Tuesday assorted links

1. “Streaming, brought to you by jets.

2. The Welfare Trait: “Over the past five years, he has accumulated a mass of evidence about the personalities of welfare claimants and concluded that individuals with aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social tendencies — what he calls the ‘employment–resistant personality profile’ — are over-represented among benefit recipients.”

3. The Animal Soul project (photos).

4. Those new service sector jobs: “Yukigassen is professional snowball fighting…

5. Editing Wikipedia for pay.

6. “Can Wisconsin make a sex offender who’s completed his sentence wear a GPS monitor on his ankle for the rest of his life?”  Posner says yes.

7. Why pawn shop prices differ.


2. Altruism is the biggest industry in the UK, bureaucrats are very sensitive about anyone who threatens to end the gravy train.

6. I have no problem with Posner's conclusion. If anything, I wonder why GPS monitors have fallen off the radar as an answer to mass incarceration and the risks of recidivism.

Frankly, the criminal record is disturbing enough that I wouldn't have a problem w/ incarceration for life, but GPS seems to be an effective alternative.

Sexually assaulted 8 yo boy for five years = 1 yr jail

Convicted of sexually assaulting 9 yo girl before end of probation = 6 years jail

Parole revoked after admitting he was grooming a 4 yo girl and 5 yo girl = 3 years jail and then civilly committed as sexually dangerous person for six years

Civil commitment ended after psychologist opined he probably wouldn't commit further illegal sexual acts, but under statute could only be released w/ GPS monitoring. The plaintiff is now 73 years old, and the real story is probably that the State does not want to care for him anymore.

then why not compel every man, woman, and child to provide real-time GPS location data, perhaps coupled with biometric readings indicating state of arousal. if you're innocent you have nothing to hide, right?

We should probably concentrate on felons, and the reduced cost, higher safety, of tracking them.

you mean ex-felons; those who have served their time for an offense. but why not also include those with personality traits that might predispose them to future crimes? and why not also those who work around young children; it'd be a good idea to keep tabs on them too, right?

He's not being given the GPS tracker as an ex-felon. He was required to wear a GPS tracker as a condition of being released from a civil commitment institution.

Whenever courts strike down unique release conditions, invariably the result is the same, longer incarceration / commitment.

I was under the impression that felons are still felons after release from prison and that they become ex-felons, able to vote and buy guns, only after a pardon from the governor.

If you make "tracking ex-felons" easy and cheap, pretty soon everyone will be an ex-felon.

Most people don't commit felonies or serially rape children.

Many already are wearing that.


"How Data From Wearable Tech Can Be Used Against You In A Court Of Law"

2. People with "aggressive, rule-breaking and anti-social tendencies" seem to be pretty over represented in a variety of high paying professional settings as well.

I would describe them less as "rule-breaking" and more as "rule-manipulating."

However one describes it, though, the latter group is distinguished in no small part by their internalization of the fact that the rules are taken seriously enough by serious enough folks that flagrantly ignoring them is a bad idea.

(some) rules are taken seriously enough by serious enough folks that flagrantly ignoring them is a bad idea.

I have a feeling that if your outcome is bad, the behavior will tend to be described as rule "breaking," but if your outcome is good, it will tend to be described as rule 'manipulation." That's not to say the difference between the two is sheer luck. I'm sure that there is savvy, intelligence, knowledge of the system and knowledge of people involved, and probably some of those will be dominant over luck.

"I have a feeling that if your outcome is bad, the behavior will tend to be described as rule “breaking,” but if your outcome is good, it will tend to be described as rule ‘manipulation.” "

This reminds me of a little known story involving a private email system used to handle classified documents.

60% of all crimes in the United States are larceny thefts.

How much of that crime is committed by income quintile? I'll bet you $10 that the top quintile is heavily underrepresented here and the bottom quintile is heavily overrepresented. Desperate people are more likely to steal than people who want for nothing.

one man's larceny theft is another man's Lehman Brothers.

Do you feel safe walking down Wall Street? How about walking down MLK Jr. Blvd after dark?

Sure, the Wall Street crooks might steal more money but they don't create the kind of nightmarish environment that encourages people to flee from the neighborhood.

Real human beings vote with their feet to move away from neighborhoods filled with petty crime.

Yeah, but the person who say Lehman was theft is a zero, who would anyone listen to him?

Augustinians consider any manipulation to subvert a rule's intent to be rule breaking.

"seem to be"?

Surely, there is some evidence out there that could bolster your anecdotal experience, right? I mean, high-paying professional jobs are heavily scrutinized, and there is a lot of envy (especially from Leftists with Literature degrees), so these types of studies should be easy enough to find...

Psychopaths are well over-represented tat the CEO level. The number I've seen is they are overrepresented by a factor of four.

Nonetheless that still means 90% of CEOs are NOT psychopaths.

