Tuesday assorted links


I hadn't realized that horse polo was an endurance sport.

But then, it also is not a sport 'dominated by white-collar workers,' which apparently means rich these days. From the article - 'the total cost of running a marathon—arguably the least gear-intensive and costly of all endurance sports—can easily be north of $1,600.' Which isn't enough to buy a respectable polo saddle, by the way - http://www.tackeria.com/contents/en-us/p840.html - 'handcrafted by a select team of saddlers in England.'

My reaction also: swimming and cycling may be expensive sports, but running? It's free to do, although admittedly not free to enter races. There is a reason why Ethiopians and Kenyans dominate in marathon, and it's not because those countries are so wealthy.

I also like the way the article fails to even consider the possibility that the same work ethic, discipline, and competitive spirit that drives athletes might also be useful in achieving career success. That would violate several taboos: (1) suggesting that athletics, especially where one keeps score, have any positive aspects; (2) suggesting that at least some income is the result of merit rather than luck; (3) suggesting that work ethic and discipline can contribute to success, either in sports or in one's career; (4) suggesting that competitiveness can be a healthy rather than purely destructive masculine characteristic.

This sounds right. Running and cycling are quite data driven, in tens of planning routes and distances, nutrition and timings so the skills that contribute to success at work also make you a better runner.

Personally, planning a trail run on Google Earth while calculating elevation, hydration, calories etc is just as much fun as doing the run.

It's a insane article with a complete nut job quote from the professor which states a conclusion with zero data or evidence. Running is about the cheapest "sport" in history. You can run essentially anywhere, and all the parks and trials are free. I spend 50 bucks a year on shoes. No other "equipment" and really just use free strava to assess progress and achievements. In fact you dont really need events anymore with the onset of strava leaderboards. That's really it.

I agree, Nick, the article's author, Brad Stulberg, appears to be trying to fan the flames of class warfare with a nonsense quote like the following, “The cost of equipment, race entry fees, and travel to events works to exclude lower socioeconomic status individuals,”

Last weekend I ran a half-marathon a few minutes from the homes of Silicon Valley deal makers in Woodside, California.
The cost: $45 plus a $6 parking fee. Beer and food were free after the event.

If you would like to run a marathon next year while enjoying the vistas of the Pacific Coast and the spectacular Marin Headlands with views of Tiburon, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, for $60 you can sign up with Coastal Trail Runs.


We've taken the cult of "non-judgmentalism" to such extremes that we forget certain fundamental truths: most "low-SES individuals" are "low-SES" because they aren't overflowing in the discipline department, or in things like time management, planning, etc. And being a marathoner or other type of athlete - especially in individual sports where you don't have coaches or teammates - is all about discipline.

Sure, there are exceptions - such as grad students - but they are "exceptions"...

It's the traveling to the race that makes it expensive.

Correct. And the same applies to other sports that are inherently low cost: soccer, basketball, even Ultimate frisbee. Like running, they can at one level be done very cheaply. All you need for Ultimate is a field and a frisbee. For basketball, courts are pretty much universally available in the US but you can also make do with just a basket and a small amount of space. For soccer you can use the street if you don't have a field, and any roundish lightweight object if you don't have a ball.

But that's just informal neighborhood games. If you're going to compete seriously at any of those sports, the costs rise sharply: basketball camps and traveling teams, same for soccer, and it's not a coincidence that Ultimate players are overwhelmingly college educated white collar workers, because there's no money in the sport and the most committed and serious players spend thousands of dollars a year traveling to tournaments with their team.

#1 No.

#3 Borders are real. Property is real. Walls are real. Jurisdiction is real. Physically limits movements of livestock (and other things) and psychologically denotes a boundary and all it implies to other people. Cheap. Fast. Effective. It was a fabulous invention when you think about it. Orders of magnitude better then the post fences, hedgerows and rock walls that came before it. We need a modern equivalent.

"We need a modern equivalent"

In what realm do you mean? As far as I know barbed wire is about as effective in physically deterring intruders today as it was in the 19th century.

