Saturday assorted links


#1 "The more men there are in a race relative to the amount of women, the bigger the performance gap between those genders. “If you had one female for every twenty men, the likelihood that that female is going to be the best . . . compared with the best male in that age group is pretty small,” says Hunter."

True, but also ignores the filtering effect on who is competing. This isn't a random sample. Running 125km is pretty amazing.

My cousin, with whom I share general build, just did a full Ironman, in his 50s. I think we all, but now me especially, have to stop thinking of ourselves as not having special sports genes.

We're just lazy.

First of all "having the same build as you" doesn't mean he has identical genes. Second of all if your criteria is finishing an iron man then yes most healthy people could do it if they wanted to devote the time to training

Maybe if I said the same weird build .. but congrats on understanding all, better than the author, over the thin aperture of text comments.


This isn't that unusual. Distance running is lower body strength and heart lung capacity AND most importantly low body weight. By rights women should dominate this field but they do not.

Interesting opinions here:

tl;dw - Ultras need muscle mass for joint protection

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I kept reading the article to get to a point where they presented something like "of the top 100 ultramarathons, women won X% of them", yet all we're presented with is instances of women winning various races. Kudos to them. Maybe longer distances are the great equalizer in terms of physical ability. My guess is that the "impressive results" (i.e. women beating men) is because of the selection of men.
"In the debut of the Moab 240 Endurance Run, a race of nearly 400 kilometres in Utah’s scorching desert, then biology teacher Courtney Dauwalter cruised to victory ten hours ahead of her closest competitor. " Only 150 competitors in the race. Hers is an impressive result but with so many of these races popping up, the top men are only going to race in a few of them. That might be why you want to compare results of long-established races rather than just new ones.

You were right to be suspicious. Here are the lists for the records of various forms of ultramarathons, both male and female, and there are no examples where women were fastest ever in a given race format.

It is the Walrus, the exquisitely leftist magazine that got rid of Jonathan Kay (now at Quillette) for daring to suggest that cultural appropriation is a crock.

Statistics are inherently sexist. Obviously.

In the 2014 Western States 100 mile run in California a race that is generally acknowledged as the most competitive ultramarathon in the United states for both men and women, Alissa St Laurent placed 13th in the women's division with a time of 22:17:43. However, she placed only 75th overall and more than six hours behind the winner.

The race winner was Rob Krar with a time of 14:53:22.
The top women finisher was Stephanie Howe with a time of of 18:01:42.

Alissa St Laurent is pretty and outspoken, but a mediocre ultramarathoner.

Back when I used to run a lot, I was terrible at pacing myself, so the idea that better pacing among women leads to better than expected ultmarathon performance at least seems plausible.

It's only plausible if men somehow didn't have access to this secret knowledge of pacing.

Knowledge and ability are two different things.

With GPS watches these days, anyone has the ability to pace well.

Note the elevation profile.

#4 The more you treat women like guys, the more you treat them like guys.

Yes it is interesting to see it called a paradox - I would have thought this a natural result of less equality between men and women.

if partner violence is that much higher in nordic countries with high gender equality indexes it looks like somebody needs to boldly reenvision the gender equality index metric and see if it is a valid metric or a postmodern metric

so the gender equality index could be like
the new adversity score -squishily postmodern?

If there is gender equality than it is impossible for there to be more women physically abused by their male partners than vice verse. Perhaps the problem is that there is not and cannot be gender equality but insisting that there is looks like a challenge to prove them wrong.

What about IPVAM?

Likely a direct proportion to levels of intoxication.

or perhaps under-reporting is not as prevalent in progressive states?

#7..."I take the liberty to remark, at the end of this presentation on what I believe to be an important aspect of Buchanan's work, namely that the social engagement on which Buchanan has placed his focus is particularly important to bear in mind in solving the problems that the world faces today. Whether we are concerned with global warming or other environmental challenges, or with crippling unemployment and a stalled economy, the need for interactive public reasoning has never been stronger. The cultivation of the taste for public reasoning in an open-minded way, which James Buchanan has done so much to advance, is one of the features of his greatness for which economists and other social scientists—and indeed the world at large—have much reason to be grateful. I feel very privileged to be here in honouring Jim Buchanan"

Amartya Sen

7. I downloaded this review and started to read it, and then decided what's the point. So much has happened since the book was written, that one might consider democracy in chains a good idea. I will just say that the path to liberalism (in the classical sense) is the path that I would choose, as, I suspect, would the founders. Yes, and here's the ultimate irony that many before me understood: the conservative path may be the best path to liberalism. As for Buchanan, he is dead. As for the Koch brothers, the remaining active brother has pretty much broken from the Republican Party. It doesn't take Russians to lead Americans by the nose, Americans go willingly and enthusiastically.

