Sunday assorted links

1. Peer review watch.

2. Silicon Valley residents are turning against self-driving cars.

3. The Indonesian woman who killed Kim’s brother with VX.

4. People weight reiterated messages too heavily (pdf).

5. “The distrust persists even half a century after the [Great Chinese] Famine, has been transmitted to the subsequent generation, and has spilled over to a broad range of political attitudes unrelated to the Famine.”  Link here.

6. Interview with Amartya Sen.  He can’t bring himself to admit that Modi is fairly popular.

Comments

5. “The distrust persists even half a century after the [Great Chinese] Famine, has been transmitted to the subsequent generation, and has spilled over to a broad range of political attitudes unrelated to the Famine.”

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I think is is time to start suing economists for fraud.

We see this same shady dealing with Obamacare, and the middle class was hit with some $500/month in unexpected charges. They were lied to by none other than Krugman, Delong and their bunch. For the next two generations we will have a middle class that thinks Berkeley is a fraudulent, incompetent university, a danger to society.

One might think we would get more intelligent economists, or else quit believing the horse manure from Berkeley.

Berkeley has been a danger to society at least since Governor Ronaldus Magnus. Defund the left.

https://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2019/10/uncertainty-takes-lead-democratic-presidential-race/

Another major Democratic donor, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations, said he and other donors seeking a moderate as a nominee have “zero interest in coming around to Elizabeth Warren.” If she’s the nominee, “we can’t vote for her or Donald Trump” and would sit out the election, he said.

The donor also expressed worries that if Warren is the nominee, her presence would ruin any Democratic chances to win the Senate, because voters would perceive having a Republican majority as “the only way to keep her in check” as president.
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Here is is again, voter regret theory, an unexplored research topic. I do not completely understand it, but can observe the impact everywhere. I know about our Nash equilibrium in which everyone agrees not to pay the direct costs for this government stuff.

The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not fail me just as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, but I really thought you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you can fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.

Consider the corollary to the theory, in banking.

Likely central bankers suffer PSTD from the Nixon shock. It lasts a lifetime, then we are going to have mentally defective bankers, exactly the people we do not want. Our central banker will attempt a 100 year mild deflation, to avoid another shock. I doubt we can do it, and they will crash the system.

Berkeley has a different opinion from you. They must be dangerous for committing the crime of wrongthink.

Institutions are not supposed to have opinions. Individuals have opinions.

If there's an institution (like the city of Berkeley) where almost all individuals, especially the ones in charge, have similar opinions, it's not terrible to refer to them in the aggregate in some cases.

2. "AI" is doing some great things, but the idea this leads to an AGI anytime soon has been oversold.

https://www.salon.com/2019/10/05/artificial-intelligence-isnt-very-intelligent-and-wont-be-any-time-soon_partner/

Mmmm...donuts.

If this is some signal that you don't understand the connection between AGI and truly "self" driving,

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

And of course #4 is overtly connected to daily events.

'Hunter Biden did not get $1.5 billion from China. Saying it over and over again does NOT make it true, Mr. President.'

https://twitter.com/GlennKesslerWP/status/1180897618140024832?s=19

How much funding did his investment vehicle receive from the government of China?

$1.5 billion? Is this in dispute or are you, in the vein of #4, attempting to spread falsehoods?

Interesting.

Since there is nothing here, Biden should just play Trump's old game, better:

"Fake news, next question."

Ok it’s fake news because Biden received $1.5 billion to his investment vehicle from the Chinese government. And he only owned what 15% or the firm?

So it’s fake news because his newly created firm received the billion + and not his personal account.

If that’s the pitch you guys are going with you need to start working on your Warren bumper stickers.

This is fake news. There is nothing wrong with Biden receiving an investment from a Chinese state-owned bank to the tune of $1 billion or $10 billion or what have you. Fake news.

Where is the law against that?? Thanks. Not illegal.

Next.

Boring, fake news, fake anonymous.

