On first world problems, from the comments

Airspace homogenuity is a 1st World gripe. Here’s some of my 3rd World concerns: do we have any more Philippine spitting cobras in our backyard? (We’ve killed two in the last year, one of them at 10:00 am in the outdoor kitchen, slithering up to somebody; it can shoot their venom up to 10 feet, kills many within 30 minutes, too short to make it to the hospital); are we going to run out of water in this rain forest climate that has no dams, though we just dug a second pressurized well?; does burning plastic (there’s no trash pickup here) cause cancer though we’ve taken precautions to build a big pit and stay upwind? (diesel fuel helps but it’s so rainy here it’s hard to burn anything); did the diseased bat that almost landed on my head carry Ebola or rabies (I have anti-rabies shots, but not Ebola)?; will the volcano erupt again and bury us with pyroclastic flow, like it almost did earlier this year (the magma the size of a football stadium that rolled down the mountainside was spectacular, I saw it when it happened); will our new concrete house get damaged by an earthquake (I think not, we used good concrete not the crumbly stuff they use here to save money), or a typhoon (we have a steel roof; the Philippines gets something like a dozen typhoons a year, and we’re in ‘typhoon alley’); will we have another power cut just when I’m typing this? (the PH regional power plant is geothermal, which sounds good but in fact is prone to breakdowns, a brownout for a few hours every week is common, and more common during rain, a coal-fired plant is actually more reliable and btw electricity costs are about 2-3x more than in the USA, and people here are poor). Why are fruits and vegetables so expensive here ($1 for an ordinary apple; 80 cents for a small fist sized greenish tomato or huge, dirt filled–it’s comical–carrot) and why won’t my next-of-kin eat them? (sad people here eat nothing but sugar, white rice, pork, chicken, and the bony talapia fish, all fried of course since nobody even sells ovens and the one oven I bought, imported, had a gas leak and is inoperative, serves me right for trying to buck custom and buying things knowing everything here is sold from First World county rejected equipment, I kid you not).

Those are Third World concerns, and it’s even worse in Africa. And this guy is complaining about what again? When people wish ill on the USA, it’s because of stuff like what this guy is concerned over.

That is from Ray Lopez, the first link being added by me.


Makes Blasey Ford sound like a whiner?

I don’t think Ford was a whiner; based on the available evidence she is a liar. Now, according to her lawyer, she wants to fade away and does not want Kavanaugh impeached. I suspect that her lawyers are worried about perjury charges. Some of Mitchell’s questions were rather specific. I think she knew quite a bit about Ford.

I’m surprised that Tyler didn’t insert “sic” after homogenuity.

I'm afraid the Trump really pulled off something terrible here. This is a turning point, where he really got a mass of Americans to believe whatever the hell he said without evidence. While at the same time, he demonizes other people who do not have evidence either.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

That a fundamental truth that disappears in a field of powerful demagoguery.

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." You could unload a truckload of baseless accusations with that trick.

I do believe that there was enough in Ford's testimony to indict her for perjury.

Then do that, seriously.

But here's the problem as I see it. There is some psychological aspect, probably not IQ, that has to do with accepting uncertainty.

We have a lot of historic, closed room, he-said/she-said, stories in American politics. Fundamentally all of them are unknown because the evidence is testimony and is equal on both sides. Sure, a rational person could lean towards "believing" one side or another a bit, but they should keep the uncertainty firmly in place.

I think we should be able to manage uncertainty about some things for the rest of our lives.

But there are people who clearly can't do that, on the left and the right. They settle the question in their minds by firmly believing one side or the other of the he-said/she-said.

And of course politicians on the left and the right we'll both exploit that. Politicians on the left and the right encourage they're partisans to firmly believe there is only one answer.

Rise above.

Why can't Voice to Text be better? The words "will" and "their" should have been obvious by context.

Hallo! Ich Auuf den Merk geben Ihnen einen big thumbs
up für die ausgezeichnete Informationen Sie haben, hier hier zu diesem Beitrag.
Ichh bin Rückkehr Blog für mehr bald.

