Sunday assorted links

Comments

4. Balanced profile. Hard to get past Dow 36,000.

I remember when the book came out. There were real bookstores around at the time and I browsed through the first several pages of the book and quietly put it back down as it seemed the authors wrote it under the influence of something that 'fogs the minds of men.' Oh well, he'll get another chance to provide advice to the administration so that the Dow can hit the magic mark. He's closer to it now than when he & Glassman wrote the book.

At a lower-than-average 6% rate of return, the Dow will hit 36,000 in less than 10 years

2. O no! People worldwide are rejecting all of Tyler's ideas. I guess he'll just hang out in the dustbin of history, where he'll have plenty of company.

Most ideas don't have the privilege of being rejected, pal.

Sweden has committed to proving the lifeboat problem. But I suspect their leaders are clueless about it and still think that they are merely virtue signaling to their fellow elites. They have some serious karma coming to them. I'm not sure that there are any 'aware' people n Sweden, but if there are their only hope is that they throw out the current leadership and replace them with people who are not fools. In the meantime the rapes and violence will continue. What a shame.

2 was a pretty well balanced piece, and definitely one for our times. It is about whether a policeman on Facebook can contest a government.

Note that he may not be wrong about what is on his desk, while it is still not representative.

If the government is telling the truth, it leads to kind of an ungated whistleblower situation. No newspaper decided whether to publish. It just went viral.

I thought it downplayed the seriousness of the problem. Even the photographs on display were soothing shots of 'look we are all getting along.'

I want everyone to get along, as much as the next person, but is the NYT really doing good objective reporting here by implying that the Trump view of Swedish immigration from the ME and N Africa is an overreaction to a run of the mill assimilation problem? One does not have to be a Trump supporter to have grave doubts about Malmo.

A reporter would have checked one source against others, against the data. The article says that his superiors, policemen at other precincts, and national statistics counter his claim.

So where are you getting your image of Sweden?

I worry that, as I say, that this is a social media effect. Many people are predisposed to believe a thing, one person says it, rejoice.

Hate to say it, but is a little like the "Jesus toast" incidents. Millions want to believe, one piece of toast seems to have a face, and thousands of emails spread (non-ironically).

It can't be true. Muslim immigrants (and ISIS infiltrators) cannot possibly exhibit higher (than native Swedes) marginal propensities for arson, female genital mutilation, honor killing, murder, rape, riot, etc. That cannot possibly be true. It does not advance the revolution. Ergo, Sweden riots are "blacked out" by lying, liberal (redundant) media.

There are liars. There are damned liars. And then there are NY Times reporters.

The left wing media is 88% distortions, exaggerations, fabrications, false equivalencies, non sequiturs, omissions. The other 12% is 11% apologetics for perverts and savages and 1% truth.

What we see in the leftist media doesn't contain the modicum of fact commonly encountered in the simple lie.

The Swedes are getting mugged by reality and their government is censoring it and refusing to protect them. .

And prosecuting them if they speak plainly.

Its probably somewhere in between.

Islam and Islamic terror are really a big trouble for the West because they are awkwardly both a problem and not a problem.

Take Islamic terror: its not that big a problem. Its not every Muslim. But its not just a few crazies either. Its just enough to cause an liberty/security tension. And just enough Muslims are down with sharia, etc. to make it at odds with religious liberty, too.

So,its maddening, because both sides have a point.

HERETIC, YOU MUST PICK A SIDE

Harun, that's well said and right.

Anon,

Unfortunately, you cannot take anything from Swedish politicians at face value. Read through some of tino.us for a fuller understanding. The Swedish elite are very committed to the open borders experiment and will cherry pick and mislead to arrive at their desired conclusions, but are blown out of the water by someone objective like Tino (a Kurdish refugee)

Anon. I have lived in Sweden, Finland and Denmark. That's where some of my information comes from. I also speak several of the languages. When I lived there, my wife was a nurse and I was a poor grad student. So we were not insulated from the issues (immigration) that afflict normal Swedes more than they afflict the affluent. I do not like the tone of your reply. Are you an ideologue?

A very sad state of affairs when a person searching out the most trusted sources is called an ideologue.

But, as I say that is the tragedy of social media. An anonymous guy with an anecdote can insist the HE is the source to be trusted before all others.

See also below the rag-tag complaints against good sources below.

You sirs, are what is wrong with this new century.

anon, take all your arguments and turn them back on yourself, where they belong

Anon, the national statistics 14% of the population is creating 'more than' 50% of the crime. The source, an immigration sympathizer, did not say how much more. This is after years of stories where officials massage the stats to not identity Muslim criminals.

Sweden's official answers to social media claims.

http://www.government.se/articles/2017/02/facts-about-migration-and-crime-in-sweden/

Thanks for the good laugh, seeing the Swedish government trying to explain away the facts.

"The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention has conducted two studies into the representation of people from foreign backgrounds among crime suspects, the most recent in 2005. The studies show that the majority of those suspected of crimes were born in Sweden to two Swedish-born parents. The studies also show that the vast majority of people from foreign backgrounds are not suspected of any crimes."

