Tuesday assorted links

1. Health care and Medicaid effectiveness: “We find a 0.13 percentage point decline in annual mortality,
a 9.3 percent reduction over the sample mean, associated with Medicaid expansion for this population. The effect is driven by a reduction in disease-related deaths and grows over time…”

2. Some new Greg Clark results on heritability.

3. David Brooks on top artworks (NYT).  And Ross Douthat on stagnation (NYT).

4. RIP Marylou Whitney, passing of an age.  The NYT obit is better yet.

5. Six-figure deal for Claudia Goldin at Princeton University Press.

6. China’s payments of intellectual property fees over time.

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4. "A great deal of journalism consists of saying 'Lord Jones died' to people who had no idea Lord Jones was ever alive". Condolences to her family.

I'd love to read the actual obit for the NYT.

I don't care about an obit for the NYT - just as long as it goes away as soon as possible.

And really, who cares about an obit for a lying war mongering media property? 'Ding dong the NYT is dead' is more than enough.

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Li Peng died. That is sort of like missing George Bush's obit.

One of those cute pandas, right?

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Maybe it was the salmon mousse.

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Ranking Marginal Revolution’s Trolls, worst to best

The Cuck guy—An ugly and unfunny shtick, and I believe largely responsible for driving away some of MR’s more interesting commenters. I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy who used to be the Commodore, which was a somewhat more amusing persona. Thankfully, seems to have lost interest lately, or moved to another blog, or possibly got hit by a bus.
Grade: F
Self-awareness (out of 5): 5—well aware of his maliciousness

Mulp—I have a little game I play with Mulp’s posts, where I read up until the point where I come across an egregious affront to reality or economic logic. On rare occasions I make it three sentences in. I do the same thing with E.J. Dionne’s editorial columns in the Washington Post.
And then one day, it hit me—Mulp and E.J. Dionne are the same person! The same soporific wall-of-text writing style. The same utter ignorance of Econ 101 concepts. The same reflexive support of labor, although their preferred policies would quickly impoverish labor in our country (along with everyone else). The same way of recycling their posts/columns, day after day, with little to no regard for current events or trends. Yes, that’s right, celebrated (?) Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne is a secret troll in the MR comment section!
Grade: F
Self-awareness (out of 5): 0—buys his own bullshit completely

Clockwork_prior—Personally, I find Clockwork the most frustrating troll, because he’s obviously smart and sometimes makes good points. If he weren’t such a slave to the OCD that makes him reply to every single post and commented about 1/10th as often, and also kept his bitterness over being fired from the Econ Department at GMU in check, he could be a really useful commenter. (Yes, C_P, I know you weren’t really fired. Just humiliated in such a way that you had to flee the country and are still sore about it two decades later.)
Also, a weird love for the German health system. I’ve lived in Germany, and my impression is that it keeps costs down by prescribing wearing a scarf around the house for 90% of the patients who come in. Actually, probably not a bad idea for most, as 85% of patients probably have ailments that will clear up on their own anyway. Rather devastating for that 5% underlap that actually has chronic bronchitis or lung cancer. Anyway, that’s C_P.
Grade: D
Self-awareness (out of 5): 2—still doesn’t realize how petty his anti-GMU posts look

Thiago Ribeiro—Formerly I found his Brazil boosterism harmless and mildly amusing, but I’m downgrading him because he seems to have gone off the deep end lately, possibly driven over the edge by the near-constant poking by other commenters. Unlike some, I think Thiago is a real, genuine Brazilian who just wants the world to know how great Brazil is, and has bizarrely decided the MR comment section is the place to make his stand.
Grade: C- (would have been higher even a month ago)
Self-awareness (out of 5): 3

Thelonious_Nick—Fortunately, mostly a lurker, only an occasional poster. Wishes Tyler would put up more of his useful music recommendations and fewer links to his NYT column.
Grade: C
Self-awareness (out of 5): 0

Efim Polenov—I imagine Efim is a gentle, older man. Probably ambitious as a young person, but has gained real wisdom with age and given up on the vanities of this world. I find his posts comforting, although if his repeat spam-posting is due to mental imbalance rather than the early stages of senility, I wish he would take his meds more regularly.
I hope his grandchildren visit him often and give him hugs, though I bet they’re checking their watches after 15 minutes when his story loop hits repeat. Still, as far as trolls go, a welcome change from the nastiness of so many others.
Grade: B-
Self-awareness (out of 5): 2