“Sure, a rational person could lean towards "believing" one side or another a bit, but they should keep the uncertainty firmly in place.”

Good post. Mostly. But ... isn’t this what happened? Ford accused and yet provided nothing other than her accusation that might move us towards “certainty”. In the absence of anything that might corroborate her claims, the “rational” thing was to proceed with the confirmation. I think many moderates, centrists, centre rights, centre leftists, non ideologues, libertarians and classical liberals etc. support the overall outcome.

As I have said, I think the best possible outcome would have been a teaching moment about teen drinking, and then sure confirmation.

Without taking this too far afield though, the wink and a nod that what happens at prep schools stay at prep schools is a bit worrying.

Are Kavanagh and his friends as forgiving with black kids who smoke a little pot? Their parents who let it happen?

So sure, confirm him. But as I also said that doesn't mean I have to like him.

As I have said, I think the best possible outcome would have been a teaching moment about teen drinking, and then sure confirmation.

Why limit it to teen drinking rather than just drinking. Too many drunks harm and kill.

The question of law is important. A judge should ideally try to conform to a nonpartisan position, and one consistent application of the law.

Frankly, and this is my personal opinion only, I think Kavanaugh has shown himself to be a partisan and motivated thinker, and I expect him to be as forgiving with his friend Donald as he was with his friends at Beach Week.

Thus (to tie this back to the main topic) moving us that much closer to the Philippines in our politics. A demagogic President, an openly partisan Supreme Court Justice.

The link between parents drinking alcohol and their children suffering abuse is unmistakable. More than 76 million people worldwide abuse alcohol, explains GreenFacts.org. Fourteen million of them live in the USA and 6.6 million American children grow up in alcoholic households, according to Alcohol-Information.com. More than a million children are victims of child abuse each year, and alcohol is a major factor in nine of every ten cases. Two in five abusive parents are alcoholics.

(A justice with "laws for thee, not for me" ..)

"There is some psychological aspect, probably not IQ, that has to do with accepting uncertainty."

Yes. This is an old observation. That thing is well known; among the warrior class it goes by the name of courage, among the priests is it known as Love (impersonal love not Joanie loves Chachi). For both, it is contrasted with fear. Among slaves it is unknown as they are as a group defined by their need for certainty. Among artisans, perhaps, it is known as work in the Levin at the end of Anna Karenina sense. Among merchants, it is the raw material they convert into profit through 'enterprise'- not labor but showmanship, a kind of seduction.

It is the main subject of every great religion.

People say the case against Bart O'Kavanaugh for perjury is pretty compelling, and you can skip the whole Ford thing entirely.

What I find interesting is that while third-worlders are deathly worried about spitting cobras, first world MR readers are deathly worried about the kind of cobra that resides in a blackman's pants.

"Why are fruits and vegetables so expensive here ($1 for an ordinary apple; .... and why won’t my next-of-kin eat them?"

I think your next-of-kin are sensible. Why eat an expensive, probably imported and exotic fruit that is almost certainly doused in a ton of chemicals? It isn't even that healthy. It doesn't keep the doctor away and those prone to diabetes i.e the majority past a certain age, are specifically told to keep away from all fruits.

If you must eat fruits, stick with local seasonal delicacies that are always far cheaper. Same with vegetables. I bet this is what your next-of-kin do.

"...brownout for a few hours every week is common, and more common during rain,....and btw electricity costs are about 2-3x more than in the USA,"

Sounds like the perfect use case for a few kWs of solar installation and a cheap lead-acid based battery backup. Considering the higher cost of electricity and cheaper labor for installation, it will almost certainly pay for itself in a few years. The lead-acid batteries used in such set ups are in high demand after their useful life of 3-5 years because they can be easily refurbished or recycled.

"..does burning plastic (there’s no trash pickup here)"

Again with a little effort, trash can be used to generate gas/electricity. These aren't pie-in-the-sky ideas. A lot of remote villages already do off-grid solar or biomass energy projects.

