Monday assorted links

Comments

1: You mean there are no secret projects already investigating UFOs and alien life?

4: How does something like this happen?

4. One possibility is they used LaTeX to prepare their manuscript, starting from a complete LaTeX file for a manuscript with the Medicare title. They then replaced all the content of this file (but not the LaTeX formatting commands etc.) with their own, but forgot to change the title.

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#3. I imagine this is what most normal people are like. The half of America that doesn't vote, or may much attention to the news, which is profoundly ignorant of world geography, and spends most of their time thinking about popular music and movies, which celebrity is getting divorced, and what Kanye West said last week, or that funny cat video that everyone's looking at on You Tube, and what part of the latest Halo game they are on. Except that he's doing it on purpose - quitting politics like a junkie going cold turkey. And he's probably right that he's better off for it, because the politics isn't really any more productive or healthy than any of that other stuff.

Obviously some number can free ride on a sophisticated and equitable political system, until oops you don't have one anymore.

IOW, if the politically apathetic are the index investors, they better hope there are activists managing the store.

Except there is zero evidence that focusing on politics does anything to create a more "sophisticated and equitable" political system. I think the most toxic and warped people I know focus their meaningless lives on politics and I see no upsides for the "system" because of their acitivism.

It's extremely rational to be ignorant of politics completely and focus on things you can control like family or business ventures. No sense worrying about things you cannot change.

Hear, hear, +100

The difference between the conscious liberal democrats, ever so self aware of their brooding attire, and the conscientiousness republicans, so certain in their faith. Both forgetting to remember the past, the pasture from a photograph that Manet could never paint.

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Seconded.

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Are you all too young to remember the League of Women Voters?

No one argued in those days "oh no, informing voters just leads to civics as pop culture!"

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Obsessing about politics isn't rational unless you enjoy it but being informed and voting is rational. Governments in the US spend about $8 trillion/year and there are around 130 million voters. The simplest model says that if you vote once a year you are allocating $60K each time you vote. That is worth the 15 minutes or so that it takes.

How much time does it take to become informed enough to make rational voting decisions? My impression of the political science research for presidential elections is that the contest is decided based how the economy is doing (a good economy helps the incumbent party) and whether the US has a lot of troop abroad fighting a war (bad for the incumbent). So it seems to me that even the minimally informed electorate that we have is making roughly rational decisions. I mean, Trump’s message was simply “vote for me, I will make you safer and wealthier”, while Clinton’s message was “don’t vote for that racist”. Even so, the fact that Obama left the economy in a pretty strong position and tried to keep US troops out of dumb wars almost carried the day for Hillary. And Trump’s poll numbers were at there lowest while congressional Republicans were trying to repeal Obamacare. Really, thinking more about it, it seems like the politically well informed actually end up making themselves stupider when it comes to focusing on what matters to the electorate.

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This has been done to death, (see Caplan etc). But really, it's very hard to build a rational voting model on fiscal self-interest alone. What's the probability of being the marginal vote?

In practise, because of optimum coalition formation maths, there is not much difference in expected utility between your (effectively) binary choice. So maybe it's $55k for you if the Democrats win the Presidency and $65k if the Republicans do, or vice versa. So maybe $10k expected payout on win is reasonable.

And what's the probability of being the marginal vote again? Florida 2000 is the closest that has ever happened in a Presidential election (but I believe some other important elections in the US have come down to small numbers?). The odds of being THE marginal voter must be less than 1 in a 1,000....so the payout now is shrinking to less than $10.....

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+1 for sanity

Would that we all could live in Republics where the mark of an educated person is to tend to their own affairs and have little interest in government, save perhaps a casual involvement as a JP or alderman. But in our age to have an extreme interest in politics, nay; a particular brand of politics; is a very important signal to send....

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Political active people are like the price/quality sensitive shopper. A critical mass of price/quality sensitive shoppers who usually only constitute a relatively small minority of shoppers will be able to have a significant influence on the way that businesses behave. Anything below that critical mass undermines the efficiency of the system.

I agree.

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+1 Yes.

Don't extend the analogy to price discovery though!

