Saturday assorted links


Why no comments? There rule of database management is that you must be normal. OK is OK? Reverse mortgages are for middle-class people who have no cash. Codes changing China? I doubt it.

This sentence is so true about Asia and Red China (read/red between the lines): "stories of sudden success on WeChat abound these days, and Xi Jiutian’s is another. She’s wearing oversize nerd-cool glasses and bright-red lipstick when we meet for lunch on Tuesday at Cafe Groove." -hahaha She's aping something she saw on American TV. And WeChat is the Chinese equivalent of Facebook, done with Chinese characters, to a vengeance. This is why Asia is not a threat to anybody, and will never be a leading country. They simply are an outsource for building Western innovations. Even in chess. the #1 in the world is from Norway, not China, which has over 1 billion people and state sponsorship of chess players. That speaks volumes.

Then again, Ray, if you leave Undset and Tolkien (the nice guys) out, and Proust and Joyce (uber-educated guys) out, there is no reason to think that Li Po and To Fu would not be, whether you doubt it or don't doubt it, worthy of being called, even today, the Inimitables, had they had the relative misfortune to be born in our interesting times.

If they were alive today, Li Po and Tu Fu would be digging coal in labor camp in Inner Mongolia, or worse, working for the Department of Propaganda churning out paeans of praise to the Red Army and the Communist Party.

Unless they were really lucky in which case they would be running an online start up selling clothes to Western Yuppies.

I see your point --- but --- No way Li Po would churn out paeans of praise to the Red Army or Communist Party! Or To Fu either! They would at worst find girlfriends with Communist party connections and live off them, or start little unofficial house churches,I think. Then again if I knew what those guys would do in a given current situation I would be much more successful at negotiating this world than I am....

From the way you phrased the chess question, the odds is 6 billions against 1 billion, so what have you proven ??

A credible computer challenge to the top human Chess player happen in 1996 which had beaten the human player,

"The project was started as ChipTest at Carnegie Mellon University by Feng-hsiung Hsu. ...
The team was managed first by Randy Moulic, followed by Chung-Jen (C J) Tan."

A credible computer challenge (from a Greek Cypriot descent with a Singapore Chinese tiger mum) to the
top human Chinese go player is still yet to happen 20 years latter before the end of 2016.

So again what have you proven ?? - "the odds is 6 billions against 1 billion" - no it's not, since the six billion don't have state support of chess;
" ChipTest at Carnegie Mellon University by Feng-hsiung Hsu" - Carnegie Mellon is a Western university, and BTW, "Deep Blue" was designed by Asians at IBM, a western company;
"A credible computer challenge (from a Greek Cypriot descent with a Singapore Chinese tiger mum) ..." - ?! sounds like you didn't hear that the Go program won?! Anyway, the Greek Cypriot Singapore Chinese (GCSC) took an algorithm developed for Go in 2005 by Westerners, I think it was Russians or Hungarians, extended it, perfected it, and, taking nothing away from GCSC, it was more of a 'standing on the shoulders of giants' theme (typical in CSci) than a 'one man from Asia solves math problem'. For the latter, see math wiz Terence Tao, an Australian-American (no mention of Asia in his resume).

What I've proven is that the Western system works, the Asian model does not. Asia apes the West. Catchup growth, low Total Factor Productivity growth, simple 'inputs' growth (e.g., more off-grid farmers moving into the city and coming online where they can be captured by GDP measurements).

And, finally, for trollbait but not unsound, I, a westerner, live with an Asian girl in the Philippines. If you don't have a mixed race relationship, I'm calling you bro on prima facie racism.

Yes it is. Armenia (a strong chess country), Ireland or Spain etc have chess classes in school. In US a multi-millionair single handedly make Missouri the centre of the chess world,

"""At $37 million and counting, mega-donor Sinquefield says he's not ...
Jan 19, 2015 - There, 70-year-old multimillionaire Rex Sinquefield pads
around in.... has almost single-handedly made St. Louis the center of the chess world."""

Hou Yifan is still the top women's chess champion.

You mush be very confused. Alphago beat Lee Sedol, SKorea, number 4 in the world. Number 1 is Ke Jie, China.

