Wednesday assorted links


5. To paraphrase Janis Joplin, eviction's just another word for nothing left to lose. From the abstract: "the effects (of eviction) are small relative to the financial strain experienced by both evicted and non-evicted tenants in the run-up to an eviction filing".

Evictions may cause poverty when the eviction documents are "robo-signed."

Bad decisions cause poverty. The biggest causes are failing to take advantage of the k-12 education, having children without being married, committing a crime, doing drugs or alcohol to excess, divorce...

Eviction is not the cause of poverty it is a symptom.

#4: My views in relation to religion were close to what was for a while termed the “New Atheism.” I don’t hold that view anymore. Around 2004 I moved away from this position and came to believe that the roots of religion were cognitive, and the social and cultural complexity required deeper analysis rather than plain dismissal. Same, although I was a later convert (so to speak) to this line of thinking.

#5: Yeah, in the same sense that headaches cause fever.

#7: If the goal was to get me to pick up a Toni Morrison book and give it a go....that was a complete failure.

How does difficult writing differ from bad writing? Morrison is the least fun of the world's major writers - and one of a long line of earnest but tedious Nobel-prize winners ( a list that does not include Nobelists Isaac Bashevis Singer or Gabriel Garcia Marquez).

She should not be mentioned in the same breath as Nabokov.


Or when is the ambiguity referred to in the article just a cover for a not very compelling or realistic narrative arc?

#1 With every passing day I begin to think more and more that the Western world's true problem is the tyranny of choice. The opportunities and niches aren't less, they're so vast and the world so shrunken and the fads so numerous young people cling to the lowest hanging thing they can get excited about...they just don't cling as strongly as they once did. For the period of time they do cling they cling so aggressively their fingernails leave marks but then they move onto the next bubble-gum flavor. It's not just lovers it's life they keep swiping left on. It's Fad-tinder, FINDER. They haven't got a clue what they want or what's valuable to them, for so many they'd have been better off letting someone else tell's what they end up doing anyway.

#6 I wonder if something similar is in the offing with the port at NOLA and the anticipation for COB (Container On Barge). Even 10% of Long Beach's tonnage moving directly to and from the heartland would be a huge game-changer. Logistics is and always has been where the real shifts in demography and economics comes from, everything else is a symptom.

I spent the first 14 years of my career moving containers on barges. This isn’t a new idea and I don’t see it being a serious game changer on the Mississippi. It just takes too long going up. There are also offsetting costs setting up additional inland depots. We’ll see. I’m hopeful but not optimistic.

1) Well, really ex-vegan butchers, although it also could have been titled something like "Increasing Prevalence of Female Butchers Brings a New Emphasis on Ethics to the Profession." Good read, but my main takeaway was that lady butchers are hot.

Ok now I WILL read it.

Or that the hot ones get their picture in the paper.

#4 was good.

>"The period between 2002 and 2004 made me much more skeptical of foreign intervention. Barring something major, I’ll probably be an isolationist for the rest of my life."

And yet, if the Dems give him the chance, in 2020 he is going to vote for a Presidential candidate who authorized that very intervention.

I wonder if that strikes him as contradictory. Nah, I doubt it.

This is like refusing to drive because you witnessed someone with brain damage attempt to and get killed. Isolationism is retarded and historically illiterate.

This guy also doesn't understand the economy. Yeah, 1999 didn't usher in what we hoped for because Bush collapsed the USD.

There's a lot of these authors who are very good at sounding like they got wiser with age while the substance of their writing demonstrates the opposite.

Khan says: "at current rates of growth Bangladesh may surpass India in per capita GDP in the late 2020s)." That won't happen.

GDP per capita (PPP, which you need to use)

India $7,000 with a 7% growth rate
Bangladesh $4,000 with a 6% growth rate

Learning how to compare GDP per capita correctly is something Tyler can change his mind on for 2020...

Not sure why you would predict that. As far as I know Razib has never publicly endorsed a candidate, nor has he talked about who he voted for. He does frequently mention, however, that he is conservative.

