Tuesday assorted links


7. That seems important.

Its only important insofar as those countries tend to be locked out full access to the global economy due to their own government's interference.

They are artificially limited to the market within that nation's borders.

3. Tyler - can you please write a longer response to Bryan's 2 blog posts? He had many thought-provoking points, and I'm very curious about your reaction.

I'm not sure what Bryan should be taking from the Post article. Here was a key sentence that seems to have escaped Tyler's glance: "Sometimes a precursor to ME/CFS post-viral fatigue syndrome can occur after virtually any viral infection. Symptoms wax and wane; a person can feel fine one day and terrible the next. Exercise or other usual activities can bring fever and often symptoms rushing back. Although there is no known treatment, these problems often resolve on their own."

So very few suffer these prolonged effects, and for the most part the problems resolve themselves.

Bryan wins this round.

Didn't he just say other diseases do such and such and so this one does too?

That's never a strong argument. It's like grouping typhoid with food poisoning.

Quite a few SARS survivors were left with CFS and this was years later. It’s not a transient problem. It’s not specific to SARS-CoV-1 or CoV-2 , it can happen with other viruses even West Nile.
It’s something to watch for. It may or may not end up being a significant problem.

A close friend had to retire early from a career he enjoyed because of ME/CFS. He had always wondered if it was psychosomatic; if so, he thought, he should be right as rain in retirement.

But no; life continued - one day well enough for a round of golf, the next day too weak to clamber out of bed.

A close friend of mine had to retire early from a career he enjoyed (he was mayor of a town) due to Lyme. I wonder if Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed as ME/CFS.

In a country of 350M, you're going to have to be more specific than 'quite a few'. Quite a few people die in swimming pools and reclining chairs, but what's the threshold for mothballing the whole economy over it?

Not just Tyler's response, but Alex's too since he got called out specifically.

One thing Caplan didn't discuss is the use of quarantines which was very effective in Asia without shutting down too much of their economy. His piece was rather high in political rhetoric with lectures about individual freedom versus the role of the state and a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking (quoting today's known statistics that were clearly not known back in March) but there was a lot of pragmatic methods and empirical data generated by countries that saw this pandemic before the West did. To me, facts on the ground count for more during an unfolding crisis than reasoning from first principles as academics instinctually tend to do. Even though the West had months to prepare, its failure to learn from the disaster aversion strategies in the East is all the more disappointing and its too bad Caplan didn't address it (in fact, Asia isn't even mentioned once).

4. All these pieces describing how online education done well can substitute for the classroom - there are disciplined students who can do that, there are more who need a physical presence in a classroom to be pushed to work by the instructor or peer pressure. Otherwise why do athletes need coaches? Just have an expert print out a regime and send them off to do it by themselves?

Maybe the problem is the standard four year undergraduate degree. I did mine under the old British system: three years for a regular degree, one more only if you wanted honors. The typical first year in a US degree is loaded with general ed courses of questionable value.

I have taught many exchange students from MIT: bright youngsters but a year behind their British peers.

There was no discernible advantage from any general ed course they may have done. Many of them accorded well with the genial American stereotype of themselves - not much understanding of history, geography or literature.

You've got to be a very wealthy country to afford that sort of waste. Are you still?

Indeed is Britain wealthy enough to afford the ongoing nonsense in our schools and universities? (That's a question inviting the answer "no".)

If we're not going to provide serious general education in the high schools (that's what they're for), then I guess we have to provide it in the colleges. How would you like to be governed by an electorate that doesn't know who Abraham Lincoln was and can't find the world's five largest countries on a map?

Reform the K-12 system.

Yup. There's also the example of military: if online education is so great, why do we even need boot camps and drill instructors? Just have the recruits do the physical training and classroom instruction online, with a drill sergeant barking at them through the computer.

Armies could save billions of dollars in training costs!

Not happening.

fundamentally misunderstanding what basic training is

Nope, it's the super-fans of online education who fundamentally misunderstand what education is and how it succeeds.