I go out with a Greek girl, a Australia girl, and a Indian girl, so?

More about Norway later, if I got time.

Money can buy many things. Have you seen the ruins of Ghengis Khan's ancient
capital? They had the best technology of that time and now there are only
stone foundations.

In DNA ancestry test, the EDAR allele is often used to identify East Asian
ancestry. Interestingly Scandinavian often has this allele, in contrast to
the rest of European.

"""The EDAR gene, related to tooth morphology (remember Pippi?) (chisel shape
incisors) and hair thickness, as well denser sweat and mammary
glands, in East Asians is also listed. Curiously enough, half of the Motala
individuals (Epipaleolithic Sweden), carried the derived allele of rs3827760.
Modern Scandinavians often have this derived allele"""

The data from Oxford, the average brain size of Scandinavian is closer to
that for the Chinese rather than that for the French, despite significant
number of Normans in France.

A group of people of Viking descent from Shetland through DNA tests has
identified their distant ancestries to the Altai region, at the border of
SE Russia and NW China,

"""Conclusions: The ancestors of Lawrence Mathewson of Aywick and Utrabister,
Mid Yell, son of Matthew Thomason and grandson of Thomas Mathewson (of
Copister, South Yell, d. 1687), were likely Norse Vikings (suggested by
R1a grouping) who settled in Shetland circa 800 AD. Due to patronymics, the
surnames of his surviving descendants in the male line today are either is with
the matches Altai people of Central Asia. The only exact matches in about
100,000 samples are found in Altai people of Central Asia. The only exact
matches in about 100,000 samples are found in Nepal, and is with the Western
Norway, as well as Shetland including the large family with the surname
Blance from Delting, whose relationship has not yet been ascertained via
... """

On the other hand, almost 40% of Chinese are latent carriers of red hair gene,

"""rs2228479, known as Val92Met or V92M, is one of several SNPs in the MC1R
gene commonly associated with red (or blond) hair and poor tanning, but note
its high presence in one Asian population [PMID 7581459, PMID 16463023]"""

where CHB (Beijing Chinese), CHD (Denver Chinese). Black hair gene being
dominant and red hair gene is recessive, most Chinese have resulting black
hair. The research of Ding had traced the origin of the above allele to
the introgression from the
Altaic neanderthal to sapiens.

Norwegian and Chinese are distant cousins from recent pre-historic time
(~8000y bp), and still share some similarity.

Reverse mortgages are the best way for old people to totally trash a house and screw the bank. Now hoarding expired sour cream containers is perfectly OK, even encouraged. If only they would do a bit more volume, heirs could get the money back by shorting big finance (via options). In the meantime, other opportunities abound.

Fox's book on the decipherment of Linear B ("The Riddle of the Labyrinth") is fantastic.

Being a lifelong OKC resident, I would generally agree with that conclusion. We are often an early test market for national chains, especially fast food. You can thank OKC for Taco Bell breakfast getting rolled out nationwide for example.

The weirdest thing about OKC relative to other places is our reliance on commodity industries that are very cyclical. But the economy has been diversifying a lot over the last three decades so we are getting...more normal.

Never had Taco Bell breakfast, but are you being sarcastic about the thanking you, or should I actually eat it?

And did OKC ever feel "too normal" to you? As in, did you ever just want to get the hell out of there?

It's not for everyone but it was far better than I expected. Plus it's breakfast so many stakes are pretty low if your don't like it

How so? I imagine ruining my day's plans with the squirts is a pretty high stake.

I left for college then came back to work in the energy industry. It's a great place to live, actually. If you have a professional job you get the benefits of high pay and low cost of living for a decent sized city. There is a wide variety of good food, both ethnic and traditional, with the only category that is a poor value being seafood. There is lots of culture and activities to be had if you are open minded from local plays, NBA, Cowboy Hall of Fame, and the new white water rafting facility that is also the training center for the Olympic teams. Unlike most big cities, investment is popular. MAPS (a sales tax for big public investments) has funded the river clean up, our NBA arena, our entertainment district, our AAA baseball stadium, and a large school rebuilding project. It's on its third iteration with a fourth expected to pass around 2020 in conjunction with a new regional transit plan. I live in a neighborhood within walking distance of downtown and the CBD and paid $100/sq ft. New building is encouraged even though there is a small NIMBY element focusing on historical preservation they are placated by a historical tax credit that allows builders to redo older buildings with tax increment financing when it makes sense. Demolition orders making space for bigger towers almost always pass. The most controversial topic in city hall lately is how to handle panhandlers in medians along big streets (whether to let them be as is the status quo or regulate them). So it's a great place unless you feel you need to be in a city on the leading edge of culture and can't handle getting 80-90% in a more obscure town w/ lower cost of living.

