Wednesday assorted links

1. “…the 2000s should be seen as an exceptional period in the global economy during which multinational firms benefitted from reduced labour costs through offshoring, while capitalising on existing firm-specific intangibles, such as brand names, at little marginal cost.”  Link here.

2. What can we learn from Eric Schmidt about defense acquisition?

3. How podcasts work (New Yorker).

4. “Masculinity is an abstract rage to protect.

5. Douglas Vigliotti interviews me for his podcast.

6. “Jeff Bezos himself might weigh in on dining options.

7. More of the Antikythera mechanism?  Here is my earlier post on the mechanism.


7. One of the more interesting phenomena of our time is how retrograde ideas have become revolutionary and revolutionary ideas have become retrograde. In simpler times, those with revolutionary ideas were burned at the stake. In today's more feminine times, it takes more imagination and creativity; thus, retrograde ideas become revolutionary ideas, and nobody is burned at the stake.

Uh, hi. The link #7 is broken. It references the "Journal of Controversial Ideas" rather than the Antikythera mechanism. The said Journal is a project by the controversial Princeton bioethics professor Peter Singer, not to be confused with controversial George Mason University physicist Fred Singer, who wrote the book "Unstoppable Global Warming" which I almost bought today for $2 used here in the Philippines, until I turned to a random page and noticed F. Singer making the absurd but popular assertion that global warming cannot be a big deal since we've had numerous warming and cooling periods in the earth's history (true, but irrelevant, it's the rate of change that's a problem, after all, we could not live in the dinosaur's CO2 levels today, but they were adapted to live with high CO2).

Jesus, this guy is making the comments section insufferable.

But he is correct.

Since Wagoner took over GM in 2000, the corporation has risen to first from second in those mentioned countries, which also include Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Poland and Turkey. Drain it all out before storing your classic car, then refill with all fresh fluids if you opt to drive it again or put it to use in a car show. The success of e - Bay Motors, Auto - Trader and also other websites focused on the sale of autos would suggest otherwise, as business at web sites is thriving.

Is it a broken link? Bayesian logic is a branch of logic applied to decision making and inferential statistics that deals with probability inference: using the knowledge of prior events to predict future events. From the second link: "Ideas can inflame, and the consequences for expressing them can be severe. That’s not exactly breaking news. In fact, it’s more or less the history of science and philosophy: exile, excommunication, execution."

Whoops, from the first link.

#4 - Is that what all that was about?

“How does it feel to be a cis-gender male?”

Mostly very tired from staying up to 3 binge watching the latest season of Great British Baking Show because of Ruby. My goodness she is easy on the eyes, pleasant, and fun to cheer for.

5. Devaluing and dismissing: Tim Wu comes to mind.

1. Absolutely, and as should not be too surprising, a large American tax cut did not really change that dynamic.

#1 - the link is simply saying "Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights matter" Yet strangely neglected by commentators. In fact I bet the paper doesn't even mention those three words above.

Actually, if we are talking about outsourcing and intellectual property, we pretty clearly see a double-edged sword. America has profited by patent protection and a long run of innovation, but a new entrant such as China can do a lot of catch-up growth by just ignoring all that and stealing everything.

From their perspective, with a billion poor peasants, is it really wrong?

(See also the right-wing(?) claim that US patients should pay more for medicines so that world markets can be so much cheaper.)

I know some people have thought about rich country intellectual property and poor country economic development, for instance to decry US patents on Amazonian tribal remedies, but I'm not sure anyone really has a solution.

That is, a way to balance rich country profit with poor country development.

(Kudos to those who work in the public domain. A simple and direct solution.)

Kudos to those who work in the public domain

let's do an Orrin Hatch translation

Kudos to those who have fallen into the public domain

Yes, a wrong turn in our society, from consideration of authors and their choices and toward perpetual corporate content.

Poor country development is a goal for poor countries. Its not our problem, other than for secondary implications, like natsec reasons, or unless it allows an opportunity for our rich country development.

What we should not do is open our markets in a manner that creates poor country development (by allowing them export oriented industrialisation) if it worsens the natsec situation and stagnates incomes in our countries. "Lifting billions of poverty" is their problem.

While I think every country should be responsible to its people (and vis-versa) there is probably a ratio everybody could name for broader concern. 95:5 or something. And maybe real altruists would go 90:10.

Sophisticated opinion rarely gets beyond the elementary observation that masculinity is a social construct, or a set of many such constructs.Sophisticated opinion rarely gets beyond the elementary observation that masculinity is a social construct, or a set of many such constructs.

