Sunday assorted links


1. Was it ever not? Anyway, basically "Seven" minus the serial killing? Sounds original.

2. What's progress?

3. Hahahahaaaaaahaha. Now that's romanticism! Not.

5. Gross.

4&6 still reading...

"Has Betsy DeVos made any kind of progress?"

Is it even possible with the hue "swamp" that is the education system in America? The first step in making progress would be to eliminate the massive bureaucracy of the Dept Of Education. It was never necessary and likely unconstitutional. It was always a payoff to teachers unions for their votes. Eliminate it and save $85 billion.

So no progress so far, if this is the goal.

It depends on the definition of the word "progress." Progress would be shutting down the DOE and eliminating it from your children's education. Plus, she can't possibly go back and reverse the damage done by decades of brainwashing to hate America. In those senses, Ms. DeVos is a complete failure.

Real progress is being achieved in Catholic elementary schools. In addition to the three R's, the Catechism, and their prayers, the pupils are exposed to the love of their country, and memorize and daily sing patriotic songs such as "America."

"O Columbia the gem of the Ocean, . . . "

There are two separate issues here then:

1. The dismantling of the Department of Education.
2. Reversing the brainwashing done to hate America.

If Betsy DeVos is doing what she can to dismantle the Department of Education and return money back to taxpayers and is still seen as unjust for doing so, then what needs to be done in eliminating this sort of brainwashing done to America? In an age of information, how are people not seeing the logic behind these things, what obstructions are in their way, and what variables could be shifted to better enlighten Americans?

Tim Groseclose has an old working paper exploring the "selection distortion effect" analytically.

#6) Why Major League pitchers are such terrible hitters even though, in the general population, athletic abilities like pitching and hitting tend to be positively correlated.

Specialization and comparative advantage and stuff.

Babe Ruth was originally a pitcher.

Sam was born about forty miles south of Lake Chad in a small town called Kouka in the kingdom of Soudan.

#4 - "significant" meaning statistically significant, but looking at the graphs it looks like the magnitude of this statistically significant effect is quite small and what I would call - in terms of importance - "insignificant".

BTW I was confused by the headline and assumed they were talking about astrophysicists. Didn't understand why they cared so much about where these guys located (excepting perhaps Brian May).

They are looking at "top scientists" as a consumer good, not as a capital asset to increase.

The States mentioned are notable for not wanting to increase production of such things as "top scientists" because these States recognize the investment in production is extremely costly.

The strategy of these State leaders are those of the conservatives who effectively made the US incapable of building ships, nuclear power plants, big bridges at costs anyone is willing to pay. Rather than pay for investing in modern steel production in the US, conservatives argued we should import steel from Asia, starting with Korea, and the China, where the state was investing in too much steel production driving prices down to the costs of the most efficient steel plants. Too much steel production was based on the idea Asia could not grow their economy like the US did in the industrial North from 1840 to 1890 when US produced "too much" steel production capacity given the total global steel production circa 1820.

The lack of local steel production capacity has made the US dependent on Asia and Europe for production of assets that are tied to steel production. Even foundry operations separate from smelting steel from ore have shutdown because they can't afford the higher investment costs of producing "top steel workers" to run foundries producing nuclear reactor vessels, custom steel parts and wire for bridges, custom steel for ships, etc.

Texas is trying to take all the "profit" from producing scientists and engineers from the California capital production system as if bankrupting California will not disrupt the supply of "top scientists" the Texas government economic strategy is depending on for growth. And Perry et al seem to be frustrated by California remaining the leader, with Jerry Brown in Europe now selling the Republic of California as a counter to Trump and Perry selling of the US in Europe.

And the further irony is the Texas economic growth depends increasingly on the same economic policies California calls for and needs to fuel it's growth, and that produces far more "top scientists" than the Texas et al governments trying to consume the capital surplus of California of "top scientists".

What in Texas is California trying to take from Texas? California did work hard to take "top scientists" from Massachusetts in the 70s and 80s.

California continues to wag the Texas tail.

Seems like nonsense.
(0) Sorry, but most 'star' academic scientists are not in the 1% by income ($465,000). Not even close.
(1) Having been involved in these negotiations (both sides) state income tax ranks below such things as view from office, commute time, distance to parking lot and in some cases a waiver of the $25/month parking fee. State income tax is a factor but probably not in the top 15 and insignificant compared to things like spouse/partner job prospects.
(2) Patents are in no way an indicator of where 'star' scientists are. Maybe something like H scores could be a proxy.