Money and corruption. What could the communists offer western politicians? Not much. Unleash a post-communist kleptocracy with billionaire winners .. and it starts to get interesting for public servants who find it hard to live on a few hundred grand a year.

The post-commie billionaires aren't so dumb that they wouldn't have money in everyone's pocket.

At that point you might need the super-idealists, even if they don't have exactly the ideals you share. They're still the only ones turning down the checks.

And who was led by the nose by “Russians” for decades in the last century? Socialists and Communists. Of course the Russians were then known as Soviets...

And of course, back then, Putin was in the KGB.

Yes, the best murderous thieving autocrats come out of the intelligence, law enforcement, and internal security agencies. We see that now here in the US.

I hope Barr can fix that.

A mouse just can't resist smelly cheese, a defect that makes the trap all the more effective.


I feel your pain.

What are you prepared to do?

Seems as if the Australians are easily led by the noses. The left lost an election its propagandists were certain it had won. Russian collusion?

The problem with the left, when they get to ruin things, they give it to you good and hard.

3. That was all in all a reasonable fisking. The thing is, there is a problem with debunking it all .. and that is that solutions and solutionists have indeed been downgraded in western society.

Consider Greta Thunberg. What makes her weird? It's that she says "Okay, you say this is a problem, why don't you do something about it?"

It has become "on the spectrum" to match effort to beliefs.

I thought the review was pretty mean spirited. Some of the things he quoted just seemed a little hyperbole rather the real errors. I mean unanimous can be taken literally, but figuratively could be seen as something that is widely accepted. I would rather have seen a review which dealt with the logic rather than the trivial factual errors.

I read the chapter on Australia in a bookshop and agree that it was sloppy and full of stupid generalizations and anecdotes.
If the rest of the book is similar then I think the review is pretty fair. I also agree with his opening points about grand, unicausal ‘30,000’ foot books - they’re usually rubbish.

A few paragraphs into the review I thought the author (Anand G.) sounded like a bitter she. There are way too many references to race and gender for a normal well-adjusted human being. That inspired me to take a look at the author of the review. Based on the titles of done of his other op-eds, he seems like an interesting guy. His review is way over the top.

I love Jared Diamond's books, but I don't take them too seriously - they are just his ideas and they aren't presented with opposing ideas. It 's his book, so he doesn't have to do that. Anand's suggestion that books should be "fact checked" is Orwellian. Who checks the fact checkers?

Diamond's books are fun and interesting and provocative but they are not necessarily the ultimate truth. Many have challenged the geography hypothesis in Guns/Germs. Personally, I thought his discussion of the history and process of domesticating wheat fascinating.

Similarly, many have challenged his hypothesis of the Eater Island collapse. He claimed the forest was eliminated to move the statues, but others claim the forest was destroyed by rats. The book is still a great read.

Diamond's books are fun to read, he tells a good story, and some of his ideas may well turn out to be true.

Anand's suggestion that books should be "fact checked" is Orwellian. Who checks the fact checkers?

I think you misunderstood the reviewer. Fact checkers don't have to be the final arbiters. They exist to dig up and correct glaring errors that end up detracting from the author's real message, at least for people who are already well-informed about the subject.

As he says, authors have a life too, and it can be very hard for them to track and correct all errors. So why not mandate publishers to do it? The result could go back to the author for a review before the final draft is prepared.


1. Mandate
2. Any person or institution that can control "fact checking" has dangerous power.
3. Bandwidth of the fact checkers. Every book gets fact checked? It doesn't scale.

I think we can let the market decide.

I didn't misunderstand.

2. Malanga reviews Big Business. Clearly written and brief review. But weak, very weak. There’s nary a criticism offered. In fact, the only criticisms I found — and they were strong — were in the comments section of Malanga’s review. Here are some of the criticisms:

Big business avoids taxes, buys politicians, isn’t responsive to some of its customers, is often trans-national or globalist in the sense of caring little about location and nation, and has generally encouraged the importation of replacement workers/citizens who can be paid less. And yes, sometimes corporate business gives ALL business esp. small business a bad name, and this eventually even results in the kind of hostility to enterprise/business that encourages socialists.

I enjoy City Journal but surely some of these criticisms should have cropped up in some form.

Only David Levy could write this joke:

"We remember Buchanan posing the question whether it would be better to be famous for a little while, with all the material rewards that flow from fame, and then forgotten or to leap from lifetime obscurity to immortality. He thought the answer obvious and suggested those who didn’t see it that way were a little dim. MacLean’s book is in an important sense Buchanan’s wish come true. He has taken center stage. While it is true that he forgot to specify the sign attached to the immortality, that’s a common failing of such requests to the gods."