Except for specific niches (which online education does ably fill), it's not about a student watching a class and having some facts inserted into their head. Especially at the primary, secondary, and college level.

Sports coaches are not a good example since most of the active coaching is to get team members to work as a team. How does a professor standing in front of 300 students in an auditorium compare to a basketball coach?

Also, what is the difference between a large lecture hall class and taking the class online. If the students cannot learn in an online course, they are probably not going to succeed in a large lecture hall.

You are right, they don't. The giant lecture hall at Somewhere State U, with classes taught poorly by Dr. Big Cheese, is a terrible pattern long overdue for replacement. Other experiences will be much harder to move online.

4. What's so bad about replacing the campus experience?

It creates the argument that teachers should take a pay cut and that tenure is an anachronism. Naturally education professionals are against it.

Good, but if the article is at all correct there will be a huge number of unemployed teachers when colleges go out of businesses. Shouldn't those that are best be able to charge for 'mentoring' services while leveraging online education and replace their salaries?

"there will be a huge number of unemployed teachers when colleges go out of businesses"

That's correct. No one likes it when their rice-bowl shrinks or gets eliminated altogether. There are two factors in my opinion. 1) Good, high-quality, education will always be in demand and doesn't depend on the 'delivery' system to influence its inherent value and 2) replacement of 'salaries' or income from that high-quality education may not equal the previous compensation, pointing to an acknowledgement that the cost of the high-quality education was inflated to begin with.

It is a fallacy of the modern world that education in and of itself is valuable. Incorrect. Education is valuable when it provides tools to produce results. This disconnect has existed for a relatively small amount of time in the industrial age. To provide an example, economics education is largely useless because A) recent economics education has been unable to produce prescient individuals capable of seeing economic downturns in the last 30 years and B) the field of study is quite literally being destroyed before our very eyes by socio-political forces that - once again - were incapable of being foreseen within the field. What foresight or advantage has it been able to produce aside from providing a credential necessary to obtain a job? Great. It produced a job. A job that is by and large utterly useless in its ability to produce a measurable advantage.

Education in the sciences is eminently more useful, at least it used to be. There was a time when it would get you new materials or build an atomic bomb. This still happens, but there is definitely an aspect of diminishing returns. The velocity of the return on education has definitely diminished, in my opinion.

Slower return, smaller compensation. Modern universities are very much like that old joke about General Motors, i.e. it's an insurance company that happens to make cars. To paraphrase, modern universities are endowment slush-funds that happen to teach once in a while.

For STEM students, not much. Except College must be a good chance to get them out of their basements and allow them to interact with other people.

For Humanities students, the campus experience is most of the added value. They learn nothing of value in class. But they do sleep with interesting and potentially important people. They cannot do that at home. That is why the parents of nice girls send them to college. They don't care if little Madison learns about gerunds or the tribes of Patagonia. They want her to marry a corporate lawyer.

They learn nothing of value in class.

But those in the STEM fields do? The case is often made that humanities courses can be replaced by simply reading about the subjects without paying any more than the bus fare to the library. Isn't this true as well about STEM? Isn't reading, in fact, required by professors, usually the overpriced texts from which quiz questions and exams are taken? Or does the physics teaching assistant reveal heretofore secret information on the forces of gravity that are unknown in remote locations like New Mexico State or Kennesaw State University?

Perhaps most interesting is Galloway's comment on a position at Amazon or Google leading to further advance, which, of course, is critical to one's financial future in that the goal of every Yankee is meant to be maximum income. So it's all about the money. Those that don't get into Harvard or MIT won't earn astronomical incomes and will thus be judged as failures. Admissions departments at the most highly regarded schools are, as he says, the critical factor, accentuating the native talents of those admitted with a scholar certification. This means that success in life, the maximum income, begins perhaps as early as kindergarten, or, as Dan Everett might add, in the womb, itself. By the eighteenth year it's already too late unless the parents have sent the child to Friends or Shattuck-St. Mary's.