Ray Lopez—Not sure he’s actually a troll anymore, since he sometimes makes incisive comments and has largely dropped the former stuff about his 18-year old Filipina girlfriend. (I mean, I’m sure he still has the girlfriend, or another 18-year old Filipina in her place, but at least he’s no longer bragging about it.)
A highly materialist outlook keeps him from being an admirable person morally, but he’s funny, and I bet in real life Ray would be a good guy to get a beer with (or play a game of chess with). I wouldn’t ask him any important life advice or anything--or let him near my daughter or wife unattended—but likely the most bearable of the trolls if you were to hang with him for an afternoon.
Grade: B+
Self-awareness (out of 5): 5

Various handles used to post random snippets of literary text—Not sure whether these snippets are actual bits of real books or just short segments of contrived (computer-generated?) pseudo-literature. Regardless, these can be surreally beautiful. Often the best thing on MR, including the posts by Tyler and Alex.
Grade: A
Self-awareness (out of 5): ?—not sure if this is a nascent AI, a patient at an asylum with a well-stocked library, or a regular-ish person with a poetic bent and a truly weird sense of humor

Whatever Mr. Ribeiro's failings may be, he is one of the few persons who have warned us about outrages such as: https://screenrant.com/top-gun-2-maverick-jacket-change-china/

If the Soviet Union had done it to us, there would have been a nuclear war. Now, we fall not with a bang but a whimper.

+1

Hi Thiago!

Yes, Hollyweird is as good as dead to about 50% of the USA.

I am not Mr. Ribeiro, but he striles me as an insightful, noble, wise and obdurate man.

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An interesting Bill Jamesian rundown. Begs the question, who can we trade to Slate Star Codex for a promising young commenter and perhaps several draft picks. We need to get younger and faster while they badly need some pop in their long-winded lineup.

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Good run down. The other frustrating thing about Clockwork_prior along with him being smart and occasionally making insightful informative comments is that because he is on Germany he can contrast the USA with how thing work in Germany.

He has some good detail about what is actually happening in Germany in the media, and technical detail on how processes work in Germany.

The problem is that he is mainly concerned on here with using Germany to contrast and attack policy in the United States* (industrial, economic, foreign, social, etc.), so it's incredibly rose-tinted and you mostly need to double checks his sources. What he presents only ever forms an extremely tendentious starting point that you find after some quick searches he has vastly misrepresented.

*CP supports the United States in mostly one way; presenting greater American openness to migration through the wildly idealised, exaggerated and ideological prism that the United States has a fundamentally different model of citizenship and different ideas about what it means to be a citizen and the rights of citizens, when American ideas are really much more the same in practice, and have to be.

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You forgot Anonymous panda bear guy. Also, which posters are the same people?

Buddy, the President of the United States just mused publicly about killing ten million people. About how it was his choice, but he decided not to.

And for you, the troll is the guy who asks you to think about it. To actually think about it.

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I think Panda Bear is the mouse 🐁, but I am not sure. The mouse likes to use IDs that are sentence fragments. He's obviously intelligent and articulate but suffers from incurable TDS.

Such a weak shtick.

Afghanistan, our ally, asks for an explanation after Trump claims US could wipe it 'off the face of the Earth'

https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/23/politics/afghanistan-pushback-trump-comments/index.html

Clearly the answer is to call random commentators names.

That's mouse all right clutching his pearls.

And yes, Congress authorized the use of military force giving the president the discretion to do just that if he deems it appropriate (and no, Congress does not get to second-guess the president until it officially rescinds the authorization).

The "base" is really something to behold. There is no sane reason, no underlying Realpolitik, for threatening to wipe *allies* from the face of the Earth. This certainly does not advance the mission, nor make US service personnel safer anywhere on the ground from Constantinople to Tajikistan.

But followers will follow Trump even so. Because they've already committed, to ignoring everything, considering nothing.

The president blurted out the obvious fact that he could effectively wipe a country off the map (the government of Afghanistan has only limited control of the country, which is why it remains such an intractable problem).

Then he stated that it would cost too many lives. He even flinched from ordering an attack against Iran despite a much lower projected casualty count.

But none of that matters because you're in full TDS mode.

That was pure rationalization.

Sure, a random man can blurt anything, but we should expect presidents to be a bit more considered, and say things that advance the interests of the United States.

That's the job.

You can define the job if you like, but nobody cares what you think.

What matters is the outcome.

Trump is unpredictable - he keeps his (our) opponents off balance.

Even Trump skeptic Niall Ferguson has come around, because his strategy is working.

The contrast with Obama is stunning.

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"Then he stated that it would cost too many lives. He even flinched from ordering an attack against Iran despite a much lower projected casualty count."

Only after ordering an attack to a foreign nation he found out an unnaceptably high number of casualities would ensue.