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Not the greatest analogy for your point of view; for most people, the most rational course of action is to be an index investor, and to leave the activism to the Carl Icahns of the world.

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Wouldn't the healthy thing be to spend your time socializing people in real life? I think this is one of the largest benefits of being an active member in a religious community, or playing in an adults sports league.

True. I'm not much of a fan of sports leagues or churches though. Some sort of collaborative productive work. He should start a business producing large scale art. Maybe become a landscape architect.

Now , in case someone is going to reply that politics IS "collaborative productive work" I'll modify that to "collaborative voluntary productive work". (As in, involving people who actually want to be involved, not working for free. )

That's the whole problem with politics. It's not a voluntary cooperative system, it's a system based on forcing everyone else to go along with your stupid ideas. People long for the feeling of working together to produce something of value, and they think politics is going to give them that, but it doesn't. It's not fun for people that want to cooperate, it's only fun for people that want to stomp on their enemies.

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You're chock full of busybody advice as to how this guy should live his life for someone who identifies as libertarian.

He seems contented, he's not bothering you or others, he even his a vision of what to do with his life that is reasonably civic-minded and coherent.

What exactly is your problem?

Is Hazel Meade a libertarian?

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Yes, everyone is free to do what she says.

(Sorry Hazel :-) )

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?? I actually think his quitting politics is a good thing. Someone responded that it would be healthier to do something social. I offered a suggestion for something healthy and social. Big fucking deal.

Jesus do you have ants in your pants or something?

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Not to mention the suggestion I offered is something totally in line with what he is actually doing....

I'm really baffled as to how someone would interpret "you should become a landscape architect" in the context of a guy who bought a piece of land he wants to turn into some sort of environmental park as being "busy-body advice".

When you show someone your hobby and someone says "hey that's great, you should do that full time, for money", do you yell at them and call them a busy body and tell them to fuck off?

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I don't believe he's like half of America, Thank God.

Anyway, I'm a staunch Second Amendment supporter. This is one individual (lives alone on a pig farm) I would not allow to have a gun.

One symptom of the general problem. Likely, he is (and all of America could be) better off not obsessing with the exaggerations, fabrications, outright ignorance widely broadcast concerning, "James Comey. Russia. Robert Mueller. Las Vegas. The travel ban. “Alternative facts.” Pussy hats. Scaramucci. Parkland. Big nuclear buttons. Roy Moore." All of which seems meant to cope with, or try to reverse, the glorious results of the November 2016 election.

I'm a big believer in the First Amendment, but I don't believe you should be minding the store.

He said not obsess- almost always good advice. How does the first amendment figure in?

Anonymous responds to my comments with whatever pops in his head.

I simply meant the man is, and many others would be, better off . . .

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A while back, apropos of a Trump and Hillary debate, and against the backdrop of Trump’s vulgar comments about a certain class of young woman “allowing” billionaires and celebrities to grab them and Hillary’s persistent defence of her sex pest (and likely rapist) husband, a Marginal Revolution poster named “Tall Dave” said something like: “if your night was spent getting apoplectic about two 70 year olds arguing about sex, you are America-ing wrong.”

And thus, virtue was discarded.

(if you want to hate on Hillary, dammit find somebody better than Hillary.)

You can care about something and not obsess over it. Take a break every now and then, it does wonders to your outlook.

Do you really think we took sufficient care of virtue, as a virtue, for high office?

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Who the fuck is "we"? I fought against the shit show that was our election from the start. But hey, bad news, not enough people agreed with me to avert what happened. Tough shit, thats democracy. Stop whining that your guy lost or fucking move.

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Amen, MOFO. Polar bear/Anonymous guy is pretty sure he's Jesus Christ. Politically speaking.

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Our constitutional government is not "one and done," it relies very much on citizen feedback and election prospects in the coming cycle.

Why pretend otherwise?

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By the way, msgkings. You gotta problem. You can't see an abstract discussion.

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I get apoplectic about 70 year olds arguing about trade policy. I'm definitely America-ing wrong.

