Wednesday assorted links


#5: Those Ugandan's have a1% problem as well. If Idi Amin, would have trained his fellow Ugandans to eat the Indians instead of deporting them, they would not have a 1% problem today!

#3: Good, they will stop hawking the Contra cruise on the podcast for a few months. Perhaps I will go back listening for a while. The problem with the Woods, and the Woods/Murphy podcast is that after a few months, you feel they're repeating themselves, kind of like Marginalrevolution!

It would be good to get the HuffPo or DaylyBeast version of the same story for balance, but they don't seem to be carrying it.

#1: Khaaaan!

Is the MRU perspective that Pakistan will suck less, now as they're solidly in the China fold?

#2: "No. As I put it the other day, it’s not an everythingburger, but it’s certainly at least a somethingburger!"

Happy to hear it is not a nothingburger, but my bet is still on it being vaporware, something similar to fusion power.

#1: That's a sweet mullet he's got in the 1990 photo. "Emancipatory virility" indeed. In all seriousness, though, that was a nice profile story.

#2: When will my laptop be a quantum computer, though? And will this have any near term effects on Google's stagnant stock price? Asking for a friend.

#6: Good point, but I always thought Psycho was a tad flawed in that too much is explained in voice-over narration at the very end. As Mr. Mckee said in Adaptation: "God help you if you voice-over narration. It's flaccid, sloppy writing."

"As Mr. Mckee said in Adaptation: "God help you if you [use] voice-over narration. It's flaccid, sloppy writing.'"

Robert McKee does indeed say this in Adaptation, as well as in his book and his courses. He could not be more wrong.

More than a few of the greatest movies of all time make extensive use of voice-over:

As the commenters suggest, the list could be much longer. You will note that it includes Adaptation.

I mean...if you've seen Adaptation, you know that line is a bit of a joke, because it interrupts a bit of voice over, so my invoking that quote was a bit tongue in cheek. That said, I was completely serious about the end of Psycho. The voice-over is a bit of a crutch, story-wise, in my opinion.

I just said a bit like five times in three sentences. Dammit, I need to get back to work.

#4. Interesting. Founder Chip Wilson, who's idea it was to put the Rand quote on the bag, soon after departed from the company. According to a subsequent NYT article, the disagreement about whether or not to put the quote on bags led to a falling out between Wilson and the C.E.O at the time, Christine Day.

Yoga moms aren't into Ayn Rand. Only the cucks here are into that stuff.

#4: The Lululemon article is from 2011.

Noticed that as well and haven't seen anything related in the news recently. I wonder how it got on TC's radar.

Ever since he linked to the infant prodigy who's stuck being the CEO of herself on social media, he's been marginally fretting about the identity of companies and their CEOs/founders. He's concerned people will not always throw them bouquets, write them love letters, given our penchant for bringing people down, and their businesses may suffer. Possibly over so small a peccadillo as oversharing a favorite book. Ayn Rand turned out to make the yoga ladies hiss.* That dude should have gone with Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

*Unless and until they can get Meryl Streep to play elderly Ayn Rand.

The fact that it is from 2011 makes this quote all the more amazing:

“I was so shocked by being handed this bag today at your Portland, Ore., store that I literally WALKED BACK to return this horrific bag,” one customer wrote on Lululemon’s blog. “IN THIS POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CLIMATE [emphasis mine], I find it baffling that your company would choose such an inflammatory and offensive statement.”

We are always in the incorrect type of political and economic climate. We have always been at war with Eurasia ;-)

#6 Serial Killer movies did more to promote copy-cats than anything else. There is nothing glorious about Jeffrey Dahmer or BTK. There is nothing profound. The interest is prurient for sure, but too many people for too long kept looking for something deeper that just isn't there while trying to get an answer to the question 'why'. It's just like the Netflix Bundy doc. Be careful trying to look a demon in the eye trying to figure out what and how makes it tick. It's not the looking for an answer to 'why' that messes you up, it's the fact there isn't one. They exist. They they're found kill them and think no more.

"trying to get an answer to the question 'why'"

I agree for the most part. I tend to avoid watching movies about serial killers, slashers, for that matter even gangsters. A friend was trying to talk me into going to see "Silence of the Lambs" because we'd get an up close look at a psycho killer. My response was that the Boomtown Rats already said all there was to be said (short of psychological and neurological studies) in the chorus of their well-known song: "Tell me why." "I don't like Mondays."