Is it really sophisticated, then? It's not even an accurate observation. For a social construct, it sure seems pretty remarkably consistent across cultures. He implicitly acknowledges this in his own later definition: "an abstract rage to protect." Yes, socially constructed, I guess, by all those nice 30-something ladies we had as middle school teachers who taught us about geography and when it was appropriate to beat the christ out of someone.

Yeah my main gripe with that good article

Don't know why he felt he needed a leftist lens

4. There seems to be a premise underlying major strains of feminism: that men have got this all figured out, are in control of their destiny, and see themselves as fully actualized, all fat and happy on the couch.

I’ve never been critical of the First Lady. But she has absolutely Zero Business weighing in on the fate of a top National Security official.

The Antikythera mechanism link is wrong.

Yes. An interesting read in its own right, but not what I thought I was linking to.

I found a different link but there's not really any new information except that another piece of the mechanism was recently discovered:

Kevin, thanks for the correct link. Would be very interested in speaking with you, given your background in cybersecurity and data analysis.

Please email me at [email protected], if you would be willing to speak.

I like their headline, especially the reference to Cousteau. 100 years from now people may be saying the same thing about today's archeologists (especially given that removing anything from the sea and exposing it to air usually causes the artifact to disintegrate, even with the best intentions): "Missing Piece of Antikythera Mechanism Found on Aegean Seabed Bronze disk unearthed by archaeologists in same wreck where original 2,200-year-old computer had been found; also located bits of the ship that Jacques Cousteau and looters hadn't destroyed" By Philippe Bohstrom Nov 13, 2018

It isn't another part of the mechanism:
(see his YouTube channel too, great stuff:

Well said. Also highly related is the continued pressure for men (pressure from men, women, govt, society etc.) to accept responsibilities and liabilities without the attendant rewards and benefits for doing so. More and more are realizing it is a heads-I-win-tails-you-lose scenario.

Ta, Willits, you said better than I could.

#4 is quite strange. I never knew a guy who exercised out of grim self-hate like this guy. Every athlete I have known (and my own experience) was the joy in building and experiencing your own power and competence. To life more weight or run farther than before is simply great. The driver of my life has been building mastery and competence as well as taking care of my family. As Willetts noted, men take the risks and the dangerous jobs, and now get scorn back in return from women. Rage has nothing to do with it. Virtually all of the people who run to a burning car or into a burning building are men. All the rescue people in Houston were men. Men with boats. If the author did/does stuff the hard way on purpose then he is simply an idiot. You always use the right tools, not a too-short ladder.

"Young men are taught to be fairies."

In my experience boys self-actualize all the masculinity they need, and every school still has a baseball team, to channel that.

#6 I foresee more bugs, reptiles and Amazonian fare on the menu, rising prices without a correlated rise in quality, a smug but ideologically homogenous clientele, and general desire by actual foodies to get the hell out of the area. Do restaurants qualify for TIF and Workforce Development Block Grants too? Asking for a friend...

BTW, the Eric Schmidt is a good read for anyone struggling with establish an effect R&D in any industry, not just defense.

And I believe it links to Paul Roemer's ideas, too. Corporations benefit by doing away with "rules" that hinder innovation (East Coast's Xerox's myopic focus on copiers and printers) just like nations. Skunk works are merely charter cities within corporations.

Possibly also to buy that set of hole-saws, because you might need it.

Feel a sudden need to go to the garage and putter around.

#6...How about weighing in on whether or not Amazon's subsidies are a fiscal stimulus from the government?

1. Is this finding controversial?

Companies slashed their labor cost without comparatively slashing their prices. Storied brands monetized their value through systematic quality reductions and private equity canibalization cycles.

Sort of like fracking a previously untapped oil deposit.

I understand the first sentence.

But what “storied brands” have seen a decline in quality?

Private equity cannibalization? What are you talking about?

Better to ask what hasn't gotten worse: appliances, men's clothes, power tools, electronics. So much garbage out there. I would definitely pay 20% for most items, if I could be assured with a high degree of probability, that it would work as intended out of the box, and keep working for a decent amount of time

Private equity cannibalization: Black & Decker tools. Brooks Brothers and Jos banks suits. Ralph Lauren clothes. And many many more. Products that are systematically cheapened and crapified until they bear no resemblance to their former selves.

So your point is basically about fast fashion retail. Fair enough I guess ?

But they cut the prices drastically. And that was an intentional move by companies like Zara’s, cheap clothes with short life cycles.

That also has nothing to do with private equity or LBOs.

Is your phone better than 1990s version? Car? Computer? Stereo systems? The companies are competing on quality.

Well power tools and vibrators are worse apparently, like I said.

Good point, my wife complains about her's too.

Sometimes I really dislike MRs comment system.