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"The price paid by good men for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato

Paraphrasing Machiavelli- all the men with power are "evil" or "wicked", and the best (worst) are manly and hide their real virtues well. Best in this context meaning best at running a functional state, which requires cunning, treachery, lying, violence (or at least aggressiveness and some degree of ferocity and callousness), courage, etc. Which is to say that the functional difference between good and evil men is the results that they produce for their polity. Hence Borgia was almost an excellent Pope. Were Moses and Muhammad good men or evil men?

By that formulation, was Hillary Clinton "best"?

Well, would she be running the country more effectively than Trump? If so, then yes.

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You used to have to choose between stupid and evil in us electiobs. But now, with Trump, you can have both!!

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Yes, she was "best" by the metric that she could reward her tribe well.

Is Trump rewarding his tribe? I see no evidence that he is. Who is Trump's tribe? I am genuinely asking. The left will say "oligarchs" and "capitalists" and "whitey", but I don't believe that.

Who does TRUMP see as his tribe? He would say "ordinary Americans". But the answer seems to be anything between "people who support me" and "ordinary Americans".

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Thor, Trump is one of the least complicated people in history. His tribe is and always has been a tribe of one, himself. You may be able to extend that to his kids (but not his wives).

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Also silly and cliche. And fundmentally medieval in assuming we know what good and evil are, that these subjective moral values have anything to do with insitituional effeciency at a systemic level. Not an argument.

No such medieval assumptions are necessary. Every society constructs norms and assigns moral value to actions. There are norms of polity-morality, the adherence to which is considered "good/democratic" and the subversion of which is considered "evil/autocratic". This line could as easily read "the price paid by Democratic men for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by Autocratic men."

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Well we know that without sentience, nothing is good or evil. Abortion, therefore is an evil only surpassed by genocide of the conscious. So odd how people who are pretty sure there is no good and evil are pretty sure that ‘live and let live’ is evil but slaughtering millions of infants isn’t.

Maybe you should crack a logic book before firing off such syllogisms...

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Citizens accept leadership so that they can have the time to mind their own affairs, or did so at one time. Now politics is free media programming. No rights need to be purchased, as with the pro sports and college leagues. Production costs are minimal, the actors work for free and pay for their own writers. There's no shortage of enthusiastic, if imbecilic, commentary. From a media management standpoint politics is manna from heaven.

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6. Is this Straussian by linkage? The next Google-linked video is the more infamous "Steve Bannon: wear 'racist' as a badge of honor"

All well, we can be glad Steve is gone, but we should admit what he was and how he mattered. And that really matters more than Bannon on Hayek.

Why? In view of who is called a racist nowadays, and who calls them so, anyone should be proud of being called a racist. This has never happened to me yet, unfortunately, but I am awaiting this moment as an important time of my life, like my bar-mitzvah.

The new right for the last two years: Why do progressives call us racists, that's just so unfair.

Steve Bannon: Actually..

The modern left on race: it is racist to treat people equally.

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Considering that Christina summers, Steven Pinker, and Charles Murray are called racist and shouted down at speaking events from nutjob lefty cooks, I'm not sure the term continues to have meaning or at least it shouldn't be a positive if anitfia has decided to use it.

I'm guessing lefty cooks use a lot of tofu, arugula, and brie. If your autocorrect prevented you from using the idiotic term 'cucks', you should thank it.

I am guessing the meant to write: kook

You're right...I'm overly attuned to that stupid word.

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There is danger in ceding dangerous or unpopular truths to the fringe. It allows the fringe to cloak themselves as “defenders of the truth, which no one else will say.” It changes the relative credibility in favor of insane antisemític racist nut jobs. If speaking truths becomes a dangerous thing banished to the shadows, then whacko shit becomes believable to some people, since the group willing to say obvious facts is saying it.

We should be able to say the murder rate is not equal among women and men, or among races or among age groups without rioting and committing violence. There’s a rational response. Okay, men commit more murder, maybe X is why. Crime rates are different among races, maybe Y is the reason. Young men are more likely to commit crime, here’s a hypothesis.