Metaphorically I would say digitally also (for instance, finding some very accessible, ultra-cheap and easily end user configurable way around China's great Firewall or protect one's IP (blockchain maybe?) etc.) as far as realms but I did mean physical in this sense.

Barbed wire is quite easy to defeat by human/s that know what they're doing although in the 19th century sense completely useless for deterring people.

What I mean is a cheap, fast, effective equivalent that can secure (within reason) very large areas from casual encroachment by people with as minimal human oversight as you can manage. That just doesn't exist yet. The only thing I can think of would be a combination of something physical with a man-made water boundary (water is still surprisingly difficult and expensive for humans to cross) that would massively increase the opportunity cost of crossing said boundary, enough so to simply change access behavior by default.

“We need a modern equivalent”

We need a border wall!

Is this the place where I ask about the Google Diversity Memo? Or are we avoiding that one

Absolutely not, unless you want to be doxxed peon. They have diversity teams standing by...

Diversity is conformity. Dissent is forbidden.

Looks like the PC fascists running Google woke and decided to advance Trump's re-election.

There's a discussion about it in yesterday's links.

It was very Straussian

No it wasn't.

"Is this the place where I ask about the Google Diversity Memo? Or are we avoiding that one"

It would be a great topic to have its own dedicated thread. However, I believe Tyler is somewhat skittish about subjects that might draw the wrath of certain vocal advocacy groups.

It's an interesting topic because it cuts diagonally across the normal Leftwing/Rightwing paradigm.

A) Left wing male engineer posts anonymous long winded memo at Left leaning corporate
B) Post is somewhat rightwing. Somewhat truthful, somewhat wrong.
C) PC forces react in outrage that somebody might challenge the ideological orthodoxy.
D) Witch hunt ensues.
E) Corporate Google reacts in typical corporate fashion and immediately squashes employee that had the temerity to speak above his pay grade.

Are corporate memos really the appropriate forum for discussing the subject?
I don't know about you, but every place I've ever worked memos are generally reserved for official announcements by management. Not really a forum for arguing about politics or HR policy.
I don't know what the context exactly was, but anyone who sent out a corporate wide email blathering about his or her political opinions (no matter what they were about) would be subject to immediate discipline.

"Are corporate memos really the appropriate forum for discussing the subject? I"

No of course not. But in this case, it was not an email to the company. He posted it up on an internal Google discussion board, Google+.

Right. And Google's explanation for his firing had nothing to do with the appropriate or inappropriate posting method or forum, but rather only with the content of the document (which, of course, the CEO mischaracterized as claiming that women are biologically unsuited to work in tech).

'However, I believe Tyler is somewhat skittish about subjects that might draw the wrath of certain vocal advocacy groups. '

American company owners, not to mention policy institutes like the Mercatus Center, are never going to the support the idea that employees have any rights which impede employers from getting rid of any employee at any time the employer wishes.

In Germany, do employees have the right to leave any employer any time the employee wishes? If so, should this not be a two way street?

#2 My parents' home is more expensive than a Nobel Prize (actually, The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel) winner's former home. In a few years, as I slowly but surely keep climbing the corporate ladder, so will be mine.

#4 Because the rich are different from you and me.

#5 http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/07/08/two-kinds-of-caution/

#6 "A murder committed by a game theorist. He was caugh." But will he rat his

2. Clearly the home of a defender of the wealthy white oligarchy.

There are so many willing to defend the wealthy, white, patriarchal oligarchy for free (to make liberals cry or something like that) that deflation ensued. Unless the central banks target a 5% inflation rate, I fear prices will collapse further. Even worse, robots such as "Tay" will take internet commenters' jobs.

Oops, you slipped out of your 'Brazilian' style TR. Did you post under the wrong handle?

Because Brazilians can only talk about Brazil...

Style not the content.

The style is the man, we say in Brazil.

"The style is the man, we say in Brazil."