A great deal of your socio-economic status is determined by the circumstances of your birth.

There is research - that I think I have seen here at MR - that says if you are in a STEM field, it doesn't really matter which college you go to. An engineer from New Mexico State will do as well as one from Yale. All other things being equal.

But the Ivy league pays off big for people in the Humanities. So sure, they could go to a library and read Howard Zinn, but it would give them no real advantage. The benefit from a good college for the non-STEM is who you sleep with.

If that was accusing humanities majors of just being in "good schools" for the "MRS degree," that was a jerk thing to say.
If it wasn't and I read it like that somehow, I'm sorry.

4. The feedback at the elementary and high school level is that distance learning was a disaster.

It's MORE work for teachers. It's not how most kids learn. Kids lack important skills required. Their home environment is not conducive. And the parents already have jobs that don't include replacing teachers.

The only reason people aren't upset is that expectations were low, and everyone is being pretty forgiving of each other in the conditions.

Obviously much can be improved with more planning and resources. But this experiment revealed one thing quite clearly, which is that distance learning is neither easy or natural.

One oif the issues is that we took classroom learning and suddenly distanced it.

distance learning courses made for distance learning perform significantly better.

The teachers also likely lacked any sort of knowledge or training on how to conduct distance learning.

Agree it can work for some subjects and some students. The problem with the article is it treats all students as if they are the same. As if online can work for everyone.

Heck, I'm right now doing an online short course on a particular statistical method using R. But I need that specific knowledge for a specific task and I have a very strong incentive to finish it, and I'm spending my own money to do it.

@few. yes, it was not a truly fair experiment, But useful lessons to be learned still.

@paul. Agreed. There are self-selected subsets where it is appropriate.

The main important lesson is that there are fundamental obstacles at the developmental and social/economic levels to widespread distance learning, especially for youth.

High School would need to be structured differently to prepare students for online university education.

5. I’m shocked that they couldn’t get additional funding from Pierre Omidyar. But then, they’re no Bulwark.

6. Good. Interracial (and intercultural and international) relationships should be strongly encouraged. I can think of no better way to break the bonds that divide people and lead to a world where we are all humans to be treated based on our individual characteristics.

7. Yes, size of market appears to be a major and understudied determinant of prosperity. The first countries to get rich were huge empires such as the British Empire and USA. Once the European empires fell apart, they then moved straight into the European Union, which gave them a large market that substituted for their empire. Today, the largest developing country China is experiencing the best catch up growth, and the second largest developing country India is also doing well above average. And when you look at the collapse of the USSR, the countries that joined the EU did well, Russia did ok after an initial collapse, but the smaller countries in Central Asia are still poorer than they were in 1989—it turns out lost access to the full Soviet economic zone was far more damaging than the benefits of the freedom they gained from ending communism. I expect the benefits of specialization and economies of scale will only grow further with new technologies. If I were the leader of a developing country, I’d be pushing for much more economic integration especially with other developing countries, including political unions in some cases. The former empires really did a huge disservice to the developing world by creating all these small artificial countries with entrenched elites whose incentives are all to oppose integration to stay in power in their own fiefs.

"Yes, size of market appears to be a major and understudied determinant of prosperity." I don't know if that's true. That's somewhere in the first 3 chapters of Wealth of Nations and has been noted by many economist since then. I'm not sure these guys are saying anything new.

It's probably not vastly true. Iceland. Population and market size probably does not matter, that much. Larger polities don't grow per capita at greater rates at all.

Especially in the market for semi-anonymous sex.

Developing countries still have enormous potential for integration by unilateral trade and investment liberalization, even if they are constrained by the restrictions on their exports permitted by multilateral trade agreements. Singapore is a case in point

I don't see the advantage in marrying down. Maybe in the liberal dictatorship it will be non-negotiable.

