Saturday assorted links


I remember seeing a program on the Nova series on PBS in which they showed the gaps between organisms (sea anenomes, I think) living on a rock in the ocean. The ones clustered together were clones, so they had the same DNA or nearly so. The gaps were between unrelated organisms.

That's a nice theory! But maybe there's even a deeper underlying cause. Notice the similarity of the tree patterns with the river branching patterns along watersheds: "The short answer is that a branching pattern is a very efficient way to distribute or collect something from a large area."

1. To think that 15 years ago, my turntable's output was also being digitized as it played. Though it was through the RCA output from the amplifier, and not with 'with the included USB cable' with 'exclusive software' guiding me 'through the steps.' In part because I was using the PC audio software to adjust sound levels as necessary (not a fan of equalization software) per track, and to listen to each track as it played. Though I guess using something like a push button cue function of a turntable arm is the sort of thing that is too old fashioned for younger vinyl enthusiasts these days.

Though one does have to wonder - who has any interest in digitizing vinyl these days anyways? Modern vinyl records are often sold with access codes to downloadable sound files of various quality levels, and finding high quality recordings off old vinyl tracks is a google search away (don't forget to include 'FLAC' in the search query).

Wow...I agree with you; happens once a year or so. One might have vinyl never re-released on CD or digitally that one would want to digitize and store digitally. One other thing -- turntables with USB outputs have been around for years I bought one when my father died to digitize his extensive CD collection, much of which had not been re-released.

No need to digitize CDs! The information on them is already digital. I realize this reaches you too late, of course.

Typo.... I meant to write LP but wrote CD

Somewhere around here is a record my father recorded in the 1940's. There used to be places you could go which recorded your voice onto a record, for example to send to your mother. I'm pretty sure it's not vinyl, though. Probably shellac.

I was going to say this too. You don't need anything to digitize a record! In fact, the old ways are generally easier and better because it doesn't rely on proprietary software. I digitize mine occasionally (mostly for the fun of it). I have a little USB sound card and I record with Audacity.

5. I am in a relationship where if I say "I am a genius" my girlfriend will say "sure, sure" in a way that makes it clear that she doesn't buy this for one minute. I consider this very healthy.

I actually tried the full "I am a very stable genius" on her this morning, but she knew something was up.

Try something like "I must be a genius because I chose you" and see what happens.

Learn from the master.

I bought a turntable that would convert output to mp3 8 or 10 years ago. It was much more work than it was worth and results were disappointing. Hopefully the tech has advanced a lot since then.

I was looking at the products available about a year ago. I came to the conclusion that none of the "ready-to-convert" options were of good enough quality for me to even consider PLAYING my old vinyl on them. The tone-arms were of the lowest quality, needles ditto. Movin' on. At that sale price, I don't think this model can be any improvement over the products I was looking at.

Especially if you like your component system, buy a quality analog to digital converter. It might be a bit more work, but the only way to achieve archive quality.

CorvusB, if you've done it. does digitizing an album retain the effect that people like about vinyl vs digital?

You mean like the ever-present low level of hiss?

That's probably it. I'm not an audiophile, and have never understood the love of vinyl over digital.

It's a fad almost as dumb as the attraction to vacuum tube amplifiers. This made sense 50 years ago when the first-generation transistor amplifiers were pretty crappy, but not anymore. The problem was that those amplifiers would clip hard when the output stage was overdriven, and you could hear that. Vacuum tube amplifiers had a gradual distortion when overdriven, and most people wouldn't notice. That's also the reason IEEE floating-point arithmetic has gradual overflow.

Anyone for whom this is adequate would be better off downloading compressed mp3s. In addition the records would probably emerge the worse for wear from the lousy cartridge.

#6: who knows, maybe running with elbows out like that is the sprinters' equivalent to a 3600 ELO chess rating. I'll try it at the next corporate 5K.

Any ideas on why so many of the walking, running solutions would involve so many "odd" postures for the arms? (from the youtube videos). The run/tumble/run series was pretty impressive solution.

