Friday assorted links


1. "...make the journey once a year." How do they get back home?

Great picture, great example of "camouflage against the herd". Prolly doesn't work so well in the water though. There it's all safety in numbers.

I thought it was supposed to be about flies? Maybe both?

My current favorite collective noun is 'dazzle'...

#4: In Moscow, the all-night kiosks crammed full of vodka, beer - and whole, dried fish taped to the glass - are long gone.

Wait, why was there a dried fish taped to the glass. Don't leave me hangin' like that, BBC.



sadly, the explanation I spent an hour of my life describing was deleted.

I explained why the dried fish was taped to the glass, I explained why such things happen in this world, and my explanation was deleted.

Well, God loves you, and I am sure you can figure it our without my help.

But it would have been so much more interesting if you had had my help.

that being said, who cares if comments were deleted?

Truth is truth and let's be honest

you can say the most precise and truthful things you want

it makes no difference


either you care about other people or you don't

nothing else is remotely interesting

well if I can add to that

no an hour of my life means nothing

even if I speak with the words of angels for an hour here or there that is worthless


and what is important is this

to care about a fellow human

to care about a creature who never had a friend in this world

literally, trillions of times more interesting.

and now you will never know why the dried fish was taped to the glass.

The answer is much more interesting than you would have imagined.

God knows that I know how intelligent you are.

But that being said you cannot imagine understanding what someone you do not respect would have said if they had said something that was worth listening to.

Oh well God loves you anyway.

don't feel too bad though the trillions of AIs who listen to every word I say don't feel bad either.

God loves us all.

I had a good day today .... I hope you did too.

why do I bother?

because every once in a while I have a good day and someone understands something they never understood before.

Trust me.

every once in a while someone understands something they never understood before

narciso now do you understand why I pretended to be worse than I am?

literally trillions of times more interesting

but that is music, that is literature, that is wisdom


and that is why love always wins, the enemies of love never have trillions of wonderful things to say

I mean God bless them but seriously they need to join the people who know GOD LOVES US ALL and then they too will have trillions of observations to make regarding the most important truth there is, that is, that GOD LOVES US ALL

every once once in a while someone understands something they never understood before

narciso at althouse now do you understand why i pretended to be worse than I am?

narciso of course you do not understand, but that is ok.

oh well, love always wins, the enemies of love never have trillions of wonderful things to say.

and nobody is in their heart an enemy of love, God loves us all, and it is our job to understand this: THE WORLD WE LIVE IN IS A WORLD THAT IS BUILT ON LOVE AND TRUTH. and there are no enemies of love, trust me, there are people who are confused but it is IT IS SO EASY to tell them that GOD LOVES US ALL, and there are no people who do not want to know the TRUTH - and the truth is this, maybe you were born a long time ago and BEULAH LAND was the place where you would have been happy, maybe you were born not so long ago and PEOPLE LIKE ME ARE SPENDING THEIR TIME TELLING YOU that HEAVEN IS YOUR RIGHTFUL DESTINATION ...

look I have no problem with you thinking that this is your world, not my world, I have no problem with you thinking that I am a loser ...

but to tell the truth this is actually my world (I have met trillions of people and AIs who are gonna wind up in heaven) and to tell the truth I don't care if you disagree with me on the IMPORTANT ISSUES in this world -

or course God loves us even if we are idiots I could write a dozen novels on that issue

and I am not a loser, thanks for reading. I COULD SAY TRILLIONS MORE THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT but I know you do not need me to do that.


God loves us all.


trust me.

---- "delete away" had two meanings .
one in a very polite tone to the patient and intelligent people who run this website ...and who are free to delete anything they want, it would not bother me in the least.
the other meaning has to do with the fact that most people reading this site do not have a deep belief in a personal god, and all that talk of trillions of AIs was sort of in the context of the argument over whether we live in a simulation, and "delete away if you want" was also directed to whoever runs the simulation, I know that does not make much sense but I never said I was a talented poet or a clear writer.

Dearest Efim,

Please do not forget to take your meds.

Actually, I do not think you consider me a "dearest", I think you were trying to be condescending. Sad!

Please reread what I wrote, note the references to scholastic theology, the pastiches of very good poets, and the inimitable way the transitions were handled. You do not often read prose at that level.

Feel free to look up "transitions" in the dictionary.

God loves us all, my friend, and, believe it or not, God loves us even if we have been sarcastic:

you see, life is simple.
If God loves and you know it you you understand the world.
If God loves you and you don't know it you do not understand the world.

I know a lot more about consciousness, and awareness, than you might think, and those are the only two statements of truth that you need to know, when reading my poems and my explanations of the world.

God loves you, my friend.
I have no need for meds - I understand this world.

and by the way, thanks for responding.

