Friday assorted links


1. Looks like the environment is doing fine.

I suppose the English government is doing more to free your people than you could. bland to the subadur. Belgium too

(Two) Wolves Return to the Netherlands after 140 Years

I see that from Q1 to Q3 2018, on net 69,400 people moved to the Netherlands.

Looks like people are doing fine.

But they are expecting 2 more next year. Plotting the growth curve out, there will be billions of wolves by 2050. Just saying....

Robert Lowell's mistress, Elizabeth once wrote of Holland and its pristine diffidence, so cornucopic, without the mess of French stir-fry, of course it is the soy sauce which haunts one's conscious. Still, Holland, the Dutch city, the rigor even, is better than Iowa.

Former Major League infielder Bob Heise was named after Robert Lowell

Willa Cather lied about the wolves in Bohemia, outright lied. (there was a passage in one of her novels about a pack of wolves chasing down a wedding party on sleighs and eating some of the people who had been thrown off the sleighs by other people to slow the wolves down - all a pack of lies, Willa? How could you? what did a wolf ever do to you, did you not find love in this world, and if you didn't, was it the fault of a wolf? the question answers itself)

Nice lady anyway, but not a good person if being honest about animals is the measurement of being a good person. I Remember.

For the record, there has never been a human being who was more interesting than he or she would have been because they became a professional athlete or got their picture on a bubble gum card.

But that trivia about Bob Heise is funny, and exponentially more interesting than typical "Jeopardy" trivia, if I say so myself.

Except George Theodore.

Willa sweetheart it is no small thing to be kind to a creature who never had a friend on this earth, how could you not know that?

“It is true that only one out of a hundred wins, but what is that to me?- Dostoevsky. There is an old saying that only an immigrant can construct a bridge, otherwise it gets covered with dust. Ms. Cather wrote in pale plastic cartilage to be honest, though she chose the way of suffering.

Mark Twain did not want his books to be read in school, to be assigned reading.
So many of us have said hundreds of thousands of words on the inter webs, many of which may be pondered over by the AIs who I and my generation will give the first sparks of 'desire to ponder' to (maybe that is true maybe it is not) ...
poor Mark Twain
but I stand by my criticism of Willa Cather, who had lots of good times, like Twain, but who could never have predicted that anyone would say this, after discussing her sad and really unfortunate excitement at the slandering of our little friends the wolves (and yes I know that wolves are dangerous, cut me some slack even if you are a hater - who among us does not have one or two or more friends who are not that nice when hungry):

as good a writer as Willa was, could she have imagined , as an important character in one of her books, a character who would say this:

"For my heart is always with him" - said Elizabeth of the Trinity, discussing what she knew about what it means to really care about other people ('him', technically, is Jesus, but more importantly everyone Jesus cares about. Last time I was in the DMV with the losers in life, who we can see every day on public transportation or at the DMV, or even in our own homes, to tell the truth, I could not see anyone Jesus did not care about. ) Anyway, I continue to quote .... "For my heart is always with him, day and night it thinks of its (indiscernible, maybe BEST) and divine FRIEND, to whom it wants to prove its affection ...... also as my heart (indescernible, maybe SAYS ????) ....

Not to die,
to suffer long, to suffer for God, to give him its life while praying for poor sinners."

I am no Elizabeth of the Trinity but life is hard for me too and I can say that praying to God to offer up our suffering for others is a good thing.

Atheists may laugh, but then again even people on their deathbeds have been known to laugh until they cry, watching the Three Stooges, and the Three Stooges, all of whom were great guys, were not anything like Elizabeth of the Trinity. Trust me.

Or don't trust me. I am just trying to be helpful.

and if i was helpful don't think for a second that i want you to tell me i was.

i have seen what others saw as fear in a handful of dust and i could not stop laughing, at that little handful of dust, in the hands of a monkey (ask Khodasevich) until i got a drink of water, to calm me down.

Reagan said it is amazing what you can do if you don't care if you get credit for it, I never understood that until I understood that

he meant it. ::: his kids were unpleasant, his wife was not pretty, or at least not cute and pleasant to look at, and his friends all sucked up to him.

people make fun of me on the internet, which never happened to Reagan ..... but ...... i do not have unpleasant kids, or a wife who is not in her way cute, and my friends never flatter me.

it is amazing

"He felt like an old sponge steeped in parrafin and left in the sun to dry"
T. Pritchett.