That being said, I did see "Silence of the Lambs". Gripping, well-made, a performance for the ages by Anthony Hopkins. If "The Godfather" is on TV I almost can't resist watching it. So I don't automatically reject these films. But I don't seek them out, and I'm not sure that these films are a net positive for society. Or even a net positive for me, beyond a way to get thrills for a couple of hours watching a screen.

#6: I have often wondered what it would have been like to see PSYCHO without knowing about its plot in advance.

I will give my wife that opportunity soon. She will complain.


I have often wondered what it would have been like to see PSYCHO without knowing about its plot in advance.

Check out the youtube videos of unsuspecting people watching the Game of Thrones 'Red Wedding' episode.

#6: Hitchcock is indeed a genius. GoT followed in his footsteps, by also killing off many characters we perceived as the main characters. This also made me think about Iain Banks' Culture universe, where in the first book, he killed off everybody but a sidekick (Perosteck Balveda) and the deep state background genius technocrat who was pulling the strings.

>GoT followed in his footsteps

You're not a bright man.

Projecting, are we?

The vast bulk of the film industry followed in Hitchcocks footsteps. That includes Game of Thrones.

Sad that the dissertation on how Psycho broke the typical storytelling mold doesn't even mention the screenwriter, the brilliant Joseph Stefano, the man behind The Outer Limits. He discusses the Psycho assignment here ...

6. It's the "you were there" approach to psychopaths. I recently watched the film Equalizer. In it, the lead character (played by Denzel Washington) avenges the wrongful treatment of an acquaintance, a prostitute. But the villains aren't individual bad guys, but Russians, all of them, portrayed as the lowlifes they are and deserving of their fate. Should Democrats use this film as the model for advertisements in the campaign against Trump? This made me think of the many movies that are intended to avenge the wrongful treatment of Americans. There are the Rambo films avenging the wrongful treatment of Americans by the Vietnamese, Black Rain starring Michael Douglas avenging the wrongful treatment of Americans by the Japanese (in business not for Pearl Harbor), and so on. And Cowen's least favorite, Dances with Wolves, avenging the wrongful treatment of native Americans by, well, Americans. Maybe the film Psycho was intended to avenge the wrongful treatment of psychotic Americans. Then there's Django Unchained. If ever there was a right to avenge the wrongful treatment of Americans, in this case black Americans, this one is it.

If ever there was a right to avenge the wrongful treatment of Americans, in this case black Americans, this one is it.

The peculiar problems blacks face have little to do with real-time mistreatment by the rest of us. That's been so for 40-odd years in the Southern United States and for 70-odd years elsewhere.

While we're on the subject of 'vengeance', are the descendants of the West African chieftains who sold slaves to European merchants gonna receive some vengeance? And, while we're at it, how does the difference in the standard of living (comparing, say, Washington with Lagos) influence this right-to-vengeance calculus?

"The peculiar problems blacks face have little to do with real-time mistreatment by the rest of us."

And we wonder why black people have a chip on their shoulder. At least until some cop shoots it off.

And we wonder why black people have a chip on their shoulder. At least until some cop shoots it off.

If telling the truth gets someone's back up, tough. The truth remains the truth. tell the truth in one of your insipid blatherings here will be the first

According to Bureau of Justice Statistics 2018 survey of criminal victimization in the article 'A Platform of Urban Decline' in the City Journal Heather Mac Donald blacks mistreat each other vastly more than whites mistreat them.

According to the study, there were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations (excluding homicide) between blacks and whites last year, including white-on-black and black-on-white attacks. Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies, or 90 percent, and whites committed 56,394 of them, or less than 10 percent. That ratio is becoming more skewed, despite the Democratic claim of Trump-inspired white violence. In 2012-13, blacks committed 85 percent of all interracial victimizations between blacks and whites; whites committed 15 percent. From 2015 to 2018, the total number of white victims and the incidence of white victimization have grown as well.

Blacks are also overrepresented among perpetrators of hate crimes—by 50 percent—according to the most recent Justice Department data from 2017; whites are underrepresented by 24 percent. This is particularly true for anti-gay and anti-Semitic hate crimes.

