Friday assorted links

1. The body language of Angela Merkel.

2. University of Georgia limits professorial stress reduction policies for students.

3. “1,800 toadlets an hour…

4. Why is American chess great again?

5. Josh Barro of BI.

6. How reliable are North Korean nuclear weapons?

7. From the Philip Tetlock people: “It’d be fantastic if you could share the signup link – – with your readers, to whom I can promise a rare chance to work with a range of prototype human-machine hybrid forecasting systems in the experimental stage…”


I've been wondering about the reliability of America's weapons. They haven't been tested since 1992.

(6. How reliable are North Korean nuclear weapons?)

... nuclear weapons are extremely complex mechanisms; their actual wartime reliability is always in doubt .... even for individual U.S. weapons.

North Korean nuclear threat is way over hyped. They (maybe) have a tiny fission-bomb capability of low reliability and very very limited operational use. Mounting those unreliable nukes on unreliable missiles... and hitting anything/detonating -- is very unlikely for many years to come.

But North Koreans have an impressive conventionalial (non-nuclear) military capability -- any renewed war in Korea would be catastrophic for all parties, including U.S.

"… nuclear weapons are extremely complex mechanisms; their actual wartime reliability is always in doubt …"

Is that really true? The delivery systems are often highly complex, but the warheads themselves are pretty basic mechanisms.

Modern nuclear weapons are extremely precise devices, and the North Koreans are seemingly still about at the stage of what the U.S. was able to do in 1945, and possibly 1951 -

Going beyond that will require resources that the North Koreans simply don't have (acquiring tritium and deuterium is not a serious technical hurdle, which is why the most recent test might be a boosted fission device, though that is disputed). For example, it is speculated that the first North Korean nuclear test (likely fizzle) used a plutonium implosion design, because plutonium is a much easier fissile material to manufacture. The second test (and subsequent tests, for that matter), unlike the first, seems to have released no radionuclides, making it difficult to speculate about whether it was even an actual nuclear detonation, much less the type.

Wikipedia actually provides a fairly good overview - and

"Modern nuclear weapons are extremely precise devices, "

True, but being extremely precise does not preclude being basic mechanisms. They are hard to design, hard to build and take a lot of very expensive and rare components.

But when finished, they aren't complicated. There's no reason (besides radioactive decay and metal fatigue) why a well maintained nuclear warhead will go bad sitting in a silo. There's no reason for the US warhead stock to be unreliable just because there haven't been any weapons test since 1992.

Hey June Bug! Are you doing the Jitterbug Waltz?

"impressive conventionalial (non-nuclear) military capability"

Iraq had the "4th largest army in the world" too! Routed in the Gulf War in 2 days, Baghdad fell in 3 weeks in the second war.

In 1950, a much less impressive North Korean Army captured Seoul in 3 days against a numerically superior South Korean Army. Soon after, the North Koreans routed U.S. & UN forces into a wild retreat to the south tip of Korea (Pusan) ... U.S. Army troops were seen in panic retreat, abandoning their weapons & supplies to the North Koreans. MacArthur's surprise flanking attack at Inchon turned the tide temporarily. But a few months later an attack by the Red Chinese Army sent the overextended American troops into the longest retreat in U.S. military history.

The Korean War was no cakewalk and is still in stalemate. Trump and other American warhawks have no clue about the history and dire risks of 'conventional' warfare with North Korea. Millions died with much less lethal weapons than today.

I am well aware of the history of the Korean War.

The US military in 1950 was a hollow force suffering from the post WW2 demobilization.

The 2017 US military is the greatest military force in history.

We should try to avoid war if possible but I'd rather my daughters not live under the threat of a mad regime forever. We have talked to the norks for two decades and they just continue to acquire a nuclear threat.

Time to end it.

" I’d rather my daughters not live under the threat of a mad regime forever...Time to end it."

.. tough talk is cheap to produce, but the consequences can be gravely expensive to others

there's no way you are willing to sacrifice the limbs & lives of YOUR children to end that "mad regime" now

nor are you even willing to give your own life/limbs or financial assets to end it now

instead, you casually expect other Americans' sons & daughters (and many more Korean men/women/children) to suffer and die for your arbitrary political objectives. --- very convenient from your easy chair

"We should try to avoid war if possible but I’d rather my daughters not live under the threat of a mad regime forever."
Unless it is a regime Americans borrow money and buy cheap underwears from. Americsn hypocrisy sickens me.

The actress broke from the waltz. She jumped from one leg to the edge of the stage, raised her toes in an arabesque under a palo verde

"5. Josh Barro of BI."

Wow, that's a poorly written article.