"6. Good. Interracial (and intercultural and international) relationships should be strongly encouraged"

No, they shouldn't. Neither should they be discouraged. Outside of the two people involved, everyone should mind their own business.

I let my Black Bull fuck my wife silly. We're doing our part for racial equality, how about you?

Most people don't find people from other races sexually attractive. That's where diversity comes from, after all.


OKCupid.com but I think they took the data down: Asian men and black women are the bookends of human sexual selection.

People tend to breed within their haplogroup. Again, where do you think Diversity comes from?

"6. Good. Interracial (and intercultural and international) relationships should be strongly encouraged. I can think of no better way to break the bonds that divide people and lead to a world where we are all humans to be treated based on our individual characteristics."

Remember - we should all be grateful for the beatings and violence we get by forcing people who don't want to be together to be together.

Be consoled that your death today is building a better world tomorrow.

'Free association'? What's that?

6. Good. Interracial (and intercultural and international) relationships should be strongly encouraged. I can think of no better way to break the bonds that divide people and lead to a world where we are all humans to be treated based on our individual characteristics.

The New Old Left - Diversity is good. Except when it comes to Western people. They should disappear as soon as possible.

The world is suffering a massive loss of cultural diversity. Everyone watches Friends re-runs. Languages disappear every year. The world is not a better place for it. We need more barriers to protect what cultural diversity we have left.

The world is worse off when some random South American language with 50 speakers dies off?

That’s an interesting notion. If, in a single generation, we all agreed to marry across racial lines, then everyone would be biracial, we’d all be ‘people of color’ and thus no more racial hierarchy, and we’d all live in harmony. But would we? Does anyone really imagine that a poor half-black half-Mexican wont have much the same set of grievances against the affluent half-white half-Chinese person? In Europe peoples that are ethnically nearly identical have violently hated each other since time immemorial, so I’m not sure reducing the absolute differences between people will durably reduce animosity; we may just adapt by fixating on smaller differences.

More over, the residual ‘uni-racial’ people may fare worse in such a world. If mixed race people mostly identify as more or less white, then black people as a group become smaller and more marginal; if they mostly identify as ‘people of color’ then the receding white minority becomes an ever easier target for revanchism. It’s not self evident that racial intermarrying leads to a watering down of racial identity and antipathy toward out groups. In fact in my experience most mixed race people pretty strongly identify with one of their sides, rather than ‘splitting the difference.’

I'm afraid that's right. The more nearly identical two groups are, the more likely they are to hate each other. https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything-except-the-outgroup/

4. I trust Google for a lot of things, but I would not be comfortable with a Google branded education. That is too feudal for me.

If online (or mostly online) education becomes practical, I'd like to see new legacy-free state initiatives to develop courses and certifications.

Brick and mortar schools, even state schools, have misaligned incentives.

Online public university in CA would be a violation of state disability / equal access laws.

Unless there was an in person alternative at the same price point

Really trying to be helpful today, aren't you?

(If anyone wants to develop an independent private online system that's fine too. Fine, but not my focus.)

#4 - What was wrong about the end? You don't agree with national service I suppose? What if it is voluntary.

Yeah I had the same response. What was not "good and vivid" about the last part? I don't think Scott was advocating for mandatory conscription but to consider the real world results of it and make a uniquely American spin on it.

Bryan is right to jump on the anti-lockdown bandwagon at this point as it is clear that it was one of the greatest public policy mistakes of all time.

However, that he was unwilling to say *anything* during the crisis shows the unmitigated fear that intellectuals and really the whole populace lives under in this time of Robespierre v2.

The left is terrifying. They are willing to destroy the lives of anyone who opposes their policy recommendations. They will lie, slander, and directly threaten the lives of those oppose them. It is difficult to understand how we fight this scourge.

This is likely the challenge of our time.

Agree with this completely. Bryan had ostensibly nothing to lose since he's a tenured professor and all, but political correctness is an incredibly powerful force, even against fringe theorists like Caplan.