Based on that, and based on his comment about being an isolationist, I'd bet he votes third party, unless the democratic candidate is also an isolationist.

Trump is 100% responsible for his unconstitutional war in Yemen. He loves Saudi Arabia so much that he would risk American blood and treasure for something that makes even less sense than Iraq or Afghanistan.

Starting new wars is not a good look for this presidency. Why aren't more people talking about this?

#4. Razib still seems to be one of the more underrated public thinkers. Would love it if he was interviewed on Conversations with Tyler!

Would also love to see Tyler make a blog post about stuff he has personally changed his mind on!


Razib is good people.



(reposting because my link seems to have gotten my comment removed)

Fourthed. Ask him about the Bengali! Tyler might have liked Razib's discussion of Oriya food from India on his recent Brown Pundits with Lisa Mahapatra

#3: I read that yesterday. It was pretty gross. Spoiler: the foot falls off. What will happen to the proceeds from all that real estate? A friend of mine says that the Christian Science church - or temple or building or whatever - in her border hometown is the most well-kept property in town though it seemed to cease operating a long time ago. Might be rented to another group sometimes. She had a CS friend growing up, and she recalled that when the friend had her wedding in the, uh, facility, the national leadership came down sternly on them. (This is not permitted, apparently.) She couldn't believe they would pay attention to what went on in such a far-flung corner.

We were also musing about how such a fringe-y group came to publish such a well-respected newspaper.

I guess when it got its start, there was much less risk and maybe some upside, in eschewing medical care.

See Ivan Ilich's Medical Nemesis.

There's still some upside. The trouble is, you, as a layman, have to figure out where it is.

He can replace his missing foot with a wheel like Rosie from the Jetsons. I'd call that upside, for sure.

Apparently CSM is not published by the Christian Science church. It was founded by the founder of the church, but has always been an independent entity.

I can only hope that someday we'll read that Christian Scientists are gone. I cannot imagine a life without medical care and I don't want anyone else to live without it, either. It is so unfair for the parents to deny medical care to their children.

The bit about the two year old who died from a bowel obstruction after vomiting up feces was pretty horrible. I had to skip the rest of the paragraph after that one.

Yes, Christian Scientists are nutjobs who are actively harmful, including allowing their own kids to die in horrible pain from treatable illnesses. Good riddance.

That is a very anti-religious thing to say. God has plans for a woman who doesn't know her place.

(how much lower again is their life expectancy? It’s a huge amount, isn’t it, maybe decades?)

I assume it's fairly negligible. Or even higher than average based on the demographics of adherent. But there is a ton of selection bias going on. When they get sick enough they usually go to the hospital.

There was a big story a few years back in Boston. The parents were christian scientists and their son died in agony of a bowel obstruction. There was some sympathy from the jury until the prosecutor brought up that the father had broken his arm and the bone was sticking out of the skin. What did he do? He went to the emergency room. They were convicted.

A Chicago Tribune article from 2004 cites a study pegging the life expectancy penalty for Christian Scientists at 4 years.

Seventh Day Adventists outlive the average by 10 years; so if you’re going to convert to a minor religious group.,..

Cohort selection is a huge issue. But I'd guess it's negligible too:

1) Modern medicine's big two are antibiotics and vaccination. CS get a lot of herd immunity out of these people used in the general population. How often does anyone today even get an infection that could kills them if not for antibiotics? Not very frequently.

These big two are probably the main actual 'medical' interventions that account for life expectancy increases, with sanitation, nutrition, wealth, safety culture, declines in violence, environmental health standards, etc. driving most of the historical change.

2) Trauma care in young, healthy folk also probably helps at the margins as well. But many, many people, go their entire lives without any significant mishap or injury.

3) Beyond, this modern medicine is probably fairly ineffective at dealing with widespread diseases of old age (cancer, heart disease etc) and chronic conditions and can often supply expensive treatments (surgeries and drugs) which often have side effects or kill. (Yes, there are other successes in drugs, like insulin for diabetics, but collectively these successes probably have very little overall mortality impact).