Rioting and shutting down Charles Murray giving a talk about white poverty and dysfunction expresses a clear message: there are unthoughts that will be responded to with violence, whether or not the speech concerns those unthoughts. And a part of a generation grows up thinking that everything Is a lie, and their “lying eyes” is the truth, and it goes down a road that leads to Trump and KKK marches and frogs wearing Nazi uniforms.

Sunshine and truth is the best disinfectant. Put the truth in context. Don’t cede it. Explain why, don’t riot and commit violence. Don’t de-platform with Molotov cocktails, demand the right to have a response speaker. Let the audience decide.

Well said, +1

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Generally +1.

The modern left attempts to control the narrative by shouting "Fake News" (in WaPo/polite circles) and then the Hecklers Veto (on Twitter/Instagram) and then outright violence (Antifa) when circumstances afford. It actively seeks to avoid argument. But it doesn't work; the desperate attempts to remain in a safe place look sad to anyone not on-board.

That's why it's cooler on the Alt-Right now. All the forbidden fruits of thought are yours to enjoy.

Want change? The left needs to put together a civil and polite response grounded in data and science, without pretence and self-flattery that acknowledges their own fallibility, self-interest and human corruptibility. One without the narcissism and moral signalling that gives hard-edged answers to unpleasant questions. Those of us pulling for Team Evil will listen.

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Well the problem is, whenever, for instance, black people complain about how they are mistreated at the hands of the police, some racist douche will trot out statistics showing that black people commit murders at disproportionate race in order to "prove" that black people's treatment at the hands of the police is completely justified. As if the disproportionate crime rates in black communities mean that they don't deserve the same presumption of innocence as whites, or as if trigger happy cops should be more free to shoot people because people who look similar are more likely to be criminals.

The problem here is not the facts about murder rates, but the way those facts are trotted out to justify unequal treatment of black people by law enforcement officers. When you see people responding to people trotting out those statistics, consider the context: are they doing it in the context of the some discussion, say, of the latest time the police killed an unarmed innocent man? Are they really objecting to the facts, or are they objecting to what those facts are being used to defend?

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Well, often the statistics undercut the basic premise, i.e., the statistics suggest that black are not being mistreated at the hands of the police any worse than non-black people. But any presentation of statistics of that nature (e.g., by Heather MacDonald) is generally shouted down. You may think you can build a more just society on a foundation of lies, but I don't think that will work.

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Or it could be that whether blacks are being mistreated at statistically worse rates *doesn't* undercut the premise, because any mistreatment is worth addressing whether it is statistically worse than how whites are treated or not.

For instance, when a cop shoots a white person, there is a certain crowd who will respond to that by saying "see? Black people have nothing to complain about!", which ought to be regarded as a kind of non-sequitor.

Is the relevant issue here, the injustice, period, or the fact that black people think whites have it better? Why do some white people get super defensive over the fact that black people (for gosh, I can't imagine what reasons) think that they are discriminated against?

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Gosh, Hazel, you seem to be saying that all lives matter. That makes you a racist. You had better not try to speak on a college campus.

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generally the "All Lives Matter" types are saying that cop lives matter too, so are technically defending the behavior of the police. The fact that "Black Live Matter" people are focused on black people shouldn't be regarded as an insult to whites. Black people for obvious reasons, are sensitive to racism and anything that hints of racism, even if racism isn't the main issue. Cut them some slack - its only been the number one issue that has affected them for the past couple hundred years.

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Lefty cooks like... most of your favorite authors at Vox, NYT, Washpo, Huffpo, most self identified liberal social science and humanities academics, and most nations Democrat politicians. Just those kooks.

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I am glad the left has overplayed it's hand so badly; their eternal cry of "waaaaaycist!" is losing its power.

You need to reconsider what Bannon's "yup we are" really means.

I mean you didn't get it when Yanopoulos tweeted a harassment campaign against Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones. Or a hundred other places in the run-up. You just pretended then that it was something only leftists could see. Now it's in the open, and you say "losing its power."

The rightists are only doing what the leftists pioneered. Twitter harassment campaigns started with leftists basically trying to destroy the lives of anyone who ever opposed gay marriage.