Of course it's fake news. It's not like you can point to something real, like an FBI investigation:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/01/politics/ivanka-trump-fbi-investigation/index.html

Or really awful corruption, like stealing from kids with cancer:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2017/06/06/how-donald-trump-shifted-kids-cancer-charity-money-into-his-business/

It is really amazing in fact, and by that I mean dumb, that a family with so many actual skeletons in the closet would choose this fake news strategy.

Sorry, Joe’s not in Trump’s league. He’s toast. And you know it.

4. Another example:

"Giuliani is reading from a blog called HopelesslyPartisan dot com, claiming to be affidavits.

People think I’m exaggerating when I say they’re trying to prove conspiracy theories from blogs true by repeating them enough. It is actually what The White House’s plan is."

https://twitter.com/oneunderscore__/status/1180971632975908865?s=19

As opposed to what? The Washington Post? Reliably wrong.

On one level, fake news.

But on another, don't worry about the outlets, just count the associates in jail.

Sen: "I think the first time the Muslim League actually won the elections was only 1946". As if he wouldn't know perfectly well!

Is he perhaps disguising an embarrassing truth? Is he trying to hide the fact that Muslim politicians - perhaps not formally the Muslim League? - had controlled the provincial government and proved themselves terribly incompetent at the time of the famine during WWII?

If so, why? What's in it for him?

Amartya Sen is rare bird, indeed. He has written two of the fairest and most appreciative essays of economists often lamentably misunderstood, James Buchanan and Friedrich Hayek...

On James Buchanan
by Amartya Sen
Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University, Department of Economics, North Yard, Littauer Center 205, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States

Abstract
The social engagement on which Buchanan has placed his focus is particularly important to bear in mind in solving the problems that the world faces today. Whether we are concerned with global warming or other environmental challenges, or with crippling unemployment and a stalled economy, the need for interactive public reasoning has never been stronger. The cultivation of the taste for public reasoning in an open-minded way, which James Buchanan has done so much to advance, is one of the features of his greatness for which economists and other social scientists—and indeed the world at large—have much reason to be grateful."

And...

"Our debt to Hayek is very substantial. He helped to establish a freedom-based approach of evaluation through which economic systems can be judged (no matter what substantive judgments we arrive at). He pointed to the importance of identifying those services that the state can perform well and has a social duty to undertake. Finally, he showed why administrative psychology and propensities to corruptibility have to be considered in determining how states can, or cannot, work and how the world can, or cannot, be run.

As someone whose economics (as well as politics) is very different from Hayek's, I would like to use the 60th anniversary of The Road to Serfdom to say how greatly indebted we are to his writings in general and to this book in particular. Dialectics is critically important for the pursuit of understanding, and Hayek made outstanding contributions to the dialectics of contemporary economics.

The writer, Lamont university professor at Harvard University, was awarded the Nobel prize for economics in 1998

Financial Times, Sept. 20, 2004. "

Armed with Sen, Hayek, and Buchanan, analyze Modi for yourselves.

#5 But I thought China's regime was great and we destroy our economy to help it? Were all the insiders lying?! I wonder if they are not behind the anti-Trump coup attempt.

I rubbed a jalapeno on my anushole once. Damn mexicans.

I think that is an impersonator.

Mmmmm....jalapeno

#4 and #5 are interesting as they seem to be looking at the same thing but I'm not sure what to call it, social decision making heuristics? (please tell me if there is a better term).

Netflix had a documentary about Flat Earthers called Behind the Curve and it had one really interesting tidbit. People who believe the world is flat have often experienced a loss that has disrupted their social network. It's death or divorce typically and for some people this means they no longer have:
1) Someone whose opinion they trust (who believes in a round world).
2) A social network whose opinion they fear (e.g. shame).

How much of our beliefs are social? We think of ourselves as rational islands but the reality is the majority of our knowledge is trust based. I've never empirically tested whether the world is flat or not and in my busy life I never will, as ridiculous as it sounds it's a belief based on trust in my social network (which includes pilots).

Trust is necessary for anyone who wants to live a half-way meaningful or productive life. If the only people you trust are those trusted by those in your social network, then that leaves you vulnerable to herd thinking and echo chambers. Too much trust in elites or official institutions, of course, can also be a bad thing.

