Saturday assorted links

1. The next generation of Indian intellectuals? Is the list maybe a bit too high-falutin’?

2. How some of China’s spies operate.  And update on Chinese CRISPR patients, lots is going on here and we are seeing just the tip of it.

3. “Libraries are incredibly risk averse…”  And this bit: “We will err very much on this side of caution. We would rather not gather the information in the first place, then run the risk of holding it and losing it. And we do have to have information. With one exception, we get rid of it the moment we can. The only one exception is fines information.”

4. “Ontario Provincial Police say a seven-year-old boy called 911 to report his dissatisfaction with receiving snow pants as a Christmas gift.

5. More skepticism about carbon taxes, from Justin Gillis (NYT).

6. Scott Sumner on how to teach economics (recommended, there is much truth and wisdom in this post).

7. Top economists pick the best research papers of the year.


2b, CRISPR patients go off the grid as soon as their superpowers become apparent.

Yet our country keeps supporting Red China while it spies on Americans, steal highly valuable intellectual property, try to steal elections in America, try to steal elections in America's ally Brazil, hollow America's industry out, steal American jobs and threaten its neighbors.

Many times, Brazil's new leader, President Captain Bolsonaro, spoke out against Red China's barbaric regime. Please, President Trump, do the decent thing. Meet Mr. Bolsonaro.

It's fun to mess with Trump and his supporters, eh, Thiago?

I do not know whom you are talking about. I just want free treatment to our Brazilian allies.

You don't know who he is talking about? You have posted here many times, often right after a poster named Thiago Ribeiro. Surely as an American doctor you can read English and understand when someone is referencing another poster.

I do not know whom you are talking about. I just want fair treatment for our Brazilian allies.

3. Always interesting to imagine an alternate interpretation of an article, simply by quoting a different section - '“What I previously imagined was a weakness I think is a strength, which is that libraries have been very reluctant to move too quickly and have allowed the marketplace and allowed other organizations to kind of prove things work before libraries have taken the plunge,” said Ageh, who before joining NYPL oversaw internet and archive efforts at the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). “I think that has actually inoculated us against waste or harmful behavior.”'

Yep, sounds like a horrible way to run a library system, which could undoubtedly benefit from more waste while ignoring market proven solutions.

And this sounds interesting, actually - 'On Ageh’s list of significant digital services a library can provide is loanable WiFi hotspots, such as the ones offered in Seattle Public Library’s program.'

1). Another shot at Mr. McConnell...Libraries are risk averse for the same reason the medical marijuana field is slow. In every move, there must be equality on par with a pitcher's mound. Thus, Mr. McConnell's farm bill legalized Hemp, but what it really did, considering weed is already legal in many states, was usher in the field machine learning to a field starved by organic chemistry. Consider the fields that a limited understanding of Marijuana and Hemp have been addressing: Rimonabant (obesity), retrograde signaling, Ataxia, Sativex (MS), Dronabinol (AIDs), nabilone (chemotherapy),

Not sure what you are getting at CP. But I actually agree with the librarian wrt taking things a bit slowly to see what works. In general, I think this is a good response to all those who say governments are too slow to adopt technology. Surely there is bureaucratic inertia in government, but the same people who complain about the slowness of government in adopting new technologies would complain to no end if the government experimented with technology and wasted millions in the process of doing so. When the private sector experiments and fails, the company folds up; we can fold up the entire government system after losing millions.

Governments in developed economies work much better than we generally give them credit for.

Look at how high schools and colleges teach philosophy. If the NYT is a proxy, not long ago there was a NYT columnist who wrote a column on Memphis where he rhymed with a Hegel quote about the Owl at Dusk. One can assume for a while he read Hegel without understanding the effect Hegel had. It is not unreasonable. There are many philosophers and some with bad intentions might have had a decent conclusion.

'Not sure what you are getting at CP'

Basically, highlight a couple of different quotes, and suddenly the narrative being created from 'this bit,' emphasizing library fines information being the area where libraries are digitally competent - seems silly.

