Assorted links

1. The Bolaño Syllabus.

2. Does Medicare forbid posting surgery center prices?  And a digital diaper for tracking health.

3. Which French names do best at school?

4. You are not an artisan.  A bit meandering but interesting and multi-faceted and with some depth.  I liked this sentence: “In other words, we’re more afraid of machines taking away our social status than our jobs.”  And here is the al Qaeda vacuum cleaner.

5. Japanese markets in everything, yakuza magazine: “…it actually boasts of a poetry page and even fishing diaries from its senior members.”

6. “Dating in Moscow is a war…


#2 short answer: nope.

And yet I suspect they asked a government official who gave them the wrong answer the same way IRS representatives (and thus I assume ALL government spokespeople) give wrong information...such as the President.

I think he just read the statute and regulations.

Be careful. I have a new policy.

Maybe you do, but CMS can't produce any regulation that doesn't go through a pretty lengthy and public process.

I don't know if a standard that should obviously apply to every reg magically makes it common sense and common knowledge. As I point out with the ubiquitous failure of the IRS to comprehend their own regs, if people think something is punishable and the bureaucrat tells you it is punishable, you are crazy to believe a blogger.

I'm surprised you haven't been wrongfully imprisoned for unknowingly violating the incorrectly interpreted non-law. Of course, it would explain a lot if you had been...

He teaches law - you would think he could actually provide a citation rather than "I think".

"The Surgery Center of Oklahoma may also have given up on Medicare to avoid other regulations, such as restrictions on who can own and refer to a surgery center. But I don’t think Medicare bans posting ASC prices."

So someone with no financial interest thinks that Medicare bans posting ASC prices. I would put my money on those who are running the Surgery Center - they would benefit from more customers and be harmed if they ran afoul of the HHS.

His conclusion would be more credible if he could cite a specific law or regulation.

I assume its because Medicare legally requires a steep discount, so unless they post a bunch of fake prices, they either have to undercharge Medicare is overcharge everyone else. And Medicare probably couldn't offer streamlined payment procedures in exchange for transparent pricing. So, in other words, Medicare bans coherent pricing.


Expat women are outclassed by Russian women in looks, and are thus passed over by both Russian and expat men in favor of the local women. Who would had thought?


Lots of hamster rationalizing going on in that article.

From my not anywhere near applicable experience, I think it is primarily statistics.
The article tells us that 8 times more male expats get married than female expats. It does not tell us the ratio of female to male expats. Can't quickly find any data on Moscow, so here in Houston the ration of male to female expats (non-student) that I have met (primarily engineering and oil and gas so that might skew it) is something on 15-20 to 1. If you didn't count the disproportionate number of females who followed committed partners it would be worse.

But are Russian men known for being attractive? I don't think so, and I've seen Eastern Promises which I assume had a lot of Russian men in it. Maybe expat women would be more willing to be treated like property if the Russian guys were hotter.

Well I'm in Europe now and there's a fair number of eastern European men working at this company, I notice a lot of oddly shaped heads and also a not-that-rare incidence of deformaties such as hairlips.

4(b) : Reads like something out of Kafka,


"Agency officers and contractors forced him to stay awake for 180 hours, according to a CIA inspector general's report. He also underwent 183 instances of waterboarding, or simulated drowning."

These meaningless facts cannot shake my trust in the US Government. We do not torture people - period. (I hope that Echelon II will find this posting and recognize what a good citizen I am. I also hope it doesn't recognize sarcasm.)

You guys are missing the biggest part of the article, which is we may never know if KSM was into Graham Greene.

Catholic guilt is child's play next to Wahabbi guilt.

#3 - Is it me or did Kevin Drum completely misread the chart? He seems to be implying that all the names to the right of his red line are girls names, but that is only showing frequency of the name, not the score. Kevin does quite well for a score, it's just that there are fewer boys named "Kevin"

No... I misread the chart!

4a. Don't know if the guy wrote an essay or just pure SF but reading him was an entertaining ride. I had to stop several times to understand his self references.

Anyway, there are a couple ideas that deserve further attention. The first is the suggestion that we may look for work as some kind of pleasure consumption. An the second is that the computer age may create more jobs that the ones it destroy. Nice metaphor, computers as children.

Agree. 4a was fascinating and also has the advantage of supporting my priors. I would qualify that some people are artisans and there is a marketplace for such. It's just that - there's a kind of romance attached to localism and small production that is in most part wholly unjustified and the real neat stuff out there is to figure out how to deploy creativity into mechanistic endeavors in a way that satisfies a market demand of some sort.

I thought it was bit of an incoherent mess, but he had an interesting point in there.

Why do I run across these essays semi-weekly that are possibly gobbledygook and yet more helpful than anything every taught to me in a school?

How was it helpful? Did it convince you not to quit your schlep job to open up a business selling ceramic mugs you made by hand?

The idea that there is a lot of residual work that is both boring and low status but also non-practically automatable is nice.

I think he misses something about artisans, though. The 'artisinal coffee mug' transaction is not one-sided. The artisan trades status for income, while for the buyer it's reverse -- what he is really buying is signal of wealth and taste (that it can also be used for holding coffee is largely incidental). So it just doesn't follow that the market for artisanal signalling objects must eventually collapse -- those artisans are helping their customers compensate for their occupations filled with dull but remunerative schlepping.

His argument boils down to: there will always be plenty of jobs for programmers. But was that ever a concern? I thought the concern of the future was jobs for people who are incapable of programming. It reminded me of Moldbug's entertaining essay about how the government should pay low-skilled people to work as artisans so that they will be employed in dignified jobs.

The Savage Detectives was finally published in Kindle form on Monday! Thanks for the update... I'll finally get to read it.

3. Can't speak for France, but in Germany, being named 'Kevin' is considered a sure sign of less than stellar qualities.

Which could possibly be related to the idea that people who name their children after a major Hollywood hit ('Kevin – Allein zu Haus' and its sequels) are less than stellar parents, as before 1990, 'Kevin' was an extremely uncommon name in Germany, and afterwards, quite noticeable.

But then, one just might wonder what a name like 'Adolf' would do to a child's future - a topic explored in a recent French play/film called LE PRÉNOM, by Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte - in English, called 'What's In A Name' -

Re: Bolano

Nine "Essentials" in a list of 20 works, with six others listed as "The Merely Excellent"?

I like very much what I've read of Bolano; but, if you want people to read an author, whittle down the hyperbole to two or three works of varying length as "essential".

#6: the comments are worth a look there.

#6: Roissy bait?

#6 reminds me, tangentially, an old Russian joke: no such thing as a woman that is not beautiful but there is such a thing as not enough vodka.

4.a is fun to read in conjunction with Marc Andreessen's famous WSJ piece, Why Software Is Eating the World.

I'd say the safest jobs schlep regulatory compliance- lawyers, accountants, HR, politicians, bureaucrats, auditors, consultants & experts, etc. No Deep Blue will anticipate the political dynamic of ambition, emotion, popularity, tribal allegiance, unrestrained power, rank incompetence and minimal accountability.


As long as people/organizations have to deal with other people/organizations, problems will arise; accordingly, there will always be work for those who labor where humanity interacts.

3. I notice that immigrant names like Mohammed and working class (English) names are the worst performers. I've always been fascinated about the whole 'exotic foreign name' thing. In the UK, working class parents call their daughters Charmaine and Chardonnay, apparently their French equivalents prefer Dylan and Cindy.

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