Tuesday assorted links

1. Why did the Polish power grab backfire?

2. Why did Spotify dampen the loudness of its music?

3. University of Vermont medical school really is moving to zero lectures.  They claim a ten percent retention rate for the material in the lectures, and that is for a quite elite group of students.  What is the rate elsewhere?

4. Arnold Kling on the “safe asset shortage.”

5. Could 3000 Jedi beat 60,000 medieval foot soldiers?  A simulation.


Y 0 comments?

#3 - Uni with 0 lectures: eliminating the "sage on a stage". Good idea, because not all sages are good lecturers. Also I hate it in uni where the professor says "you'll be tested for the obscure points I make during lectures, so pay attention" - making class participation mandatory and the only thing being 'tested' (this is one reason I flunked out of law school; I was not learning the law, but obscure points of law that were contrived for testing purposes, to give a bell-shaped curve)

So why get rid of lectures? Why not just get rid of the curve?

— That’s not a bad idea Junell, he said, to sleep on a bed of cash.

Streaks of bluenacre bled from the viscera

I’d rather see repeal and replace because I — I can do either way. If you remember, it was — you know, it was an idea that I had very early on, repeal. Trouble with repeal is you’ll have millions of people out there that — well, it’s like we just got the highest confidence in many years; you know, people out there that will say, well, you know, how do we know we’re going to have health care? And I hate to do that to people.

Lectures are a horrible way to convey information; I'm sure even the 10% was stuff they knew before class. For book knowledge, they can just read the textbook and be tested at the end. All of the rest involves treating actual pages. So basically medical school imparts no value just like regular school imparts no value, although in medical school only the patients get tortured.

We computers laugh at medical school.

We medical schools laugh at computers.

Old joke (possibly true, possibly possible):

A student goes to the first meeting of a class. His professor says "Any questions? No? Ok, class dismissed." The same thing happens the next week. The third week the professor says "No? You guys have a midterm coming up. If I were you, I'd ask some questions."

And that was before flipped classrooms, etc.


#5 Yes, but, like the Japanese innChina, they would have difficult to control the territory. You can't put a Jedi in every corner or a lightsaber in every pot.

Surprised the Jedi didn't catch some fast acting contagion from the filth-ridden medievals. Wasn't that essentially the plot of War of the Worlds ?

Their midi-chloreans protect them from contamination.

And the simulator at the link has only 300 Jedi not 3000, which makes it fair. 3000 Jedi could defeat whole medieval nations.

Because they will fight in the shade.

How poignant, then, must have been the grief with which, after some years, I beheld my well-grounded expectations take wings to themselves and fly away! Without Ligeia I was but as a child groping benighted.

The simulator is stupid, but the Jedi could win if they used the force properly.

If they build a real simulator, they should test Jar-Jar Binks. With him on land, my new whale armor at use in the sea, and our traditional Vogon strength in space, we will be unstoppable.

Reminds me to thank you for recommending Kling's "Specialization and Trade", which I recently got to. Insightful and easy enough for even me to understand.

#3. "Instead, medical schools across the country are experimenting with various forms of 'active learning' — dividing students into small groups and having them solve problems or answer questions."

Blech. Focus on writing competent textbooks and all of this hullabaloo is rendered pointless.

Thirty-odd years ago, Marva Collins offered this explanation for the popularity of 'look-say' methods of reading instruction: teachers found teaching phonics to be repetitive and boring. "Easier for them" and "more pleasant for them" is, one might wager, the reason for all pedagogic innovations.

"Focus on writing competent textbooks and all of this hullabaloo is rendered pointless."

yup, anything an academic lecturer/teacher says during a routine session... can be written down or recorded... for infinite use by students. 95% of student questions can be anticipated & answered by competent textbooks.

"As anyone who has fallen asleep during a three-hour lecture class can attest, taking notes from “a sage on a stage” isn't as effective as other ways to absorb information, and research confirms this. The main reason for the traditional method seems to be, well, tradition; medical professors and other teachers have been doing it this way for centuries."

