danish


31 Thor December 26, 2017 at 4:24 pm

It was interesting indeed.


32 Tom Hynes December 26, 2017 at 5:49 pm

#5. “spending on booze, fags and drugs has recently fallen below £12 a week”


33 chuck martel December 26, 2017 at 7:03 pm

5. It must be a cyclical thing. For much of the 17th century the population of England in general and London in particular was devoted to inebriation. Of course bubonic plague, destructive fires, a civil war and failed military adventures encourage alcohol abuse. That, and the fact that London had more prostitutes per capita than any other city in the world, was a major impetus for the Puritans to move to the New World and establish their brand of virtue over the dead bodies of the Native Americans, who had no experience of either of those vices. This has had an influence that exists even now with legal restrictions on hours for business, alcohol regulation and a host of other blue laws that carry on a tradition that spans 400 years. Yet the UK, perhaps because of its periodic existential struggles, alternates between the hypocritical good behavior of the Victorians and the boorish intoxication of football fans.


34 ChrisA December 26, 2017 at 10:30 pm

Not picking on you in particular Chuck but I really hate it when people describe countries in monolithic terms like you did by saying the UK alternates between Victorian values and football hooliganism. The reality is that the UK consists of individuals who all have their own preferences, there is really not a national view of any kind, anthropomorphism of a country leads to all sorts of catagory errors like the people who are seemingly glad that other countries are doing worse economically than theirs.

Going off on a slight tangent to my main point, because it is such an acient country the UK probably contains a wiser diversity of people than say the US. Compare say a guy from the council estates of Sunderland vs a guy from a London suburb and they could almost be considered different races, with heritages that have almost never intermixed. Each region in the UK is like this, very very different heritages and preferences. This is not even to bring class into the picture.


35 chuck martel December 26, 2017 at 11:44 pm

I tend to agree with you but nonetheless there are characteristics that are dominant in cultures in different eras, in spite of the fact that everyone is an individual. For instance, in the present-day USA the foremost daily concern of the overwhelming majority of the population is finding a place to park their car as close as possible to the front door of their destination, even though later in the day they’ll spend time on a treadmill at a fitness center. There are some eccentrics that are unconcerned with this but they’re rare. Of course, it’s the presence and dominance of the automobile that has created this situation. Less than a hundred years ago this didn’t figure in to daily life and a hundred years hence it’s unlikely to be a factor. Gambling goes through cycles. In the late 19th century gambling of one sort or another was a common passion, then its popularity waned. Some forms have become very popular since, lotteries for instance, while others have declined, see horse racing.

So while no particular individual might fit a national or regional stereotype, there is a reason those stereotypes exist.


36 Robert McGregor December 28, 2017 at 12:17 am

That’s right @ChrisA, there are no groups, just individuals. There is no “national view of any kind,” just a bunch of atomized individuals wholly divorced from group allegiance of any kind–joyfully pursuing their own specific optimization. Why don’t you go f**k Margaret Thatcher. She’s your ideological goddess!


37 Alistair December 27, 2017 at 6:42 am

Can I assure you that between between those two extremes lies a vast UK middle-class engaged in quiet drinking desperation.


38 dearieme December 27, 2017 at 12:19 pm

“the hypocritical good behavior of the Victorian”: what about the Victorians whose good behaviour was not hypocritical? Or don’t they exist in Clichéland?


39 David Barker December 26, 2017 at 7:24 pm
40 Anonymous December 26, 2017 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for the Link.

….”Alaska has clearly been a negative net present value project for the United States….[A] close analysis of non-economic factors also casts doubt on the wisdom of the purchase….”

Considering it was 2010 , presumably the non-economic factors included Sarah Palin.


41 chuck martel December 26, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Interesting that nation/states can trade territories like baseball cards with zero consultation of the inhabitants. So much for vaunted democracy.


42 Anonymous (2) December 26, 2017 at 8:59 pm

Dumb article. Firstoff, if not used to buy Alaska, the money wouldn’t have been put into a stock market fund and not touched until 2010, it would have been spent on some pork-barrel project. But, sure, if you only consider government revenue than almost nothing the government does has a positive return:

“Professor Cole answers the question this way (via e-mail): “What struck me at the time was how peculiar it was of him to ask the question; no state is really a ‘good deal’ in the sense he indicates, but neither was the Erie Canal, the Interstate Highway System, the New Jersey Turnpike or the Brooklyn Bridge! I just wonder what road anywhere in America has ever paid for itself and its upkeep, ever made a profit?

“He looks only at the impact on the federal treasury,” Mr. Goldsmith says in his e-mail. “Most economists would ask, Has the purchase of Alaska resulted in an increase in net national income for the US, discounting of course and taking into account all of the costs associated with ownership of the territory. Most of the increase in net national income from the purchase has NOT been captured by the Federal treasury, but should we ignore all the benefits that go to citizens directly and indirectly through profits of businesses passed on to citizens?””



43 David Barker January 2, 2018 at 3:08 pm

No, some states were good deals – Hawaii, for example. If we assume that military spending there was for the defense of the entire country, not just Hawaii, then net federal revenue has been positive and large relative to the Hawaiian debt that was assumed. The Louisiana Purchase was also probably positive NPV.

I don’t understand why Cole, Goldsmith and Anonymous (2) don’t even want to ask the question. Even if all government acquisitions or spending projects are negative NPV, isn’t it worth asking how negative different things are? If the cost doesn’t matter, why not offer Denmark a trillion dollars for Greenland?

