Tuesday assorted links

1. Who funds WHO?

2. “Rather than reflect current practical realities, the CDC’s Atlanta address apparently stems from concerns about mosquito breeding patterns back in the 1940’s.”  A good look at why the CDC has so many political problems.

3. What different people have learned from Conversations with Tyler.

4. Ross Douthat on cancel culture, recommended (NYT).

5. For Covid deaths four weeks out, some models predict they will go down, other models predict they will go up.  And here are some related Arizona disputes (Bloomberg).

Comments

5. How does one predict chaos. Seriously. And very carefully. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/07/herd-immunity-coronavirus/614035/

This is an excellent article.

Do you utilise daily prompts to jump-start your journal writing?

I accidentally deleted my joomla files from server? How to install it and have it as it was?

Getting a new computer. Can't seem to get my bookmarks out of firefox. Need this information TONIGHT. Have to give the computer to it's new owner tomorrow morning. Is there anyway I can save the bookmarks within an firefox account online so that when I download firefox on the new computer they will be there?? PLEASE HELP. Thanx..

My friend and I have been discussing personal blogs and online journaling. She feels that personal feelings and such should not expressed in such open forums. I see no problem with it. Share your thoughts:. 1. Do you blog or journal?. 2. Do you prefer face to face expression of feelings over written communication?.

In Mozilla Firefox how do you customize the toolbars to different colors and styles?

How do you copyright content on your site (Webcomic specifically)?

Why is my computer making a beeping noise and freezing on start up?

http://hellocrack.com/

http://macracker.com/

http://hellocrack.com/

http://mac4ufree.com/

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The obvious answer is that we should pay the most attention to the models that had been most accurate this far. But perhaps none of them have been.

If you were to read the linked article, you would understand that modeling chaos is a huge challenge, with ever changing variables that must be factored in. To paraphrase an expression, predictions are hard, especially predictions about the future filled with chaos. [Chaos is a term of art.]

> modeling chaos is a huge challenge

In general, chaos cannot be modeled. By definition chaos means an extreme sensitivity to initial conditions. You can get very accurate summaries of chaotic processes. Fluid flow software does that well. But fluid flow software cannot predict accurately where a molecule of fluid will end up before and after the event.

But in all cases, you need to understand the process before you can model the process. Otherwise you are just guessing. That can still be useful--you can ask question like "If a mask reduces my chances of catching this by 20% on average, how does that change things?"

The biases of the modeler reign supreme in call cases. That is why climate prediction has been so wrong: Those building models believe the earth is in grave danger due to rising CO2, and thus the models they build are very pessimistic. And very wrong. But they are learning.

PS. I've written a lot of models for things related to traffic flow and energy professionally.

Yes, the linked article makes this point very clearly (by the magnitude of different projections that make different assumptions). At this blog, it isn't called chaos, it's called heterogeneity. Sounds better, doesn't it? I suppose a point I've tried to make is that all the criticism of the experts is misplaced. You may believe that it's the fault of bias. Well, we are all biased in our way, you no doubt biased too. Earlier today I read a story in the NYT about the spread of the coronavirus in the Valley (that's south Texas). Could the spread have been accurately predicted? Yes, with variables that take into account the unique behavior of people in the Valley. Down here in the South many folks believe they can avoid the coronavirus with prayer. They are dead serious. It's complicated, really complicated when one takes into account the enormous heterogeneity in America. But somebody has to make predictions, since we are a culture that is obsessed with the future. We'd do better by focusing on the present. Like wearing masks, practicing social distancing.

But in the end the rules to the game are very simple:

1) If you are locked down hard, the virus is receding. If you are not, it's expanding. That's it. This is NOT a path to eradication. it's only a means to mitigate.

2) If you lock your borders tightly as soon as you detect the virus, then you can eradicate it and live normally as long as the borders remain locked (see Taiwan, SK)

3) If your borders are porous, then 2) doesn't apply. You are left only with 1)

In no scenario can the US eradicate this as Taiwan and SK have effectively done. Even if we completely closed our border on Jan 20 and never re-opened them, we still have dozens of infected people a day arriving from Mexico and spreading it via that route. One sick person sneaks in from Mexico, crashes at his friends house with 10 other people that work at a meat packing plant, and the entire cycle begins again.

did you see how wayward fubared the meaning of chaos
isn't it plausible that china consciously understood all of your points when they made the decision to mislead us about the nature of the virus.
that is not chaos
its bioweapon

"2) If you lock your borders tightly as soon as you detect the virus, then you can eradicate it and live normally as long as the borders remain locked (see Taiwan, SK)"

South Korea didn't really live normally for weeks as the giovernment urged people to stay home as much as possible. Did Japan secure its borders like South Korea? It has had about as many deaths as South Korea per capita.

> South Korea didn't really live normally for weeks as the giovernment urged people to stay home as much as possible.

Yes, correct. Lock borders, draconian lock down for a few weeks, ruthless contact tracing, and then if borders remain locked, you have full eradication and go back to normal as long as borders remain locked.

+1

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Which you clearly didn't - though you are welcome to complain about how the article author fubared the meaning of chaos

read the article &
we clearly think some of the so called "chaos" was both intentional and preventable by china

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CA, TX, and the rest of the border states are doing okay. It was the Northeast that was hit the hardest. Instead of worrying about this, worry about squirrels in Colorado carrying the bubonic plague which has a way higher fatality rate than COVID.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/14/a-squirrel-has-tested-positive-for-the-bubonic-plague-in-colorado.html

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South Korea never closed its borders and opted instead to impose quarantine on its own citizens and foreigners alike. Since the start of the pandemic, they have registered 1,891 imported cases, including 557 non-Koreans. That is more than 10% of all officially registered cases.

https://www.cdc.go.kr/board/board.es?mid=a30402000000&bid=0030

Japan did a full border closure, as I understand it, but relatively late in the game.

south korea restricted travel from wuhan very early on.

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St Jacinta definitely closed down the borders "hard and early" - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-53274085

"As of midnight on 16 March, everybody - including New Zealanders - had to go into self-isolation on arrival in the country, unless they were coming from the largely unaffected Pacific island nations.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said these were the strictest regulations in the world, for which she would "make no apologies".

Then, a few days later, Ms Ardern took the unprecedented step of closing the borders entirely to almost all non-citizens or residents."

Not the only way to achieve success, but considering the cost of some of the other options, or how ill-prepared countries were to ramp up testing and so forth, probably one of the better options.

Even in the presence of some community transmission. If you're at a stage where community spread is only 1/2 or 1/3 or 1/4 of the problem, then its clearly a great idea, as it's much easier to deal with what's left with your resources.

Loads of Western European nations and the US were of course slow on this one, because of stances towards value posturing on the value of "openness", over common sense, and probably because of poor quality science influenced by openness ideology.

'value posturing on the value of "openness" ... and probably because of poor quality science influenced by openness ideology.'