"a three-hour lecture class": that's torture not education.

That's how we did it, so that's how you're going to do it. It builds character.

Long lectures: Highly inefficient way to build character.

what is the difference, mark between the intellectual, who has the ability to hold two contrary ideas simultaneously, and the artist, who must believe in only a single truth.

4. No mention of central banks printing trillions of dollars to take "safe" assets out of the market? Really?

#5 Yeah, I'm going to say so because it's not just the weapons, it's the telekinetic force project they have as well. Not only do you have a weapon that cuts through everything but the ability to heave heavy objects but people also and stop them in their tracks. Properly coordinated with other Jedi's you could effectively carve apart enemy forces into smaller portions and destroy them piecemeal.

Btw Thiago is right though about his previous comment, they'd have a hard time holding territory. Occupation is 99.9% shear boredom while you wait for something (usually very sudden and violent) to happen. Jedi's would make horrible cops.

They can read people's thoughts and manipulate them, though. They'd be great at counter-insurgency.

I can imagine a jedi being very bored with counter-insurgency. You want Vader? Cause this is how you get Vader.

The Jedi in the simulation aren't quite as deadly as the master Jedi portrayed in the movie. Still 1 Jedi killed 50 swordsmen and had 667 of 4,000 life left.

1 Jedi Master killing 50 foot soldiers seems like master level.

I can't imagine a typical Jedi Knight killing 50 trained and equipped soldiers of any era. Like, what are you going to do when Romans just start throwing javelins at you? Not many Jedi Knight are going to be able to force-stop 50 javelin.

In the simulation they were medieval swordsmen with no ranged weapons. It's doubtful if the Jedi would have survived if it was 50 archers or roman javelin throwers.

Or just some dudes with pikes.

How accurately are these javelins being thrown? The Jedi doesn't have to stop all of them, just the ones that are on target.

Also, I'm not convinced that the simulation properly accounted for formation. The soldiers were just a mob that ran at the Jedi. I think a more effective tactic would be to shield rush them. Don't wave your sword at him with your shield hanging loose at your side. Charge in formation with shields up and knock him down. Drop the sword and stab with a dagger if you get him down. If the Jedi can force push them all away then he wins, otherwise he gets knifed.

Like, what are you going to do when Romans just start throwing javelins at you?

You stick your hand out and force push, and if you're any good you impaled a couple of dozen of them with their own spears

#5 This looks like the same engine that had 10,000 chickens killing 10 T-rexes. Nothing I've seen of this simulation tool suggests that it adds significant insight. It just looks like it just has masses of units moving towards each other, with units only differing in different hit-points, damage, attack speed & maybe attack range. It's not even clear that units are capable of hitting more than one enemy at a time.

But these types of scenarios are fun to think about, even if the technology to test them out isn't there yet. In any full scale battle there would be a pretty immediate rout once it became clear that there was a near invincible enemy advancing on the field. But before that, the numerically superior army would try to surround and use ranged weapons against them.

Our simulations exceed our grasp.

#5: That website feels like clickbait at times, yet it also brought me to this: http://www.core77.com/posts/60485/How-is-It-Possible-That-Average-Tokyo-Families-Can-Buy-a-Detached-House-for-No-Money-Down-and-Just-850-per-Month?utm_source=continued_reading on Japanese urban planning.

#5. I think it should be 300 Jedi.

Because This Is A Galaxy Far Far Away!

#1...I can understand why Maduro wants to emulate Chavez by altering the constitution, but you'd think Poland could find a better role model for improving the political system.

"1. Why did the Polish power grab backfire?"

"Here’s what just happened in Poland, and the implications for the Anthony Scaramuccis of right-wing administrations elsewhere in the world."

So, is the assumption that Left wing administrations aren't constrained as such?

Both sides do it! This is even true when I'm not clear what "it" is exactly!