I’d guess that (a) the rules of the game/simulation are much simpler than reality, which leads to these ‘strange’ results and (b) deepmind didn’t show us all of the training courses.

2. The root cause of trees not touching each other is, well, roots, tree roots. A tree's canopy just about matches the tree's roots (i.e., the roots extend out about the same distance as the can

4. The root cause of today's high level of inequality is the government, but Lindsey and Teles tell the story backwards: government doesn't cause the high level of inequality, government preserves the high level of inequality. Anybody with even a slight understanding of the work of our Austrian friends at Mercatus Center will know what I mean. The faithful, including Lindsey and Teles, believe in markets on the way up the inequality ladder, but they don't believe in markets on the way down. Those who worship at the alter of markets are much bigger hypocrites than those who worship at the alter of the local Christian church.

Without government, the poor, disabled, sick orphaned, would die and thus stop skewing the income/wealth distributions?

The problem is correcting this problem would cause a massive cut in GDP and thus massive destruction of wealth. Without government borrowing and spending for consumption for these people, revenues to the biggest sectors of the economy would crash: health care, food, housing, military/police/social work.

It was clear there would be no cuts in health care by Trump and the GOP because the health care sector stock indexes did not reflect a looming slashing of medical consumption revenue.

No, ray, roots grow much larger than that.

#2 Because they fear harassment suits.
#5 A damning look into ourselves.

2. Those photos don't look at all like the forests of MD, VA, and DC. Trees there generally touch each other.

Well yes. That's the "Joe Biden Effect."

2: they do. It ends in an injury.

4 was good. The animosity toward the GSEs is misplaced. The subsidy, such that it is, amounts to maybe 3% of total housing value. And it isn't a subsidy anyway. It's the government taking on systematic risk in a way that only government can, which means that lenders make lower profits from borrowers because they don't have to take that risk. It's a true public good, and it would be a great source of financial stability if regulators We rent pro-cyclical.

The funny thing is, by creating a fixed rate, fixed payment standard, the GSEs force lenders to take on a peculiar sort of interest rate risk that ends up making mortgages more expensive for borrowers. So, while they provide something like a subsidy for their segment of the mortgage market, they probably impose systematic costs on the system as a whole that act as a tax on housing.

To be clear, Konczal isn't the one with animosity toward the GSEs.

I agree.

But add on: Konczal delivers yet another intelligent argument that government should be smaller...but nary a peep about property zoning.

Yet property zoning is arguably the largest structural impediment at work in America today.

Yes, the propertied-financial class is wedded to property zoning.

But is pushing the mute button the right response?

I stopped reading at "They aren’t focused on regulations that create rents for those at the bottom, like the minimum wage." The people at the bottom get zero wage, not minimum wage.

What Dzhaughn said!

I haven't read the book, but it sounds as if Lindsey and Teles focus just on *regressive* regulations. No doubt these retard economic growth, and to that extent they are bad. But many regulations that are not (obviously) regressive also retard economic growth, and these are also bad. "Progressive" redistribution of all kinds is at best beneficial in the short run, while they retard economic growth and therefore are harmful in the long run; and the long run is what really matters. If Lindsey and Teles want to get rid of many regressive regulations, more power to them; but let's not stop there!

@Kevin Erdmann: "...And it isn’t a subsidy anyway. It’s the government taking on systematic risk in a way that only government can..."

The "government" isn't taking on any risk -- it's the taxpayers supplying the money at government gunpoint.

American Progressives have a fundamentally different world view than libertarians -- that's why no amiable, logical reconciliation of viewpoints is possible. Progressives have a quasi-religious faith & trust in government that is fundamentally spiritual, not logical. American political Progressivism developed directly from New England Protestant religious idealism... and individual submission to the higher authority for both the personal & the general good of society.

You cannot reason with religious fundamentalists because they did not reason their way into their views (and attempts at reason really, really annoys them). Libertarians are infidels.