Indeed! I can remember people objecting to closing borders and imposing quarantine as "medieval".

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Rayward, I'm happy to agree that modeling is hard. Why is that a reason not to examine each model's past accuracy as an indicator of its credibility going forward?

And if you're arguing that it's inherent to all the models to be hopelessly inaccurate, then all they're doing is guessing. Anyone can make guesses.

"Why is that a reason not to examine each model's past accuracy as an indicator of its credibility going forward?"

Of course we should pay attention to models' accuracy. But your first statement was:

" we should pay the most attention to the models that had been most accurate this far"

And that goes just a little too far. Because with a sample size of 1 (i.e. one real-life run through of the COVID-19 pandemic), the model that in the end is the most accurate is not necessarily the best one -- in fact with a large number of models competing and just a single real trial, it most likely is NOT the best one.

Instead, it's likely to be the luckiest model, not the best model.

Because of the huge amount of randomness involved, the actual "winner" of the tournament for most accurate model is likely to be determined more by luck than by the inherent accuracy of the model.

There are a zillion examples of this. The Winner's Curse. The Post Hoc Fallacy. Or stock market games: is the person who wins a stock market game a person you want to entrust your life savings to? Or Taleb's Fooled by Randomness in general.

With every bear market, you can find dozens if not hundreds of people who say "I was predicting this three months ago". And they were! They were actually putting those predictions out there.

That doesn't mean they have some special ability to predict the stock market. It means they were lucky.

Similarly for each twist and turn of the COVID-19 numbers. There'll be models that predicted them. That doesn't mean those are the best models, it means they were the luckiest.

All that said, yes of course we pay attention to models' accuracy. But we need to be aware that the most accurate model most likely achieved its #1 status by luck not by inherent superiority. The truly best model is likely to be somewhere among the top 5 or top 10 or top 50, depending on how many models are competing.

=many

This applies as note to many 'winners'. It causes us to overestimate merit and to moralize losing. Luck/chance effect on all areas of life greatly underappreciated, and the failure to understand and include it causes many policy failures.

sorry, "+many"

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To get a handle on chaos theory dump time and space, and let the number of interactions be a fuzzy constant. The principle, always maximizing entropy has a counterpart, minimizing redundancy. If you look at a chaotic system none of the interactions seem repeatable. They are optimally relatively prime. The redundant interactions are always fuzzy, hard to estimate. There is a built in explanation, the objects making interactions are partly compressible blueberries. If you take the surface of interactions, it is hyperbolic, then flattened to euclidean then you get the theory posted. Dump time and space, treat the problem as a self sampled system of Bayesian combinations, be combinatorial. The characteristic of self sampled systems is under sampling, basically living with some residual of redundant interactions. These systems have no paper upon which the grid marks are Newton compatible, unit circles. Instead, deviations are a finite set of deviations from normal, a bound set. This is the set of deviations that allow both kinetic and potential combinatorials, the essence of making a ratio ring, but it carries an error term, think of that error term as uncertainty about the total number N of possible Bayesian interactions.. They are not observe to accuracy in self sample systems, you get kinetic motion, in the number of uncounted interactions. The chaotic system evolves about a ratio, and there are a finite number of ratios in a given dimension to estimate the irrational energy in the uncounted N. You are stuck, even chaotic systems make digits work.

A quick example, after dumping time and space. Tell me how many onject N, even with some error.

We know immediately the total number of intereractions possible, with replacement:
x^x = N^2, might be a good start.
But, this tells me number of items x, in Bayresian space, and if that is optimum, then we know x! total number of interactions with no replacement. But then, we have Huritz and so on a theorem tells me that maximum entropy point is finite, I need to estimate an irrational error, stuck, bount then bo9unded error works, but the Bayeians system if further reduced by combining paths the are with one error term of each other. This is the Boltzmann process I call it. Your model goes to three transitions. Bayesian, quotient ring, then flattened to time and space. The quotient ring allows fractional approximation with uncertain, bounded round off error.

the Laponov exponent, the Markov gap, all these measure the bounds on N error for any M dimensional system. Absent the indivisible units, tin 3D systems, these gaps are the neutral result of 1,2,3 multiplicative combinations. And there is finite limit to the accuracy of a stable, self sampled system. The Boltman constant, 2/3 it how we know what the aggregate distribution looks like in sample space, and inverted it tells us hat (3/2)^IMAX will optimally match an irrational number.

But these conditions were laid out by Eisntein, Pauli and Plank, 1,2,3 I have renamed the integers in their honor. We can jump to 4D, 5D models, fine, there will be an equivalent sample rate (M/(M-1). There will be a maximum count in Bayesian space. There will be a different Plank's error bound, But I think even light remains, the number steps down the reduced path generator to adjust round off. Bu it is a severely undersampled systems, and the relative primes should be optimum, increasing as M increases leading to some information about primes.

Fun stuff. What are the maximum number of paths through a 3D system? 1^t * 2^2 * 3 ^3, taking the first few primes through their paces, getting 108, in Bayes space. Out sample space is (3/2)^108, bayes space is exponent space. I can find that point on the charts, in inegers, locate the coldest energy levels in the hydroge, then identify the next energy leve induced by the physicists magnetic detector. This multiples in sample space, adds in exponent space, that number 29, it adds and gives you the fine structure in bayesian space, 137. If the physicists nudges the cold hydrogen the tiniest bit, then the next energy level will count out its fundamental magnetic pole, I can read that on the charts. This is superposition (it is a monte carlo histogram). It multiplies in Bayes space and we get 108 * 17 = 1836. Familiar number. The physicists have gotten a good handle at making a cloud of stuff have the minimum kinetic energy. All of this getsd us back to hidden N-tuple Markov model, where the dimensional count are the number relative primes that can optimally count a spefic N. This is a set of Markov N-tuple trees. They handle most of the grunt work by dealing in the finite deviation system discovered by Pauli, Eisntein, Kelvin, Planck, Boltzmann, Avogadro, Shannon, and about a dozen others coming up to the finite dimensional limits defined by Hurwitz.

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COVID-19 is pretty clear to be an overblown cold-like illness.

The failures in NY and the Northeast + IL and MA are public policy (don't force infected folks into long-term care facilities, etc) and malpractice (ventilate early and often, whether needed or not, esp. NYC) related.

There is a reason the apocalypse isn't happening in FL, AZ, TX, and surprisingly enough CA.

MI not MA, second sentence.

It’s almost as if treatment options have expanded since the early days.

Steroids, for example: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/06/cheap-steroid-first-drug-shown-reduce-death-covid-19-patients

And prone ventilation: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200324202056.htm

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There is a reason it is called the Election Year Virus.

Less than 4 months to go!

Imagine that labs in FL have made such egregious errors:

https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/fox-35-investigates-hospitals-confirm-mistakes-in-floridas-covid-19-report

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Sure, it's just an overblown cold.
Just like polio was an overblown enterovirus infection and ebola was just an overblown fever.