Given Iran's history over the years, the U.S. has more than enough justification to launch a deadlier strike than that. As the late Sen. McCain said: "Bomb Iran!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7s5pT3Rris

Unlike those great Saudis, who have nothing to do with terrorism at all.

I am still trying to understand if the President is negligent because he didn't actually bombed those awful Iranians or if he is a genius because he didn't noticed sooner the attack he ordered would create casualities. Seriously, man, are you crazy?

The Iranians are a much greater threat than the Saudis, and I don't know much clearer I could have said that Iran should have been bombed.

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With allies like Pakistan, who needs enemies?

He threatened Afghanistan while buddying up to Pakistan. Some say that's because he believes a deal with Pakistan allows an exit from Afghanistan. But obviously that withdrawal hasn't happened yet, and US service personnel still have to spend a lot of time with Afghan forces now put on notice that the President of the United States sees them all as an enemy.

Did you just emerge from under a rock? Our Afghan "allies" have been killing US soldiers and reporters for decades.

Man, are you asleep?

Wake up!

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The Afghan government is corrupt and incompetent. That too is an obvious fact, but heaven forbid that anyone say it publicly lest the Afghan government and the "professional" toadies in Foggy Bottom (and their apologists like you) be offended and jeopardize nearly 20 years of stagnation.

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You can't understand - it is beyond you.

Of course, killing people with drones, or destabilizing states, like Libya, wasn't a problem for you for eight very long years.

Wake up.

On the other hand, if I have always been skeptical of foreign wars, and the promise of "minimum civilian casualties," I might be consistent in my beliefs now.

The more logical explanation is that he’s a filterless buffoon approaching senility who word vomits into the camera.

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Actually no, you would be completely inconsistent, because this President is the most opposed to foreign intervention and civilian casualties of any President in modern memory

Wrong. Trump has surpassed Obama's numbers on drone strikes and reversed Obama's order on reporting deaths to keep it all a secret.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/2019/5/8/18619206/under-donald-trump-drone-strikes-far-exceed-obama-s-numbers

If true, that probably adds credence to the argument that Trump is in many ways a continuation of Obama Era policy with a more Republican bent, and Trump+Obama is more in contrast to the madness of the Bush II years than Trump is in contact to Bush II+Obama. The Republican version of "Obama's 'Don't Do Stupid Shit' Foreign Policy"

There are differences though; isolationism and a sharper focus on where the US should really care about democracy (China) and where it shouldn't (small Middle Eastern and North African states around Israel), etc.

But that is actually rather bipartisan and not directly attributable to Trump either.

Despite the rhetoric, Trump is not an isolationist. He's very much involved in the usual places the American establishment hangs out (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Israel, Iran, etc.) and then some (N. Korea, China). Trump has good political skills here not in actually achieving anything internationally but in getting the people to forget his actual foreign policy and just mindlessly believe that he is an isolationist because he was against the Iraq war that one time. Just like they forgot his override of the Senate veto to continue American involvement in Saudi Arabia's proxy war in Yemen or the record setting pace for drone strikes in Africa and the Middle East. And no those last two are not bipartisan, its on him completely.

https://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/441841-senate-fails-to-override-trumps-yemen-veto

WM is crushing it right here.

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Because being against the Iraq War is a pretty big thing, less than 50 more drone strikes in Yemen on his predecessor are kind of a small thing. You can't and couldn't expect total disengagement from all those regions.

Again, even if the Trump Era continues Obama Era policy in a more intensified way (without beginning new conflicts), Obama+Trump is a break from the Bush Era.

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First of all, it is kind of silly to say that *I* can't love piece, if *presidents* who aren't listening to me do such and such.

But how can we even know the current policy? Was Niger ever even explained?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongo_Tongo_ambush

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I love it when he talks like that.

...you are getting paranoid. I am not your bete noire, 'anonymous'.

Now, being paranoid, you will of course assume I am he, pretending not to be. That's your burden to bear.

Lol! I don't care who you are.

This is just online whack-a-mole. A mole pops up and I whack it.

What is there in a name?

Too bad lives are on the line.

Silly little boy - you are delusional.

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Sign them up for Medicaid; they'll be fine.

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But my your delusions of grandeur are hilarious. Someone posts something and you consider it a grand victory to type a few words guessing who just posted. Not replying, just pointing your pixels and saying 'I know you'. Childish.

It's all just a game and a waste of time.

And you are terrible at it.

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While Trump isn't that smart, it seems like he's trying to bait a reaction here.

He muses about how he *could* lead a war that results in huge death tolls, but has some understanding of the implications, so won't.