#1 interesting to see the current literary trends in other places around the world.

#2 fascinating take on DeVos. I've just recently watched Milton Friedman's take on education in public schools in his program Free to Choose. Trying to see the connections

#2. $68.2 billion budget? Keep cutting Betsy.

A terrible article. If falls into "less is better" vs "more is better" without giving us any tools to identify an optimum.

It allows every reader to reinforce their priors.

| #2. $68.2 billion budget? Keep cutting Betsy. |

Yes, cut it to zero & abolish that worthless bureaucracy.

Dept of Education was created by Jimmy Carter in 1979 as payback to the NEA for supporting his election, The National Education Association (NEA) is the largest professional special interest group in the United States -- and heavily lobbies government officials & agencies.

The Federal Dept of Education "educates" nobody and has wasted a couple trillion bucks, as Jimmy Carter's gift to taxpayers.

"The Federal Dept of Education “educates” nobody"

That is obviously an extreme "prior" belief, presented here without evidence .. as "token exchange" with other "believers" who have never seen hard evidence in their lives.

...well then, please correct the record here and cite the facts on how many persons the Federal Dept of ED "educates"

A more recent survey of research:

Quite a lot of the money goes to classrooms, paying for that IQ raising.

...geeez -- what a weak dodge. Your reference in no way answers the question put to you (...keep Googling)


The Education money goes to the classrooms, the classrooms not only impart facts, but raise IQ.

What is missing in that linkage?

So if the value is money going to classrooms, getting rid of payroll at the top, that as you say is wasted, is a good thing.

I am sympathetic to numbers based ROI arguments, that this or that doesn't return much. Some programs "at the top" may pass that hurdle.

Say if for instance, they were doing numbers based ROI analysis "at the top."

By the way, to scale $68B in today's money ..

"The Pentagon now plans to spend $391.2 billion on 2,443 aircraft, with each plane costing a staggering $160 million. When taking into account the cost of flying and maintaining the F-35 over the course of its life, the program could surpass a trillion dollars, according to the Government Accountability Office." (2014)

... so in your logic, huge waste in one government agency justifies big waste in other government departments.

Personally, I would cut Pentagon spending by two-thirds.

I might be convinced to reduce one or both, but not by "pick a number."

Cut that too. Anyone serious about the idea that we should run government without sloughing off the cost on the next generation understands that at least $100 billion per year needs to come from the Pentagon. The end of the Cold War was a mere speed bump for those guys.

"The department has a backlog of 87,000 applications for student debt relief...."

Gee, that's too bad. When people borrow money to buy a car and don't repay the loan, the car gets repossessed. Maybe we need a federal agency to enable the taxpayers to pay off delinquent car loans. There's probably a significant portion of those 87,000 applicants that are having problems making the payment on the Prius as well as the loan for the tuition to the Art Institute of Atlanta Fashion Design Program.

A high portion of those unable to repay student debt are vets and working class conservative Trump voters.

They were lured to the Trump U's buy the promise of high incomes after taking classes paid for by easy credit.

Many of these people have experience with easy credit. If you can't pay, they take you purchase house, or truck, maybe TV and sofa even after you paid twice as much as paying cash for them, but then, other than annoying phone calls, that's it. Few bother to get a bankruptcy judgement because it doesn't stop the phone calls and no one can get any money out of you anyway.

But easy student debt is different. That is like Federal taxes, exempt from dismissal but Federal wealth redistribution technocrats (bankruptcy judges).

The people being screwed by student debt by for profit schools are people who are most likely to be conservatives in value.

Those most likely to be liberal seldom fall for the free lunch promises.

Progressives and populists have generally been conservatives or moderates, and part of the GOP.

Japanese (and hence Korean) nationalism emerged at a time when Germany was intellectually dominant in the world. It is no surprise that Romantic notion of race, blood and soil find fertile ground in Korea - both of them, North and South.

What is interesting is the Guardian's attitude to them

Germany’s new Romantics have found their intellectual lodestar in the Korean-born philosopher Byung-Chul Han, whose series of talks on romanticism at Berlin’s University of the Arts last year saw prominent artists, architects and novelists jostling with undergraduates for floor space in packed lecture theatres. Han has championed the Romantic cult of the broken heart as a symbol of resistance against what he sees as a modern cult of “smoothness”, spanning iPhone design via Brazilian waxing to the “Teflon chancellor” Merkel.

Smoothness? It does not take a leap to see rootless cosmopolitans behind such notions.