The stupidity of some people knows no limits.

Only the truly moronic are still using the flu as their go to diminutive, as the merely stupid have finally figured that influenza isn't even in the same family of viruses as colds or SARS-CoV-2.

Small steps to a slightly less stupid world is to be celebrated, not mocked.

His reference to the flu, though incorrect and I don't agree with him, is about the lethality. So right over your head. A slightly less stupid world includes less of your commentary.

Who referenced the flu, or its lethality? Or did something go over everybody's head but yours?

"Only the truly moronic are still using the flu as their go to diminutive"

'Hey..' did, but 'the truth' did not, so I give .5 internet points.

And the original comment called it the cold. Either way, the point is the same. You lose that .5 internet points again. Seems like over just your head.

If you think Covid-19 is a nothingburger that's overhyped to damage Trump, then your need to explain why the whole world, from China to Taiwan to South Korea to New Zealand to Australia to all of Europe to Saudi Arabia to Israel, are all overreacting crazily to the same "just a cold" nothingburger virus.

I also wrote 'though incorrect and I don't agree with him'

I don't think it's a nothingburger. I was pointing out the 'Truth' either was being disingenuous or completely missed the point.

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It's the flu. And it's hilarious how just stating this fact triggers them.

Mainly of laughter.

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"There is a reason the apocalypse isn't happening in FL, AZ, TX, and surprisingly enough CA."

Experiential learning.

Capital investment.

The claim is made by the conservative cancel culture movement that individuals with no experience and stock prices are a better guide to preventing and solving problems than scientific and political establishments who favor increasing cost to create a better world.

Only the conservative cancel culture argue that cutting costs, ie slashing consumer/customer income can drive GDP growth higher faster.

Trump opposed Obama's efforts to increase costs fighting deadly airborne disease and deadly disease passed by contact, arguing that stopping trade will cut costs of paying consumers to work.

We now have over three years of conservative cancel Obama culture, which has greatly cut costs in the past six months.

Tax cuts have greatly cut costs by probably several trillions, thus "putting several trillions more in consumer pockets".

Living costs have been significantly cut.

Business costs have been drastically cut.

The problem is conservatives in FL, AZ, TX, and surprisingly enough Reagan's CA are outraged by Trump's great cost cutting, and are thus increasing costs of consuming, but refusing to increase costs to prevent spreading a deadly airborne disease.

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3. I've learned much about life. And I've even learned something about economics. I like the comment about the Lahiri conversation. All of us are trapped in the trappings (images, signaling, etc.), and a reminder that the important lessons we learn in life are free of the trappings. [An aside, "signaling" is just another word for putting on airs (the expression originated from people putting on perfumes to hide their stench). It's not a theory one can live by, contrary to some folks who are making a living spreading it. It's vacuous. Seeing through the trappings is the first step to knowledge.]

wayward
a couple of days ago you telling everbody to be "afraid, very afraid"
what were you signaling? what are we supposed to be afraid, very afraid of this time.
do we need a safe space?

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#2 CDC

CDC originated to fight Malaria in southern U.S. states -- and like most governmment bureaucracies, Mission Creep transformed it into the wasteful, inefficient, ineffective, and intrusive mess we see today.

COVID-19 dramatically demonstrated how CDC totally failed at its PRIMARY responsibility.

How would we know?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/07/14/cdc-directors-trump-politics/

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I have been rooting for more coverage of the preparedness office. This (largely good) article touches bases with it once:

Nicole Lurie, who, as the assistant secretary for preparedness and response from 2009 to 2017, enjoyed an office on the sixth floor of the HHS building in downtown D.C., echoed that sentiment. The ASPR is perhaps the closest parallel position to the CDC’s director when it comes to pandemic policy.

“It’s not only being able to walk into the secretary’s office, it’s lots and lots of other people who surround the secretary’s office that are influencers in one way or another,” she said. Lurie added that it would be much harder to have done her job if her office was not based in the HHS building.

Given the amount of responsibility transferred from the CDC to the ASPR, we should be hearing more about what they are up to.

Or if they too are standing down.

"No president ever politicized its science the way Trump has."

LOL, sure. Some folks just hate being held accountable. Not all their fault though, it was politicization that threw the CDC off their mission and into politics, just not by Trump.

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Criticism of the CDC (or anything) on the pandemic should be specific, concrete, and have a plausible causal mechanism. Otherwise it just descends into partisan signaling.

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"CDC totally failed at its PRIMARY responsibility."

COVID-19 is malaria in conservative cancel culture?

Is that why conservative cancel culture czar Trump thinks chloroquine is the cure for COVID-19?

Given conservative cancel culture czar Trump is a genius who knows more than every other person in history EVER, whiy didn't Trump know more than Obama in 2014 when he predicted a deadly airborne disease in 2019 when he spoke at the CDC trying to overcome McConnell conservative cancel culture?

Why does Trump keep blaming the chinese who are so much dumber than genius Trump for not telling Trump what Trump already knew, and failing to tell Trump to do what Trump knew already he should do, like act to halt the spread of SARS-Cov2 from wealthy white people traveling to/from Europe?

Trump attacked the CDC professional since at least 2009 when they argued that stopping epidemics everywhere in the world was the only way to prevent a deadly pandemic in the US.

The CDC had already done its job in calling for action to stop the SARS-Cov2 pandemic before Trump took office.

The CDC had a political leader before Trump took office: Obama.

Obama was opposed by conservative cancel culture on executing CDC recommendations, with Trump being extremely loud in trying to cancel Obama's support for CDC policy recommendations.

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4. doubtits needs to read Justice Clarence Thomas's recent elegant dissent on death threats. there is a legal line between speech and
death threats& harassment. marxists meme zombies cancel
culture routinely crosses this line with impunity

Conservative cancel culture czar Trump is thus guilty of making illegal threats of violence on at least a monthly basis by Thomas's argument?

And inciting consservative cancel culture violence...

do you have any examples of Trump using death threats?

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yea, Mycroft, I don't think that's a line you are going to want to draw. All that Facebook and Twitter history is out there....

what line is that?
we dont see cancel culture as a right/ left issue

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here is an odd one. what line? the lefts position is that cancel culture
doesn't exist ? is that where you are drawing the line.
cancel culture is getting absurd

https://reason.com/2020/07/14/gary-garrels-san-francisco-museum-modern-art-racism/

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4. Ann Althouse does a fine number on this bit of embarrassment:

" But Douthat says the opposition to left-wing cancel culture needs substantive values to fight. In his analysis, freedom isn't good enough. It lacks substance. I'd say it's the emptiness of substance that makes freedom the highest value for us, the human beings."

But read it all: https://althouse.blogspot.com/2020/07/10-theses-about-cancel-culturewhat-we.html

Just saw this comment. Agree 100%! I think if you live in NYC and work for an organization like the NYT this type of thinking from Ross Douthay is the default.

You think most people working at the NYT handwave conservative cancel culture?

