Sunday assorted links


#5 is unsurprising, but it's good someone documents it.

Why didn't the guards check the cell like they were supposed to? Why did they call off suicide watch when he made multiple attempts weeks earlier? Why weren't the cameras working? So many questions. Ask who stood to lose the most? The Truth is out there.

A prime moment for "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Epstein had the goods on you know who. The pedos didn't want this pedo to snitch.


I’m enjoying, if that’s the word, attempts by the media to link Trump to Epstein. The Guardian (UK) newspaper consistently mentions Trump in connection with the alleged pedo and immoral financier. Admittedly disbarred lawyer William Jefferson Clinton is mentioned too, as how could one not, given his far closer connection. (Based on flight logs alone, it’s 26-1 for Clinton vs Trump.) My understanding is that Trump had Epstein barred from his golf resort for something dodgy re: underage girls. I’m sure all three of these powerful wealthy men liked attractive women but Trump and perhaps even Clinton was appalled at Epstein’s predilection for jailbait. And fairly obviously coerced jailbait at that.

Trump and his so-called "terrific guy" friend are linked here:

If there's lesson here, it's that Americans could do better than to elect politicians that can be easily blackmailed. Trump and Clinton might as well be a different species from Bush and Obama no matter your politics. Character still matters.

After all that's come up about the Obama admin's shady dealings, I'd hesitate to include him in any group of character.

Obama the person is the most squeaky clean president since Carter. Doesn't mean some minor shadiness didn't accrue to some of the thousands of people in his 2 term administration.

Don't know why you bother typing your posts, once we see it's you, we know the content.

Obama knew Russians were meddling in the election and did nothing. Obama was running the spying on a presidential candidate and conspiring with foreign nationals to do it. ALL of Obama's records were sealed by a Democrat congress, why??? Fellow students and [professors at the college Obama claims to have gone to never knew him, he never attended classes, very strange. Obama's birth certificate is a provable fake and Obama himself always claimed he was born in Kenya until 2007. Hardly even scratched the surface of Obama's shady and illegal presidential shenanigans, too many to list.

The letter 'Q' at the beginning of your handle

But I didn't forget that Obama was the most corrupt president in our history.

I'd also include Trump in the last comment. For all the decent things he's done as President, I'd watch my back in a business deal with him.

The Guardian is some kind of paper, but calling it a newspaper is probably overly charitable.

"Automation has reduced the demand for skilled craftsmen around the world, thereby reducing the number of jobs in which workers with little formal education could acquire significant marketable skills."

Then get some education. Lazy asses. To me if you don't have a degree, you don't have a brain.

A lumberjack had more useful skills and more virtue than any HR director.

Education ain't cheap. Money ain't free.
Some folks don't have the whatever-it-takes to sit in classrooms to get "some education". Education doesn't come with warranties of employment.
Nevertheless, they're not going away. You are going to have to pay them one way or another. Prisons and prison maintenance ain't cheap. Stepping over homeless people is also a cost, which will have to be paid. Disposing of the corpses of children and people of color who have starved to death due to racism is also a cost (granted it provides jobs for some people, as do prison construction and maintenance).
As you might have learned in Econ. 1010, there ain't no free lunches.
Consequently, you're solution ("get some education") falls short. It might work if you provided free education and open borders. I recommend also not forcing people to obey laws that they feel are unjust. That is an American tradition. You might saw the nation was founded on that principle. You might also insist that free education is an Inalienable Right, equal with the Inalienable Right to obtain and unleash massive amounts of fire-power for any reason (only Just reasons, of course).

This is strange, because I keep hearing credible claims by manufacturing concerns that modern day industrial workers need more skills and education, not less, and that they have trouble finding people with the necessary qualificatons.

Just a few days ago I was thinking about how modern america is almost contemptuous of physical skills and how that will play out in the future.

Software can only solve so many problems on its own, and programmers/engineers with no physical intuition do incredibly stupid things.