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The real Hazel or a troll?

I can't imagine that the real Hazel would justify one evil with another, in classic whataboutism.

I can't imagine that the real Hazel would say Breitbart racism is fine, because liberals.

Not only that, it is they are kind of reciprocal evil that ratchets conflict ever higher.

I really hope that the real Hazel doesn't want increasing hate and violence.

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I'm certainly not using one to justify the other. I hate both sides with the fire of a thousand suns right now.
Okay, well, maybe I hate the left slightly less at the moment, becuase I'm so furious because the right just proved themselves to be just as bad as, if not worse than the left, which sort of proved the left correct about what a bunch of assholes the right is, which is disappointing, because I thought they were better than that. But the left still sucks and is full of assholes. I havn't forgotten that.

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#2 How about admitting that modern classical music (especially since the 1950s or 1960s) is essentially a pure failure? Nothing has really entered the canon and even the things with a brief surge of popularity (such as Gorecki 3d) harken back to older forms that people could always appreciate. Other things that are programmed (e.g. John Adams or Corigliano) are done despite general indifference rather than because most typical audiences want to hear them, in preference to the warhorses.

Everything from late Schoenberg to Elliott Carter to Ligeti, Boulez, Cage, etc. to whatever music theory school of the day fad gives us, have utterly failed to find a substantial audience. A random modernist concert in a major city will never have the appeal of an all Prokofiev or Sibelius concert.

And articles like this further clue us in to how pointless the exercise is. All that the modernists have done is make classical music as a genre even more of a museum.

If all moderns since the 1940s had been focused on making innovative music that people would want to hear then at least classical music's audience might be stable and growing -- albeit at a slow rate -- instead of shrinking.

It is of course striking that those mid 20th century pieces that have become canon, such as Dialogues des Carmelites for opera or most of the well-known Shostakovich symphonies are old fashioned and tonal.

What is the most recently written classical tune that's recognized by everyone? I nominate Sabre Dance (1942.)

Assuming that you're excluding things like film scores (otherwise John Williams has dozens here), it's not a bad suggestion. Fanfare for the Common Man was also 1942. (A little earlier, but everyone knows Rhapsody in Blue, thanks partially to United Airlines.)

The "excluding film scores" bit is to some degree like excluding songwriters when asking why people don't recognize modern poetry.

+1.

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I nominate 4'33" (1952).

Winner.

What's crazy is that I love ballet and dance and so end up hearing lots of contemporary classical music as a result, and there's a lot of good stuff out there. Ligeti has good stuff, Glass gets play, and I'm enjoying stuff from Ezio Bosso.

Note that it's actual music and not the desperate searching of trashcans for meaning. I also remember attending a Christmas choir concert, with lots of traditional pieces, and this "new work," an unlistenable wailing (you know the kind, where they take five minutes to say "The lamb is born anew on fields of sorrow"). In the middle of the piece, a senile woman started screeching nonstop and her companion had to usher her out of the concert, with the most sheepishly apologetic look on her face.

I don't think anyone blamed her.

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Sounds like the senile woman's screeching may have been mistaken for being part of the piece...

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It was certainly very telling that it was then that she needed to scream.

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I don't go for Copland but I think some of his very recognizable stuff is later than '42.

Af far as classical in general, Shostakovich is my favorite and he might as well have turned off the lights on his way out.

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Milton Babbitt addressed this in his 1958 essay "Who Cares If You Listen."

http://scholar.google.com.hk/scholar_url?url=http://www.kirstenvolness.com/babbitt-whocares.pdf

He essentially argues that modern composition is a specialist academic subject like any other, a layperson should not expect to understand the pieces, and that they are written by and for other trained specialists.

He can only do that if he's patronized and the patronage is laundered through several intermediaries or has a sucker as its source.

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Leftist has scorn for people forced to pay for his ugly art. News at 11.

Yes. It's interesting, isn't it; the common pleasure of others produces no pleasure in the Leftist Artist. Because theirs is the "wrong sort" of pleasure; too crass, too middle-brow, too -gasp- popular.