The difficulty for most people, who will only ever attain expertise in one or two narrow subject areas if any at all, is the balancing act between relying on one's social network, elite institutions, and one's own general level of education and common sense.

#2...I've never understood the appeal. What if it goes the wrong way? When you point that out, it says "We're just about there. Be patient." Can you jump out?

self-driving cars for thee but not for me

What are silicon valley residents not turning against?

6. Amartya Sen
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Indian progressives have mastered the art of absolving their favorite groups (read minorities) of any wrongdoing by simply abstaining from prosecuting them.

#6...Interesting. Citations please.

Good point. Well-meaning Americans have wasted decades trying to make India and Muslim countries work. It won't happen. Whatever it is that makes a great civilization, it is not there. You can lead a horse to water, but you can teach it the value of good governance, democracy, education, etc. Savages will be savages.

That's also why Brazil will never be a great civilization. We are savages.

I think that is an anti-Brazilian impersonator. Brazil is actually thought highly of by most esperts.

2. Ridiculous whining. I live near one of the busiest intersections with no traffic light in one of the densest neighborhoods in SF (north beach). They're testing those cars there every day. The dangerous stuff from humans is constant; the AI cars occasionally can't figure out how to get around a double-parked UPS truck.

By now, the cat-and-mouse game was nearing its conclusion as the North Korean agents closed in on their quarry, tracking Kim as he returned to Malaysia and met a CIA agent in a Langkawi hotel, where he exchanged a laptop full of data for a wad of US$100 bills before heading to the capital.

The encounter, monitored by North Korean agents, would have undoubt­edly fuelled Kim Jong-un’s fears that the United States planned to topple him and install his hapless half-brother as a puppet leader.

When one engages in espionage the results can be fatal, no matter what country is involved.

You have no idea...

Please, please please please ban tech development in calif. They say in democracy you get the government you deserve.

If they do that, then China will take the lead.

5. I would think that in a survey explicitly asking how much Chinese citizens trust government, those who trust govt. least would enter 10, lest they be outed as hostile to the regime and hauled to the gulag (or whatever they call it in China).

Growing distrust of self-driving cars should have been expected. Being able to self-drive requires judgement when unknown unknowns happen. And self-driving cars have to exist within a very complex, adaptive system dominated by unknown unknowns.

This means that self-driving cars will continue to have accidents, annoy other drivers, etc. Supporters will say that if they had even a small percentage of the accidents that humans have, it will be a big win.

To that I say that if self-driving cars have even 1% of the annual fatalities that human drivers cause, they will be taken off the road. And 1% would be a miraculous number.

No one will tolerate cars that kill 300 people per year, even while we tolerate humans that kill 30,000 in accidents. For one thing, we are good at telling ourselves that we are better than average drivers, so it's easy to hand-wave accident statistics away as not being relevant to you. But if a Tesla has 100 self-driving accidents that kill 50 people in different events over a year, you know that your Tesla could kill you if conditions are right, and there's nothing you could do about it.

Our perception of personal risk is very skewed. If flying in an airliner was as dangerous as driving, and 30,000 people died in one year in 500 different plane crashes, no one would fly. Hell, if it was twice as safe and only 15,000 people died in one year, no one would fly.

When we drive we tolerate a lot of risk because of the belief (generally misguided) that we are protected by our own skill and ability to avoid accidents. The minute a machine does the driving/flying for us, that perception will change and the tolerance for accidents will plummet

I continue to believe that driverless will first become practical in a country willing to make a small town or city driverless onlly. Driverless would then serve as a complement to whatever public transport is installed there and could be tested fully without having to deal with interactions with humans whose accidental or intentional deviations from "good" driving cause most of the big problems for driverless. Moreoever, residents and visitors to the area would become familiar with the tech in relatively safe conditions.

Keep in mind that the entire populations of Hong Kong and Taiwan are fully aware of the falsity of all propaganda related to the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and more. Many of them (at least in Hong Kong) fled China precisely because of these events. So is anyone surprised that they have massive mistrust in the Chinese government (even if they simultaneously, like the NBA, very much enjoy making Chinese money)?

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