First, it's noticeable how many of these critical articles are being written without actually linking to the text of the memo.

"If it is true that aggregate population differences mean that a majority of the suitable candidates in a field are men, that can make it more important for firms in that field to undertake aggressive efforts to recruit and retain women. Otherwise, firms may end up with an employee base of which only a small minority is women, even when women make up a larger minority of the suitable candidates."

He postulates a result (women will end up with an even smaller minority), without any reason why this would come about. He's obviously rationalizing.

"to a conclusion that specific efforts at Google to recruit and retain women and underrepresented minority candidates are counterproductive and should be ended."

Yes, and what exactly is wrong with saying that some of the specific efforts are counterproductive.

From the Memo:

"I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism)."

"The claim at the top of the memo — "discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business" — is a straw man."

This is a ridiculous statement. Somebody stating their own opinion is not a straw man. The author either doesn't know what a straw man argument is or he's a hack.

Seriously, if you're too ascared or smart to take on the claims of the author directly, at least grapple with the take of notorious Fascist Scott Alexander:


"First, it’s noticeable how many of these critical articles are being written without actually linking to the text of the memo."

That's the whole point. They can't if they want their narrative to hold water. It's why there's an active misinformation campaign regarding this across the entire MSM right now.

Selectively quoting from the memo is exactly what the author of the memo intended:

That's another bad article. How hard is it to understand? "Men are taller than women on average" does not erase a 6' 10" woman. I can look at her, see she exists, and yet stand by the statement.

Most women aren't cut out to be Google engineers. Simple fact. And it sounds bad until you realize that most men aren't cut out to be Google engineers either.

The mystery is not that women aren't willing to put up with whatever it takes to achieve in such hyper-competitive endeavors, it's that a tiny sliver of men (and perhaps an even tinier sliver of women) are that nuts.

"That’s another bad article."

Its vox. They only publish that kind of article.

man, those ideological echo chambers are so problematic, right dude?

I don't think that Damon deserved to be fired or that his guess that its preferences causing a good chunk of the gap is heresy, but that vox article, which is written by a woman in tech explaining why women in tech reacted the they did, is 'bad' in what sense?

She even agrees with your claim in this section:
"3) The author cites science about “averages.” But Google isn’t average."

Other women in tech had different reactions. Who is this women to speak for "women in tech"?

She didn't engage any specific claims put forth. That tells me that she is smarter than her ragged article lets on.

She even agrees with your claim in this section: “3) The author cites science about “averages.” But Google isn’t average.”


indeed, Google is not average, which makes the issues that he's pointed out much more severe at their level.

The lack of understanding of the most basic concepts of statistics demonstrated by virtually everyone whining about the memo has been hilarious.

This. Few men qualify to work at google because few men have the capabilities.

This isn't strange, weird or anything at all except in the fevered imaginations of 'journalists' and rabble rousing feminists.

Occupations that attract women are ones amenable to adjustment for the needs and desires of the women who want to do it. And good for them. Some occupations cannot be adjusted for many reasons. The men working there are content. Good for them.

"The author either doesn’t know what a straw man argument is or he’s a hack."

Why can't it be both?

According to wikipedia, "In early 2013, he was a prominent supporter of a potential trillion dollar coin,"


"Why can’t it be both?"

I can't argue with that. It could well be both.

...which seems more likely to be more true to you: Political correctness has led Google to choose too many female candidates for tech jobs over more-talented men? Or that a combination of the factors I described at the top of this post has created an excessive male skew in tech employment at Google and other tech firms, even if perfect personnel practices would not eliminate the skew entirely?

Yeah, that is simply not what is alleged by the memo's author, so the correct answer is "neither one, Barro, you twit."

FWIW the Bloomberg editors came out against the firing. Hell, if I were Barro I'd play devil's advocate just to balance that fact.

Actually attempting to balance that fact could get one fired. I take it back.

#5 So much cognitive dissonance, so little time.

#6 Without serious computational power (and sometimes even with it...), the only way to know is to detonate them under field conditions. During the Cold War, the US estimated that even with huge amounts of atmospheric and underground detonations data and super computer models that 5% of our warheads during deployment would still be duds. This percentage was even higher for the Soviets. Nuclear weapons despite their age are incredibly sophisticated pieces of technology. Everything has to work perfectly.

I would surmise that the percentage would be statistically significant for the Chinese and N. Koreans, to the point of mandating double-sorties on any and all targets. At least that's what I would do. Scary.

Barro's piece is badly argued and he should be fired for incompetence.