There are the Rambo films avenging the wrongful treatment of Americans by the Vietnamese

There are now five Rambo films. Unless the previews from the newly released one are deceiving, only one of them has had the Vietnamese in them, and most of the real villains in it were Soviet.

I bet they put you in the cannibal pot first.

#2 - computer science, like physics, is getting pretty arcane. I wonder if this is "solving" an extruded, obscure problem that doesn't exist as a practical matter for 99% of our world, like finding a new, sub-atomic detail about gravity--good for grinding out a few more physics papers, but unnecessary for building elevators or even space stations.

My wish list is curing metastatic cancer, reversing those awful, wrecking-ball, single allele genetic diseases, fusion energy, repairing damaged neural tissue, and preserving telomere length. Does this get us closer to those objectives? I don't know. I hope it does.

I had similar thoughts. Quantum computation is enough *not* like computer science that I just say "too complicated for me." Maybe like my grandparents hearing about personal computers.

But I too wondered how these newly solvable equations might impact our lives in the short-term. I am not sure things like cures for cancer can be formulated as such equations.

But they say this is going to break all existing cryptography?

That would be big and probably bad.

"But they say this is going to break all existing cryptography". No, not exactly. First, practically, even if the google experiment is confirmed, we will still be years or decades away of having a quantum computer able to be some existing cryptographic. But theoretically, the keyword above is "some". RSA for instance an be broken by a quantum computer when we have a decent one, but many other cryptographic systems (even public-key systems) can't, or at least we expect then to be safe to quantum computers attack (which put quantum computers on par with classical computers, which we expect, but cannot prove yet, can't break cryptographic system like RSA).

By the way, all of this is in the first link Tyler gives in #2. An interesting read also is Gil Kalai's blog post linked to at the end of that link. I have no idea who is right, but we live interesting time anyway, and with the recent announcements on the (unrelated but as impressive) google's alphaZero algorithm, the Singularity seems to me much nearer than I expected five years ago.

Yes, cancer, and the "survival" rate, which is much higher here in America than elsewhere. It's mostly a fraud, not an intentional fraud, but a fraud nonetheless. "Survival" is measured from the time of discovery of the cancer not from the time the cancer presented. That means in a country like America, with a vast health care network and diagnostics, cancers are discovered much earlier than other places. Sadly, this "thumb on the scales" is common in America, even (or especially?) in economics.

Yes, cancer, and the "survival" rate, which is much higher here in America than elsewhere. It's mostly a fraud, not an intentional fraud, but a fraud nonetheless.

That you're innumerate doesn't make other people a fraud. (Or excuse fraudulent arguments you make).

A simple way to gauge how lethal is a subtype of cancer is to examine the ratio of annual deaths to annual diagnoses for cancers originating at that particular site. About 3/4 of all diagnosed cancers originate at sites for which that ratio has consistently declined for fifty years.

Long term cancer survival rates are getting better, but cross country comparisons still suffer from an apples-to-oranges problem.
Also "survival" is something of a weasel word. What most of us want is "cure", as in, the cancer is gone and the patient lives many years longer and dies of something else in the end. It's not clear that eking out a few more weeks in a state of emaciation and general misery at a hospice facility is something desirable.

Ehh, so why exactly does the longevity bonus still stand when we correct for stage and grade?

Further why do treatments, and not diagnostic tests, increase survival rates in other countries when they adopt them?

For instance, Herceptin targets a gene known to be amplified in about one third of breast cancers; these are typically the more aggressive and deadly breast cancers. The drug was developed with novel technology at a quaint little place called Genentech. For stage/grade matched patients in this country it improved mean survival about 30 percent or so. For patients in the UK, it also improved mean survival about 30 percent or so. At around 10 years out we find about 1 in 10 women still alive who otherwise would not be.

Frankly, the only difference seen between the US and the UK was that the UK sentenced a few thousand women to death while the NHS dickered about the price tag (and paid more for increased patient management costs on the old regimen).

Shockingly a US based cancer technology increased longevity in the US and then did the same thing in the UK when the bureaucrats could no longer let women die before covering it.