You could try something like the wastebot ( https://wastebot.com/ ) or anyother kind of biomass/plastic gassification machine. There are literally hundreds on the market and every government renewable energy department worth its salt offers one. The wastebot costs $12,500. Or you can learn how to build one for yourself (they will tell you how). I imagine this will be far cheaper in Philippines. The problem you are going into run into will probably be insufficient and/or unsteady supply of the waste required. Since I assume all your neighbors also have the same problems with trash and unreliable+costly electricity, you could team up to solve this.

Best of luck and do let us know how these work out!

I like your comment very much, however you also must understand, that building a wastebot is an enterprise in itself. People sometimes don't have money for food, they don't have money for wood or nails, they most certainly don't have money for specific plastic/metal parts and/or 3d printer or anything this sophisticated (especially if they need to coerce other neighbours into this new thing to actually be able to do it). Your answer is great, but it still requires a lot liquid funds and has reasonable risks associated with it.

Not sure if you are aware but the author of the comment (Ray Lopez) is rich and can spare a few tens of thousands of dollars required for this. But I agree, government/institutional support is necessary for the others.

Yeah, I was unaware. I still think that Ray Lopez presented more of a rhetorical question. He just pointed out that there is a huge gap in what can be considered a problem in different countries and classes.

Exercise: Estimate the probability of a good outcome installing a wastebot conditional on a bad outcome installing a gas oven.

Right on. Since the wastebot, engineered for the first world, will fail here, not to mention shipping in here (expensive custom duties, just for a cheap chess computer I had to pay taxes equal to about 50% of the cost of the device).
I once, for a group of people affected by a typhoon, thought of getting donations to build a desalination plant, but the total cost kept escalating, even if you pay for a technician to fly in and install it.

Bonus trivia: in Africa they import machinery that will not fail easily, and is unitary in construction, ball bearings sealed, no need to change oil, etc, so if something does fail, like in the Hubble telescope there's redundancy and you replace the entire unit. That way you can actually get a few years service out of it. It's hard to get people to check the motorcycle tire pressure around here, much less service equipment. Most good Filipino mechanics work in Dubai, though I have a few in-laws that are good mechanics. We even can neuter our male dogs! It's cool, home surgery. You have to be Robinson Crusoe in the tropics.

So, do you really believe you cannot get laid in the first or second world, or do you just like the adventure? Wouldn't it be nice to learn that you love adventure and can get laid anywhere? Let's you leave clean when you're done with . . . whatever.

I have low expectations, so I really think that, though my friends and family say I'm crazy. Who knows? I even thought about moving to China (my office was my laptop before I retired a few years ago) until I found out China has a female shortage, so I figured my chances in China, even as a member of the US 1% (min net worth $10M), were poor. So it was either Africa, Latin America, or the Philippines, and since I don't speak Spanish very well, and Africa is a bit too much for my traditional Greek family, I settled for the Philippines after a stint in Thailand (they don't speak much good English there, even the educated people, and Buddhism, which I like, might have been too much for my family). Good luck 555 to you cat!

lol -- 1st world solution for 3rd world's problem...

@D - thanks for the reply.
"If you must eat fruits, stick with local seasonal delicacies that are always far cheaper. Same with vegetables. I bet this is what your next-of-kin do." - do you know that apples, even (I think) oranges require seasons? Hence imports. If the weather is always warm the trees will not produce fruit. I also peel apples and many root vegetables to cut down on pesticides; avoid brown rice (arsenic in outer skin), and lettuce (instead eating cabbage, which has slightly fewer pesticides). I'm not afraid of pesticides, I use the relatively harmless Malathion to spray our birds and animals for parasites. I routinely use mosquito spray made by Bayer (active ingredient: Permethrin, a synthetic form of pesticide found in chrysanthemums)

