Monday assorted links


The problem with textbooks and the political influence is NOT what is put into them but what the political influence doesn't allow to be in them.

Anyone talking about textbooks needs to read Richard Feynman's experience Judging Books by Their Covers. Sounds like things have only got worse (and more political, but I repeat myself) since then.

Feynman rocks as usual. thanks for the link.

Helpful info. Lucky me I found your web site unintentionally, and I am stunned why this coincidence did not happened in advance!
I bookmarked it.


Great read. California should just randomly select a physicist or mathematician from either Caltech or Harvey Mudd to choose all textbooks for the next decade, and then pay them well for their work (no state taxes for the decade?) And yes, choose all textbooks, not just math and science.

Then every state should just copy California.

Scott Alexander, go make this happen please.

Feynman was second rate.

In every way.

I don't expect that anyone reading this will agree ---- at least not at first.

But it is true.

Absolutely. So were the Beatles and Isaac Newton. Most people just don't get it.

Here here. definitely over-rated. I personally write better songs than the Beatles every day before breakfast. I have theories of electromagnetism that are way better than Feynman's (whoever that is). Isaac Newton? Pish posh. His so-called "laws" are mere common sense.
Unlike some people, I'm not afraid to use my real name either.

I know, right? He even said I was better looking than him.

Why do I bother, nobody understands...

Why do I bother, nobody understands.

We do understand, but you don't understand that.

recursive reasoning is the best reasoning, fosbury flop was invented in a great place

as aristotle once said, we all rejoice when someone tells us something we had not heretofore understood

that is why we bother, i guess

y'all are great at doing what you do when you do it right

thanks for playing along

3.) Woah, I didn't expect to see StrategyPage pop up on MR. Has it been linked here before? StrategyPage is a fantastic, scrappy source of insider military affairs news and info. It is a breath of fresh air in comparison to most other defense discussions in the media.

3. How is it that the percentage of eligible Americans is going up? Is it just the HS diploma % or are other things also better?
Is it across the board or just some demographics and/or areas?
The part about some combat danger increasing enlistment makes sense to me.

I'm guessing it is a mix of the following:

Drug use and alcohol abuse is down among youth.

College as an option is quickly becoming less useful / affordable, making the military a more viable option for getting the same skills.

Obesity is still a problem, as noted in the article, but I'm guessing the increase in obesity is slowing to the point where the army is comfortable raising physical standards. And as nonsensical as the health foods trends can be most of the time, it is encouraging more people to get into shape.

And also, as you noted, more students are finishing high school.

StrategyPage is cool, once you accept that James Dunnigan is living in a Tom Clancey novel.

Disclaimer: I have an original copy of "How to make war".

Over many years, I've met people from nations with compulsory military service. Two successful, young (at the time) women (one from Singapore and one from Taiwan) come to mind.

Bring back the draft.

Yeah let’s not


Updike reference ?

I apologize for an unfair, unjustified James Fenimore Cooper reference.

Google has nothing. I assume this is a 1992 movie reference since there’s no actual source material link from the author.

Daniel Day-Lewis ? Given your name that connection makes the most sense.

#3 Even in my day, it was hard to get quality enlisted people without some form of waiver, and I imagine this is still happening at above-average levels (I may be wrong but I believe the lowest level of waivers was shortly after the 1st Gulf War) for minor things (tats, medical, fitness, etc.).

Two factors I think are more ominous are the continuing stratification of enlistment among certain demographics, families and regions within the US. It's becoming a veritable family business. The other is moralistic and motivational. There are smart young people that the military could use that are increasingly turned-off by the prospect of having to contribute their generation's efforts to the never-ending commitment in the trash-heap known as the Middle-East, and I don't frickin' blame them.

#7 First, follow the money. Second, she's being used and abused. Third, their (not her...their) entire premise and policy proposals are so extreme as to be laughable. Fourth, they're hypocrites.

She's not even using her own words. She's fed a script in real-time while it was revealed last week her dad stealth-edits her Facebook page. There isn't anything about St. Greta that isn't over the top.

Is there any evidence she’s being abused at all? Haven’t seen it.

Seems just like an atypical kid (in various ways) unable to grok the difference between intentionally hyperbolic language used for signaling allegiance and the actual truth.