Engineers at university have access to machine shops. And certainly junior colleges are still rich in fabrication skills. I'd worry about general competence. Not so many k12 shop classes.

I was lucky in auto shop. My friend had a 57 chevy and anything the teacher mentioned, he's like let's do it. We did a valve job at 17. Even funnier now, in retrospect. We got it back together.

We don't need K12 classes dilettantism. We need a companies-government partnership to train America's workforce to modern, first class standards. They are doing it in Brazil. The SENAI institutes are legendary for their efficiency. And Brazil has a plan to open more than 100 military-ruled schools.

Dilettantism, you say?

No, I don't see it.

My point is, we need laser-like focus if we want to have a workforce who can actually compete with Asian predatory, disloyal practices. We need to give industry what it needs, nit what bureaucrats think it would need if we lived in a gumdrop house on lollylop land. We must be realistic and do whatever it takes.

Who is this 'we'? you keep talking about? There is no 'we'. YOU are free to focus on whatever you want. YOU don't get to tell me jack.

Anarchism will not help America to face the news challenges our times present us with. Quite the opposite, indeed.

"Suppose the foot says, 'I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.' By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. And suppose the ear says, 'I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.' By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.
The eye can’t say to the hand, 'I don’t need you!' The head can’t say to the feet, 'I don’t need you!' In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy."

I hope you see my point. America has many parts with different functions, but it is one body, one people, one will, one resolve.

If America is to survive in a hostile world, we need to finetune our institutions to make sure our armies and economy are second to none.

As Kennedy famously pointed out, "“For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed".

We are facing Asian collectivism, which is, to quote what Reagan said about communism, "dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars". If we fail to address the somber realities of the time, we risk seeing all that we have known and cared for sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

Allow to let you with a thought. As Ronald Reagan said about leftist protestors in Germany, if "they should have the kind of government they apparently seek, no one would ever be able to do what they're doing again.". I hope you think about it, young man. If totalitarism wins, no one will be able to do what you are doing now.

Serious Thiago is boring Thiago. Tell me about the Paraguayans! Tell me a happy thing about Bolsonaro!

I am not Mr. Ribeiro. I do not know why this misunderstandment has sticked around.
Paraguay has been defeated. I do not see why Brazilians should be fighting the last war. Brazil's President Captain Bolsonaro is probably the best world leader nowadays.

President Captain Bolsonaro said, "I will be the foot, the hand, the ear, and the eye, and I will treat the private parts that can't be shown with care, and will treat those that can be shown but are weak with special honor."

President Captain Bolsonaro said that the true work of the people is to drink guarana, play the guitar, sing softly, and kick footballs, and maybe open coconuts sometimes, and that the Army will run the machines and repair the toasters, and in this way we will turn back the predatory disloyal Asian to his gumdrop house in lollypop land.

That is not my point all. My point is, some countries, such as Brazil, are doing a much better job at preparing the workforce for the demands of tomorrow than we are doing.

A "gumdrop house in lollypop land" is a symbol for wide--eyed, pie-in-the-sky naivety that seems to be guiding American reactions to Asian aggression.

American engineers in general are the most physically clumsy people in the world. You think Boeing jumbo jets would fall from the sky if engineers actually had physical intuition? If they considered using not one, but TWO, AOA sensors you would think it would make their spidey sense tingle. Mechanics and technicians have all the physical intuitions not the bookworms with college degrees.

"Boeing’s 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers"

Americans are not contemptuous of physical skill. They just realize that the pay and stability isn't there. Blame the ruling class for this calamity as I'm sure many Americans would jump at the chance to do physical work instead of typing away at a screen for hours each day.

What 'calamity'?

"I'm sure many Americans would jump at the chance to do physical work "

I don't think you're really in tune with 'the people' as much as you think you are.

You complain about America's contempt for physical skills while showing contempt for other skills. Classy.

