Saturday assorted links


"What's Wrong With Growing Blobs of Brain Tissue?
These increasingly complex organoids aren't conscious—but we might not know when they cross that line."

Won't they tell us?

They don't have mouths

...And They Must Scream...

Time for SSC and MR to merge already. Slate Starginal Revolution?

These are about athletic scholarships. Those are assistant football coaches, not financial aid officers. This is about avoiding NCAA violations.

I'm just a ringo who knows for whom the bell tolls.

“shows that the ethical discussion around organoids has yet to catch up with the fast-moving technology for creating them”

Who cares what bloviators who emphatically add nothing positive to the world think? These are unequivocally the worst people in the world. Perhaps, if one of them actually created anything of value, ever in their miserable existence, I would consider not taking a dump on them.

Agree. Modern journalism is basically the the text equivalent of rickrolling. You think you're clicking on an interesting article on brain and cognition, and you end up with speculative garbage.

Rachel Maddow, Maria Shriver and Andrea Mitchell have abandoned the #MeToo movement.

From the beginning Hillary was an adversary of the #MeToo movement...

"But privately, she embraced the Clinton campaign’s aggressive strategy of counterattack: Women who claimed to have had sexual encounters with Mr. Clinton would become targets of digging and discrediting — tactics that women’s rights advocates frequently denounce."

You don't have to look to hard to find many cases of women who make false rape claims and false assault claims. Their reasons vary but are often about revenge or money. Imagine what kind of person could live with themselves who makes a false rape claim and the charged rapist does 20 years in jail. But there is some percentage of humans who have no conscience or no moral compass and put their needs before anything else. THAT in a nutshell is what is wrong with the metoo movement. I am relieved when the accused fesses up and apologizes but very concerned when they emphatically deny the charge. I am also concerned that anonymous charges and even second hand stories can be used to destroy a person. I believe that making unprovable charges like this is no different than posting obscene photos of ex-lovers online and should be treated the same, i.e. it is a crime. Either prove your case or shut up.

There was a German teacher who claimed she was raped by a fellow teacher. He was dismissed from his job, his life absolutely ruined. He died early in his 50s. Years later she confessed she made it up.

“Rachel Maddow, Maria Shriver and Andrea Mitchell have abandoned the #MeToo movement.“

They have not. Not at all.

They simply reaffirmed their stance that they fully support baseless, unproven, accusations against those that they either don’t care about, or who they actively dislike. They further reaffirmed their support for any and all punishments for those who are targeted by those accusations.

What they are against is accusations, baseless or justified, against those that they care about or those that are on their team.

The actual mechanics or “justice” of whatever “movement” they purport to support is irrelevant, the important issue is the power and discretion it affords their clan.

4. the not-rhetorical question is “what are women’s sports for?”

That’s not at all snarky. As the article accepts as a given, we effectively don’t restrict anyone from competing in the men’s field.

Remember, Proggers get all upset when you point out that it is scientifically / statistically incorrect to make the unqualified statement that Serena Williams is the best tennis player of her generation / all time. Serena only played matches against women. When you look at the micro statistics of a tennis match - serve velocity, ground stroke velocity, ground stroke spin RPM, etc you realize why Serena and her ilk play in a completely different league of the men. Serena for all her greatness would have never cracked the top 100 on the men's circuit.

Gosh. Nobody's ever made that argument here at MR.

The most recent episode I can think of was when Proggers (like Lulu Garcia-Navarro) tried to run over John McEnroe.

Women are the weaker sex, so they have their own sports competitions.

Letting males with birth defects causing them to have internal testicles beat women for women's gold medals just makes a farce out of these events.

What about women with birth defects that make them more male?

E.g., XX and no SrY but insensitive to androgen, (which normally suppresses testosterone production).

But are weaker men, those with low levels of testosterone, defective males?

Maybe there should be testing of male competitors and some men required to take testosterone injects to correct their birth defect, or else require they compete in women's sports?

Note we constantly segregate sportsmen to get better competitions. Major league vs minor league AAA vs AA teams play against each other only for practice and FUNdraising, not real competition.

Maybe sports should be segregated by skin color to give inferior white skinned people a better chance to win.

Kicking black women off the golf course was simply about giving white women a competitive advantage in golf to correct for their birth defects that make them weak competitors.