I think I just passed Brian Caplan's intellectual Turing test. you are a libertarian posing as a progressive?

what overall point were you attempting to make with your initial comment here?

The GSE credit guarantee is essentially a monetary function and it is a sort of pure form of systematic risk. It is a function that a libertarian could certainly support from the state. Treated as a monetary function, the credit guarantee requires no capital and would not cost taxpayers anything - much like the dollars the Fed prints today.

well, sounds like you're in the Milton Friedman camp -- free market supporter but also somehow a monetary-statist.

GSE's are statist market interventions and contradict basic libertarian principles. They may help some segments of the economy, but arbitrarily distort the overall market negatively. For example, Federal GSE's are on the verge of nationalizing the U.S. mortgage market. Maybe there is no up front cost to taxpayers, but government fiscal guarantees are implicit.... printing money/inflation and other government malicious monetary games are simply indirect forms of taxation.
The term "pure form of systematic risk" is nonsense.

It's actually the opposite of taxation. The USE guarantee allows housing finance to be facilitated at a lower cost, because lenders don't require compensation for the systematic risk that is taken on by the state. The state actually profits by charging a few for the guarantee, but the fee is less than the value, which is why GSEs produce slightly lower mortgage rates (emphasis on slightly). This is a service that can only be supplied by the state. Private savers require compensation for taking that risk, which is just waste. That's why it's a public good.

I share your basic principles here, but viewed quantitatively and practically, the complaints about the GSEs fail, and if anything they were a countercyclical influence during the bubble. Ignoring the details and pulling this into a moralistic argument is sort of making my point.


It’s a true public good,


These replies to my comment have all served to confirm my point quite thoroughly.

Tree leaves can sense greenery by the ratio or red to far infra-red light. More green nearby means a change in this ratio. They avoid other crowns based on this ratio. For very shade intolerant species (e.g. cottonwood), even branch clusters will avoid touching. To check the effect of windy areas, go out on a windy day--the tree crowns are bashing each other. Mechanical damage is to be avoided but also can actively create such gaps.

#3 on imposter syndrome. My experience in grad school was finding out what a bunch of imposters the professors were. If you are feeling like you got into a program under false pretenses and don't belong there, either you don't belong there or you are unreasonably insecure.
As to the response of completely being unable to write. I don't get it. Did the prof try to destroy you? I couldn't get through the whole thread. I had a tough time 2 months in when I realized my advisor was using me as cheap labor and had to have a showdown and threaten to quit. After that he treated me with more respect than he treated other grad students--I did not wilt and stop writing. The twitter essay is written as if "of course" on collapses in a heap when something bad happens to you--but I don't think that follows.

I don't think everyone has received the same "toolset" from their history, background and upbringing. It looks like you were very lucky to have a "repertoire" of actions that you could use in an unexpected situation. And things worked out well for you. But I can imagine that one's world can be thrown into chaos when (for your "repertoire") something totally unexpected happens that you don't have "tools" for. Just as a (admittedly very extreme) example: in a psychology book I once read how disorienting incest experiences are for the victims, because something "totally unimaginable" happens to them.

> 3. A thread on mentoring across the genders.

The guy in this story is majorly immoral and probably criminal because he was: a) trying to have a sexual relationship with someone he had just met b) trying to commit adultery c) abusing his power as an academic.

Of these, she seems fine with a) and b) and only a little bit disturbed only about c). What really upset her is the psychological impact that one brief event had on her confidence in her academic ability.

d) flattery has withdrawal symptoms, when you see through it?

Besides "having a conversation about this", what is anyone else supposed to do here? Does she want this to be a firing offence, and has she attempted to solve for the equilibrium, as they say around here?

Part of the problem is that "having a conversation about this" is not really about "having a conversation" - it is about subjecting one set of people to a narrative that stereotypes them based on what a few rogue elements among them do. It is a way of telling those people that they are intrinsically of a lower status.

"Of these, she seems fine with a) and b) and only a little bit disturbed only about c). "

Because it is what affeced her directly?