Talk about burying the lede! Isn't it also true that the vast majority of native Swedes are not suspected of any crimes? Why not point that out too? Complete non-sequiturs and the burning of straw men. Can they point to a single person who argues that MOST foreigners are criminals? They continue...

"People from foreign backgrounds are suspected of crimes more often than people from a Swedish background. According to the most recent study, people from foreign backgrounds are 2.5 times more likely to be suspected of crimes than people born in Sweden to Swedish-born parents. In a later study, researchers at Stockholm University showed that the main difference in terms of criminal activity between immigrants and others in the population was due to differences in the socioeconomic conditions in which they grew up in Sweden. This means factors such as parents' incomes, and the social circumstances in the area in which an individual grew up."

Ok, in other words, foreigners are more dangerous, but we can make the connection between foreignness and crime disappear if we control for some other stuff. Who cares? You're still importing a population that is significantly more criminal than the natives, and immigration leads to more crime.

Also, notice how they get rid of any agency for the criminal and give it to those who observe their crimes. Non-Swedes are "suspected of crimes more often." They can't bring themselves to directly answer the question. Imagine someone asks you "are dogs bigger than cats?" and you reply "well, humans perceive dogs to be x% larger on average."

It's fascinating when we see liberals covering up violence by minorities. But it's even more fascinating when they try to give you the facts and you can see the mental gymnastics they need to do to downplay, deny, and skirt around the truth about race and crime.

It is kind of funny how the explanation makes more or less neutral people like me more skeptical. They really need to work on their PR skills. The way they use, and mostly don't use, statistics makes me think they are lying even if they (reasonable assumption) aren't.

I think that is a human psychology thing. I feel it, I just try to separate the emotion of "a rebel vs authority."

You know, in the 1980s what I wanted from computer technology was the ultimate electronic library. Searchable. I pictured it as the Gutenberg Project more or less, filled with encyclopedias and books. I didn't picture live social media.

I didn't picture social media as an impediment to knowledge.

Just imagine for a moment that this Swedish document is correct, and social media creates an environment where it cannot be accepted, regardless.

I think we are there. You know we are. See also internet connected vaxxers who have access to all the medical information in the world, but still can't believe. Indeed, they see a conspiracy instead.

"Just imagine for a moment that this Swedish document is correct, and social media creates an environment where it cannot be accepted, regardless."

I didn't dispute anything about the document. I assumed it was correct, and pointed out how funny it was that they felt the need to burn a bunch of strawmen and throw in non-sequiturs in order to try to give the reader the opposite impression of what they admit is the plain truth. You don't sound like you've read either the document or my response to it.

Rick, if you beloved this:

"Perceptions of increased violence have been linked to the number of immigrants in Sweden. Nonetheless, research shows that there is no evidence to indicate that immigration leads to increased crime. Despite the fact that the number of immigrants in Sweden has increased since the 1990s, exposure to violent crimes has declined"

Why did you go on to fisk the document

In 2016, Sweden took in 162,000 refugees, 494 are employed. Who pays?

Taharrush - The Muslim rape game is not a game. It is deployed to signal to the kaffirs/infidels/scum that they cannot protect their women.

You know the end is near when the elites appease the barbarians as they wreck their people. These guys make Neville Chamberlain look like Conan the Barbarian.

Many of you are clearly arguing in an emotional way, to create this social media barrier, against simple truths.

If the Swedish crime rate is down since the 1990s, that is rationally the whole answer. Done and done.

Graphs here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/02/20/trump-asked-people-to-look-at-whats-happening-in-sweden-heres-whats-happening-there/

anon,

Please stop trying to obfuscate and confuse.

"If the Swedish crime rate is down since the 1990s, that is rationally the whole answer. Done and done."

WRONG WRONG WRONG.

"If the crime rate of Swedish immigrants is 250% of the crime rate of Swedish natives and continues for further generations, that is rationally the whole answer. Done and done."

Right.

Please please look at tino.us instead of making an ass out of yourself over and over again. Look at the crime rates in Sweden where you have immigration

"the number of shootings has dropped by three percent among the 95 percent of the population, but has increased by 160 percent for five percent of the population, namely the five percent who live in so-called exclusion areas."

Anon, what is "all else equal"? This is an econ blog afterall. Maybe you should be willing and able to incorporate basic econ analysis prinicples in to a discussion? Report back with why ceteris paribus makes your assertion regarding long term decline incorrect.

A lot of noise here, but the fact is that if total Swedish crime rate is down, you are just choosing incidents that do not move the average.

anon,

The story that "white Swedes are committing less crimes, but a still relatively small but rapidly growing ethnic minority is committing very high levels of crime" is one that some people (not you apparently) care about.

They "move the average" from "large decline" to "small decline" and soon to "small increase" and later "large increase"

By this logic, during any time of declining criminality, if you import thousands of hand-picked murderous psychopaths that bring the crime level to slightly below where it was before instead of far below, then there's no problem at all! Apparently all the people being raped and killed needlessly don't matter at all to you.

One wonders if this is your TRUE position or if in reality you have ideological blinders on.