3 was pretty measured. I like libraries, and I like technology. But I've been wary of the more extreme "libraries should do all the technology" arguments, like "libraries should be makerspaces!"

FWIW, I think libraries should have books and other physical things like LPs and DVDs.

And municipal WiFi should not be a crime.

"FWIW, I think libraries should have books"

It is a bold position.

One of the best things about a book is that unlike an old LP, you do not need a particular (and increasingly rare) technology like a record player to use it.

Oh, and bring back the card catalogs, those large drawers of index cards for research. One with curiosity wandered off into odd curious corners as one found related subjects. I suspect librarians hurried to dispatch card catalogs to avoid work.

Nothing wrong with a little automation, but we wouldn't want every library to try to independently create Wikipedia.

Once you scale beyond place you only hobble things by tying them to place. Like free WiFi at the library, but not in the park across the street. Or ebooks "held" by one library.

One singular thing about any book, especially any forgotten and obscure, dusty old and Page crackling, is the view given of the author.

#5 - The essential problem is nobody wants a solution that imposes costs on everyone who contributes to the problem. The politics of the thing is to make up stories about how this or that thing that will have costs only borne by the 1% is just as good. But it isn't.

I think single payer healthcare in the US will face a similar hurdle. Everyone wants it until they realize that it will cost them personally to get it - that no, you can't have universal healthcare for less than the ACA penalty. People won't pay for it.

Pricing is the only thing that may help materially precisely because it affects everyone making carbon decisions. Building codes? Seriously? How fast will that permeate into real change?

Taxes have a cost that is readily apparent and easily undone. Regulations on the other hand have costs that are subtle and create constituencies for themselves.

For example tax the price of beef until it's sky high. There's still beef but it's main reason to exit would seem to be to remind me of how poor I am. Instead of that make owning a cow illegal. Now there's nothing that makes me unhappy except for a blank space on the menu. And there're a million blank spaces like that - I can't seem to get that Blue Whale sandwich I've always wanted but who misses it.

Mmmm if a blue-whale sandwich is anything like a baby seal salad or snow leopard cake, then I'm not interested.

It is interesting but not coincidental that all of the "solutions" to climate change seem to require a tax and/or a massive redistribution of power/rights from the people to the elite.

I have an idea. Eliminate all cars and trucks owned and used by governments at all levels. Surely that would both cut carbon AND result in lower taxes.

That's the main point of my AGW skepticism. I'd phrase it differently thought - that all of the solution to global warming seem to be things that people of the Left would want if there was AGW or not. It's reminds me of the way religious people use God for worldly ends or the way some on the Right use National Security.

That is exactly why the carbon tax issue is so revealing.

A movement toward a global carbon tax, implemented by individual nations in coordination and with border adjustments (and accounting for methane) would:

1) Be the most effective way to actually deal with climate change - it could succeed pretty quickly
2) Not enable parasites to use climate change to subsidise unrelated political goals
3) Show that the globalist/IPCC program was a horribly destructive wrong turn (worst decision my mankind in history?)

The New York Times does need to turn it's loyal zombie followers against this very quickly. And give them a one line argument to preserve their self-righteousness before they can fall back on calling everyone else nazis.

It is simply not true that "it could succeed pretty quickly". The warmies own models and formulas predict that even if we do everything the warmies want to fix climate change it will continue to get worse. They created models that would generate the worst possible scenarios in an attempt to sell this lie and now those same models show that no matter what we do it will get worse.

The simple truth is our climate is controlled by a complex and fluctuating bucket of factors like solar incidence, earth's orbit, water vapor in the earth's atmosphere, etc. The incidence of CO2 is far less than 0.1% of the many factors that determine our climate.

Now, IMHO the warmie scientists know this, many or the followers probably aren't smart enough to know it and the politicians and elite who hope to benefit from AGW could care less. But the scientists know this and their complicity in this great hoax is scientific malpractice.

Point taken. I maintain that it would be the most effective way to address carbon emissions - and far better than the IPCC approach. You are correct that it may not solve climate problems or be quick.


