Wednesday assorted links


From the Estonia article, the sort of detail to make a certain style of self-described libertarian's heart beat faster with anticipation - 'Although I brought passport-sized photos I was directed to a standard-seeming photo-booth which took my picture. Then I met a courteous Estonian officer who swiftly took my details and bio-identifiers while also linking to my electronic pictures from the photo-booth.'

keep at it P_A,

you'll contribute to this forum someday

time, perseverance, mental capacity

Be anything but boring, guest.

The perpetual war for perpetual peace-mongers in the US want to defend Estonia and the other Baltic nations from the other "existential threat" of the day Russia.

Though each Baltic nation does not spend the NATO goal of 2% of GDP on defense. Must be nice to take care of their society and spend on making government effective, along with outstanding physical and educational infrastructure while the US wastes money on rich NATO countries.

The US just spent $1 billion to "reassure" freeloading, rich allies.

While I agree with you in principle, Estonia is not the freeloading NATO member you are looking for. They are among the 3 countries (outside the US) that are meeting their NATO spend goal of 2%

Yeah, make sense. They are kind of scared shitless.

Thanks, I stand corrected. I got confused with the other freeloading yet "scared" Lithuania and Latvia that barely budge 1%.

demographically, the germans are gone . . . just disappeared

those following up on the remnants

#2: Is there a term for a definition of a debating-term that includes potshots against the definer's debate opponents?

I haven't seen an article on "RationalWiki" yet that doesn't include this technique.

Yeah, the title of "RationalWiki" always felt like intentional irony.

Is the Orwellian internet army in Russia bigger and more powerful than the volunteer Orwellian army in the U.S.?

What do you mean?

The Internet trolls @ the Mercator Centre are on the payroll!

#7... please give me Silver's idea!

I don’t think one football association / one vote ratio is right, but money as the metric? No way.

Europe is the center of football but Euro is not World Cup. You need Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and some African nations to add that extra spice. China is richer than Ghana but it’s the African side that World Cup needs more if football is the currency, but if world cup is all about sponsors then go for China and India, too bad Asian continental cup is not commercial success…

Weight votes by national enthusiasm.

what was the work ethic like circa 100ad

How did the Germans fare, in Tacitus's telling,circa 100AD?

a broad array of people, brought together by circumstance and borders -- starting from scratch

4. Where is the profit in replication?

After all, there seems to be no profit in laying out "theory" and then having to actually provide real evidence to support the theory that is already accepted based on it being free or justifies making profit.

If a weak "proof" of a "theory" is given, replication with more weak data will be unprofitable with lots of cost to prove the obvious.

But worse, replication that fails to support proven economic "theory" will not only call into question the free or profitable theory and argue that reality is costly and unprofitable, and that is politically unpopular.

Economists just find scientific methodology to be too costly and unprofitable.

That's why economists never replicate.

If the studies on one aspect of climate, like burning coal leading to higher CO2 in the atmosphere were replicated, that would lock in the high cost of burning coal. Thus the economists seeks research that can be picked apart to discredit, while ignoring all the replication that took the criticism long ago advanced and by replication showed that burning coal increased CO2.

In other words, economists do everything possible to erase replication in science by promoting ignorance of all the replication.

On the other hand, economists latch onto any study that promises a free lunch from some theory and attack all replication that discredits it.

For example, tax cuts producing faster growth and greater wealth even for the lowest classes. Proven by JFK's tax cut.

Ignore Kansas. Kansas tax cuts not working is all because Obama is a commie and hates the rich and capitalism and he is a crony capitalist crony bought by the big banks.

As a physicist, I think I have figured out the problem of economist who take science lite for non-scientists because science is too hard because its zero sum and you can't dismiss things as external. You as economist do some lab experiments which are really to teach data collection and data analysis and to demonstrate how hard it is to prove an excepted theory. Your data is almost random but with error bars large enough to include the accepted theory, so you believe that small quick lab experiments are how science proves theory.

Then you try to come up with a lab experiment for tax cuts and you can't, so you argue that economics is totally different than physics, failing to understand 99% of physics is just watching the universe in really fine detail. For the 1%, the cost of experiments is enormous. It did not require going to the moon to run experiments on objects falling in a vacuum identically regardless of mass, but when Buzz dropped a hammer and feather it was a nice demonstration of accepted theory for kids. But we already had thousands of experiments run on objects of different masses falling in vacuum by studying all the orbiting objects we can see with naked eyes and telescopes over thousands of years - researchers used observations from centuries ago from Chinese and other astronomers to extend data sets to cover really long periods.

