Sunday assorted links


1. See what happens when the sea level rises 1 meter.
2. Okay.
3. /yawn.
4. Interesting. And planes rarely fall outta the sky.
5. Good. Long. Another recent "2001" convert.
6. Give it up. There will always be ants and grasshoppers.

Well done.

"See what happens when the sea level rises 1 meter." - in the case of Bangladesh - nothing. Bangladesh is a giant river delta for the Ganges river, which receives much of the sediment from the Himalayas. River deltas are formed by sediment dropping out of the river as it slows as it approaches the sea. If the sea rises, more sediment drops out, if the sea falls the river speed rises and less sediment drops out. The sea level has risen more than 100m since the end of the last ice age and the Bangladesh river delta has survived, so, unless the Himalaya's stop eroding, I think we can safely say Bangladesh will survive another meter of sea level increase.

"1. The rise and rise of Bangladesh." If it's rising, either literally or figuratively, why all the fuss about sea levels?

Yeah, I've been making this point for a decade, but climate change alarmists seem not to like it. I wonder why...

The article was wrong stating: " Per capita income has risen nearly threefold since 2009, reaching $1,750 this year."

You need to measure with PPP if using dollars. Bangladesh's GDP per capita in 2017 was $3,500 and was $2,300 in 2009 so a 5% increase a year and a 50% rise from 2009, not a three fold rise as the article states.

At 5% growth per year for 40 years, Bangladesh will have a GDP per capita of $25,000 a year in 2058.

~1000 deaths per year gets peoples' attention. And of course that means the country is on the knife's edge for either increased rainfall or sea-level rise.

Bangladesh isn't at a knife's edge about anything.

There aren't nearly 1000 deaths per year due to flooding, although that has happened.

1974 2,000 deaths
1984 500
1987 1,700
1988 2,400
1998 1,100
2004 600
2017 150

Deaths from cyclones in Bangladesh have plummeted:
1960 8,000
1961 11,000
1963 12,000
1965 20,000
1970 500,000
1985 11,000
1991 140,000
2007 4,000 (same severity as in 1970 and 1991)


(2000 + 500 + 1700 + 2400 + 1100 + 600 + 150) / 7 = 1207

I'm sure you can find your error here quicker than I can type it.

What, you want to quibble about flood years vs years?

The problem with that is that you end up where you started, with the perfectly awful contention that only "climate change alarmists" would worry about either one.

1200 deaths in flood years is nothing to you?

You wrote "1,000 deaths per year gets people's attention". Now you say that me pointing out that isn't correct is "quibbling." OK... Also note that in the past 20 years after 1,100 died in 1998, 600 died in one major flood and 150 died in the second one. In the other 18 years, there were not 100 deaths from floods.

If we do the total, without the division, 2000 + 500 + 1700 + 2400 + 1100 + 600 + 150 is ..

8450 deaths you think no one should care about? Only "alarmists?"

See below. Climate change had nothing to do with those deaths.

And don't even try on "flood years got nothing to do with climate."


lol The quibbler complains about quibbling. Stats show climate change has nothing to do with, at best, or inversely related to, as shown, deaths. Only the true hard headed (dense) parisian sees climate change as a negative.

Really, open minded soul that I am, I'm ready.

Provide a link to solid science that climate change has not increased climate related deaths here or anywhere else.

IPCC reports from 2012 and 2018 state there have been no increases in flooding or in cyclones with respect to frequency or intensity. The media and many climate scientists they talk to ignore this.

But that of course is not the full story.

Please report back something that refutes the IPCC statements.

I trust intelligent readers to understand what just happened. Mondo evidence that climate change will increase risk. I more di

2. Pretty funny that Nancy Maclean is the 'William Chafe Professor of History' at Duke. Chafe himself was taken apart a generation ago by reviewers for his sketchy biography of Allard Loewenstein. Didn't hurt his career and he landed the position of Provost at Duke University (where, per KC Johnson, he was the single most important actor at loading up the Trinity College faculty with social ideologues).

Clayton Cramer offered some time back that his dealings with journal editors over the Bellesiles matter persuaded him that a non-zero share of specialists in American history were pleased to accept fabrications for the Cause, and some of these were in gatekeeper positions.