I've looked for more info about the exact level of overrepresentation of antisocial types on welfare but can't find a number. Is it 20% or 200%?

"and there is a lot of envy (especially from Leftists with Literature degrees), so these types of studies should be easy enough to find…"
Who cares? You already know they would be caused by "envy". I really love how funny the loony far-right can be. What Literature degree-holders have to do with sociological/economical research is not clear There are lots of soccer players in South America, it means they must be particularlys strong at Mathematics, right?


Why do you capitalize both "leftist" and "literature"?

And there are also the Bundys and their ilk. That claim to be individualist but are very dependent on subsidies.

Outrageous Slander.

Al Bundy was gainfully employed as a shoe salesman

He was funded by the NO MA'AM SuperPAC, though

There was nothing Super about that PAC.

Ask yourself this: Has Marco Rubio ever scored 4 touchdowns in a single game?

If it's a subsidy to engage in subsistence farming or foraging because of some completely man made law, then arguably breathing air is a subsidy too, and we are all beneficiaries of that.

It's absurd for the US government to stake a claim to the majority of physical land in many states, deny rights to any type of market system or local governance, and set arbitrary monopoly pricing on basic Earth resources.

Canadian forestry companies routinely pay billions in NAFTA trade court agreements because charges for access to public land are not high enough.

There is very strong precedent in giving away pasturage access as being a subsidy, which it is.

The difference, i would guess, is the ability to control and channel that aggression when needed.

there are probably also differences between the kinds of aggressive behavior that make one unemployable vs the kinds that make one an asset in certain fields

Big difference between punching someone in the nose and verbally destroying the competition.

There are probably 5% of people for whom aggression would be a net-positive in their lives. They are dominating their industry or field and need to make sure others know it.

There are hand-wavey about 30% of people for whom aggression is a net-negative. They have to interact with authority figures who don't want to put up with their nonsense.

#2: I thought they were describing Israel at first but I think you can generalize and say most welfare queen states.

Why pawn shop prices differ: in addition to the factors mentioned in the article, many electronics items (but especially phones and tablets) depreciate rapidly.

Although carrying inventory that doesn't sell quickly will always cost a pawn shop something, carrying inventory that depreciates rapidly carries additional risk.

The study seems flawed because they count a pawn shop refusing to buy it as $0. When in reality, I'm sure it was more likely that the Pawn shop either didn't need the item at a "fair" price and so they said no or just didn't deal with that type of item.

Yeah obviously if the pawn shop doesn't make you an offer you're not going to just donate it, you're going to go to another pawn shop. So averaging in $0 with the real offers makes no sense.

In addition, some pawn shops (most? at least in Detroit's slums) specialize in stolen goods, so their "vendors" supply goods at a much lower price than a "legitimate" walk in customer selling their goods. Yes, I'm aware of fencing / stolen property laws (and their loopholes, you can't offer for example $10 for a genuine Rolex, which would mean you, the pawn store, understand it is stolen, but you can offer $1000, a lowball figure).

1. Sneakernet takes flight.


"But increases in bandwidth capacity have not kept up with Moore’s Law and Kryder’s Law. While storage capacity and computing power have grown at 60% a year, growth in bandwidth capacity clocked in at just 50%. That is, hard drives are getting smaller—and therefore cheaper to transport—at a faster rate than improvements in Internet bandwidth. So companies have been finding it cheaper, and faster, to send data by air or sea in hard drives rather than over the Internet."

This strikes me as someone who's only looking at the supply side of the equation. These flights make sense because the demand is much higher than the "tube" based supply. However, the supply is still growing at 50% per year and the relevant metric is not the growth rate in CPU cost/transistor or hard drive cost/unit, it's actual consumer demand. Basically it's eyeballs and ears. Multiply the human capacity to absorb data times some constant (we tend to order more than we can consume) and multiply again by the number of humans. That's your long term demand. And the human growth curve is well below 50% per year. So eventually media transport will drop to the lowest cost provider and that's going to be EM (elecro-magnetic or non-physical) transfer.

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon filled with tapes going 80 mph."

Oops, I posted that before reading the article. You won't believe me, of course, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. (Because I can't edit or delete my post.) I shall make up for this faux pas with a link to RFC 1149 (A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers,) which apparently needs to be updated for the modern world: https://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1149.txt

#5 Most articles on WP are owned by people with some sort of stake in the game. Whether they're just ideologues, have some indirect monetary incentive, or are directly paid...who cares?

It's the ideological versus the monetary motivation. The author assumes that ideological motives are intrinsically better or purer.

#1 is surely in jest. It claims the pigeon flew 120km in 75min, a speed of about 100kmph which for you Americans is about 60mph. That can't be true.

After a quick Google I stand corrected. Wow.

