Tuesday assorted links


No pictures in the colorful strawberries article, for shame!

I don't think Mr. Strawberry is taking calls.

#4 - Probably Shaw and his co-inventor (curiously both color blind) deserve more than $2M a year for their pioneering work, considering how many hundreds of millions in patent royalties they've gotten for their university (said royalties themselves probably being under their true market value in a fairer world). Imagine if these inventors happen to be 7 foot tall and could dunk a basketball how much money they would make ("The program’s patented plants, grown by farmers in California and around the world, generated some hundred million dollars in revenue for the university. (As inventors, Shaw and Larson earned as much as two million dollars a year in royalties.")

#1 - I wonder when we will be able to measure the impact of this politically correct culture that we seem to be embracing. From Google to Charlottesville, Trump to Durant, it seems that everything nowadays is more about language than anything else. Durant's comments were really innocuous, 10 years ago this would not be in any news cycle. Is social media the perfect medium for this new culture? Who is feeding who there?

It is strange seeing norms evolve at the speed of light, but we will adapt as we always have.

If by adapt you mean "do, say, and think what you're told," speak for yourself.

We are all products of our environment and time. As social media evolves, norms for how to behave will co-evolve with it. 100 years ago we behaved a certain way, because of the world of 1917 being how it was. We will behave in 2017 how people in 2017 behave.

Again, speak for yourself.

Uh, well, we are all speaking for ourselves here. It's called anonymous opining.

Gee, that is profound! What is your evidence to exclude the possibilities that we will behave in 2017 how people in 80,000 BCE, 10,000 BCE, 500 BCE, 500 CE, 1500 CE, 1900 CE, 1920, 1945, 1960, 1980, 2000 CE behaved?

Don't think msgkings really grasps the concept of being a non-conformist.

Even "non-conformists" are conforming in some ways. Its just a matter of relativity. In 10000 BCE, everyday norms would get you arrested today.

We will be able to measure the impact in the aftermath of the next big war. That's where this is heading.

We're heading for a "big war"? Who's fighting?

Doubt it, there's not enough testosterone for a war, on both sides.

I don't think Trump's comments on Charlottesville are a matter of political correctness, they were just wrong. Period. On KD, I can't understand if he was talking about basketball or if he was talking about economic development, however, in my book, both in basketball terms or social-economic development India is more than 20 years behind.

1. 20 years is a long time for someone born in 1988. But really, what does Durant think life was like in America 20 years ago? On the other hand, maybe Durant was referring to what life will be like in America 20 years from now. More like India today, perhaps.

"20 years is a long time for someone born in 1988."

Sure, but 20 years is a really really long time for someone born in 1987.

#2 & #7

German and Germans being replaced and put out by English. "Replacement is the very essence of modernity that things are being replaced [by industry]." - Renaud Camus


Prior alone replaced three Germans this year. Efficient!

If I were German, I would be very upset having to speak English in my own capital city, not that they lost a war or anything...oh, wait...

I like KD's apology wording. Sounded real, not scripted by a PR firm.

That's our intention.


I see no reason why he should apologize for stating obvious truths about a Third world county.

Sorry! I meant non-aligned Developing world country!

#2: I'd say is labor shortage. The only waiters they can find are foreigners who can speak english. This situation implies germans are busy in higher paying jobs......is there a region that can supply poor immigrants that speak german?

Some remote mountainous areas of Argentina, Chile and Paraguay. In practice, mostly Mallorca though.

1. Its a relief not to see Thiago gloating yet.

Nor making racist comments about Indians, yet.

I really wish he finds a way to work this into another "so this is what America has become" posts.

So this is what American sports stars are reduced to. First they are thrust into semi ambassadorial peacekeeping roles (Dennis Rodman thanklessly saving half-dead hostages in North Korea, when he could be reinvigorating a favela in Brazil; we Brazilians are the most thankful people in the world), then they are sent to India to grovel before a billion toiletless civilians.