Sad! He should have listened to my advice

"Hope is a risk that must be run"

#5: It'd be funny if it escalated into some kinda of tribal warfare.

President Caprain Bolsonaro has been officially elected Person of the Year.
I am tired of winning. President Captain Bolsonaro has also ordered a generous social benefits increase and vowed to allow homescholling and expand gun rights. Brazil has risen again.

If Brazil expands their gun laws, we'll see even more shootouts at the YouTube channel "ASP", which features CCTV captured gunfights. It's a very instructive channel, since compliance almost always is the best defensive strategy, unless you are well trained in firearms and know when to draw (never draw when the bad guy has the drop on you, meaning their weapon is pointed at you, a fatal mistake). Almost all the videos come from Brazil, which has the most gun homicides in the world. The terrible ones are criminals killing cops just to steal their gun (they often fail, the Brazil cops, as TR can tell us, are very skilled with firearms). The ASP instructor, a nice guy albeit a gun nut from Arizona, calls it, when the bad guy dies taking a bullet, "taking the room temperature challenge". Instructive YouTube channel, but not for the squeamish. I will say this about guns: most people, *unless* they train religiously with a firearm like police do, are better off without a gun. A fact most ASP viewers refuse to acknowledge, thinking they are the next Wyatt Earp.

I don't think so. Brazilians are law-abiding citizens, and the good people outnumbers the bad people.

"taking the room temperature challenge". Like a busload of alt-leftists driving off a cliff, it's a start.

I've shot side-by-side with cops at the range. I was not impressed. That said, marksmanship is only one of the skills and drills related to handling bad guys with guns. Mine stay in the safe at all times, except when I go to the range. Guns will not keep you safe, they belong in the safe.

5. "Cultural appropriation" is not a native concept to virtually any of these cultures but is instead a form of paternalistic cultural colonialism by western intellectuals.

Are you accusing these people of appropriating our western notions of appropriation?

6. And by now we thought we'd have flying cars.

#6 - Airplane toilets: there is no great *constipation* of innovation.

Bonus trivia: the airplane toilet seat has fewer germs than the seat tray in front of you. When you rest your head on the tray, it's worse than resting your head on the toilet seat. Same with your PC keyboard, mouse. Not sure about door handles, and escalator hand rests, but probably also true.

#5 the original, and functioning, form of the term 'cultural appropriation' is 'trying to pass of another culture's products as the products of one's own (where they are not invented in parallel'. This is the original sort of "People who say rock music is White music" sort of use of the term.

This regress into using it to describe all these other situations in which no on whatsoever is under the impression that the cultural practice has anything other than its true origin, and it is simply being explored by a person of another cultural background, is absolutely ridiculous.

A Belgian practicing practicing kendo while giving zero impression that kendo is originally Belgian is not practicing cultural appropriation, etc.

I've watched a kendo movie once, I think, when I was a child.

Brazilian Jiujitsu is cultural appropriation. A Brazilian could never think of something like that. They had to steal it.

It is not true. Brazil family Grace invented Brazilian jiujitsu.

Slate Star Codex made a semi-convincing theoretical defense of cultural appropriation a while back, but if you ask me it's hard to miss that in practice there's a kind of economic protectionism at work, too. IE, if we can shame People X into avoiding Revenue Generating Activity Y, we can snag a bigger share of the market for ourselves.

"there's a kind of economic protectionism at work,"

If it were that sane, it would be much better. A lot of it seems to be just driven by a need to assert control.

Culture is intellectual property that is why we have copyrights. If someone culturally appropriating they are infringing and must pay the penalty. If you feel this is wrong, then perhaps we should revisit what IP means.

This is wrong. The claim is not that she stole a song, which might be covered by ip (though, one would hope a "traditional" song would be in public domain by now) the claim is she stole a technique. That's like saying learning another language, then writing an original poem in it is infringing copyright because that language is ip.... Makes 0 sense.