The visceral reaction to a political teen just seems unnecessary.

Reportedly, she saw a TV climate hoax extravaganza and was mute for a year following.

Similarly, about 40 million American children and their parents are convinced/terrorized that they will be shot to death in school.

Evidence for her selective mutism? That’s a pretty rare disorder. Never read that about her history. Given her autism, it’s not out of the question, but I’d like a source.

Were you traumatized hiding under your desk implausibly sheltering yourself from nuclear Armageddon? Now imagine you have autism and lack the ability to understand things in any context outside of literalism.

An autist in 1955 standing up and declaring nuclear war wrong still wouldn’t be incorrect.

Your last sentence isn't analogous to what Greta has been saying.

"I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, OCD, and selective mutism." - Greta Thunburg

This is also my take on Greta's case: She's too autistic to take social moves meant as signaling and interpret them as signaling. I think that Greta just believes what she says, and expects that neurotypical adults who are also decent people do the same. But we don't. We overstate out beliefs to show our tribal adherence, just like we overstate our enthusiasm for our home team's successful plays. These are actually far less important to us personally than what our passionate howls in the stands would indicate! Autistic aliens would just get us wrong if they concluded from this behavior that we care about sports more than anything, because nothing makes us shout with joy like an emphatic dunk. We do something similar regarding global warming, and I can't blame an autistic kid like Greta if that goes completely over her head. Now she thinks we literally expect our hair to catch fire in 2045 or whatever, so she expects it too. No wonder she's freaking out! I think that her intense sincerity gives us a good occasion to confront our collective insincerity when we talk about climate. (We emphatically express concern, but deep down we're quite sure we'll be OK. That last part is something we obviously can't say, but it's evident in all our behavior, including the fact that net intra-US migration is depopulating the colder states and filling up hot, climate-catastrophe-prone places like Texas and Florida.) But who am I kidding. Admitting that we're overstating our climate fears is like going to a game and yelling "Nothing important in my life will change if the Maple Leafs win or lose!" That would be very poor spirit!


I suspect medieval princes could surround themselves with Holy Fools for much the same reasons. A gesture to the court of their piety, without believing it for one minute.

This exactly correct, although I think it is a bit more cynical than that in some quarters, in that they will use the threat of climate change as an excuse to push for racial economic changes while walling off solutions like nuclear power from consideration, so as to make the threat appear unresolvable without their particular solutions.

2. California tells more truths, yay.

But for recent California editions, publishers wrote thousands of words of new text in response to the FAIR Education Act, a law signed by Governor Brown in 2011. It requires schools to teach the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and disabled Americans.

Peppered throughout California books are passages on topics like same-sex families under slavery and early sex reassignment surgery in the 1950s — text that does not appear in Texas versions.

In short, they rewrite History with unleavened bunkum to advance the liberal agenda.

At best, it sounds like they water it down with pointless asides and irrelevancies.

It would actually be nice if Texans (and others) learned about the National Firearms Act of 1934 in tandem with the 2nd Amendment. It would save them having to be educated later.

Do you believe the Supreme Court and Federal courts are infallible?

The 1934 Act Is trivia compared to 413 years (1607 to 2020) history of Americans being fully armed (from 1789 protected by the Second Amendment).

What part of "shall not be infringed" is difficult to comprehend? believe yourself to be infallible.

Also, what part of "well-regulated" is difficult to comprehend?


Not really.

Sure, that way there's more time to teach them about how transgender soldiers won the civil war for the Union, yes?

It was Terry Pratchett that taught uz that!

First unironic look at anonbear’s worldview.

“Dom sets out, with Hrsh-Hgn (his tutor, a swamp-dwelling...Isaac (his robot, equipped with Man-Friday subcircuitry) and Ig (his pet swamp ig) in tow, on a picaresque adventure to find the Jokers' world”

Yikes, Boomer psycho fantasy. Explains much. While we studied vector regressions and machine learning algorithms, anonymous read in his mom’s basement about the fantasy world of “Hrsh-Hgn”.

So on one side you have analytics. On the other side there’s anonymous, with racist science fiction.

Morally disgusting

An actual prig.

You are one weird troll.

"Hrsh-Hgn" is apparently a character in The Dark Side of the Sun, a book I have never read.