One of my favorite stories on India dates back to the late 1960s.

A career CIA officer who was born and raised in Shanghai, so he was quite familiar with the extreme poverty in China, was sent to Calcutta. As soon as he got to the consulate he turned around and returned to Washington.

He said, I thought I was use to Asian poverty, but Calcutta was so bad that I just could not take it.

Durant was just telling it like it is. Everyone likes to talk about all the economic growth India has experienced in recent years. But
all that growth does not offset the point that India still has extreme poverty and the bulk of the population live in extreme poverty
that Westerners even have trouble imagining. His estimate that they are 20 years behind is completely unrealistic and even if India continues to experience strong growth it will still take generations before average living standards approach western norms.

You are right, assuming the growth rate differential remains the same it will take India on the order of 70 years to catch up to the US. It is shocking.

re: the poverty in India, I went there 20 years ago and was truly stuck at the level of poverty. Given that GDP/capita is ~4x higher than it was back then, I'm sure it is "better".

Poor Durant, he didn't realize that the truth is unacceptable in today's world.

Well, he didn't want to piss off his future customers so a quick apology works for that.

#3 When you are defining social skills of people who are also high in IQ as "non-cognitive" skills and saying that high end employees must both be high IQ and have good social skills, which is what the paper is really saying, the title does a poor job of capturing that. When I see "non-cognitive" I think manual labor, not social skills, and they don't document increased rewards for social skills in the absence of high IQ.

+1, the terminology "non-cognitive" is a pretty poor word choice for inter-personal skills.

"The non-cognitive score is based on behavioral questions in a 20-minute interview with a trained psychologist. On the basis of the interview, the draftee is scored along four separate dimensions (see Mood et al. (2012)): (i) social maturity, (ii) psychological energy (e.g., focus and perseverance), (iii) intensity (e.g., activation without external pressure) and (iv) emotional stability (e.g., tolerance to stress)"
What could possibly be better than using a single 20 minute interview (at age 18-19) as the sole determination of "non-cognitive" competence?

The asset tokenization article is number 17,382 in a series where academics try to grok the math of cryptographic hashes, proofs of work, then liquidity, the accounting, financial instruments, legal systems, tax evasion, registers, and god knows what else.

Start with an inapplicable anecdote about baseball cards, move onto a scheme to sell shares in a Picasso, then other no-recource/no-ownership derivative issues. I don't need 10 examples that don't work, just a single one that actually solves a real-world problem.

"1. Kevin Durant overestimates the pace of economic growth."

LOL, true. And pretty un-PC.

7. What a bizarre series of non sequiturs. We have entered the twilight zone, in which words have no meaning, or any meaning. When a “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential” to the success of the right-wing social movement. Words written and spoken in code, the gnostics the only true possessors of knowledge.

How is your comment related to the article linked at #7? I found it to be very straightforward.

#2. And then they get to eat German cooking.

#7. This is what the protesters are chanting in that tv show HUMANS about the silicone bots.

#2. Yoga is in English as well. But seriously the Germans should come here. They don't speak English at quite a few restaurants.

#4. Driscoll strawberries are terrible.

#4: If milennials are OK with berries that are a little less ripe, then we can avoid rotten strawberries.
+ one for millennials. That's a first for me.

2. I was going to say, what, the Guardian published that? Then I saw they were referring to English, it's PC to complain about that.(for now)

+1 Same reaction here.

Yesterday, at a medical device manufacturer, I was talking with the head of production who mentioned that Air Berlin had gone bankrupt, after he had paid for his flight to London. Talking about alternatives, and his rejection of Ryanair on several grounds, he mentioned how on a Ryanair flight from Germany to Alicante filled with German pensioners, not a single member of the flight crew spoke German, and how basically none of those older Germans (including his parents) would have understood any safety/emergency instructions.

He further pointed out that, one assumes reliably, that airlines are required to use English, along with their national language, even when they are flying between two countries that are not English speaking, with an aircraft filled with non-English speakers.