From the report: "people from foreign backgrounds are 2.5 times more likely to be suspected of crimes than people born in Sweden to Swedish-born parents." That's a fairly staggering ratio. Turn it around: if you saw a policy that reduced crime by 60%, you would think it was spectacular.

"In a later study, researchers at Stockholm University showed that the main difference in terms of criminal activity between immigrants and others in the population was due to differences in the socioeconomic conditions in which they grew up in Sweden." Apparently, the Swedish government does not know the difference between correlation and causation. This confusion is likely to lead to endless frustration and failure in social policy.

They know the difference. They're trying to snooker you into thinking they've established rather than assumed pathways of causality.

Now, what was ever in it for the Swedes as they were in 1970? You can get some mild present-tense welfare benefits from immigration. However, these can be a snare if the immigrant population comes to be niched occupationally in ways which inhibit workforce development or generate a service class corrupting to the foundational population.

Why are you creating a social media barrier to simple truths?

"Moreover, an analysis by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, conducted between October 2015 and January 2016, came to the conclusion that refugees were responsible for only 1 percent of all incidents."

I would like to use a neutral metric, which cannot be spun.

Like how many cars are burned. Use insurance company data.

Lol, since I am not a car I would not put that above bodily injury. ?

Malmö has Sweden's highest ratio of Muslim immigrants. In recent years, half the city's centuries-old Jewish community has fled, news crews trying to investigate like Australia's 60 minutes have been attacked in the streets, and the Danish-Jewish star of the BBC drama The Bridge quit the show because he no longer felt safe filming in the city.

Sweden used to have one of the lowest crime rates in Europe. Now it's above average as the overall trend of declining crime in the West is mitigated in Sweden.

Why is a guess because the government refuses to allow crime stats based on nationality.

I decided to find a Jewish report, and found this Israeli paper.

Most anti-Semitism is coming from local Swedes, not Muslims. Sounds like the upswing here, as a part of general xenophobia.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/135795

On some other level, sadness that people like Chip try to wear is down without links or the full story.

Not most. "the majority of anti-Jewish sentiment, although certainly existent in the Muslim community, is coming from local Swedes"

I'm sure they have no problems at all with Arabs throwing bombs and rockets at them. Oh no, wait http://wejew.com/media/3552/Arab_Gang_Attacks_Peaceful_Jews_in__Sweden_with_OMG_Rockets_and_Bombs/

“Moreover, an analysis by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, conducted between October 2015 and January 2016, came to the conclusion that refugees were responsible for only 1 percent of all incidents.”

http://tino.us/2016/08/polisens-internrapport-om-massovergreppen-kungstradgarden/

Same claim: "It has since been shown that 1 percent of the unaccompanied refugees have accounted for about 1 percent of crimes in the festival. We therefore need to focus on the other 99 percent where the vast majority of crimes are committed "

But it turns out: "One hundred percent of known perpetrators of tafsandet in Kungsträdgården had a foreign background." "The Authority recognizes that they have concealed offenders' origin, but believes that this is not the blackout, 'it must not happen that the police spread information such as to provide in the objective sense a prejudiced impression'"

Conclusion: "The police strategy against molestation is based on the premise that these are broad standards among men in Sweden and that more reported abuse is due to a higher acceptance rate. The police's own data indicate the contrary, the increase in sexual assault is concentrated among men with an immigrant background. The police have kept this secret to help defend its own analysis of the phenomenon, which is not appropriate behavior for an impartial authority."

tafsandet = sexual assault

More shrill recounting of incidents which match your biases, and again distraction from the big picture.

This is absolutely false. The statistics prove unequivocally that you are wrong but you don't care. Please take your lies and your elision elsewhere

"One does not have to be a Trump supporter to have grave doubts about Malmo."

You do kinda have to never have been there. Malmö has issues, not least with kids fighting for weed markets, but it's an entirely decent city. It's not bad place.

I think most people would agree, that is an issue. Do they have that at George Mason? Because Tyler is dying to have more Muslim refugees housed on the George Mason campus.

"You do kinda have to never have been there." I am not sure what this quoted sentence means. Could you write it in English?

If you are implying that I've not been there, you are mistaken.

My experience in Europe, first as a bachelor then as a married resident and lately as a tourist -- spanning 25 years -- causes me to be worried about the Swedish ability to integrate 2-3rd generation Muslim immigrants, as well as worried about the commitment of some immigrants to integration.

4. Having predicted a 36,000 Dow, does that mean Hassett is all in on inflated asset prices? Or does it mean Hassett is all against inflated asset prices? Nobody says what they mean anymore. Is that because they don't know what they are talking about, or does it mean they fear saying what they actually think? A president who lies about everything, large and small, and public intellectuals who don't say what they really mean. How did we get here? And how do we go back to saying what we actually believe? "What is truth?" retorted Pilate.