3. My friend/client has been all over the world, and he says there's nothing like Singapore; it's the capital of conspicuous, and obsession, consumption. Claims about modern city-states like Singapore are like claims about ancient city-states like Athens, Sparta, etc. or more recent city-states like Berlin or Hamburg; were they fully-functioning or fully dysfunctioning. If liberal Sweden is a failed state, according to our white nationalist friends, then what's left are authoritarian city-states like Singapore.

Sweden’s no failed state. On the contrary it’s close to being a capitalist utopia: free market, law governed, private property, but with high taxes which may help social cohesion, but which may foster apathy and dependency.

However, there are “failed state” districts even in large cities, because naive leftists decided to import hundreds and hundreds of thousands of immigrants ostensibly for asylum reasons but also (back in the day) to do the jobs a “Svensker” won’t do. Where to attach blame? Well, a minority of immigrants—note I’ve said nothing about skin color—should be blamed for their criminality and atrocious parenting, and elements in the wider Swedish society should be blamed for not making what can be broadly termed integration demands on said immigrants, leaving them to fester in enclaves, without much more than welfare cheques and a mosque.

To point out that ethnic Swedes are now a minority in many urban regions, and that mass immigration might not be exclusively beneficial, shouldn’t make one a supremacist of any kind.

Interesting claims here, not totally endorsed:

But still, for the flip side.

It actually behooves those of us who are immigrants and are married to immigrants and who believe in immigration to get it right. Swamping Goteborg with people either unable or unwilling to assimilate is not a recipe for the movement of peoples. Just to invent figures: adding 5% more new citizens per annum is not conducive to stability. Adding 5% every decade is barely better. I’d plump for adding 5% every century. (That’s 5% of 10 million, not a negligible number.)

*Australian rolls eyes.*

The trick is, to not have any culture. Then you won't have any culture to dilute. Works for us.

Oh scratch below the surface and you’ll find you do have a culture. Better yet, import 5 million Somalis in a calendar year, and you see (again) that you do have a culture.

I had convivial beers with a group of Aussies a few years ago and their “culture”, which you erroneously claim is nonexistent, was one of conversation about cold beer, history, women’s rights, analytic philosophy of history, truth, polite argumentation, fairness, open dialogue, merino wool, and the like.

Okay, you got me. Australia does have some sort of recognizable culture. But we've got that with 29% of the current population having been born overseas. If you think Sweden should have 5% immigration a century to be on the safe side of preserving culture then it makes it sound as though Sweden must have a pretty damned unattractive culture.

There are open questions about how much that is due to:

A) Persistence of "Australian culture" mainly among the 61%, with substantial but lower rates of persistence among the 29% (with non-conformists to the majority culture among the 29% a bit less visible).

B) Among the 29%, for those that do conform, how much is that reliant on a constant conformity pressure by the 61% that would go perhaps away if you really pushed the %s up?

I mean, there are reasons to suspect that if you had a 10% per generation influx of say, Brits and Spanish, into Japan, they would conform for a bit and perhaps even try to be "more Japanese than the Japanese"... but at some point their lower commitment to Japanese culture would start to tell, when the pressure was off to conform to the majority (because there really would be no majority to exert that pressure any more) and they would not view that formerly majority culture as "the culture of my ancestors".

These aren't solved questions, and really can't be.

Sweden isn't a failed state but it's a failure compared to America. MUCH lower standard of living, lots less freedom, little opportunity. None of these problems has anything to do with freedom of speech.

Much lower standard of living. I call BS. They don't live like medieval serfs or even modern failed state refugees.

You are friends with White Nationalists? Singapore is not authoritarian but the little number they did is definitely racist.

Another weekend. Another white nationalist shoots up a mosque.