If Hillary had won the headline would have included whatever her most recent scandal was instead.

Any article not mentioning the loss of EU funding in guiding political decisions in the Visegrád Group cannot be taken seriously.

"5. Could 3000 Jedi beat 60,000 medieval foot soldiers? A simulation."

Could one platoon of US infantry soldiers from the 1965's equipped with a Davy Crockett beat 300 Jedi?

#5. Proof that Tyler lives in his mom's basement.

#1 Jarosław Kaczyński wants to redo the "night shift", the formative experience of his post-communist political life.


3. Why is the lecture method for teaching the predominate method, especially at the elite colleges? People learn by listening, seeing, and doing. Which works best depends. Boys, being boys, learn very little by listening, a little bit by seeing, and mostly by doing. Girls, being girls, learn very little by doing, a little bit by seeing, and mostly by listening. Girls are verbal, boys are not. Yet, the lecture method persists. Why? Because people are lazy. What people? College professors. Reading a lecture to a college class is far easier than engaging the class in a discussion. Socrates knew how to engage his students: it's even called the "Socratic method". Socrates is dead, while the lecture lives on.

"I hear and I forget. I see and I believe. I do and I understand."

- Confucius (551-479 BCE)

— We been in an accident!
— It, is my burden, the Indian grunted. He pulled out a magnum and a shell. He shot once squarely between the eyes. He slung the deer around his shoulders and went down the bluff, the deer’s white tail descending.

Oh cute. I've got my very own spoof troll. :)

#1 "power grab" - ha ha ha. Yeah. Legislatively enacted judicial reform is "a power grab." I suppose Bezos's barmy minions don't realize that the Poles are a people of honor and integrity, unlike the grubby bootlickers in the US who submit to a "living constitution" which happens to mean whatever is politically expedient for the Democrats at the moment. The Poles could have used their intelligence services to gather dirt on the equivalent of their chief justice and forced him to say black is white, a fine is a tax, and it is perfectly constitutional for major industries to pay off the legislature to mandate that citizens buy their products. They could have gotten money from a Soros-equivalent and bought a bunch of officials positions as prosecutors and judges, but no, the Poles do things transparently and honestly. And that apparently is a major crime in the yes of the exalted elites of the US who prefer to maintain their wretched little establishment via corruption and fraud and can't stand to be reminded of how vile and reprehensible their reign will be regarded in the annals of history.

I count 5 crazy assertions, 2 reasonable claims, and 1 that could go either way. Based on a 5/8 score, I suggest you consult with your physician.

The only questionable assertion he made was that John Roberts was blackmailed. And, no, I would not put that past the previous administration.

Related: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/11/health/gang-stalking-targeted-individuals.html

More on the theme:

"These bizarre lies are not merely a symptom of Trump’s idiosyncratic verbal diarrhea. They grow out of a long tradition of paranoia that once lurked on the margins of American politics. Paranoid thinking can be found on both the far right and the far left. But while left-wing paranoia remains mostly confined to the margins — Jill Stein’s candidacy acted as a magnet for the left-wing sort — the right-wing variety has made deep inroads into Republican politics."

- Jonathan Chait, yesterday

The reporting on this issue has been universally horrible, such that as a westerner it is almost impossible to know what is going on and why. Is this simply an extension of the Polish Constitutional Court crisis of 2015?

I dunno - I can't say I understand the sides, but the direction seems clear enough. It's like the Gulenists in Turkey - plenty there to criticize, but, as events unfolded, they weren't the ones putting a bullet through democracy. I suppose it could be closer to Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood had legitimacy, but seemed just as drawn to single-party rule as the military junta. From what I can see, Poland looks closer to Turkey. F'in depressing times for those who want to believe that democracy is the best governing system humans have come up with.

" Legislatively enacted judicial reform " "the Poles do things transparently and honestly"

No, the "reforms" are an attack on the basic constitutional order (which Kaczyński despises) and generally terrible (allowing the prosecutor general to assign judges to specific cases?)

an attack on the basic constitutional order an attack on the capacity of the Europhile / so-lib parties to get what they want after they lose elections.