2. It sounds like Chinese economic espionage consists mainly of convincing rogue employees to hand over company trade secrets. Of course, companies do this to each other all the time (like in the Uber/Waymo case) and their disputes are resolved in civil court. Moreover, if a company doesn’t want its trade secrets to leak, it can patent its inventions, which would allow it to sue any infringers and bar infringing products from coming into the US. Under our normal legal system, companies that choose to keep their inventions as trade secrets to get around the public disclosure requirement and 20-year limit on patents, assume the risk that those secrets will leak.

This process is well-established, yet when Chinese people are involved, we abandon these normal legal principles and instead bring criminal indictments and collectively punish the entire Chinese economy. This kind of thing is why Chinese people are cynical about our commitment to rule of law.

"This kind of thing is why Chinese people are cynical about our commitment to rule of law."

Maybe they should first cast out the beam out of their own eyes and go to hell.

+1. This is turning into a witchhunt in the US. Rules and norms don't apply anymore.

Thiago is correct for a change. The examples given in the article mostly involve military or dual use (e.g., aerospace) technologies, so it's not just like one American or even a European firm engaging in industrial espionage against another American firm.

But our government’s position seems to be that military spying is okay since every country does it, while commercial spying is not okay since allegedly only China does that. So which is it?

# “Seriously, the problems in 2008 were due to things like moral hazard in the financial system and unstable NGDP growth . . . .”

Gotta say, I stopped reading Sumner’s piece right there. For anyone to suggest that “moral hazard” (i.e., excess greed, I suppose) started in the early 2000s, well, 'clueless' is the word that comes to my mind. [and, no mention of the government's role in the financial crisis. sheeesh. totally clueless.]

Moral hazard has nothing to do with excess greed. It means that the person who decides to take a risk is not the person who bears all the downside of the risk. If Bank A underwrites a mortgage and also lend its own money, there is no moral hazard. If Bank A underwrites a mortgage and then sells it to someone else - e.g. by securitizing it - there is a new element of moral hazard. There are of course positive aspects to this deal e.g. risk sharing and specialization, but the moral hazard involved was much greater in 2008 than it was a few years before.

I think Sumner is right that in economics classes it is most important to teach students basic economics. But he goes overboard in his criticism of behavioral economics, saying a lot of silly things as noted by sachaplin about what happened in 2008. Indeed few economics courses do teach students about speculative bubbles, which are important to know about. And the claim that somehow the War on Drugs is to be blamed on behavioral economics is just silly in the extreme. Frankly, I find Sumner way overrated by Tyler.

I find Sumner way overrated by Tyler.

Me too. Maybe that's because they have the same mythological beliefs.

Yeah, Sumner's take on 2008 was highly lame. But he's right to criticize the _Atlantic_ article and for the right basic reason: there's little benefit in spending a semester or quarter re-learning uninformed myths and urban legends that are based on ignorance, instead the econ teacher (and textbook) should focus on teaching the counter-intuitive or difficult but useful principles.

I agree that the course should include some coverage of behavior economics, bubbles and panics, etc.

5. Arguments here seem weak. Problem isn’t a carbon tax. The problem is greedy governments can’t bring themselves to enact a large, *revenue neutral* tax. Try eliminating a state income tax or an entire federal bracket or all capital gains taxes in exchange and people will likely respond much better.

Delete the FDA and make america great again. Human genetic enhancement when?

6. Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered, there is a market.

6. Hocus pocus. Of course Sumner objects to behavioral economics. After all, soothsayers rely on science, don't they?

5. In Australia the Coalition removed our carbon price and then raised the tax on gasoline and diesel to compensate for some of the revenue shortfall.