It means he is not very good at forecasting. In a review of "Dow 36,000," I wrote,

I believe that Glassman and Hassett are men of good will. They speak with the passion of honest researchers who have somehow fooled themselves. Unfortunately their analysis has not yet been subjected to the rigorous review that it deserves. Such review will surely take place now that Dow 36,000 has been published. However, most of their readers will not have the quantitative financial training to spot the authors’ misuse of the dividend-discount model and to cast a skeptical eye on their assumption of a zero risk premium. Thus, even some educated and discerning readers may be persuaded by Glassman and Hassett’s flawed arguments to increase their equity allocations to sky-high levels and, conceivably, even to leverage those allocations. They should not do so.

1 - Best lines at the end:
“Ikea continues to be nearly unique,” Baxter said. “I would’ve told you that they would have competitors all over the place by now, 15 years ago. I would’ve been horribly wrong. There’s only them.”
Globalized winner-take-all?

"The Poäng’s design was first sold decades later, in 1978, after a collaboration between Lars Engman and Noboru Nakamura". I wonder if 中村 俊輔, Nakamura is a common Japanese name? I guess so. I only know one Naka, that's GM Hikaru Nakamura, who is in the top five chess grandmasters in the world.

Bonus trivia: GM Hikaru Nakamura began playing chess prior to the age of five and was coached by his Sri Lankan stepfather, FIDE Master and chess author Sunil Weeramantry, which proves there is no genetic propensity to being good in chess, based on this N=1 sample size.

"Bonus trivia: GM Hikaru Nakamura began playing chess prior to the age of five and was coached by his Sri Lankan stepfather, FIDE Master and chess author Sunil Weeramantry, which proves there is no genetic propensity to being good in chess, based on this N=1 sample size"

I don't think it proves anything of the sort. Nakamura might well have had a strong propensity toward being good at Chess (and liking to play Chess and being very competitive might be factors as important, or more important than cognitive factors) that flowered because he also had good coaching. Nature is mediated by nurture.

I remember a few years back (quite a few now, if I think about it) playing a couple of games against Laura Ross, without knowing who she was beforehand. She's actually, I think, the only woman to have ever been the strongest US-born player in her age-bracket (when she was around ten or so, IIRC, and at the time, not all-time- she's a few years younger than Nakamura) In fact, I think she might have been the strongest American player her age, US-born or not, at one point.

The games surprised us both, I think, though me more than her. I was never very good at Chess (peaked somewhere in the 2000s USCF when I was 16, which was before the great deflation of the 90s,) and I was pretty rusty when we played these games, so I was probably, at best, a strong class-A player at the time.) I'd seen her studying a book on the Pelikan before we played, so I let her lead me into a pretty sharp variation in the first game (where I had White.) In our second I played the Berlin, which had been fashionable a few years before (maybe because of the Kramnik-Kasparov match,) and was still pretty solid, I think.

She'd never met me before, so I think she was a bit surprised that I had as much theory as I had, even if some of it was a bit outdated (I have a good memory, but also spent way too much time on theory as a kid- I didn't know any better at the time.) And also that she wasn't able to just blow my pieces off the board. I was surprised because she was clearly much stronger than I was, and though I put up a valiant defense in both games there was never a point, after the opening, where it looked like I was going to get any counter-play. She didn't blow my pieces off the board, but she certainly crushed me. Her rating at the time was around 2150 USCF, IIRC, but she was playing in the Marshall's master tournaments every week, and it sure felt like she was stronger than her rating (often the case with young players who are improving quickly.)

I was surprised because the number of 15-year old girls in the US without foreign accents who could have manhandled me like that could have been counted on one finger, at the time- there might have been other girls her age who could have taken a game from me here and there, but there were none, I think, who could have taken very many games from me, let alone crush me, other than Ross (there were certainly some American-born women who could have, easily- Jennifer Shahade must have been in her early twenties at the time. I met her briefly a couple of times, but never had the chance to play her, which is perhaps just as well. She would have slaughtered me.) Being beaten, convincingly, by a 15-year old girl was something quite outside my previous experience.

Anyway, after asking her how old she was I asked her "How did you get so good?" And her answer was interesting. I'm paraphrasing here, and I feel a bit uncomfortable paraphrasing someone after all these years (I might not remember what she said, exactly, so please don't take this as a quote from her, but rather as the gist of what I recall her saying, a long time ago) but she pretty much said "Well, I practically grew up at the Marshall, playing Grandmasters even when I was a child. So playing Chess came naturally to me."

I was really interested in Chess as a kid, starting around the age of 12 (at which point I could still be fool's-mated) but I lived in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont in the early 80s, and my single-mother was very poor. I had no-one to play against (I could beat almost everyone I knew pretty easily) and my taste in Chess literature was unfortunate- over a year or so I managed to wheedle enough money from my mother to acquire three books: 'My System,' the 12th edition of 'Basic Chess Openings' (thus my propensity for theory,) and Fine's book on the endings. Regrettably, I spent the least amount of time with the latter, though in retrospect it would have been the most useful to me, just for the tactics (and being good at the endgame is never a bad thing, I think) but boy is it dry, especially for a twelve year-old.