She's a total snowflake. One creepy professor makes a pass at her (no physical contact) and she goes into what could politely be described as a complete funk.

Is it unreasonable to ask for even moderate psychological resilience from people?

Or perhaps, given the PC way she writes, she was just looking for a victim status and this was the first convenient excuse.

4. There was a substantial amount of speculation and fraud in the banking industry before the crisis. As soon as the bank examiners left the banks in 2005-2007, banks began loading up on highly speculative real estate loans and also began purchasing loans from nonbanks which were turned out to be largely fraudulent. Many of the bank debacles were due to purchasing S&Ls and mortgage companies containing little more than garbage on the books. Also, many bought Fannie and Freddie preferred stock just before F&F went belly up. Politicians in Washington fought efforts by the Fed and Bush administration to increase capital at the GSEs. Liquidity was a major problem during the crisis as markets seized up and bad accounting rules kicked in. The stats only tell part of the story. There is no substitute for good management and due diligence. The rating agencies worked for issuers, not buyers. Many problems. Many bets made using other peoples' money.

Nonsense Jorod. If there was all that "fraud" why were there no or almost no criminal convictions? Because the Obama administration was soft on white collar crime? I dont think so.

This was definitively the biggest smoking gun the BHO administration could find:

It isn't a crime if it is not defined by law and regulation as a crime.

Congress plus the Bush administration preempted all State fraud crime definitions and turned the definition of fraud over to the Fed under "fraud can not exist in a market" Greenspan leadership.

The Constitution prevents prosecuting actions before 2009 as fraud under the Fed regulations Congress directed the Fed to write in 2000, but not issued until circa 2009.

Most prosecutions in the late 80s and early 90s were under State law. Sen Phil Graham got the law his bank lobbyist wife was paid to get made law to eliminate laws that can be used to prosecute bankers. Jammed in an Omnibus bill just before Christmas, similar to the just passed tax cut bill.

>It isn’t a crime if it is not defined by law and regulation as a crime.

What an outrage!

I demand that things be a crime if I read something about them in a Dem newspaper that upsets me!!!

"There was a substantial amount of speculation and fraud in the banking industry before the crisis"
I think you mean, there was a substantial amount of speculation and fraud in the home buying public before the crisis.

High school drop outs were too clever for committees of bankers with business degrees responsible for risk analysis to protect taxpayers backing up consumer savings deposits?

Because obviously both can't exist simultaneously.

Most price appreciation happened before 2005. During most of 2005-2007, prices were stable or falling. Homeownership peaked in early 2004, as did the rate of first time homebuyers.
It is true that, on the whole, documentation became lax. But, it's odd that as much as fraud as there seemed to be, that it didn't lead to new lending on the extensive margin.

Re 5, sometimes i thumb through the HBR in the checkout line at WF and think to myself that maybe i should get a subscription but then i actually read an HBR article and realize that it is just vacuous rubbish -- Jeremiah decided to leave his career in accounting "to pursue his passion for marketing." Say what? A passion for marketing? Imagine working at some company that takes this stuff seriously? I would rather spend my life on the Gulag in sunny Novosibirsk. At least there you might come in contact with some intelligent people.


The fundamental reason for the prevalence of impostor syndrome in academia is simply that most academics are impostors, and know it perfectly well.

Depending on the field, they know that they don't understand a single word of what they write, or that their work has no originality whatsoever, or is very probably not correct (they can't know for sure, of course, but they can feel it), or that they succeeded to their current position by all sorts of career-motivated moves saying nothing on their worth (working in the fashionable domain, pleasing the right powerful academic, choosing their mentors or protectors based on their influence instead of their talent, complaining when needed, staying silent when needed, "networking", etc.), or several of these issues. In truth my colleagues are, collectively, a very pitiful crowd.

Presumably this is why they are so angry at Trump all the time. The puerile "activism" of academics is mainly to cover up their lack of any other intellectual credential. If they be loud in a socially acceptable way, a foolish young co-ed might confuse that with depth.