Yes, difficult enough issue even without carrying all the baggage of gender and trans politics. Setting all that baggage aside, obviously, the point of women's sports is to allow women to participate in athletics, recognizing that women don't have the same physical capabilities as men (place where gender politics needs to be set aside to discuss issue rationally). Of course, the division between men's and women's sports doesn't allow a place for intersex athletes. They can't compete against the men for the same reason that women can't. But, women can't compete against intersex for the same reason that women can't compete against men (place where trans politics needs to be set aside to understand issue rationally). Unfortunately, there are probably too few intersex to make a meaningful third division, even if such a third division were acceptable given trans politics.

Men's boxing and wrestling are interesting comparisons, where different weight classes allow for meaningful competition. Because it's all men, gender political correctness is not involved, and no one has a problem with it. I don't know whether testosterone truly plays the same role in track that weight plays in wrestling but, if it does, then I guess it could makes sense for track to have "testosterone classes". From the article, though, it doesn't seem like intersex athletes fall on a natural continuum between men and women in terms of testosterone. There seems to be a big gap between women and intersex and between intersex and men.

No easy answer that is fair to everyone. Trying to allow everyone a chance to participate in meaningful athletic competition is difficult enough given biological realities, without the added constraints of satisfying various political correctness doctrines.

"recognizing that women don't have the same physical capabilities as men"

This is of course a blatant lie! If E[X|man] != E[X|woman] then the difference is CAUSED BY SEXISM! #ProggersOnlyCareAboutFacts

Boxing is the right analogy. We currently run two big events, for most things: an open class and a restricted class. The latter is supposed to represent the female half of the population, in the same sense that the open class represents the male -- of course the winners are unusual, but in a top-of-the-bell-curve greek-statue-perfection kind of way.

We also run many smaller events with much finer divisions. This is called the special olympics. It's a nice gesture, that we go so far to let people with certain identifiable handicaps enjoy some kinds of competition. But winning justly caries less glory, partly because the pool is small, and partly because one must always wonder whether the winner of one class ought to have been in the next class up. This is the appropriate place for most of these intersex conditions.

Regarding intersex athletes, they may fall into the unfortunate majority category of "mediocre athletes."

Seriously though: as real as the elite-performance gap between men and women is, the vast majority of people, men or women, can't compete with elite female athletes.

(The relative male-female gap in performance varies a lot from sport to sport: we have McEnroe's reasonable estimate that Ms Williams is about the 700th-best tennis player in the world; the women's 100 m record might not be good enough to be a top-10,000 performance, given that hundreds of US teen boys beat it each year. OTOH, the (bizarre but contested) Highest Annual (cycling) Mileage Record was just won by Amanda Coker, and in extreme multi-day endurance challenges, the male-female performance disparity is uncertain.)

4. So in the view of the I.A.A.F. testosterone is a Performance Enhancing Substance (PES). Every major sports league in America bans what they call PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs) but allows PES? I would further argue that vitamins are PEDs, but I never find them on the list of PEDs the sports leagues ban. These leagues must not care about the athletes enough. We should add vitamins and testosterone to the NFLs list of illegal PEDs.

2. I have already posted today my view that Cowen's approach to health care reform, with the focuses on prices, is the better approach. But this new rule is nonsense: someone who can afford insurance doesn't care (because insurance will pay whatever the price), and someone who cannot afford insurance doesn't care (because being poor means nothing left to lose). That economists let nonsense like this new rule go by without pointing out that it's nonsense makes one wonder about economists. Is it all about signaling?

The way it works now that your insurance will say: your co-pay for getting an MRI at Hospital A will be $500, but if you get it at Hospital B, your co-pay is $20.

But the posted price at A is $500 and $1000 at hospital B because the insurer has a package deal for giving all "its" business to hospitable B, paying $490 for the $1000 list service, plus the $20 the patient pays, for a total of $510.

Maryland has a waiver the requires the price be uniform to all payers including Medicare, which by law pays about 90% of the lowest price charged any payer based on Medicare being a payer that always pays within 30 days, as well as providing other payments for uncompensated care. However, insurers and payers can negotiate prices, but those prices become the standard price for all. The State as payer has its insurer/administrator negotiate prices to pick the preferred provider for its employees, Medicaid, etc.

So, CVS in trying to be a provider to the State employees sets the price of a generic which Wal-Mart priced at $8 sets a price of $7.85, which means CVS must charge everyone $7.85, even if the insurer copay is $10..

In other States, the legislature is considering laws mandating pharmacists tell patients that the can pay cash instead of paying the copay for insurance coverage and save money, so the pharmacy gets paid only $8 instead of the $10 copay.

