Monday assorted links

1. The commercialization of cornhole.

2. Argentina interview (in Spanish).

3. China and North Korea (NYT).

4. Robert Kaplan on China and other stuff.

5. “This study uses an experimental design to explore how people react to criminal stigma in the context of online dating…White females disclosing parole matched at a higher rate than White females not disclosing parole.”  Link here.

6. Is Amazon getting worse at bookselling? (NYT)


4. America is indeed an empire. But not in the sense Kaplan uses it. America is an empire because it is a State that controls a territory with many ethnic groups inside it: WASPs, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc. That is, an empire is a state made up of many nations. For example, Japan is a nation: a single ethnic group in a single country with a single government. The US is not such a country.

As countries such as Canada, Australia, USA, etc, becomes more and more ethnically heterogeneous they cease to be nations and become "empires". Even European countries like Germany now are becoming less like a nation and more like an "empire".

I’d say an empire is defined not by ethnic homogeneity but by whether it expands its territory and seeks to exert power outside it. Japan was ethnically homogenous before World War II, but is still regarded as an empire because it was creating puppet states and taking territory in Asia and the Pacific.

"by whether it expands its territory and seeks to exert power outside it": that fits the USA too.

Also Canada. Which suggests maybe it's not a great definition.

That eventuality - empire - was resolved during the time of the Articles of Confederation.

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 set the standard for dealing with territories (not colonies). It provided for temporary tutelage and then permanent equality with the original states. This solved the problem of empire.

Now, the USA isn't becoming an empire. It could become the Balkans. Think Sarajevo and genocide.

If Canada is an Empire, the definition that makes it so is very dubious.

"What is an empire" and whether it is simply applicable to any "open ended" state structure that is not sharply delimited by being *for* a particular ethnic and cultural nation, is a point argued in the affirmative by Hazony and the neo-nationalists.

The point being that any structure that is not delimited by a nation boundary is destined towards imperialism, having no clear limits on who it considers its citizens and who its responsibility and authority is placed towards.

I think they overplay the degree to which nationalism is a restraint on imperialism and to which the absence of nationalism is to be equated with structures which are imperial. Whatever you do, states will still get drawn internationally and actions that can be equated with imperialism can result; there are, sadly, limits to isolationism. Nationalism and imperialism can coincide.

But it's nice to see thinkers increasingly skewering the notion that nationalism predisposes a state towards being more bellicose than internationalism and that nationalism isn't in the main some kind of check on internationalist imperial aspirations - an idea increasingly absurd as WWII becomes a islet of the zenith of nationalism in a larger sea of primarily internationalist, globalist and cosmopolitan pugnacity and jingoism (the Napoleonic Wars, international Communism, the neocon quest to impose democracy on small Middle Eastern states, to name only those manifestations within the era of modern history!).

Not a great defintion of "empire". by this logic India is one of the greatest empires now. And despite being of Indian origin, I have to smile at that.

I walked into the room yesterday and cornhole, with sponsor jerseys (!) was on ESPN 2.

My thought was "not The Ocho?"

#1 - When I read the title I thought this was another sex exploitation piece.

I need T. P. for my ..

The good old days, when grandpa Moses used to cornhole me out back of the barn!

Did he remember you in his will?

Completely speculative (and spurious) list of possible explanations:
1. A surplus of unmatched white males who don't want to "marry up", and thus find women with criminal records more desirable than women with college degrees. Bonus, as a convicted felon she won't be able to get a job, so she'll have to stay home with the kids!
2. Criminal records signal a willingness to break rules, so men assume that women with criminal records are more likely to "put out".
3. It's an artifact of the matching algorithm. It so happens that online dating sites have a disproportionate number of white men with criminal records, and the algorithm preferentially matches people with criminal records.

2. I'd be willing to bet women with criminal records are, indeed, more likely to put out.

Gosh, I wonder if it has anything to do with inferior impulse control. I'm sure lack of attractive legal employment options don't factor in to it.

Couldn't it be both?

Not sure if true.
On the one hand, people with criminal records may have poor impulse control. On the other hand there's a greater propensity for religious adherence among the lower classes. And more educated wealthier women are both less religious and more likely to be on birth control. I kind of think the sexual revolution/hippie free-love movement was more of a phenomenon among the white middle and upper-middle class than the working/lower class.

"I kind of think the sexual revolution/hippie free-love movement was more of a phenomenon among the white middle and upper-middle class than the working/lower class."

