Thursday assorted links

1. Tweetstream review of Stubborn Attachments.  And another, shorter one, from the child too.  Thank you all for making publication day such a success.

2. Chengdu plans to launch artificial moon.  (How’s that for sustainable economic growth?)

3. Harshita Arora now has a blog.

4. “white [American] liberals are [now] well to the left of the black electorate on some racial issues…

5. How can the governing of Singapore be improved?  A Reddit thread.


4. My guess is this is also the case for the Hispanic electorate and immigration/national identity issues.

How will liberals reconcile near future double-blind genetics studies that predict with 99+% confidence adults who do not know Arithmetic or Algebra?

I can think of an easier way to find out if someone doesn't know arithmetic or algebra than a genetic test.

#2: That's no moon. It's a space station.

I've got a bad feeling about this....

Chewy, lock in the auxiliary power!

#2 It would be cheaper to buy everyone Gen 3+ night vision monoculars (bought $3200/piece on a good day). Autogated of course, for those bright city lights.

Interesting though, cities in the old west tried something similar

China. This is way way cheaper.

#4Purity spiral. Not purity of the white liberals against the black and latino liberals. Purity of the white liberals among themselves.

"Look at how many flagellation lashes are on my back vs. how many on yours. YOU'RE NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH!!!" - Triggly Puff Jr.

2. That story didn't mention, um, clouds?

It didn't mention what sort of orbit the satellite would be in either. Presumably geosynchronous, although it would have to pivot its mirrors to adjust for the angle between the sun and the target city.

Then again, they didn't use the phrase, "target city," did they? A satellite that could focus a great deal of energy toward a small area on the ground might be engineered to provide more than fake moonlight ...

Geosynchronous orbit is too high for such a small illuminated area. Because the sun is not a point source of light the reflected sunlight would be too diffuse by the time it reached the ground. It would have to be in a much lower orbit and only illuminate the city sometimes.

Note this could be just a story to help justify spending on China's space programs and nothing may come of it. Kind of like the Chinese mutant space vegetables of the past.

Isn't it Yonas that has the largest and most sincere interest in saying thank you to those who made his income stream available?

#4 Were white liberals ever not to the left of the average black on racial issues. I'll bet they were even more progressive on slavery than was the average black slave, but I could be wrong.

For at least the last half-century or so, white progressives have insisted that on any race issue they can be "allies," never leaders.

That doesn't map so well onto a "more left" paradigm, yet surely it's been progressive dogma forever that when it comes to race whites may only occupy support roles, as all leadership roles must be reserved for non-whites.

So if white progressives are truly more left than some non-whites, that would seem to leave them open to criticism that they're operating beyond the bounds of allyship.

Marcus Garvey supposedly left the naacp headquarters pretty miffed that he couldn’t find a black person to talk to.

"2. Chengdu plans to launch artificial moon. "

I don't see how this kind of operation will be cost effective until we have a space industry and the raw material can be acquired from asteroids or other cheaper sources.

It's "cost" effective because Chinese labor is building it. Whether it is cost "effective" remains to be seen.

5. LOL. I like this one: "Another more minor example is the case of my dog, who is 15 years old, which is equivalent to over 100 years old by human standards. But because she is not neutered, still I have to pay a higher dog licensing fee for owning an un-neutered dog even though she clearly cannot give birth anymore due to her old age."

1 is nice, esp 1a

On 4, maybe, but it is important to remember that we aren't talking about everyone left of some hypothetical center. "35% U.S. adults in 2017 identified as conservative and 26% as liberal. "

So sure, the left-most 26% are pretty left.

4. Past polls have revealed that black people are less inclined to support redistribution as compared to white people, so the results of this poll are not surprising. Polls have also revealed that black people are less inclined to support equal rights for gays and lesbians as compared to white people. What does this mean? That black people believe people, black or white, are responsible for their own fate in life and not dependent on help from others or does it mean that black people are less tolerant even of those within their own community? Self-reliance in the black community is what black people know, few having wealthy or well-connected parents or other relatives to give them much of a head-start in life. Really, how many legacy black students at Harvard or Yale. On the other hand, white people bear the responsibility (the stain) for the mistreatment of blacks, so there's an element of guilt in the poll of white people. Of course, that wouldn't be applicable to fans of Andrew Jackson, or followers of Donald Trump.

On Ray's first sentence: When (and why) did "as compared to" replace "than" in written English?

Second sentence too...

I'm listening to the audiobook version presently. I was a bit disappointed that you didn't do the reading yourself. I've listened recently to books by Michael Pollan and Annie Lowrey where they did the reading themselves, and found it interesting.

#4 It's not really surprising that white progressives/liberals are to the left of the average black American on racial issues. What would be more interesting is to compare the average white liberal/progressive to the average black liberal/progressive, to see whether the views of the latter (Ta-Nehisi Coates and academics like him, most black Ivy League students, self-described equity/social justice advocates of color) are pulling these white people to the left on racial issues.