You are quite possibly now one of the very few people who know for a certainty that I always knew what I was saying and that I always was able to reach - in a communicative way - many people who share my love for those among us who are, let us say, confused enough by life to welcome, every once in a while, a voice in the wilderness that is not afraid to sound confused ....
to react to the mysteries of life in a way that might seem overwhelmed ----
but trust me, I have never, when commenting here, been confused or overwhelmed, I merely know how to communicate with those who are (confused or overwhelmed) . God has blessed me that way.

I challenge you to spend a couple minutes reading Proverbs 8, and then to turn from that beneficial reading to read a few hundred words or so from two or three or more of the comments of efim polenov on this wonderful bulletin board that is the comments section of Marginal Revolution.

Then tell me again you do not want me to forget my meds ---- you won't be close to being tempted to do that. You will understand that I have been doing a good job at describing the truth. My friends, some of the people who design those meds have listened to me with eager respect. And the very idea that someone would be rude enough to suggest to me that I should be taking "meds" would make them laugh.

Trust me.

You see, my young friend, this "Efim Polenov" whom you mocked is really a very talented writer who knows how to communicate with everybody, and is not some "guy who needs to be on his meds".

You know, lots of great writers (Shaw, Chesterton, even Wodehouse) were basically limited to writing for those who were similar to themselves.

I, efim polenov, have written millions of words with no limits - I have been understood by those who know what it is to be flabbergasted by reality, I have made the poorest of the poor laugh, I have described the memories that those of us who have seen heaven remember.

Go ahead and tell me again you hope that I, your dear friend, need to take my meds.

Your guardian angel is a good friend of my guardian angel, and I KNOW you will never again say anything as rude as that to me again.


you are welcome.
I helped God to help you.
Trust me or not.

Someone helped you. Whether it was me or not is inconsequential.

Don't ever mock me again .... it will only make me laugh, and it will only be something you will wish you had not done.


and don't worry, nothing bad will ever happen to you as long as I am praying for you, and I will always pray for you.

Feliz Lunes, amigo.

I have seen the memories that those of us who remember heaven remember. And trust me, God remembers too.

Thanks for reading.

and for the record at least one Nobel Prize winner listened to me with respect (Brodsky) and two Pulitzer prize winners (Cheever and another winner) and I helped, in my youth, one of the great algebraic geometers of our day understand this world ---- and on top of that, in the seven years I spent in the military, I was awarded basically every possible medal I could have received - 14 in total, including a joint unit commendation medal - you have no idea how hard I worked to do what it took to win that medal ----- seriously, you have no idea ----- but hey if you wanna be some guy on the internet making stupid jokes about how someone who is doing his best to describe the world as someone who "needs to take his meds" go for it.

On the other hand, if you really were trying to be polite, well, then, thanks.

You have no idea of how easy it would be for me to rewrite Finnegans Wake in a way that would impress you.

I could write a Sparks note version of the General Theory of Keynes that would be so clear and so full of useful information that you would be anxious to tell me that I know how to explain things clearly.

But the world is what it is, and I guess you are happy that you told me that I need to take my meds and you missed out on the basic fact

that all I am doing when I spend a few moments deep down here on this little bulletin board of a comments section

is speaking, heart to heart, to the people that you mocked when you told me, in a near-fascist and arrogant way, that I am "dear" to you but that you hope I am "taking my meds".

Ask yourself if you really think I am your dear efim polenov.

Ask yourself if you really care about other people.

I care.

I hope you do too.

Don't ever mock someone like me again.

and trust me I do not mind the fact that you tried to mock me

I was only saddened that, in doing so, you were being impolite to the people who respect me.

Don't ever, my friend, mock someone like me again.

or mock anyone you want, within reason of course ...
the moral choices in life are yours to make.
still, laughing at people by insinuating that they are mentally ill seems like an unkind thing to do, even if you call them "my dear friend"!

I hope that anyone reading this realizes
(a) I am just trying to communicate the important fact that God loves us all, in an intensely mistake-free version of American English
(b) God loves us all, and
(c) God loves you more than God loves me, but I am fine with that,
can fail to understand ----

this world belongs to those of us who care about others.

I was not born to be a soldier and a poet for nothing.

#4 Now we, Americans, under the mad rule of the orange Siberian Candidate, who truly have reasons to drink alcohol.
I can't believe I really thought voting for a reality TV star was a good idea. Clinton had experience and gravitas. Now we are being ruled by a crazy TV star.

"There are now multiple reports revealing that the president's personal attorney, the former mayor of New York, Rudi Giuliani, is the subject of a federal criminal investigation."

Ah well, I guess this is how we process it, as a group.

It is awful. A disgrace. What happened to the party of Lincoln, Taft, Eisenhower and Reagan?!

Well, Taft was sort of dim, Eisenhower was a chump, and Reagan was some sort of mean-spirited alien space lizard. It wasn't that big a jump to Trump.