"If you must eat fruits, stick with local seasonal delicacies that are always far cheaper. Same with vegetables. I bet this is what your next-of-kin do." - No, they don't eat much veggies, and the "local seasonal delicacies" last about two weeks out of the year. You get the hairy "Rambutsan" (sic), and the "pili nut" and three times a year the yellow watermelon (grown when rice fields are kept fallow for one-third of the year, they have three rice harvests a year here), and long, coiled green string beans, and some very huge carrots, also expensive, as well as local 'plum' 'Italian' tomatoes, also expensive (about $1 for a handful). All local stuff is almost as expensive as the imported stuff; recall, shipping prices have fallen, hence you're largely paying for shipping and anyway China, Australia are efficient in farming, unlike the Philippines. They import dragonfruit and it's cheaper than an orange but has almost no taste. I like beets, and they also make your turds turn red like the red dragonfruit does.

"Again with a little effort, trash can be used to generate gas/electricity" - Again, no. See Konstantin above. It's not a matter of just cost, but finding the right expert. Just to drill a well, pressurized, you have to get a bunch of people and plan it yourself. I managed to learn how to do it since I have a science background (the well bore hole btw is dug by hand, which limits how far into the water table you can go, since the laborers can only dig up to their necks in water). An in-law of mine who has a large pig farm did get a grant from some NGO and did set up a bio-methane plant, but that's with free money.

"Since I assume all your neighbors also have the same problems with trash and unreliable+costly electricity, you could team up to solve this. " - you are wrong again amigo. No neighbor will team up to solve this, as first they have no money, second, as NGOs find out when they try and get villagers to wash their hands (see Roger's 1962 classic "Diffusion of Innovation" book), most villagers don't even see that burning trash is a health hazard.

BTW I'm surprised you did not comment against our killing of the PH spitting cobra, which is 'threatened' by extinction but not at all rare in eastern rural PH. We also routinely get the pet shop lizard favorite, the predator Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko, named after the sound it makes) and so far they've not lodged inside our house, where the can be a nuisance but are considered good luck (they make loud mating calls at night, I had one in another house we were renting, and I didn't want the hassle of removing it, as they can get about a foot long and will break the skin on your finger when they bite; the plus side however is that they eat those huge German cockroaches that live in the tropics)

Best of luck in your neck of the world!

"Happy cow" lists many vegan restaurants in Manila though.

I take that comment back; some vegan restaurants do exist in Manila, but most that came up in the list were either just vegetarian or "serving meat but vegan-friendly".

From an Australian - hope you like our food???
I was surprised, but upon looking it up (https://www.austrade.gov.au/australian/export/export-markets/countries/philippines/industries/Agribusiness) Australia exports about $500 million USD in food to the Philippines! I've always viewed Australia as too expensive to produce anything except for Wagyu beef for Japan - but I guess my expectations were wrong? (Or maybe the immigrant slave labour - http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-06-27/workplace-watchdog-investigation-into-labour-exploitation/9911710 - is paying off. Yikes.)

Googling prices for Australian supermarkets, apples cost about $1 each here (Although that's AUD - $0.7USD - what currency were you quoting yours in?). Nevertheless, I'm guessing the PPP for AUD vs peso puts that comparison super out of whack.

Moving on, another commenter down below said you should (paraphrasing) 'focus on fixing your own country' (Which IMO is a kind of ridiculous comment - living in a developed country my government is still amazingly incompetent, and I have no clue what I or anyone could do to fix it. From what it sounds like, in developing countries it sounds pretty bad and I'm guessing your similarly powerless?) but responding to the idea of the question, what do you think the Philippines should do to economically progress more? Would joining the TPP help - I see from ASEAN it has low tariffs with Australia, but what about other countries? Would reducing protection help? Or does it need more deep-seated cultural or regulatory change. IDK 'solve: the Philippines economy' seems like a bit of an unreasonable question to pose in a comment's blog, but... thoughts?
Also: what should Australia / other countries do to help? Is there anything developed countries can do, and what is feasible for those countries citizens to push for that won’t get shut down for being geopolitical suicide (i.e. I’m sure Australia could do a lot to help, but would never actually do it – what’s actually helpful and a policy Australia might do, that I should look out for when voting? Is foreign aid good?)