The KKK
Lynchings
Dropping fire bombs on black homes and businesses from planes (Tulsa)
Police violence annd killings
Economic boycotts
Calling traitors and slavers of blacks heros
Using violence and fraud to prevent non-whites from voting to cancel non-white citizenship

Ross is correct that the Internet has changed the rules of the game by revealing to all who watch and listen historic conservative cancel culture.

As a radical leftist I will not only admit the radical leftist commie FDR caved to conservative cancel culture to pass the New Deal, sacrificing non-whites to Blue Dog racists for the greater good of all whites. LBJ caved to racist on health care giving great health care to middle class whites, and mediocre health to white trash and non-whites if the State wants to, with conservatives in many States trying to cancel white trash and non-white by death by lack of medical care. And Obama caved to conservatives and their cancel culture to get Obamacare passed.

And Trump is full on, open, conservative cancel culture. He tried to cancel Obama by claiming Obama wasn't born the US citizen two of Trump's wives are.

you are once again conflating things that mostly happened decades ago and are mostly condemned with things that are happening today and are frequently applauded.

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"today there's some intra-conservative cancellation going on."

You think so, Ann? Fox News a few days ago canceled a writer Blake Neff for calling blacks n***** (among many other racist and sexist remarks) and an anchor Ed Henry for sexual harassment. Don't forget Fox in the past canceled Roger Ailes (unwanted advances, lewd comments), Bill O'Reilly (verbal abuse, unwanted advances and lewd comments), and Eric Bolling (sending nude pics, text messages) for various forms of sexually harassing speech. Milo Yiannopoulos was also canceled by CPAC (Conservative PAC) a few years ago for making statements supporting pedophilia and pederasty.

One of my favorite cancellations is John Derbyshire from the National Review several years ago. Derbyshire was notorious for his long history of curmudgeonly, race-baiting columns and he wrote one that was just a tad more curmudgeonly and racist than the norm and he got canned. As much as I disagree with Derbyshire, I was amused by the hypocrisy and cowardice of the National Review on that one. The Milo cancellation involved an even greater degree of hypocrisy. Things go very quickly from "way to stick it to the libtards!!!" to "now you've crossed the line," either because they finally said something their sponsors disagree with or else they crossed a line that has real commercial consequences for the publisher.

It seems business are the true arbiters here. It's up to your boss whether to open the gates to the pitchforked mob or send them on their merry way. A good example of this is Bob Mercer at Renaissance Technologies hedge fund. Bob Mercer was frequently and vocally "incorrect" politically, but his boss Jim Simons believed Bob should be able to speak his mind and his coworkers should be able to take offense.

Bob Mercer was Trump's biggest private donor in 2016.

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The Tucker Carlson writer getting fired for his offensive off-the-job posts online seems like an interesting case for cancel culture. It's not at all clear why his off-the-job political posts have any impact on his actual job performance. Perhaps he has hidden racist beliefs (or maybe not-so-hidden), but surely those are revealed in what he actually writes for Carlson. And if they're not, then why does anyone care?

How is this different from firing him when it comes out that he and his wife have an open relationship, or that he frequents gay bars on the weekends? Or when it comes out that he's a committed member of the Church of Scientology, or a Wiccan who dances naked in the woods by the light of the moon with his coven?

"Why does it matter what this guy whose job is to write about politics writes about politics?"

Why does it matter what he writes about politics somewhere else on his own time?

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A different perspective on the New York Times, from a recent wage slave:

Dear A.G.,
It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.

I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper's failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn't have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor....

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election--lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society--have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn;t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I'm "writing about the Jews again." Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly "inclusive" one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I�m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper's entire staff and the public. And I certainly can't square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity--let alone risk-taking--is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person's ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed "fell short of our standards." We attached an editor's note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it "failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa's makeup and its history." But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed's fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its "diversity"; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm--language--is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.

Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the "new McCarthyism" that has taken root at the paper of record.

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they'll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you'll be hung out to dry.

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. "An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It's an American ideal," you said a few years ago. I couldn't agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

...

[I've] always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them.

Sincerely,

Bari

Really hoping for an "anonymous" dump of NYT slack channel logs.

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Not Bari Obama, I presume?

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They lost a great writer.

They lost the female Bret Stephens. They kept the male one. That's sexist.

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"They need to identify the places where they think the new left-wing norms aren’t merely too censorious but simply wrong, and fight the battle there, on substance as well as liberal principle.". Wrong. I usually like Douthats columns but this is nothing more than hand waving. The goal is to have a society where people don't care as much about what your neighbor is thinking or saying (to say nothing of the FB commenter living 1500 miles away). Anything else is just a game played under silly rules. Life should not be a game. If it is, life is devalued.

Gamification is touted as one of the highest achievements of tech.

Click to like.

Interesting! No wonder I feel do out of place. Can't stand gaming. Bores the heck out of me.

For example, you can hear a few interviews with the co-founder / CEO of Duolingo, the language learning app. They use a lot of gamification to keep people engaged and as incentives to move forward when there is a large tendency to fall behind or just give up.

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The goal is to outlaw substantiative arguments that could stop the ascent of the left.

So Heather MacDonald points out that there is no bias in police shootings, and the people who created the study are pressured to retract it.

People like Charles Murray point out that racial disparities are likely due to genetics rather than racism, and he gets physically attacked.

I mean if you outlaw all the the evidence that might disprove your thesis, then of course the other side has no substantiative arguments.

Physical attacks are bad, but there still is no biological basis for race, which makes Murray a wanker.

> but there still is no biological basis for race,

Really? Then why are asian kids killing it on SAT but sucking on the basketball court? That's 100% due to environment in your estimation?

I don't need to estimate.

I only need to read and understand articles on the impact of broad DNA testing, and the new science of Population Genetics.

(I really hope you guys aren't signalling that it's a "conservative" value to reject this science.)

> I really hope you guys aren't signalling that it's a "conservative" value to reject this science

No, I'm just marveling at your assertion that a kid whose dad entered the NFL in the first round and whose mom played in the WNBA for 4 years is very likely to suck at sports.

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If there's no biological basis for race, then can you explain why DNA tests almost always agree with the self-identified race of the person taking the tests? And why when parents are a given race, the child is almost always also seen by everyone as a member of the same race? And why there are diseases that have different prevalence for different races?

You are making Rachel Dolezal uncomfortable.

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This is literally a joke that doesn't convince anyone taking this seriously. There are no serious arguments in your link.

Do statements like this not embarrass you?

"In a clinical setting, for instance, scientists would say that diseases such as sickle-cell anemia and cystic fibrosis are common in those of “sub-Saharan African” or “Northern European” descent, respectively, rather than in those who are “black” or “white”."

I guess I don't care if you in particular cannot process the DNA centered story in that piece.

I'll just note again that it is a dangerous linkage if "conservatives" are seen as the ones who reject it.

