Thursday assorted links

1. What is the avant-garde anyway? (music video, bluegrass take on atonal music, recommended)

2. The #1 trusted name in news?

3. Does birth year influence political views? (NYT)

4. Countries at high risk of genocide?

5. Bill James on how well Babe Ruth would do today.  I think he would strike out a lot.

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#5 BJ article.

No one really comments how grip strength and testosterone has been declining. Also, has hand-eye coordination really been subject to overall general population natural selection?

I mean we could actually measure how many people need glasses (myopia) now versus early 1900? I remember the Yankees were using Moneyball and encouraging their players to get eye surgery to improve HE (Curtis Granderson If I recall).

Seems obvious to me he would the Babe would still be great.

Good point.

Are there any stats on myopia rates over time in the U.S.

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What are you talking about.

Just go look at Olympic weightlifting over time. The 1920-1972 records were all set in 1970-72, following the weight class realignment the all the 73-92 records were set in 88-92. Then after the latest restructuring all the records were set 2013-present.
The current 56kg record holder would have been in line with the 68kg record holder in 1972. The current 85kg champion would have been the 110kg world record holder in 1972. That’s 187 lbs vs 243 lbs.

At the top level every facet of strength and athleticism is not even remotely comparable to 40 years ago let alone 100 years ago. Physiology, exercise science, and understanding how to fuel our bodies has made modern day athletes super heroes compared to the athletes of the past.

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I agree with Tyler. Babe would strike out a lot. They didn't have guys who regularly pitched 90+ mph fastballs in those days. Also, easy to be king of the hill when baseball was known to just a tiny corner of the world. Today's globalized baseball means a much, much deeper talent pool.

But baseball was by far the biggest professional sport in the USA in 1914-1935. An absolutely huge number of minor leaguers were employed, peaking in 1941. I can imagine that if Babe Ruth were born later, with his reasonable speed, tremendous strength, and strong throwing arm (star pitcher), he might have been channelled into football. I could imagine Ruth as a Ben Roethlisberger-style huge quarterback in the 1960s. Do ya think Ruth could have inspired a team in the huddle with his self-confidence? Yeah, I think so.

I think baseball lost out on really big and tall players in the second half of the 20th Century to football and basketball. Of the four superstar all around slugging outfielders that came up in the Fifties -- Mantle, Mays, Aaron, and Frank Robinson, who just died at 83 after quite a life -- Robinson was the tallest at 6'1" and probably none reached 200 pounds until later in their careers.

My vague impression is that there was a lot of size segregation among sports after WWII.

Now, however, baseball with its high pay and low injury rates seems to be attracting big guys who a few decades ago would have headed for the NFL or NBA. Mike Trout is 6'2" 235 pounds and fast -- he'd be a scary linebacker or Gronkowski-like tight end. Giancarlo Stanton at 6'6" and maybe 260 with good speed had a career path in front of him to defensive end in the NFL, but he's got a $300 million contract in baseball. Aaron Judge at 6'7" might have been channeled to the NBA in the past. And a lot of current MLB pitchers seem like guys who would have focused on basketball in the past.

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Interesting article "Why Babe Ruth is the Greatest Home-Run Hitter" https://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2006-10/archive-why-babe-ruth-greatest-home-run-hitter from 1921. Ruth was subjected to a number of tests of motor skills and co-ordination.

"The tests revealed the fact that Ruth is 90 per cent efficient compared with a human average of 60 per cent.

That his eyes are about 12 per cent faster than those of the average human being.

That his ears function at least 10 per cent faster than those of the ordinary man. That his nerves are steadier than those of 499 out of 500 persons.

That in attention and quickness of perception he rated one and a half times above the human average."

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It seems obvious to me that if Ruth time-traveled from 1927 directly to a 2019 MLB game he would struggle, just due to how much the game has changed and improved. It would be like throwing the best high school hitter in the country directly into a major league game. On the other hand, it seems equally obvious that if 1915 Babe Ruth time-traveled to 2007 and was given 10+ years of minor and major league training, we should expect him to be very good by 2019 - it should surprise no one if he was an MVP contender by then.

People are better at sports nowadays because of knowledge, technology, and training, not genetics.

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#1 Anne Beats, sometimes writer for SNL, once said, "You can only be avant-garde for so long before you become garde.” The true tyranny of popularity.