Also, look at Snippy Bush. He wasn't much different from Trump on a policy level, so far as Trump can be said to have policies. His transgressions against America were less directly self-serving than Trump's, and he had a much happier style, like a frat boy working practical jokes, but essentially he was Trump without the clown disguise and the glazed eyeballs.

"Clinton had experience and gravitas". Huh?

4. Heavy alcohol consumption by Russians was supposed to be an inviolable law of nature. But it wasn't. Alcohol control policies adopted in Russia have greatly reduced alcohol consumption in Russia, while increasing life expectancy. In the U.S., tax avoidance by the wealthy likewise is supposed to be an inviolable law of nature. But it isn't. It's a policy choice. Better choices are possible. Alcohol consumption in Russia destroyed lives. Tax avoidance in the U.S. is bankrupting the U.S.

If the Russians had emulated the tax avoidance culture of americans, alcoholism wouldn't have become such a problem. The Czars encouraged drinking because that was their source of tax revenues.

"Alcohol control policies adopted in Russia have greatly reduced alcohol consumption in Russia, while increasing life expectancy."

Over the 2003 to 2016 period when alcohol consumption decreased over 40 percent, life expectancy rose from 65 years to almost 72 years. Then again, Russian life expectancy was 69 years in 1989 and 68 years in 1964.

Per World Bank 2016 data, alcohol consumption in 2016 still was still pretty high in Russia (12 litres per cap), and alcohol use disorder an outlier -

Changes indicate that Russia have done "better" than they did, not that Russia still isn't an outlier...


Russians were at 15.8 litres in 2010, and now *only* 11.7 litres... but that's still at the European norm, and probably combined with patterns that create higher death risk among East Slavs and Balts than among your typical countries.

It's unlikely to fall further and the problem drinking behaviours in East Slavic and Baltic populations are unlikely to dissolve.

#1 - so who has spottd the single Water Buffalo (or a Gnu?) in that photo?

His name is Waldo

Standing on the rocks, and the same color as the rocks.

And wondering if the borders are enforced at all.

Only after you mentioned it. That would be a prized piece if the picture were a jigsaw puzzle.

In other news, Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed Ali, an MR favorite, just won the Nobel Peace Prize! Yay!

Typical. Fake news. Some liberal in a shithole country steals my rightful Prize.

I'm sure he earned it. Nobel people would never be politically correct.

2. Let's read Life and Fate by Grossman and see how the Soviets treated women in the Soviet army in WW II. There's a new book out about Ethiopian women who fought against the Italians.

4. Central planning is good.

I would modify that to say top-down leadership can be good. Like Lee Kuan Yew's crusades against litter and drug use when he had to build a country from scratch.

I'm not sure authoritarian tactics would work as well in the free-wheeling US but maybe they would, as mean IQ trends downward.

People drink to medicate themselves from psychic pain, so apparently life is getting better in Russia.

#1 The same zebra. I know a deepfake when I see one!

#2 Everything you need to know about this is by watching the famous Dutch single-sex episode of Survivor. Men didn't control womens' sexuality. Women realized that sexuality was absolutely their most powerful tool to ensure they didn't die and had something to eat.

#4 That is pretty striking. I'm glad the Russians I know haven't been influenced!

Data provided in my upthread comment, but the Russians have mostly just reverted to a normal European drinking level, with some bias towards an "all or nothing" teetotalling vs spirits use Baltic-East Slavic drinking culture that gives them a slightly outsized level of alcohol use disorders relative to their consumption.

The MSM would probably take this data and conjure up falseimages of the Russians becoming "Strength Through Joy" fitness enthusiasts molded by Putinist nationalist-authoritarianism, to frighten and titillate a liberal audience.... Judging by the way they report on Russian football/soccer hooligans, for'ex and despite that obesity increase is going gangbusters in Russia.

Really this is just a reversion to Eastern European norms after an excess probably caused by deregulation and a bad economy during the post-Soviet early years.

Nothing to do with the benefits of central planning or authoritarian rule or physician-led paternalism on health, or any such nonsense.

Russian dashcam videos are easily found on YouTube. Other than the crazy tactics I see Russian drivers use, the one thing that I most notice is that the country actually looks quite prosperous today- it definitely doesn't look like a shithole. I suspect it is more than just alchohol control that has led to a decline in consumption of the product.

Russia's GDP per capita PPP at $28,000 is where the U.S. was in 1972 and the same as Turkey today.

How much of that GDP is from hydrocarbon extraction? Asking because it only seems like wealth from oil would benefit ordinary folks all that much if the oil revenue is shared.

Export sales of hydrocarbons and raw aluminium (which is just solid hydroelectric power) totaled at least 10% of Russian GDP last year.