Which is, I suppose, the basic problem. Nazism was ultimately a revolt of artists. It was an aesthetic movement first and foremost. That art is still appealing to a lot of people - and Romantic notions rooted in resistance to Globalization, authenticity, community and all of the rest of it is pretty much where a lot of Guardian readers are. They say they are Marxists but as Harold Bloom pointed out they owe a lot more to the important thinkers of the 20th century.

Hence that article's inability to call a spade a spade. Merkel's reflexive anti-Fascism is actually anti-German and the Germans, if they are smart, will not stand for it.

"Hence that article’s inability to call a spade a spade. Merkel’s reflexive anti-Fascism is actually anti-German and the Germans, if they are smart, will not stand for it."

Maybe you just want to bomb Dresden again.

4. The thing these low tax states have in common, besides low tax rates, is a mild climate. Maybe star scientists don't like cold weather. Seniors have been moving to Florida by the millions. Is it because of the weather or because Florida has neither an individual income tax nor an estate tax? Or is it the early bird specials? If I were a star scientist, I'd go where the money is. Texas, for example. Lots of money held by right-wing ideologues willing to part with it for confirmation that fossil fuels, like menthol cigarettes, are good for your health. Youngsters won't remember that menthol cigarettes were once marketed as the "healthy cigarette", with proof offered by star scientists, no less. Phil Mickelson, a star golfer not a star scientist, resides in California, a high tax state. What is he thinking? Most star golfers reside in Florida or Texas or Arizona, which have the advantage of mild weather so they can play and practice year-round. And they are low tax states. Wait, I think I've figured this out: star scientists prefer low tax states because they like to play golf!

“Lots of money held by right-wing ideologues willing to part with it for confirmation that fossil fuels, like menthol cigarettes, are good for your health.“

It’s funny in a way how people in a wealthy society can be comfortably isolated from knowing what makes that society work.

So a person can reflexively state that fossil fuel is bad for our health, even as everything that makes us healthy today is underpinned by the availability of cheap and ubiquitous energy.

Remove fossil fuel from your healthcare and your ambulance becomes a horse and cart while doctors hack at your limbs with saws under the light of a candle.

It’s like a bumper sticker I saw the other day. It said ‘Say no to oil. Say no to pipelines.’ A bumper sticker. On a car.

Is fossil fuel energy "labor saving"?

Are profits a sign of economic inefficiency due to restrictions in the use of all factors of production, ie, not employing all possible workers?

If fossil fuels are produced efficiently, ie, no profit, will fossil fuel energy employ more workers than wind, solar, battery energy production?

And is India today healthier than where you live because burning fossil fuels is cleaner than not burning fossil fuels, like in the US. Ie, the following is fake news?

"New Delhi’s air pollution has reached levels so toxic that United Airlines is canceling flights to the Indian city until it improves.

"Flights between Newark, New Jersey and New Delhi are canceled until at least Monday, after evaluations found the air quality to be around 40 times the World Health Organization’s safety levels. One Delhi official said that the pollution is so bad that the city has turned into a “gas chamber.”

"United said the city’s air conditions were severe enough to be considered a natural disaster, and to be avoided like a hurricane or wildfire would be."

Wind, solar, and battery capital asset building is employing more people in the US than are employed in the US burning natural capital to produce five time as much energy from the past two of decades of building new capital assets.

If burning fossil fuels is capitalism, the land mined for coal, oil, and gas would be more valuable today than before the mining started.. West Virginia would be one of the wealthiest States in the nation thanks to its high value capital assets in high grade coal. West Virginia is producing coal today that fetches a price at least ten times the price of coal in Wyoming.

Employing workers to build wind, solar, and battery capital assets will eventually result in land on which is is done being more valuable decades into the future, and you will be able to turn on lights, run motors heating and cooling, run arc smelters producing steel, aluminum, titanium, etc, plus power trains, cars, trucks in abundance. And employ workers building replacement wind, solar, batteryou assets and recycling old assets that decay by entropy and use.

Who will be building new fossil fuel capital assets to replace those burned in the next century? Who is rebuilding all the stocks of high grade coal (metallurgical coal) in West Virginia that were extremely abundant in 1800, making it a very wealthy State?

Note, very little fossil fuels are used in producing aluminum and titanium and very little is needed in recycling steel, aluminum, titanium.