Certainly TC's estimate that not engaging directly with modern medicine, as a subculture in a culture where people generally do, on average decreases life expectancy by decades seems extremely outlandish.

It bespeaks a view where personal treatment by individual medical doctors is highly effective at dealing with most causes of mortality which accumulate through a lifespan (it isn't), while widespread public health measures and cheap widely available drugs aren't (they are).

If you live long enough, the odds that you would have died without antibiotics approaches unity. Remember infection is not just about bugs that kill you, inflammation is its own poison particularly if it is chronic. A lot of people who die from things like kidney failure and heart disease have infection in the mix that increases cardiac output requirements or increased nephron loss from inflammation.

The best option is to not get sick. But beyond that, as your immune system declines shortening illnesses with antibiotics add life expectancy even for those illnesses which are unlikely to be lethal (e.g. mycoplasma).

More importantly for trauma is that abstaining from alcohol results in far lower trauma rates. The majority of life threatening trauma happens with someone who is intoxicated in the mix. Further I suspect not having a "safety net" reduces behaviors that are likely to result in trauma.

Ultimately medicine is responsible for about 20-25% of life expectancy. Christian Scientists lose the most from cancer and then most likely infection. Which should not surprise us. Cancer caught early enough, like the vast majority of skin cancer, is harmless once you cut it out. Likewise for a lot of breast cancers we catch it in time to excise it and forget it.

The fact that Scientists had only an absolute increase in death rates of 6% suggests not so much that medicine is unable to heal things, but that the rest of us live terribly. When you compare Christian Scientists to Seventh Day Adventists (who also avoid alcohol, tobacco, etc.) the gap widens considerably quite consistently with this theory.

Remember the actual numbers are that being highly religious is a massive improvement in life expectancy. The fact the Christian Scientists score below average suggests that medicine as a whole is actually decent and also that general society is terrible for your health.

Well, that probability of death eventually approaches unity is banally true; it's how much steeper the slope is for antibiotics avoiders in a world full of dosed up people that I'm contesting here. I don't really argue against it being a bit steeper, but not by decades.

You haven't changed my view, but I'll freely admit it was sort of laying out rather thickly the

"10% of modern medicine and its costs works and is useful; 90% is ineffective or harmful. Life expectancy improvement mostly doesn't result from receiving much care from medics."

tent to see if you'd drop by and lay out the

"Modern medicine is amazing, and modern people would die much earlier were it not for the constant tending and paternalism of medics, but modern people live so badly and against our paternalistic recommendations, that we see very little sign of it in life expectancy"

for the rest of MR's viewing pleasure. Actually less so than I expected to be honest!

this modern medicine is probably fairly ineffective at dealing with widespread diseases of old age (cancer, heart disease etc)

Actually, reduced mortality from cancer is one of contemporary medicine's success stories. There have been small incremental improvements each year, albeit unevenly distributed. About 1/4 of the diagnoses each year are at sites where cancer is usually lethal (the brain, the lung, the esophagus, the pancreas, the liver, and the ovary). About 15% are at sites or of types where your chances of ultimate survival tend to be roughly even, and the remainder are at sites where the cancer is usually not lethal ('ere other ailments take you down).

#4- "Stuff I Was Wrong About!– Like many people, I put too much credence in fMRI-based cognitive neuroscience. Should have ignored it."

Interesting! Can anyone here give me a non-snarky reply as to specifically what has changed in terms of the science? I thought that fMRI's were considered a useful tool.

While I'm not familiar with fMRI, I am familiar with science and with remote sensing technology. Just today I ran into an issue where ground-penetrating radar completely missed an underground utility, for example.

The issue is that every remote sensing technology (ie, something that gives you data without digging into the thing) has limits. Many people intellectually acknowledge that, but go about treating it as irrelevant--right up until the point where it bites them in the butt. fMRI has basically been over-sold as a way to conduct cognitive-based neuroscience.