Goldsmith argues that US net national income is higher because of the purchase of Alaska, but I don’t see how. American companies lost money overall drilling Alaskan oil (see https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00630PLCS/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1) and Americans would have been free to move to Alaska or invest there even without the purchase.


44 Bob December 26, 2017 at 8:59 pm

2 is not a very good paper for a variety of reasons that are probably not worth explaining in detail: It’s handwavey in places where it should be explicit, and explicit in places where its calculations are semi-nonsensical. For example, current cost per transaction is not a very valuable datapoint, given that if costs are far lower than available rewards, mire mining power will be added, and costs will then go up.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t scalability problems, or that they are weaker than the paper states. If anything, there are issues that are far more fundamental than what the paper describes. Yet another example of the sad state of cryptocurrency research.


45 blah December 26, 2017 at 9:15 pm

#4: Granted India is a corrupt third world whatever you want to call it (and these tensions have been there for years, nothing to do with the Government), but why does Tyler feel the need to title it “Christmas in India”?


46 blah December 26, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Looks like (unsurprisingly) the story on Madhya Pradesh in that article had errors: they weren’t charged for inflaming religious sentiments but for (allegedly) forced conversions.

And by Tyler Headlining Conventions, here is how Indian Muslims celebrate various non-Islamic festivals:



47 derek December 26, 2017 at 9:37 pm
48 Ken Arromdee December 26, 2017 at 10:44 pm

If you’re going to count what Denmark would have made by selling Greenland and investing the money, you have to also count investment income for such things as fishing profits and rare earth mines.

And it’s a bad idea to compare it against the money Denmark would have made by perfect investing. You should instead assume that Denmark would spend the money like it would spend other money, rather than investing it (and I suspect that expenses would have risen to consume all the money.) Otherwise you’d conclude that Denmark is not only losing billions by refusing to sell Greenland, every government is losing billions by taxing the people and spending it on typical government things rather than investing the tax proceeds.

If you’re an effective altruist type who thinks people should care equally about everyone in the world, you also need to figure that the US paid the money and the US now can’t invest the money, and therefore suffered a loss of investment equally as large as what Denmark gained.

Also, a problem is that even if Denmark only explicitly got an offer once, it’s a lot easier to sell Greenland than to buy it back. That factor alone is a reason to be reluctant to sell it if you don’t immediately need the money.


49 Ken Arromdee December 26, 2017 at 10:51 pm

And to add to that, item #10–Denmark should not want to help Greenland because there are poorer non-citizens elsewhere in the world that need the help more–seems to use the effective altruist reasoning that citizenship is irrelevant. If so, my point about the US not being able to invest the money matters; selling Greenland produces no gain at all.


50 dux.ie December 26, 2017 at 11:39 pm

#1 The article more or less agreed that THE ranking are for those who want to drink their own kool-aids with significant subjective components called ‘reputation’, https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/methodology-world-university-rankings-2018 Without that the UK universities are not so rosy. The weighted fractional count WFC of research outputs tracked by http://www.NatureIndex.com, an offshoot of the Nature Journal, are more objective. The WFC results for 2016 still ranked University of Tokyo and Kyoto University at 6 and 20 respectively, compare to that from THE at 43 and 74 !!

Using the full year data from 20161001 to 20170930 as the proxy for 2017, the performance of the universities with respect to WFC, http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2gsk55u&s=9 Look like 2023 will be a very eventful year with many changing of the guards.

The problem with Japan is that they does not seem to be able to pull up from the decline while other similar countries are able to do so occasionally. This could also be reflected in the 2015 OECD PISA survey that the average motivation level and the percentage who wanted to be the best are -0.51 and 32.9% respectively, compare to that for Korea 0.34 and 81.9%. This could have been the results of the Japanese angst after the re-construction stage from WW2.


51 Judah Benjamin Hur December 27, 2017 at 1:25 am

“Greenland is a poor country. Perhaps Denmark simply wants to help out. This is ethically reprehensible. Greenland is poor, but compared to many African countries it is fabulously wealthy regardless of whether you take the $20k per capita at face value or discount subsidies etc to get a smaller number like $10k per capita. Investigations of African intervention estimate the cost of saving African lives at >$1000 a life but let’s be conservative and increase the cost by an order of magnitude to $10,000 a life; is helping a bit the 57,000 Greenlanders ethically preferable to instead saving 50,000 African lives (500,000,00010,000 \frac{500,000,000}{10,000})? I do not think they are even close, and if that is Denmark’s true reason, shame on them for letting distance or ethnicity warp their ethical judgement to such a freakish extreme. ”

I’ve never been impressed with arguments that Europeans, who have 1-2 kids on average, should invest their resources (potentially reducing their own fertility) saving an African’s 5th or 6th kid, especially when it requires an even greater burden next generation.

Sorry to all the Gloria Stivic fans out there (btw, Sally Struthers had only 1 child).


52 Steve Sailer December 27, 2017 at 7:13 am

“3. The economics of Las Vegas music residencies.”

Touring is a lousy lifestyle. It’s much nicer for a singer to live in Las Vegas and have her fans come to her.

Michael Jackson should have moved to Vegas rather than put himself through all the insomnia of trying to mount a giant tour.


53 TallDave December 29, 2017 at 6:04 pm

“In terms of the national budget earmarked for education as a percentage of gross domestic product, Japan is at the tail end of the list among the 34 OECD member countries. ”

Why expect a ratio to rank an absolute? By this argument the poorest countries should have the best systems for providing basic food and shelter.


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