Of course, the author doesn't take into account "packet" loss, which in the case of storms or large birds of prey, can be severe.

#3 I'm torn. Reflection and observation make me say that animals have souls as much -- and as little -- as humans do. But the observations are of behaviour, and not of facial expression.

Humans are connoisseurs of facials expressions because it gives us a window into each other's souls. We are so sensitive that we pick up on accidental resemblances in the faces of animals. But then again, dogs and cats have evolved to mimic these things, so it's not all an accident.

Animals may share souls - my Catahoula gives me the self-same look as the one posted. Kinda spooked me, actually.

Would have been better if the animals photographed weren't pets.

#2 By the author himself,

Not as compelling, to me, as the Spectator's version of the author's work.

Some time ago you asked for foodie tips in Singapore. A bit late, but in case you go back; bit.ly/206EllS

#7. Would be interesting to see in-shop variation as well. Guessing offers vary significantly by who is working the counter.

2. Nurture or nature divides not only left and right but academics and cranks.

Actually Perkins thesis is that it is "nurture", not genes--just that the bad "nurture" is caused by the welfare state.

#2 is in keeping with my experience. More than stupidity, more than sloth, more than lack of skills it is unwilling to submit a boss and or customers. A slight insult can cause some people to quit an ok job. Some think it below them to ever be a clerk that smiles at a customer making an impolite remark.

I often think that we need to find work for the likes of them that allow them to have very little interaction with others. Some type of work that can be done independently where the final product is sold like a commodity. Like picking up aluminum cans could be if they were worth more.

what social benefit is there in forcing the categorically unemployable to engage in soul-numbing makework? just so tax-paying middle managers can point and say 'look, those bastards get to suffer too'?

Because work fosters a sense of dignity and self-worth.

bullshit. personally meaningful and satisfying work fosters a sense of dignity and self-worth. picking up cans to prove you deserve your pittance doesn't foster shit.

"bullshit. personally meaningful and satisfying work fosters a sense of dignity and self-worth. picking up cans to prove you deserve your pittance doesn’t foster shit. "

Someone has daddy issues.

It may not foster dignity and self worth, but it teaches one of the most basic and valuable job skills - showing up.

There's lots of work to be done to improve one's local neighborhood, especially poor neighborhoods, such that nothing has to be "make work."

Unless you are a rare talent, you don't get to choose personally satisfying and meaningful work; you get to choose what the market will pay you enough to do to stay alive. Melville and Einstein worked as paper-shufflers until they finally got to do what they found personally meaningful and satisfying. Are you a 14-year old?

Work means you're pulling your weight. Being paid to stay alive just because we can't bring ourselves to kill you or let you starve fosters resentment and hopelessness.

I agree with ibaien

Lest the taxpayers put down their shovels as well.

Tatty McScumbag can only get a free ride so long as taxpayers work.

I'd suggest a feedback system whereby taxpayers are given the power to "score" welfare recipients.

Dressed inappropriately, and cursing in public where children are present - I can dock you points.

Out picking up trash on your own initiative? You get points.

Uber for welfare.

Guys who need points would be finding taxpayers and offering to do small jobs.

And you'd aspire to becoming a taxpayer, too.

Now imagine the sick stuff that would happen. So ends my fantasy.

You horrible, horrible man!

I'm sure that wouldn't end up totally racist

Editing wikipedia?

"In an uncharacteristic appeal to public prejudice, Posner then said that “readers of this opinion who are parents of young children should ask themselves whether they should worry that there are people in their community who have ‘only’ a 16 percent or an 8 percent probability of molesting young children.”

Posner's thinking omits the fact that every criminal commits a crime for the first time. Thus, in a given community there is a percentage of probability for every individual that they might commit a specific crime. Admittedly, for any one individual, this probability might be very low but at the same time there is a statistical probability for every individual. These small probabilities obviously add up to a larger one. The logical extension of Posner's thinking is that everyone should be monitored at all times. Once again, Quis custodiet ipso custodes is germane to this thinking. http://www.richmond.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/article_79d69303-4fcb-5c02-9379-cbc1a1ff9a38.html

Most of us accept a cell phone on our persons, and that geo-tags can be requested by law enforcement. Or public/private license plate readers

I would say there is only mild uproar that they collect such data without court order.

In a generation I could see digital natives accepting more, or worse.

The effect of monitoring on the actual commission of crime is in dispute. Solving crimes appears to have been aided by the now ubiquitous cameras in both public and private locations. The individual in this case has a pathological obsession with molesting children that hasn't been deterred by judicial action. How would requiring that his location be recorded, not determined in real time, prevent him from doing so again? Unless, his location is being monitored at all times by another party. And, if so, will the GPS equipment alert authorities to the presence of minors in his vicinity? Are we to believe that there are government programs that continuously monitor the location of released prisoners?