Economists could help digitize the ship logs kept by the British ship captains and other old records to reconstruct the economies over centuries to look at the impact of taxes, government spending, and trade to see whether the high tax British economies grew faster than the low tax, low government spending natives in America and Africa. Or one might look at the growth rate for the high tax Roman empire compared to the low tax Britons.

arrgh - I was impressed when I read A Monetary History of the US - here were two economists doing real research the way scientists do. And Friedman's monograph on business cycle theory and dampening the highs and lows as pure physics showing predictions had to be far better than chance to avoid making things worse. But by the 80s, it was clear that Friedman was selecting on the data that supported his "theory". "A Monetary history" did not offer nice clean data that fit well with his theory of money, just like the data scientists get.

It has only gone down hill in economics since in my view. Books that purport to look at the economic historic record in depth are shallow and lazy as far as I'm concerned.

#2) Gish Gallop

"A related distraction technique involves swamping an opponent in long-winded screeds of text to artificially inflate the appearance of depth and quality of information presented. In an argumentum ad tl;dr, the actual content of several paragraphs can be summed up in a sentence or two. While the Gish Gallop floods an opponent with many, but relatively short points, argumentum ad tl;dr flings text walls so massive and impenetrable that even Victor Hugo Marcel Proust would blush. Both tactics, however, have exactly the same purpose: to bury and obfuscate the core points that need to be discussed under a quantity of superfluous information."

Well now that certainly seems familiar. Hmm.. where have I seen that posting style before?

Way too many beans for me!

#7 Milanovic is insisting on a false choice. He says that we have to choose between non-corrupt FIFA leadership that ignores third world countries, or corrupt inclusive leader ship. But the fact that the second followed the first doesn't mean that it had to be that way. Havelange happened to be a modernizer who was personally corrupt. There's no a priori reason why a modernizer has to be corrupt. Given that football is organized at the national, regional, and global levels, many different combinations of modernization and corruption are possible in different places and at different levels.

Milanovic is also misreading Silver. He says that Silver thinks that "a new FIFA should be formed of the countries that bring the most money to the current FIFA." I didn't see any place in Siver's article where he said what he thought *should* happen. Silver took Platini's suggestion that UEFA might leave FIFA if Blatter was reelected and tried to work out how a split might occur.

Milanovic also compares governance in FIFA with governance in the G7 and the G20. I can't figure out how that makes sense. FIFA is essentially a brokerage that facilitates the exchange of votes from undeveloped countries for the money of developed countries. G7 and G20 are organizations of countries with similar economies that cooperate on issues of mutual interest. FIFA and the Gs are necessarily going to be run in different ways with different goals.

He also discards the population issue with too much ease, as if it's only workable if individual citizens of these countries can vote directly. But he doesn't consider a voting system somewhat weighted by population, similar to the U.S. House of Representatives. This would not put power in the hands of the rich countries, but it would remove the influence of small nations and their easily manipulated votes.

+2 to you both. "false choice" was the idea hovering about in my head yet I could not put it into words. I find it funny that his stereotypical followers are of the "we the people can make our future" type yet, he obviously does not think that applies to FIFA.

I thought the gist of Silver's article was right on the money - it's not an argument to say that this is an optimal or equitable governance structure to align votes with income generation, it's just to say that the more that the votes diverge from the income, the greater incentive there is for corruption.

Hypothetically, FIFA could elect a leader (and all of his associated middle ranking powerbrokers) who was incorruptible, impossible to bribe, only interested in the development of football and returning billions in commercial revenues equitably to its member states. But they didn't do that, and with all that cash dangling in front of them, they're unlikely to do that in future without governance reform.

This is a microcosm of the normal critique against privatisation:

"Why do we need to outsource the governments activities to the private sector to do X more efficiently? Let's just get the right politician to head up the department and force them to be more efficient."

Why? Because that politician has no incentive to do that; they're incentivised to manage their powerbrokers and relationships, to not offend staff, incumbents, unions, and voters, and most importantly, to act in an equitable way, not an efficient way.

I did not read #5. There's only so much time in a day and the Gray Lady has been lying about Russia for a hundred years now.

Apologies if you don't want people posting other links here, but this seemed the right place.

EU is threatening confiscations from bank depositors.

#2: the most elegant argument against Buzzfeed & Elite Daily I've seen.

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