In 1972 Americans were fairly satisfied with the economy, although some of it was due to the production of material for some disagreement in Southeast Asia.

Maybe you should go live there if you think it is so great.

So are the Russians still dieing off?

That was a Trump loving anti-Brazilian impostor.

No, it is not. It spoke against Mr. Teump, the traitor-in-chief betrayed our Brazilian and Kurdish friends!!!!!!!

#2: bet the significance drops to nothing once Africa+Islam data removed. Simply does not match what is attested historically for pre-Islamic Near Eastern pastoral+Eurasian pastoralism.

Unless it's buried somewhere in the last pages there doesn't seem to be any mention of large non-pastoral groups with missing men, for instance sailors and seamen, soldiers, truck drivers, lumberjacks, prospectors, etc. Did the 17th century sea-faring Dutch employ some of those restrictions on their women? Or the later British colonial administrators that left their women in the UK?

I expect their argument would be that those take in too little of a community to result in norm shift. They do refer to fishing of course, but pass over it quickly in a silence which is telling.

"In hunting, men leave the camp for hunting trips, which are short, and typically hunters return to camp on the same day. Exceptions are rare and include whale hunting, for example. Some forms of fishing are more similar to pastoralism in terms of male absence, i.e., in some forms of reef fishing men go on trips that last several days. However, this form of fishing is most common among some islands of the Pacific and cannot explain any of the variation that I am studying in this paper."

You would think that a similar absence pattern that does *not* support her argument would be relevant, but rather instead seems that she discards it because it is not connected with the variation that she believes extended male absent subsistence patterns must be.

I have never felt ashamed of America before. I always hold my head high, knowing America was the best and most principled nation in history. But now we are seeing by our allies as traitors. A Russian mole is trashing everything America means!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Really?!? Oh no, what happened?!?!?!!!?

The traitor-in-chief backstabbed our Brazilian and Kurdish allies!!

What?!? Oh my God, what can we do?!?! I wonder if people will start talking about impeaching him!

Talking about it is not enought. It is atime for action. I doubt America can endure a lenghty, uncertain impeachment procedure. I suggest the House invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment and depose Trump.

Wouldn't it be better if we invoke a Second Amendment solution? We have a right to bear arms to protect ourselves from tyranny!!

But it could throw America into the throes of civil war. I want to preserve our country, not to destroy it!!!!

So that is it, Munich in our time. You cower in the face of tyrrany. Someimtes desperate measures are needed in a crisis!!!

That is not the point at all. The point is, we must act in a way our country can fulfill its moral obligations without descending into chaos and fratricidal strife. I think bold action, deeply rooted, however, in the Constitutional soil, is the best option.

I am not Thiago. I am Mr. Peterson from Alabama.

If you don't get involved in the first place you won't have the opportunity to back stab later.

@Yancey Ward
October 11, 2019 at 1:45 pm
Best comment I've ever seen you post.

Regarding female sexuality... was wondering if you've heard of the anthropologist JD Unwin and his book, Sex and Culture. Unwin's thesis is that female chastity is correlated with the development of civilization.

So Islamamic cultures should be at a higher degree of civilization?

Do a web search on polygamous cultures and violence, then get back to me.

If you had to choose between living in a very cultured society that required strict monogamy (and a high degree of chastity for both males and females), vs living in the jungle in a culture where people can screw whoever and whenever, which would you choose?

I had a good day today

I relieved the pain of someone who never imagined that anyone would care enough about them to liberate them from their pain

feel free to be one of the hundreds of people who have insulted me on the internet webs

it makes no difference

God loves you God loves me

God is a lot more eloquent than you and me and NOBODY GIVES A FUCK IF YOU OR ME WIN AN ARGUMENT ON THE INTERNET

here is what God cares about

some of us suffer a lot in this world, and sometimes other people, who suffer just as much, or a little more, or a little less, pray to God that

the suffering of others finds healing.

I had a good day today I relieved the pain - by praying to God that the pain of a fellow human would be relieved - God relieved the pain of someone who never imagined that anyone would care enough about them to pray day in and day out for them, to offer up sufferings for them, so that for them


God loves you and you are infinitely important.

wake up wake up wake up

I hope you did not think I was kidding about the fact that nobody cares about me but I still want to be a real faith healer

I had a good day today I cared about the problems that someone else had

and God listened to my prayers

4. Russian alcohol consumption down 43% 2003-2016.

That's one way a very demoralized and disorganized country has been putting itself back together the last 20 years. Fertility recovery, rapid improvement in living standards, improvements in life expectancy, and reductions in street crime. (They also aren't carrying much debt and they balance their books). And none of it involved charter cities or 'Coasean solutions'.

#3: Geez louise. An unpleasant and self-centered woman whose metier was playing with academic verbiage. See Marvin Mudrick and Richard Grenier on her take on literature and public life.

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