#2 This guy's success has always been amazing to me. After seeing some of his youtube videos though I realized that his presentation style and quirks really are quite effective. It's like the tuber personality presentation style of Seinfeld...news and info presented in a way you don't have to think so much about.

#3 I think it depends. It definitely had an effect for people growing up during the depression. I think it will to for kids who were old enough to be coherent during the financial crisis, especially if mom and dad were significantly impacted. That stuff stays with you forever.

#4 I was surprised to see that China - while being on the list - wasn't actually higher up. Especially considering there are about 350,000 PLA troops in Xinjiang right now and tensions continue to escalate. Also, if the division is political and not ethnic in nature does it still count as 'genocide'? Their mention of the USA is laughable, although I could see somewhere down the road ANTIFA becoming significantly more violent, and promptly getting destroyed by law enforcement and armed citizenry.

I was surprised that South Africa was not on the list

The list is about the future; the Boer genocide already started. More dead Boers than Croats.

It is about to get much worse in South Africa.

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Babe Ruth struck out a lot in his playing days too.

Next, you will have to explain to Prof. Cowen what a slugger is, or why we talk about swinging for the fences.

Though sluggers do tend to vary quite a bit - 'If a batter hits 47-48 homers a season, he's going for the fences, right? And if he's going for the fences, he’s going to strike out a lot, right? Well, yes, and no. In the case of Willie Stargell in 1971, he led the league with 48 homers and 154 strikeouts. Henry Aaron was second in roundtrippers with 47. However, Aaron fanned only 58 times, which is further confirmation that he had one of his best seasons ever in 1971. ..... Gehrig had the all-tine beat season ratio when he hit 49 homers and fanned only 31 times in his Triple Crown season of 1934. Those players who have hit 47 or more homers in a season are listed below with the number of times they fanned that season. Asterisks indicate league leader.' https://sabr.org/research/home-runs-vs-strikeouts

Admittedly, the article almost 50 years old, but it gives a good view - and Babe Ruth looks fairly middle of the road in terms of strike outs.

I should have clarified the reason for my post is that many people who have only passing familiarity with baseball probably don't realize that Ruth struck out quite often.

I suspect Dr. Cowen knows that perfectly well and was just making a subtle joke.

Who knows? But as the link demonstrates, there is no real basis for such a prediction, considering the variation in players and seasons.

the distant sound, the distant silver (lointain in in a lot of pain+)….she was I, a child is a child, heavenly to all people. the distance (afraid but filled with joy)

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Babe Ruth was baseball's most important revolutionary -- he went against all the conventional wisdom of his day that the best hitter put his bat squarely on the ball the most, hitting the most line drives to strikeouts. Ruth chose to up his chance of striking out considerably to increase his chance of hitting a homer dramatically. This also increased his chance of getting a walk, which is quite useful to scoring runs.

Ty Cobb pointed out that the only reason Ruth was allowed to teach himself how to do this from 1914-1919 was that he started out in MLB as a pitcher and nobody in authority cared about how pitchers hit enough to make him stop, like they would have done if he had come up as a hitter.

Ruth made the most significant adjustment of any player in 20th Century baseball history, and he did it all by himself, so if anybody could adjust to being time traveled to a different era, it would be Ruth.

Nice. I wasn't aware of the Cobb comment.

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I should add, middle of the road historically. Compared to the last 30 years, though his home run numbers remain top notch, his strike out number looks lower than average, by a fair amount.

Hard to know the cause, of course, but it isn't as if people are hitting notably more home runs compared to the number of strike outs, which has noticeably increased, though again, with considerable variation.

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#5. On the subject of "interleague" play, I understand that the 1914 Boston Braves played an exhibition game against some soap box company team in July and lost, before going on to win the World Series.

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#1 There is avante garde that never goes garde
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRweyGHJ3bc

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1. Contemporary composers of serious music have moved away from atonality, but they haven't found a mission to replace Épater la bourgeoisie. Should they be philosophers or entertainers? Or are they simply the preservers of the concert hall experience.

I know this much, of the six or so contemporary composers I know personally through my wife's work, not one of them sees their opportunity as writing the next "West Side Story" and making a melodic impression that will live in the heats of millions for all time.

They mostly worry about how to get grants and stipends. Or teaching jobs.

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Curious that nine of the top ten candidates for genocide are Muslim countries. And close to two-thirds of the list of 30 are either nearly entirely Muslim or have substantial Muslim populations. Why is that?

