Sunday assorted links

1. Last known survivor of the 19th century has passed away.  And a related thread.

2. Women working in the D.C. area do especially well.

3. “The longer the hikikomori remain apart from society, the more aware they become of their social failure,” explains Elan. “They lose whatever self-esteem and confidence they had, and the prospect of leaving home becomes ever more terrifying. Locking themselves in their room makes them feel ‘safe’.” Link here.

4. An old David Hendry paper on forecast failure.

5. Kenya estimate of the day: are C-section births at 50 percent?

6. Interview with Stephanie Koontz on marriage and gender.  Interview with David Perell.

7. Jared Diamond reviews David Reich (NYT).


5. I believe about a third of all U.S. deliveries are C sections.

And that number is climbing.

The difference with Kenya is that a third of American women are probably having c-sections. Are Kenyans?

Doctors claiming to do a procedure is not the same as doctors actually performing a procedure. Notice:

Last year, the National Hospital Insurance Fund’s (NHIF) pay-outs for caesarean-section births hit Sh1.2 billion amid concerns that hospitals could be pushing women to surgery for financial gain.

Official records showed that C-section accounted for 58.2 per cent of NHIF’s maternity costs as a third of the women covered by the Fund opted for the operation.

So a third of women eligible opted for the procedure. About the same as the US. But the scheme is government-funded health care. If the doctor tells the government he performed one, how do they know? How do we know this is not insurance fraud?

C-sections are also faster so they can get more women in and out of delivery rooms quicker. I don't think they save much money by not doing a C-section when they can. The role of the doula or midwife in US hospitals is pretty much to argue with the hospital staff so the woman can keep the delivery room as long as possible, before they boot her into the operating room. When a woman is in labor it's pretty easy to convince her that they should just cut her open as fast as possible so it can all be over.

Looks to have plateaued and dropped slightly:

Current % for U.S. is 31.9%. WHO says no medical benefit after 15%.

My wife had all our kids naturally. One thing that always struck me was that in "what to expect when you're expecting" it talks about how squatting increases the size of the pelvic opening by 33%, and there is a TV show called "I didn't know I was pregnant" (or something like that) where all these women spontaneously go into labor without realizing what is happening. The women universally squat down on the ground (thinking they are dying) and then the baby pops out with no assistance or preparation.

Yet, women all give birth lying on their backs??? Think about this. If you had to take a huge dump, would you lie down on your back? Who came up with this idea for women to give birth lying on their backs? But women are embarrassed to do anything outside the norm. For our last child, they had a new birthing bed, that allowed the women to reconfigure the bed to allow for squatting, hands and knees, etc., and a poster showing all the different positions they could try to see what they liked best. That was the largest baby and the easiest delivery.

It's because of epidurals. The epidural paralyzes you below the waist which means you're stuck in a bed for the the rest of delivery. That also raises the risk that you can't get the baby out without a C-section. Unfortunately there is not really an effective pain management that is not dangerous for the baby (i.e. you can give a pregnant woman nacotics), other than epidurals. That's what makes "natural" childbirth what it is - childbirth without painkillers. It's why some women prefer it - not just because they are masochistic, but because it lowers the risk of complications.

Yup. Although the reasons why it's high in the US are probably different than in Kenya. In the US, it's probably because of the risk of medical malpractice - nobody gets sued for doing an unnecessary C-section. But they get sued a lot if the baby is harmed during delivery, and C-sections are safer for the baby (but not for the mother).

In Kenya it appears to be due to ignorance and culture - women opting for C-sections because their husbands don't want their junk to get all messed up. And not knowing what the risks are. I doubt if there's a significant liability problem.

2. I think women like to work for the government. And that explains why they do well in DC. I don't have numbers offhand. Maybe someone can chip in.

Doing well by doing harm.

Without modern government, you would still be living the early series of Blackadder.

Your religion is showing.

Modern government like Stalinism for instance? African countries have plenty of modern government, the best money can buy but they are not exactly flourishing. My guess is that culture and genetics is the primary driver of modern civilization not government which once it strays beyond keeping the peace generally seems to achieve the opposite of what it sets out to do. The great society project is a good example, it destroyed black families and caused enduring poverty.

"Without modern government, you would still be living the early series of Blackadder."

And have traded instead for "Yes, Minister" *1000.

Women are actually underrepresented in the federal workforce compared to the private sector. At the same time they tend to do relatively better in federal jobs than they do in the private sector. That makes some sense, as the government has some policies in place that can diminish the impact of the so-called "motherhood penalty" on career advancement and pay.