She's verbose and full of recycled PC buzzphrases. The mark of +1 SD IQ but no higher.

So, yeah, imposter.

"In truth my colleagues are, collectively, a very pitiful crowd."

And I'm sure you're the life of the department party.

What field are you in?


The overall rate of impostors in academia is quite high, but very dependent on the field. For many fields it is close to 100%. In mathematics it is relatively low, as it is in many of the traditional fields (the field you would find in a university 100 years ago). Though it depends. I am currently at the MLA (annual Modern Languages Associations conference, regrouping all literature fields) in New York and it is not pretty.

re #metoo Can everyone just admit that Mike Pence was right?

I'd like to see sexual harassers fired, but only when we get to the point that accusations are expected to be made in a timely manner.

Not just made in a timely manner, but to be actual real genuine crimes. Britain has jailed people over a claim they touched someone else's backside back in the 1970s.

And it would be nice if the police could be bothered to check to see if their witnesses are nutters or not. Rolf Harris has just had one of the charges against him dropped when his lawyer pointed out, on appeal, that the star witness for the prosecution claimed to have been in town on that day in 1969 because he was on leave from serving in the British Army during the Korean War.

And it would be nice if the police could be bothered to check to see if their witnesses are nutters or not.

The datum in question went over the head of the police and the prosecutors. Were it an American prosecutor, I'd assume they new perfectly well their witness was lying.

The charges against Harris were so ancient and so little corroborated it's very disconcerting that he was prosecuted.

I read Rebecca Gill's tweets, and she is upset because somebody asked her if she would be willing to have an affair with him. There was nothing inappropriate about this request, and she has no valid reason to be upset about this incident.

Then you didn't read them closely enough. The offer of an affair came with implied quid pro quo. "Sleep with me and I'll advance your career. Don't sleep with me and I won't."

> There was nothing inappropriate about this request,

> The offer of an affair came with implied quid pro quo. “

For you two (liberal-minded academics???) it's apparently normal to try to start a sexual relationship immediately after meeting someone. Even when married.

For people with decency it is not normal.

Moreover, it either of you has children, I would hope that you are not teaching them that such conduct is normal.

I was addressing the least common denominator. That is, the aspect of the professor’s request that the largest set of people would find objectionable.

Personally, I have a big problem with him cheating on his wife, assuming they don’t have some sort of “arrangement”. That offense is against his wife, though, and not the person being propositioned. So, while it renders his request immoral, it doesn’t seem reasonable for the fact that he wants to cheat to especially upset Gil.

I also agree it’s inappropriate to proposition someone you’ve just met. But only in certain contexts. In other contexts it’s fairly common and expected. Young people in night clubs (as I understand it; it’s been a while since I was part of that demographic) often pair off and go home with one another to hook up. Obviously this context wasn’t that one, given she was a Graf student in her department. There’s a power differential at work that makes his request inappropriate even if there was no implied quid pro quo. If it had been a fellow grad student making the request, though, I’m not sure I’d have a huge problem with the “directness” of it.

Ugh. Typed that on my phone. Should read “grad student in his department”.

> I also agree it’s inappropriate to proposition someone you’ve just met. But only in certain contexts. In other contexts it’s fairly common and expected.

Yes I know that you believe that everything is OK (including adultery) as long as there is "consent". That is my point.

> There’s a power differential at work that makes his request inappropriate even if there was no implied quid pro quo.

Because you believe that promiscuity and infidelity are not a big deal in and of themselves - whereas a whiff of career unfairness is a horrible despicable crime. Career and status are everything.

>Career and status are everything.

Correction: Career, status, and sexual fulfillment are everything.

> Yes I know that you believe that everything is OK (including adultery) as long as there is “consent”. That is my point.