And only four of the 30 are not in Africa/Mideast. That does not seem random at all.

I wonder if death-by-famine is included in genocide, as was the technique in USSR and China.

The USA is preparing to walk away from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Do the odds of genocide change that policy, or do we say it just isn't our business?

Given how partisan NPR is, it is amazing they wrote this about Bill Clinton: "When President Clinton said after the Rwandan genocide, 'We really didn't know.' I'll be direct. He was lying. He did know," Stanton says. "I've read the confidential cables that came in from Rwanda from our ambassador there months before that genocide. And they knew it was coming."

Also, it is amazing they would not suppress a report supporting the controversial thesis of Dr. James Watson.

Is this slight against Bill Clinton part of the low level efforts to poison Hillary Clinton's chances of prevailing among democrats in 2020?

I know there were some noises about her wanting to run again, but the idea that Hillary would still have a chance at this point is absurd.

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"In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations, from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders.

Samuel Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order"

Muslims make bloody borders. The common denominator in those instances of mass violence is "Islam."

I knew it was Muslims who invaded Poland in 1939.

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Genocide. No surprises there. Africa and the ME are both awash in tribalism.

We should walk, no RUN away.

I am no fan of Bill Clinton, but the US under Bill stopped a genocide in the Balkans.

Isn’t diversity their strength? People keep telling me that.

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"the US under Bill stopped a genocide in the Balkans": what do you have in mind? And was there a vital US interest?

Morally speaking, about the same as the US interest in saving you dopes from Hitler.

Or Kaiser Wilhelm.

We saved ourselves from the Kaiser, but thanks for lending a hand. The Red Army plus our own efforts saved us from Hitler: your contribution was to stop Stalin driving to the channel coast. And very welcome too.

But I note that you are incapable of explaining the vital American interest in the Balkans, or even saying what genocide you stopped. If you can't even manage that you've got a cheek calling anyone else dopes.

You have far more minimizing the help you received. Like D-Day would have happened without the US. Pathetic.

And you're a big boy, go read a book about what happened after Yugoslavia broke up.

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Truthfully, I do not know why we were involved.

This does not surprise me.

Perhaps you can tell us.

As I told the bitchy Brit above, read a book.

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I'll add that I don't think Ruth would make a major league roster today. Not because players are so incredibly better today but because they are a) slightly better and b) there are many more of them. And being only slightly better generally leads to large differences in outcome.

For example, for a long time an exhibition game was played each year between the national college football and NFL championship teams. The top college teams were composed of mostly NFL-caliber players or nearly so, and indeed in a handful of those games the college guys won. But the most common result was a blowout win by the pros.

Also, there have been times when an entire professional team was lost due to some tragedy. The organization often rebuilds a competitive roster quite quickly. In one case, the Andean rugby team that resorted to cannibalism in their 1972 air crash won the league championship the following year.

A professional sports team at the very top level always has a very deep and talented farm system, and I predict that is where the Babe would land. But he wouldn't be on a major league roster unless it's for marketing purposes.

Babe was a HOF quality pitcher as well.

You are entitled to your opinion but thinking the greatest player in history could not even make a roster is not credible.

Exceptional as he was, pitching is definitely an area where Ruth would be in a weaker category today, though still likely to at least make the roster.

Though again, if he had all the advantages available to budding pitchers today, he might become an excellent pitcher.

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'I'll add that I don't think Ruth would make a major league roster today.'

Babe Ruth did not exist in a vacuum - meaning that whatever advances modern players benefit from, if he was playing today, those advances would also improve his performance.

'But he wouldn't be on a major league roster unless it's for marketing purposes.'

I would basically reverse that statement - Babe Ruth was not the sort of public figure we tend to embrace these days, regardless of their performance.

However, it is truly hard to make comparisons when one reaches far enough in the past - would Johnny Unitas or Joe Namath make the cut in today's NFL?

Dude wore a lettuce leaf under his cap for hangovers. Epic.

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Read the article, as it directly addresses your points

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(Gimme Some of That) Ol' Trane

https://jazztimes.com/columns/jazz-alone/coltrane-derailed/

Sounds like sometimes derailing might help the creative process. that era was full of smack and uppers among jazz musicians.

At the same time the audience shrinked. Once you take the blues and swing element out of jazz I'm not sure what's left.