By the time I was 14 I was well-versed in Nimzovich's theory of the blockade, both in the particular, and in the 'blaring forth from every corner of the board' sense, but still prone to dropping pieces, and perhaps class C strength. I was also completely oblivious to the absurdity of this state of affairs, especially since I could beat everyone around me, easily. I don't want to beat my younger self up too much- getting to class C strength when everyone around you would be rated 2000 level in a few months of playing weekly tournaments) and I was starting to lose interest in the game in favor of wine, women, and song (well- I was never a very good singer, but you get the idea.)

So I think it's obvious (of course I would think so) that nurture matters a great deal when it comes to skill at Chess, or at, say, music. If Mozart had been born to field-hands he would not have been Mozart. And there might have been someone who could have been even greater than Mozart, but lived a life of obscurity, because he (or she) was born to field-hands. But that doesn't mean that everyone born to field-hands would have been Mozart if they had been born to Mozart's circumstances.

Laura Ross, btw, has a Wikipedia entry. Her FIDE rating as of 2011 was 2217- not sure if that is her peak rating, but... apparently she decided to become a third-grade teacher. Having played her when she was 15 I am pretty certain that she could have been quite a lot stronger than that. That said, having known a number of Chess professionals, I imagine that she is much happier, and much better off, doing what she likes than she would have been trying to break stereotypes and winding up as a not-remarkable IM- she already broke a lot of stereotypes as a kid. And anyone who knows a few professional Chess players knows that the bulk of them do not lead very happy lives.

It would have been nicer if the article on IKEA tried to explain why they have been able to push prices down so much. They discontinue expensive lines? Sure, but they still keep them too. That doesn't help. Presumably shipping is part of it - and IKEA's furniture is clearly often so ugly because it ships better. It can't just be cheap labor - after all, how expensive were East German Gulag workers? So it is a mystery.

What was nice about the Japan article, apart from the seemingly obligatory anti-Lost in Translation approach (and there can be few such movies that have changed the conversation to the point everyone goes out of their way to distance themselves from what is actually a pretty good film), was the lack of anything related to gender. Which is odd because a bit of gender radicalism seems called for here. Middle aged men pay for teenage girls to dress as maids and serve them while calling them master? I can see how well that would go down in Los Angeles. Actually it would have an additional racial tinge as well as many waitresses are likely to be "of color" or whatever the accepted term is these days. But when the Japanese do it, it seems less of a problem. The Vampire cafe seems a marketing opportunity gone to waste. Surely the world needs a Twilight themed burger chain?

I do feel sorry for the owls though.

They push down their prices by having large volumes, and demanding rock bottom low prices from suppliers.

I've seen copies of that chair at Chinese trade shows. I asked if they made for IKEA and the factory laughed and said they couldn't meet IKEA's price demands.

When Chinese factories turn down IKEA pricing, you know its low. Possibly at cost or worse.

I know of some firms who took IKEA business because they were at low capacity utilization and thought it would help bring in other customers, due to prestige. But they probably were making zero money.

This makes sense economicallly: old items that sell well should be close to cost of production.

In the Ikeas I've been to, the poor looking immigrant types vastly outnumber the yups. They understand.

Something like the Poang chair could be sold at a loss. That plus the ubiquitous Kallax (nes Expedit) shelves may be on the corporate budget as brand advertising. They represent how IKEA wants to be understood, not likely how it operates.

IKEA is well known to be very, very price competitive, though. Its not just a branding exercise, though some value comes from that.

Another real world example: we had an Austrian chain-store/catalog buyer visit us and he went through all of our products he liked and checked to make sure his IKEA catalog (which he called his Bible) didn't have a similar design. He knew he could not touch their pricing which he called "crazy."

IKEA is very smart to stay in its niche of low cost, low-to-medium quality items. The quality expectation is important and they do a good job keeping it just good enough to satisfy. (Don't anyone get me wrong: they are impressive and I use their products as well as compete with them.)

I gutted the inlaws condo and put in an ikea kitchen, closet systems and entertainment center.

Cabinet boxes made in USA btw. Anyways...

The value proposition is quite compelling. Features for price. If you do it yourself you save a lot of money and end up with very customized solutions.

There is not an ounce of extra material. Anywhere. I'm thinking "will these flimsy plastic legs really hold these up with the quartz on it?" etc etc. But they do. It all goes together like lego. I always think "I'm never doing this crap again" but I end up using it because they know their market. But they engineer the heck out of it. One false move and the whole thing looks like it could collapse.

5- Being a millennial, I have never understood how most of my friends and people my age have this "YOLO" attitude towards life. Living care free and focused on the "right now" has never been something I have been capable of doing, and I would say I certainly fall under the striver category ( feeling more complacent and unaccomplished everyday, though). Those individuals who define their own happiness, with their DGAF attitudes and "give me experiences, not things" approach to life is something to be admired, and I agree with Cowens conclusion that they are the winners of my generation (for now). Millennials are not lazy. I think most of us seek to live authentic lives and have a strong preference for individuality, and feel the trade-offs of achievement VS happiness are too great to risk living an unfulfilling life. Happiness can only be measured by the individual, but it seems that, on the surface, millennials are doing a great job at maximizing utility.