There isn't a single thing in there I haven't read before and none of it is relevant to the issues at hand. It's sophistry.

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"... scientists would say that diseases such as sickle-cell anemia and cystic fibrosis are common in those of “sub-Saharan African” or “Northern European” descent, respectively, rather than in those who are “black” or “white”."

Cancel the bastard, it's 'Black' not 'black'.

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anonymous writes, "Physical attacks are bad, but there still is no biological basis for race, which makes Murray a wanker."

Why yes! The average Nigerian and average South Korean student's skills and abilities are as indistinguishable as two peas in a pod.

They are so indistinguishable that each country's high schools and universities use the same science and mathematics tests to measure academic achievement.

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Living in a democratic society means persuading people to your point of view and also dissuading people from adopting your opponents' point of view. A society full of people not caring what their neighbors think is also a society where people are too preoccupied with entertainment and consumption to become politically engaged. Ross Douthat thinks that is where the U.S. is heading anyway.

alas, sociology
the goal of marxist cance/shamel culture is to explicitly prevent people from persuading people to another point of view and substitute consumption (remember ussr&vodka) for political engagement
its a culty cult
did you read david brooks "the shame this nation needs"

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4. He's a capon by nature, and he works for the Sulzbergers. Nothing is recommended.

You Bazis are getting scared, aren't you?

yes its getting a little sketchy over here
we need a safe space
can we crash on your futon tonight

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5. This might give one the idea that where we are headed is not a good place:

"Continued surges of the novel coronavirus without a proper response from the federal government to contain the spread could leave the country in shambles, according to vaccine scientist Peter Hotez. The dean of Baylor University’s National School School of Tropical Medicine told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday that surges in hard-hit places such as Florida and parts of California should have been anticipated and responded to with a plan.

“This is the problem,” he said. “There is no road map, no plan for the country, so we just force the governors to make hard decisions when they see these massive surges, and the people just start piling into ICUs and hospitals and the deaths start rising. This is not the way to do it.”
Hotez suggested that there should be a plan for the nation that would entail reopening later in the fall. But he said the White House leadership has failed to do anything that would make an impact.

"The Oval Office also fallen short in predicting the number of older people who are flooding Florida hospitals with coronavirus infections after data showed younger people are driving up the infection rate, according to Hotez. The scientific and public health community had already predicted that outcome, he said.

“There’s no way you’re going to contain an epidemic just among young people. It’s common sense,” he said. The current handling of the pandemic in the country will cause more infections, increased exhaustion among health-care workers and more at-home deaths because of the virus, showing a three-phased trend of rising infection rates and fatalities, according to Hotez.

“The country is going to become entirely destabilized unless we do something right now,” he said. “We’re not going to have a country by the fall unless we take some action.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/07/14/coronavirus-live-updates-us/#link-LL5TKRRAZBGFNN5IQ757LP4Q7A

The Washington Post is not exactly a good source for what is going on in the world. The reporters there seem to be living in some sort of alternate reality, given that hospitals ore only full in news stories and not reality.

Your objection is with Peter Hotez, not the WP, which is merely the messenger not the author of the message, Hotez. Send a letter to Baylor complaining about Dean Hotez if you don't like the message.

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The US response to Covid-19 has been third-world quality, and the result will be hundreds of thousands of Americans dying over the next couple years. That is by far the most important fact that's come out in the last year, and it should shape our political debates for the forseeable future. How do we get rid of the innumerate overpromoted game show hosts we put in power at every level, and find some people smart and competent enough to make competent decisions on important issues? The fact that many other countries have Covid-19 substantially under control while we don't shows that this is possible, so we have no excuse for not doing it.

Our per capita death rate is lower than France, Italy, Spain or the UK. (Not to mention Sweden.) I know the Blame America First crowd hates that little fact, but it's still a fact. Ignore it and go back to your bubble.

That would be a powerful argument if there were definitions of death by Covid that had been standardised across time and place.

Since there are no such definitions the figures carry a meaning that's unclear. I can see why cooler minds favour Excess Death as a more objective, albeit imperfect, guide to what's been going on.

For all I know the US has been doing quite well on that measure.

There is also the point that anything said now is probably a rush to judgement: I don't know whether one year, two years, or five years is the right period to judge things over, but I'll bet that four months or so isn't much cop.

It may turn out in the end that the slapdash, incompetent USA hasn't performed substantially differently from many other countries. It's not how I'd bet but the universe is indifferent to my guesses.

Powerful argument? I'm not looking for a powerful argument, they being hard to find, I'm just accepting the null hypothesis, a salutary exercise which I recommend to everyone.

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Trump has appointed Tyler Goodspeed to chair the CEA, which seems a wise choice given Goodspeed's substantive background and his agreeable personality. If Goodspeed can reconcile Keynes and Hayek, he can certainly perform lesser miracles. https://www.amazon.com/Rethinking-Keynesian-Revolution-Wicksell-Connection/dp/0199846650

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It seems to me the blame should not be towards the "Oval office" in this particular matter, but towards the Constitution.

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> Continued surges of the novel coronavirus without a proper response from the federal government to contain the spread could leave the country in shambles, according to vaccine scientist Peter Hotez

What exactly does this mean? First, the federal government has no business telling a state gov what to do here. The job of the federal gov is to ensure unlimited supplies and money for fighting this. That has been done to the extent possible.

But it makes no sense for Trump to be deciding the next steps for Peoria, Illinois. That 100% has to be done by the governor.

Plus, we've seen states such as CA and FL--two states with radically different plans by the govs, both sliding into disaster. One state opened widely early, the other state never opened. Both are in the shitter.

What makes anyone think that draconian rules applied in FL would have prevented this?

Look at Australia: For weeks we heard of their genius. They now appear to be on the same treadmill as everyone else.

What is clear is that lockdowns work, but only if you can control the lockdown. Countries that are able to lock the border effectively early can avoid this. But countries that cannot lock the border must rely on the good will of citizens to stay locked down. And eventually that runs out.

PS. Mexicans that get sick are crossing into the US illegally and then calling an ambulance to take them to a hospital because Mexico's hospitals are full. This is from CNN. What islands like Taiwan and Hong Kong have been able to achieve isn't possible when you have a porous border. It also underscores what a joke our borders are.

Several EU members seem to be pretty-well in control of Covid-19, despite substantially porous borders.

> everal EU members seem to be pretty-well in control of Covid-19, despite substantially porous borders.

if you haven't eradicated it and closed your borders, then it will be back. It's just a matter of time. Pick an EU country. If you covertly introduced 50 infected people that were asymptomatic into that country, how long would it take officials to find you? If the answer is "they wouldn't" then you are not demonstrating skill, you are relying on luck. See Australia.

If infected but asymptomatic people can move about undetected, then you are effed. The math is very simple.