American intellectual life is in a decadent period, at least outside of STEM.

Your Daddy wees on Muscovite chambermaids while not taking foreign emoluments. Who's decadent?

My daddy died nearly 40 years ago, never set foot in Russia in his life, and made fast friends of service personnel in any venue where he was a regular.

5. "It’s all the remarkable then that the US government prioritized going to space—at the peak committing a mid-single-digits share of the federal budget to NASA—before trying to reduce poverty at home. The government made a political decision that technology should come before poverty relief. Regardless of whether one thinks whether that was the right tradeoff then, it’s quite a bit more difficult to imagine that the US government could commit so much to a scientific endeavor today."

Kind of my theme of yesterday. Except in this rhyme on history we are paying soybean farmers to not trade with China, rather than building Tomorrowland.

Your meme yesterday was obliviousness? The US spends trillions on poverty and yields nothing vs spends some on tech and gets good and interesting results. Where should you spend your money. Money to alleviate poverty is about 2.5x what it takes to alleviate poverty. The 60% missing is for administrators to suck the system dry, and vote democratic.

That doesn't sound like "definite optimism" at all.

What was it, a complaint that because you are on Social Security, we can't do research at NASA levels?

+1, yeah sure, I mean, if the US still had all that soybean money, they'd easily be able to build the Gernsback Continuum in no time!

I learned this year that you can lace your running shoes loosely, double knot them, and have slip-ons for TSA. Though I feel less "able" with loose shoes.

Just pay the $85 for precheck. Chase or Amex will pay it for you. No shoe nonsense.

We talked about it, but we fly just a couple times a year with some combination of kids or nieces and nephews (over 13 but under 18) .. we'd have to precheck everybody or split the group.

#6) "But the state lotteries pay out only about 60 cents on the dollar in prize money, much less than slot machines in Las Vegas....Unlike state lotteries, most prize-linked savings accounts are actuarially fair."

Interesting that for-profit casinos and banks, plus competition, yield more consumer-friendly fair pricing than so-called non-profit governments.

Prize-linked savings allow banks to offer lotteries provided they bundle it with savings accounts. I wonder how long it will take for banks to figure out that they can unbundle by extending credit: (lottery+savings) - borrowing = pure lottery.

Rather than just giving banks exclusive gambling licenses, maybe we can use lotteries to solve our most pressing social problem: unsustainable old-age entitlements. We could have prize-linked Social Security benefits. For every dollar seniors optionally contribute from their Social Security checks, 60 cents go into a prize pool and 40 cents go to reduce FICA taxes for current workers. That reduces current expenditures without cutting any senior's benefits: contribution to the prize pool would be totally voluntary although, of course, the more one contributes the better the chance one has of winning the prize(s). Also, the 40 cents returned to workers would be deposited into IRA accounts. As these deposits grow, we could reduce future promised benefits to those workers, leading to additional entitlement cost savings. Everyone wins.

What about James Buchanan Jr? And what about Pat Buchanan?

I don't think Dan Wang gets Moore's Law:

"To some extent, Moore’s Law is an irrational commitment by the chips industry... ...There are worse things than a maniacal commitment to lowering input costs or broadening the capabilities of these inputs."

"We haven’t had quite as much progress in energy, space, chemicals, and medicine that we were expecting decades ago."

What were "we" expecting 2018 would be like in those areas back in the 1970s? Star Trek medicine from the 24th century? Still, AI is clearly going to overhaul medicine in the 2020s as it already diagnoses more accurately than cardiologists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists and soon radiologists.

Moore's Law is winding own but performance in terms of MIPS is still improving exponentially.

5. First point on Moore's Law. No. Moore's law was predicated on a very short equipment replacement cycle. Every couple years the whole installed base of hardware is replaced. The costs are low enough, the benefits possibly worth it, and ultimately it is a pretty small amount of material resources comparatively that get thrown in a landfill.

People in the real world deal with 10-25 year replacement cycles, because they are dealing with substantially more natural resources. Tearing down and throwing away your industrial base every three years isn't going to solve any problem.

I'm amazed at the assumptions of the high tech world. People are valued for their ability to quickly learn a new technology. The actual technological solutions that run real work have taken years, even decades to build, and require constant maintenance to keep running as the underlying technologies are in constant flux. To actually solve a problem is rare.