This DOES NOT mean that fMRI is not useful. It merely means that we've exited the "Oh, shiny!!" phase, where the new idea seems to solve all the problems of the field, and into the more mature, considered, and rigorous phase, where the no-longer-new technology is more deeply understood and utilized a bit more wisely.

You can see the same pattern in paleontology. When Alvarez et al. convinced the world that an asteroid caused the K/Pg mass extinction, folks tried to blame EVERY mass extinction on impacts. Then it switched to climate change and CO2--once we better understood how impacts work, we realized that they aren't a one-size-fits-all solution to the problems we were examining. Physics undergoes the same thing with each new type of math--at one point trigonometry was the be-all, end-all. Then calculus was. Then chaos theory. Not sure what it is now. In each case it went from "This answers everything!!!" to "Well, it answers a lot, but there's this other stuff it can't answer."

Thank you for this comment! Makes more sense to me now

Except for the part about trigonometry being at one time the be-all and end-all of physics.

I got that example from Thomas Paine, among other sources. (Not a physicist, no, but he's the name I remember off the top of my head here.) The fact that trig could explain so many disparate phenomena lead to a lot of research into that field of mathematics, and some to hold it as superior to all others. Over time, though, we found its limits and it was put into a more rational perspective. Sure, there were many who disagreed; this is science, and science is filled with (almost by definition) passionate nerds. Ask two scientists their opinion and you'll get three answers. Doesn't negate the utility of this example in illustrating the development pathway I'm discussing, though.

I would assume that it's due to the high false positive rates that come from uncorrected multiple comparisons. Apparently researchers are wising up to that, hopefully. See

Snarky reply: See "Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction"

Craig M. Bennett, Abigail A. Baird, Michael B. Miller, and George L Wolford (2009)

But are you fair?

Short answer: lots of false positives.

Thanks everyone for the replies. Will check these links out. I first heard of fmri in Michael Pollan's recent book on psychedelics and it got me interested.

Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem (dead!) Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction

It’s about fMRI scanning on a dead fish, specifically a salmon. They put the salmon in an MRI scanner and “the salmon was shown a series of photographs depicting human individuals in social situations. The salmon was asked to determine what emotion the individual in the photo must have been experiencing.”

The “multiple comparisons problem” is simply the fact that if you do a lot of different statistical tests, some of them will, just by chance, give interesting results. In fMRI, the problem is particularly severe. An MRI scan divides the brain up into cubic units called voxels. There are over 40,000 in a typical scan. Most fMRI analysis treats every voxel independently, and tests to see if each voxel is “activated” by a certain stimulus or task. So that’s at least 40,000 separate comparisons going on – potentially many more, depending upon the details of the experiment.

fMRI pioneers developed techniques for dealing with the problem: multiple comparisons correction. But not everyone uses multiple comparisons correction. This is where the fish comes in – Bennett et al show that if you don’t use it, you can find “neural activation” even in the tiny brain of dead fish. Of course, with the appropriate correction, you don’t. There’s nothing original about this, except the colourful nature of the example – but

many fMRI publications still report “uncorrected” results.

Nothing on Kashmir? You're slowing down...

He dares not displease his Indian friends. Haven't you noticed how those savage fakirs control this blog.

#3- GNOSTICISM is bad, y'all

7. I remember one of my college English professors saying Morrison's Sula was a poem, not a novel.

4., 6. What has Cowen changed his mind about? From the link at 6: "The effect of changes in market access on how attractive a place is to locate more economic activity is an old question in the literature. It is also of practical importance to policy makers who consider investing in transportation infrastructure. Typically, this question is addressed by case studies that consider the effects of railroads, highways, ports and other changes in transport infrastructure. For example, a 2016 study examined the impact of the expansion of railroads in the United States between 1870 and 1890 on agriculture. It found that the value of agricultural land doubled due to the presence of the railroad network."

