Thursday assorted links

1. Profile of Tencent and Martin Lau.

2. Rough policy notes on bankrupt Italian banks.  Very good, detailed, only for some of you.

3. Is social graph portability workable?  I suspect it has to be quite seamless to bring strong competitive pressures, and this discussion, while quite good, doesn’t convince me the answer is yes.

4. How can the European Union organize contention?

5. “In counties where police received more military equipment, law enforcement kills more pets.

6. To what extent do humans cause speciation?

7. My colleague Jerry Ellig has been named chief economist for the FCC.


5. “In counties where police received more military equipment, law enforcement kills more pets.”

I'm happy to outsource this type of violence to the state.

Pets? Or drug seller's guard dogs?

"5. “In counties where police received more military equipment, law enforcement kills more pets.”"

The article doesn't really provide any graphs or numbers so that you can get a look at the data.

It's the Washington Post...

They link to the research in the 3rd graf - - the article was even written by the researchers themselves. Here's a direct link to the PDF abstract if you'd prefer - it's full of graphs...

5 - #Petslivesmatters

Such is life under the American regime, where a terrorixed populace even has their pets killed by their violent masters. Leading American intellectuals are predicting the destruction of the American empir is imminent. Sad!

I guess sometimes the smile hides the crying inside.

In Brazil we have no reason to cry, our nation is largfr than Roman Empire are its peak, we invented the airplane, and the radio, and the prion. We are invincible, as the Prophet Bandarra has written we will rise like a lion and crush the serpent with our heel

It's more than just the use of military equipment to kill the pets. They could just as easily kill pets with regular firearms and guns. You should also factor in the training, if any, received with the use of these weapons and the type of recruits (often ex-military, overly-muscular, cold and very mean looking) joining the police force. And police here want no risk of harm to themselves - hence the justification to kill a dog because it might bite you. Mailmen are not killing dogs, are they?

But I think your American empire point is a good one. Our military is in perpetual war with other countries, so why wouldn't that mentality trickle down to our national police force vis-a-vis the American populace?

In counties where police received more military equipment drug dealers and gangs rule the street. Hmmmm. Was it the military equipment that is the problem or the drugs and gangs. Such a difficult question so lets blame it on the police or the military somehow.

3. Social graph portability would work, but only if it's modeled after number portability. By that I mean social graph portability could not be waived. Google and Facebook have almost a monopoly on digital advertising (about 70% of total revenues from digital advertising) and are highly profitable because they don't pay for social graphs; they simply take it from their customers and then sell it to advertisers. Of course, their customers believe Google and Facebook provide a service for "free", ignorant of the fact the customers are giving their social graphs to Google and Facebook for free. Well, not for free (since Google and Facebook do provide a service), but the "price" they pay for the social graphs is less than what would result in a competitive market. How do I know? Their extraordinary profits. How would Google and Facebook pay a competitive price for social graphs? An auction, perhaps, each year they along with other similar services would bid for social graphs. What's the likelihood that Congress would pass such enabling legislation? Zero. On the other hand, ending net neutrality would shift much of the leverage to the ISPs (i.e., the cable companies). What's the likelihood that this Administration would do that? Close to 100%. What will the customers get out of it? "Choice". And have a nice day.

3. see Crypto Tokens: A Breakthrough in Open Network Design by Chris Dixon.

He suggests that you could create an open social graph using more flexible crypto currencies like Etherium. Who knows if it's true but he paints an interesting picture.

#3 - This constant search for "rights" is insane in my mind. What if I need to change my phone number? So what??? Your phone number or Facebook account are not your property! If Facebook decides to start charging for membership tomorrow, does the government need to subsidize for these accounts? Where does this end? I "depend" on Netflix much more than Facebook. Why not subsidize Netflix then?

Ayn Rand would be incredibly more successful if she was writing her books today. We are ripe for another libertarian movement.

What, people can't read Ayn Rand now? And libertarians have been making noise for decades, if "we" were "ripe for another libertarian movement", what would that look like? Can't people vote/blog/donate/agitate libertarian now?

Well, people still read Ayn Rand but I think we need new writers who can update the content and references to our current world. Architects and railroads mean very little today. I think that is actually a major problem for Libertarianism - the fact that our tech evolved in a different way that many imagined (communications over space exploration) means that a lot of libertarian writing (both non fiction and fiction) has very little meaning to younger generations. We need a new voice here to clarify how these new lefty ideas can be destructive in this new context and what alternatives are out there.

Are you too busy? Make it happen!

:-) Too busy fighting the Toohey's of the IT world

#7: cue the 'Koch-funded' hysterics.

Also see the Ferguson effect.
There is a meme that blue targets black. In reality, blue targets non-blue.

First I'm suspect when I see a lot of %'s tossed around with few references to absolute numbers. This is especially the case when the base is known to be a small number to begin with. (See also any story with lines like X is the fastest growing religion....). Crime rates have had a rapid and dramatic falls over the last couple of decades, shocking almost. While this is still not yet explained one implication of it will be any increase will be dramatic in % terms.

Second, correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to make a lot about Chicago which had a surprising leap in its homicide rate in 2016 *but* was not ground zero in any fashion for black lives matter protests. NYC, which saw a lot of protests AND had a mayor who was very public about ending 'stop and frisk' and was perceived initially as being too 'anti-cop' hasn't seen much of any move in murders.

