Wednesday assorted links


It seems you are wrong about Sohrab Ahmari.

According to the newly released data, the suicide rate among Americans employed in education, training and library jobs was 7.5 per 100,000 workers, the lowest of 22 occupations in the CDC report.
The highest suicide rate — 84.5 suicides per 100,000 workers — occurred among those with farming, fishing, and forestry jobs.

nursery school suicides up due to sugar subsidies.

"According to the newly released data, the suicide rate among Americans ..."

The article linked is about the UK and it's referring to data from the British ONS, not the American CDC.

#3 Today's inquisitors won't look like yesterday's.

#5 Only expensive progressive cities get to enjoy such a thing in the US, otherwise it's outlawed: "But increasingly, families like the Oliatans find themselves wanting to live full-time with people who share their values, in a place run by people they feel they can trust."

3. Why are those recently converted more dogmatic about their Godma?

Cradle catholics are just people. Conversion will presumably attract all sorts of misfits and loonies. Though, to be fair, New England originally attracted misfits and loonies, so it's hardly unAmerican.

Washington Grove (near Gaithersburg) and Rehoboth Beach are two towns that started out as Methodist camp meeting sites. Do any others come to mind?

Most cities in Utah?

Providence, RI - the name is a hint in and of itself.

'Providence is the capital of and most populous city in the U.S. state of Rhode Island, founded in 1636 and one of the oldest cities in the United States. It was founded by Roger Williams, a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He named the area in honor of "God's merciful Providence" which he believed was responsible for revealing such a haven for him and his followers to settle. The city is situated at the mouth of the Providence River at the head of Narragansett Bay.',_Rhode_Island

Philadelphia quakers, Winston-Salem, NC Moravians.

#4. Meh. Heavy-handed, narcissistic, facile, turgid. What the hell happened to you people in the last century?

Or, as the New Pornographers said:

"Such a waste of a beautiful day / Such a waste of the only impossible logical way in"

#5: “If you wait for the government, it won’t get done” inner pessimist thinks about Jonestown.

Religious leaders are not libertarians, even if they use the same catchphrase.

Political leaders aren't libertarian either, even if they use the same catchphrase.

4. 😁😁😁

4. No wonder Murphy ( of "Murphgy's law" fame) was an optimist.

#4 Lol. I would love to see someone take a stab at writing a "pessimism manifesto" for every century back to the beginning of the current era. That would be a fun little writing project.

I am pessimistic that it would happen.

Considering that people will write about literally anything these days, I am marginally less pessimistic than you. Does that make me optimistic this will happen?

4. Is interesting. I didn't make it all the way through, but the points I saw seemed true.

The only problem is, progress keeps getting made. If anything our times are shaped by that contradiction. Things are getting better (especially on a world basis) but we can't believe it.

I don't think tribalism explains why a bunch of biased optimists would sudden run out of steam ..

I only got 69% right, by being too pessimistic.

I note that their answer to the endangered species question is incorrect, as the Sumatran Tiger has been upgraded to critically endangered.

That question was kind of a clunker anyway, asking about three species rather than something more general, like endangered count or extinction rate.

#3 Tyler that's BS there is nothing at all wrong with being suspicious of Catholics.

As a 20 million dollar secret donation to rename a Commonwealth of Virginia taxpayer funded law school after a prominent Catholic jurist shows.

Yeah, I grew up Catholic. There are no secret meetings. The most fun you get to have is when they actually do the part with the wine during mass.

That's not how I remember it.

Damn, that was funny. I hope you were trying to be funny.

#4. I feel like economists are especially blind to the possibility of pessimism. The optimists can point to rising global GDP and the alleviation of extreme poverty in China/India - both hugely promising indicators of economic progress. But there might be ways in which this exact dynamic of capitalist progress undermines other good things. The points about environmental crisis, cultural decline, economic inequality, and the dangers of AI all seem very serious, and they go hand-in-hand with economic progress. If nothing else, this pessimistic sentiment is a nice correction to the cheery optimism of the typical libertarian economist.

#5, suggests private cities may have a run in Nigeria. It may start in these religious communities, but the demand is clearly there. I would wonder whether it is mostly because of the government's fear of the political power of the mega churches that allows them to operate their own infrastructure. But if it catches on widely enough, the pressure to allow others may be quite strong. Solves a number of coordination problems.

# 4. Pessimism is relative to current lot in life, isn't it?

Most of his pessimism is focused on higher up Maslow hierarchy of needs tiers.

Enjoyed the pessimism manifesto. However, he claims population will double to 15M in the next 100 years. Most of the projections I've seen have population topping out at 11M (or lower). Are those outdated?

Also the bit about robots taking over all human jobs. Don't see that happening. Many? Sure. Not close to all.

Name ONE job that humans will be able to do better than artificially intelligent robots 50 years from now.

Act as living batteries in one of the most in-efficient energy production system ever conceived?

Act in films. I don't buy that all movies will be photo-realistic CGI in the next 50 years.

Write computer code.

Select candidates from a pool of applicants, for a variety of jobs.

Litigate disputes.

Defend and prosecute criminal cases.

Police the streets.

Write interesting books I might like to read.

Clean my teeth.

Play sports that I enjoy watching; considering I would not enjoy watching a competition between robots.


Paint the inside of my house.

Help me choose how to remodel my house so that I find the end result aesthetically pleasing.

Teach my kids.