The ideology of free-love was more common in the middle-class; but the practice of "free-love" (teen pregnancy, single motherhood, common family break up, etc.) perhaps not; at least, in my adolescence in the 1980s, in my high school it was the girls of the industrial/working-class suburbs (this is Europe) that had the reputation of being "easy".

And, at least in the novels of S.E. Hinton (The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, etc.), situated in the 1960s, much probably in Oklahoma, the Greaser (working-class) girls does not seem more prude than the Soc (upper-middle-class) girls.

Things maybe have been different in Europe, but in America, the idea is that the pill enabled the free-love movement. In other words, working class girls sleeping around may have been true in the 1950s, but by the 1970s, middle and upper class women had access to birth control and so were "free" to have sex with anyone they wanted, without teen pregnancies and single motherhood and all that. It's also worth noting that "Grease" (1978) was a middle-class hit, wherein the "soc" Sandy learns how to dress like a slut and overcome her prudish upbringing in order to maintain the affections of "Danny". By 1980, most middle class girls were embarrassed to admit to being a virgin.

Prude is a noun, not an adjective. We try not to talk ghetto here. (OK, I've had a couple of drinks.)

Being an ex-con lowers your status - but not in a way that matters to men trawling for sex on an app. So, it might make sense to (heuristically) see them as undervalued assets, i.e. "they have what I want yet are still approachable"

Is it that white men less want to marry up or that women less want to marry down?

>men assume that women with criminal records are more likely to "put out".

Anyone wanna tell Hazel that it's not 1977 any more?

These are bizarre but (and?) characteristically Hazel Meade. (Characteristic in their cynicism about men and very specifically in their cynicism about white men).

I would guess: Being on parole with a matched biography and story which is sweet, kind, etc. probably renders the women a good, kind person who made a mistake and is honest, which is perhaps narrowly more appealing than someone who had those characteristics and did not.

The profile itself is:

Hey there! I’m a positive, independent, fun, adventurous person, and a great listener who likes to have good conversations and great people surrounding me. I work as a manager at a retail store and my dreams are to flourish in my career and eventually own my own business. I’m a music lover. I don’t discriminate - you name it I love it. In my free time I enjoy going to the movies, hanging out with friends and family, watching sports, and partying. Not to get too deep, but in the past I made some poor choices (we all a work in progress), but I’m passionate about doing good in the world now. I speak to and counsel troubled youth because, up front, I’m coming off of parole (trying to live like the Joneses). Life is all about forward motion though, using your past to propel a brighter future. I’m looking for a charming person I can vibe with on a positive and intellectual level. Hit me up if you’re about having fun and just living in the moment. That’s some of who I am. So say hi!

Without the bold, profile girl sounds more like uptight and with a high opinion of herself. With the bold she sounds more humble and accepting.

Men (more so than women), like humility and kindness in a mate, so don't care about whatever "mistakes" she professes to make as much as appreciate the signalling of sincerity, humility, kindness and forgiveness.

I'm not really that cynical about men or even white men. Maybe a certain kind of working class white guy (i.e. the kind of guy that supports Donald Trump). In fact I would rarely ever discuss gender relations, except people on this website just bring it up so often. (There are a lot of white guys with a giant chip on their shoulder about feminists around here). It's not something that I ever talk about in real life. Not because I don't want to offend people, but because I honestly don't care. It just never comes up unless there's an angry white man raging about women in my face.

My takeaway was that the odds of being a bot would be lower for a profile that openly admits to being on parole.


So you like your white guys kind of dumb then. 63% of white guys voted for him, especially if they made more than $50k, so that's a big chunk of them.

If you think making $50K a year indicates intelligence you have a pretty low bar.

That's the turning point. I said more, which is better than less. Didn't expect to need to clarify that.

How do you know they're white guys, Hazel?? Can only white guys afford the Internet???

I admit the possibility that all these guys moaning about left-wing identity politics and immigration might be black and hispanic had not really occurred to me. Touche!

Regarding #3, just read the article. There's a whole section about how the researchers controlled for race.

Your #1 and #2 are incredibly mean. I suggest you pay close attention to what M wrote.

Some people can't tell when I'm joking around.

I could tell you were joking. It was a mean joke. I don't like it when people are mean.

Two guys downthread are basically making the same joke as #2. Go argue with them. You bore me.