You're reading something into what I wrote that wasn't there. I was discussing "inappropriate" vs. "appropriate" as it relates to social "propriety" and not what's right and wrong. It might surprise you to know that I'm a fairly theologically orthodox evangelical Christian, who, among other things, embraces a fairly traditional sexual ethic. I'm just aware that "not everybody is like me". If you're in a context where it's normative for people to directly solicit sex then you can't really complain about it being "inappropriate". I'm understanding "inappropriateness" here to mainly refer to whether something is improprietous or impolite.

> Because you believe that promiscuity and infidelity are not a big deal in and of themselves – whereas a whiff of career unfairness is a horrible despicable crime. Career and status are everything.

I think promiscuity and infidelity are "big deals", but I don't think it's an especially big deal to be propositioned by someone unless there's some power dynamic at work. Random guy walks up to me on the street and asks if I'd like to go home and have sex with him. I'm going to say "No" but otherwise not be very negatively affected. I haven't suffered any concrete harm. However, if my boss at work propositions me and implies that my career will be stunted if I don't give in to his demands...that's concrete harm.

I'm a bit puzzled by Mike Konczal's post and some of the comments. What happened in 2007 was that numerous AAA rated securities were downgraded by the rating agencies. First off, this should have been impossible. AAA was meant to signal completely safe and covered. It also led to a small calling run as investors needed to come up with cash to refinance the securities that were downgraded, let alone wonder about the lower rated tranches. It's this enormous revaluation that first signaled really, really, really, bad times ahead. We then had Bear, with a solution backed by the govt.

Second, the GSOs were implicitly regarded as backed by the US government. In the summer of 2008, China began selling the GSOs and buying Treasuries. This flight from the GSOs was another really, really, really, bad sign, because, previously, it seemed not to make sense to go from GSOs to Treasuries as they were both equally backed. Obviously, China saw something that made them doubt that. In the end, we backed them, suffering substantial losses.

On the Sunday before Lehman went bust, there was a special trading session held by Wall Street dealers, requested by the Fed, to see if any Lehman debt could be sold cheaply. There was little action. At this point, investors knew only govt intervention could save Lehman.

The point is simple, whatever people should have thought, investors expected that that govt would step in and end the crisis. When it didn't do so on that Lehman Monday, investors thought the world was coming to and end. The people with money were clearly expecting a govt bailout as with Bear and the GSOs. Whatever else you want to say about the crisis, this is definitely part of the story. For me, this story began with the S&L crisis and the governments actions during financial crises afterwards. The big investors believed they had purchased insurance from the govt, and, in the end, they proved right.

Truth in advertising... I support Narrow Banking and a return to the old rules of bank ownership.

4. Mike Konczal on Lindsey and Teles and “getting government out of the way,” recommended, this piece is a good challenge.
Why would the T TF fail banks decrease their risk continuously since the 1990s while shadow banking did not? Because TBTF banks did not want to get caught in the squeeze.

The subsidy they have is first to market, the TBTF are the banks who sit on the Treasury planning committee, they are the primary dealers. It is the job of the primary dealers is to match government debt flow with depositors, they are legally required to get early and frequent looks at the Treasury debt needs, way before you and I. We, you and I, created this with public hearings in the Senate. I have facts and times, with fixed law, regular public announced meetings, and deliberate use of the NY Fed for Treasury dealing Not a conspiracy, not a fraud, a publicly written law ..

#5: "There are two categories of self-awareness. Category 1 is awareness of self. Category 2 is awareness of something that isn't self." So, actually, there's one category of self-awareness.

B-school publications are pretty bad.

Just as politics is not about policy but signalling, #3 is not about actually making a change; it is about stereotyping men as evil in general, somewhat like how nazis stereotyped jews. The fact that there are structural difficulties that prevent feminazis from murdering men will imply that unlike with nazism, this sort of hatred of men will survive for a long time.

This comment is not about her tweets - after all, it is understandable if a victim of sexual harassment stereotypes all men - but the act of promoting it by linking to them and glorifying them.

Evolution took like a couple of hundred million years to get a large organism onto two feet, so Deep Mind is doing brilliantly. No doubt there was a similar bit of cocky cackling at the first bipedal dinosaurs.

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