The audience thinks about the Republican leaders who did actually start wars leading to huge death tolls (George Bush the Second), without too much concern or understanding of the implications. And so he strengthens his brand relative to theirs, among the people who can actually support him (white centrist lower middle-working class democrats and republicans).

Which of course worked well last time; while he was talking up opposition to Bush II era wars, the media was running loops of Clinton paraphrasing Julius Caesar, Roman imperialist, with a murderous twist and cackling madly ("We came, we saw, he died, hahaha"), in a manner mostly befitting of a ludicrously hubristic cartoonish supervillain.

That being only one of her missteps, other major ones being palling around with a distant and decadent world of Hollywood celebrity in a calculated and carefully stage managed way, and then palling around with corporate donors telling them she fully endorsed the interests in immigration envisioned a world with borders and then lying about doing so.

In response to which failure's the Democrats seem to have now gone full woke-retard.

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This has gotten too silly now, but ladies and gentlemen, I give you the base.

Not a cogent geopolitical analysis in the house, but lots of anger for anyone who questions the man who, in his words, can do whatever he wants as president.

https://twitter.com/neal_katyal/status/1153733594621329408?s=19

And some of you thought "authoritarianism" was a crazy idea out of left field, in 2016.

Trump is not Mussolini, even if he wishes he could be.

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Such hyperventilating. It’s unbecoming, and tiresome. Trump is a Berlusconi, not Pol Pot.

If your party’s pitch is “he says dumb things” we might as well strap ourselves in for 4 more years. If it’s “he says dumb things, we are going to take away your medical insurance and increase taxes by $5 trillion a year” then Dems are going to lose the House of Reps in addition to the White House.

Trump would lose...in a vacuum. Problem is Democrats seem determined to set themselves on fire.

"Trump would lose...in a vacuum. "

+1

I am not sure. He would suffocate, but he would fall as fast as a feather.

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No matter how many time I remind you that I am an ex-Republican independent, you cannot grasp.

Because, for the base there are only two kinds of people. The 38% who are independent, dwarfing either party, do not exist. They do not fit your schema.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

Now, in terms of elections .. do you remember "Hillary is the worst candidate, literally anyone would be better."

Back at ya.

Absurdity. You’re an “ex-Republican Independent” in a fictional narrative only, and one that no one believes. Regardless, it’s irrelevant to the comment. The allusions to Hillary are irrelevant as well.

The probability that Trump gets re-elected jumped the moment the entire Democrat field raised their hands at “eliminate private insurance” and “Medicaid for illegal immigrants”. If you can’t understand that, then you’re either trolling or so far left you can’t even see the median voter from where you’re standing.

I'm afraid this just demonstrates your limitations.

The Democrats are reading the room wrong.

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good grades and writeup. also have a soft spot for efim (i'm a sentimentalist like he) and clockwork orange (the name i've seen random-text-posting the most)

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10/10

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An excellent write-up. But to me, outside of the 'cuck' asshole, all of the others enhance the blog, not detract from it. This place would be dead boring without those types.

The 'cuck' jokes were pretty funny. Lightened up the place.

Not really. Maybe the first 5 times, but it was the same one or two word joke told hundreds of times. Not that funny.

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Thiago is great. If only because he’s compelled me to learn more about Brazil. I mean Economist mag levels of learning, but still...

And he’s funny.

Agreed.

I don't think Mr. Ribeiro is a racist. He is a patriot who understands the world live in a state of war. Just watch what Japan, Iran, China, the Zionist Entity and other rogue nations do all the time.
And let us not forget that Brazil exists surrounded by Castilians. Unfortunately, experience has showed time after time how Castilians behave.

But you're not fooling anyone (I guess it's part of why you are amusing). Just keep away from advocating mass killings and we can continue laughing at your clown show.

I don't know what you are talking about. I am not Mr. Ribeiro, but I admire his moral courage and character.
Maybe you should ask your Asian, Zionist, Muslim friends to stop terrorizing civilians.

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How bad ARE the Castilians? Paraguay levels or Argentina levels?

Are Castilians as arrogant as Aragonese? As catastrophic as Catalans? As galling as Galicians? As brusque as Basques?

Evidently, by Castilians, I mean the Castilian Spanish-speaking populaces living in Brazil's neighbors. They have a history of lawlessness, treachery and caudillismo. Many times, Brazil had to resist Castilian aggression, which, I fear, fostered among Brazilians a vivid skepticism about their neighbor's intentions.

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Evidently, by Castilians, I mean the Castilian Spanish-speaking populaces living in Brazil's neighbors. They have a history of lawlessness, treachery and caudillismo. Many times, Brazil had to resist Castilian aggression, which, I fear, fostered among Brazilians a vivid skepticism about their neighbor's intentions.