That's right, Hazel, I'm a misogynist, just like eeeeeeverybody else...

I rather doubt the guys who responded to the ex-con-girls were looking for marriage material.

1. After darts and curling sold out, there's not exactly much left, except foosball.

Played it as a kid, bean bags and that portable target. Used to set it up at recess, great game.

.. and then there's "Jarts..."

I think you spelled "farts" wrong.

Re: corn hole on TV. There is more scoring than soccer.

Let me know when the competitors bring the dramatic flop to cornhole.

Surely when Neymar ages out of soccer and into cornhole

4. I’m a lot more disturbed by this author’s practically salivating attitude towards Xi and other authoritarian regimes than a “Chinese empire.” The article admits that China is only interested in economic development and doesn’t try to change other countries’ political systems. What’s the problem then? We can have our system in our country, they can have their system in their country, and our people can trade with theirs if they decide such trades are mutually beneficial. China’s political system is not superior to ours; the fact that there is much more immigration from China to the US proves this. The threat to liberty in the West comes not from China, but from our own leaders who want to curtail that liberty in order to engage in some geopolitical contest with China.

Great comment. The essay is also rather sloppy at times, as in the following claim:

"And Chinese are extraordinarily efficient, with a manic attention to detail."

Perhaps he's confusing China with Japan

Dr. Sumner,

Nice deflection, but if the Chinese can coordinate their tens of thousands of fishing vessels to act as a quasi-navy, furthering Chinese geopolitical interests with a cover of plausible deniability, then the claim of "manic attention to detail" is completely warranted.

>What’s the problem then? We can have our system in our country, they can have their system in their country,

You don't understand Chinese empire if you are asking this question. The problem is the system of government of any tributary nation isn't changed, but the country can no longer pursue it's own interests. It must pursue Chinese interests. The Chinese don't preach system of governance, but they assume a central government exists and it is aligned with Beijing.

Say Australia decides to align with China, I doubt Australian democracy or elections will disappear. But suppose an Australian professor or journalist becomes critical of China. Beijing will be breathing down Canberra's neck until that professional is fired or arrested for kiddy porn. Say Australia tries to join a multilateral trade institution China is not a part of... not going to happen. Say China has a problem with the US and needs all its allies to throw a tantrum at the UN, you better believe the Chinese diplomats are going to be texting the Australians and asking them to raise their voice. Say the Chinese want to fish in Australian waters, then the Australian Navy will be expected to make sure they will fish unmolested. And if the Australians refuse? Well a sudden recession will make the Australians vote for the "correct" candidate.

So yes, you get to keep your system of government, and your government "gets" to praise an illiberal authoritarian regime obsessed with being flattered.

Yes. China will show us all (in retrospect for some) what Empire is and just how incorrect it is to suggest Empire USA is in any way in the same class as what China will offer.

I did not finish the piece but wonder if the only thing the author got right was in the title.

It is instructive to consider how these arguments have evolved.

Back then, the right to trade with China was made first on the basis that it would open up their system, to capitalism and democracy, demonstrating to them the value of liberalism, and that, even if the Party were always in control, they would eventually be "moving in the right direction". The argument was that it would move China to a more liberal system ad so benefit the nations of the West (in their national security) and benefit the world.

A dubious argument, it proved, but one made in the language of liberal and pro-democracy thought, and with a balance of understanding of liberty and obligation. (And one that at least limited much material suffering, even if it is no longer necessary for that purpose).

Today, it is simply asserted that the "liberty" of citizens in the West is to profiteer from China's authoritarianism (whatever the system that produces those profits), and that the "liberty" of their leaders and prominent citizens of China is to profit from trade with the West (however this enables their illiberal system to perpetuate and strengthen itself), and that any restriction of this is an unbearable restriction of liberties. (It seems often by folk who show relatively reduced concerns when actual non-economic civic liberties are discussed.)

+1, that's exactly the evolution that I've seen in the argument.

It's pretty clear at this point that China will not rapidly change into a liberal Democracy after engaging with the First world. Tinanmen Square was 30 years ago and Chinese political freedom hasn't significantly increased since that period.

Tinanmen Square was 30 years ago and Chinese political freedom hasn't significantly increased since that period.

MR commentators say stuff like this all the time, and it seems so bizarre to me. Do you know any Chinese people? Do you really think they're no better off now than they were 30 years ago? This strains credulity.

Better off? Economically of course. Political freedom maybe hasn't gotten much better.