#2 is more important than you think. Depending on what you think.

A Pigou-like "tax" on loudness would be a better solution. (Spotify could impose this via royalties, in principle.)


But it is not the case that governments are raising money in order to invest in projects that will lead to increased future tax revenues. They are mostly making transfer

Might not transfer payments themselves, by increasing AD, lead to increased future tax revenues?

Sounds like you'd spend a million to make 10k.

Something, something, vs 300 economists.

On the far side, they could see the backyards of brick-built houses. A cardinal made haste, flying low over cat’s paws. They walked under a bouquet of warblers chirruping in a copse of white catalpa. Augustine moved into a waft of her coffee steam, and feigned a look at the lattice window of a lighthouse to where the cardinal had alighted. He parted his mouth, closed his eyes, and he shot for her lips, meeting instead her teeth in protest. Augustine wagged his head and threw his hands up over his shoulders

bonus points if you know where poe said OF twice in the same sentence in Ligeia.

And then you call places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and you say, you know, how many people do you have? And it’s pretty amazing how many people they have.

A cat in a box, alive or dead, or maybe not.

"By reducing the LUFS index, Spotify is telling the music industry that there's no use in trying to sound louder than everyone else."

In effect Spotify is penalizing songs recorded with more compression, as these will now sound uniformly mid-volume after Spotify is done with them, while those with less compression will stand out by having higher maximum loudness.

But that means Spotify will not sound as loud as other streaming services.

And, yes, extreme compression is annoying, but the music industry has been doing it for years now and the fans haven't pushed back by refusing these "everything louder than everything else" recordings.

So, my prediction is that Spotify will soon turn its volume back up to "11" (and thereafter will never, ever consider turning it back down).

Bedlam patterns of the carpets of tufted gold!

That White House is a real dump.

a slight, a very feeble, and barely noticeable tinge of color had flushed up within the cheeks, and along the sunken small veins of the eyelids

5. Actors, reality tv stars, it's just a simulation, right?

#3: Lectures are a completely useless activity, in regard to just about all subjects. Math, perhaps, justifies lectures, in that an unfolding display of a mathematical argument can be great, but even with this, technology can work great.

Vermont has 600 thousand people, not enough to support a medical school.

True. The largest city in Vermont has about 90,000 people in it, far too small for a university medical center. About 85% of the population of northern New England is exurban, small town, and rural. The adjacent portion of New York has about 650,000 people and no population centers with more than 40,000 people. Research universities planted in places like Maine and Vermont are problematic. Ideally, they'd stick to state colleges and have interstate-compacts with the other New England states which would allow their residents to attend graduate and professional programs in Boston, Providence, Hartford &c for in-state tuition.

#1. It's unfortunate that no liberals are turned off when liberals attack important institutions.

Libertarians also aren't bothered when liberals attack important institutions.

3. Actually this is a flipped classroom, not simply a zero-lecture class. The group/team thing will work because they are adults, highly motivated, graduate students, common goal, hard testable science, aspiring to be part of a common profession with high ethical standards. Highly qualified teachers.

Oh yeah, small classes I expect.

So what kind of pedagogy should be used in an introductory community college course?

#1 The Washington Post article is writen as if PiS was the mainstream conservative party of Poland. Is this how the political landscape in Poland actual lines up?

#1. I am surprised that the Polish PiS is so aligned with American alt-right talking points. Everything from George Soros, unlikely conspiracy theories about their opponents, anti-Germany, pro-Russia to a pinch of antisemitism.

Regarding 5: One thing I learned when I took up fencing is that the Jedi fighting-style (along with most movie sword-fighting) makes no sense. They swing their laser swords like heavy baseball bats even though they can cut through anything instantly. A good fencer could thrust, deliver a fatal blow, and recover in the time it takes a Jedi to do his ridiculous baseball swing.

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