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9/10

Fantastic.

I did note an absence of "anonymous". One of the most painful posters/trolls on MR.

You mean the mouse.

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@Thelonious- thanks for writing this up. I’ve had something similar on the back burner for a while and never wanted to put in the effort to write it down. I don’t think some of our characters get the recognition they deserve. I do wish we had a Haiku contributor though. That would brighten my day.

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Thank you for your service, very good analysis and very meta...I came here to dunk on Brooks or the resident suspiciously uptight Christian NYT guy but this was outstanding.

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I'm okay with the cuck guy. Sometimes we need a troll to prevent complacency. Like Trump in a way.

...clever trolls, why do we need that asshole? The others are at least amusing.

... was a 'clever' troll. Sophomoric, unfunny jokes from Thiago, hopeless walls of text from mulp or clockwork, mental illness from efim. Only the cuckmeister was a genuine troll. I hope he comes back.

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Kudos,Thelonious_Nick on leaving anonymous off the list. You trolled the troll. It was inevitable that people would notice the absence and remark on it and it was also inevitable that he didn't have enough self control to leave well enough alone.

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Douthat may not be wrong, but I wish his piece was not so anchored in the self-driving car, which well informed technologists were skeptical of all along. He'd be better looking at the actual wavefronts where tech is replacing workers. For instance, I think that enough people do lower themselves to "self-checkout" now that the number of cashiers on staff have fallen. Plus, you know, Amazon:

etail pay has risen more dramatically: Average hourly earnings in the sector rose 4.7% year over year in April to $19.47. But while retailers have been forced to raise wages to compete for workers, bankruptcies and a shifting consumer landscape have reduced the number of employees in the sector overall. Retail slashed 12,000 jobs in April, bringing total job cuts for the year to 49,100.

Pretty odd in a long recovery to lose retail jobs, right?

Self checkout has an apparently minimal effect on employment within grocery stores.

Most recent analysis is that it’s a marketing pitch (in the business sense, not advertising) that caters to a consumer segment which buys at low volume but multiple times a week.

It’s a millennial thing. Single people buy small volumes and cook for one, because they’re more likely to live alone and not have children. It’s also had no measurable effect on employment, or productivity.

(I realize you’re more Twitter shout than analysis. Imagine the productivity effect on cashiers if more consumers purchase often but lower volume in each transaction.)

Can’t cite studies, this is riffing on internal retail consulting analytics for both grocers and big box.

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"Pretty odd in a long recovery to lose retail jobs, right?"

Well yes, average hourly earnings have risen substantially in a segment who's labor numbers have been negatively effected by automation, the downward trend of Malls and Amazon.

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I live in a “twin cities” area with a population of around 25-30K. There is a WalMart. I hated going there because even when I could find what I wanted, they intentionally understaffed and overworked their cashiers, so that the wait was guaranteed. I would run in, grab an item, go to the checkout, see the 10-20-minute lines, put the item down, and leave. Then they installed two large self-checkout sections. There are still human cashiers, but one person handles each of the two self-checkout sections, each with about a dozen stations. Now there is no wait, and I shop there more frequently. I think this is preferable to having the store overwhelmed by Amazon, which does not even require me to change out of my pajamas, much less go anywhere. (Wait, I don’t wear PJs.) Re. Amazon, I needed some new tires for a utility trailer: large, load-range E. I checked the local tire dealers, and they were going to charge me $650-$850 for four tires, mounted and balanced. I found four load-range-F tires (stronger) on Amazon for $325. They were delivered to my home, and I took them to a small independent tire dealer who happily mounted them for $120. I have no guilt about the transaction. At. All.

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3) So, there is the literature of profit, or romanticism. The position has been taken that : “the coming and going of higher “executives (bankrolls)” does not affect the methods governing processes (instincts) and operations (calculations). In romanticism, the ideal of infinite accounting requires the sui generis assumption that one may not be counting effectively in the first place. The problem with cognitive dissonance is still the idea of standard deviation. Anagogical intuition provides an efficiency standard in understanding moral supremacy (or when the metaphor (matrix is more revealing) is superior to the simile (than stochastic calculus). The independent variable in reciprocal altruism requires symbols (hatred)—it is the center of all the indexed information about the plant (web).

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3. Maybe if Ike were president we'd have autonomous cars in no time. How's that? Ike would build a separate right of way for them, because without a separate right of way, autonomous cars will be restricted to 30 mph or less and mostly transporting folks form parking lots (where the non-autonomous cars will be parked) to the shopping mall. In time, I suspect people will come to realize that autonomous cars were tech's way of saying we can do something besides entertainment and advertising, and to keep expectations for tech high and tech stock prices rising. People will believe anything.