I think Dan is actually rooting for a major catastrophe that justifies rebuilding everything, but hasn't thought long enough to realize that.

Todd and derek take the worst possible interpretation of Dan's pretty simple message - that optimism brings more investment, and investment brings more returns.

The alternative, less optimism, implies less progress.

That simple.

Wang said that the chip industry has had a "maniacal commitment to lowering input costs or broadening the capabilities of these inputs" for over 50 years. It doesn't make any historical sense.

The point not mentioned much is that the increases in capital costs related to IC feature size shrinks seems to follow a power law that keeps increasing the time required to recoup the investment. For example, GlobalFoundries dropped out of the race to offer 7nm chips. Seems like the only remaining players are TSMC, Samsung and Intel.

OK, but are these things actually problems? If a solar plant cast as much as a 7nm chip plant, and that plant cranked out panels which produce power at 1 cent per kWh, is that bad?

These are not problems, these are observations to use to decide whether to invest.

Before, a chip manufacturer could for example upgrade the capabilities from 0.35 to 0.25 micron CMOS process, and realize about a 50 percent reduction in chip size, for a given functionality. This upgrade might cost 20% of the initial investment, in terms of adding mainly more advanced lithography equipment. So effectively, production capacity doubled, for a 20% addition in capital.

The equivalent investment today, might be a doubling of capital required going from 10 to 7nm, and perhaps extra slowdown in bottleneck lithography (printing) tools means that the effective capacity has less than doubled. Now, it is only profitable to move to the most advanced technology if anything else means you lose your market opportunity.

None of these considerations are affected by a hypothetical solar panel plant, it is a totally different market, and benefits from obsolescence of older CMOS plants.

OK, I will accept what you are saying literally.

But what I think Dan is saying figuratively is that you need a dream, like Moore's law, or the battery/solar price curves, to motivate investment.

Elon Musk, who I do not completely support, sure plays that game. Not just electric cars, or solar, or power walls, but rockets and mars and mole machines ..

Do you get that angle, that it takes dreamers?

It also helps to have a reality distortion field, like Steve Jobs. With Iphone, Ipod and Ipad, he created new demand where none existed before, and grew the whole market. But Steve Jobs got people enthusiastic enough to spend their own money. Elon Musk always seem to be angling to get a big bite of government money.

That's true about Musk, which is interesting, but he also does seem pretty committed to improvements in doing things in the physical world (rockets, cars, tunneling). I don't know if he will ever branch out beyond things where governments tend to be the major purchasers (with the exception of cars, obviously, although he is certainly benefiting from government subsidies).

That said, it seems like he has identified some pretty good investment opportunities. Government procurement is notoriously under competitive, so going after those markets as a way of funding some cool applied R&D strikes me as a very good marketing ploy to simultaneously get investors and the public excited, as well as a way to get government officials to be a bit circumspect in trying to slow him down via red tape while he does something that is like a proof of concept.

#2...I just looked at a post that said James Buchanan favored the 1% and the Oligarchy. James Buchanan was for a 100% Inheritance Tax. Hello. He was for Narrow Banking, anathema to Banking and Financial Services. I support both of these positions, and don't see how they help the 1% or the Oligarchy. Enlighten me.

Do you have a citation for Buchanan's position on 100% tax on intergenerational wealth transfer? All I've found so far is a passing reference in Liberty, Market and State.

#5: "It was then I felt that I grasped how outstanding the US is at producing entertainment. This is a valuable cultural competence. I don’t think there are any other countries that can develop an audience and put on so many types of high-quality shows."

YES. Think about it.

Think about the movies, about Disney (movies, merch, and theme parks), about music: swing > jazz > rock 'n roll > soul/disco > hip hop.
It was then I felt that I grasped how outstanding the US is at producing entertainment. This is a valuable cultural competence. I don’t think there are any other countries that can develop an audience and put on so many types of high-quality shows.

It was then I felt that I grasped how outstanding the US is at producing entertainment. This is a valuable cultural competence. I don’t think there are any other countries that can develop an audience and put on so many types of high-quality shows.

On the one hand it's the commodification of culture (ugh!). On the other hand it's the commodification of culture (wow!).

