Saturday assorted links


"Demography is democracy." - Lee Kuan Yew.

he was pro-immigration btw

He actually allowed himself a chuckle on Charlie Rose on the notion that immigrant "fruit pickers" can build a wealthy economy.

2. Well, duh.

I'm a libertarian, but #1 gets little sympathy from me.

If the Thai government hadn't removed him and his valuables, pirates would have pretty soon.

You don't have sympathy for a guy minding his own business living in international waters having his home illegally seized? You don't sound very libertarian to me, or indeed very human for that matter.

Classic. He goes to international waters to avoid laws and government. Who exactly is supposed to take his side that something is "illegal" and defend it with their force of arms?

It used to be that other nations would take a dim view of countries that used their Navy to engage in piracy. Maybe not so much anymore?

What pirates?

"We are just beyond 12 nautical miles from shore. Under international law this puts us just outside of the territorial waters of Thailand but within their 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone."

It looks to me like this guy made a (bad) bet that he could live within Thailand's exclusive economic zone, but that Thailand would turn a blind eye to his "independence" (as well as risks to navigation).

At this point his only redress is an appeal to Thai law, which makes the independence a moot claim.

So what form are you expecting a "dim view" to actually take in terms of enforcement, reputation damage, etc.?

Are these other nations going to sanction Thailand, use military enforcement and so on, all at cost to their citizens and Thailand, for the sake a guy who wants to dodge tax and regulation on a crypto-currency, the practice of which actively undermines their national budgets and regulatory regimes on which they depend, and the whole structure of international economic law? For what reason, pure-hearted love of libertarian entrepreneurialism?

+1, Libertarians tend to be weak on geopolitics and international relations (there's a reason they flourished most in the "Liberal Democracy has won! History has ended! Now let's kill it off so we don't ever have to pay any tax." Era").

But those among the Libertarians who are less than totally naive have always insisted on large scale alliance with security providers ("nightwatchmen" and "world police") to make their seasteads and charter cities work.

Or less sanely they tend to be gun nut survivals who believe they don't need no state if they've got an AK-47.

Either way they do not do "States to which I have emancipated myself and do not pay taxes still have an obligation to enforce and protect my life and property rights".

"minding his own business"

From the article: "The authorities seek immediate removal, citing that the lack of electricity around the structure could affect shipping routes as there are no navigation lights."

The guy is not only self-centered, he's a poor planner too. There's a reason why lighthouses were invented (they don't even have to be public, they could be private).

He installed a perfectly functional signal generator for just that purpose. The Thai government is lying.

#2: Is this a research paper saying that immigrants didn't vote for Trump?
#3: What was the verdict on gender?

#2 - Shocking news for the world of science.

We know that about 99.994% of illegal invaders and 98.99% of non-citizen, legal-resident aliens voted for corrupt, incompetent Hillary.

Why I have no respect for intellectuals.

There's no evidence of large scale voting by illegals.

2) I can't tell from the abstract -- are they testing whether more immigrants moving to a precinct moves votes in that particular precinct? Because I think the predominant theory is that knowing or hearing about scary immigrants coming, but without the experience of having many of them in their own locale, drove white votes to Trump. It's the same as the "economic anxiety" argument, one which in fact revealed Trump voters to actually be a bit better off than others. It's the fear of the immigrants, not that the voter happens to have them in his neighborhood. Might also be simple racism many of these folks.

"Make Them Cry Again."

Especially an annoying shrew* like you.

* shrew: noun. a small insectivorous mammal resembling a mouse.

I'm sorry you feel that way.

The theory of "Oh only those that don't experience migration fear it" is really hard to test on a neighbourhood level.

There's significant non-homogenity on a neighbourhood level of natives and immigrants; they probably sort such that you frequently often only really get migrants rocking up in communities dominated by political outliers (too left wing to ever get mugged by reality), or bourgeois migrants turning up in gentrified communities.

So pretty major scope for Simpsons Paradox, etc, due to these sort of composition issues

Generally in my nation I don't think experience makes folk fonder of most migrants, if they're not dealing with a rather selected subset, or they aren't heavily ideologically leftist to begin with.

Or put another way, bring a bunch of nice Chinese students into a posh neighbourhood and see them not complain, while drop a bunch of Romani Gypsy criminal gangs into a left wing commune and perhaps see them not complain until the sky falls in. But this tells us not very much about broader immigration scenarios.

For the study itself, o you've got a non-randomly selected set of areas, which have a non-random slice of the native population, which draw non-random selection of migrants, on a probably heavily range-restricted variable (voting for Donald Trump), that is an extremely noisy proxy for opposition to migration.

The study's conclusions are perhaps fine as they go in the *narrow* question of whether Trump's vote share was aided by anti-migration animus in communities that saw migration.

For the much broader question of how people react to unselected, open borders migration in their communities, it ain't exactly the Mariel Boatlift happening direct into Lynchberg, Virginia, then asking natives how much they enjoyed the experience and would like it to happen again on a yearly basis.