Also notable of Tyler to non-chalantly mention that Caplan is "right about many but not all" of his claims, after promoting the politically correct policy response for months.

How about a The Academy is Failing Us series from Tyler? He can start with Alex's insane proposals.

I spoke out after a week of our lockdown wondering if there was any remote plan to end it. I disagreed with Bryan that there was a chance that benefits would outweigh costs except possibly in a few isolated cases, based on what epidemiologists had been saying from the start. I also was sure that nowhere near 1.5 million Americans would die by June 2021 based on knowing how wildly off that type of prediction was in 2009 with H1N1, although didn't realize both were Neil Ferguson's models being used. I did think between 50,000 to 500,000 Americans could die from the virus and probably under 250,000 by June 2021, using less extreme mortality rate and percent infected numbers.

I thought in March that the mortality rate would be between where Germany was at the time, 0.2% and South Korea, 0.7%, because I assumed they were adequately testing, which probably wasn't true. Two days later a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist told Sam Harris he thought South Korea at 0.6% would be the upper bound.

I'm curious why Bryan now thinks it will be around 0.6% instead of 0.3%. I now think it will be below 0.4% based in part on the Germany study released three weeks ago.

Why is anyone talking about IFR as if it is a single number when we know fatality risk is hugely dependent on age? The study you appear to be referring to was a random antibody study conducted in the town of Heinsberg, Germany. The authors themselves say, "the IFR calculated on the basis of the infection rate in this community can be utilized to estimate the percentage of infected based on the number of reported fatalities in other places with similar population characteristics." (emphasis added).

A study done in Indiana with a larger sample size arrived at a higher IFR of 0.58% If you want to know the likely fatality rate for the United States, a study done among a large sample of U.S. residents is probably a better guide than a smaller study done of Germans (confidence interval for the German study was 0.29% to 0.45%). But it would be even better if there was a study that was stratified by age bracket and allowed for IFR to be calculated separately for each age bracket.

"I did think between 50,000 to 500,000 Americans could die from the virus and probably under 250,000 by June 2021"
Judging by the fact that the virus has already killed >100k americans with <5% of the population infected, I'd say that your projections as just as bullshit as the rest of your post.

And it worked. Now we are reopening. What's your problem?

Children are starving in Africa. And in India, which has not had a famine in a long time. They're people too.

#7 Interesting to see a model of this, but it's pretty much the implication of the neo-liberal "Washington Consensus."

6. It would be much better if governments removed those boxes like France.

#6. Markets in everything are OK only when they trade in our favor

9. Confirming what we already knew. There's a reason why the number of cases and deaths have been kept well below the worst case scenario. Yet, notwithstanding that success, no, because of that success, super spreaders are hell-bent on resuming their spreading and their victims are hell-bent on coming into contact with super spreaders. Are people irrational, or what?

As with the WHO/Ferguson wildly off predictions in 2009 for H1N1, the worst case scenario was never remotely realistic for this virus. The WHO projected 2 to 7 million dead worldwide in 2009 as a best case scenario and 62 million if a normal pandemic. Actual deaths: 19,000. The WHO/Ferguson predicted 18,000 to 42,000 Canadian deaths but 428 died, and I don't remember any lockdowns ten years ago.

Comparing covid to flu at this point is the pinnacle of moronism.
If you haven't noticed 100k americans are dead already when <5% of the population has been infected.
Only a double-digit IQ mouthbreather would make that argument.

#8. They'd never get away with that kind of stunt in Canada.

#4. They keep assuming that online is both cheaper and scales more easily than face to face. Neither of those assumptions is true. For example, when you answer a question in the classroom, all of the other students have to listen to the answer. Online, even if you broadcast the answer, almost none of the other students will bother to read the answer. Online can easily be more labor intensive than F2F.