Further note, civilization has been evolving far longer than extensive use of fossil fuels, so, if you believe fossil fuels are required for civilization, make that case for continued growth in fossil fuel burning for at least 1000 years, a 20% increase in the growth of civilization for which we currently have recorded history of 5000 years, even after generations of trying to destroy the history to justify a claim of self creation. Ie, corn produced in the US was an invention of white people a few hundred years ago, not the product of existing American civilization reaching back several thousand years. Liberals keep digging to find evidence that white people were not the source of civilization, and that fossil fuels are not the defining feature of civilization.

Instead, it's workers who build civilization.

Wyoming does not have a mild climate. Southern California does.

5. It's called "autism spectrum disorder (ASD)", not simply autism. Many children are misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD because many with ASD have the same or similar symptoms as ADD or ADHD. For the child I'm sure which is worse: to be misdiagnosed ADD or ADHD or to be correctly diagnosed autistic.

Umm Ray, I think you will find those labels are pretty much made up. Perhaps generated by a random number generator or pulled by a computer from somewhere. We barely know what autism is. We certainly do not know what ASD or ADD or even ADHD are. They are just passing fads. They have come. They will go.

So it is absurd to talk about a misdiagnosis. What is a misdiagnosis in an industry with no objective tests? The doctor feels like ticking 9 instead of 8 boxes on the standard insurance form they give him? What is the connection with the actual cause of the problem - which we still have not identified?

Some children have problems. Some of those problems are caused by a refusal to accept, or properly deal with, boys. Some of them are more serious. We can put a lot of labels on those problems but little else.

My comment addresses the "diagnosis" of Mr. Wainwright as having ASD. As for misdiagnosis, I've known several boys who were diagnosed ADHD and then later, as young adults, diagnosed ASD (after it was clear they had great difficulty doing the things that adults must do). I'm not a physician, but I am aware that medicine is both science and art (it's called the medical arts), and that many maladies have the same or similar symptoms (e.g., a serious heart condition and heartburn), and patients have to rely on the judgment of physicians. Unfortunately, today's physicians don't have the tools that Bones has on Star Trek.

"Unfortunately, today’s physicians don’t have the tools that Bones has on Star Trek." Actually, it wouldn't help. "Blast medicine anyway. We've learned to tie into every human organ in the body except one. The brain. The brain is what life is all about. Now, that man can think any thought that we can, and love, hope, dream as much as we can, but he can't reach out, and no one can reach in.
KIRK: He keeps blinking no."

But we can reach in, literally - albeit primitively, and somewhat invasively....

No doubt techniques will have improved come the Star Treck timeline.

3. Sex toy company admits to recording users’ remote sessions.

So I guess Kang was wrong and we have not yet reached the limits of what anal probing can tell us.

Although quite what it can tell us is an odd question. It must have been a bug in the software rather than a deliberate intrusion because what possible use would the information be? Customer AFD425 only uses her probe for two and a half minutes once a fortnight so we should send her a catalog in case she is interested in some other product?

"Today, a Reddit user pointed out that Hong Kong-based sex toy company Lovense's remote control vibrator app (Lovense Remote) recorded a use session without their knowledge."
China's Red regime won't stop at nothing. Yet, Americans keep kowtowing before it.

6 minutes? Was there nothing on TV?

There might be some opportunity for people to build institutions in beautiful and low tax areas .. it worked in Santa Fe.

But I'm not sure I get the general exercise of the paper, because I think research structures have a lot of path dependence. You are gonna leave a University of California for where? Dallas?

Just looking at the map, possibly Rice, UT-Austin, Texas A&M, U. of Washington, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, U. of Florida. And that's just the lowest-tax group. Including the "yellow states adds U. of Illinois, U. of Chicago, Northwestern, U. of Michigan, Penn, Carnegie Melon, Purdue, Notre Dame.

But initial reaction was surprise. It seems like most "star scientists" are clustered at universities (or companies) in high-tax states.

Could it be as simple as "high tax" paying for "research universities?"

Maybe, but most of the ones where "star" scientists go, that I had in mind, are private, so state funding isn't a factor.

A selection distortion is destroying the economy.

When setting up their (dumb) risk weighted capital requirements for banks, the regulators looked at the failure rates of bank assets… and came up with a risk-weight of 20% for the AAA rated and one of 150% for the below BB- rated.

What a selection distortion! They should have looked at what assets are most dangerous to the bank systems… and so perhaps the risk weights they should have used, are the total opposites.

3. Sex toy company admits to recording users’ remote sessions.

My loudspeaker reports me to the cops, my telephone drives my car backwards, my TV sends me a bill, my e mail server reports me to the NSA.