As for the fear of AI (robots) displacing most workers, I'm with Cowen's friend Peter Thiel. No, robots are only a threat in the movies; what's a threat in the real (developed) world is the moribund investment in productive capital. Selling already inflated assets to one another does not for productivity and growth make. Countries with high levels of investment in productive capital will race past the once-economic-miracle west and produce the great leaps forward (flying cars and spaceships to Mars, anyone?). Meanwhile, back in tech, how many more social media websites, entertainment websites (what's the next Netflix?), cloud computing websites, and cybercurrencies can we expect before Americans come to their (dull) senses.

Can this depressing future be avoided/ Absolutely! But it will take more than rising asset prices to turn us around, it will take a massive investment in what makes an economy productive, high levels of growth possible, and prosperity for all a reality, namely productive capital, from infrastructure (including a transportation network appropriate for the 21st century rather than the 19th) to plant and equipment. But what can be done to trigger this American economic renaissance? Economists are paid the big bucks to provide the big answers.

I know you are big on this "right of way" stuff, but that isn't a car. A car can go to any address in the US. It can pull into your driveway. Or a mild dirt road up to a National Forest campground.

You can have people-movers with right of way, but you can't put a separate right of way down every street, up every gravel road.

You should champion monorails. Hard for them to hit anybody but squirrels. But don't call them cars.

Actually, Brazil has built a great monorail.

https://youtu.be/297rSGNSdJ0

Um, "São Paulo state government will replace a long-delayed monorail in the metropolitan region with a bus rapid transit (BRT) system." (July 04, 2019)

There have been a few technical setbacks. Plans for a monorail line have been scrapped, but another line is fully operation. Before the year ends, it is expected to be 8 miles long and be able to serve a third of million oersons each day, making it one of the biggest monorail lines in the world.

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Maybe my monorail dreams will have to wait for cheap carbon fiber spans spun by robot spiders with a high general intelligence.

Don’t they already have those 3D printers that can make bridges? Should be easy to adapt that for a monorail.

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I've been promoting transit in my comments for years; indeed, an autonomous car on a separate right of way is "transit". So why not build, you know, transit, with technology we already have, that can move many more people much more efficiently, and connect urban centers conveniently. Why not? Because people who travel in private jets don't want it because they wouldn't use it and have no interest in helping pay for it. You know, the "cosmopolitan elites" that were attacked at last week's meeting of troglodytes. [I am being ironic about the cosmopolitan elites.]

Autonomous cars must have a separate right of way to be a safe form of transportation. Would any sentient person ride in an autonomous car at 60-70 mph while sharing the road with non-autonomous cars driven by teenagers, distracted soccer moms, tourists, bankers driving 90 mph in their foreign sports cars, and drunk drivers. Unimaginable (to borrow a term).

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I agree that autonomous cars should have their own lane, and would need to be supplemented by Uber or suchlike to navigate off the main routes. But I’m struck by the extreme costs and limited utility of rail mass-transit systems, especially the inflated costs of 19th-century infrastructure in the 21st century. What I am amazed is not happening is an international commission to develop road infrastructure standards for autonomous vehicles. Having AI trying to replicate human navigational abilities where stripes are missing, roads washed out, etc., requires a huge technological leap. But an international certification of autonomous vechicle-ready roadways does not seem so far-fetched. Instead, multiple corporations are trying to develop independent AI driving systems, with zero common standards.

Isn’t the extreme cost just a US thing, with East Asia and Europe able to build rail mass transit at rates that provide a decent social rate of return?

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Don't call them monorails. I've noticed the word "monorail" makes "market-oriented urbanists" and transit experts in my town flip out. They really like buses, though the fact that they sometimes post blow-by-blows of efforts to ride somewhere on the bus perhaps indicates they are liking them less on a daily basis than in the abstract, or magnanimously for others. They seem to feel that only obstinacy and the automobile/gas/road-building lobby prevent us from having the ideal bus system.

They're probably right in all the particulars (well, perhaps not in thinking obstinacy is curable), but the fact that the people who most purport to love cities feel that way is pretty dispiriting all the same.

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"You should champion monorails. Hard for them to hit anybody but squirrels. But don't call them cars."

Why not pneumatic tubes? They were common when I was born. Just limited in cargo to about the size of squirrels.