Also, I would imagine immigration is partly responsible for the divide. If you're a white liberal/progressive, one of your core beliefs is that "diversity makes us a better/stronger country", so you'll favor mass immigration unconditionally. If you're the average black American, working- or lower-middle-class and focused on economics, you'll probably value diversity less because the newcomers coming through mass immigration contribute to your economic insecurity.

Also, maybe wealthy black Americans are more to the left on racial issues than the average black person.

"(Ta-Nehisi Coates and academics like him, most black Ivy League students, self-described equity/social justice advocates of color) are pulling these white people to the left on racial issues."

"Also, maybe wealthy black Americans are more to the left on racial issues than the average black person."

Hmmmm. Maybe.

Maybe it’s the market. I suspect that if TNC had chosen to be an engineer or M.D. he would have found it much less renumerative than his current gig, which today pretty much requires and rewards views more extreme than the ordinary person.

One suspects that a lot of the bizarre fringe of academics is driven by a perceived need to stand out and compete in some way in the crowded academic market.

I mean engineers make joke pay so pretty much anyone who is any other professional can say they’d make more at x then as an engineer. Don’t compare doctors to engineers you failure.

Stop lying

Better yet white democrats vs black democrats and non-Hispanic white democrats vs Hispanic democrats.

I would guess that in both case the White Democrats would be to the left.

Though on this topic, cluster analysis on these questions suggests that politically engaged, vocal left wing Americans are actually not a random sampling of these Liberals:

If politically active Liberals were a random sampling of Liberals, there would be some ideological diversity. But rather the "Progressive Activists" who are the most politically engaged and vocal segment of the Left have something like 99:1 on these questions.

They also happen to be whiter than America as a whole (80% vs 69% overall), and particularly strikingly white given their youthful age demographics (as well as having a much higher income than average).

Saying that White Liberals are to the left of Black America on these issues sort disguises that even among these White Liberals, there is a hardcore who are way to the left of Black America, and they dominate colleges (59% college completion vs 29% nationally for ex), have high incomes, probably dominate journalism and tend to talk about having the highest conformity pressure of all political clusters under analysis in the above.

I've love to talk to some of the people who identified themselves as Liberal and then agreed with the idea that blacks who can't get ahead have mostly themselves to blame. Talk about iconoclastic.

4. Not surprising. It's virtue signaling by white liberals with a guilt complex. That it's mainly about signaling: e.g., Notorious RBG has hired only 1 black law clerk in 25 years.

There is a Cixin Liu short story in which China creates a "China Sun" in order to change the weather and develop a massive forest. This Chengdu Moon is not so far off. Wonder if he knew of these plans when he wrote.

4. Since everyone is too busy using this as an opportunity to bash liberals instead of using some form of skeptic thought about this statement, I'll be the one to ask: What defines a 'white liberal' in this poll? The method of determining this is the difference between this result being interesting or obvious.

White liberals are rich, live in high priced ghettos, and generally have no personal connection to the lived experience of most racial minorities. Their minority friends typically are the highly atypical minorities who managed to play the system and have a vested interest in the grievance machine.

If you look at the people who get helped by liberal policies they are mostly people like me - highly educated, good salaries, and social ties to the top 10%. Worse, my kids enjoy all the blessings of the current regime the same as those who grow up in abject poverty.

Minority communities are not dumb, when they see people railing about the "oppression" they faced at Yale they realize the entire debate is just another way to ignore their real problems while the spoils of life are divvied up by other liberal blocs. For the vast bulk of people who will attend no college or unselective colleges the liberal planks of affirmative action in admissions, free tuition, and more representation of minorities among the faculty and administration may as well be debating minority presence on the moon.

Likewise the other great debates among liberals, hoping to help the bottom rungs of the minority ladder leave most minorities out in the cold. Lighter sentencing does nothing if you are never incarcerated. "Banning the box" means it becomes that much harder to show that statistical inferences about members of your race are invalid for you.

Pretty much all liberal policies favor the privileged among minorities or the very bottom of society. The vast bulk of minorities live average lives and see the whole analysis as divorced from their lives.

That said, memories are long and it was not that many generations ago where racist terrorism ran amok throughout society. Deep cultural currents are bound up in that history and even though Democrats are offering policies to others, there will always be a certain appeal to tribal loyalty. After all, Republicans held black loyalties from 1865 until somewhere around 1935. That is an awfully long run and we are not quite at that sort of tenure today.

Ultimately I suspect white liberals will remain largely clueless about how those out of their narrow experience live and keep trying to fit minority lives into the framework taught at elite colleges. Its lack of resonance with average minorities and their sense of abandonment will only grow.

My only two cents on this matter:

There are three options - vote dem, repub, or don’t vote.

I could see lower turnout among minorities if the Dems don’t speak to their concerns. But I have a hard time they would vote repub in any numbers in the near future. The Republican Party is becoming a more overt ethnic political party than it has been.

Black women are what, 95-5 dem?

There is also the third party aka protest vote option.

Black partisan affiliation has lagged black voting habits for over a generation. Something around 60 - 70 percent of blacks identify as Democrats. 80 - 95 vote as Democrats.