Federal law conflicts with Maryland law without the waiver by paying only 90% of the lowest price charged all non-Medicare payers, setting a new lowest price Maryland law requires be charged all payers.

Obviously, for profit providers oppose both types of laws becayse they make their money by charging many different prices to different payers.

Only if Medicare requires that the price posted is the actual price Medicare pays will the rule create a competitive market. No insurer will be able to negotiate a lower price with the provider, as that will set a new lower Medicare payment.

If the posted price is not what Medicare pays, then the price is totally bogus and unrelated to what "third party" payers actually pay. Patients will not be shopping in a market.

Re: In other States, the legislature is considering laws mandating pharmacists tell patients that the can pay cash instead of paying the copay for insurance coverage and save money, so the pharmacy gets paid only $8 instead of the $10 copay.

Does it really happen that people are charged a higher amount because it's the lowest tier copay than the cash price? My lowest copay is $10-- but there is a RX than I pay just $1.79 (an at CVS by the way) for so I am wondering how the common the cited ploy is.

It is absurd that the uninsured get charged a top line price 3x or 5x higher than the insured.

Thats a broken system

What's absurd is the everyone-pays-a-different-price-for-the-same service. Imagine if you had to shop in supermarkets where nothing had a price label, because the price would depend on how you were paying for the groceries? And (of course) where prices might vary wildly, such that a FoodAid customer paid $.63 for that can of beans but FoodiCare paid $1.26 and private insurance $1.86. And you better have food insurance, bud, or the price might be anything,just anything at all.

(Although who knows, perhaps canned beans really do taste better if you pay $100. for them.)

And if you think you won't fall into the "uninsured, the sky's the limit" pricing bucket you could be very, very wrong. Such as, you did advance research to find emergency rooms at facilities that were in-plan, but- surprise! the physicians who work there are not, and thus you receive a massive "balance bill."

Or, you were careful to select an in-plan surgeon, but, that surgeon brought in an out-of-plan assistant, perhaps to provide some specialized service and it's surprise! time again.

There are certainly many players here who don't want to see any reform here, and unfortunately the federal government is one, as its MedicAid and MediCare fee structure is often just good enough, perhaps because it sometimes at least covers marginal costs. But a business can't survive if all customers pay barely above marginal costs because it must also recover fixed costs. And it may well be that MedicAid reimbursement is below marginal costs, yet hospitals and other providers accept it to avoid the negative publicity that would come from refusing poor sick people. Especially if they're a non-profit organization (as most are).

Anyway, as far as I know what must be posted are the hospitals list prices, that is, prices 1000% or more above what most payers actually pay.

No. When you have a $5,000 first dollar deductible, prices absolutely matter.

“Dont worry, you have insurance,” died as a concept years ago, albeit the conversation has not caught up

keep calm at the sawmill.

Yeah, but this rule is useless for those folks, because people with a deductible are still paying their insurer's negotiated price, not the "list price."

#4. Almost all elite athletes are genetic freaks along one or more dimensions.

This is probably true for most of the sports we care about most these days, and we might even care about those sports most because they are easily dominated by people with obviously advantageous genetics. We like freaks, as is attested by the fact that we have freak-shows. We like really successful freaks more than we like bearded ladies. See the NFL and the NBA.

I imagine that it requires certain genetic advantages to be, say, a top bi-athlete, but they are less obvious, and there is perhaps some feedback there. I might be able to compete as a bi-athlete through sheer grit even without great genetic advantages, because I shot and skied a lot as a kid. And because there is not enough reward in the sport to draw the really genetically talented to it.

But if it were one of the dominant sports here... I wouldn’t stand a chance, because the freakily good would all have discovered the sport, and would be competing in it.

In my experience, elite athletes are actually psychological freaks. The drive is the difference

This may or may not be genetics. But my guess is nurture.

I love this video comparing average guys to professional atheletes (football players in this case).

3: perhaps even more eyebrow-raising than making a career of designing fancy ice cubes is that she lives in Eagle Rock, which used to be a not-quite-working class neighborhood near downtown LA, with a high immigrant population. But in the last decade or so it's gentrified considerably; NPR even spent a week exploring gentrification there (more precisely, the adjoining neighborhood of Highland Park) several years ago.

And now it is a neighborhood where ice cube designers live.

I don’t think it an accident that the ice-cube story comes on the heels of a link suggesting that the great filter might be societies disappearing up their own brain-stems (a ridiculous proposition, but then all suggestions around the great filter are ridiculous, for the same reasons.)