Has Cowen changed his mind about the advantages of greater investment in infrastructure?

3. Uh... no? More like 2 or 3 years.

That's what I've read but d you have a link to a well done study?

I grew up a Christian Scientist, and that sounds about right to me, anecdotally.
The congregation where I went to church was surprisingly well educated, most of them professional class people, most of them had healthy lifestyles that kept them healthy into old age. Of course, once you develop a serious problem, it's all over.

Note, though, that some do break down and seek medical attention when faith fails. I was one of those for my mom. In high school, I came home one day to find her having seizures. I she was incoherent, so I called the ambulance and sent her to the hospital. I figured that having her alive to get mad at me was better than the alternative.

I left the church as soon as I moved away from home, to go to college. I got a physics degree. In my experience, religion rarely survives a degree in the hard sciences, much less one as loopy as Christian Science. In truth, I was a skeptic by the time I was in high school, but kept quiet to keep my mother happy.

Until people realize that, just as carnival midway games are a ripoff, the gamified work inducements are another con game.

2. Gamification has already happened in academia over 50 years ago when people started to care on how many "top 5s" you had.

4. It’s interesting that he’s changed his views on China and neoliberalism. I’d say events since 1999 should have reinforced those views. He was right that China did experience a major slowdown—from double-digit growth in the 2000s to around 6% and falling further today. It now looks like China will not converge to the level of other Asian tigers. On neoliberalism more broadly, emerging markets did experience a strong growth spurt in the 90s and 2000s as they moved to more neoliberal policies. There was less of a positive impact in rich countries because we were already at the economic frontier.

I’ve also become less libertarian than in my youth, but more due to a greater appreciation of the role that luck and birth play in one’s life outcomes, rather than any specific current events.

"I’ve also become less libertarian than in my youth, but more due to a greater appreciation of the role that luck and birth play in one’s life outcomes"

Which is ridiculous and has no bearing on libertarianism.

Why is it ridiculous? Libertarianism is underpinned in part on the idea that inequality is fine because people can advance through their own choices. That also feeds into the utilitarian argument for libertarianism—inequality motivates people to compete and produce more because they are able to advance through doing so. If that is not the case, then it is harder to justify the same level of inequality.

The accumulating scientific evidence from behavioral genetics has made me more of a hereditarian. While the political right and left may disagree on how this knowledge should affect governance and policy, libertarianism seems to be at best a rather incomplete approach...

I also believe that one’s life outcomes are largely determined by genes (assuming that’s what you mean by hereditarianism). The most obvious policy implication of this to me is that we should fund, or at least do not regulate, much more research into technologies for improving genes or gene expression...

Heredity has been vastly overstated and is basically a white supremacist meme at this point. People are not rich because of their genes, they don’t score highly on SATs because of their genes, they don’t do well on “IQ” tests because of genes, they don’t become investment bankers or CEOs because of their genes. Red hair? That’s genetic. And that’s about the limit of what science says about genetics.

Their parents are rich. And their kids inherit their privileges. And their test prep. And their job interviews. Add some luck and white skin and that’s the equation.

Everyone is entitled to their own faith, but the science says otherwise.

"Around 60% of differences in GCSE results can be explained by genetic factors, with the same genes responsible for maths, science and the humanities"

Oh the white nationalist US newspaper from yesterday that published an article about Sweden’s panhandling laws?

I think it’s safe to say any non Trumpist/republican can safely ignore this Russian Fox News paper equivalent.

The “Guardian.” You can tell it’s a racist conservative magazine just by the title. Shame. Republicans used to be decent about refusing racist conspiracy rags. Enjoy your Putin’s newsletter

So it was bear/mouse the entire time? Spoofing my handle?? How many of these arguments were you literally both sides, replying to yourself??

Jesus Christ.

Oh the white nationalist US newspaper from yesterday that published an article about Sweden’s panhandling laws?

I think it’s safe to say any non Trumpist/republican can safely ignore this Russian Fox News paper equivalent.