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The only thing that will leave the country in shambles is:
-epidemiologists making economic policy
-democrats making policy decisions
-more lockdowns
-extend unemployment benefits that slow recovery

The death of hundreds of thousands of seniors (who mostly live on public benefits) is tragic but inevitable without a very different policy repose--the kind of response that neither Trump nor Bidden, democrat or republican, are talking about. The least bad we can do is save the economy for the survivors.

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3. I think a survey of favorite episodes frames the question wrongly. My opinion is more about the aggregate, with TC's preparation, breadth and depth. In the most recent one with Annie Duke, she ended by commenting about how interesting and challenging the questions were. Yep, that's the ticket.

But we already went over that in detail previously, before and after that Conversation.

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4. That was good, it must be why Ross earns the big box bucks.

s/box //

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So Rayward and Dr Hotez are calling for a federal decree locking down the entire country until the fall.
Lockdown enthusiasts should prove their sincerity by committing to forgo all personal income and remain immured in their homes for the duration. This is what they are prescribing for their fellow citizens, and we're all in this together.
They will soon demand reopening.

We could actually do a national plan that tries to balance risks and rewards. Off the top of my head:

1) set a threshold in cases per square mile that locks down a country

2) have that lockdown trigger direct aid to the county (and those within it)

It has the advantage of letting healthy areas open up, and compensating for lost income.

s/country/county/

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You mean like the link this? https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/

Locking down a county in the US doesn't really have a meaning. And no county has the manpower to close itself. Seattle and king county have about 2500 cops. It's 2300 square miles. That's one cop every mile. They cannot force the lockdown of anything.

Federal grants are available to any county over 500K that meet certain criteria.

If we actually followed it, and made those grants quickly and responsively, sure.

But I am afraid that plan is quite ignored by it's authors. As they try to drown the CDC in a bathtub.

OK, so you admit there's a plan. What makes you think we aren't following it?

lol (very sad) lol

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/07/13/chuck-woolery-coronavirus-trump-retweet-vpx.cnn

As I've noted before, there are the things Trump DOES, and the things Trump SAYS. They are very different. He's the most anti-war president we've had in a long, long time (Obama was just as hawkish as Bush). Trump got the economy running far better than Obama, who had proclaimed in 2011 that it would be humming nicely "any day now" but it never really did. And then in 2014 Obama started claiming that sucky growth was the "new normal". Trump proved that wrong. And I think Trump's move towards energy independence has been huge.

Trump is far from perfect, but as a manager, he's quite good. I've had a lot of managers that we incredibly effective but lousy communicators. And I've had a lot of managers that were completely ineffective but phenomenal communicators. If we had Obama's speeches married to Trump's effectiveness, we'd have a perfect president.

The reason he's so despised by the left is because he's so effective. If Trump were a bumbling idiot, there'd be no reason for the vitriol because nothing would be happening. That is why Obama never worried me as a president. He was 100% incapable of getting anything done. And I did find his words soothing. Bush and Trump's words make my skin crawl.

Says = Does for a national leader.

> Says = Does for a national leader.

No. Obama spoke at length about "green shoots" in the economy, but they never arrived. Obama spoke at length about letting you keep your insurance and that everything was between you are your doctor. And then he forced everyone onto new insurance, which often mean your old doctor was no longer part of the discussion.

If "says == does" for a leader, then history would not have folks like Neville Chamberlin and JFK to kick around. JFK was great at speeches, but couldn't get things done. When LBJ stepped in, you suddenly saw what a great manager could get gone. LBJ lacked Kennedy's vision, but he knew how to take Kennedy's dreams and make them into reality in a way Kennedy otherwise could never have done.

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Exactly. I don't like everything Trump says or tweets, but what he actually does is generally very good. Obama was a good president if you value placating speeches over the buffoonery of his actions.

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1. China contributed less than Norway and got a lot of mileage out of using them to harass Taiwan. Speaking of which, China is putting sanctions on Lockheed for selling arms to Taiwan.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3093165/beijing-says-it-will-sanction-lockheed-martin-after-us-gives

Well, if China were contributing a lot to the WHO, people would be screaming corruption and saying the WHO was bought by China, even more than they already are. It’s kind of dammed if you do and damned if you don’t.

Regarding sanctions, I am against such sanctions, but let’s see what actually happens. I’m guessing it’ll be much, much weaker than what the US does to companies that do business in Iran. China has no incentive to destroy the Taiwanese economy as given the interdependencies, that would wreck the Chinese economy too (of course US sanctions that prevent Taiwanese companies from doing business with Chinese companies will weaken such interdependencies and thus threaten Taiwan’s security).

Good post, you've earned what we pay you.

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4. Douthat’s point 2 is well-taken (at least as a description of how the world is, not necessarily how it should be). The big cancellation this week was on the right, Tucker Carlson cancelling Blake Neff. Neff seems to have expected Fox News to stand by him, emailing his own comments to Fox. Yet he was cancelled pretty hard. I kind of feel bad for the guy to be honest, even though I find his views abhorrent.

I don’t think the line for whether someone should be cancelled should be based on whether speech is offensive or hurts people’s feelings, but rather whether the speech has the potential to cause material harm to other people. I think it is generally better for offensive ideas to be aired out in the open so people can see them and have a realistic appraisal of what other people actually think. In fact, I think a big part of social progress in terms of white people seeing the presence of racism has come precisely from the fact that racist comments are now easily expressed and widespread on the Internet. If someone expressed offensive ideas (say on the level of Neff’s), I probably wouldn’t put them in a role like HR or management because I wouldn’t trust them to be fair to all potential employees, but I also wouldn’t fire them from a back office job and I certainly wouldn’t try to get them kicked off social media.

Blake let his dog whistle accidentally drift into human-audible range. Surely he understood that tightly controlling the dog-whistle is a critical part of the job.

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4 - "Cancellation, properly understood, refers to an attack on someone’s employment and reputation by a determined"

And with mixing "employment" and "reputation" this becomes murky - after all, many (most?) criticisms can be considered attacks to "reputation" (if, criticizing what somenoe says, I say "he commits several errors" or "he has clearly an agenda" or "his opinions have a [racists/homophobic/etc. etc.] undertone", this is an attack to his reputation, I think]

It’s a bit murky, but I’d consider an attack on reputation to be where you go “out of bounds” of the argument and attack someone’s personal reputation, through something like doxxing or writing a new article where you attack the person specifically. By analogy, there are certain games where lying is part of the game (like poker). When people voluntarily choose to take part in those games, lying to them as part of the game is not morally wrong (like if you lie about what cards you have), but lying to them outside the bounds of the game could be (like if you lie about your deck being a fair standard deck or your intention to pay your buy-in).

I think when someone engages in an argument, things like ad hominem attacks or getting called racist are “in bounds”; they may be rude and hurt feelings but they are part of the game like lying in poker or Diplomacy and you consent to that when you participate in an argument. But things like doxxing or writing a separate piece attacking the person’s reputation in a different forum where the person can’t respond are out of bounds, and are morally wrong.