I fear that a lack of forward thinking will be our downfall though, and we will see a lot of disappointed millennials in their mid to late thirties wondering where the time went, wishing we would have done more for ourselves and spent our time better. I feel like most millennials don't realize that someone, somewhere, is trying to take our lunch money. And maybe we do understand that, but don't care. YOLO.

I would love to hear from some of you old timers about your philosophy on life back in your twenties vs today. Do you wish you focused more on achievement or general happiness?

I take it you have not read the Last Psychiatrist? http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2009/03/reality_responds_to_the_matrix.html

Start from the beginning. (He did get a little cranky at the end.)

I am really enjoying reading this guy so far. I did not think discussion like this existed. Thanks for the link.

He/she stopped writing the blog a few years ago. However the catalog of articles is deep. The tone changed over time. I think the best posts were written 2009-2013.

I focused on being a maniac as a kid (and when I say 'kid' I mean until I was 24 or so,) and in some respects I regret it. In others I don't. I'm perhaps an extreme example, in that I lived on my own and was a professional criminal (though not a very successful one) by the time I was 14 or so. I do feel it necessary to add that my crimes were crimes that, while I would not commit them now, I still consider essentially ethical.

My mother was a fascinating person, from a fascinating family. I could fill this comment box with stories about my family that you wouldn't believe unless I documented them (my great-aunt not only died at Jonestown, but is one of the main sources of documentary evidence about it: http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=35667,) my mother's father was the first head of public relations for the AEC, my family is full of spies who might or might not have been double or triple agents, my family has people who were governors general (if briefly) of parts of India in the 19th century and who were the first to decipher dead subcontinental languages- if nothing else my family is full of classicists. I won't name my uncle here, cause why would I, but he teaches classics at a major Canadian University. He was also a Yippie, and according to my Mom (who was not quite trustworthy on things like this) he would have been the Chicago eighth if he had not fled the country. I could go on, and on, about my family history, about Ted Sturgeon's crush on my grandmother, and the question of whether or not Aldous Huxley was actually mother's godfather (he was certainly a family friend,) but I think I'll sum up by saying that while I grew up in very poor conditions, verging on third-world conditions in some cases, the thing that really saved me

I'm probably the first man in my family in generations to not have a lot of Attic Greek and Latin- on the other hand I have a bit of Chinese and at one point translated previously untranslated Meiji era Japanese literature as a hobby.

The thing is, my Mom was a victim of the 60s. She started off an actress (and might have been successful at it if she hadn't had me- her ass makes a prominent appearance in a Preminger film, and she was friends with people like Mama Cass and Goldie Hawn before they were famous.) But she wound up a single mother who could not stay in one place for more than a few months, and who never had two pennies to rub together, and I wound up her son. I loved her (and she was, in addition to being brilliant, very lovable,) but she was not what most would call a conventionally good mother. Being her son was... well, to steal a quote, it broadened my mind, but saddened my heart.

My childhood was a bit nuts. First, we moved every few months. I went to four different elementary schools- in sixth grade alone. Beyond that, my mother's choices of location were erratic, to say the least. I moved from Montreal to inner-city D.C. (in 1976, when D.C was experiencing such racial ferment that even a 5-year-old could not miss it,) to Butte Montana, to northeastern Vermont, all in the space of about 3 years. The culture shock was enormous. In retrospect it was very educational, but- well it broadened my mind, but saddened my heart.

In the years after that I moved to prosperous Eastern Mass for a while, got pawned off on a great-aunt in Littleton Colorado (yes, that Littleton) for a winter, and by the time I was 12 I was ready to burst, and just started refusing to go to school. So I got sent to a hippie alternative private school housed in a former gas station and lived in a barely heated rat-infested geodesic dome (we used to have competitions that involved throwing the bathroom door open and throwing knives at the inevitable rats, but they always ended in draws, as it turns out to be remarkably difficult to kill a rat with a thrown knife) on a hillside in Starksboro,Vermont, where I was barely fed, and the headmaster regularly tried to molest me in return for heat and food. This was very educational but... it broadened my mind, and saddened my heart.

So after that- well, my Mom had a bad auto accident and suffered quite a lot of brain damage when I was 14 and I officially stopped going to school then (I hadn't much, for years) in order to take care of her and my little sister. And once my step-father took my little sister, and my mother was able to drive again I moved out- I was 15 by that point, but I matured early and was dating a college girl who was splitting a married student housing apartment with another girl at a local college- once we broke up I got an apartment in town with the girl upstairs (who was dating my best friend, who was three years older than me.) My rent was only 80 bucks a month, but since I was under 16 I was only allowed to work two nights a week at my dish-washing job. So of course I drifted into mild criminality which... wait for it... broadened my mind, and saddened my heart.

I could go on- the rest of the story, as I entered my twenties, involves things I think I ought to be able to admit to, but that, as things stand I likely shouldn't admit to explicitly (I think it's safe to say that I was perhaps at times, an important connection, in some respects, between the Grateful Dead family and Vermont, and you can read that as you will.) Honestly, that broadened my mind, but it didn't sadden my heart much.