With respect to India ---
there are many people there!
Who among us (us meaning people not born in India) is so arrogant, or so proud of our skills or talents or creativity, that we cannot honestly reflect that, somewhere ...

somewhere in that part of the world which is called India (or better yet, in all those parts of Asia where the languages share so many loanwords from the ancient civilization which was, with respect to so many concepts, written down first in what is now called India) ...

who among us can reflect that there is someone who is better than us
at anything we, as proud as we might be, are good at?
(Of course it is not likely that there is anyone in India better than me or you at my particular or your particular combination of talents, in vector space as opposed to scalar space (or vice versa, maybe I should say - you figure it out) .... let's say I can tell the difference between a Beiderbecke solo and the solo of any other cornet player in three seconds, I can sit on the subway and, if someone says an unusual word a few seats over ("work was just palaver today", to give a recent example from last week on the DC metro) I can immediately tell you which Biblical verses contained the closest Hebrew and Greek equivalents to that unusual word 'palaver', and I can describe in accurate and human detail the difference between infantry tactics in 1914 and 1917 on the Western Front, even while undergoing chemotherapy and barely able to eat my breakfast - find someone in India who can do all that!) (those are just random abilities, chosen for purposes of illustration, and are not meant to represent my own specific abilities) - well, India would have to have a few billion more people before chance would give us someone who is as good or better at ALL three .... (the jazz insight, the lexicology skills, the infantry tactics) ... but of course that is not important, that is just an attribute of random allocations of talents, or the use of talents.

There is more talent and more creativity in the world than most people think there is.
Well that is my opinion anyway. I like this website because, despite the fundamentally unsound world-views of Alex and Tyler (the reference is to the expressed opinion of Jeeves when the subject of Nietzsche once came up in conversation, years ago and not even in this world, but in the fantasy world of Wodehouse) I learn a lot , from this website, about the existence of talent and creativity in so many places.

Augustin Malraux said that communism in the far east was the arrival of Christianity. Is it worth talking about today, Islam and Communism, Hinduism and Fascism? I think it is. Is it worth talking about siblings in fiction? Surely it ought to be. Alas, Louis Armstrong focused more
on changing the focus of solos in jazz on individuals rather than as a collective improvisation of group members, and learned most of his musical skill from an orphanage. Moreover, the acute beneficial effects of exercise (termed as runner's high) seem to be mediated by anandamide in mice. They banned marijuana for the first time in 1923 in storyville to ban the menace of culture.

I agree that Louis was not as good for jazz as he is often thought to be.

Bix never wanted to leave behind the friendliness of jazz at its best for "a good solo", and, like you said, Louis just couldn't help himself, or at least, he did not try as often as he should have to be just a jazz musician instead of a "star"...

But Louis really really loved jazz melodies, more than I do, so there's that.

Let us reflect on how many people today are not poor, who would have been poor if "the economics of developing countries" had failed in its hopes!

Look, if Louis - or Bix - had asked my daughter out on a date, there is no doubt in my mind that my daughter would have known enough to say NO

but they were good musicians, Bix a better pal than Louis, but Louis was pretty good too,

and Tyler and Alex, fundamentally unsound or not, are right to be glad that the world has done so well, billions of times over, to offer a life without poverty to those born in the last 40 years or so

(by the way on the hot Fives young Louis was NOT over-impressed with himself, and there is little in this world that has been as well done as his solos on the 1920s Hot Fives takes)

siblings in fiction -

start with Twelfth Night;
then Pushkin (the sisters in his poems);
then Peguy, in his great epic poem devoted to Eve the sister of Life.

R u pro Indian pond heron?

Indian lake, on a good day, in the summer sun ---- as long as you act rightly, with care --- yes, that is good. Although the herons tend to favor those parts of our beautiful Northern lakes that are not --- shall we say ----
the most recreational parts (the happy people in their holiday joy scare away the prey of the heron, sad but true, this world is not a sweet animated film).

That being said, Shakespeare's Hamlet would have been much improved if the Bard had reflected a little more on that day Aeneas and Dido spent in the rain. And imagine this ---- imagine if Shakespeare had read "A Christmas Carol" a few times before sitting down to write the Tempest!

Caliban more like Tiny Tim, and the Ghost of Christmas Present full of fondness and concern for Miranda! And, Shakespeare being Shakespeare, it would have been much much better than it sounds ....