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So the proper place to publish such compositions is in academic journals with sound, so the academics can read/listen to them and then write wise, witty criticisms in response.

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Reading this quickly in my office on my phone, I thought it said “how to teach people to appreciate DIFFERENT music”, and immediately thought I was about to receive a lecture from the NYT about how misunderstood rap music is, and why I would surely benefit from a greater exposure to its manifold virtues.

As for the most recent classical tune that I would be able to identify, well, that would be something by Richard Strauss.

Try it. It is amazing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTomUb3r1m0

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If you understood Rap more then you'd be better placed to understand 18th century constitutional debates, apparently. :-)

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@wiki: survivor bias?

I don't have the numbers but perhaps "famous" classical music is 0.001% of all symphonic/chamber pieces composed between 1600 and 1950. So, is it reasonable to complain why the music output of the last 60 years pales compared to 350+ years?

In addition, this music was commissioned by rich people for rich people. Perhaps, we common people learned to love it as an aspirational product. There's intrinsic value in it but also lots of signaling. Telling music have utterly failed to find substantial audience is stating one of it's intrinsic features, a truism, so what?

60 years is a long enough time for new music to become commonplace. Consider that in the early 1960s, the Rite of Spring and Petrushka, Turandot, Sibelius, and Mahler were all becoming commonplace despite their origins within the same century. Prokofiev had some popular pieces and the Shostakovich 5th was beginning its rise to popularity. Vaughan Williams symphonies were already getting there as well. Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra was newish yet popular.

There is simply no single post 1960s piece that even vaguely compares. In contrast, the Rite of Spring seemed outrageous when new yet was fully assimilated by the time of Fantasia just a few decades later.

I claim that the moderns are batting 0.000. The numbers for the leading composers of the period before 1920 or 1930 are much better by 1960 or 1970

I was a music composition major for one year. The composition professor absolutely forbade any of his students to write anything tonal. We had to use a system like 12-tone serialism or random pitch selection. It is, of course, impossible to create anything a normal person would want to listen to with those requirements. I wrote a 12-tone composition for cello. When it was performed I was horrified. The hairs on my neck were straight out. The student who performed it is now on the faculty of Julliard.

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I don't know enough about classical music to know if this is right, but much the same thing might be said about poetry, although the terminus is a little later, say 1965. Nothing canonical thereafter.

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What's with this "(NYT)" in parenthesis? Why highlight NY Times and no other paper?

You only get free access to so many NYT articles per month. Tyler used to post without the warning and MR readers complained about using up their quota.

If you wanted to get around the paywall (not that I'm endorsing this), just browse NYT.com in icognito mode using Firefox. When you run out of free artcles, close your browser and reopen it in incognito mode. Probably the quickest way of avoiding article-counting cookies.

Thanks for the tip! IIRC, if you search on the article in google, it also bypasses the paywall. (Have not done this enough times to know for sure, but it seems to work sometimes.)

"They" are slowly but surely closing this loophole.

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That used to work for the WSJ but I think they finally caught on to it!

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This doesn't apply to Wash Post or The Atlantic?

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I'm pretty sure it's because the NYT counts your articles. Tyler is warning you that if you click you are dipping into your quota.

Just open in a private browsing window. NYT counts your articles using cookies (I think), but regardless, once you close out of the private browser the count is reset, and if you open another instance of the browser, you will have access to 5 more articles.

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I'm guessing it's to warn the reader who does not want to waste one of the "free reads" for non-subscribers. Same as putting (pdf) to warn readers who don't wish to open a 10 MB file e.g. on their phone with data plan etc.

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@#5 - Big business > Small business. OK article ("The reason is simple: As a rule, the smaller the firm, the lower the productivity level") but fails to mention Big Business has more patents per unit revenue than small businesses. Once again the writer misses the patent angle.

But then, those of us who have innovated in both big and small companies know that big companies will file patents for things little companies consider run of the day innovation.