Yeah, he comes and goes as he wants. Why don't you go play with your blocks for a while?

Off topic but has anyone seen the Bernard Henri-Levy one man show? I've read that it's like watching a modern day de Tocqueville.

Yeah, it's a good post until the last paragraph. Maybe it's a side effect of my upbringing, but I feel my competitive and protective sides are fully actualized by being able to be there for the women in my life. It's especially strong when I'm able to be there in ways that other men fail to achieve.

Now, yeah, if you need to demonstrate your manliness through huge displays designed to be seen by other men, if you have to demonstrate that you'll more reliably cause more damage, then no, go right ahead and fail, brute. But that's not an abstract rage to protect, that's an abstract rage to possess and/or destroy. Misaligned rage.

"“What is it like to be a cis-gendered, heterosexual man?” a friend, a trans man, asks on Facebook. “What is it like to feel at home in your body?” The only answer I can come up with is that I never feel at home in my body. I live out my masculinity most often as a perverse avoidance of comfort: the refusal of good clothes, moisturizer, painkillers; hard physical training, pursued for its own sake and not because I enjoy it; a sense that there is a set amount of physical pain or self-imposed discipline that I owe the universe."

Holy cow, there are some crazy people out there. Refusal of painkillers? I thought that was what the opiod crisis (which kills much more men than women) was all about...

By the way the politican I find by far the most masculine is Scott Walker, still sad to see him lose.

Walker? lol.

He's no Teddy Roosevelt.

“Refusal of painkillers?”
There’s certainly a “toughen-up, buttercup” ersatz view of manliness that goes that way. Which is strange, given that those in the most masculine professions—backcountry firefighters, Navy SEALs, NFL players, deep sea fishers—pop pills like crazy.
A real man would have appropriately described the ethos as “embrace the suck.” (There’s no requirement one seeks out the suck unnecessarily.)

I feel like there is something wrong with the writer in number 4. Like he never got beyond the masculinity he learned in high school. His definition of masculinity is all about other people, and being this or that to them. Which is juvenile, as he points out. His blithe dismissal of Jordan Peterson is telling. It seems to me that mature masculinity and mature femininity are about self-actualization. All of those things he talks about are preparations for that task, means, not ends. That he doesn’t realize this speaks to his own immaturity.

That was my reaction, too. Mimetic ethos. No idea that there might be an alternative. Denies the existance of alpha males as a genuflection to his church, hating the things they hate. Blinded by immersion in the culture war to the broader reality of human existance. No idea that, for example, Oscar Wilde--especially after his stay in prison--is more of a man than he is. Ordinally.

But the guy was thoughtful and honest, encouraging!

"But the guy was thoughtful and honest, encouraging!"

True, but the guy was also clearly conflicted with emotional issues. As P Burgos stated, he seems pretty immature with a facile understanding of male adulthood. It's not stated, but I assume they don't have kids. Because at the point in time they have kids, the idea of putting yourself between them and harm becomes critical.

" It was still, as she put it, “hierarchical bullshit.” "

Sure, acting to save your wife at the expense of your own life probably is somewhat sexist. On the other hand, acting to save the life of your children & their mom is very much a laudable act.

Well, this gedanken heroism with kids and without are two different games, with two different payoff matrices. They should have different strategies.

I think I agree in principle, but in practice, I suspect the guy who won't actively preference defending his wife will probably also be slow to actively preference defending his wife and kids. Those kind of actions are more apt to be attitude and habit more than an intellectual exercise. That being said, the original authors attitude sounds like it's in the correct place, he's just conflicted and confused.

First rule of Masculinity Club: Don’t talk, blog, ponder, etc. about Masculinity Club.

"Like he never got beyond the masculinity he learned in high school."

+1. He essentially never stopped maturing beyond age 20, and is now ruled by his wife (who realistically probably only stopped maturing just a couple years after him). He makes multiple references throughout the essay of the times she showed him up, the times he embarrassed himself in front of her, the times she was right and he was wrong. He's internalized his feelings of inferiority before her to a generalized feeling that men are dumb masochists and women are smart and strong.

4. I've been linked to the masculinity piece before, it's very entertaining and puts into words some feelings that I think most men have. Subjecting oneself to suffering hit especially close to home for me. Here is a list of unnecessary suffering that I subject myself to in order to live out my masculinity, or to be the kind of person who does these things:

Not having nice clothes or using moisturizer, both mentioned in the article. I've recently come around on these

Throwing out painkillers I was prescribed (mentioned in the article)

Wearing shorts nearly all year-round (stopped this one in college when I moved up north)

Never drinking from a straw, which I got from my old grandfather

Taking the smallest possible grocery basket and carrying my groceries instead of using a shopping cart

Never using rolling luggage, preferring the shoulder strap variety

I'd love to hear some more of these that you folks do.