4. Immigrants will be the ruin of America.........

India's move up the chess ranking to 5th for both men and women (US men 3rd, US women at 9th) is a more remarkable story. (Source

"The three found themselves in St. Louis on that sunny spring day — and playing under the American flag — in very American ways. Nakamura wasn’t born here (he was born in Japan), but he moved here when he was 2 years old. Caruana was born here (in Florida), but moved away (Spain, Hungary, Switzerland) to train. So wasn’t born here either (Philippines), but moved here (Missouri) to attend college."

When one can buy mercenaries (soldiers or chess players), why would one concern oneself with the troubles of fighting or training? At the end, the foederati will be the death of America as they were the death of Rome.

The USA! USA! USA! has always been a nation of immigrants (until recently) TR. Compare with Brazil, which stopped being a nation of immigrants as soon as slavery was abolished in the late 19th century.

Not true. Japanese immigration to Brazil lasted from 1908 (20 years after the last slaves were fred) to at least the Japanese rebellion in São Paulo State in 1946, maybe even beyond. German and Italian immigration continued for a few yers after emancipation. President Temer's parents were Arab immigrants and his family was very poor. Now, he is so respested and accomplished, an entire street in his parents' birth country was named after him.

7. Sounds like spam.

2. '“The syllabus did not conform with the university’s rigorous expectations and policy regarding academic standards for grading,” Benjamin C. Ayers, dean of the Terry College of Business, said in a written statement." Right, with such rigorous expectations we can't tolerate violence in the war room. .

#6: Would the DPRK be able to launch a successful EMP attack on the United States with the warheads and launch vehicles that they've presumably got? If so, accuracy would be less important, it wouldn't be necessary to have a reentry vehicle that could survive all the way down into the lower troposphere, and the reduced need for heat shielding would allow for a heavier warhead.

I've been trying to find out whether such an EMP attack is a serious possibility, and haven't run into anything definite. I've found several articles, but the various authors' responses to this technological question seem to correlate strongly with their ideological positions, or those of the media outlets in which they appear.

Probably not except Hawaii due to what I believe are serious limitations on the upper limit of the rocket "throw weight". Ever since the acknowledgement of EMP as a variable in an exchange the US military, for the most part, has hardened weapon and infrastructure against it and its effect would be reduced against mission critical systems. I.e. an EMP strike would be largely counterproductive and would produce a massive response.

The civilian sector is less hardened although many systems (aircraft, some power, comms etc.) are sufficiently rugged to survive. It is the civilian sector that would be most affected, the question would be for how long...

The civilian sector is what I'd be concerned about.

I don't expect that the DPRK will ever develop the ability to launch a first counterforce strike on the US. I envision a scenario more like Pyongyang crossing the 38th parallel in force, and informing Seoul's allies that any serious effort on their part to defend South Korea will lead to a retaliatory nuclear strike against their economic infrastructure.

Under such circumstances, the Great Successor would have nothing to lose, since a conventional response to a massive DPRK attack would almost certainly be followed by a counterattack into NK and regime change. If the threat of nuclear attack deterred such a conventional response, he'd come out ahead; if the threat didn't deter, was made good, and was responded to with mushroom clouds over Pyongyang and all suspected Führerbunker locations, he wouldn't wind up any more dead than if he'd been, say, hauled out of a spider-hole and hanged by the new regime.


The Korea scenario is very scary. Culturally, under the "Juche" ideology death is preferable to dishonor...classic Asian loss-of-face mentality. legitimately backed against a wall, I think they wouldn't hesitate to take a few hundred thousand in Seoul with them conventionally or a few million with nukes or chem.

The geopolitical ramifications would be tectonic. Something not seen since last century.

North Korea doesn't have anywhere near the nuclear or chemical force to kill "a few million" South Koreans.

Seoul is one of the most densely packed metros on planet earth. It accounts for almost half of S. Korea's population. Even a low yield (30kt or less) in N. Seoul would outright kill a million people and they likely have several warheads in this class. Easily.

Conventionally they have north of 800 artillery tubes and 400-500 MLRS (Grad/Smerch - 122mm or 230mm) believed to be dedicated just for Seoul that could likely throw close to 3000-5000 tons of ordinance within the 1st hour within a decreasing intensity due to depletion and counter-battery as time goes on, but almost certainly for a solid 24hr period Seoul would be under an intense barrage. This does not take into consideration what they could do if these were chemical rounds with nerve or blister style agents.

A few million. Absolutely a possibility.

A 15 ktn bomb killed around 100,000 over Hiroshima even if not as dense as Seoul. There is no way that such a bomb could kill close to a million in Seoul. If North Korea used its entire nuclear arsenal then up to a million could die at this point but not "millions."