OK, call me a Luddite.

1. "The money printing has attracted the ire of Germany’s Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann, who reportedly compared the European Central Bank’s bond buying to the “devil’s work”.

“If a central bank can potentially create unlimited money from nothing, how can it ensure that money is sufficiently scarce to retain its value?” he queried. On the 180th anniversary of Goethe’s death, the comments were in reference to the German artist’s Faust tragedy, in which the indebted Holy Roman Emperor is persuaded to print paper money backed by gold that had yet to be mined, with rampant inflation resulting."

Weidmann referring to Goethe in a speech on monetary and fiscal policy seems odd only in comparison to US central bankers. Difficult to imagine Bernanke or Yellen quoting Mark Twain or Herman Melville in a similar vein.

But perfectly possible to imagine the BoE chairman quoting Shakespeare - a closer comparison.

The BoE chairman is a Canadian so he'd be more likely to quote Leonard Cohen or maybe Robert W. Service.

2. What she can do is shave away certain decisions which can be undertaken at the discretion of the executive and prevent the civil service from behaving worse than they do now. Progress of interest would be to dismantle the department of education: sent it's survey and assessment unit to the Department of Labor and then shut the whole thing down, terminating all of its programs. That would require an initiative of Congress. After the departures of Drs. Gingrich and Armey, the congressional Republican caucus reverted to type. Failure theater is what you get from these mediocrites, so nothing will be done.

Talking about Republicans, haspdn't Reagan promissed to abolish the Department of Education? Wasn't it one of the three deprtments he was to abolish? Or was it Energy? We,, republican voter had their chance to abolish things.

#1...While in college I happened to be reading ( sic ) on the steps of the Philosophy building one day the philosopher F.H. Bradley, less because I was enamored of Bradley than T.S. Eliot had written his dissertation on him, I believe. Up the steps ambled my teacher Paul Grice. Grice eyed the Bradley and was visibly shaken. "God Ld, Bradley. Well, I suppose everyone comes back eventually." I think he was right on this, although I believe thinkers are less rediscovered than reinvented. I explained why I was reading Bradley to Grice, but he still eyed me askew, as did most people in the Philosophy Department of my college.

The thing is, reading number one, I was reminded of and old idea I had, which was to develop a list of thinkers who were not allowed to be rediscovered/reinvented. I'm too old to benefit from such a ban now, but younger students would be well advised to get working on such a list ASAP. When Houellebecq started using Huysmans I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or both and for the same reasons. Of course, you can't enforce the list, but it's worth a shot believe you me.

#6 To get into a top 10 law school, you should be above their median in gpa, or lsat, or ideally both. For USNWR rankings, it doesn't matter if you are 1 point above (or below) median or 100, They take everybody that is above in both. Then, they take people that are above in one or the other, which creates the negative correlation.

Question: Do you end up with two kinds of students? Can you identify them ex post facto?

#6 As to the whinging about GRE might not be able to predict graduate study success, look at the data instead of the sales brochures. The distribution of the GRE scores is negatively skewed, the high scores right half is compressed and the quant score hitting the ceiling at 97th percentile, and the lesser scores stretched, i.e. there are finer grain scores for rejecting candidates than selecting elite candidates.

It is interesting that the ACT score distribution seems to be the reverse. With the no child left behind policy and the whinge about Black-White gap, the left half seems to be compressed right-ward to let more into the acceptable region but the right half seems to be stretched out but hit a ceiling pretty fast.

As to the GRE GPA disconnects the relationship can be deduced from common assessment of the Seniors CLAplus and the graduation rates. The graduation rates of some universities can be 2.73 SD above the predicted university norms. How much will you trust the GPA? Rather than relying on the simulation which assumed that every universities have the same access to the elite students, the blunt fact is that the first tier universities have access to the creams hence negative corr btw GRE and GPA, while the lesser tier universities hoping to find the gems with high GPA scores from the residues, again with neg corr.


There are two versions of this question.

1. Has DeVos made any progress towards achieving her goals?
2. Has DeVos made any progress toward improving the US educational system?

The answers need not be the same.

4. # of patents is an almost aggressively obtuse filter for "star scientist". H index would make more sense for science. People who have lots and lots of patents are much more likely to be engineers, and above all likely to live wherever their employer is located (cuz each one isn't paying much). So it's not that low taxes attract prolific patenteers, but corporations with specialized long-tenure employees in r&d are concentrated in, e.g. Texas.

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