Nor is this unique. Proton therapy, for instance, has shown large percentage gains in liver cancer survival in the US and in the UK. It also has shown marked reduction in side effects in pediatric patients. Funnily enough the improved outcomes for pediatric cancers were observed in the children the British NHS started flying to the States for proton therapy and then returning to Britain after therapy. Somehow we are seeing improvements even with British diagnosed patients receiving British follow-up using American therapy somehow surviving longer.

Frankly, the whole dogma about finding it earlier and hence surviving "longer" is becoming less true every year. Back when those studies were first coming, we could not use interventional radiology to access many cancer sites. These days? Your friendly radiologist can drive a wire anywhere and in most cases burn out either the cancer itself or the blood vessels feeding it, often even in patients who are not surgical candidates. Likewise, incremental improvements in chemo means that ever fewer cancers are "non-resectable" when caught early. Years ago, too many cancers were of the type where you could cut out the tumor, but a microscopic nidus (or 10) would just regrow and the chemo/rad options were just not strong enough to kill off that microscopic cancer without killing the patient. I do not know if the data is there yet to say if more survival benefit comes from natural disease progression or if more comes from intervention itself … but it is moving toward the latter every year.

" the UK sentenced a few thousand women to death while the NHS dickered about the price tag"

I don't think it is good to take it in this direction (I've seen you say this a few times) as this could be spun the other way, that the greedy corporation sentenced those women to death leading to more heat than light. I personally don't see it as either and not everything is so comically polemical nor seriously Manichaean in nuanced matters like public finance of health care. I yearn for more dispassionate discourse (that's why I'm on MR) but that has been drowned out lately in today's more pathos driven environment.

"(and paid more for increased patient management costs on the old regimen)"

They may have paid more in the short term using old treatments but the cost-benefit analysis of the long term savings works in their favor.

That is not my opinion, that is the opinion of the patients who successfully sued the NHS for doing this.

After all, the NHS figures agreed with them. At that time the NHS explicitly valued QALYs at a 30,000 pounds per rate. Herceptin, per NHS estimates, was something around 10,000 pounds per QALY.

The trouble the NHS had was not with valuing Herceptin, they had already followed procedure and done that. Herceptin, by the numbers, is simply cost effective medicine even at initial list price (particularly in that era). The problem is that if these women did not die, it makes a large hole in the NHS budget.

So the problem turned political - whom to stiff with the bill. Blair was not willing to blow a large hole in the NHS budget and fill it with general revenue at the time. In theory, the NICE should look through other expenditures and cull the ones that are the least cost effective to make room for Herceptin. But that has problems. Personnel are the most likely target for cuts, but politically unpalatable. Taking healthcare away from people who could have gotten it yesterday is also really bad optics.

Rather than actually stand on the alleged superiority of a Beveridge system and take the flak from reducing the number of pediatric neonatal beds (which have terrible QALY returns that somehow always get overlooked) or removing NHS coverage for glioma chemotherapy (which at the time was, and I believe still is, below NHS QALY pricing guidelines) or any other option (including renegotiating with other drug companies about less cost effective drugs) ... they dithered. The process was intentionally obfuscated and the relevant data was not released to the public until years later.

The NHS was not holding out for some mythical savings; Herceptin had already cleared their bars. They just did not want to raid the treasury or cut less cost effective treatment elsewhere.

And women died.

For optics.

Some women, knowing just enough to see that they were going to pay for this chicanery with their lives sued. They won. Enough of them did so that eventually the UK was forced to approve Herceptin and place it on a national formulary.

Still they did not wish for the politicians or the NICE to bear the brunt of blowback from the decision. So they pushed decisions down to the trusts even though it was going to cause completely foreseeable havoc with budgeting. Eventually the NHS budget went up, but only in the budget after the one from the 2001 election.

Oh and the savings in the long term? Completely bogus. After all, Herceptin had a limited patent life and the UK approved a biosimilar in 2018. Waiting a year simply creates sunk costs for Genentech. 2005 is going to have the same number of covered patients regardless, absent changes in NHS legislation. Perhaps you have some silly game theoretic reason why cutting off the nose to spite the face works ... but aren't such things exactly the sort of incentive structure that discourages long term cost savings? I mean the whole argument for monopsony pricing is that the drug companies will negotiate from sunk cost perspective and just try to maximize their profit after R&D is complete. If you buy that, then Genentech should be expected to sink the costs of not selling during 1998-2002 and price at the exact same annual cost as without letting all those women die.