"#6: Would the DPRK be able to launch a successful EMP attack on the United States with the warheads and launch vehicles that they’ve presumably got?"

They don't have nearly the range, assuming the use of a missile. Granted, they could always load a warhead up in a private plane and attempt to infiltrate American airspace, but assumeably the NSA watches for that type of activity.

How recent is this information? Articles in the August 10 Washington Post and New York Times indicated that the most recent test showed the potential capability of reaching substantial portions of the Lower 48. The Post's analysis showed most of the country within range, save for the portion southeast of a line running roughly from D.C. to the southern tip of Texas; the Times didn't show a map, but their expert put the range limit somewhere between Denver and Chicago.

"How recent is this information?"

Sorry, it looks like I was wrong. I was going off of the estimates from May. Apparently, the later launches were two stage with much longer effective ranges.

So, assuming they have a warhead small enough to fit on the longest range missile, they have the capability of doing substantial damage to the US.

Look, there are two and a half reasons we haven't stamped out NK:
1) It's got SK as a hostage
2) it's been annoying, but not actually dangerous/damaging
3) China

That's it. They have no military ability to stop a serious American attack on them.

Once NK starts nuking American soil and/or shutting down states with EMPs, 2 is gone, China is pretending they don't know them, and... hope you have adequate bomb shelters in Seoul, guys.

#5 again:
Barro is right, that men's greater biological predisposition to go into careers in technology may have various secondary effects in discouraging women from choosing such careers. For example, many women may find a predominantly male workplace unpleasant, and so choose a career where they will not be much in the minority. But how big a "problem" is this? How much of our resources should we devote to trying to make technological fields prospectively more attractive to young women? I suspect that the vast majority of women who are naturally somewhat inclined toward technology but are discouraged by the male dominance of the field have other career options that are just as appealing, or *almost* as appealing, as the technological option, so that nothing or almost nothing is lost if they choose one of these other options. Then it is not worth much to take measures (most of the ones actually taken would probably be ineffective, anyway) to reconfigure working conditions so as to encourage women to choose careers in technology.

If women who have already been trained in a technological field are widely discriminated against in employment, an opportunity exists for a company to hire these women, since they will accept lower pay than comparable men. This will undermine the discrimination, which will tend to be competed away in a free market. Companies that do not discriminate will have a competitive advantage over those that do. Since our government is not enforcing anti-woman discrimination (this was not always the case!), I do not believe it exists industry-wide, or at Google in particular.

Barro suggests, without offering any evidence, that the biological difference between the sexes, while it explains some of the gender gap at companies like Google, does not explain the entire gap. That is a debatable point, depending somewhat on what is meant by 'explain'; but why, instead of debating the point, did Google management *fire* the writer of the memo?

Barro ends with a question: "which seems more likely . . .: Political correctness has led Google to choose too many female candidates for tech jobs over more-talented men? Or that a combination of the factors I described at the top of this post [stereotyping in hiring, self-stereotyping by women, prejudice by male personnel officials, male culture uncomfortable for women] has created an excessive male skew in tech employment at Google and other tech firms, even if perfect personnel practices would not eliminate the skew entirely?" I would say it is very, very likely that both are true, with this qualification: 'excessive' and 'perfect' are value-terms, and I suspect that Barro and I do not agree about their application in this context.

The funny thing about the Google memo is that the writer was calling for a more "person friendly" work culture as a better way to increase female numbers than mere affirmative action or recruiting.

The mob prefers ideological purity to actually increasing female numbers.

Not that I really care if they frag their own.

I assume that the "they" you imply in "their own" are SJWs or some such abstraction.

But for me the community that is more relevant is the Googlers, because I am a Googler. And I damn well do care if we frag our own.

[All comments here are my own, I am not speaking for the company. Obviously.]

My biggest takeaway from Google's religious defence of ideology over objective reasoning is that Google's search results are almost certainly manipulated for political gain.

I had questioned those claims before. But Google seems about as sensible as the office of diversity at Mizzou.

"My biggest takeaway from Google’s religious defence of ideology over objective reasoning is that Google’s search results are almost certainly manipulated for political gain."

I always considered that idea as more conspiracy than truth, but this kind of event has elicited a change in my behavior. I modified my default search engine to be duckduckgo after using Google for over a decade. Mostly that's a protest against their outrageous behavior, but it's also because of a drop in trust.

"I always considered that idea as more conspiracy than truth, but this kind of event has elicited a change in my behavior..."

Right. I'm not particularly sympathetic to conspiracy theories but I am sympathetic to arguments that some of these institutions are sure making it easy to believe in them.

Me too.