I always answer email questions by copying the entire class. I can't remember being asked the same question again. It's individual visits to my office which are inefficient. So much so that sometimes I take answer I've given in my office and write a note to the whole class. In contrast, if I want a concept to actually enter their heads in a lecture hall, I need to repeat it several times. Lecturing is theater, which students find entertaining if done well, but it's not efficient.

[I teach Chemical Engineering]

Not related to this thread but a previously closed thread on Swedish PISA results.


Where Tyler talks about Sweden's results recovering in the PISA education "rankings."

It has just come out that Sweden's ranking has been inflated by the exclusion of far too many students of immigrant backgrounds. The true ranking would be near the bottom of the OECD in most categories.


#6: I am surprised people just accept this at face value. You have to be insane to think that someone who prefers to date people with some characteristics will simply change their minds by being tricked (or by being prevented from easily selecting these preferences). I'd say this is one of the most stupid points economists keep making over and over again. I think they mix up "nudging" with "brain wash" and not even notice it.

...with just removing the race filters. If you don't want to date Asians or whites or blacks or whatever just swipe left. No one is forcing or tricking anyone.

It is hard to reconcile Galloway and Caplan.

#8 sweet. Totally going to normalize heavily armored soldiers telling you what to do. Should make future crowd control easier.

Worse than that.

This could induce severe emotional trauma. For example, an Oberlin freshman, over-inculcated with campus KKKrazy, thinks Klansman (!!!!) not stormtrooper. Possibly a hate crime under a Biden Administration.

#6: PC gone mad, but Fox and Breitbart aren’t covering it? I wonder why?

Grindr's move doesn't really matter. You can already leave that field blank, but...

This way, the white people who run Grindr have ensured that every black user's feed will be mostly populated with white people. In the name of racial equality.

4. This is nuts—Private American universities have endowments and campuses they own and many have billionaire alumni. Here is what you do—free tuition and board for students from middle class families! So that means use endowment for tuition and come up with a sustainable system not based on student loans which are extremely irresponsible—18 year olds should NOT have access to thousands in credit for tuition or for anything for that matter!!

Alumni support universities not because of the knowledge that was imparted there, but because of the experience. They are grateful for that experience and wish for younger versions of themselves to experience the same. Turning that school into a factory that produces 100X as many graduates (at whatever cost to the student) has no appeal to the alumni. That not only sacrifices the experience, but it devalues the degree of the alumni. Alumni want a select group of new graduates who can be hired to perpetuate the existing class structure.

4. As brick-and-mortar colleges and universities bite their red brick dust--whatever will or might become of the NCAA and college/university athletics programs?

Why not de-physicalize sports altogether and just move it online like everything else? Perhaps possibly maybe chess will come to dominate ALL competitive sport within the next century.

On #4 ("Future of College") -- The move has started!
Two months ago, I registered for a continuing class at Stanford (two hours every Thursday evening, for eight weeks). It was supposed to be onsite. Because of Covid-19, the class moved to online, with the benefit that an additional 20 students registered from the East Coast as well as overseas, to complement the local roster of 40. So, 50% more students / revenue / and impact for Stanford, at minimal additional cost (more quizzes and discussions to validate for the adjunct faculty).
The entire Continuing Studies of Stanford is now online, with approximately 40% as recorded webinars, and 60% as on-campus-turned-live-online-sessions.

#4. Scott sneaks a little joke in there:

"When you go to Penn, you know that your classmates are solid citizens who are qualified and have good EQ [emotional quotient]."

Currently, the most famous Penn alum is that "best brain" and "stable genius", Donald J. Trump.

Well, we've all had "gentleman's C" students in our classes.

It's a function of why all our presidents recently come from the Ivy Leagues or Peer schools. They're all roughly C students who happen to have charisma or looks.

1. I think pre-registration distracts from the more important scientific principle for avoiding spurious results in literatures—replication. There are a lot of games that can be played with pre-registration, especially with observational work. I think the real solution is to give more credit for replication studies instead of every study needing to propose and test some new theory.

9. +1 good nyt superspreader article

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