4. The author would do well to look at the selection and training of Chinese Olympic weightlifters like Lu Xiaojun or Liao Hui, or their oft-underage female gymnasts. They are all selected for certain characteristics, like the ability to recover more quickly from prolonged training, height and proportion, flexibility, etc. Some of these qualities are trainable, some are not, some are trainable only within narrow bounds, but the level of positive adaptability of a given individual is defined by, or is usefully referred to as...talent. To deny that talent meaningfully exists as a concept is pernicious and deeply at odds with reality.

I didn't see any statistical analysis in the document - just a word salad with lots of anecdotes. His conclusion (talent doesn't exist) is therefore far too strong. The question is more about whether it can be meaningfully identified ahead of time. Of course sports like soccer put a lot of effort into this. Probably they have lots of false positives - but I would bet few false negatives.

#4 What do you expect from a paper in the "Sociological Theory", lots of hand waving no take
away facts, worse than a paper on "Sociological Experiment".

Mundanity of excellence.

Is this saying anything more than: it's nature and nurture, stupid plus quality of training matters and hanging about with the right people helps achieve quality training.

Also, surely underrates talent at least on it's own terms, ie making the tiny difference between consistently winning and losing. eg LeBron James obviously works very hard, does the right things etc. but he wouldn't be one of the best ever if he wasn't a physical freak.

Also, it says a few hundred thousand americans could be Olympians with the right training. That's roughly one in a thousand people - I suppose not that much in the grand scheme IF Olympians were one homogenous group. But they're not, there's loads of different sports involved, even given that some people could excel at multiple sports, for a given sport you're far far above one in a thousand...

Re 2. I take it that Buchanan never actually spoke publicly on the issue and there are no available private papers setting out views on integration. At least, so far no one has cited or quoted any. That is an odd silence given the context.

6. It seems strange that an article on lottery linked savings would ignore the most commonly used - and successful - implementation of this idea. Several countries use lottery bonds as state sponsored savings/investment vehicles. These bonds pay prizes with the interest from premiums. The U.K. Premium Bonds are probably the best example. The return from prizes is far better than any checking account and provides the thrill of a possible big win. Certainly a better place to put money than to throw it away on a one time chance in a lottery. If the average low income family put as much into a Premium Bond as they do in a state lottery they could put a child through college or buy a house in 20 years. Further information is here for those interested.

4. Talent is a useless concept

Oh, please. To paraphrase Orwell, that's so stupid you have to be really smart to believe it. Talent isn't everything but it isn't nothing. Stuart Buck had a great post over a decade ago

"When I was a graduate teaching assistant, ... I must have taught well over a hundred students to play the guitar, at least in a rudimentary fashion. And the thing that most impressed me was the incredibly vast range of ability that the students had. Out of 20 students, none of whom had touched a guitar before in their lives, there would be a few who were just naturals, who could instantly mimic anything that I showed them, and who could make remarkable progress without any sign of having practiced during the week. And there would be a handful of students at the bottom for whom everything was an immense struggle, and who -- despite the ability to play some other instrument such as the saxophone or piano -- simply could not get their fingers to play even the simplest chord on the guitar. In other words, students could have very different levels of ability even as absolute beginners -- which indicates to me that there really is such a thing as talent.

"Now, even the best student would obviously never become an expert guitar player without practice. In that sense, practice is essential. But I doubt that the students with zero talent could ever become candidates for playing at Carnegie Hall, even if they practiced diligently for years. Experts are born AND made, in other words."

But had any of the students learned to play an instrument, especially a stringed instrument before? That would give a person a head start.

Amazing that work so inept as that of MacLean's could gain so much attention. She seems to be something of an academic crook.

Twenty years ago, the American history guild was quite readily snookered by Michael Bellesiles. His mix of incompetence and fraud was uncovered by non-professionals, then picked up by academicians outside the American history guild, then acknowledged by academic historians. MacLean's being taken apart by academicians quite familiar with Buchanan's life and work and it's effect on her career is nil. She's just brazening it out and her admirers are pretending with her. The residual integrity you might have found in the American history guild 20 years ago is draining away. I just saw a column by a historian at a 3d rate institution complaining that one of the campuses of the UW system is shutting down its history department. Well, tough. You've been working to deserve that treatment.

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