"Women comprise 43.3 percent of the Federal workforce compared with 46 percent of the total U.S. civilian workforce." But women appear to be more represented at the highest levels of the federal workforce (SES, at least under Obama) compared their share of executives in the private sector.

It depends on what type of jobs are being compared. White collar jobs account for a larger proportion of Government jobs than in the private sector.

What you call "Private sector" includes jobs like housekeeping, nursing, babysitting, etc - where women almost enjoy a monopoly. No wonder you notice that women % in federal jobs is lower.

But if you control for the type of job and then compare federal vs private, I am sure you will find women better represented in government jobs.

And why do they do better in Govt jobs? I don't believe it has to do with "motherhood penalty" being lower in govt jobs. Again it has to do with the nature of government jobs, which do not entail a strong profit motive and thus do not incentivise outlier performers (who are off charts in terms of the hours they put in, or the drive they exhibit - typically males). In a set-up where there is more downside risk than upside risk, women can be expected to excel men. And that's what they do in federal jobs.

+1 They like the security of a federal job and have the patience to handle the mind numbing bureaucracy.

If you listen to the Emily Blunt BBC interview, you get a view that women are open to working in all fields. Ich Er, Eric. Jerry.

I wish bank regulators had read about forecast failures before committing our banking system to risk weighted capital requirements, and on top of it all giving such a large role to some few human fallible credit rating agencies.

how come so many super-centenarians from Italy ? Diet ? climate?

Start by asking how good Italian record-keeping is. An epidemiologist friend tells me that Italian cause-of-death data is particularly suspect. That need not, of course, imply that date of birth data is shonky.

4 - Apparently, quite a radical (Isn't she special!), Ms. Koontz is far short of the deep end of the liberal-psychosis pool.

Hat tip to James Woods. This tweet may take the prize. Woods cited an August 24, 2014 tweet by a potted plant named Zinnia Jones. "If Hitler was trans it still wouldn't be okay to put Hitler in a men's prison or deny Hitler proper trans treatment." That seems to fairly summarize approaches to the dire gender-sexuality crises, and why typical people ignore it.

The infatuation with this (trans) particular tiny fraction of people is curious. Contrast it with for example dwarfism, which at 1 in 30,000 has a roughly similar incidence.

Actually I read more recent estimates is that trans are 0.3% of the population. Anyway, psychiatrists consider trans to be a form of sexual paraphilia which heterosexual men can easily develop. So the more people talk about trans the more trans people will be.

Wait, what? Link?

Since you don't ignore it (easy to do, I do) I guess you're pretty atypical.

Jared Diamond: how odd to write "That group consisted of herders from the Asian steppes" when all the writing I've seen on these herders attributes them to the steppe north of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. No doubt everyone's intuition says that the land north of the Black Sea is European Steppe; less intuitive (at least to me) is that the current convention among geographers is to class the steppe north of the Caspian as European too. So Diamond should have written 'That group consisted of herders from the East European steppes'. You might have thought that a geographer would have got that detail right. Well, you might have thought that if you hadn't read one of his books.

Of course it might be that he wrote what he did with ulterior motive rather than simply out of carelessness or ignorance.

Cartographic pedantry.

Some might call it accuracy. He's an academic, so he's paid to be accurate. If he wants to be sloppy he should become a journalist.

The name of a particular bit of the Eurasian continent is important why?

Because you're disappearing White People, silly!

Only by very modern British standards of bigotry . Swarthy used to be a word, and swarthiness started well east of the Caspian.

Indeed, the pedantic are by definition irritatingly and obsessively committed to 'accuracy' at the expense of obviousness and pleasant conversation.

I really don't believe Diamond has an ulterior motive here. The most plausible explanation for his mistake is carelessness, which for a paper in a daily newspaper on such a minor and arbitrary point of where Europe stops and Asia begins seems to me completely excusable. A second possible explanation is that this population coming from the European steppes, identified with the Yamnaya civilization of archeologists and with the speakers of reconstructed Indo-European of linguists is itself a mixture, genetically speaking and according to Reich, of a population coming from the south, from modern Iran, and a population coming from the east, from the Asian steppe (and having genes in common with Native-Americans, except if I am myself messing everything up). Thus Diamond's mistake would only be half a mistake, that of forgetting the partial Iranian (though still Asian) origin of that population.
And I believe that the true explanation is, to please Reich, a mixture of the two.

I'm not sure why genetic evidence of the migration west by steppe dwellers should be any sort of surprise. It's been the Standard Model for a good long while that the Indoeuropean languages were introduced into Europe by just such a migration at the time period genetic evidence now confirms.