English speakers are generally quite unaware at this point just how thoroughly English has become the world's lingua franca, since they don't generally end up in situations where no one speaks any English at all. On the other hand, people who don't speak English are aware of how often English is used instead of their own language, even in their own country. Some people care about it, others just use it as example to tell their children to make sure they pay attention in the mandatory years of English instruction in German school. (5 years is probably a reasonable average figure, even for those students who are in Hauptschule.)

It might be that the Berlin politician will not stick with the CDU though - the AfD would welcome him with open arms (unless that politician cares about staying in office, that is - the AfD is really not all that successful).

The link to the article measuring the rise in use of swear words (and similar links) is why I come to MR. Please, more like this. Follow up research too, I hope. By genre analysis, e.g. I want to know, where (if anywhere) the trend is rounding off or in the opposite direction -- they suggest network tv and basic radio but where else.

7 is a good read, quick and funny and instructive. Recommended.

Q: Why would the Charlottesville protestors do that?
A: Why are you asking me? How would I know?

#5 - what's the big deal here? He seems to just be describing securitisation of illiquid assets, but using a blockchain platform.

We could securitise these assets quite easily already, if there were much real demand for it. Blockchain might ease trading in some respects but I fail to see how it provides much of an advance. Certainly it doesn't address the legal status of what token ownership actually means, which is why existing securitisation techniques involve costly things like prospectuses and the like. Maybe I just don't know enough about it.

4. I object! The strawberries from my local farm are juicy and sweet. The Driscoll strawberries in Kroger are overly large and underripe. I am content with great strawberries for two months a year over mediocre ones all year round.

6. The graphs were a real treat. A tribute to George Carlin. In writing this paper, the authors have contributed to the uptick in the use of foul language in academic journals. Will this trend continue?

7. If only we could rewind to the early 19th Century and ask the Native American how they felt about being replaced. To avoid "being replaced" perhaps the white nationalists should stop whining about the past and become useful in creating a better future together. White culture has dominated for too long and it has made us weak. Fresh eyes are needed to revive our democracy.

>If only we could rewind to the early 19th Century and ask the Native American how they felt about being replaced

They were probably pretty unhappy with it, and would agree that replacement sucks.

Yes, this is truly the most bizarre and awful argument, in the sense of being an extremely powerful argument against the view they think that are advancing. I'm really struggling to think of any competition for worst argument.

Indeed. It's hard to actually know what fallacy is stronger in it; the naturalistic fallacy "it happened therefore is/was good" or the ad hominem to quoque "well, you did it to them, so you can't complain".

It's always nice when the opponent shows a lack of training in logic; it provides a heuristic against having to consider their position in tedious depth.

#6 Ben Zimmer tells me the scholarship in that article is poor and points to this take-down in The New Republic: https://newrepublic.com/article/144290/american-authors-swearing-more-what

I am an English-speaking foreigner living in Neukölln, Berlin. The Guardian headline is misleading: it should read "Pols/Journos" instead of "Berliners". And Ramona Pop is dead right.

Ramona Pop ist ein Schwachkopf.

English speaking foreigners in Berlin are incredibly annoying. Talk about a sense of entitlement. No wonder Germans welcome Syrians with open arms, at least Syrians try to learn German and something about the local culture.

Vanya do you live here?

I live in Vienna, where the situation is possibly even worse than Berlin, if you are a German speaker. English speakers residing here often consider German a waste of time, and have quite the attitude.

Pols and Journos should love English being -- as it is -- a merger of French and German. Take German, knock off all the fussy bits, add in all the French/Latin vocabulary, and there you go. You also get the long-lost dental fricatives back as a bonus. The EU shouldn't reject English, it should claim ownership.

English also kept the /w/ phoneme which other Germanic languages long ago dumped in favor of /v/

Belgian Dutch has reclaimed it

Wait, I'm sorry. Say that again. So you’re saying you think white nationalism and Nazis are two different things?