Switching to duckduckgo seems like a no brainer

How would you know they manipulate search results? The fact you have to guess is the real problem here. In fact, is Google so idealist they woukd only abuse their quasi-monopoly on internet search for ideological reasons, but never business reasons?

Look up in google images, "white man white woman" and see if you find any peculiar results. That's a funny one. Look at political commentators The Young Turks (progressive) and Louder with Crowder (not insane) on YouTube, specifically in regards to restricted mode. (Louder with Crowder is largely scrubbed out of existence in restricted mode, despite being FCC compliant, and The Young Turks are just fine despite naughty words)

DuckDuckGo seems to have similarly curious search results.

Hm, yes it does. I'll be ready to post again in about 15 minutes...

There are other examples if you want me to find them for you. Google's manipulation of YouTube results is probably the best documented, promoting ideologically pure videos during, say, Pride Week, and disable/manipulate like/dislikes, comments, etc.

But, thankfully, they are not using their newfound power to make money or manipulate the market, just to support gys and women (or feminists at any rate). Because they are that awesome. I say, follow the money.

I would be a lot more OK with this if it were about the money. I understand greed. Everything I've seen points to it being ideologically driven, though, and... crikey, seeing 8 year old drag queens twerking as a promoted video does not normalize teh gheys, at least to me. I think they are just simply losing touch with reality.

So if they are not making gays dominate society and are not convincing dogs to like cats, who cares? Yes, they can further an agenda and harm another (I don't, Palestines against Israelis or Atheists against crystal healers), but the fact they have such power is in itself a problem. As for greedy being understandable, so is hatred, but I do not want Google drones to hunt down everyone who has slighted their chairman (or do they have a chairwoman? I have no idea).

Their HR policy may be harsh, but, as results searchs go, they have much power no matter which side they take or even if they take no side. It is time to pull the plug and break Google up as it was done with Standard Oil, ITT and the Soviet Union.

From Business Insider two days ago - 'James Damore, the Google engineer who was fired after writing the now infamous memo about the company's diversity practices, has removed mention of doctoral studies in biology from his LinkedIn profile.

The Wired writer Nitasha Tiku confirmed with Harvard on Tuesday that Damore had not completed his Ph.D.

A Harvard representative confirmed to Business Insider that Damore was enrolled in the program but hadn't completed the doctorate, though he did receive a master's degree in biology. The representative did not say why Damore left the program, but it's not uncommon for people to pause their doctoral studies.

Damore's biology studies became a crux of a right-wing argument that he had credibility in claiming that biological differences between men and women explained a lack of gender diversity at Google.'

It seems as if many men find it better to talk about how unfair Google was in firing a man who publicly claimed a Harvard PhD he had not earned, than talking about the biological basis for why some men are simply incapable of not lying about their credentials in public. Not to mention not providing any constructive ideas of how to create a more welcoming workplace environment for such liars.

Perhaps he should seek employment in Germany where lying about one's academic credentials is a national pastime.

"Has removed mention of doctoral studies in biology from his LinkedIn profile.

The Wired writer Nitasha Tiku confirmed with Harvard on Tuesday that Damore had not completed his Ph.D."

LOL, that's a really pathetic attempt at an Ad Hominem argument. Whether he completed his Ph. D or not has absolutely no bearing on the Diversity memo he wrote.

"Damore’s biology studies became a crux of a right-wing argument that he had credibility in claiming that biological differences between men and women explained a lack of gender diversity at Google."

No, they didn't. That's a huge straw man argument. Indeed, I hadn't even heard that he had a Masters in Biology until this post. You are just debasing yourself by making a spurious argument.

Funny how aggressive mass media and left twitter are at going over every detail of the lives of conservatives and liberal heretics. Well, not funny.

Business Insider employs Barro fyi.

It's neither funny nor surprising. It's about enforcing the purity of an especially dubious ideological construct ("diversity") and that requires employing the lowest sort of political methods.

'LOL, that’s a really pathetic attempt at an Ad Hominem argument.'

No, it is merely proof that Damore lied in public about having a Harvard PhD. One that involved biology. What you could say is that such a fact undermines Damore's attempt to try to use another fallacy, arguing from authority -

'No, they didn’t.'

Well, at least you have the good taste to never read what the pack leader of the rabid puppies writes, then. Even if a number of alt right people are devoted fans of the seemingly self proclaimed voice of god - 'If anyone is going to be fired as a result of this, it should not be James Damore, who has a PhD in Biology from Harvard and therefore is unlikely to be opining in ignorance, but rather, the SJW co-workers who are demonstrating their complete lack of corporate professionalism. Nor is Damore alone in his rather mild criticism of the SJW excesses there. As always, the SJWs overestimate their strength, even in one of their most influential strongholds.'