True enough. But incremental improvements win out over pioneer patents. Unfortunately, if you don't file for improvement patents somebody else will, then, as you probably know, you, as the original patent holder (blocking patent) have to enter into a cross-licensing agreement with the improvement patentee, rather than being able to outright stop them from doing something that you, the original patent holder, would have likely done anyway. The powers that be need to change this rule to make it easier for the original or pioneer patent holder to have more rights, but 99% of the population doesn't know what we're talking about anyway, and that includes politicians, especially anti-patent pols like the former Michigan congressman John Dingell (who served for 59 years!)

Bonus trivia: Dingell was educated in DC (Georgetown) and had a chemistry background, and despite of or because of this (chemical patents are notorious for being tiny improvements over existing patents) he was anti-patent.

That is a true story. These days, a big company needs a defensive patent portfolio, even if it never files one big home-run patent. The little guys view it as low ROI (and for some, a bit unseemly) to file for things that are "merely clever."

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If you work for a big business you'll be impersonally treated as an employee (aka "human resource"). If you work for a family business you'll often be treated as "the help." And serving even family that's not directly involved will always take priority over you.

Yes, that's vastly over-generalized. And I'm sure it can be very different if you actually are family (or partner, etc.).

But there's also a good deal of truth there and, I think practically all will prefer the cold impersonality of MegaCorp over the all-too-personal attention found at many a small\ business.

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#1: Fun fact, the author is currently the National Security Affairs Advisor of To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences. The CEO and founder of To the Stars is Tom DeLonge, former frontman of pop-punk band Blink-182.

What on earth (pun intended) does a "National Security" advisor do for a company called "To the Stars"?!

Bonus trivia; TO THE MOON ALICE! would not be funny in this day and age of #MeToo

The French are one of the few countries that actively investigate these type of sightings: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29755919 . It isn't just a US phenomenon, and it might be of value if there was some co-ordination of these efforts. Ray - have you read 'The Hunt for Zero Point' by Tim Cook?

That book was written by Nick Cook, not Tim Cook. It might be a bit more credible if it were written by the CEO of Apple.

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5:

. Even in the retail sector, the top four companies in 2016—Walmart, Kroger, Costco, and Home Depot—held just 13 percent of the market combined.

This points out the eternal difficulty of determining concentration. Are these really competitors? Kroger and Home Depot have very little overlap with each other (both, however, overlap with Walmart and Costco.)

The article would have been stronger if it pointed out that the worst provision of the entire recent tax bill is the special pass-through deduction for already tax-advantaged small businesses.

Very true, but the way the DOJ antitrust department does it, if they want to 'get' a company accused of being a monopolist, is to define the relevant market very narrowly. For example a regional market, or a national rather than international market, or they parse the product lines so that substitutes are not included, and so on. If Uncle Sam wants to "get you", they will find a way. You cannot beat City Hall.

Bonus trivia: here in the Philippines, the government wants to establish a third internet provider, for anti-monopoly purposes, when IMO the market is too small for three players (the entire PH GDP is about that of Greece, and there's 1000s of islands here, making internet expensive to set up), and the PH government due to constitutional requirements wants 60% ownership by Filipinos (hard to do; your profits are decreased by 60% since you know your PH 'partner' is going to be a deadweight after some initial token contribution to capital), and they have price controls here, numerous regulations, and they want a company with a large net worth, and, the only outsider to express interest was a company from arch-(fri)enemy China. Not going to happen as Trump would say, who the president here adores.

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5. What if the founders of Google had taken the high road as they said they would, rather than the low road they actually took? Would America, the globe, be better off or worse off? The founders would likely not be nearly as wealthy and Google not nearly as large, but would they have greater satisfaction for what they accomplished and would Google be a better company? Steve Jobs shifted production to China, which resulted in Apple generating enormous profits and Apple becoming the largest company in the S&P 500. Sure, Apple would not be nearly as large as it is today but would Apple be a better company? The problem with measuring everything by placing a dollar value on it is that it doesn't always measure the true value. That's sacrilege here at MR but it's true. I know, markets and all, but markets and size don't always provide the best measure of value. It's often asked what is the true measure of a man? Well, what is the true measure of a company?

" What if the founders of Google had taken the high road as they said they would" Self driving cars would be able to go more than 35 mph. Darn Google.