People usually don't want to convince the people they're interviewing that they're idiots...

If they were one and the same, you wouldn't need to use one to smear the other.

Wait - Nazis are smeared by being called white nationalists? Since when? Nazis are proud white nationalists, though their definition of 'white' was purer than typical American usage. A leading Nazis considered America a mongrel nation, after all - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Themes_in_Nazi_propaganda#Americans

I think the smear is imputed to be the other way around...

Ah, the old true white nationalist argument, as no true white nationalist is actually a Nazi?

Actually, that doesn't seem to work, as Nazis insist that they are the only true white nationalists, with the only true vision of white nationalism.

Thankfully, we won't need to be burning any strawmen in such a discussion.

Yeah, it is a bit redolent of the "Not True Communism / no true Scotsman" thing.

The Nazis were defeated by white nationalists. What was Churchhill if not a white nationalist? Great Britain was an imperial power ruled by the most advanced race in the world, as most of the ruling class saw it. Most of the US elite class had fairly strong feelings about the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race as well. German POWs were often treated better in the South than black American citizens. Even the USSR was an outrageously racist society by modern progressive standards. There is certainly a historical case for making a distinction between Nazism and white nationalism, even if it is a game for the frivolous.

Churchill was not a "white "nationalist". He was a British nationalist.

And Hitler was a German nationalist, not a white nationalist, so what's your point? Certainly Churchill was a racist who believed in the superiority of Anglo-Saxons.

I like KD’s apology wording. Sounded real, not scripted by a PR firm.

Quote of Reynaud Camus from the Vox article:
"The refusal to be replaced is a very strong feeling in man. It doesn't really need to be put into hearts and into minds.

The will not to be replaced was at the center of resistance to colonialism. The refusal of being a colony in India or in Africa is very much part of anti-replacism. People don't want other people to come in their territory, in their country, and change their cultures and their religions, their way of living, their way of eating, their way of dressing.

It is a worry that is central to the very essence of being human. Being human is being not replaceable. That is, not being an object, not being a thing."

Isn't this just an extension of the idea of Marxist commodification? Except now instead of material objects that were highly valued and made by skilled craftsmen replaced by cheap widgets, humans are being replaced.

It is a reworking of Hegel's fundamental insight that what everyone really wants is recognition. (We could perhaps substitute "acknowledgement", I'm not sure.)

5 appears (didn't read it all but seemed headed down the wrong path and largely assuming it's conclusion at the start) confused. Tokenization in and of itself will not address the liquidy of such investments any more than simply providing a financial claim that is transferable.

The other thing, and while this does have some impact I'm not sure just how large (or how different) the impact of using block-chain to facilitate the ownship transfer is over alternative contractual mechanisms. Perhaps some efficiencies related to legal costs -- but not clearly the case if one finds the courts are needed -- for conducting the ownshership right transfer exist but that will probably take time to get mainstream acceptance.

Similarly, I don't see why the presense of a token/block-chain changes the incentives of the VC firm to allow the transfer of ownership the original investment. If it wanted they could already set up that ability and I suspect could care less about the liquidity characteristics of those ownership rights. Perhaps the claim was that such devices would allow a cheaper mechanism for a side agreement between the original owner and the new buyer outside the VC records but again is a bit of a different situation (though if it really works and is wanted I suppose the result may be lower rates of return to investors in VC firms and increased returns to the VC firm itself).

on that Berlin thing, please keep in mind we are in election season there... so the stupid / xenophobic stuff will resurface for a bit

4: Quite an interesting article, sort of a combination of John McPhee's book about oranges and modern-day intellectual property and industrial organization debate. And bonus points for the segue into the next article about tokenization of assets, via (Darryl) Strawberry.

I've sometimes wondered about the effects of WW II on strawberry farming in California, when Japanese Americans were forced to give up their strawberry farms, Based on the surnames of some of the people in the article, it seems that at least some of them returned and resumed farming after the war.

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