Good times, good times.
Today, I saw a warbler, a mallard, a Canadian goose, a great blue heron, a whole bunch of crows excited about something, God only knows what, some microleps looking like white dust over the old grass in a sunlit field, but obviously not white dust because their flying was obviously conscious and not wind-borne (compare the Navy officers on those phony you-tube videos of "Fighter pilots encountering unknown fast UFO aircraft?" ..... pretending not to recognize what they say they saw pulling 20Gs at twice or more the speed of sound - I understand, do you?), a cardinal, a sparrow, and of course a billion details on tens of thousands of trees, in the afternoon sunlight, walking at Huntley Meadows in Northern Virginia, at the old Nike Base (it was me who was walking, not the trees). (me and the westering sun, not the trees).

Do you know a pubmed of bibliographical art?

any given literary tradition includes about 4,000 (I base this on studies of one of the best of the students of William James) distinct portraits of healthy major characters and includes about 1,000 distinct portraits of those healthy minor characters who have important plot consequences

and a few hundred "wave offering" portraits of those who, although born healthy, have declined in sickness and poverty, and about whom only the very greatest writers can make us feel interested in, in our recreational reading.
(I Remember as a child reading about the woman with the flow of blood for 11 years and had no idea I would suffer symptoms of a similar disease for almost 40 years and counting! .... not that it matters anymore)

I recommend consulting the works of Cruikshank and Dore for starters, and then moving along as you see fit. Don't do it on the internet, start at a good university library with a set of old editions of Dickens and poor little Dante, that will be a nice afternoon for you

3 kinds of people in the world
(1) folks who read Matthew 3-9 and think "true dat": just rocks!
that was one

(2) read Matthew 3-9 and think "so I could be like Abraham so easily, with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky"
that was two

(3) TLDR
that was three

Adam and Eve were created in order to be maternal and paternal, to be ancestors

The categorical mistake so many people make is to think that we, like Adam and Eve, were created to be ancestors

we were created to be friends of God

see the difference?

reread matthew 3:9 if you don't

1 and 2 are close to the truth, 2 more than 1
3 need our prayers

cross-reference to Ed Feser, Matthew 3:9, and categorical mistakes.

Good times trust me, or not, good times anyway.

El proceso de socializaci�n es tan fuerte, tan totalizante, que aunque intelectualmente sepamos que la verdad es otra, si actuamos en contra de lo que la sociedad considera normative, nos sentimos inseguras, nos sentimos mal. Lo que hacemos se considera divio, anormal, y a las que acutamos en forma diferente se nos consideran inferiores.

Pensamos que el reloj naranja se equivoca en este tema

I see what you are trying to say, but I would tend more to agree with Don Colacho in his more generous moods

Try reading a science book instead of the bible. Your mind will be blown.

Actually, about 20 years ago I was the recipient of a special thanks in the acknowledgements of one of the greatest linguistics books published in the 20th century, and I could, in the middle of the night, if woken up, tell you exactly (with at least 200 details per book) what at least two dozen general science books have to say about, well, the general science such books like to take about, and I could also tell you 100 things that Popper got wrong about the world he lived in, complete with cites from everyone from poor little Aristotle to several recent Fields medalists (not to pick on Popper, I am just trying to communicate with you that --- the fact that I know how much God loves you does not mean I do not know how the world works as well as the ordinary and even some of the extraordinary scientific thinkers of recent years).

And, at the same time, having been woken up in the middle of the night (or, whatever else, in this scenario, might serve as the threshold image - remember that), having been interrupted at work at my accounting firm (!), say, or while ordering a coffee where I always try to charm the people who share my coffee breaks with me, I would also be praying for your soul, because, although I have not seen the face of God and lived, as the saying goes, I have seen something almost as good. And what good is having an idea if the idea does not help you to help another soul live its best life?

God bless and happy new year 2019!

And thanks for reading!
Life would be so much less interesting if we did not listen to each other!

#4. Given that there's about 400,000 7 year olds in Ontario, many of whom who got snowpants for xmas, is this surprising?