I might have engaged in mild criminality for a very long time, but I was never very serious about it- I certainly never made much money at it. Mainly I was in legit sales at the time ;). But at some point I realized that I was better off using my talents (and I am, if you'll excuse me for saying so, rather talented.) So, despite having dropped out of high school at 14, I figured out how to get into a state University, studied there for a few years in my twenties, and am probably the most significant figure in my own little slice of computer science (though I won't be acknowledged as such by anyone in academia, cause the research is outside of academia, and a trade secret.)

Do I regret my earlier IDGAF approach to things? Hmm- yeah, I didn't have a lot of choice in the matter, but I sometimes do. I wonder what my life would have been like if I'd been in a graduate program at 14 (and I think it's pretty clear I could have handled at least the cognitive parts of one at that age) or even if I'd just finished high-school and gone to school like a normal person. Easier, I imagine. I'd probably be worth a lot more, and have achieved a lot more, but... I think I might know less in the broadest sense. I'd certainly be less able to discern the motives behind what people say and.. hmm, I might be better off if that were the case. Talk about something that saddens the heart.

If I were giving advice to someone half my age I would say: play the game. Have your fun, where you can find it, but play the game. Much of it is silly, but if you think you're going to be able to live outside the game- well, that is the sort of illusion the young are prone to. It doesn't matter how ugly and disingenuous the game is- you will have to play it, eventually, so you might as well start learning to do so now.

That depends on what the game is. If the game is working 9-5 then you really do not have to play it if you are smart enough. There are plenty of legal ways to make make money that are not 9-5 type whitebread jobs

"That depends on what the game is. If the game is working 9-5 then you really do not have to play it if you are smart enough. There are plenty of legal ways to make make money that are not 9-5 type whitebread jobs"

Indeed- if you can manage it then more power to you. I've managed to avoid the 9-to-5 for much of my life (though that meant in some cases doing the 6 AM-to-midnight- taxing, but lucrative.) I'm doing the 9-to-5 at the moment because I want some time to regroup after my latest debacle, and I only had to go to one interview to get a six-figure 9-to-5 job, with options, at a very promising startup. I didn't even have to prepare a resume- I was like "Just look at my LinkedIn page, OK?" I might have rejected a company that required me to provide a resume beyond LinkedIn, actually. Well- maybe not if I really wanted to work for them.

I should emphasize that I'm just insanely lucky- I happen to be very good at something that is so much in demand that all my early #IDGAF nonsense (and really, I still don't GAF, but I love my work, even when it's in the service of trivia) that I _can_ reliably find 6-figure work if I want it, even after having done idiotic things like taking years off from working (I literally took 4 years off and hung out on Florida beaches at one point... not a particularly good career move.)

It turns out that

"That depends on what the game is. If the game is working 9-5 then you really do not have to play it if you are smart enough. There are plenty of legal ways to make make money that are not 9-5 type whitebread jobs"

Indeed- if you can manage it then more power to you. I've managed to avoid the 9-to-5 for much of my life (though that meant in some cases doing the 6 AM-to-midnight- taxing, but lucrative.) I'm doing the 9-to-5 at the moment because I want some time to regroup after my latest debacle, and I only had to go to one interview to get a six-figure 9-to-5 job, with options, at a very promising startup. I didn't even have to prepare a resume- I was like "Just look at my LinkedIn page, OK?" I might have rejected a company that required me to provide a resume beyond LinkedIn, actually. Well- maybe not if I really wanted to work for them.

I should emphasize that I'm just insanely lucky- I happen to be very good at something that is so much in demand that all my early #IDGAF nonsense (and really, I still don't GAF, but I love my work, even when it's in the service of trivia) that I _can_ reliably find 6-figure work if I want it, even after having done idiotic things like taking years off from working (I literally took 4 years off and hung out on Florida beaches at one point... not a particularly good career move.) And that making low 6-figures is kind of a big pay cut for me, compared to some of the things I've done, but it's a load off my mind to have a nice quiet 9-to-5, and I like having the option.

I was raised in poverty, but I was also raised to be... Byronesque, I suppose. And I do not, in fact, give any more fucks than Byron did. I keep peacocks and orangutans in my apartment, which drives my landlord crazy, but I am very fond of them. That said, I sure as hell, at this point, know how to put on my game face and walk into a 9-to-5 or a client meeting and look like I GAF. And, you know, I do a good job for them- I guess I do GAF about the work, right? The respectability- well, that's pure pretense on my part. I am not at all respectable, I'm afraid.

Keeping orangutans in your apartment is most likely not cool at all.

The thing I don't quite understand about the matcher-striver dichotomy is how it sorts millennials who work very hard at stupid goals. I had a roommate once who never studied much, but practiced hours each day to be a professional Street Fighter IV player. (And I have some equally ridiculous career goals, to be honest.)

From the outside, he looks like more what you'd call a matcher, putting personal fulfillment ahead of traditional educational or career goals.

But I think he would have considered himself a striver, working very hard towards his chosen "career" and very concerned with climbing his particular ladder.

Perhaps even people with striver type personalities are engaging in more matcher-like behavior because of reduced opportunities for traditional upward mobility? Or do I just not understand how this works?