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#4...Good idea. I wonder if there's a similar organization keeping track of border disputes. While not necessarily leading to genocide, leaving them unresolved means they can flare up causing great misery at any time. Here's one involving China and India...https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-china-idUSKCN1AV29F
It would be prudent to be pro-active in these situations involving possible genocide and border disputes. It's certainly worth the effort.

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Check out the large difference between 1954 births vs 1955. Authorization for Vietnam conscription ended in 1973.

Maybe '54ers were exposed to the possibility of being sent to war unwillingly but '55ers were not?

I attended a business dinner with several US and French colleagues in the early 90's. We were of an age. At one point during dinner, the draft came up. Each of the Americans at the table remembered and stated their draft number.

I still remember watching the ping pong ball draw for numbers on TV for my year.

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Having been born in '53, the Viet Nam war was definitely on my mind and has continued to influence my thinking. But being in college at the time provided me a student deferment and I was never really in much danger of being drafted.

But the thought was always there.

Student deferments were discontinued at the end of 1969. The 1953 cohort was subject to the draft lottery.

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Check out the large difference between 1954 births vs 1955. Authorization for Vietnam conscription ended in 1973.

The last cohort subject to conscription was the 1953 cohort. Fewer than 700 people from that cohort were drafted. Just shy of 50,000 were conscripted from the 1952 cohort, just north of 2.5% of the total male cohort. About 94,000 were conscripted from the 1951 cohort, or shy of 5% of the total.

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What's really weird is that when the 1955 cohort was only about 5 they had the only significant bump towards republican of kids around that age. Why didn't this affect the 1954 cohort the same way? Is there an error in the data?

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5. I taught boys how to swing a bat (i.e., how to hit the baseball). I watched video after video of the best hitters to see what they did that made them so good. So before writing this comment, I watched a slow motion video of Babe Ruth's swing. I notice several things. He starts his swing by getting the bat in the same power position as today's best hitters (the elbow of his left arm - that's his back arm since he was a left handed hitter - up so his arm is parallel to the ground with the elbow pointing at the umpire (it keeps the front shoulder down), the barrel of the bat is high and angled toward the pitcher), he pulls the knob of the bat toward the ball (i.e., he does not "cast" the bat), his back foot is firmly planted and he uses it to push off to the striding front foot while keeping his center of gravity over his back foot while rotating his body, his hands are above the ball at impact (he stays "on top of the ball"), and he contacts the ball well in front of the plate, with a movement of the barrel of the bat slightly in a downward direction to put backspin (i.e., "lift") on the ball. The main differences are that he exaggerates cocking his from front leg before his stride (which actually adds power because it forces him to rotate his hips back toward the catcher before starting the rotation toward the pitcher) and he finishes his swing with his hands low whereas today's best hitters pull the bat up after impact (i.e., they let the force of the swing take the barrel up). His swing is compact and very fast. I believe he would be as good today as in his day.

This is easily your most informative post ever here.

Thanks for the compliment. Of course, my comment about the Babe is really no different from all of my comments here: I trust my lying eyes rather than someone's theory. I grew up more of a golfer than a baseball player, believing that one day I would play in the Masters. Because of my golf experience, I'm more in tune with the mechanics of the swing, including the baseball swing when I coached the boys. I coached with very good players but who knew less about the mechanics of the swing than Popeye. But that's not surprising: Mark McGuire stated that he didn't learn how to swing the bat until he came to the Cardinals and the hitting coach taught him (his point is that he was finally taught that you swing down to make the ball go up, which one learns early in golf). In economics, historical economists are held in relative low esteem because they have the habit of pointing out historical facts that the theorists would prefer not to see the light of day. What I see, I know.

"my comment about the Babe is really no different from all of my comments here"

No my friend, it is actually very different.

The current thinking for power hitters is no longer hitting down on the ball to impart backspin as one does in golf. Lifting the ball has become de rigueur. This is one reason strikeouts are at all time records.

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Excellent analysis of Ruth's form. But let's look at the pitchers. The dead ball era was just over. Pitchers were adjusting to loss of many older tricks, and developing some of the pitch type repertoire we are familiar with today. For example, the slider was just being invented.

I don't know the velocities back in the day, but I am guessing appreciably slower.

The question on the table is could Ruth be plopped down today and hit off sustained speeds of mid-90's fastballs, from lefty pitchers mind you, and mid 80's junk and everything else? I doubt it.

Could he adjust, especially with the help of batting coaches and technology? I don't see why not.