6.4% for Ethiopia is slow productivity growth: its labor force grows at like 4% a year.

#1: that tweet is from a while ago; he's already got a handful episodes. I think I listened to two of them and they were both decent if a bit too slow-moving (ie, he and his guests blathered on for too long about certain subject without saying much that was all that insightful). He's a sharp young guy; it'll be interesting to see what he does with his talents.

I enjoyed him in the Dilemma podcast, I'll check his conversations out.

#7 "The truth, as one anonymous blogger aptly put it, is that your generation is unable to work up to forty hours per week without being chronically depressed and anxious. Its members cannot even decide if they want to be a boy or a girl, or both, or neither, or a “they.” They cannot eat meat without crying. I might add that your generation needs “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” as pre-conditions for learning in school."

I wonder why said blogger refused to bequeath jis name to posterity.

Well, we know from your post that you can’t spell, J., but perhaps reading isn’t your forte either? The author of 7. has added his name. He’s a philosophy prof. from Chicago.

The person who's anonymous wasn't the blogger at the link provided in this post. The essay this post links to references an anonymous blogger. J. provided a quote--not sure if he typed it himself or copied/pasted, but any errors are going to be transcription errors or directly from the author.

If you're going to attack someone for lack of reading comprehension, it would behoove you to ensure that your posts are free of at least egregious errors within that category.

Maybe it was my fault for not having that the person who did not provide his/her/their name is the one the article calls "anonymous blogger", not the person who signed the article with his name. I mean how was the God of Thunder supposed to know what "anonymous" means?

"The author of 7. has added his name. He’s a philosophy prof. from Chicago"
"but perhaps reading isn’t your forte either?"
Now, I am in the difficult situation of trying to explain something through the written word to a guy who can not read and thinks it is my fault.

7: Why not recommended? Because it makes perfect sense?

"A Randian response to Greta"? No need for Tyler to recommend it, it is self-recommending.

Also, I am puzzled as to why--other than a single reference to the core mechanism of Atlas Shrugged--what makes the linked essay "Randian." That just strikes me as trying to poison the well.

Perhaps alluding to an eagerness for sex?

When they were still alive, my Swedish geezer elders would occasionally talk about how hard life was in rural Sweden, where they had farms. No electricity and every few days they’d all be rock duty: clearing fields of manageable sized rocks so the plough blades wouldn’t bend. Then they’d have a rousing evening of beet pickling. Good luck in that world Greta!

My grandfather still tells us stories of his youth growing up plowing with horses. It was horrific by today's standards. Fun to do on occasion--I got to spend a week or two each summer helping him run his hobby farm, and he ran it old-school--but as a lifestyle it'd get old FAST.

The most telling thing to me is that young people left farms--in droves--to work in sweat shops. 12-hour days in conditions that would make an OSHA inspector pass out from horror were considered preferable to that lifestyle. The rate of injuries was less, too!

That guy behind the water buffalo sends his kids to the sweatshop, because it is a step up.

Agriculture was the worst mistake in history.

"Agriculture was the worst mistake in history."

It enables you to out-breed the pastoralists and hunter-gatherers. You get waaaaaay more KCal/Ha.

The grain/rice surplus can be stored, unlike meat. From surplus you get specialisation of labour. From that you get cities. From cities you get.....atom bombs to drop on the heads of any 'effing hunter-gatherers who didn't get the memo first time around.

Hunter gather population of the planet was max 10 million. We could go back that (dark green's plan) but the transition would be fairly unpleasant to say the least.

"Agriculture was the worst mistake in history."

No. Agriculture is a product of the times, just like everything else. It was brutal back when my grandfather was a kid, but EVERYTHING was brutal. Factory work offered something better--horrific by our standards, but marginally better by theirs.

Remember, industry wasn't any better until a few generations ago. Child labor was ubiquitous, and often a father would have his sons working for him--right from the point where they could hold tools. Children worked in mines, in saw mills, in foundries, even on steam engines (Adam Smith has a neat story about a lazy kid making a major advancement in steam power because he wanted to play with his friends). The options weren't "normal childhood vs hard labor", the options were "which hard labor do you choose?" Hunter-gatherers were worse in many ways, because the definition of "work" breaks down.