This list can't be for real.

I'm glad you liked it

"Not having nice clothes or using moisturizer, both mentioned in the article. I've recently come around on these" -You simply do not need it because your skin is fatter then women's.

"Throwing out painkillers I was prescribed (mentioned in the article)" -Don't throw, store them for ever, like a man.

"Wearing shorts nearly all year-round (stopped this one in college when I moved up north)" -It is the easiest thing to put on in good weather.

"Never drinking from a straw, which I got from my old grandfather" -Takes longer, makes you get air inside you, which will come out, it even changes the flavor (reduces the area covered by liquid and air and thus retro nasal sampling of it).

"Taking the smallest possible grocery basket and carrying my groceries instead of using a shopping cart" -It's simply faster and more maneuverable, and you don't like hanging in the shops for ever like a women, now do you.

"Never using rolling luggage, preferring the shoulder strap variety" -Same thing. It also forces you to pack light. Even so I pack to much garbage on flights (two pairs of shoes, why? they do have cheap shoes anywhere on Earth if they unlikely brake)

So in other words, do stop this self deprecating for no reason move, it's self indulgent.

Selling the painkillers would be more lucrative.

4. " but [Peterson] can’t offer a rational analysis of why this behavior is necessary, or why it is good, or why you need a penis to do it, the archetype theory offers you a pretentious and grandiose way of saying 'It is what it is.' "

It was an interesting read until this blatant misrepresentation of Peterson's ideas. He is either too lazy to look up Peterson's answers to all of those questions or is condescendingly talking on a topic he doesnt understand at all.

Okay, here's my take on 4.

No one ever says, "Hey, here's a really interesting think-piece by a self-hating Jew!" I don't think a self-hating man is an improvement on the genre.

It never seemed to occur to the author that nothing a man does needs to carry an implication about women. If I slay a dragon or fight off a purse-snatcher, I'm not saying anything at all about what women ought to do. They might make the same choice, and more power to them. It's up to them to decide what constitutes being a woman. But it's up to men to decide how they want to live as men.

There's plenty more to say on this, but it's best to leave it at that. A man tried to write an eloquent meditation on what it means to be a man, and couldn't resist making it all about women. This tells us nothing; well, nothing about manhood, anyway.

Uhh you ARE though

6: I predict that Din Tai Fung will open a branch restaurant in or near Crystal City.

(Din Tai Fung specializes in dumplings especially xiao long bao, which are soup dumplings, where the soup is *inside* the dumpling. They started in Taipei, somehow had the vision to open a branch in Arcadia CA, which became so popular and had such long lines that they opened a second restaurant literally adjacent to the first one. They have been gradually expanding with I think close to a dozen restaurant AFAIK all on the west coast so far.

How to eat a XLB:

4. "Without quite meaning to, Harvey Mansfield also offers a useful explanation of how the mere desire to bear risks for a loved one does so often drive a person willy-nilly into an ugly politics of dominance."

Evidently, he didn't even understand the surface of Mansfield's book very well. What the author of the post takes to be accidental is Mansfield's explicit thesis in more than one chapter – the book is much more critical than people give it credit for, and it is a measure of how superficial most of our time's criticism is that readers don't or can't see that.

The entertainment value of all these incessant polemics is priceless. Oh to be a fly on the wall.

With your attitude, may your daughters marry weak, feckless men.

JWatts, how about you don't wish ill tidings on someone's children. What an ass.

#6 is a prank, right?

There are a couple of contradictions in your post.
In addition, it seems to me you're listing symptoms of what the author has declared the illness, and yet still denying the existence of the illness. Sounds defensive.

I know you are, but what am I?!

#4 seems like a piece with no novel ideas; toxic masculinity, dismissiveness of masculine "virtues" as at best worthless and at worst harmful, women as bearers of the brunt of labors. Standard tropes. I suspect it will not persuade anyone willing to voice that masculine virtues of bravery and honor actually do matter and their effects ripple positively out into the world, or willing to acknowledge the obvioud that the female burdens of domesticity and neatness are mostly a "rod made for their backs" made by the sex which is the gatekeeper of gossip and propriety.

I understand that someone had a lot of work to clip away the obscene trolling, but I'm sad that my comments about going out to the garage to build stuff were taken in the same light. I was joking, but seriously.

I'm building a Japanese toolbox, trying to make something sturdy enough for 100 years.

Do-it-yourself is certainly not purely male, but it is productive, and rewarding, and with hammers and saws and chisels you might tap a certain male archetype.

You might start to wish you had room for a Matt Cremona style sawmill.

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