I think intent matters a lot too—is your intent to cause bad things to happen to the person you’re arguing with? If you call someone a racist because that’s what you believe, or are trying to vent, or just want to discredit their argument, that’s different from calling them a racist because you want them to be fired.

how would you characterize this nbc news? shame cult mob shot-
"Unanue has had no problem shunning his grandfather’s Puerto Rican migrant roots by playing up his family’s Spanish and European ones — as though the quest for white acceptance is something noble to achieve in these times.

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It's not murky at all if you don't strawman the argument. Saying "Hey, Johnson, your calculations are wrong" is a valid critique and may sometimes rightly lead to a dismissal from a job. Going to an industry job hiring board and posting "Don't hire Johnson because he can't do calculations right" is an attempt to sabotage reputation.

Which is what defamation/libel/slander law is all about in the end. If there is proof hat Johnson can't do calculations right, regardless of what that fact does to his reputation, it does not lead to having a way for the courts to keep auch 'sabotage' from being fully legal.

There is some protection against defamation for consumers posting reviews.

"...Congress felt the need to pass a law in 2016, Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA), to protect consumers' ability to leave an honest online review of a business without being punished.....It's opened the door for the government to crack down on businesses trying to use the threat of a lawsuit, and the associated legal fees, to strong-arm consumers into either avoiding writing negative reviews or taking them down after they've been written."

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/10/can-you-get-sued-over-a-negative-yelp-review.html

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Complaining to the world about Johnson's on-the-job performance is entirely reasonable. There are times when it's necessary, as with doctors and lawyers losing the right to practice in their field due to incompetence or ethical lapses.

Complaining to the world about Johnson's off-the-job problematic beliefs, actions, associations, etc., as a reason he should not be hired in his field, is very different, and it seems to me that this is where a lot of the damage of cancel culture is done.

Suppose Johnson is a structural engineer. If you discover that he forged his college transcript and doesn't really know how to do the calculations necessary to make sure a structure isn't going to collapse, that would be a good reason to cancel him that nobody is going to complain about. Or if he screwed up some critical calculations and a building he signed off on collapsed and killed a bunch of people--that's a good reason why many people would like to avoid hiring him. Nobody thinks it's "cancel culture" to inform Johnson's future prospective employers about that stuff.

If you discover that he attended a Klan rally as a college kid, or that he was a Communist party member for a few years, or that he and his wife are regulars at a local bondage club, or that he's a Scientologist, and try to use that to keep people from hiring him, that's the kind of cancellation that I think is fundamentally wrongheaded. It has nothing to do with how good an engineer he is. Publicizing that stuff to keep him unemployed is a shitty thing to do, and one that wouldn't work in a better, healthier culture.

Part of the thing is going to an industry job hiring board and posting "Don't hire Johnson because he can't do calculations right" kind of wouldn't come up, because we trust in private enterprise to select the talent that's best for it's self interest, and for it to come out in the wash if they fail to do so. If it even means the company fails, hey, that's the free market in action.

At most, we'd approach a public regulator if we thought he'd do something actually illegal or dangerous, or would cause the company to.

The reality is that these sort of attempts to exert pressure on hiring decisions only really come up where *performance* is *not* going to lead to a candidate 'failing out'.

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2.) Really misses the mark. The CDC has drifted far from its original purpose - preventing and controlling infectious diseases - into an organization that has focused on gun violence & control, the "vaping epidemic", and is most recently in the news for having activist staff call to declare racism a public health crisis (during an actual pandemic, no less).

Lots of hot-button, culture war issues - none of which have to do with communicable disease - for a supposedly apolitical organization.

We don't have a unified national lab for human health, so programs seen as important tend to get shoved somewhere.

(Maybe we should have regional health labs and distribute things that way, rather than nutrition at the Department of Agriculture and etc.)

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The same thing happened in Britain. Public Health England seemed pretty tepid about infectious disease but terribly keen on telling us that if we ate too many cream buns we'd get fat.

We all know the latter but few of us know anything about virology and epidemiology. If the purpose of government is to do collectively what we can't do individually then PHE - and the CDC - is an incompetent disgrace.

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5, Deaths/7 day rolling average

July 3 626/555, July 4 265/518, July 5 262/515, July 6 378/516, July 7 993/556, July 8 890/585, July 9 960/625

July 10 849/657, July 11 731/723, July 12 380/740, July 13 465/753

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5. For these models, why not start by assuming that the virus will behave in new places in the same way as it has in places where it has already been? There has been a lot of variation from one place to another in terms of magnitude, but the timescale seems nearly constant. Once cases start going up it's about a month to the peak and about twice as long on the downward side. Cases started going up in Arizona around mid-June and so they should be peaking now. That looks to be what's happening. They started going up in Florida a week or two later, and in California a little after that, so I would predict they'll drop in those states in the next couple of weeks.

It's not a sophisticated model, but it should be true. I think the models are overweighting many factors leading to unrealistic variations. Take the basic case and modify it. The covid-projections.com model seems to be doing very well because it's based primarily on these effects and only applying some tweaks on top of it to account for different conditions.

More broadly, I think a mistake with the coronavirus has been treating it as though it's unknowable because it's "novel". It is still a coronavirus and one should expect it to behave like those that cause colds. 30% of colds are due to coronaviruses, so I'd guess herd immunity is about 30% for Covid-19. Colds are primarily spread by symptomatic people and are most contagious just before you have symptoms, so I'd guess it's the same for Covid-19. Reinventing the wheel on this stuff is leading to a lot of mistakes that could be avoided by starting with a reasonable set of assumptions.

> Reinventing the wheel on this stuff is leading to a lot of mistakes that could be avoided by starting with a reasonable set of assumptions.

But you are assuming the players are acting in good faith. Consider this: Absent coronavirus, Trump wins in a landslide against Biden because everyone wants a repeat of the first 4 years: No wars, great economy. The dems know this. Covid is their only hope. They MUST make it worse than it is to succeed.

Consider the opening of schools. The rich kids are getting lots TLC at home on their study. They are learning more than ever. The poor kids are not. LA reported something like 40% of kids never logged on at all during the quarter. Thus, covid means the gap between rich and poor in school is growing faster than ever. And it can't ever be repaired.

We also know that covid isn't at all dangerous to those under 20. Deaths overall of people under 20 are DOWN because they aren't riding in cars and covid isn't hurting them a bit. And yet, our teachers don't want to re-open schools. Why? Because they want to screw Trump. They are willing to screw the kids in order to screw Trump. Think about that.

Some (DeVos) have proposed putting kids back in class (as much of EU is doing), keeping teachers on video conference if they are at risk, and then hiring a bunch of 20 year old college kids that are majoring in education to run the class rooms while the teacher appears on the screen in the classroom. This lets parents get back to work, gets kids back in class, and protects vulnerable teachers.

NO say the educators. We must continue to screw everyone so that Biden wins. It's the only way.

I think political considerations explain most of the media reaction, but I think the causes among scientists have more to do with the medical culture.