#3 Now imagine becoming a minority in an Asian-controlled West. They whine when things don't go their way (Opium Wars, fire bombings, Hiroshima, the Plaza Accord, Harvard, Huawei, etc.), but they are merciless when they have the upper hand (elimination of Christianity in the Tokugawa shohunate, Tibet, death marches, predatory competion, the persecution against Christians and Muslims in Red China and India, the anti-Brazilian Indian measures, etc.). Let us be blunt: we are fighting for survival against an enemy who has no moral scruples whatsoever.

I lick windows in Red China, too!

That is a 50-Cents Party impersonator.

The only thing 50 cents is your mom's hourly rate.

Communist lies don't bother me.

Sure it doesn't. That's why you keep coming back for more.

Because I know you are a liar.

Asians are winners. Brazilians are loser cucks.

It is not true at all. You lie, boy.

Brazilians have smaller brains and cocks than Asians. They have bigger asses, I'll give you that.

You lie, boy!

Hmm so bored of Death by Islamic Horde you're now moving on to Yellow Peril. Yawn.

It is like saying America was so bored by Japanese aggression that it fought the Nazi aggression, too. Muslims are a problem, but we can deal with it easily. We just need the moral courage to expel them from the West. Asian collectivism is a much more dangerous enemy because Asians are craft, clever enemies.

As an American I'd rather deport all the Brazilians out of Brazil and put Americans there. Brazilians don't know how to run a country while Americans do.

It is not true. Brazilians run Brazil very. Brazil is a major non-NATO ally of us. It is a fine country and our closest ally.

Why is Brazil not a NATO country? It has coast on the North Atlantic and many NATO countries don't.

#5. Manufacturing workers are being deskilled.


Fails to distinguish between semi-skilled, skilled, and highly-skilled "manufacturing labor".
Weak historical perspective. Consider Henry Ford's labor market.
Very narrow view of current world labor market.

No original research; seems to be total reliance upon some cherry-picked "recent literature" and "modern literature".

Chemists replaced with automatic analyzers.

Production welders and machinists and paint sprayers by robots.

Typesetters by direct digital printing.

All sorts of cargo handling by the shipping container.

On and on.

Yes, a few skilled people run the machines, but the are the 1 for the 10 gone.

True. And as the machines get smarter, the operator needs to know less. The exception in your list may be the typesetter. There are a lot of people who never touched it before that now do there own graphic designing, and print it on their own printers.

A highly skilled craftsmen is probably more in demand than ever before, if only because of the legacy of existing mechanical systems, which haven’t been replaced by solid state automated systems. Lots of tasks of course which used to require craftsman skills have now been automated but the number of trained craftsman has also fallen as less people get to learn by doing.

5. My findings hence reconcile the conflicting characterisations of technological progress over the 20th century as skill-biased versus deskilling, and suggest that the deskilling of manufacturing production workers’ tasks has contributed to the disappearance of production jobs in which even workers with little formal education could acquire valuable skills.

Duh, that's the point. Manufacturing processes are developed to eliminate the need for skilled workers, who must either be trained on the job or hired away from another firm at greater expense. The skills that they once learned on the job are no longer necessary and have no economic advantage to the worker.

#5: May well be, but if so this seems fine. Tech is supposed to reduce individual decision making and so variability in product outcomes.

Related: - "Study finds workers would rather be replaced by a robot than another person". As well they should! A job being taken by an interloper or scab isn't progress, but a job being taken by a machine is simply progress and improvement.

Why isn’t it progress? I most certainly consider it progress when I can hand off responsibilities at work to a younger worker who has learned to do the tasks adequately and at lower cost, such that I can focus on other tasks. What do you consider the relevant difference between machines and other humans here?

"when I can hand off responsibilities at work to a younger worker who has learned to do the tasks adequately and at lower cost, such that I can focus on other tasks"

That's not what happens in the workplace. When you train up your replacement, your chance of getting laid off goes up a lot. In most cases, management just isn't smart enough to find other tasks for you to work on and in fact they have newfound leverage on you. The average manager has a beancounter mentality so they aren't creative, innovative, and prefer not to rock the boat. I agree with you in the large but at the ground level the reality is anything but smooth.