It's hard to say. I worked hard, built a career and saved a lot of money that makes my life today quite easy and simple, but there's no doubt that I traded almost my entire life to my career for about 20 years. It's hard to say I did wrong, because I don't know what life I'd be in now if I'd done differently, but you can't help but wonder.

I guess it's important to recognize that you become the person reflected in your choices. If you make certain choices in life, those choices in turn change who you are. I always said I'd put in the time, work hard, save much, and _then_ I'll live my life the way I want. Well, by the time you get there you're not the same person, and you'll possibly have lost some things along the way. The fire you can have about things at age 20 is different than what you can muster at 45. Maybe that's just life, but maybe there's a certain age when things must be done, if they're to be done.

But in the end, I don't know. Sure, with hindsight I might say I should've done something differently. We make our decisions and roll with them. I learned so much along the way that it's difficult to image who I'd be if I'd have done things differently.

If I'm completely honest about it, my biggest regret about my youth is that I did not sleep with more attractive young women. I slept with more than than the average guy, probably, but... some of the girls I didn't manage to sleep with haunt me to this day.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone in this. The average guy has very few regrets about his youth other than this one, but this one is very strong.

I can absolutely say my #1 regret is not working hard and squandering so much time on the web-er-net. Probably a 150k equity hit all things considered.

Do any of you guys posting here have kids? That's kind of the big one...

I have 2 as well, I was just saying the decision to have or not have kids is generally the biggest life choice you can make, and thus the one that can potentially cause the most regret.

In the age of ubiquitous smartphone cameras and social media, the “give me experiences, not things” approach to life might be just as much about communicating status as is the purchase of nice (or at least, expensive) stuff.

In any age there are signalers and also people who live their lives not caring what others think. The signals evolve with technology but there's still all kinds of people.

#5
http://www.upworthy.com/14-compliments-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-looks-and-everything-to-do-with-being-an-amazing-human?c=ufb6

And yet, everyone of those compliments was probably delivered sarcastically.

What's wrong with such simple compliments like: That was funny. Or That was a clever idea. Etc. Or maybe just smiling.

#2...I would distinguish between immigration and refugees. In order to immigrate to Sweden, it seems you need to have a promised job. That shouldn't be a problem. The problem is dealing with refugees, meaning people seeking asylum from a war or persecution. Sweden, like many countries, has legal obligations from treaties dealing with refugees, as well as its own cultural traditions. No one anticipated such a large flow of refugees to Sweden from the Middle East and North Africa. How could they? This is a case of laws and resources intended to deal with many fewer people than have arrived. However, it does not follow that no political refugees should have been admitted.

Yep, but the American framework involving this discussion remains quite confused. Particularly since there are recent examples. To give a local DC one, a lot of the Central Americans that showed up starting in the 1980s were fleeing what was going on in places like El Salvador - documented or not, many of them were refugees, not immigrants. Of course the same applies to the Vietnamese that had arrived in the decade before.

My lefty friends won't shop at Walmart because it's all "cheap crap from China." Yet, they love to shop at IKEA.

Lefty or Righty, those that don't buy from Wal-Mart probably buy their "cheap crap from China" from Amazon. It's not the "cheap crap," it's not wanting to be associated with Wal-Mart.

Can you blame them?

"Can you blame them?"

Yes, I can. There's nothing wrong with Walmart or the working class Americans who tend to shop there. But the bigots do like to make fun of the lower classes and somehow that form of bigotry has become acceptable to certain groups.

Wait, there's "nothing" wrong with working class Americans? Is there also nothing wrong with non-working class Americans?

Exactly.

IKEA manages to avoid the stigma of being seen as low-rent and uncool. Plus, lots of young people in coastal cities like to pretend to be richer than they are but good furniture is expensive enough to make alternatives to IKEA prohibitive.

I don't understand why IKEA avoids the label. It looks like garbage to me. Not that I don't have some of it in my home, but that's because I'm cheap (I also have some Wal-Mart items).

I think it is because Ikea furniture blends into the background. It is cheapness and lack of (relative) quality is something you only see if you are looking and trying to judge the quality of the furniture, which doesn't occur frequently because the furniture has an unobtrusive aesthetic.

"4. Voxsplainer on Kevin Hassett."

+1, on indicating that Vox tends to have a strong editorial bias.

#2. I really wish we could consider Muslim immigration and Hispanic immigration as separate issues. The US does not get very much Muslim immigration, so our problems are significantly different than Sweden's and the rest of Europe's. Hispanics are Roman-Catholic, which we already have large numbers of via Italian and Irish immigration. Religiously, they fit right in. Culturally, they aren't any further from us than Greeks or Russians. There is no radical Hispanic movement that espouses a religious duty to kill Protestants. There are no strange cultural habits like genital mutilation, the wearing of burkas, forced marriages at 13, or honor killings.

So, since most of our immigration is Hispanic, it's really a red herring to start talking about Muslim immigration as if it was an important driver of immigration policy. It's not. Hispanic immigration is all about domestic labor and the competition for low-skilled jobs. It is totally not about cultural incompatibility, and to claim it is is to elevate a standard of cultural purity (White Protestants Only!) that is racist and assinine.

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