The “Guardian.” You can tell it’s a racist conservative magazine just by the title. Shame. Republicans used to be decent about refusing racist conspiracy rags. Enjoy your Putin’s newsletter.

How’s that maze coming?

"Guardian" is an obvious typo for "Grauniad," which is semantically opaque, hence one cannot "tell it's a racist" whatever.

"Red hair? That’s genetic. And that’s about the limit of what science says about genetics."

If that is truly what you believe the current science says, then I don't really think we have enough common ground for further productive discussion. But here is a recent article in Nature about the genetics of anorexia nervosa, a debilitating illness that affects mind, body, and behavior...

"Characterized primarily by a low body-mass index, anorexia nervosa is a complex and serious illness, affecting 0.9–4% of women and 0.3% of men2,3,4, with twin-based heritability estimates of 50–60%"

Most of us grow up, and leave the dorm behind. This is true of Marxists too.

I soothe mine by sliding a greasy cucumber up there. You ahould try it!

I host 8chan and Cloudflare in my bunghole!

"2. Does gamification induce people to work harder?"

That's the wrong question. The better question is does gamification induce people to enjoy work more?

The Marxist wondered after working along side other workers for a year why they voluntarily participated in their own exploitation. Did he ever think that maybe the workers are not/were not exploited?

Most MR-sphere people seem to have become less interested in economic-justification for inequality (because 2008 scarred many people, it's not popular any more) and more interested in race-justification for inequality. This is not new or even recent.

I've changed my mind about Brazil.

If you want to understand Christian Scientists - (I am not one, but I am nevertheless one of those Christians who does not fear death at all - and I need not visit Lourdes, because I have Lourdes in my heart (the water of life, fresher than it was in the Garden of Eden, sprung forth there within the lifetime of my grandparents, who were poor and ignorant and, to tell the truth, excessively unkind people even by the standards of their day ----
verb. sap. sufficit - but they are still somewhere there on the line between Adam and my children and all my descendants)) - if you want to understand Christian Scientists, reflect on this .....
A thousand times, and a thousand more times, in the Old and New Testament we are told that God loves us and trust in God is sufficient, if it is sincere .....

and after all, as little Henry said on the morning of Agincourt, it is a depraved desire to want to live on this earth forever.

Sure the Christian Scientists are philosophically befuddled and their sets of rules are a self-recommending version of Biblical misunderstanding,
if your thing is Biblical misunderstanding

but the lovely poor dear souls are onto something.

Does that something have to involve letting people, including children, die in terrible pain from treatable illnesses ?

Lourdes? On préfère légères.

If you really understood the beautiful French language, you would have said L'on rather than On ....

you are no match for me.
Reread my comment, and reflect on the goodness of living in a world where there are people who want the best for you.

As God as my witness, I want the best for you.

To be perfectly idiomatic: "L'on les préfère légères" is what you were trying to say .....

Leaving that specific statement about what idiomatic French sounds like, let me say this:
The important thing is to understand is that, as good as Bernanos was at making his characters say what the great saints of his youth - Vianney, Therese Martin, Elisabeth Cattez - would have said had they found themselves in novelistic situations, and found themselves speaking accordingly to the readership of the novels of the day ---- as good as Bernanos was at doing that, nothing matters more, here and now, than saying, at the right time, the right thing to a fellow human being, and the only way we can consistently do that is through prayer, and through that understanding of fellow human beings that we achieve only when we care.
Thanks for reading.

Sorry if any part of that came off as rude
Casey Stengel was not the most polite guy either and that is a big part of the reason why the '64 Mets won the world series
so there's that

I remember

The St Louis Cardinals won the '64 World Series, you ninny

4. "Did not guess that socialism would make a comeback. This relates to a misjudgment of how much elites knew and understood, and how much control they had."

That's why I voted for Trump. I wanted more socialism not less. He's doing a good job raising taxes on the middle class (but not the rich). Trump's radical politics are moving the country toward my ideal. The elites hate socialism which makes me love it more.


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