No, cameras are not ubiquitous but they will be by 2030.

Basically, all Americans will have a government monitored GPS unit tethered to them.

Welcome to the early part of the 21 century, libertarians.

Try to not be on CCTV in London.

How long do you think it will take to reverse their ability to use such information without court order?

Except that we are talking about an 8-16% chance of a repeat pedophile, repeating again, albeit now in his 70s.

And his point is not that everyone should be monitored for every crime, but that it is reasonable to treat extremely harmful acts like pedophila more seriously even if we assume (and he doesn't) that there is "only" an 8 to 16 percent chance of it happening again.

"ex" bank robbers who have been to jail a few times might be good candidates as well.

Basically, the American people wanted 3 strikes laws because they wanted to "keep them off the streets." Monitoring for 3 strikes is much kinder and cheaper.

The psychologist is presenting an unproveable guesstimate, as is Posner. They're both attempting to use meaningless statistics to confirm their own biases and at the same time justify their authority. Why is it so hard for someone to say, "I don't know."?

2. The Welfare Trait

>As it turns out, people with traits that make it more difficult to remain employed, or gain the tools for employment, tend to have higher turnouts amongst the unemployed

More news at 11!

Re: #2, the link in John B Chilton's comment above, shows some alchemy by which one of the papers Perkins links to one of the papers as:

Logistic regression analyses revealed dependent personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and avoidant personality disorder were significantly associated with increased odds of receiving public assistance.

In contrast, persons diagnosed with histrionic, schizoid, and obsessive-personality disorder were not significantly more likely to receive any public welfare service. Development of effective prevention and treatment of personality disorders would likely lead to reductions in overall social welfare burden.

has been transmuted in his argument to "Individuals with aggressive, rule-breaking and antisocial personality characteristics are over-represented among welfare claimants"

Dependent and avoidant personality disorder - "aggressive"?

I hope the people who comfortable with characterizing welfare recipients as with difficult personalities would be equally comfortable with the idea that, as histrionic personality disorder is no more common among them, the traits of "a high need for attention, loud and inappropriate appearances, exaggerated behaviors and emotions, and craving of stimulation" with "associated features of egocentrism, self-indulgence, continuous longing for appreciation, and persistent manipulative behavior to achieve their own needs" are equally common between welfare recip. and non-welfare recip. and do not distinguish these people from one another?

Generally, come on, aggression and rule breaking is a problem we deal with through the courts and law enforcement, when it becomes a sufficient problem (actually crime rather than just irritating). We could make merely being an asshole a crime, although I doubt many proudly zero-empathy asshole Libertarians would actually be happy with that, in practice.

M wrote: "although I doubt many proudly zero-empathy asshole Libertarians would actually be happy with that, in practice."

So how long have you been unemployed, M?

But to comment seriously for a minute, surely flawed methodology is not why his findings -- and findings like them -- are not publicized. The reason they are not publicized is that it has now become accepted that to cast aspersion on anything aspect of welfare recipients is to discriminate against them. In fact, it is practically de rigueur to have to blame capitalism for the failings of welfare recipients.

"Dependent and avoidant personality disorder – “aggressive”? "

Maybe not, but "paranoid personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder", maybe yes.

I'm not sure how bleeding heart leftist think that it actually helps the welfare dependent to deny social reality. Which is that long-term welfare breeds its own set of significant cultural disfunction.

One may get on welfare due to nothing but bad luck, but imbibing too much of the welfare culture (certainly if you've stayed in that culture your whole life) is extremely hazardous to your employment prospects.

Admitting that this is the reality is the first step to designing sensible policies: from making sure that there are no "over 100% marginal taxes" baked into the system, to more general policies that foster a culture which encourages a healthy mix of autonomy and ability to follow rules.

2. Here are some alternate explanations (i.e. alternative to what I'm assuming Dr. Perkins and the writer at the Spectator have in mind):


6. "the right to privacy can’t be balanced away by statistics"

Rights are balanced against risks all the time. No right is absolute.

"Posner, .. then turned to a homemade cost-benefit analysis of the anklet, complete with statistics."

If his analysis relies upon statistics, then it is not particularly homemade, assuming that the statistic s came from a reliable source.

The author, like so many in international and constitutional law, see the world as black and white. Unfortunately for them, reality--such as difficult trade-offs and quantitative facts--often complicate their analyses.

#6 we can "badger" them as along as we want here. :).

The article link to alleged study re traits of long term welfare recipient is to an article completely bereft of any support. Without reading Dr. Perkins book, and without a foundation in his credentials you would have no idea whether he is a quack, British tea party member, or legitimate. The article is so cursory and the author so seemingly anti-welfare it is a shame that this link was added to this site. I was hoping to read a engaging, well founded article. I suspect the conclusion may be correct, but this article sucks.

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