It's like discussing 18th/19th century navies (I like the "wooden ships and iron men" thing, so this happens from time to time). Yeah, there was flogging and horrible food and cramped conditions and the like, and it'd kill any of us to live in those conditions for more than about three days. But when you look at the society those navies were operating in, it quickly becomes apparent that life was better for sailors in many ways. They could be flogged, but there were limits. They had bad food, but it was still better and more plentiful than many landsmen ate. They were cramped, but didn't spend much time "inside" anyway.

Context matters.

I wouldn't recommend it either. Aside from a couple of good points about increased life expectancy and reduced poverty brought about by technology and the industrial revolution, the author doesn't rebut any of Greta's points about climate change and future disasters. He could have cited statistics showing increased CO2 production and lower global temperatures in two of the past three years, the increased greening of our forests and plants over the past X years, how the polar ice caps have not melted uniformly and have actually grown in size in other places.

The author puts words into Greta's mouth that I doubt she ever intended: "if the great producers of the this world...were to withdraw their...minds..." When did she ever imply people to stop thinking creatively?

And then the author sounds like the "get off my lawn" geezer when he calls her generation lazy, entitled, lethargic, blah blah blah.

Finally, he claims China is economically annexing Africa and Latin America - whatever the hell that means - and Iran's uranium projects? These points make no sense and are just wrong on the facts, and are really besides the point. And I thought nuclear was clean energy? Or is this another one of these neocon, Israel-first organizations dressed up as libertarian - on the right side of the website is an ad for one of Robert Spencer's islamophobic books.

So yes, it should not be recommended.

" on the right side of the website is an ad for one of Robert Spencer's islamophobic books." – Awww sweet. There are still people on the web, that don't understand how online ads work?

It's just Horowitz. A true believer to the end. Last time I saw that guy was during one of those frat-boy riots in Berkeley around 1969. Everyone was having a great time throwing rocks at police cars, and Horowitz was on a street-corner huddled with a bunch of Trots, talking about the best strategies for times like this when "the masses are moving." Writing open letters to unruly teeny-boppers is a move up-town for Horowitz.

She does seem to touch a nerve here and there.

Alright, placing my bets ~1 month from now we will have a post on "link click-through rates" and all those not-recommended links will have the highest rates - which is why they exist to begin with. Been way too many all of sudden!


Not recommended?
That made me read it.

What would happen if Tyler double dog dared you not to vote for Warren?

I am not wealthy or well-connected enough to vote for a progressive, so I would take the advice.

To my fellow gen Xers, does anyone else see the irony in Ethiopia’s economic progress while young progressives are warning that the “sky is falling” with respect to climate change??

No (the hungry in Ethiopia was mainly because of a war between three different variants of Communists all saying that the other two were not "real socialism"), not because climate.

But the climate change alarmists blame everything on climate change and always tell us Africa will be hit hardest by Americans driving SUVs. So Ethiopia is doing great in the face of climate change and obviously Nigeria depends on oil exports to drive it economy. So climate change action would harm Nigeria which is an “inconvenient truth”. ;)

Fear sells like none other.

7 links are usually more than you typically post, so if you don't recommend it, why would you post it? The piece is not well written, and is more of an aggressive neocon piece rather than a "Randian" one, and it's hosted at an aggressive neocon publication, which nobody reads but which did have a larger following earlier in the century when the neocon wars were just starting and aggressive neoconnery was more fashionable.

The only reason you'd post it is because you sympathize with it. You've hinted at sympathies with certain neoconnish views in the past, and you often mention that you believe "Straussian" intellectual dishonesty is necessary, so I imagine that's what's going on here. At any rate, you should stop being such a coward and intellectually dishonest.


Assumes facts not in evidence, then a winding tale of conspiracy theorizing. That it ends with an ad hominem is not in the least bit surprising.

7 links are more than usual. It is poorly written. It is a neocon piece, and Frontpage is neocon. These are all facts.

There is no conspiracy theorizing since it concerns a single individual.

It doesn't end with an ad hominem since it doesn't end with an argument. It ends with an exhortation.

While it's not "recommended," it is certainly an example of a certain style of thinking. That is, if you can't grasp climate change, or you are uncomfortable with progressive responses to it, just focus all your rage on a sixteen, going on seventeen, year old girl.