There are many fine and rational reasons why you might negotiate about the price of Herceptin ... it just is that none of them were British law or policy and what was actually done was choosing to let women die to avoid difficult decisions.

Solid comment, I award 5 internet points

To clarify, those points go to J Billings.

Eye on the ball, ray.

2. Some politicians want to break up the tech giants. How likely is it that the post-breakup "baby Bell" fragments of Google will still do blue-sky research like AI chess and go champions or quantum computing breakthroughs?

Not completely unlikely. Google/Alphabet does basically two things:
creating wonderful new technology using ground-breaking research, and making money by stealing intellectual work of others (books on google books, lyrics on youtube, newspaper article on google news, a lot of personal data illegally collected, etc.) Would separating the two activities in two different compagnies slow down the creativity of the first one? I don't know how much is research in Alphabet dependent of the cash flow coming from google the stealer. But I imagine that a purely research Alphabet directed by Sergey Brin wouldn't lack willing investors to give it as much cash as it needs.

#3 TL;DR all of it, but the enemy of Krugman is my friend.

I'd steer clear of goldbuggers from the von Mises Institute.

The problem with Krugman and his wife is the degree to which they've polluted public discourse with partisan rants over the last 18 years, behavior which seems not to bother academic economists in the least.

6. It's an elaboration on a point which has been made umpteen times about the movie. Why are you recommending it?

#3...Remind the ship of fools that the Confederates were traitors and lost the Civil War. The leniency of the North was an act of mercy. Claiming the Civil war wasn't about slavery might be the most asinine historical opinion I've encountered, and fighting a war to defend slavery is among the worst causes humans have ever fought for. People who can't face up that fact can't be trusted to be seeking the truth, they can'y even look in a mirror.

the Confederates were traitors

Those colonies had become parts of the Union but later wished to secede. That makes them traitors? The real traitors were the American revolutionaries, subjects of the United Kingdom who, without taking any census of the opinions of the population, began a violent rebellion against their legitimate government.

Maybe not traitors under the Constitutional definition, but lawbreakers and rebels against legitimate authority, yes. The Constitution contains no mechanism for legal secession, nor did the laws of the nation allow it. And the motivation behind the act (dissatisfaction with an election result) does not even come close to reaching the moral threshold for the natural right of revolution.

The Constitution doesn't contain a mechanism for acquisitions like the Louisiana Purchase or the purchase of Alaska or the annexation of Hawaii, either. But they still happened. If the Alaskans had resisted the change in absentee sovereignty they'd have been gun downed in their igloos.

Even at the highest levels the war was only fought over "slavery" for some of its participants.

The Deep South wasn't fighting to "preserve slavery", they were fighting to preserve its expansion. Lincoln, after all, was not elected to end slavery in the Southern states, he was elected to end it in the territories. In spite of his promise to confine his actions to limiting slavery in federal territory (and in theory new states could vote to institute slavery in their constitutions), the Deep South had no truck with this. They figured not that slavery would end, at least during their lifetimes, but that they would lose power over the nation. The initial wave of secessions were for a far more vile cause than preserving slavery, they fought to preserve its expansion.

Lincoln and the Northern States, in turn, were not fighting to abolish slavery as Lincoln himself freely admitted. He only freed slaves in rebel held territory for a reason. He likewise held that he would preserve the Union as half slave and half free if that is what was required. In no less than his inauguration speech he explicitly backed the Corwin Amendment to enshrine slavery in the Constitution. While many in the North wanted to see curtailment of the Southern slave power in Congress, only the most rabid abolitionists believed that they were going to be fighting to end slavery anywhere outside of the territories for at least the first year.

And most tellingly you had the succession round against "coercion". Virginia, for instance, did not join the rebellion when Lincoln was first elected. Initial votes at the Virginia Secession Convention showed about 2/3rds of the delegates were for Union and 1/3rd for secession.