+1. Well done!

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6. Michael Strain has some interesting views. In politics, he suggests a parliamentary system for America so that more interests are represented not fewer. He believes that would force the diverse interests to work together, unlike the winner take all system we have today. https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-01-22/let-s-think-about-a-u-s-parliament. Strain doesn't mention that the structure for elections handed to us by the founders has a serious flaw: it rewards a distinct minority with out-sized influence and, more often than not, control. I should point out that Strain wrote the essay that I have linked in the context of a possible government shut-down because one party, the Republican Party, can't even agree with itself (while ignoring the other party). Concern about gridlock has been around for as long as we have had divided government, with one party in control of the presidency and another in control of the Congress. Today, there is no such divided government; indeed, the Republicans control all three branches of government. And yet it's rank and file Republicans who are most disenchanted with government. Go figure. I recall a different time when Richard Strout devoted many of his essays to his preference for a parliamentary system for America. To think that Michael Strain and Richard Strout have something in common means there is hope for America.

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#2: I looked for Ligeti's Chamber Concerto in youtube and was pleasantly surprised. While listening to it, I remembered an album I listened to last year: Kreng - The Summoner. What a surprise to find Kreng citing Ligeti as influence "....The Summoner is based around the 5 stages of mourning and is made after a year of losing several close friends.......Conjuring up the spirit of György Ligeti, the first half of the album is made entirely of 12 string players......."

How Do You Teach People to Love Difficult Music? Sell it as post-metal and perform it in an old slaughterhouse converted into a cultural space haha. It's not party music, but no problem since life is not always a party. People that appreciates it will gravitate into this music by themselves. It seems they're taking the right steps, no formal concert hall and a few beers. That's the same young metal fans do.

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I'm sure the military does care. And I'm sure they know.

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1. He makes a good case.

A good case for not reading WaPo editorials. Those soldiers must have fun telling their war stories and seeing who falls for them.

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#2 I think it would be more practical to distribute sufficient grant money to persuade the academic music community that working within the constraints of tonal music - or even more restricted constraints, such as the rules of harmony followed by Bach, or by earlier musicians - was an interesting artistic challenge. There may even be a precedent for using funding to influence the elite artistic climate - http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20161004-was-modern-art-a-weapon-of-the-cia

Shostakovich is the precedent...

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Yeah, it might be hard to teach people to like the noise that passes for "serious" music. I'd rather go to a wrecking yard, the noise there is more authentic.

Yeah, Nine Inch Nails does more innovation in the atonal category than pretty much any classical composer these days.

With contemporary classical making itself ever more obscure, you could make a case that prog-rock has partially filled this vacuum -- Genesis, Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Renaissance, Curved Air, Bruford etc from the 70s and more recently some progressive metal.

NIN? Not since at least 1993.

ELP etc (and more recently Dream Theater etc) great instrumentalists but not exactly atonal or "serious"

Oxbow, Merzbow, latter day Coltrane, Krallice, Swans, MBV. Some black metal too.

Yeah, ultimately the point is that it's hard to show you're innovating when you're still relying on a symphony orchestra.

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Plenty of innovative music did rely on traditional instrumentation in the latter half of the 20th century. It simply wasn't very "popular."

In addition to the aforementioned Ligeti, there's Penderecki, Elliott Carter, Stockhausen.

There's no shortage of innovative and fascinating music for traditional instrumentation. It's simply become obscure, and something which can be complemented with music from electronic and "rock band"-like groups which are just as interesting.

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And 1990's electronica. Autechre etc.

100% agree on Autechre and 1990's "IDM", good call

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#2. I read the linked article because the idea of "teaching" people to like something smacks of brainwashing. I wondered what kind of brainwashing techniques would be held to the light. There were none. The article, like most "difficult" music, was a compendium of non sequiturs -- sound and fury signifying nothing.

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3. I thought this would be the typical dumb virtue signalling, but it was actually an enjoyable article.

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7. Wasn't Strain writing for BV already? Does this mean he's full time now?

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Banned again...

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Next week: NYT profiles a Pirate fan who has pledged not to look at the NL standings

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