Just don't get caught saying something like that if you work for Google. ;)

There is a parentheses: "the style is the (wo)man". You don't hear it because it is silent, as women should be.

Good point. Champions of the poor, like Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, live in places like this: [https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/08/residents-of-an-exclusive-san-francisco-street-didnt-pay-their-taxes-so-someone-bought-their-street/].

What's funny is I bet if you asked them they would say they think everyone should live in houses like that.
A lot of people like Feinstein and Pelosi and liberal progressives are like that. Kids who grew up in well-off families that never had to live under a budget or learn how to economize, who grew up to believe that resources are infinite. This might be a fundamental explanation for why wealthier people lean left and poorer people lean right. A lot of people who grew up in wealthier households have never had to budget in their lives. Their just never got that training in having to stretch a dollar or figure out how to make optimal use of it - there was always more money where that came from.

"A lot of people who grew up in wealthier households have never had to budget in their lives."

+1, food or rent

So that is it. In the richest country in the world, people must choose between feeding their children or putting a roof over their little heads.

40 years ago in the South, it was quite common. Granted, the country and region are far richer now than they were then.

And, It was never a case between starving and paying rent. It was a case between growing food in the backyard vegetable garden, raising our own cattle and buying generic oatmeal not the high priced breakfast cereal and mixing lemonade and tea instead of buying soda at the grocery store.

Come the revolution, EVERYONE will eat strawberries and ice cream.

What? I thought we were going to get Cake! Geez, the French do it so much better.

So that is it. In the richest nation ever to exist, people must live like Dickensian orphans, begging for another ladle of gruel...

5. Katherine Boo offers some rules for creative non-fiction.

Katherine J. Boo is a leftist SJW and has nothing objective to say about non-fiction writing.

Her advice is self-centered and she seems quite fond of the first-person-singular

"“Getting mad gets me off my butt,” she said. A lot of her work has been motivated by her irritation at reading about “passive, monosyllabic poor people that kept getting rescued by selfless white heroes.”"

-Katherine Boo, the selfless white hero.

4. Obsessive compulsive personality, which helps with career success as well as in endurance sports. The linked article is off base. I was a daily runner for 30 years. Running was no less part of my daily routine than shaving. I usually ran alone. I found the time peaceful in a way, and stimulating too, of revelations large and small. Back pain ended my running, so I took up cycling. Not extreme cycling, but about 24 miles at a moderate pace. I rode this morning. Running is different from cycling, the former exhausting in a short span of time, the latter exhausting over a much longer span of time; indeed, cycling would not have been an option earlier in my career because it takes too long. That reminds me of my former spouse, a Southern girl, who liked to dance (the South Carolina shag). We went shagging (dancing) several times a week. She said she preferred shagging (the dance) over sex because the former lasted longer. I preferred running over cycling because the latter takes too long. To each his own.

Ride up hills. Ride faster (and thus shorter).

A Danish study showed that cyclists can "mimic" the effect of riding up hills by riding against the wind. That is, it's equally hard.

Do interval training rides. 20 minutes can be exhausting and in a good (healthy) way.

I used to be a kind of endurance athlete.

#3. A lot of people have lamented how barbed wire ended the open range and the lifestyle of cowboys, not to mention the Native Americans. Still, the open range would have been doomed by the tragedy of the commons eventually - it could only ever have been a temporary phenomenon lasting just about 50 years in the latter half of the 1800s. As was the lifestyle of the plains Indians for that matter - horses having been introduced to the Americas by the Spanish.

It's interesting to think about what Elinor Olstrom might have thought about it. Maybe there could have been a way to preserve shared unbroken range lands without leading directly to a tragedy of the commons.


Gary agreed, setting his feelings aside — even hugging his brother-in-law in a hotel parking lot. “If I ever had any doubts,” he says, “they were gone. When I put my arms around him, there was no feeling there, and I knew … he killed Ellen.”

Don't like hugging people? You're obviously a secret killer!

Actually, convicted killer. No secret in that fact.