#4 David Siegel on almost everything knows almost nothing about economics.

To be fair, you can say that about almost every post and comment here.

Especially yours, Dick. Especially yours.

Scurvy is not caused by a lack of vitamin C? Humans can make their own vitamin C? Let's spread the good news! Editing Wikipedia would be a good start...

Yeah, he started out okay saying "the world is complicated" ... and then proceeded to give simplistic and mostly wrong economic statements. And then I stopped reading.

If I were to risk an "inside Tyler" analysis it would be "I love immigrants, but they feed right-wing resentment, so better to reduce them."

I say don't let other people's resentment lead you. Trust your better nature.

I say don't let other people's resentment lead you. Trust your better nature.

Pretty amusing how academics equate 'their better nature' with a distaste for ordinary Americans.

for the above link

I don't know about the facts, but the language of the rebuttal certainly comes off as more politically motivated than Siegel's original.

Siegel wrote a thorough response to the rebuttal which can be found here:

from the link: "Science is not determined by consensus."

Right, but the "97% of climate scientists" talking point isn't founded on the idea that widespread agreement is the cause of scientific knowledge; rather, the idea is that widespread agreement is the effect of myriad instances of controlled, replicable, and falsifiable research.

When it comes to economics, psychology, nutrition, and other areas of inquiry where controlled studies, replication, or falsifyability are impossible, I'll gladly entertain the idea the "what we think we know is actually bunk". Knowledge is, after all, fundamentally a social phenomenon, and we're much better at fooling ourselves than challenging ourselves.

However, it's astonishingly unlikely that dude-on-the-internet has discovered knowledge that has escaped climate scientists as a collective. (It's also astonishingly likely that there are discrete instances of poor research, publication bias, etc...but that's largely irrelevant.)

So someone who's not a climate scientist reads various people's articles on the subject, comes to some conclusions about who seems most credible, and summarizes what he now believes.

And your highlighted criticism of this is that "Not one of his points... is... in any way different from what we have seen developed by [others]".

What were you expecting? That he create his own global network of weather stations and provide us with an independent assessment of whether the climate is warming? Or that he write his own global climate simulation program and run it on his own supercomputer?

Of course his conclusions echo those already stated by others.

It's tempting to speculate about why you could possibly think that this was a telling point against him. My guess is that you take it as beyond any doubt that "climate deniers" are wrong, therefore anyone who agrees with them is wrong, and the fact that they agree with these wrong, wrong, wrong people just shows how wrong they are! It's a perfectly circular, self-reinforcing belief system.

To be fair, it pairs in neat pre-fab style with his open borders stance, like a couple of density-manipulated concrete boulders (though he didn't come up with 10 reasons for the latter, I don't believe - in that one he talked about people's "motivations").

Your point, lib?

Science: those studies and arguments that demonstrate the validity of my opinion.

Science: those studies and arguments that support my opinion.

Apologies for the (nearly) duplicate post, and for this apology.

5: That was fascinating, but the shapes don't look like the blocks used to make say Stonehenge or the Pyramids. (When fit together they do look like the walls that the Incas built.) So it's very cool engineering work but I don't know if they've solved the mystery of the pyramids.

Yes, I thought it was cool - and it reminded me of that art installation that generated so many competing theories in the comments awhile back, the concrete boulder that seemed to float in the air. But I didn't immediately see the connection between density-manipulated concrete "boulders" of highly specific shape, and the really big rocks of Easter Island.

I hate to be one of those internet “cool but” people, because this is cool, but where’s the part where they show them being moved from point A to point B by hand?

It's a fair point. What was I expecting?

What I "know" is mostly "who do I trust"? I can make my biases sound all rational and make this about probabilities (given the ability to reproduce data, do controlled experiments, and make falsifiable claims, what is the likelihood that climate science is as empirically shoddy as psychology or economics?) but I am probably more motivated by personal attachments than rigorous intellectual inquiry. However, in my defense, I believe that my reliance on emotinally-driven selective trust is universal: you too likely have myriad beliefs that haven't been constructed rigorously through engagement with primary research. You too will first believe and only then gather evidence.

Anyway, my experience with the Daniel Seigal link was, I now see, similar to any "mark" of a con-artist: he's making very sensible and "epistemologically-correct" claims about nutrition, economics, politics, etc...I didn't realize at the time that I was being groomed for "actually, climate science is bunk".

The good news is: our knowledge about the climate's sensitivity to CO2 will only grow. The bad news is, unless we are paradoxically "blessed" with more frequent atypical calamitous weather events in the North America, our ruling classes will continue in their self-interested inertia and apathy about climate change.

i am not so good at the internet! the above was a response to Radford Neal 4/20 at 10:23 pm

Mr Cowen, do you reference David Siegel merely because you quotes you? Because a number of his other assertions seem awfully spurious. The crisis, causes of terrorism (I mean, really, government policy???)