How productive. And if I may, how characteristic of anti-intellectual conservatism.

Notice that we never see any real flip side for this. There is no Greta 2020 movement. There is no one who thinks she personally is going to be any kind of architect for change. She has never called herself "the chosen one." The religious have never circled to call her "God's Plan." No one has made belief in her a test of faith. She's just a girl, and fans are more about her speaking truth to power than her being on any path to power.

Personally I find it pretty sad that climate change is only accessible to so many in this way. But maybe the math is hard?

Maybe we need a Greta for nuclear energy.

Definitely. Great point. Is Kim Kardashian available? Seriously. She knows how to move the needle with the powers that be.

Sure, why not. Get Charlize Theron and leverage Atomic Blonde.

"....math is hard."

Yes, the coupled, non-linear systems of differential equations are beyond your comprehension, which is why you are so gullible and such a sucker for the warmunist alarmists.

Greta is a tool. Sad indeed.

Yet another commenter who got a B-minus in advanced algebra at Tufts, and still can't get over it twelve years later.

Precision is especially hard, but it has always been a false argument that high precision is required.

The relationship between greenhouse gasses and warming is irrefutable. It has been demonstrated in the lab, and in the world.

The canard that scientists must precisely describe future damage, for there to be any damage, is a fool's demand.

A troll's demand.

#2) The article starts out on a bad foot by citing treatment of the Second Amendment as an example of how textbooks can differ in ways that are shaded by partisan politics, somewhat implying that both CA and TX symmetrically "shade" their treatment. The TX book, however, doesn't even comment on the Second Amendment, providing only the original text. How can refraining from injecting pro-gun commentary be "partisan"? The rest of the article seemed fine.

I am glad to see that even the CA textbook acknowledges that the Bill of Rights limits the powers of government, i.e., the American conception of rights, as used in the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, is limited to *negative* rights, things that the government cannot do.

I understand why publishers want to cater to TX and CA, the two largest states. However, if they wanted to reconcile the differences, there's a simple way to do so: just go by what swing/non-partisan states like MI, OH, and FL want.

Saying that limiting the powers of the government to do some things protects some of the rights of the people does not mean other rights can not be promoted by the goverment doing other things. But I guess "con-servatives" will never make their peace with the 13th Amendment to the U.S.

Given modern computerized content management system, it might only get worse. Textbook buyers might be given 100 check boxes for what they want there kids to see, or not see. Nothing even has to be "re-written." The text just re-flows for the new reality.

Just a lovely and amazing response to a sad little teenage girl who is being manhandled by her abusive stunted handlers.

Truly. She is the most important non compos mentis person in the world currently being imperfectly "handled" by adults in the room. We Americans should be the *first* to throw stones.

Definitely. And upon second thought, I find Tyler, who I greatly respect, takes the easy, hypocritical way out with his "non" recommendation of the link HE posted. After all, he is often jetsetting all over the world in those horrible airplanes to spread the gospel of laissez-faire economic progress and human advancement for the well being of all mankind at various conferences and whatnot.

Never mind his jetting around; Tyler thinks the way out of environmental problems is to have more people on the planet, so that there are more potential problem solvers. He is odd this way.

Or, if we assume some arbitrarily large number of future humans are happy, we are absolved of all guilt.

Nothing we do matters.

#7: Wow, I tell ya, it is bracing and invigorating to read a good ol' fashioned RANT! Especially in response to a ranter! Do you think we can get Jason and Greta into an arena together? Best two out of three serve-and-volley? Greta could get there by walking in sandals she made herself from reindeer moss, Jason could arrive via diesel-powered jetpack assembled by Nepalese child labor.

(2.) They forgot to conclude the headline: "And here's why that's a problem." Luckily, it's easy to infer if you read the article.

#7 is a bit over the top here and there indeed, but makes perfect sense.

It seems to have slipped Tyler's mind though, that Greta-ists arguments use "over the top" as their foundation.

The author of #7 hasn't even mentioned all the marxist or identity politics baggage that Greta's Followers make sure to unpack once in power.