Sorry for the kind of rambly comment, but thanks for your own comments - they were interesting and gave a useful perspective.
Thanks! Tom.

'and I have no clue what I or anyone could do to fix it'

Luckily for you, Prof. Cowen is working tirelessly on Emergent Ventures, which is intended to improve government everywhere, not just Australia. For example, you probably need even more economic freedom as part of those small steps to a much better world.

That comment about economic freedom doesn't seem to fit. If you have been there you have see all the stalls and various markets (or heard of the markets) that line the streets. The neighborhoods are lined with small shops everywhere.

Something else is going on I think.

Economic freedom as defined by an organization like this - https://www.heritage.org/index/country/philippines

Okay but I would suggest that Heritage, while probably using something common from a 1st world perspective, is in fact using a misleading definition. Property rights and legal enforcement are the under pinning of successful economies and not related to economic freedom -- unless one simple wanted to define X freedom as existence of X.

I will concede I am in a minority and will likely remain as such on this point.

Corruption, high tariffs, lack of a judicial system, weak property rights. Those things matter, a lot.

Are there any mango trees sitting around or does anyone grow any kind of food plants? I would think it might be possible to grow some types of individual vegetables like chili peppers because of the rain and sun?

You would think many fruits and vegetables could be grown in PH fairly cheaply. Is the problem then transportation driving costs? Or export of quality and only poor quality kept at home (and perhaps some monopoly behavior going on.)

@Tom S - G'day mate! Some of my neighbors are Aussies, they tend to be very nice. I've visited AU once )Sydney & Melbourne), it was nice. My dog food comes from Australia, I'm more confident it has real meat than something cheaper from China. My ultra-pasteurized milk is often from AU or NZ*. As for prices, I was quoting in USD. Prices of fruits, imported from China or AU, will be the same as what you pay but with a markup for shipping and distribution. They truck and ship veggies since PH does not have a good rail network.

Fixing the country? Perhaps getting rid of monopolies (read Joe Studwell's work, "Asian Godfathers" where supposedly 50 leading families control all of SE Asia) would help. Land reform would also help, I would like to see foreigners allowed to own real estate, as it would drive up prices, and redistributing large farms that were given to oligarchs by dictators like Marcos would help. However, this country is very corrupt, and that's something that needs to change. Just me making this proposal would get me deported if I was a foreigner, but even as a Filipino I would probably be targeted for harassment by some rich folks goon (goons are hired to force people to sell their land to the rich, a common tactic in Asia, even South Korea at times, even Japan), or, if I advocated a free market solution, I'd be targeted by the Maoist "NPA" rebels. Such is the culture here. Hence the people resign themselves to looking for work outside the country, as nurses or domestic help. Sad! G'day!

*Bonus trivia: NZ (New Zealand) despite their excellent dairy industry, albeit with a tainted milk crisis in the past, drinks very little milk per capita, it's actually lower than some poor countries. Greece on the other hand drinks lots of milk per capita, I think they're #5 in the world. Go figure. I like milk but it makes me fart, so yogurt is my favorite, albeit not found in PH except in Manila. Instead, they sell a 'probiotic' drink about two ounces in size, sweetened, for kids, so when in the countryside I take calcium pills to get my calcium fix.

Should be easy for you to make your own yoghurt from milk. Here in the states, I can use "Zoi" as starter, however there are good freeze dried starters to be had:



Thanks Viking, yes, I know, in DC we make our own yogurt, from nothing more than ordinary store bought live culture yogurt as a starter, and we don't even need a heating source other than a small electric blanket of small wattage. It's amazing over the years, using not even a thermometer (which I finally bought, but my family hardly uses it, just using their finger to tell if the hot milk is too hot or just right for the yeast) you can get yoghurt that does not 'curd' or 'water' when you cut it, and is not too sour, all from experience! They even flavor it on occasion with stuff like vanilla extract. But I'm too busy and lazy to do this in Manila, plus, they don't sell fresh milk here in Manila, but ultra-pasteurized, though I doubt that matters much except for the slight after taste.

the problem list is why believing in a god is so important.