6a. Good interview. Democrats should read this article because it describes why they lost the last election. She starts to grasp what happened.

The major quibble is the assumption that men must be made into women for there to be true equality. All that would happen is that the educated and domesticated men will be replaced by a more severe type, and women will end up wearing burqas.

An interesting insight describing the difficulty a couple would have in a community where jobs are scarce and there isn't much social cohesion. A stable family is very valuable in those circumstances, but everything conspires against it.

"All that would happen is that the educated and domesticated men"
I really love how he thinks "educated" is a slur and tries like hell to avoid the word "civilized" (ah, yeah, "domesticated"). What's again the difference between right-wing tribalism and its Wahhbist friends? Eating pork?

Here's a great Econ Talk podcast interview with Roy Baumeister author of "Is There Anything Good about Men". It takes up this issue of how feminism affects the effect ratio of domesticated men vs. brutes, and much else. Baumeister, with his unexcitable baritone voice, and steady good sense, is a good reminder of what a "manly man" sounds like and thinks like.

Seriously. Shouldn't the right-wing's love affair with Wahhabism and Wahaabism-lite have been left in, say, 2000?

Please provide an example. I can think of a number of English leftists who might be described as Wahhabist enthusiasts: most prominently George Galloway.

It race baiting, Russian interference and how Comey put his thumb on the scale? Awesome, I'll check it out. Good thing Rob Ford's brother is running roughshod over Ontario politics, eh? Thugs running this continent.

Russian interference, so far as I have seen, amounted to a small number of people getting scurrilous stories on Facebook. Possibly they hacked the emails, which then showed the populace what Clinton's staffers actually thought of the populace.

That is actually pretty weak sauce. Compare that what the US has historically done to interfere in elections and it is basically milktoast.

As far as Comey, sorry but Clinton is the one who failed to follow procedure for dealing with classified information and did so in a manner that basically only happens in order to foil public accountability. Anyone not from the upper echelons of DC would get raked over the coals for this. Everyone was fine with Comey's thumb on the scale when he bastardized the law to exonerate her and everyone flipped out when she was back under investigation. He should have said absolutely nothing or he should have said everything; I lean toward the former but then I support the American people making the decision if mishandling classified information is a disqualifying offense.

As neither-of-the-bastards voter I can say pretty nicely that Hillary lost the election herself and was not quite able to snatch back victory running against the weakest modern candidate. Blaming Comey or Russia is picking at two straws when there were ten bales on the camels back.

Interesting use of "small number."

Facebook informed lawmakers that roughly 126 million Americans may had been exposed to content generated on its platform by the Russian government-linked troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency between June 2015 and August 2017.

Of the 310 million Americans exposed to the sun from June 2015 to August 2017, how many contracted skin cancer?

More or less than 70,000 in 4 states?

"May have been exposed" is a few light years away from "caused". If random things coming through Facebook are more persuasive than the news media, the candidate, and all the campaign advertising might I suggest that your candidate is weak of her own right?

Highly orchestrated things are sort of the opposite of random.

"Compare that what the US has historically done to interfere in elections and it is basically milktoast."
So, next time, NYC will be bombed?

7 is a great review of a great book by the great Jared Diamond. Diamond doesn't spend half a sentence to engage in the same boring debates about race and racism and if what Reich does is pure right-wing racism or if he has a hidden leftist agenda, and instead explain some of the important scientific findings that Reich reports on (and often is to be, with others, credited for).

One criticism though, but it should be addressed to Reich even more than to Diamond. This new science does not really "upends" traditional knowledge. On the contrary, it only confirms, to an accuracy which is the main surprise of the story so far, the image of the recent prehistory that linguists had tentatively reconstructed (especially in the two chapters on Europe and India). Certainly archeology is proved wrong in some instance in which it has got blinded by ideological nonsense, but there was a clear divorce since half a century between scientific linguistics and politically-motivated archeology.

Jared Diamond is definitely a good writer. But I happened to read his conclusions in "Collapse" recently, and it seemed to me that one of us is pretty separated from reality. (And I don't think I am.)

Easily his worst book.

"Guns, Germs and Steel" was a solid account, albeit Diamond probably pressed his thesis too far so it risked becoming A Theory of Everything. However my impression of "Collapse" is that he started with the conclusion and then worked backward to find evidence (sometimes rather dubious evidence) to support it.

C-section. The ultimate because-we-can surgery.

3 needs way more discussion in terms of feedback and transactional cycles, as in how parents might want to shield a shy child from society but end up reinforcing and metastasizing a behavior they are trying to prevent and cure.

In visual form, look up the desk scene from the Wire.

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