'Indeed, I hadn’t even heard that he had a Masters in Biology'

That is because he lied about having a PhD, and it was only after someone checked his claim a couple of days ago that he was revealed to be a liar, and his Harvard academic credential properly referred to in following media coverage.

And let us not play any games - Theodore Beale, in apparent Italian exile, is very much part of the alt right mainstream. Though he would probably be insulted by not being considered one of the alt right's most fearless leaders by anyone with enough minimal Latin knowledge who does not snicker at his pretensions. Everybody else just laughs at the idea that the yapping of a rabid puppy is worth anything more than a mild chuckle when reading there. Admittedly, his humorous ranting can be considered an acquired taste, at least by someone completely unaffected by his various crusades.

#6: The chess move to really scare North Korea witless would be to suddenly evacuate Seoul.

That is pretty good.

Absolutely, but obviously impossible in the real world. Might scare them into a first strike though.

Sometimes practical, ethical, and optimal game theory moves are not the same.

From listening to Dan Carlin's Hardcore History episode entitled "The Destroyer of Worlds" ( ), it seems pretty clear that up until the Cuban Crisis, and possibly a couple of years past it, a first nuclear strike against the Soviet Union was feasible, was likely to result in the destruction of 0 to 1 US cities, and would have removed part of the treat of nuclear annihilation. This would have been a great bonus to eastern Europe, and possibly a bonus to the surviving Russians.

Thankfully, this "feasible" option was never tried, no matter what would "likely" result or "possible" bonuses to Russian (I should probably say human) survivors of nuclear destruction.

I doubt the government and people of South Korea are interested in scaring Kim Jong-un witless.

#2. A good lesson in contradictory incentives. The adminicritters claim to want academic rigor while also demanding customer-student satisfaction, which overwhelmingly favors laxity. The professor took the initiative to increase customer satisfaction--and not coincidentally did so in a manner that would expose clearly the ever thinning veneer of academic rigor--but that would devalue the credential as no better than a paper mill, and as a result was rapped on the knuckles for failing to play along with the farce.

Just singed up for 7. Thanks for the heads-up. I participated in the first year of Tetlock's Good Judgment Project and it was interesting.


#3. Isn't dodging bicycles an important phase in the life cycle of a toadlet? Like somewhere between being eaten by predators and dying of dehydration on a sunny day?

#5 is totally bogus. Why do we even care if a certain number of women really are pushed out of IT? Who is "we" here? Are we talking about the country and its GDP? Well, in that case I think is insane to think that a smart woman who is somehow discouraged by going into IT will simply become a low wager or give up on work completely (if he disagrees I believe the burden of proof is on him). If "we" is IT companies, you have to imagine that some companies will insist on hiring women anyway and, if they benefit disproportionally from it, others would follow. Again, that should not mean that this banner of "equality" should be a national principle. It is a business decision, which could (and should) be challenged not on ideological grounds but on practical results.

By the way, where is the push to get more men to be nurses and elementary school teachers???

#5: Just another idiot who feels more intelligent that managers above him.

It doesn't matter if he's right or wrong, or if he speaks the truth. The thing that matters is that by criticizing management for whatever reason he signals low reliability as an employee.

Poor idiots who think they're better than company owners or higher managers are always fired.

In simpler words: the way the message was transmitted is more important than the content.

Unless you happen to be, say, the CEO of Mozilla and your snowflake employees complain that your personal political donations reflect a lack of commitment to the idol of diversity.

It's Google management that invited internal discussion, employees are open to freely discuss even challenge policies, blah blah blah.
He was just too naive and not cynical enough. That doesn't make him an idiot.

But his lying about having a Harvard PhD in public does make him a liar. One could even go so far as to say an idiotic liar, of course. Likely explained by biology.

@paul, you're right. naive is more appropriate than idiot.

Anyway this is an example of what happens when managers invite to an open discussion.

4. If one of those Americans wins a chess championship, it will be interesting to see how they did it. Some luck of course, but also, one asks oneself - Better nutrition, including a testosterone boosting diet for the final stages of competition? An expert sport psychologist telling the insufficiently-self-aware creative genius that, as he knows but intermittently forgets, there are other creative geniuses out there, and he needs to focus on when he is being creative in a successful way and when he is just fooling himself? Or (and this is my best guess, but we will never know) a chess player's version of a rehab stint where the very good player is reminded, again and again, to recognize that his style fools almost all of the people almost all of the time - which is how he got to the comfortable place he is - but that winners do not have a recognizable style ***while*** they are winning. Chess is not fashion which is why it is not covered in Vogue or even Paris Vogue - a recognizable style only does you good if you are a Morphy or someone whose grandparents can remember the days of Morphy - everyone should know that. A fascinating style no longer intimidates at the higher levels. (A few years ago Phil Mickelson, the left-handed golfer, lost a championship by a couple of strokes - his haircut was sloppy, and his putting was a little bit off: as anyone knows who has ever had a bad anti-symmetrical and too-long hairstyle on a day that makes people sweat, the world does not grant you the same balance it would if your haircut were a winner's haircut: the next year, with a better haircut, he won the same championship tournament. Just saying. That being said, any of the three chess players discussed at the line could be world champion of chess in the near future, and I have no idea which of the three it is most likely to be, and we will never know how they did it).