Ray feels like Cassandra. I forgot the guy who wrote "give me the serenity yo accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can and the intelligence to tell them apart".

Hi, I'm a Christian, as are most people here, when they're not Muslim, at least nominally. But serenity will not remove humidity from the air. The temperatures routinely, year round, are low 80s to high 80s in eastern PH, which is classified as one grade below pure rain forest, and the humidity is always near 100%, which makes equipment run down fast (so far I've replaced several motherboards on my PCs, and i keep them indoors with the AC nearly always).

You remind me of many people who are poor, as Marx observed, they believe in the opium of religion. Again, speaking as a believer. Rich people usually gripe but they solve problems with money.

BTW we're now staying in our other place in Manila, hence I now have fast (6 Mbps, that's fast here) internet.

Several mobos replaced and also power supplies, and I did, unlike nearly nobody here, build our latest house with a ground wire (!). Very rare! I also installed Ground Fault Interrupt sockets. In a house we were renting, as is typical in southeast Asia, they had no ground, and even with a UPS (which used to have to be replaced every three months, as they have frequent power surges here; another must-have is a automatic voltage regulator to attach your electronics too), the outside metal case of the PC would give you a slight shock when you touched it. Very common (others with PCs report the same). But with a grounded system the problem went away.

"eastern PH"
"the magma the size of a football stadium that rolled down the mountainside was spectacular, I saw it when it happened"
"we’re in ‘typhoon alley’"

My best guess is you are in Albay

;-) I neither admit nor deny anything...only TC really knows since he can see from where I've posted if he's IP savvy.

The magma was spectacular. It was a nightime occurrence, I saw it through some binoculars, it rolled what looked like 100 mph down the hill, and broke up into 100 smaller fragments, and the next day you could see the path it took. And I wasn't even expecting to see it, it just so happened in front of me; some foreigners were in town specifically to see the volcano erupt.

I've spent a lot of time in Bicol. It's a beautiful place, though probably the worst place in the world for disasters; Bicol (and specifically Albay) seems better equipped than other provinces in the Philippines in dealing with typhoons; I've read that Bicol experiences on average 5 "Hurricane Katrina" equivalent storms a year, but casualties remain low. The region also has some of the best food in the Philippines in my opinion (pinangat and really anything spicy and smothered in coconut milk).

I don't know why typhoons and volcanoes cause so much uncertainty. Even in the 3rd world these things are quite well characterized.

Some nerd should have done a map with concentric polygons showing the risk zones around the volcano. You can choose between: (i) not living inside the this polygon, or (ii) pray.

Typhoons are a bit more complicate. If there's no detailed risk assessment, don't live near the coast below 3 m.a.s.l., not in a slope > 30%, and not in a river floodplain.

The point is that if the fear of volcanoes and typhoons doesn't make you want to learn more about them and act in consequence......the fear is useless. People have feet, not roots.

Get your country's political and economic house in order so that it's not such a sh*thole and then you too can spend a lot of time worrying about 1st world problems.

And it's crass to be so focused on such prosaic matters (that certainly deserve attention) to the exclusion of higher concerns like aesthetics.

Really? Who's your favorite artist, visually, musically, and so on? Lemme guess, you like Eminem's "Kamikaze"? (I'm not into music but some of his stuff is OK).

Your guess it wrong, like so many other things you are wrong about.

Third World problems.

+1 I shall start using this.

What's the alternative? Airspace guy just accepts his ever blander culture, or that he worries about the problems of far off Filipinos that he can do nothing about.

And I mean, even then, airspace guy is probably *actually* worried about climate change, American infrastructure and other such politically liberal fears (not always without merit). He's really worrrying about "airspace" in the manner that Filipinos worry about trivial matters such as their favourite soap opera, or whether they have to pay an extra peso a week to their servants.

Why do the carrots have dirt in them?

They are not prewashed prior to sale, like your 1st World potatoes are in a chlorine bath.