Third, lots of anecdotes and quotes from officials. In other words, there's murders in Chicago and the mayor blames police for not stepping up to the plate then Manhatten Institute quotes that as evidence for the 'Ferguson effect'. In reality this looks a bit like when the stock market drops 100 points and some news anchor says investors were worried about the weather being too hot or cold, the health bill passing or not passing, or getting spooked by North Korea. How does she know? Because maybe one trader who traded a trivial amount of the market that day thinks other people sold off because of North Korea? Hmmmm

Manhattan Institute might be on the conservative side, I am not. It is possible that they are slanting their view somewhat. If their goal is more uniformed police, I don't share that goal.

The claim is that proactive policing is down since the Ferguson riots, and that the socioeconomic class rioting there is most affected. The problem with proving or disproving such a claim, is that very few policemen will fess up to taking the easy non confrontational way until their pension is safely in the bag. And even then, such a confession might not be good for an ex-cop's social standing.

The US media has an interest in conflict, therefore they focus on cases that are borderline enough that the population will be evenly split, for example the Ferguson police killing.

The Eric Garner case was so outrageous that you will not find a majority of white conservatives supporting the police actions, only people like Art Deco, therefore, the story burned out quickly, the press did not focus much on it.

Do you think the "Ferguson Effect" is only BS?

I don't know if a majority of whites supported the Eric Garner case but many did argue that while the choke hold was against policy it didn't not amount to homicide because he was resisting arrest. On top of that there was Akai Gurley, who was killed walking down a stairwell in a public housing project because a cop doing a 'vertical patrol' apparently just got spooked and shot off his gun. NYC was also the home to 'stop and frisk' whose purpose was supposedly to get illegal guns off the street but literally hundreds of thousands of black men were stopped and frisked simply for walking down streets and only several hundred illegal guns were ever found (I'd love to imagine how the right would have taken to Obama sending hundreds of FBI agents to randomly pull people over in, say, Texas and check to make sure any guns in their car were properly credentialed). You had massive protests in NYC over the police, some of which turned violent and was capped off by a disturbed individual who travelled to NYC to gun down two police officers.

On top of that you also had a well documented police force that was pissed at the mayor for being too sympathetic to protestors and directly staged a work slowdown where arrests dramatically sagged for a week or so. If ever you had a 'signal' to the criminally inclined that 'now is the chance to have your fun' how much better does it get?

There is also a long history of argument in NYC over police violence, overreaching and abuse. Go back a few decades and watch Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing and you'll see a litany of real life cases from the 80's and 90's listed along with a very realistic depiction of a small riot erupting from a fictional case.

And yet despite all this the Ferguson Effect shows up big time in Chicago and not NYC?

Here's some things to consider. If the Ferguson effect is real can:

1. You clearly show it without using any anecdotal statements claiming cause and effect by pundits/mayors/police chiefs/union officials?

2. You can clearly show a 'dose effect' where areas with more protests see a bigger spike in crime?

3. Do you see an opposite effect where areas that have no cases and minimal protests see crime drops?

I'm not saying it's all BS but I think this is one of those things that reads like "the stock market got worried about X today....". There will always be evidence out there for intelligent people to buy into it, especially if they are ideologically inclined in that direction, but never real proof and if you peal it back the model starts to look flimsy.

6. Looks to me like the most interesting link of the day. While human impact is widely acknowledged, it might be less well understood than popularly believed. I am not sure it can be netted out neatly as "good" or "bad" on a global basis, but that probably isn't terribly useful anyway. Most environmental problems can be demonstrated locally, be that an algae blighted lake or a bleached coral reef.

"Is social graph portability workable?"

It depends on common unique identifiers for people. Right now the two top options are phone number and email address. If source network graph x lets you translate the nodes of your connections there to those attributes, and destination network graph y lets you translate those to the identifiers on their site, you end up with a transitive identifier network. Trying to create a new one is doomed to fail, it is better to leverage one which more commonly exists.

5. Better identification here:

h/t @jenniferdoleac

Three cheers for Jerry Ellig!

#6...I'm going to buy the book, but it sounds like a self-help book more than a biology book. How I learned to stop worrying about speciation and you can too. Not to rain on anybody's parade, but when I think of biological change, I think of antibiotic resistant bacteria. George Carlin rooted for them, I know.

"When he writes that “it is difficult to understand why any particular moment in the continuous passage of time should have special significance”, this surely applies to climate change too. ( Maybe because I'm alive now )
The world was much warmer than today in times past and much colder at others. The rate of change was much faster at the end of the last Ice Age." ( Well, isn't that special )
" It is time, he says, for the conservation and environmental movement to “put aside doom-laden rhetoric . . . shed its self-imposed restraints and fear of change and go on the offensive”. ( Like a Prometheus Unbound. Sadly, we're a species of knuckleheads . But if you want to feel better about that, read his book. It took the courage of Thomas More to write it, apparently )

#5 The results showed civilian deaths was significantly related to pop size. If all trends remain the same it is logiccally that there would be more civilian deaths with pop increase. The measure to test should be the fraction of civilian deaths.

It is of interest to know but not available the effect of lagged violence crime to check if the increase millitrization was a response to past violent crimes.

In current environment it might be good to highlight that civilian deaths were not due to the Black population. In fact the results showed a very weak negative correlation but not significant at p < 0.05

The results on dog casualties was over-hyped as results with p > 0.05 are statistically and conventionally not significant.

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