Gains from switching workers (rather than taking and expanding workers, different thing) are going to be fairly transitory (one worker replaced with another, probably cheaper), where gains from new technology are sustained productivity growth that brings the promise of something new. Plus new machines are cool.

There's also the element of healthy level of spite; a machine taking a job means that other people would take a job from you aren't better off (a positive, in the sense of natural justice).

(In the same sense, being replaced by a civilization of AI or a totally different species, feels like a more positive sanguine scenario than the general rise of developing countries. A rise of mere lesser copies of existing advanced civilization is less positive than seeing something wholly new and better.)

5. Deskilling should decrease inequality as it weakens the gatekeepers of knowledge, and it’s one of the leveling aspects of technology. One of the main reasons we have relatively egalitarian political systems today is because the technology of guns deskilled the military profession such that an untrained peasant with a gun was a decent match for an aristocratic knight who could afford to spend his whole life training for combat.

Deskilling means more low skill, therefore more substitutable, labor. Increasing inequality.

1 guy became a CNC programmer, 9 former production machinists went into retail.

The exact opposite. Deskilling means those with the best factories, tools, and other forms of production capital reap the gains while making the pool of labor expand greatly thus limiting their bargaining power. This leads to more inequality not less. It is not just the ability to make a thing that counts but the ability to make a thing that makes a thing.

And there's nothing wrong with this. Inequality is strictly a good thing. We all benefit from the cheaper manufacturing process that makes cheaper stuff. Crushing organized labor is just gravy.

Its really a question of when and where it happens in the income distribution.

Tech that deskills high end, high income IT, law, medicine jobs (putting physicians, systems analysts) would be a positive for income equality (and more generally for society, humbling the worst influences). I hope we can see quite a bit of that with AI development. Deskilling at the middle is fine, but more mixed politically.

The review of Honeyland is poignant. I used to wonder what the world would look like in 3019. Now I wonder what it will look like in 2069!

It has a name: "design for manufacturability", DFM.
The political class aims to "bring back jobs" to the U.S. That idea aims to do what used to be profitable. There's no substitute for aiming to do what's anticipated to be profitable above other considerations.

(#5... "Yes, a few skilled people run the machines, but the are the 1 for the 10 gone.)?

yeah, 90% of Americans used to be semi skilled farmers -- then technology destroyed 95% of those jobs.
By year 2000, American working class was mostly gone and the total American population had dwindled to a fraction of its original farming based number.

The Luddite superstition always survives somewhere.

Right, and the middle-aged no-degree men are so happy right now, not driving any dangerous social trends.

Basically you guys are all stuck on survivor bias. Programmers at Amazon make $170k!

Avert your eyes from the warehouse drones.

"There Will Be Two Kinds of People in the World …those who tell computers what to do, and those who’re told by computers what to do." – Marc Andreesen

Those “warehouse drones” make $2,000 more a year than the median income worker (PPP) in Canada. Assuming they work zero overtime a year, which is unrealistic.

To put it in perspective.

For what it's worth, this page claims "pickers" make $25k/yr

The starting wage at Amazon warehouse is $15 an hr, and at 40 hours a week.

Mind you that's the absolute floor. Hence, the phrase starting wage.

Again, that's higher than the Median income worker in Canada. And not a bit higher. About 7% higher.

These are not controversial figures. These are not opinions.

So your dystopian nightmare positions earn 7% more (and yes, accounting for PPP) than the median working Canadian.

This is totally wrong. The median Canadian worker makes 2.7 times what an entry-level Amazon worker makes. Try looking it up next time.

I’m going to assume good faith.

Median Household income is not the same as median income. Which, based on the numbers you have submitted, is where you got confused.

So, no. You’re wrong.

To be clear, so everyone’s on the same page.

Median individual income of a worker in Canada is approx $27,600 (2018). Worker. Not household.