Since this is an econ blog, I add these facts: in the Soviet Republics plus the Warsaw Pact vassal captive nations, circa 1965 or so, there were probably 2 to 3 thousand individuals who could afford a relatively nice home or apartment (compared to their neighbors) simply by dint of their work in the field of chess (chess teachers, actual competitors, chess journalists, club coordinators, et cetera). In the USA today there are maybe 20 or 30 people who can afford a nice house in a nice neighborhood based solely on chess-related skills. (When I get bored at airports I try and imagine all the real estate owned by various groups of people - NFL veterans, as a group, could basically own all the real estate in Greenwich Village or Marin county, while baseball vets could own Soho or Martha's Vineyard ... economic professors would own one nice house, no more, in each county, not including Texas and Alaska. Retired generals who did not go the Beltway Bandit route own about ten nice houses per state. People like me own one nice house per time zone. You get my drift).

in case you are the one in a billion individual persons or the one in a trillion bots who cares what I meant when I said "people like me own one nice house per time zone": there are about ten people in the US who are middle aged veterans and who learned something about the value of fighting for what one believes, long ago, from the example of a next door neighbor who was, in turn a veteran of the Spanish American War (do the math: it works out). Four such people have nice houses, one each per time zone. I don't: you would drive by the places I have lived in and wonder if people minded that they had to live in such a place: and - to continue - if you were really aware of what this world that we live in is, you would realize the efforts I needed to make to keep the vermin at bay: not just the ants, but almost every other insect that victimizes whenever it can in order to survive: I have been successful at keeping the cockroaches and slugs and flies at bay, but it has taken an effort: that being said, it was all worth it: every animal (three wonderful dogs and an almost human cat) that has lived with me has lived (or is living) a heavenly life: it has been worth it. (And I bear no ill will to the family friendly cockroaches, the simple-minded but happy slugs, or the almost athletic - sadly for them, not as athletic as me - flies) Either you care about others or you don't. It is no small thing to rejoice in the happiness of others: one each per time zone, not including me: and I, like the other six, am happy for every one of them.

like the other nine.

As always, sorry if you read a long comment and regretted it, wishing you had spent your time in a better way. If you feel I have robbed you of time better spent otherwise, I am sorry: that being said, I have some friends (some, in this context, meaning lots and lots and lots) who spend their lives praying for others and being otherwise generally useful: they will pray for you, whether I ask them to or not. It is no small thing to be prayed for by lots and lots of people. Please do not respond in an unkind way: while I am always happy to be glared at (every time I am glared at I say to myself: there is someone who needs the prayers of the people I know who pray for people who glare at people) I would prefer, here and now, if the people who want to say something nasty would resist that temptation. (And if you do say something nasty, please indicate which person you have heard of I was pastiching in that last sentence. If you get it right I will literally rejoice at the complexities of God's creation, and will pray for you in a special way!)

"I would prefer, here and now, if the people who want to say something nasty would resist that temptation." That is a pastiche of a writer who died in the twentieth century. A very good writer, but not one who really understood other people all that well. Each of us will one day understand other people well, or not - that is why, for the record, "literature" is something we will leave behind, eventually, or won't - anyway, if you really like and respect that writer, you will know who it is. God loves him, despite his faults. Life is simple. All I wanted to say is that every animal who has lived in my house has considered it a sort of heaven. Sorry if I like to brag. I wish everybody understood.

1713-1768; that is more than a hint (there is only one well-know author with those dates).

Yes I realize 1768 is not the 20th century, I got 1713-1768 mixed up with 1888-1948 (neither one - baby 1768 or baby 1888 - would ever say they were not deeply flawed: they were.) If you read the Old Testament - a short book, really, with only 8000 different words - you will notice there are about a thousand or so characters who are named and about whom some specific details are given. Of that approximate thousand, three or four at most were flawless. If I could only pastiche flawless people my days as a pasticheur (for which I would not get paid in any event) would be over. Well that would be nice, but we live in the world we live in, as the philosophers like to say. Well all but the worst ones. There are better days ahead, we have been promised that, and we are allowed to hope that the bad philosophers of today will be something else, something amazing, in those better days.