Medical science seems to seek a very high level of certainty before doing anything. It's not exactly risk-averse, since the effects can go either way. To me, it's mostly weird. For example, masks were not recommended for a long time because there was not a definitive study supporting them. To most of us, it's common sense that they should work. There is an obvious physical mechanism that having a face covering filter out virus laden droplets will reduce infection. But it took a long time before medical science relented, basically saying "We still don't have a study, but it probably can't hurt so go ahead".

You see the same reluctance with therapies, vaccines, challenge trials, epidemiological modeling, etc. This is a cultural issue in that particular scientific community.

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#5, I'm just going to keep saying Sweden now simply to prevent it from disappearing into a deep, dark memory hole. As I've learned, Covid deaths in Sweden take as long as 2-3 weeks to be officially "reported", but they are then attributed to the date they occurred, not the day they are reported, which seems sensible. Nevertheless, daily *reported* deaths have generally been in the teens and single digits for the month of July. Sweden was averaging 16 deaths per day in the last week of June, a mostly complete count, which is the equivalent of about 528 Covid daily deaths in the US, adjusted for the difference in population. They look to be significantly lower for July. They've recently introduced a regime of contact tracing (in mid-June). Perhaps that's having an effect, or perhaps the virus is merely spent. In any event, now that reason for Sweden's decline in daily deaths has become an important question to answer, and difficult to explain, it would seem that Sweden should be getting more attention, not less.

You can replace Sweden with any country. "In any event, now that reason for France's decline in daily deaths has become an important question to answer, and difficult to explain, it would seem that France should be getting more attention, not less." Try Finland or the UK or Portugal - the result is equally banal in the framework of how the pandemic has gone through its first wave in Europe.

Sweden has become, a bit tardily, a fully normal western European country in handling the pandemic. This does stand in stark contrast to the U.S., which is truly blazing its own path.

Ah, you can replace Sweden any European country, that is.

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I would say, then, that we equally need to seek the reason why NY, and NYC in particular, now has just a small amount of cases. Is it re-opening policy or virus burn-out? Places like Finland and Norway are in a different category. There you can be fairly certain that if the virus is permitted to spread, it will. Italy is equally difficult to explain. I simply can't imagine the Italians being as disciplined as Germans in controlling new outbreaks. Italy also looks much like the US did a few weeks ago; a virus-ravaged North and a largely untouched South (and that includes Rome). It just doesn't seem like people are asking the right questions.

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#1. It looks like Bill Gates has been able to capture WHO to impose his agenda (think Melinda is a silent partner). Typical of most foreign aid: first the recipients (their bureaucrats in the case of WHO) impose their agenda, and then as the funding stops growing, they accommodate some humanitarian investors to finance a new round of expansion. So, WHO now is going to do what Bill wants and the relevant question is who is financing Bill's agenda, not WHO's agenda. My observation is based on work done on foreign aid to Africa in 1991-93.

#2. This report is part of the latest attack on Trump based on the idea that CDEC failed due to him and that Fauci became a clown due to him. My comment is based on reviews of hundreds of attacks on Trump in the past 5 years.

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Congrats to the righty who came up with the phrase "cancel culture." It's a very elegant evisceration of the left's favorite tactic in 2020, given that they had four years to pick a candidate, and all they could come up with is a guy who authorized the Iraq War and could easily hide his own Easter eggs at this point.

"Cancel culture" is such an effective term that even the flailing NYT had to get someone named Russ Douthat to write a prophylactic piece about it. So what if he vasciallates between "it doesn't exist" and "it's not an evil tactic" and "everyone does it" and back to "it doesn't exist"? The piece itself is proof that the right hit this one out of the park.

Which is rare in the culture wars. Good work by them!

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#4. Let me see if I have this right: CDC was built up in the wrong swamp?

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I agree with you.

Reading Douthat, I take that he wants to save "cancel culture" by arguing that "9. The heat of the cancel-culture debate reflects ..... the increasing power of left-wing moral norms as a justification for cancellation." Moral norms? He's wrong. He wants us to believe that two sets of moral norms are in a collision, but this is about how to get the state's power of coercion, the prize of all political competition. Leaving aside the question of what those norms could be, the leftists rely entirely on extortion while hoping that they will not need to recourse to violence (you can see how much they struggle to contain the many idiots eager to recourse to violence). They will never win a civil war, but more importantly, they will never win a presidential election. They are trying to get into government as part of a coalition of old Dems like Pelosi at the national level and the new Dems that have already grabbed power at the state and local level (btw, this the typical strategy that leftists have followed in other countries for a long time). Dems in turn need the leftists to win the election --old fraud is no longer sufficient.

Sorry, this is a comment to International Pants Apparatus' post at 11.56 am

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4. Douthat coined the term "woke capitalism" but it does not appear in his essay. Why is that? I can only guess, but it has come to mean the low-cost, high-noise signals that companies use as a substitute for genuine reform. Make noise by firing some low-level employee with a loose Twitter-finger. Elect a woman to the board of directors. Implement diversity training for employees. The entire exercise is designed to minimize economic costs by substituting social costs. And with a luck, the company can use the opportunity to get rid of a troublesome employee. Woke capitalism is all about signaling, signaling of the capitalist kind. Douthat should embrace the term he coined.

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Bari Weiss resignation letter
https://www.bariweiss.com/resignation-letter

For someone who wrote against cancel culture she seems to have no problem trying to cancel Alice Walker by labeling her as "a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati" in the same letter. The irony is rather thick.

Indeed. When she complained that they published an interview with Alice Walker I was thinking, "who would even complain about such a thing". And then she turns out to be one of the signatories to the Harper's letter.

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Her point is that the paper treats extremism on the left very differently than it does extremism or even moderately conservative positions on the right.

The NYT sympathetically profiled a straight up Nazi in 2017.

link?
we gonna need to see the paperwork on that bold claim

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She does, and she is. Putting out her beliefs out in public is Cancel Culture to you? It isn't the irony that is thick...

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If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you. Fauci lied, people died. It's science.

#2 that is.

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#3: Based on one of those blurbs plus the way that his name has been popping up again and again recently, I only just now started to listen to the Josh McWhorter CWT, it's the most enjoyable and maybe the best of the CWT's that I've encountered. I usually read transcripts instead of listening (listening is too slow, and one can't scan ahead or go back and re-read) but this one is much better if listened to.

(However I only had time to get less than halfway through, skimmed the rest of the transcript. So this comment is based on partial information.)

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“1. Who funds WHO?”

As Monty Python would say, let’s not bicker and argue about who funds WHO.

This is supposed to be a happy occasion!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKGjOE_7bYI

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https://cen.acs.org/business/start-ups/mRNA-disrupt-drug-industry/96/i35
Can mRNA disrupt the drug industry?
Messenger RNA technology promises to turn our bodies into medicine-making factories. But first Moderna—and a long list of old and new competitors—needs to overcome some major scientific challenges

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