#6...I believe that borrowing/ spending your way out of a serious economic downturn is paradoxical, hence I don't begrudge people in the 20's & 30's finding it hard to swallow. But in 2008, there was no such excuse, and still some people couldn't get it. As far as I've been able to determine, the students of Simons and Knight, meaning Samuelson, Friedman Minsky, Stein, Buchanan, and Patinkin, thought they'd gotten it right in the early 30's. Also, I'd like to know how many economists are fine with their views being labelled "useful fictions", which is fine by me, but I don't get addled ( I'm being generous ) rather than admit a mistake.

1. An interesting sidebar:

As long as people want “real” gemstones, the kind dug out of the earth instead of made in a lab, economies will be disrupted, labor will be exploited, and people are going to die in mines, he told the reporter. She understood that part, but not the following discussion on color field paintings and Damien Hirst.

#6. Read the post on teaching econ. It's very interesting and thoughtful. I largely agree with Sumner. But one point of his perplexes me. He calls the following view a myth: "Policy disputes over taxes and regulations are best thought of in terms of who gains and who loses."

I would love an elaboration on this point. Why is it at myth? What is the "better" way to think about policy disputes? Is Sumner talking about normative concerns? That is, we examine policy disputes to identify the optimal or most efficient policy solutions? Or is he talking about empirical concerns? That is, we examine policy disputes to identify why certain policy solutions are selected and thus prevail. If he's speaking normatively, then I agree with him. A total focus on expected winners and losers can lead to suboptimal decisions. But if he's speaking empirically, then I disagree with him.

I agree.

This is hardly a myth. It's not the only way to think about these things, but it is a very important way.

8B. The opposite of rent control, namely, a higher minimum wage is good.

The Uncommercial Traveller

#2b > "update on Chinese CRISPR patients"

The author must be very very ignorant or was it another propaganda? Worrying about merely a few lost tracked gene therapy patients?? The cat is already out of the bag. There are already DIY Human Crispr Guides around, e.g.

"to show people the ease at which CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to modify the adult human genome."

Tristan Roberts ... inject himself with an experimental gene therapy for HIV, a DIY prototype treatment designed by three biohacker friends. The treatment had never been tested in humans."

""" "You can't stop it, you can't regulate these things," Roberts says to the camera a few minutes before pinching his belly fat and plunging a syringe into its tissue. "But you can create an environment where there's transparency." """

"Ascendence Biomedical, a mysterious biotech firm with transhumanist leanings, which was seeking subjects who were willing to experiment on themselves and then publish the results for free online."

"Places that sell inexpensive professional-grade lab supplies and websites where anyone can order their own custom DNA have enabled a growing biohacker movement where people aren't just making glowing beer, they're genetically altering their bodies."

"In the US, the Food and Drug Administration does not typically choose to intervene when individuals carry out experiments on themselves, though it does usually strongly discourage such self-experimentation."

"He expects it will cost under $US100 ($127) to make the same vaccine Roberts injected."

This was over a year ago (Oct. 2017), is Roberts dead? Cured? What happened?

1. Further evidence that intellectuals in India should only communicate in English. Together, we can end the back

%: On globalwarming.

Paint our roofs white. About 5-10% (kind of a guestimate from an internet question) of the globe has roofing, while paint reflect some 85%/roof of the sun back to space. Probably buy a few years on the problem.

That is way way too high. only about 30% of the planet is land, so 10% would mean 1/3 of all land area is covered by roofs? demonstrably untrue.

4, in the future especially on holidays
we would prefer if everbody just called the
fire dept. directly for issues with their pants

here are some more holiday tips to help
raise awareness &
validate yur existence

The problem with the idea of carbon taxes is they come from the mental model for cigarette or liquor taxes. It seems that "Pigouvian taxes" only work politically for things that can be avoided or plausibly regarded as sinful or recreational.

But unlike drinking or smoking, people still have to drive, so all you do with carbon taxes is make people's lives more expensive. And people are smart enough in general to not be impressed with arguments that you should just suck it up, put up with the tax, and take the bus or train, particularly when wealthier people keep their cars.

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