Indeed, it's actually one of the best examples of government led urban development in the country. They're making a conscious effort to increase housing density downtown, which contrasts with the regulations of most other cities. The local schools need a lot of work, though, and aren't getting it, partially because of the downturn in the energy industry and partially because it's an extremely red state that's averse to taxes.

Lack of funding isn't the problem! Many school districts are pretty good, owing to the original white flight. In OKC the local land regulations are present way out in the 'burbs instead of the city. You know to keep the poors out. Most consternation is directed towards OKCPS which is like 90% poverty rate and mostly Mexican and black students. I read their budget documents regularly, something like 60% of the budget is stuff that could be classified as overhead. It's run by a school board which is easily captured by unions due to poor turnout from weird election times and the low socioeconomic level of the district. Right now I think less than 1000 votes can buy a majority, there are several times more OKCPS employees than that vote total. Lots of charters are being added and they are performing well, but the district isn't happy about it!

I have high hopes for a new law that limits elections dates to twice a year, which will hopefully raise turnout enough to end the capture. That's like a 10+ year process, though.

The thought has crossed my mind that the real secret sauce of OKCs revival is that many upper middle class whites are sequestered 10-15 miles away in Edmond and Norman where their ability to influence policy in their favor is nil. The ones that move into the city are interested in development and building instead of separating themselves from undesirables.

Thanks, sounds like it's worth a visit. I lived in Dallas for a while, but only visited OKC once. And that was 15 years ago.

I came back to Oklahoma (Tulsa now formally OKC I prefer OKC though) for the reasons of "normalcy" it's extremely easy living. A mid size house, yard and access to modern amenities is very attainable on a middle class salary. Claims of poor access to education primarily applies to people without means, it is easy to buy in a good school district on a professional white-collar income. Most importantly to me it makes it possible for me to retire at a relatively young age, so that I can sip coffee on my porch in the mornings and piddle around with hobbies that I have no intention of making money at. I'm not changing the world but it makes me happy.

It helps that Bama Foods, located in Tulsa, is a major McDonald's supplier.

1. Wherever you go, there you are. Absent a lobotomy, which is not recommended. Lots of people move to Florida, where it's HOT, cockroaches are are called "palmetto bugs" (people will believe anything), sewage is fertilizer for the aquifer, sinkholes sometimes devour people, and termites devour houses. Yet, there it is, "normal". Normal is defined as average. Nothing average about the heat, the "palmetto bugs", sewage, sinkholes, and termites. Of course, from whence the new arrivals came is far worse. Like Indiana and New Jersey. In the South, we say that God created Mississippi so Alabama wouldn't be last. I suppose He created Florida so we wouldn't want to linger in our old age.

Normal cockroaches don't fly, Palmetto bugs do! They love monkey grass like no other, so stay away from it and you can generally avoid them.

#4 Is America that segregated? Maybe it's just where I live where it's not very.

I'm not sure any state U college town can be classified as normal.

I've been spending a lot of time in the MidWest and my take is that normal is directly correlated to the concentration of Culver's. I don't think Culver's even have the little height tick marks on their doors so you can tell how tall the guy who just made off with seventy five dollars and two #2 combos was. Whatever the opposite of country fried is Culvers the that version of Cracker Barrell.

And frankly isn't normal just another way of preventing Tyler Cowen from getting good Micronesian food.

Come on, you know the Micronesian available today is just knock-off Filipino food. The 5 or 6 legit Micronesian joints in the US today are niche Sunday-only operations that cater to recent immigrants. But soon enough an islander with an entrepreneurial spirit and a knack for properly grating breadfruit will crack the code on how to offer authentic Micronesian fare to the masses, and without compromising the cuisine's quirky lack of respect for the Western palate. That's when Tyler walks away.