6. “Between 1870 and 1916, over 80 percent of alliance ties were partially or completely covert. Otherwise, hidden pacts are rare. Why was secrecy prevalent in this particular period and not others?”
Haven't given the root cause a thought except I know where I would look first. That period was dominated by international telegraph, then point to point voice communications technology. The effect is to make any public announcement immediately known to all your partners. Contracts could be agreed to and then canceled by cable. Overseas cable beats boats, for the first time in history.

This was also the period when a professional bureaucracy was supplanting the traditional amateur aristocracy in government. Foreign offices, though, were generally the last to adapt. During this period, therefore, they formed a cohort of inter-married nobility that was semi-detached from the rest of government leadership. Secrecy may have simply reflected clique in-group behavior.

That certainly isn’t true of France nor England for that matter. A far more obvious reason is that was a period when the purpose of alliances moved from encouraging a balance of power that would deter conflict towards a vision of military alliances with the goal of deciding whether Germany or England would dominate Europe. The 1870 gives the game away- Franco Prussian war concludes the consolidation of Germany as one country for the first time.

Germany was ruled during this period by Queen Victoria's grandson. Notice how many of the foreign secretaries for both sides were sons of senior diplomats or other high officials. Britain didn't have a foreign secretary from the Commons until 1905.

#4 Sweden notoriously doesn't disaggregate its crime statistics in order to combat thoughtcrime about its large population of third world immigrants/Muslims. It really makes you wonder, what kinds of people in Sweden are beating up their wives? Ctrl + F for the word 'demographics' yielded no relevant results.

Right, that's the first question I had too. They based their study off a a survey conducted in 2014, which is quite a bit after the Middle Easterners started arriving.

#6. Geez, no wonder everyone got bogged down in WWI. How are you supposed to know who not to attack if all the military alliances are secret?

The paper doesn't explore this, but I think Nordic boozing may have a significant effect.

>When women outrun men

I thought this was going to be a Joe Biden or Harvey Weinstein post.

Too bad my wife only likes getting banged by Mexicans. I would like to see Biden pork her!

1. Interesting result, if true. At least one commenter above finds evidence it may not be true. The article provides anecdotes, not statistics.

Even so, one must control for factors other than gender. Famously, it used to be thought that women could outperform men in staying conscious under G force. Indeed, statistics bore that out until further research was conducted. Researchers found that head to heart distance and muscular strength in the extremities were the two factors leading to greater G force resistance. Women performed better than men because they were shorter, not because they were women. Short men outperformed women of the same height because of their superior leg and arm strength. Of course, this fact would give women as a group a comparative advantage.

In a similar vein, the extra body mass of men would translate to a tremendous extra workload over an ultra long distance. But lighter men might outperform women of the same weight and height. It could also be that the most fit males dont seek to run in these events. There is probably less money in them because they are less watched and advertised.

Time will tell. It would be refreshing to find a sport that women are simply better at.

They are much better at aesthetically judged events like synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics. But men are always going to have the advantage in speed and strength. We segregate women's sports because otherwise they would be lost in a sea of men and boys.

I'm puzzled by your use of the term "refreshing." Do you find the fact that men and women have different physiologies tiresome?

3. LOL. That first paragraph does kind of sum up Diamond. Which doesn't mean he's valueless: a normal person who meets someone like that--the last time it happened to me was at my last Exeter reunion--comes away saying: "How funny, X had a really interesting idea." But a whole book from someone who would be interesting at a reunion is too much.

Silly review of Jared Diamond. I'm Australian and I didn't know they played Australian rules in China. Is it an Australian expat team?! Diamond is relevantly correct, for what it's worth, though it's an odd fact to pick on, which only calls into question the motivation of the reviewer.

Again, the fact that Inglis Clark proposed a clause in the Australian Federal Constitution about racial nondiscrimination does not negate the fact that there was a political consensus in the 20th century around the White Australia policy.

The reviewer seems to me to be nitpicking because he doesn't approve of large-scale comparative work.

#4: Spanish government and media have made a concerted effort for a long time to highlight and shame violence to women. Many High profile movies have had plots revolving about it, including several by Pedro Almodovar. It is usual for national newscast to start with "woman killed by ex-couple", and keep a running count of women killed by husbands, boyfriends or ex.
This stays stubbornly on the 60s each year, but I think that the campaign has succeeded in making in-couple violence very socially inaceptable.

oh well if it's socially unacceptable then that should deal with the problem. We should do the same with all crimes and then we'd have no more.

#3: Anand's beef with Diamond and his ilk reminds me of this 19th century dispute among economists: Methodenstreit

(Anand partial to the German school, Diamond partial to Austrian)

#1. Women do better vis-a-vis men when, generally, the strength-to-weight ratios are lower. Women do very favorable against men in long distance swimming - like across the English Channel or from Cuba to Florida. In horse racing, fillies/mares have better success against males at distance races relative to sprint races.

#3: The condescension is strong with this one. The content, not so much.

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