Elon Musk proposed underground pneumatic tubes in frustrationn with commuter traffic, and that has triggered a wave of startups. Its about where motor cars were 1890. Eventually motor cars became popular enough to demand exclusive right of ways, the era of building parkways. Paid for by tolls. Everything but motor cars banned.

Elon is promising a 10km pneumatic tube for the next hyperloop technology competition.

If building monorail towers can't work, I don't see how digging tunnels with a boring machine could actually be easier.

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>A car can go to any address in the US.
Because we built dedicated rights of way to every address in the US.

>You should champion monorails.
I know you joke, but PRT was (and is) an elegant system.

Roads are public, and not dedicated to any one form of transport. In fact, they were paved because bicyclists lobbied for it. Cars inherited.

“Not dedicated to any one form of transport.” But there are standards and limitations: particularly the height and width of vehicles, as well as rules governing what side of the road on drives on, international signage, conventions that make travel pretty seamless from door to door, this last of which is impossible with any form of rail.

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#1: Our estimates suggest that approximately 15,600 deaths would have been averted had the ACA expansions been adopted nationwide as originally intended by the ACA.

Not to sound callous, but that's a few thousand people per year at a cost of billions. That's a pretty low ROI proposition, guys.

And you wonder why many people are wary of technocrats running the country.

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You should probably divide those "billions" by 140.9 million taxpayers, and see how scary it actually is.

Lulz. Not sure why you put billions in quotes. Medicaid spending is $500 billion a year, per the paper. Let's say expansion went through in the remaining 14 hold out states, which include some pretty populous states like Texas and North Carolina. This wouldn't cost at least several billion dollars?

But just for larfs, let's do the math. Medicaid covers 72 million individuals, so that half a trillion bucks per year comes out to about $7,000 per enrollee per year. The article says that Medicaid expansion increased Medicaid coverage by about 10% in states that expanded. If you assume 28% (14/50ths) of the total 72 million enrollees live in non-expansion states, you would therefore estimate that expanding Medicaid in these remaining states result in at least an additional 2.1 million Medicaid enrollees, again, at a cost of 7k per person per year, or about 14 billion per year. That's not all the money in the world, but it's not nothing, either.

You can make the case that we should do this anyway, but again, not sure the mortality data presented here is a compelling part of that case.

I put it in quotes because "billions" isn't a number. It's a range.

Okay, so you actually agree with me. That's nice.

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62 billion dollars. $440 / taxpayer. And that is for just the states that actually did the expansion. so...if you increase it, its probably what, $1,000 per taxpayer in additional taxes?

$440 per taxpayer is something we can work with. We can directly compare other programs and their lives saved.

What do we spend, about $20 billion on farm subsidies, saving no one?

And while we are on the subject, why is Trump's budget suddenly up $350 billion?

Agree 100%. We waste a lot of money we don't have on stuff that doesn't work very well, but that shouldn't be barrier to wasting more. Not sure why people can't see the logic of this.

I don't see how saving 15,600 lives gets called wasting money. It is clearly a benefit, with a cost.

Ah well, maybe you just look yourselves in the mirror, say "I am actually low compassion," and leave it at that.

You're right. My apologies. People in finance and economics often characterize spending public money on programs with demonstrably low rates of return as wasteful, but just because they have a point is no reason to agree with them.

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This contradicts an actual study that was based on randomization in Oregon.

But since you’re here again, what should we pay for an additional year of life of a chronically ill person?

Would love to hear your dollar amount.

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Does anyone really believe that the ACA would have prevented 15.600 deaths? Clearly this was written by a proponent of socialized health care. And we all know that those deaths were all caused by VW's with inadequate pollution controls. No! Wait! Those deaths were caused by eating sugar, or was it red meat, or maybe it was obesity... Anyway it wasn't the lack of expanding the ACA.

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The 15,000 deaths are also cumulative over 3 years, meaning about 5,000 deaths per year, out of 700,000 in the 14 states which haven't expanded Medicaid.

The results of their falsifiability tests are also problematic. They claim that they investigated the association between Medicaid expansion and preventable deaths and reported that the "results were similar". However, in investigating the appendix tables, where the results of those analyses are, you can see they are not "similar" to the primary results. They are neither similar in magnitude nor are they statistically significant.

I would generally expect one to question their hypothesis following a divergence of the primary analysis and this falsifiability test...but they seem to not shy away from a pretty strong causal claim.

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5. "... A LONG ROAD is a dynamic, comprehensive survey of a century of college women’s options, obstacles, and progress in work and family. Goldin delivers a fresh understanding of one of the most intractable problem in today’s economy—the gender earnings gap—by exploring five distinct groups of women of modern history, who collectively trace how we got here, and why ..."

Social justice and gender studies pay very well.