The faster the pitch, the farther the ball goes. Hitters love fast ball pitchers, the faster the better Now, junk pitchers, like the great Greg Maddux, they hate them. My nephew, one of my students I taught how to hit, batted over 500 his freshman and sophomore years in high school. During the playoffs his sophomore year, his team way behind and the pitchers unable to get outs, his coach let my nephew move from first base to the pitching mound, the game surely lost anyway. My nephew proceeded to strike out the side and finish the game allowing no more runs, while his team slowly scored runs to complete the greatest comeback in the school's history. "Where have you been?", the coach asked my nephew. "Right here, coach", he responded. Unfortunately, that meant my nephew became The pitcher on his team the next two years. He would take batting practice with me, but he knew that wasn't his main contribution to the team. His batting average fell but his pitching performance excelled. But not with fastballs. Like Maddux, he threw junk, frustrating the power hitters. Coming into his senior year, the pitching coach believed he needed a different pitch, different from the junk, because the power hitters would be more patient that year after seeing his junk the previous year. So he taught my nephew a sidearm fastball, and I mean sidearm. It was a thing of beauty. He would set up the power hitters with a series of junk pitches, maybe 60 mph. Then with two strikes, he would throw the pitch, which from the sidearm looked like a bullet coming straight at the batter. They would freeze, and the umpire would call "Strike three!" Maybe economists would do better if they had an out pitch like my nephew's sidearm out pitch.

Maddux was not a junkballer. He threw mostly fastballs -- changing speed and location were his things.

Agreed on Maddux. Along with great late movement on his "fastball."

Babe vs. Rick "The Whale" Reuschel would be a battle royal for sumo-division honors

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Yep, Maddux also was throwing in the low 90s in his prime. That was above-average velocity for the time (though the standard has gone up in the 25-30 years since then).

The myth of Maddux the "junkballer" arose in his last few seasons, especially his last season, where he had ok (not great) results despite only throwing in the mid 80s.

He was known for not always throwing at his max speed, but having the ability to throw some pitches fast makes the slower stuff more effective.

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Yes, it goes far if you connect squarely.

I suspect that if the babe came out of a time machine onto the on deck circle, he would face a modern arsenal that would stupefy him and possibly never get the bat off his shoulder. At least initially.

Actually, he'd probably whiff comically, spinning in complete circles.

As rayward said, her's got the form. He had the power. And he clearly had the eye, for his times. So there's no reason to think that with modern practice and training, he wouldn't find himself in a similar position relative to his peers.

Except for discipline. Would he have the discipline required to reach and stay at the highest levels, uninjured, etc.? I have no idea.

I liked the one comment on James' site suggesting forget baseball, Ruth today would probably be an offensive lineman

lol. Good point.

fwiw. I did some research on pitching speeds. The consensus seems to be that there were people back then throwing with high velocity comparable to now, but not as many, and not as often. The average speed has probably come up several mph though.

However, major differences are that pitchers don't stay in as long, so throw harder across their outing. And of course the variety of pitches are mostly new since that era.

I thought this was interesting: http://scoutee.co/the-historic-quest-for-speed-in-baseball/

Expressing the speed of a pitched baseball in miles per hour is a ridiculous tradition. The context of mph is basically limited to automobile speed or maybe aircraft. The distance from the pitcher's rubber to home plate is 60 feet, 6 inches, a little over 1% of a mile. The time that the ball takes in leaving the pitcher's hand and crossing the plate is considerably less than an hour or even a minute. Using miles per hour to measure the speed of a baseball would be similar to using Mach numbers to determine auto speed. Furthermore, the ball begins to slow down as soon as it leaves the pitcher's hand. For the purposes of baseball analysis, it would make much more sense to express pitch speed in feet per second, especially with all the advanced but generally useless electronic metrics in use today. Don't look for any changes, however.

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Actually, Ruth, after running wild in his 20s, was relatively disciplined about being in shape in his 30s. After his bad 1925 season, when he was widely assumed to be washed up, Babe Ruth hired a personal trainer and worked most of the offseason in the gym. This was rare among ballplayers at the time. This allowed him to remain a tremendous hitter for almost another decade.

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Strange how NPR seems to use genocide as a synonym of massacre. A genocide is when an ethnic groups is massacred as such by an other one: Jews by Germans, Tutsis by Hutus, etc.
So for instance when they say Egypt is a high chance of genocide, what do they mean? Muslims brothers by government forces? That wouldn't be a genocide. Copts by Muslims? Perhaps, but I am not even sure their model knows about copts.