I think you have to ask if this is really wasted creativity. Would this designer of ice-cubes have applied that creativity to solving “real” problems in the absence of a market for designer ice cubes? And would the set of skills that allow one to make a living designing ice-cubes transfer well to solving “real” problems? Color me skeptical.

I’m inclined to think that the existence of ice-cube designers (and I’m skeptical that this is a thing) is just an artifact of having a very wealthy society, and while that’s a mixed bag itself it’s not one I regret.

Faking out the duplicates... I don’t think it an accident that the ice-cube story comes on the heels of a link suggesting that the great filter might be societies disappearing up their own brain-stems (a ridiculous proposition, but then all suggestions around the great filter are ridiculous, for the same reasons.)

I think you have to ask if this is really wasted creativity. Would this designer of ice-cubes have applied that creativity to solving “real” problems in the absence of a market for designer ice cubes? And would the set of skills that allow one to make a living designing ice-cubes transfer well to solving “real” problems? Color me skeptical.

I’m inclined to think that the existence of ice-cube designers (and I’m skeptical that this is a thing) is just an artifact of having a very wealthy society, and while that’s a mixed bag itself it’s not one I regret.

SCP, 179, Pablo Escobar, 239/ 190 (JD)= 0.794979079
23 feb, 1979, 69-year-old Palestinian immigrant Ali Hassan Abu Kamal opened fire on the observation deck of the Empire State Building killing a Danish musician and injuring 6 other people before committing suicide.
Yasser Arafat 444
Nov 15, 1979
A bomb that was planted on American Airlines Flight 444 only partially explodes and filled the passenger's cabin with smoke, injuring twelve people through smoke inhalation. Had the bomb properly detonated, it would have destroyed the plane. The attack was the catalyst for the Unabomber case, though it was not the Unabomber's first attack.
0.427927928 (JD/YA)

Yasser Arafat =484



The Land Ordinance of 1785 was adopted by the United States Congress of the Confederation on May 20, 1785. It set up a standardized system whereby settlers could purchase title to farmland in the undeveloped west. Congress at the time did not have the power to raise revenue by direct taxation, so land sales provided an important revenue stream. The Ordinance set up a survey system that eventually covered over three-fourths of the area of the continental United States.[1]

jd/ya=The last wolf in Scotland is shot, in Killiecrankie. 1743

And of course sex-segregated brackets in sport fall apart if sex is no longer important and gender is. The obvious answer is to just have a single bracket- one basketball team that people of whatever gender can try out for.

It would likely be dominated by people who were assigned male identities at birth, but...

Although it is far from perfect, youth sports devote a lot of energy sorting kids into levels with the idea that the best environment is where they all start out at more or less the same place. No one complains that age is an unfair starting point

Not quite true, sorting by age has its own biases:

Agreed. It's not perfect.

I should not have said "no one" complains. But there are very few complaints that some sort of leveling isn't appropriate.

There's a lot of factors that lead to differences besides natural ability and drive, including the impact of parents level of involvement and expertise, and whether the child has older siblings, and of course their relative size.

Yeah, what about weight classes in boxing?
It's not everyone in one bucket, it's light-weight, mid-weight, heavy-weight.
Same with karate competitions. You separate people by their belt classes and so forth and match people in the same class for competition.

"No matter how much you try to ignore something like that, no matter how much you tell yourself that your body is just a subplot in your life, it isn't. It's the main plot."

- Dylan in "Hello Groin" by Beth Goobie (2006) at page 57.

4. They should be allowed to compete in the women's competitions. So have different hormone levels. That doesn't make them not women. People are different in many dimensions, involving all sorts of factors like height and strength. The underlying medical basis for those advantages is irrelevant. A tall person having an "unfair" advantage at basketball is no reason to confine tall people to separate leagues. Or maybe we should have separate basketball leagues for short people. Where does it end?

Not sure if this comment is sarcastic, or if you don't know that the Philippines Basketball Association has height rules, as did the unsuccessful World Basketball League.

At the most degenerate mode, imagine that anyone who self-identifies as a woman could compete in women's sports. You doubt there are men so shameless as to commit such a fraud? Let me introduce you to the Spanish Paralympic basketball scandal, where most of the team pretended to have an intellectual disability in order to compete:

So we're back to either having some kind of rules to give women a competitive sporting environment that is at least free of, you know, de facto men. And any rule you can make up to properly exclude men is likely to leave at least some self-identifying women on the sidelines.

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