"Select candidates from a pool of applicants, for a variety of jobs."

Dice outperform humans in that job.

Granted humans aren't great, but I suspect they outperform totally random selection. If nothing else, people can apply their biases and choose the candidate they would be least unhappy to have to work with.

Applied to the context of software development, maybe a human interviewer won't be great at evaluating a candidate's productivity, she can tell if he stinks and stares at her tits for the entire interview.

I disagree with most of these:

Act in films. Once AI robots are humanoid enough, and once CGI is better, no one (even you) will care. Human actors are overrated.

Write computer code. Ha! AI robots will do this way better than any human. No contest.

Select candidates from a pool of applicants, for a variety of jobs. AI probably already does this better than humans.

Litigate disputes. AI probably already does this better than humans.

Defend and prosecute criminal cases. AI probably already does this better than humans.

Police the streets. AI will do this way better than humans. Humans are too prone to various biases and blindnesses and can't crunch data fast enough to police well.

Write interesting books I might like to read. Please. AI will be writing the best books within our lifetimes. Humans aren't good writers.

Clean my teeth. Nope, robots will do it.

Play sports that I enjoy watching; considering I would not enjoy watching a competition between robots. Maybe I'll give you this.

Clergy. Good point here, but this is only because religious folks will be hung up on robots not having a soul, so that'll be job protection for flesh-and-blood clergy.

Paint the inside of my house. Nope. AI will do it.

Help me choose how to remodel my house so that I find the end result aesthetically pleasing. Definitely nope. AI will do this too.

Teach my kids. Seriously? No, robots will do this. Robots will write programs that kids will use to learn. The average teacher is very mediocre. Parents will welcome our robot teacher overlords.

Is every job in the economy done only by the one person who is best at it? What happened to comparative advantage?

Good point, but I think that comparative advantage is thrown out the window when robots can do literally every task better than every human,and they can be made relatively cheaply (and no need for a salary and benefits).

Looks like 15M is a little below the upper-bound estimate. 11M is probably more realistic.

He also says that sex robots, available in ten years, will be the beginning of the end of human sexuality. There's a number of paradoxes in these predictions.

#1 was disappointing.

I should have known the link would send me to something about Quantitative Easing and not Quantum Entanglement but still...

@#1 - shorter version: money is largely neutral, base money creation does not matter except in hyper-inflationary regimes.

#4 Mal de siecle already ? I'll just take two: 1- environment: Climate change is nothing to worry about. The cost of doing something is higher than inaction. Sea rise ( 31 cm per century) was happening way before CO2 levels became significant and hasn't accelerated to date. Species extinction ? A recent book shows that the rate of species creation is higher than ever

2-Cosmic pessimism: The heat death of the universe is maybe 10^100 years away. Worrying about this is not pessimism but severe depression

"2-Cosmic pessimism: The heat death of the universe is maybe 10^100 years away. Worrying about this is not pessimism but severe depression"

What depresses me is that there is a pretty high chance I won't be around to see that final event happen.

What? One week in and no mention of the Equifax data breach?

We were expecting another mendacious defence of a beleaguered corporation-accidents happen!

Radio Silence, TC?

4. Good article in parts, bad in other parts. The "optimists" are some of the most insufferable people on the planet, who turn strawman arguments, goalpost moving, and cherry picking of data into an art form. As far as technological advancement, economic development, and cultural decline, I lean toward pessimism. But in that article the author embraces stupid environmentalist propaganda. There is no scientific basis to believe that the earth becoming a few degrees warmer will lead to more natural disasters in total. Nor is there any evidence for resource depletion in the real economic sense that would lead to "wars over resources." See the Ultimate Resource by Julian Simon. "Imagine the level of industrial output needed to feed and supply a global population of around 15 billion and counting." I could easily imagine it. With modern farming methods, the continent of Africa could feed the entire world, all by itself. He also claims that:

"But reproduction works differently for men and women because men can get a different woman pregnant every day, while a single woman can only give birth once every nine months. So the men who saw their genes passed on were the ones who had many children with many women. The promiscuous males outbred the monogamous males, and thus we are all the offspring of the promiscuous males. Women, however, preferred a reliable male partner to help raise her children and provide for her when she was vulnerable during pregnancy. So women developed a strategy favorable to monogamy and emotional attachment, while men developed a strategy for promiscuity and emotional detachment. This disharmony of desires between the sexes persists, manifesting itself in high rates of infidelity (throughout history) and divorce (now that it’s legal and socially acceptable). "

OK, if you assume this explanation is correct, which gender would you think it would be which files the majority of divorces? You'd be wrong. It's true that men aren't naturally monogamous, but neither are women. Hypergamy is the ideal of women as much as polygamy is the ideal for men.

If you're interested in Nigerian churches, don't forget the Foursquare Church. It was founded by an American woman (which in itself seems pretty unusual to me) in 1923 and has at least a couple of million followers in Nigeria. Also, the fertility rate of its churches in America is on par with the Mormons, although (in America) it is an order of magnitude smaller.

Actually I have to lower my estimate of Foursquare's Nigeria adherents to under a million. Hard to get any good figures.

The irony of the "Pessimism Manifesto" is that the author declaims tribalism as a reason to be pessimistic, while at the same time strongly identifying himself as a member of the Pessimist Tribe! Perhaps if he took his own reasons to be politically pessimistic seriously, he would not be so dogmatically pessimistic.

Comments for this post are closed