+1. This was a strange definition of genocide. Under the definition of "targeted killing of 1,000 people or more", 9/11 was a genocide based on al-Qaeda's intent to target and kill Americans on the basis of their nationality.

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The article also mentions the Rohingya in Burma. There is an alternate perspective, that the Rohingyas actually got what they deserved:

https://bloodyshovel.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/whats-the-deal-with-the-rohingyas/#comment-16620

I don't know how credible these claims are, but they are certainly more credible than the official story, that millions of Buddhists suddenly turned genocidal for no reason.

The comment above links to a blog comment with a youtube link. Not surprisingly, since the youtube video differs from the official story, it has been removed. The video showed a Burma Buddhist woman telling the story of how hundreds of Rohingyas gathered outside her village, and at nightfall they descended on the village and burned it down.

How long before this thread disappears from the MR comments?

Did the Rohingyas do that before or after Burma started ethnically 'cleansing' them?

I have no idea about timing, the video could have been just acting. What has been established is that Saudis financed a Rohingya insurrection on the order of 5 years ago, and Pakistanis provided military training and weapons.

If the only sin of the Rohingya was to be against the government, then the response is an example of out of proportion collective punishment. What I am missing is fact finding reporting, we have at least two possible hypotheses, (1) the Rohingyas are unjustifiable persecuted, or (2), given the weak state and lack of institutions in Burma, the government response is the only obvious path to avoid an ongoing civil war of insurrection. There are other Muslims in Burma that are not persecuted.

The international press certainly does not do any investigative reporting in Burma.

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There’s been a low level separatist movement there for decades, with more than one guerilla group. They usually target police or military bases.

To think that justifies mass murder is insane.

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#1 is great! And the comments are also entertaining.

I agree! #1 is great!

I looked up Merle Hazard on Amazon. There is one album, Tough Market. And, this is difficult to believe, all the songs have economic themes.

Here are the titles:

How Long (Will Interest Rates Stay Low)?
Inflation or Deflation?
Dual Mandate
Fiscal Cliff
German Song
Italian Song (Capital E Mobile)
Double Dippin'
Diamond Jim
The Great Unwind
In the Hamptons

I suspect this economic themed music is how Tyler heard about Merle Hazard.

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Sub to PewDiePie

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I think the most interesting thing about #3 is that young people in 80s...were basically Republicans?

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#2 I totally don't get PewDiePie. I watched him once and was flabbergasted by the number of his followers. Maybe I should watch another time or two.

Unless you have a way to make yourself 15 years old, this probably won't do the trick.

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1: Ha, that was funny.The solo wasn't a 12 tone piece (Though it was atonal enough!). The John Cage 4'33" bit was great too. Somone here might enjoy Twelve Tones by Vihart on YouTube - look it up - it's an odd, hypercaffienated take on the topic that might be enlightening.

Thanks for the recommendation. Twelve Tones by Vihart was quite well done.

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Vihart is great stuff.

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#5 Bill James's argument seems confused. He's basically just laying out something like the law of large numbers - that the average of a large sample is more predictable than the average of a smaller sample - which doesn't tell you anything about how hard it is to change the average over time. One way to see the problem with the argument is to notice that the numbers that he calculates would have a similar pattern if he picked something other than batting average, such as height of baseball players or weight of NFL offensive linemen. Those stats have changed a lot over the decades, even though the stdev of the league (drawn randomly from a fixed population) would be very small.

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It's too bad James sometimes gets too deep in the numerical weeds - because his real talent is sizing up in prose the personality of individual players. Like having David Foster Wallace write the back of your baseball card

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You can only compare him to his peers. How much of an outlier was he? What these speculations on how he would do today don't take in to account is how would he be different?

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#3: Confirmation that the Silents and early Xers really were better generations that the Boomers and Ms (particularly late Ms and early Boomers). Positive cultural change in White Xers largely got masked out by changing demographics tho!

General tendency seems to be for high skew at young ages, peaking about age 20, followed by leveling off. Early generations show more skew at young ages than later generations (except X).

Millennials double dip down on skew, which I would guess mainly due to Great Recession, since it's basically 2008.

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#2. The interesting factoid here is that only 3M people watch the most popular cable news show.

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