I'm pretty sure that the potatoes I buy in Germany (from the farm) are not washed in a chlorine bath first. Simple enough to ask the next time I buy some of the potatoes piled up in the barn from the harvest.

I would be fairly sure they are, like all the other vegetables. I think animal carcasses take a chlorine bath as well. Your tap water contains chlorine. It's harmless below a certain concentration and prevents bacterial infections and parasites. Bleach is a universally recommended prepper tool for that reason.

There's a thin chemical line between us and epidemics. Purely "organic" living = lower lifespans.

And when Tasmania has an undersea transmission cable fail they bid away portable diesel generators leaving you sitting in the dark so first worlders won't be mildly inconvenienced by having to economize a little.

My latest house we build has a big diesel, motor from Briggs & Stratton (I wanted a Honda but it was a bit too expensive, and I was not sure it would be new, as most 'new' stuff sold here is in fact First World rejected machinery resold), with a 'crossover' switch so in the event of a power outage you can power your whole house. For our modest electrical usage, it costs about 100 pesos = $2 to power a house with two liters of diesel every hour, not bad. However, one year a typhoon struck it took six weeks to get power restored; expensive.

Using a solar panel to charge a laptop and DC lights would be easy enough, but I don't know how difficult it would be to set up an AC rooftop solar system in the Philippines. A hybrid inverter and panels aren't too expensive here, but I doubt that applies for you.

Out of curiousity Ray, where in the provinces do you live?

Isn't "Airspace" just the millennial version of "a McDonald's is predictable"?

As for Third World Problems, tropical countries are often less-developed because there is a "climate tax" on everyone due to the heat, humidity, diseases, wildlife, etc. It may be cold in the winter in the temperate zones but the disease burden is much lower. It is possible to be a developed tropical country, but it is only possible using advanced technology (such as Ray's A/C and diesel generator).

Yes, somebody actually observed the same thing for the continental colonial USA: in New England there was more prosperity since there was less malaria than in the rice-growing, cotton-growing US South.

Bonus trivia: Greece had malaria until the 1950s in the wetlands known as Messolonghi, on the Corinthian Gulf, where the Lord Byron lost his life, from malaria. However, once you break the cycle of infection, malaria goes away, but you're left with lots of annoying mosquitoes. Byron fathered Ada, a woman computer science pioneer.

I think this testimony falls in the category of "things we should already know." They should really already be part of our worldview.

I don't know how many people saw Larry Summers' piece on driving across country, but I thought it was also "things we should all know."


And possibly showed a dangerous lack of self-awareness by a prominent economist.

Somewhat interestingly, if I get the whole "airspace" thing. Manila seems to be catching on (and yes, Manila is hardly "the Philippines"). One of the hotels I stayed in a while back makes a point of noting how they have a lot of open spaces for collaboration. In fact for a couple of days there seemed to be a team of fairly young people working at one of the tables in the area near my room.

Around 2010 we had a team of front-end web developers working in the Philippines. They were a bunch of hard-working kids. Once we had a deadline as a typhoon hit. Their power went out but they said "no, it's ok." They relocated in mass to a computer gaming club on the other side of the city and finished the project.

Maybe next time they'll use Airspace.

It's actually an incredible workforce there. I think once the PH gets it's political corruption/crime solved, and starts addressing the problem of congestion (perhaps aided by improved communication) I can see that country becoming 1st world country like ROK.

Would be interesting for this website to host Ray's thoughts on why things are the way they are in the Philippines. I thought the film Motherland about a maternity ward in Manila was eye opening (and jaw dropping).

Ray - I don't think you need to worry about bats carrying Ebola. I've not seen anything in the literature that would point to that species as a reservoir. AFAIK, only certain ape species carry the virus and unless the Philippines has seen a documented case of Ebola, it's extremely unlikely that native monkeys will be problematic.

@Alan Goldhammer - thanks, of course I was just saying Ebola for effect, but one theory is fruit bats in Africa started carrying the virus, and a couple of decades go in Reston, VA, USA, some monkeys imported from the Philippines were found to carry a non-human infecting strain of the Ebola virus, dubbed the "Reston virus". BTW I had a PH mountain monkey but gave it away to an in-law as it was like raising a kid.