There is a large state U in Normal, IL! It also has Culver's and the first Steak n Shake.

Take Clearwater, FL off the list of "normal" cities and put it on the list of looney cities. It's the public headquarters of the Church of Scientology. (Unknown to most church members, they also have a secret headquarters, based in Hemet, CA.)

Well, the people who worry about the location of the median voter have long talked about Peoria, IL and Dayton, OH. What about them?

What about Muncie?

Fight on, fight on, dear old Muncie.
Fight on, hoist the gold and blue.
You'll be tattered, torn, and hurtin'
Once the Munce is done with you!

I think those cities are also in the middle of reasonably average states.

When some Czech immigrant designed the first shopping mall, he did so with Central European towns in mind. He designed them as places where people could come, have a coffee, chat, read the newspaper, talk with friends. As well as shop. Obviously that did not work out well in America. The first thing the owners did was remove the backs to the benches so they would be so uncomfortable no one would sit in them for more than twenty minutes.

I don't think McDonald's is going to fill this need. There may be people who are so atomized they have nowhere else to go, but what is in it for McDonald's? A dozen quasi-homeless people nursing a cup of coffee for ten hours is not a good business model.

Perhaps the solution is for President Hillary to make Elizabeth Warren Community Warmth Tsar and have her force the malls to put comfortable seats back along with free newspapers?

I have to go to the mall occasionally because that is where the Costco is. While there last Saturday, we noticed a big group of pretty normal looking middle-aged guys in the food court playing cards, chatting, reading papers and drinking small coffees, from McDonald's actually. They stood out precisely because they were treating the place like a goddamn VFW, rather than a mall. We hovered just long enough to hear them talking and it turns out they were Greek. They were spending their Saturday morning how a lot of Americans might say they'd like to (not at a mall in particular), but in reality we don't do that, or really tolerate much of it.

There are a few coffee shops where retired fellows collect for coffee or breakfast. The A&W, and a couple of the shops in town. One place all the retired cops meet to talk about their Fort Mac security jobs. There is an understanding with the owners, they are welcome but come lunch rush, they move along.

3. A good profile, but with one conspicuous omission, it might be said, given that a Society of Professional Obituary Writers is coming into existence: had hoped that Jane Maher or subject Margalit Fox would mention in passing the peerless contributions to the field made by Felix Feneon in his Novels in Three Lines (NYRB, 2007, Luc Sante, tr.).
Feneon's three-line documentations of hundreds of murders, suicides, and episodes of lethal mayhem across France in 1906 (along with a few handfuls of non-lethal episodes: miles and miles of telephone cable were being stolen that year with distressing frequency), expressed with sardonic finesse and tact, while not exercises in obituary writing in a technical sense, certainly helped lay the foundation for obituary writing as the form of feature writing that can be celebrated a decade and a century later.

A New York Times obituary that sticks to my memory is physicist James Van Allen's, because the writer of the obituary, Walter Sullivan, died ten years before Van Allen.

"How far in advance do newspapers write obituaries?"

"""The New York Times claims to have 1,200 "advancers" ready, the oldest written back in 1982. The Washington Post has about 150 prepped."""

"""Occasionally, a news organization will set up a pre-interview with the subject for use in his or her obituary."""


5. Here's a related MIT Technology Review piece: China—The Best and Worst Internet Experience in the World

Both impress on me the difference in culture. We think we are cool in the US because we can Uber and AirBnB. We think we are innovative when we say "Uber, but for .." but it is probably telling that more often we are cynical, making a joke. WeChat is for people who don't say "Uber, but for". They are just embracing the whole thing. Maybe we should too.

If our technophilia ranks below China, there should be knock-on effects. Not good ones for us.

Technology often also introduces vulnerabilities.

Also, I don't think the future of economic development is going to be decided by who can send their hongbao faster, and despite current high adoption rates, a highly centralized or generally ubiquitous payment system should be expected to run contrary to innovation in the longer run.