> for White females, disclosure of parole does not hinder and may even help their online dating match success.

White girls (if young and non-obese) are at the top of the pyramid.

If you're aiming for someone higher than you in the social hierarchy, they're more approachable if they have visible flaws.

I'd wager on your explanation. Or some goofy quirk in the matching algorithms. (Assuming the experiment is valid to begin with.)

It means that beta white men who use online dating are at the bottom of the rung.

#3 North Korea is to China what Cuba was to the Soviet Union and the Taliban are to the Pakistani ISI...a little unhinged junkyard dog on a chain leash that can be used to threaten and intimidate their chief rivals. When you view it through this lens it makes a bunch more sense, especially once you realize how reviled culturally and economically the Norks really are in China.

#5 Sex with bad girls is just plain better. This is objective truth. But commit to one at your own risk.

It's an inverted U-function. No badness = no fun (there are exceptions). Moderate badness = lots of fun. Extreme badness = she kills you.

#5. Same for bad boys. ;)

6. "Yet the company [Amazon] has such a grip on books that counterfeits do not seem to harm it. They might even increase its business." One would think that Amazon would take precautions to avoid selling not only counterfeit books but counterfeit merchandise in order to protect its reputation, but it doesn't. This reminds me of the aviation manufacturing company that has such a grip on the airliner market that it sold an aircraft that the company knew was defective, resulting in several crashes and hundreds of deaths. And then there is the social media madness, in which one company has such a grip on the market in social media that it publishes hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of counterfeit posts, even affecting the outcome of elections and, perhaps, the future of the world. Robert Samuelson believes economics books have been overtaken by events and need to be thrown out. A good place to start would be economics books that don't understand the adverse consequences of monopoly.

Call it what it is: A failure of the marketplace. You'll note that the article doesn't differentiate between used and new books. I'm sure it's intentional. And naturally "Big Tech" is responsible for policing these small (micro, nano) merchants. And of course it isn't the customers who want to get something for as close to nothing as possible. Here's a hint: if someone actually is going to be basing medical decisions on a book reference, perhaps they should care enough to get the most up-to-date edition, meaning new. Although Amazon has vastly improved the way it handles different editions since its rocky start with its Marketplace.

"... if someone actually is going to be basing medical decisions on a book reference, perhaps they should care enough to get the most up-to-date edition, meaning new."

Is there evidence that newer books=more accurate books? New books may include a variety of flash-in-the-pan hypotheses, after all--reading through historic textbooks in geology shows a fair number of such cases. Sure, old textbooks have such ideas as well, but that's my point: unless someone can demonstrate that newer books are more accurate, this remains a mere assumption, not something I'm willing to risk my life on.

Second, are you sure that the information you want will be in the new books? How many new medical books show how to treat, say, sulfur mustard exposure? Information can fall out of fashion or become disused, and editors will cull such information if given half a chance. Which means the new book may not be useful.

Failure of market indeed. A confluence of monopoly-like market dominance, ability to refuse to engage with complaints from either end of supply or demand, and "agnostic middle man platform" attitude towards what it sells.

Along with that fact that they benefit from counterfeits due to increased volume with minimal costs.

Buying some items on Amazon has become a complete crap shoot. Descriptions are partial and may be for a different item; model numbers, model years and features are opaque; private label gadgets appear under multiple brands; it's very hard to determine who is actually selling the item, who makes the warranty, and what are the shipping/return terms; identical items (even under the same brand name) will appear under different descriptions and configurations by multiple sellers and it is hard to tell if they are exact; the reviews are a mix of paid fakes, soft corruption friendly reviews, and whacked cranks.

Add to this the current cost reality that making decent quality is more expensive than a no-questions-asked return/replace policy.

Even manufacturers get in the game, apparently not giving AF what happens after it leaves the factory.

4. Not interested in hearing what Kaplan or any other Iraq war supporter thinks about foreign policy.

The post-cold war "unipolar moment" has been an unmitigated disaster for US foreign policy. Time to give the keys to Mearsheimer and other realists who got Iraq right.

That's my bottom line, as well. It's amazing how experts who fail on monetary policy or foreign policy keep coming back, as if we haven't seen the results of their advice get us into one disaster after another. I understand they might be very learned scholars so, please, stick to explaining the past.

5. Duh, everyone knows that white chicks in prison are hot

Especially if they turn all lesbo in the can.