7. De-growth in rich countries isn't so bad. The way I think about de-growth is, if all Americans worked one fewer day a week with the result that America's GDP and carbon emissions fell by 20%, we could have a similar GDP per capita as Canada, and would enjoy significantly more leisure time to boot. I have been to Canada many times, and it seems like a fine place to live, certainly people are not huddling around a campfire in a jungle. In fact, many, perhaps even most, Americans are more time-pressed than money-pressed and would probably be happier if they gave up 20% of their income in exchange for 20% fewer working hours (an option that is currently not available in most professions and socially frowned upon). if we want to go further, Western Europe has about half of US emissions per capita and living standards there are also quite good. De-growth to Western European levels would go a long way to solving global climate problems and even have a good chance of making many Americans happier because of the corresponding increase in leisure time.

Also, lol @ "Those who lived on land with oil and did nothing with it never had a right to it in the first place." Sadly, this probably sums up Anglo-American political philosophy as it has been actually practiced better than any other sentence I've ever read.

We can't work like Canadans or Germans or frogs, we have wars to pay for. Who is going to patrol the Persian Gulf but US?

We Europeans export our industrial emissions to China.

I learned something today. When Tyler says "Not recommended", that really means "Not recommended".

Coined a new word "ecofascist". Excellent.

My take;

1. Is there any more inconvenient format than a podcast? Who has the time to listen to them?
2. Why is Texas so much more sensible than California? Texas has just as much diversity in ethnic terms, and California used to be conservative as well. What happened?
3. Sounds like this improvement is just due to lower recruitment target. Not really an indicative trend of anything interesting.
4. As others have noted, not great considering population growth and a very low starting base.
5. As you get older I have read that daydreaming and fantasizing becomes more difficult. Is it a physical thing due to aging of the brain, or is it a simple response to narrowing of options?
6. The Speccie obit was a bit of a hagiography. They were not however able to point to any real achievements by Scruton, except his ability in the past to speak Farsi, which is not that impressive to me given millions of kids are able to do this! I feel like Philosophers are a bit like the Talmud scholars, or the bible study folks. Impressive concentration on something, but at the end of the day pretty useless product. I wonder what Scruton's brainpower could have achieved in say physics, or maths or engineering, or even in practical politics which would have improved people's lives much much more than his philosophizing.
7. Greta is weird no doubt. But there is a substantial section of the younger population who think like her. I think of her, and similar people (anti-vaxxers, anti-GMO, anti-nuclear) as useful in some respects for society by preventing complacency even though on these particular topics they are wrong. People in key decision making roles for society should be challenged I think. Another thought in this area, some people are very literal in their thinking, it took me a long time to appreciate this and the need for very careful phrasing to avoid problems. I don't think this is necessarily an autistic trait, or even an intelligence related one.

2. Good point.

Monomania of single party rule? More inner city Dalits? More self-selecting utopians to Ca? Technology rather than Indo-Agro base? Self-selection of Conservatives back to Texas?

Chris A..."I feel like Philosophers are a bit like the Talmud scholars, or the bible study folks. Impressive concentration on something, but at the end of the day pretty useless product."

Well, I was an undergraduate Philosophy major and a philosophy graduate student for a year, and I do study the Talmud, but the study of the Talmud influences, more than anything else, how I live my life, and my relation to G-d. I think that's substantial.

I have enjoyed reading a number of Scruton's books, and can certainly recommend them, but he isn't my favorite recent philosopher, or even close to being so.

#7 I laughed at a philosophy professor lecturing a kid on the knowledge and tecgnology that sustain our level of consumption. If only he were a farmer, an engineer, or a sweatshop worker....he projects his own uselessness on Greta.

What is the actual philosophy of the Yankees? Whose thinking is most closely aligned with American culture? What influence determines American concepts of right and wrong, moral and immoral?

the radio lectures of J Vernon McGee are where you want to start

The angry with Greta Thunberg guys hilarious, not sure Tyler should be giving him publicity though.

It's a tall order to out over the top Greta, but Tyler's right, this guy manages it.

#7. Certainly not the correct response.
The correct response is that she has been lied to and that the situation is nowhere near as dire as she's been told. And that she's been lied to by people who have a larger agenda that has nothing to do with climate change but who are using climate change as a means to push for unrelated social change. And that they are using her because, as a child, she has no notion of the complicated politic motivating all participants in the climate change debate, which makes her easy to manipulate for their own agenda.

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