This sort of disconnect is likely to grow and eventually it would not surprise me if a third party option started contesting majority black districts and more selectively backing Democrats in congress on the off chance they make it to Congress.

Hmm... For the "Social Justice Warriors" (aka "Progressive Activists") that's probably a fairly accurate surmise. Still, I do think you can make cases that the broader older, liberal rump of the Democrats do care somewhat about trying to help the middle. Healthcare reform and some kind of functional cost effective functionally universal coverage really is important to the broad middle. Gun control probably doesn't just matter to the lowest of the low but everyone's perception of safety. Zero Americans seem to care at all about working time and conditions regulations, but what little concern on that there is comes from Democrats it seems. Some kind of comprehensive review of how to manage soaring educational credentialism and associated debt would also be something that they could achieve (although that's difficult without hurting their bases feelings). Climate change is a "whole world" issue. Certainly the Republicans or the right generally are not doing anything useful on these fronts.

The problem is that even for these, these are culturally divisive topics that involve changes in outlook and probably reducing American cultural variance to the world (reducing American-ness), trade offs in American economic competitiveness, and changing the role of government, not some simple no-brainers. They're also hard to implement on the US's current base (for instance awash with guns and highly paid doctors in very expensive modern hospitals).

So it's easier for the people who've taken it upon themselves in the media to represent the Left to simply claim anyone who opposes their view is evil and parochial than try to grapple with selling their issues and self-doubt.

And this is before we get into them being unavoidably tarnished by their links to the "Social Justice Warriors" on the Left who are mostly actively hostile certainly to the majority demographic of the USA and more concerned with culture war than doing anything useful, but also somewhat apathetic or hostile towards the practices of minority demographics who are even somewhat traditionalist.

It's funny. You link to the great division between the many American political tribes, and then you revert to this very strange idea that it is only the left that defines Itself by a minority view.

You don't think that is an industry on the right?

But on these issues as well there is a lot of daylight between minorities and liberals. Minorities are split around 60/30 about gun control vs gun rights. Climate change ranks at or near the bottom of African American's political issues. Healthcare is perhaps the only holdout, but I do have to wonder how much of that is personal loyalty to "Obama"care. Even ignoring cultural hot button issues, minority Democrats are well to the right of the median Democrat.

Both white liberals and white conservatives are clueless about the lives of the average person. Our political system is just one set of rich whites from red states versus rich whites from blue states with lip service to other groups like poor whites, blacks, latinos, etc. to make up the difference.

People who are politically active are definitely guided towards the idea that there are two tribes, and they are represented by far-right and far-left beliefs.

Part of that is because it is very unusual for an authentic moderate to get motivated enough to even comment on these issues

2: In addition to the very good objections that other commenters have made about costs and clouds, does this even work astronomically? The satellite presumably would have to be in geo-stationary orbit so that it's on the correct side of the earth when nighttime hits Chengdu. But even in that position, wouldn't it occasionally be occulted (eclipsed) by the earth, and unable to carry out its function?

The point about clouds though is the nail in the coffin. Chengdu is overcast or cloudy 62% of the time on the 4th of July.

So unless the clouds dissipate at night, someone somewhere along the media communications chain is pulling an April Fool's joke.

The mirror needs to be relatively close to the earth otherwise the light becomes too diffuse -- look how big the moon is, but the the area on earth that sees a full solar eclipse is only around 130 kilometers wide.

One mirror could (potentially) focus light on a location some of the time but illumination all through the night would require multiple mirrors.

Clouds are not a show stopper. A portion of light will get through. They just make the idea even less sensible than it was compared to say, using street lights.

Every now and then China tries to justify the cost of its space program to its populace and this may simply be one of those times.

(A rat done bit my sister Nell, and China's on the moon...)

#6. A missing link: Trump vs. the Fed. Soon we may know why the Fed must be closed and all its economists dismissed. TC and his expert SS will talk about it in 2020.

But DevOps Dad2 had slowly shaped it to his shifting purposes, and made it better, as he thought, being deceived - for all those arts and subtle devices, for which he forsook his former wisdom, and which fondly he imagined were his own, came but from Mordor.

5. Mind your own business.

#1 Teetotaling is underated. Alcohol has a devastating effect on large segments of the population. I am a alcoholic in recovery going on ten years. I regret ever touching the stuff and I tell my kids the whole story. From my personal experience, this is an especially significant problem in working class families like mine. Alcohol use and abuse is common in almost every social situation except church. My closest friends and I share this history of familial alcohol abuse, sometimes coupled with child abuse, and the devastating effects that propagate down through the generations. The CDC data on alcohol deaths is easy to find, but it is also to easy underestimate the associated pathologies and their impacts.

So yes, Tyler, the bottle of alcohol is indeed more dangerous that the machine gun on the kitchen table. Most guns hibernate in safes and are rarely used, even for target practice. Alcohol, otoh, is everywhere all the time.

5. Dark colored roofs in Singapore make no sense.

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