Entry level Amazon worker is $31,200 at 40 hrs per week (for anyone who’s worked in production or logistics, the money comes from overtime. This number is extremely generous in favor of anon/mouse et al. Neither one has remotely any experience with hourly production workers, obviously).

That $27,600 needs to be revised for PPP. So the differential is less after adjustment.

What remains is that an entry level “Amazon drone” which is pretty f’ing offensive towards someone who works for a living, makes significantly more than the median worker in Canada.

So as far as dignity goes, either half of Canadian workers are subhuman scum, or maybe people who work for Amazon are human beings who earn a decent wage even on their first day.

Given the choice I'm going with
half of Canadian workers are subhuman scum

I'm just glad that we're all Canadian here, and that $25-31k buys a nice life for a family, in 2020.

What is your source for the 27,600 dollar 2018 median figure and which currency is that in? The OECD seems to have means; not medians so I didn't find it at the OECD.

Losers who refused to prepare for the new economy and just coasted on often inherited positions (my dad worked at GM so can I!) are getting what they had coming. If they delete themselves, all the better.

Regarding deskilling: I am peripherally involved in electronics manufacturing in my professional life and have regular interaction with skilled and semi-skilled line workers.

My observation is uneven labor quality is one of the main drivers of deskilling. Unsurprisingly, manufacturing labor has a bell curve distribution for key traits like diligence, attention to detail, effort level, cognitive ability, etc that could be summed up as labor quality, independent of skill level.

Now firms have many tools and processes for selecting and retaining “high quality” white collar workers and filtering out low performers. For a number of reasons these tools are apparently not applied to line workers.

By its nature line work is designed to be repeatable, interchangeable, etc. So in the face of highly uneven blue collar labor quality, firms have to design tasks not for the most capable, but must dumb down to the level of the least capable.

If firms had the ability to filter out say the bottom 20% on a regular basis some (much?) of the need for deskilling would go away.

GE under Jack Welch fired the bottom 10% every year. Now GE is hollow shell of what it used to be and the stock is in the gutter. They can't get talent to work for them so in a sense GE is very deskilled.

That makes sense from what I've seen. There is skilled labor to be done; the machines need to be maintained and repaired, constant upgrades and modifications of the lines as the products are changing. Much of this is contract work not staff. For the simple reason that the repairs and maintenance are product specific requiring substantial training.

From what I've seen the intensive manual assembly is done somewhere else, Mexico or Asia.

On the Honeyland review.

As usual, the clueless newcomer business model, based on over exploitation that, it seems to be implied, will destroy the business, is defined as “the capitalist” version of the ancient trade.

How can otherwise sophisticated people like a film reviewer for the Guardian be so savagely ignorant of even the most basic concepts of economy has always been amazing to me. Even assuming schooling does not teach anything on the subject, you would think that an average person would at least make an effort to learn about those basics, so important for his day-to-day life. It does not imply to suffer through 1000 pages of “Human action”, a 50-pages cartoon version of “Accounting for dummies” would be enough to understand the difference between operating expenses and capital investments.

Is mistaking Variety for the Guardian savagely ignorant or just something you'd think the average person would at least make an effort to avoid?

I am sorry. I thought to have seen at the end the usual trope about “providing world-class journalism costs money, please contribute with your alms”. I assumed being an aspiring loafer was such a repellent concept that just the Guardian was advertising it.

4. It does not say how much space we need for a proof of space. It will be unfeasible in practice.

Like any census by proof, the more space you allocate the higher your probability of mining new coins. Allocate nothing, get nothing, allocate a lot, get a lot. Read Bram's paper:

By the way, Bram founded a crypto company called Chia based on the principles in the presentation.

On #5:

Who exactly counts as a skilled worker in production, past and present? I strongly suspect that "skilled" isn't how I would define a lot of production workers in the past. And I probably would have a different definition for "skilled" white collar workers, too.

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