Yeah, that's actually the more defensible version of it. I.e. people from impoverished culture X invented profitable activity Y, but activity Y soon gets appropriated by businessmen from other cultures and mass marketed in a way that ruins the market for the original handmade version. Examples: mocassins, dreamcatchers.
There's really nothing you can do about it though. Like with dream catchers, it took about 5 minutes for every indigenous tribe everywhere to immediately get in on the action. Even if you could stop major shoe manufactures from making mocassins, you would end up with el cheapo fly-by-night operations making them in indonesian sweatshops. It cannot be stopped.

Yeah, that's actually the more defensible version of it. I.e. people from impoverished culture X invented profitable activity Y, but activity Y soon gets appropriated by businessmen from other cultures and mass marketed in a way that ruins the market for the original handmade version.

That's actually indefensible version of it, if you ask me. Your people may have invented the taco, but you do not get to come between me and my El Taco Loco; I don't give too figs how poor you are. Here's what I was referring to as the theoretically defensible version (scroll down to item #6):

I'm just saying I can understand the perspective of (say) the Ojibwe people whose dreamcatcher folklore is where the dreamcatchers come from, when they're looking around seeing all these people making millions off of dreamcatchers and they're only getting a tiny slice of it. Meanwhile, there's IP rights on Mickey Mouse logos that guarentees that anyone using Mickey Mouse images has to pay the third generation descendents of Walt Disney. "Cultural appropriation" is sort of like trying to have group IP rights. I don't think it works (and I'm not in favor of IP for most things), but I can understand the motivation for it.

Yep. If it's OK for the Disney collective to profit from "we invented Mickey" then it's fair that indigenous groups get similar perks.

Cultural appropriation, if it makes any sense at all, is a kind of IP theft and the jurisprudence of IP might be a model of how to clarify the concept. Sadly, that jurisprudence is skewed by centuries of being of lawyers and legislators looking from the POV of paying customers (i.e. potential rights holders).

So I say we just murder Mickey and call it a day.

Yeah, I can understand why US Steel doesn't want anyone buying Chinese steel, either. Doesn't mean I sympathize at all with their motivations.

Are you that Napster asshole?

“Invented moccasins “? Sheesh Hazel, any idea which groups of proto-humans thought of killing a small, fur bearing mammal and wrapping its skin around their feet? Thought not.

The argument that it's protectionism has intuitive plausibility, yes. Though yes also, some sympathy is required to the argument that folks accept some form of innovator squatting and rentseeking as natural and a just recompense for innovation in other domains (Protected Designation of Origin Food in the EU, patents, etc), and that groups who are innovative but too lackadaisical or poor to protect their products using intellectual property law (if it is protectable) can lose out. But overreach of term 'cultural appropriation' is clearly a pretty bad way to deal with it, if it can be dealt with at all.

(Protectionism to protect a niche as a cultural producer seems a little more ridiculous than other forms as well. It may be "post hoc rationalization" but I can understand protectionism that avoids putting US workers out of a job and gutting an affluent lower middle lower to pay Chinese workers in debt while paying Western workers social security in yet more debt, all while increasing the economic power of authoritarian, Party governed China. Maybe it's not economically wise but there is something serious at stake. But preventing the Russians from writing good novels because the form was invented by a Spaniard seems more... ephemeral).

Yes, it's protectionism. One of the singers couched it in essentially those terms: "If you like Inuit throat singing please hire Inuit throat singers."

1 - What could go wrionbg.

2 - Astonishing, possibly a first.

3. to 6. zzzzzz

I'm just wondering to what lengths rebel Matt Y. would go to defend that non-conforming garage of his. Like Liam Neeson lengths?

"2. Points about politics, true ones, from Matt Y."

That is exceptional. But still he's not particularly insightful.

5. The Indigenous aren't wearing clothes made of animal skins and are using the modern technological implements of sound amplification and recording. They're being hypocrites.

Much like the definition of racism has changed so it's impossible to be racist against white people, it's now part of the definition that you can't appropriate western culture. Funny how that goes.

2. All the points are about survey research. Democrats don't actually care if a policy measure repairs a given problem. They care about marketing and they care about using instruments of state to harass the opposition.