Senor Lopez, fruit bats can carry the Hendra virus, whose symptoms are near enough to those of Ebola:


Comfortable living standards accrete with high-g, low time-preference people. The swamps get cleared, stormwater channels get dug, the really dangerous predators are killed off, self-policing systems and fail-safes are put in place.

The Third World is basically what happens when you live in a society of mental 14-year olds. The only way to lead them out of it is benevolent dictatorship. That's we should just start selling all these countries that are, as usual, failing, to billionaires. Democracy is a terrible idea for lots of places. Somebody needs to outright own the place to avoid the mercenary incentives of government.

Ray - are y'all rich enough to just buy a town with its infrastructure?

Maybe I'm rich enough to buy land here, but it's not allowed by law. I agree democracy doesn't work with the poor, that's why they like the current "Trump-like" PH president, Duterte. And a while ago, an obscure group of Filipino Christians bought a whole town in remote, western, South Dakota. Not sure if they still run it. Kind of like those Indians lead by a guru who bought in Washington state I think.

Indians seem too smart/cynical for yogis, which I guess is why they end up in the US recruiting naive white people.

"Kind of like those Indians lead by a guru who bought in Washington state I think."

I wrote a reply earlier but it doesn't seem to show up. Here's a shorter version: you're close, it was actually the town of Rajneeshpuram that was founded in eastern Oregon. The followers of the guru Rajneesh engaged in bio-terrorism and attempted murder before their leaders were arrested (it is still not clear how much Rajneesh himself knew or was responsible for; he was deported back to India).

So I am curious about this sectarian Filipino colony in South Dakota. It seems like a messianic sect, which is not a good sign. But the few articles that have been written about the colony in Scenic, SD suggest that they haven't been doing much in the town one way or the other.

Ray obviously enjoys the role of Connecticut Yankee in King Duterte's Court. If those 3rd world problems didn't exist, he would be living in Florida.

And perhaps soon enough, you'll be able to live out a similar fantasy in Florida, though you might have to import the girl.

He's talking about in-laws now so maybe he's married. Or more likely, his lies are getting confusing.

Only someone who married a girl with family in the boondocks (apparently from the Phil. word for mountain "bundok") and who is as rich as Ray claims to be would be living where cobras are an issue. There's a reason that throughout the Third World successful people cluster in whatever the central city is. It's not like moving from NYC to Indiana. It's more like moving to a place with worse infrastructure than Deliverance with the added problems of the worst of NYC. And for the life of me, I still don't get why Ray who always boasts of being in the upper 1% would want to spend time in a place with spitting cobras.

Thanks wiki. No thanks to msgkings. We're not yet legally married, but de facto. And rich people do crazy stuff, Google the founder of McAfee, a sure fire made-for-TV movie life ("Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee", "On March 27, 2017, it was announced that Johnny Depp would portray McAfee in a forthcoming film titled King of the Jungle"; I'm pretty sure Johnny Depp does not even have to be 'in character' to play McAfee!)

You doin' great, Ray. But stay away from McAfee as role model.

What's wrong with solving first-world problems? And I don't find it pretentious or condescending to the third-world either. You only get to face first-world problems after you have completed solving third-world problems. When our species finally begins migrating out of this world, we may start reading articles about next-world problems, written by those living in space. Then there will be people still on Earth complaining about how they're still facing many first-world problems.

Third-world cultures are the authors of their own problems, especially poverty, which is largely the result of cultures that don't consider it shameful to steal. I see no possible solution short of colonizing and occupying those countries so as to suppress propagation of those cultural views. Thank god this happened to the United States before the rich countries took up the stupid idea that it's bad to do this to other countries.

Yeah... I mean maybe not all those problems at once but people don't realize how harsh the conditions are -- the Spanish quickly learned anything more than a couple stories tall would fall down very soon, My wife laughs at our Midwestern storm warnings (of course, she hasn't seen a tornado come by yet).

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