Fred Schindler, 72... did not want to tap retirement money from an annuity that will be worth more if he waits longer to use it.

I'd be interested to see just how long he plans to wait on that one

If he plans to live to be 100...

Re previous: "2. Men who live as dogs"


Hating to state the obvious, but what about Normal, IL?

On the reverse mortgages thing - I wonder why the lack of interest in the French viager system in countries other than France? This seems to me to a much better option for the home owner, since there is guaranteed income plus no risk of losing the property. Plus with a portfolio and sellers already at an advanced age it seems safer for the lender as well, since the actuarial tables would be pretty accurate. Is it the morbid aspect of it? But life insurance seems to sell pretty well?

Some suburb of Overland Park that has a Walmart.

That is the most normal place in America, not somewhere in Oklahoma that actually has an identity.

Reverse mortgages have always been respectable. The problem, as is the case of all sales, is that customers are uninformed idiots and the salesmen are slick talkers. RMs are a godsend for people who are house rich and cash poor, and have no expectations of leaving the house as a legacy gift. The two biggest troubles are 1) cross selling of unnecessary and expensive products, like annuities, and 2) pissed off dependents who wanted the house.

The party that really needs to be pissed off is the taxpayer, who got ripped off on HECMS when property values dived.

The best way to think about RMs is a high priced loan that converts a house to cash, but let's you live in it. If sentimentality were not an issue, the illiquidity of the house wouldn't be an issue. RMs even allow you to downsize or buy rental units, which few people do.

Disclosure: I'm a certified RM counsellor. I have never recommended an annuity in association with an RM and I can hardly conceive of a situation where it is appropriate. I mostly recommend lines of credit or combination of lump sum (to pay off debt) and line of credit.

Yeah--we are absolutely going to need more RMs if we want the Boomers to kick in at least some of the of their long-term care needs in the next 10-30 years. I think people would have more comfortable with them if the regulation were a bit stronger (or at least visible and uniform across the country) and it didn't seem like something reserved just for desperate fools.

#4 was good. A lot of comments about cleanliness, which I think is fair and was McDonald's original claim to fame.

Çelikermakina Firmamız Hakkında
Kaldırma ve Taşıma Ekipmanları sektöründe hizmet vermek üzere kurulan firmamız, kurucuların meslek ve bilgi alanları nedeniyle ağırlıklı olarak Kaldırma ve Taşıma Ekipmanları, Çelik Halat, Zincir ve Deniz sektöründe siz değerli müşterilerimizin ihtiyaçlarını karşılamak amacıyla Tuzla

Ülke çapında kaldırma ve Taşıma Ekipmanları,Çelik Halat, Zincir ve Deniz sektöründe öncü olmak ve liderliği hergün daha da büyüyen bir organizasyonla sürdürmek, Siz müşterilerimizin ihtiyaçlarını, geniş ürün yelpazesine sahip stoklarımızla karşılamak , Fiyat uygunluğu ve dürüst çalışmayı kendisine ilke edinmiş olan firmamız, bölge bayisi olduğumuz, dünya çapındakendini kanıtlamış markaların sanayinin önde gelen firmaları tarafından tercih edilen üstün nitelikli, kaliteli ve sertifikalı ürünlerini tecrübeli personelimiz ile tarafınıza en hızlı şekilde ulaştırılmasında tüm enerjimiz ile çalışmaktır.
Kaldırma ve Taşıma Ekipmanları,Çelik Halat, Zincir ve Deniz sektöründe müşterilerimizle uluslararası kabul görmüş standartlarda en iyi hizmeti sunarak lider firma olmak, tüm çalışan- larımızla sürekli kalite kavramını çevreci bir anlayış içinde tatbik etmek şirketimizin politikasıdır.

Çelikermakina Firmamız Hakkında
Kaldırma ve Taşıma Ekipmanları sektöründe hizmet vermek üzere kurulan firmamız, kurucuların meslek ve bilgi alanları nedeniyle ağırlıklı olarak Kaldırma ve Taşıma Ekipmanları, Çelik Halat, Zincir ve Deniz sektöründe siz değerli müşterilerimizin ihtiyaçlarını karşılamak amacıyla Tuzla/orhanlı

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