5. "Cultural appropriation" everyone knows that all cultures (or at least all those that are not dead or dying) take whatever they can find from other cultures. And often change and adapt them when they do so.

But, hey, if you're Euro maybe you should have to do math with Roman numerals. And just forget about all those math-words that start with "al."

I realize people take this stuff seriously, but aside from whatever rewards can be obtained through accusation, can anyone even imagine a culture that wouldn't copy something it sees others doing if that something is useful (or even just amusing)?

"...can anyone even imagine a culture that wouldn't copy something it sees others doing if that something is useful ..."

Yes. Japan. It refused to copy Western culture for a long, long time. And it suffered tremendously for it.

The Amish are another. They're happy living their lives, which is great--that's what freedom is for! But they're hardly going to become a major force in the world, outside of hand-made wooden goods.

And that's the issue: As long as you're happy in your niche you can ignore the wider world and avoid appropriating ideas from other cultures. But as soon as you want to do anything in that wider world--even just survive, like the Japanese--you find that you've basically hobbled yourself, as other cultures were busy innovating while you were stagnating.

Its difficult that the two signature East Asian powers who were most closed to influences 1700-1850 (Korea and Japan) both worked out the most successful modernisers outside Western Europe. Would it have worked out better off for them being more open, earlier? So openness zealots proclaim, but it seems rather a leap of faith.

#3...I'm listening to it. It's very good. My eyes aren't what they used to be, so I appreciate the choice of audio.

But next time please get Jim Dale to read, so we can have a different voice for every expert quoted in the book. Or that black woman who's in the Groupon ads and plays the queen in Lego 2

FYI, there's a recent Podcast interview with Tyler Cowan on Quillette.


This was a point that Tyler articulated that surprised me. It's a point that I hold but I didn't realize Tyler did.

"I feel that open borders would literally end civilization as we know it, if we stuck with them. I think it's a very bad idea, a dangerous idea." - Tyler Cowen

Interesting that TC is so pessimistic on the subject. I'm a pretty big immigration skeptic, and I'm not sure I'd go as far as to predict it would end civilization.

He did say that he would support 2 to 3 times the limit of current immigration for the US, but he was clear that open borders was an insane idea.

Let's have a cowen/caplan debate please!

#2 - This just in, Democrats poll well on issues pertaining to giving people stuff and poll poorly on issues pertaining to taking stuff away from people.

I also understand Republicans poll well on issues pertaining to giving people stuff and poll poorly on issues pertaining to taking stuff away from people.

And libertarians. And greens. And any corporation that has ever conducted market research. In general, people prefer when they receive things and dislike when they have to give up things. This is not some clever political observation, it's a nothingburger.

Embedded in your comment is an assumption that people are too stupid to know when an idea that involves giving folks stuff is actually a bad idea (presumably because it would have devastating costs or other negative consequences). Is that right? If so, why let people vote at all, they'll just elect people who will give them the goodies and drive the country into the ground.

Seems like a big reductio ad absurdam there, but responding anyway: if you constrain them to choices such that tax and debt based redistribution has to be broad based and levied on the same people doing the voting (not some culturally or ethnically distinct group), generally it seems like it would works out within manageable constraints?

More heavily state spending based models are maybe good, maybe not so good (I am against them), but to the degree they do work well (Nords) it seems like they're funded out of broad based general taxation (not debt, not a narrowing base of "progressive" taxation)?

But why would they be restricted to those choices? Congress can deliver all sorts of goodies without paying for them.


Yes. They don't have to balance a budget. So long as they authorize the spending, they can vote for all the goodies they want. Obviously there is a theoretical limit when interest rates get too high and growth stops but nobody knows where that is.

Democrats’ 2020 message from Jan:

Let’s increase spending exponentially until “growth stops.”

Seems about in line with reality..

"Let's keep going until we hit a limit, the limit we do not know and the consequences of which we do not know, with no intermediate effect on market confidence" is plan of which some would, you'd think, have qualms.

+1 Aka "loss aversion".

6. It can be as loud as Al Bundy's as long as they make the bathroom itself larger. Someday, somebody is going to break their neck and die in one of those things when a plane hits turbulence. And by somebody, I mean me.

#5 The battle of the intersectionals! What is the metric of intersectionality?

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