Speeches were quite clear. Confederate delegates promised that slavery, and more importantly slave power, would be abolished. Unconditional unionists proclaimed that they loved slavery … and that for this reason they must side with the North as the only possible way that the North could stomach abolition was if might need to do so to restore union. Virginia was unwilling to risk Federal wrath and the likely destruction of slavery (and Virginia's privileged position within the slave trade after 1808) to go for war.

But Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy nonetheless because while Virginia had great hopes of reconciling the nation under the Corwin Amendment or similar schemes, it would not abide coercion. Lincoln's mobilization of 3,500 Virginians to compel the Confederacy through force of arms, well that was enough to turn Virginia into the war, even by those who had exposited, at length, that such a war would be death knell of slavery.

To whit, if "defending slavery" were the only goal, the Corwin Amendment, which passed both the House and Senate by the needed majorities, would have not died in the States. Instead, South Carolina and company were not content with slavery in their own land, but wanted to preserve slave power in the Senate. Likewise if the North was fighting merely over slavery, we would have seen no such amendment offered to avert the war. Lastly, if the conflict were merely about slavery Virginia and the border slave states would have voted, at once, to join the Confederacy as basically all the delegates were in favor of slavery in the abstract or have joined with the Union by demanding protections for slavery and letting "coercion" hang.

Jefferson Davis, and the Deep South, certainly those idiots were for something far more heinous than "defending slavery", but the rest? Slavery is simply a necessary, but insufficient answer.

My understanding of these issues owes a lot to reading Alexander Stephens and Andrew Jackson, both men with serious flaws and differing views. I still study these two men, and learning a lot from them doesn't mean that I need to overlook or excuse their mistakes. My views are my own in the end.

Let me be clear...Picking a few Founders and then declaring they were the Founders, as many people do, is laughable. As for the Confederacy, they were a group of men with various interests and opinions, but overarching their decision about secession was a desire to preserve slavery. For John C. Calhoun, for example, a man whom John Randolph of Roanoke called a “thrice double ass", even though he concocted a screwball political theory to justify his change of positions, it was all about slavery. Not so others. It's that simple. Why this brings out a need to obfuscate this history is not sensible unless it's trying to, at the same time, root for the Confederacy and claim you aren't. It reeks of bad faith. since there's no need to bring up the Confederacy at all in arguing for your position. Just state the principles you follow without citing anyone.

The never-ending discussion of slavery, now extinct in the US for well over a century, is somewhat mysterious when so little attention is given to a policy shared by both the North and South alike, the extermination of the native Americans and the occupation of their land. Maybe that clears up the mystery. Since it was a national policy on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, the US invasion of the unorganized west can't be used in a political/cultural context.

The 1860 census produced a figure of 4.4 million blacks in the US. Nobody bothered to count the number of natives. The 2010 census came up 42 million African-Americans and 6.8 million natives of varying degrees of ethnic "purity". But slavery remains the great blot on US history, at least in the US itself, while the decimation of the original inhabitants is conveniently ignored.

Chuck, If this topic interests you, then here is a great book...

An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 (The Lamar Series in Western History) by Benjamin Madley

4. The reporter uses blog posts for his story's quotes??! Get real, NYT.

4. Ideology or proven theory? The left hates Rand, a vehement opponent of collectivism.

#3 is gated, and too long, Can someone make a two sentences summary, please?

disable javascript and you can read it

I'll be very disappointed if the Babylon Bee does not do a piece on the racism implied by "quantum supremacy."

#6. When watching the most recent season of MindHunter, it occurred to me that serial killers might be seeking the infamy of being a "serial killer". That is, part of the thrill is the public attention they get, which is why most serial killers eventually get caught, because on some level they want to brag - they want to be famous. If so, then entertainment based on serial killers is actually gratifying the serial killers' ego by drawing attention towards them and also holding out the prospect of becoming infamous to other potential serial killers. It makes it ethnically questionable whether we should be making so much TV that makes becoming a serial killer sort of glamorous, at least to some people. It also parallels with the more recent spate of mass shooters - that the mass shooter also is engaged in a sort of performance for the general public, and that other potential mass shooters might become copycats to gain similar attention. The mass shooter usually dies, which makes it a less attractive option though. They don't live to see how famous they become. It's interesting that there are few shows which have focused on mass shooters though, and so many that have focused on serial killers.

Comments for this post are closed