#5 very cool, but in no way an explanation for Easter island or anything else ancient. For one, the structures are precisely engineered with differential density to allow for the rocking. Unless the designers are saying that the ancient stones were cut with different thicknesses to allow for this rocking and rolling, it looks like the University PR division went a little loose with the facts, a shithole clickbait site author with a humanities degree bought the PR, and another humanities major put it on his blog.

The Siegel thing should have a warning on the link. I read the tax part and it was credulous bunk that anyone with even 1) 20 minutes to click through a few links and 2) the slightest skepticism, would see through.

I have love TC to tell us what part of that he thought interesting (which I would be happy to read) or was it just linked to for its value as performance art?

4. David Siegel on almost everything.

He got the theory of currency banking correct, except for dealing with the 'Right to coin'. The central banker needs to make the right to coin moot, mainly by buying that right from Congress such that the deal is lucrative for Congress that they won't renege a within a few years.

So Dave gets credit for some but not the whole part.


A housing shortage that from 2000 to 2006 drove up home prices in both “closed access” cities and “contagion” cities and displaced workers in the US. (Not government incentives, lax lending standards, and predatory banks encouraging low-income home buyers to overleverage.)
In early 2008, this caused US economic output to fall dramatically.


He has to explain how a housing shortage drove up oil prices to $140 at the onset of the recession, and back down to $40 when the recession ended, right on the recession mark. So something about housing in 2006 caused a temporary oil shortage? How?

The probability that recession planners did not notice the sudden rise in oil prices is ludicrous. The slowdown in growth just before the recession started in Dec 2007, and at $80/barrel that was a 4x hike in prices, a record up to that point. Without a doubt, all the recession marks were triggered by oil shortages.

Then notice that for the next three years, almost all the new employment growth was mining, specifically fracking.

Also notice that stimulus works only when there is no real shortage., according to Keynes. The stimulus attempt we tried drove oil back to $80 and significantly slowed the recovery of employment.

A chart:,ACOILWTICO,#0

He would fit in well at The Atlantic, I think. I used to read it - until about 7 or eight years ago - until I grew tired of their perpetual "opposite day" stance, which at first seemed fresh. It was like, in meetings to come up with stories, if an idea was put forth, the editor must have said, "Okay, but flip that, or if you can't prove it wrong, find out we're not one-million percent sure!"

But Siegel didn't do *everything*; he forgot to present the "good case" against breastfeeding. I guess he subcontracted out the case for drinking during pregnancy to that NY Times writer (who, incidentally, seemed to think the universe of women who will hear that message is homogeneous, modeled after herself, and whose principal problems are a gender-based feeling of shame about drinking, and a need to lighten up just a little, with the sisterhood, after a long day in the office in Manhattan. If only ...).

As to the scurvy thing, I am not sure why he concluded that it should be re-defined as "a thing that happens when you subsist on salted meat." That re-definition seems like a good way for us to forget how to deal with it, as we apparently did once before.

And perhaps he got in too much of a hurry with his links? His own scurvy link states "Humans cannot synthesize vitamin C," which rather contradicts his "Cows, cats, and cobras make their own vitamin C, and so do humans."

I'm with him on not seeing a doctor, though. I haven't darkened the door of a doctor's office in a dozen years, though I seriously doubt he can say the same. And now, instead of the ignorance, primitivism, and arrogance that formerly fueled my aversion to doctors, I've got links!

#4 - As soon as I saw that "skeptics" and "rationalists" had been divided into two separate categories, an alarm bell began ringing.

It appears that Siegel considers himself a Rationalist, and saves the term Skeptic for anyone else that would otherwise be in that category except for the fact that they disagree with him...

This article is perhaps the perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action. He clearly has some knowledge and understanding of all the topics on which he comments. Just enough to be overly confident in his conclusions.

#2 is an apt example of immigrants making America a freer country.



4 - A very seductive and alarming effort. He is not what he claims to be. Why does this link appear here, Tyler?

There should be a market for people willing to be informed participants in Milgram class experiments. Something like: "you can f*ck with my head and upset me as much as you want, but no physical harm to anyone".

#5: From the link:

Correction, April 22, 2019, 5:24 p.m. EST/EDT: This article previously incorrectly stated that the largest of these concrete structures weighed 25-tons, when in fact it weighed 1,770-kilograms, or a little over 3,900-pounds.

So, yeah, I was taken aback by "25 tons". More like "almost 2 tons".

Thank you for posting that. I forwarded this article to a couple people and now need to let them know that the laws of physics haven't been overthrown. (It sounded heavy? but I didn't really doubt it for a moment. I grant this reflects badly.)

Perhaps presciently, when I relayed the news of the 25-ton boulder you can push over with your hand to my husband, he promptly affected Bill Murray as Hercules: "That boulder is too large; I could lift a smaller one."

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