I am genuinely clueless about how academic publishers make back their money.

Will this be a widely-used textbook? Will it be propelled to the bestseller lists by a mention in a Tyler "What I've been reading" post? Will they sell the film rights and cast Michelle Pfeiffer as Claudia Goldin? So many questions.

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A 73-year-old childless spinster academic has valuable insights on why women make the career choices they do? I don't think so.

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Won't self-driving cars be smart enough to tell whether each car around them is also self-driving or human driven? It shouldn't be too hard.

There will surely be various telltale giveaways from a car's motion and handling that a human is behind the wheel, even if you can't look inside for privacy reasons. Also the self-driving vehicles will identify themselves to each other by constantly squawking transponder and telemetry information.

So self-driving cars will have two different modes: a cautious mode for mixed human-machine environments, and a much higher-efficiency mode when all vehicles in the vicinity are self-driven: higher speeds, bumper-to-bumper slipstream convoys, ignoring traffic lights and interleaving through intersections at full speed in a coordinated multiplayer game of Frogger.

You won't need separate lanes or rights of way. Self-driving will be gradually phased in until it is universal. When vastly improved fuel economy and lack of traffic jams are evident, the last few human driver holdouts will be told to get with the program.

Oops, that was intended as a reply to rayward

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There was an article recently about how every Tesla car is already uploading all its driving information to a central repository that will be used to effectively "teach" future autonomous cars how to drive. In other words, tomorrow's autonomous cars are already going to learn how to share the road with human drivers. Those same cars should be able to identify other autonomous vehicles and interact safely with them. There will then come a tipping point when we will realize that autonomous cars are far safer (and more efficient) than human-operated cars, and thus conclude that humans are too unsafe to be allowed to drive--or should at least have their driving privileges dramatically curtailed. We are losing over 30,000 lives every year in vehicular accidents alone. It won't take much for autonomous cars to change our minds.

Nope.

https://rodneybrooks.com/agi-has-been-delayed/

Brooks: "I am clearly skeptical about seeing autonomous cars on our roads in the next few years. In the long term I am enthusiastic. But I think it is going to take longer than most people think."

I agree with Brooks that autonomous cars won't take over our roads in the next couple of years. My guess is that they will in about 30-35 years, which is roughly what Brooks already agrees will be the case. I have yet to read anyone who will argue that autonomous cars are simply infeasible, or will never command a majority of the drivers on the road. It is not a question of "if" but "when."

Ok, I'm open to something happening in 30+ years.

But Brooks has written some good stuff on how not only do we have no AGI, no one in the last 30 years has really gotten closer to building one.

Classifier systems are idiot savants.

https://www.vision-systems.com/non-factory/article/14036669/image-classification-algorithm-fails-with-naturally-occurring-adversarial-images

"not only do we have no AGI, no one in the last 30 years has really gotten closer to building one."

Thank your god for that. Unfortunately, that could change any day.

Yes, and intelligent aliens from another planet could arrive at 6pm EDT today, but that isn't something we should bet the farm on.

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"In other words, tomorrow's autonomous cars are already going to learn how to share the road with human drivers"

The trouble is they're learning how to share with today's human drivers.

Once the self-driving cars adjust, the humans will counter-adjust.

This is why social science (and social engineering, including designing self-driving cars that will interact with humans) is so much more difficult than natural science. Molecules and stars continue to obey constant laws of nature, but humans change their behavior.

And they change their behavior in ways that will benefit themselves, even if this comes at the expense of self-driving vehicles. The easy and obvious example that I've been using for years is jaywalkers can step into the road with increasing boldness knowing that the self-driving car, unless it's been programmed with a Death Race 2000 chip, will have to emergency break or swerve to avoid them.

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#2 so does this say that we should not care about what school district our children are in?

+1.

I'm sure there are some schools that are actually terrible but the difference between an 8 and a 10 is probably just the makeup of the student body, not the curriculum or the teachers.

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2. It's all genetics! Some of us are superior! But, er, women don't seem to have relevant genes.

Pretty much.

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Huh?

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Hmm. The only two surveys/studies I've seen showing Medicaid a net benefit in health outcomes have been from universities (Harvard was the other) with a presumed advocacy bias, while the larger surveys conducted by/for HHS & state systems all show no difference in outcomes.

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Cuckmeister = troll-bot (my hunch, but easily disconfirmed). The other trolls seem to be real people so are at times (ranging from ocassionally to usually) worth (the time and effort) to read. But troll-bots only are if you are interested in how troll-bots work (say, if you were around when the Rogerian psycho-therapist ELIZA was introduced). My opinion anyway.

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