Yes, but that was based on actual evidence. I'm kinda weirded out by the fact both the brother and the reporter seem to think "how the suspect hugs people" is a useful investigative technique.

"how suspect hugs people" fits into a larger pattern of the admitted killer lacking empathy. See also his dropping orange peels on the floor for others to clean up, dressing casually for his wife's funeral, drinking coffee with one hand while pall-bearing with the other, attempting to bribe his daughter into feigning a close relationship with him, and being unable to conceive of a motive other than money for his wife's family pursuing justice.

Or Chinese.

"Gary still fights for his sister — to establish what really happened to her, and to expose what he believes to be the true nature of his brother-in-law, the economist who gamed the legal system and won...He jumped in among the pallbearers, grabbing a handle of his wife’s coffin with one hand while holding a cup of coffee in the other. During the wake, he broke down over her closed casket, tearlessly sobbing. “Oh, Ellen!” he shouted. “I can’t believe it! What will I do without you?”"

Sounds like Stalin at Sergey Kirov's funeral...chief pallbearer and suspected executioner.

Well, it is anecdotal evidence, sure, but no one who has hugged me has ever been exonerated from murder by the police afterwards.

#1: yowza. I guess the French have taken complete leave of their senses.

How could anyone ever trust that proper diligence was being taken under business and financial circumstances that warrant replacing the market stand with a vending machine? Here in the USA, consider what happens even when there is far more than enough pricing power to support due diligence - if only the greedy, grasping, massively overpaid executives that run the show were ever to desire it. That is, consider the absolute awfulness and utter non-diligence of airlines, cable companies, Amtrak, the NYC subway, and so on ad infinitum. Yikes.

Now, maybe - probably not, but just maybe - under just the right circumstances, on just the right day of just the right week in just the right spot, in Japan, and then only if I knew Japanese fluently enough to assess said circumstances. Unlike in the USA, they haven't (yet) quite lost all pride in their work and abandoned all diligence. But in a place as strike-prone as France?

“By flooding the consciousness with gnawing unpleasantness, pain provides a temporary relief from the burdens of self-awareness,”

We actually used to talk about this, before mountain biking. Saying that the nice thing about mountain biking is that it only lets you think about one thing ..

Perhaps "white collar problems" are artificial enough that getting in touch a bit with the physical re-balances. Don't over do it to rhabdomyolysis of course.

#4 ... does data show any longevity benefit from these pursuits? I believe not. You would imagine this advantaged group would want to live longer, thus focus on activities which are proven by data to increase longevity.

I do a remember a study that hoped to find that regular cyclists have a lower environmental impact on the planet. It turned out they have higher, because they do live longer.

(A quick google confirms)

The data actually shows it reduces your life span.



Oh, well. Marathons are different. I hate on Marathons too. I believe they resemble a "survival event" more than a paleolithic daily activity.

Run a 5K or 10K every weekend, then you'll be in the zone. Similarly ride bikes, but maybe stay below the Century.

I remember it being the "endurance" component that was the problem. Not cardio for 20-30 minutes. Endurance sports practiced in a non endurance way...stop for ice cream .... LOL

#4 As others have pointed out, endurance sports aren't necessarily expensive. Running is very cheap. Even running in organized events doesn't have to be expensive.

Also, you have to compare it to the alternatives. This is anecdotal, but my parents live in rural Missouri. The people there with little money prefer motor sports, four wheelers, dirt bikes. Hardly cheap alternatives to running. Even if you look at hunting or fishing, a good rifle costs $100s, if not $1000s. Fishing, many will end up with multiple rods, and reels, and tackle boxes full of equipment, and often a boat. The things we associate with blue collar people aren't cheap.

I would argue doing endurance sports is a personality trait, and being the type who prefers endurance sports makes you more likely to find at least some moderate amount of success.