By the way, "family friendly cockroaches" is not a phrase one comes across often, so I will try my best to explain it. I used to live in an apartment that was subjected to constant invasions by cockroaches. I learned to love the little creatures: I refused to use chemicals against them, and when I would turn on the light and they would scatter, I remember how, when you approached a few of them, the older cockroaches would put themselves in your way, so that if anybody would be smashed, it would be them, and not the little ones they were trying to protect. (This is a true memory: they are noble, family-friendly creatures, who are willing to die for each other). Also, some of the big ones would trust me enough to unconcernedly drop from the ceiling onto my face in the middle of the night (This is true too) and then would saunter off, with an insulted air, when I would flail about, as anybody else would in a similar situation (I am no fan of Zach Galafinkulas but that is exactly how he walked away, in an offended manner, in that movie with Robert Downey II). I am not saying I miss them: I am just saying I liked them, and wished them the best, as long as they did not create too much harm in their simplistic innocence. Life is simple: while I could talk for an hour or so on the ways and byways of cockroaches, any one of us could just as easily spend an hour talking about those we care about, in a minimal way, or those we love (in something that could not be called a minimal way), and that would be as good or better. As good or better. I wish everybody understood.

"As good or better" was the goal of what I was trying to say. If you want to criticize, feel free: I once posted a statement (on a piece of paper) on the basement Bulletin Board at an "elite" department at a (not-super-elite) university: a week later we stopped back and saw a humorous response (on another piece of paper) to my "statement", and we laughed. I remember, she does not: if she remembered, and I did not, that would make no difference. Everyone has the capability to understand: what a beautiful memory it is to have laughed with her! Just as much as I remember, and she does not: she remembers, and I do not. Every once in a while I remember that everybody has memories as good or better than mine: but maybe I have been a friend to people who never had a friend in this world, and maybe that is the only thing we were put in this world to do. A thousand years from now, maybe that is what I will remember. So will you, too, hopefully. Life is simple. Cor ad cor loquitur.

When I die I assume there will still be a few people alive who were friends with veterans of the Spanish-American war: I was not bragging about that: all of us have specific facts in our background that are fascinating. Perhaps one day the world will be ruled by cockroaches or by bots that might as well be cockroaches - libertarian ones, at worst, reasonable Thomistic ones at best - and if that happens, I would not want them remember me in any special way, because God loves us all. Imagine Ralph Richardson reading out loud these comments: why not? That being said, I have never seen anything funnier than that large cockroach offendedly stalking away because I flailed around a little when he dropped on my face when I was sleeping. He thought we were friends and that I would laugh: I remember. None of us are happy remembering when we disappointed others. then again: cor ad cor loquitur. There are better days ahead, we have been promised that.

as always, thanks for not replying in a negative way. believe me I understand why you would want to criticize. i put my heart out there in a way that, i recognize, might have seemed rather self-satisfied: believe me, though, it wasn't. Notice what I did not say. and what I did not claim as having been blessed to have experienced. thanks for understanding that. I hope you noticed. there is so much that I will never claim to have been blessed to have experienced. but the part about being a friend to those without friends - I am happy that those words are easy for me to say. It is no small thing to be a friend to creatures who have never known what it is to have a friend. That was easy to say!

yes one of those Americans will win.

...more specifically: I would take a bet at even odds on one of the three winning a world championship within the next 5 years. Btw, thanks, as always, for the bandwidth.

and if you are good at chess and reading this, and thinking that I am some faker who does not understand basic statistics and who is not good with words, or is "only good with words" and who wasted your time with "non-scientific" "social sciences", let me say this: I could have done better. much better: I left out the important beloved people in my life. Sure I stand by my stated appreciation, strange as it seems, of the cockroaches and other unloveable "vermin" I tried to describe with basic human affection (I tried to describe with basic human affection); but believe me, if I thought this were the time and place to say how blessed I have been with loving friends who would say the same of me: I would have. I would rewrite even Hamlet, in the way we all rewrite our past lives when we dream in healthy sleep, as a better play than it is, if I could: poor little Hamlet would talk, better than you can imagine, about how he finally realized how much he lost when he did not realize how much he had when Ophelia told him she loved him, and he just didn't care (sad!), and so on. We are almost all fantastically less eloquent than we should be. Thanks for the bandwidth. Excelsior, as Snoopy and Woodstock like to say. There are better times ahead, we have been promised that.

better: Romans 11:33-36.

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