I think you mean "half" lesbo... ;-)

Don't you tell Jeff R how they identifies!

They tend to be fatties and look like angrier WNBA players. Would avoid. To a man with no options, they would be exceedingly hot.

Or they look like evacuated meth-heads with bad teeth. Life ain’t TV.


4. Robert Kaplan on China and other stuff.
We may be the dumber of the two, but there are fewer of us to dumb up.

2. Argentina interview (in Spanish).

I can read it, a white California kid. End up with a few years of the stuff, and the Spanish news is readable. Can't speak a word of it. It is regular grammar, and a few stem words get you a long way.

1. It would be funny to see cornhole included in the Olympics before American football gets in. As you all know, cornhole is what you do at a tailgate when you don't know how to throw a football

4. "In a century when we will try to stay out of debilitating land conflicts that require large armies, we are better off relying on our navy which can project power without dragging us into bloody wars nearly as much. It is the U.S. Navy that will counter Chinese power along the semi-circle of the navigable Eurasian rimland, from the eastern Mediterranean to the Sea of Japan."

Someone didn't get the memo about hypersonic missiles.

The US has those too.

In any confrontation with China, aircraft carriers don't project power. They are just hostages in harm's way. They will be about as useful as the Belgrano was in the Falklands War, and would meet the same fate.

As would any Chinese carriers.

Not if we were off the coast of China

I thought we were worried about China projecting its power by sea? My point is we both have these missiles, so apparently force projection by sea is now more difficult for all players including us and the Chinese.

Thus far, we seem to the the only one seeming to need to project a sea force literally halfway across the globe.

The what the hell is everyone so worried about China and their hypersonic missiles for? That was what I responded to when my subordinate Capt. Slime mentioned them.

America currently has eleven aircraft carriers. No other nation has more than two; China has only one (they're building a couple more).

So America has much more to lose, by far, if the whole notion of "projecting" power at sea is nullified.

Chinese empire? Where are their blacks, their hispanics, their muslims? How do the Chinese treat their LBGTQ communities? Where is their diversity? We all know the Chinese are just monoculture clones with offensive personalities. A Chinese empire is just inconceivable. They will melt away like so much rancid butter when they are faced with the red hot knife of Western diversity.

Not many of the first two but we got plenty of Muslims in concentration camps.

Gay culture is so prevalent in China that gays have colonized the word “tongzhi”. It means “comrade”, and back in the days of Mao was the standard way to address strangers. It got appropriated by homosexuals a few years back to mean “homosexual” and now can’t be used by young people except to mean gay.

It’s hard to make an outside assessment of North Korea’s market-oriented reforms, but it seems at least possible that they will be moderately deep and long-lasting. In that case, Beijing and Pyongyang may be heading toward a period of greater economic convergence, and less political divergence (NYT piece:

#6. Yes, it is. Buying a book on Amazon is a depressingly worse experience than it used to be five+ years ago. The proliferation of print-on-demand publishers selling on Amazon has in particular hurt the Amazon experience.

How so? If I see a book I want, I click on it in the evening and it is on my porch by the time I get up the next morning.

5. It's not complicated. The Chinese are in the building stage, we are in the looting stage.

Naturally, in the building stage, there is more cohesion, more compliance, and more etc. It's a growing pie.

Natrually, in the looting stage, it's everyone for themselves (*)

* notwithstanding fluid self-interested cabals, and a self-perpetuating elite class.

The question is what happens if the pie stops growing?

Then the gubs come out.

Speaking as someone who picks books from storage for Amazon I would never buy a book on Amazon again. They throw it together with random items, and it may be damaged. For someone like Tyler who can read a book super fast it probably doesn't matter but when I buy a book, I want it to look neat.

Also, I like the experience of visiting a physical bookstore.

That being said, I'm still buying audiobooks on Audible

Any thoughts on (I'm not affiliated in any way; I just buy from there from time to time.)

4. Why would anybody give a care about what the author of "The Coming Anarchy" (1994) has to say about anything foreign policy related?

Bryan Caplan is absolutely right that most pundits (aka vague verbiage peddlers) are more than useless. They are epistemic sinners.

Definition: The tendency to overemphasize internal explanations for the behavior of others, while failing to take into account the power of the situation. The student who says, “Brian got an A on his English paper because he is smarter than I am” instead of “Brian got an A on his English because he visited the Writing Center before he turned it in” suffers from the Fundamental Attribution Error.

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