And, this is why it's appealing:

I'm of the opinion that anything less than 1.5 is a waste of time, but my best memories, and stories are of type 2 and 3. The appeal isn't the pain, necessarily, it's the lasting experience. A day at the water park is great fun, but it's fleeting, you'll have forgotten the whole experience in a week. Spending a day trying to raft the Lyell fork of the Tuolumne River in 40 degree weather in the rain, getting dangerously hypothermic is still a vivid memory years after the fact, solid type 2 fun, not really dangerous, but mostly suffering.

There's something appealing about facing the unpleasant, especially with someone else, and persevering, of putting yourself into a situation that is hard, with no easy out, and coming out the other side.

I disagree with the simple goals theory. It's less about the goal, and more about the experience. I've set out to do a lot of things where I've failed, but I still come home happy. Mountaineering is full of this, the weather is turns bad, you're not in shape, it's technically too hard, you pull a 2000lbs boulder down on yourself and start thinking about your mortality. I love the failures, I love that you can fail, that I'll have to come back to try it again.

Ultimately I think it's the love of the challenge, and the difficulty, and the uncertainty, of preferring lasting experiences to hedonistic fun. Given that drive, you're more likely to be a success. If you're the type who just wants life to be easy, and looks for temporary, right now fun, I don't see how you could ever be a success at anything.

Concur. Will backpack a few days in the High Sierras in a week, and hope it is, but no more than, a 1.5

4. And they put their kids on a swim teams.

By the way, there is so much push back against this article in the comments. As I saw the link, I thought myself, "This author is going to nail it." And he did. It's about the signaling, people.

Up your game, get them certified as lifeguards

4. Straussian interpretation: The Lockean joyless quest for joy is unsatisfying.

Crawford (doctorate from Chicago's Committee on Social Thought) and others echo Socrates who was impressed with the real (if limited) wisdom of craftsmen with clear benchmarks for achievement.

“To overcome this pain and get across the finish line served as a significant form of achievement and demonstrated an ability to discipline their bodies.” They are dimly aware that they are last men too focused on comfortable self-preservation. Hence their attempt to follow Nietzsche's maxim in some small way: "That which does not kill me makes me stronger."

Endurance peaks later and declines more slowly than other athletic attributes. By the time a successful professional has the time and flexibility to get heavily into a sport endurance is really the only athletic attribute that isn't severely degraded.

>A murder committed by a game theorist.

I think you spelled "abject moron" incorrectly.

The only dumber person in that story was the prosecutor.

There are a couple of great, little barbed wire museums that tell this story well. I've been to this one in Texas and highly recommend it:

An enterprising fellow in Big Springs, Nebraska has constructed life-size sculptures of bison from barb wire: https://jamesradke.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/the-barbed-wire-bison-of-big-springs-nebraska/

4. These are all solo sports. I mean, you can do them with a group, but the group is flexible. People can show up or not show up, and it doesn't not change anything.

In contrast, even sports like tennis or squash require a partner. And team sports require even more people to commit.

My observation is that people really don't like committing to activities in advance any more. I'm not really sure why, but keeping your options open right up until the activity starts seems more desirable.

2. One very obvious point left out of the article is that old people can excel at endurance sports while normally can't match younger athletes in other sports. For example, a 61 year old potato farmer ran in an 875 ultramarathon and beat the other competitors by 10 hours:


His success was based upon making use of the old man ability of not needing much sleep.

That should have been, "875 kilometer ultra marathon."

#1 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2418906/Vending-machine-selling-live-crabs-installed-east-China-province.html

6: My favorite didactic economics novel is still _The Fatal Equilibrium_ by "Marshall Jevons" (really Breit and Elzinga). The crime-solving hero is an economics professor and (spoiler alert) the murderer was an anthropology professor -- and dean.

I first learned about utility theory from a philosophy professor who noted that people who literally live their lives simply maximizing their utility functions and ignoring others' are in fact psychopaths. Prof. Robb seems to be such a person; ecce homo economicus.

“By flooding the consciousness with gnawing unpleasantness, pain provides a temporary relief from the burdens of self-awareness,” write the researchers. “When leaving marks and wounds, pain helps consumers create the story of a fulfilled life. "
Marathon is cutting for the privileged?

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