Review #1

Elizabeth’s mother had been an incapable, half-baked, vapouring, self-pitying woman who shirked all the normal duties of life on the strength of sensibilities which she did not possess. After messing about for years with such things as Women’s Suffrage and Higher Thought, and making many abortive attempts at literature, she had finally taken up with painting. Painting is the only art that can be practised without either talent or hard work. Mrs Lackersteen’s pose was that of an artist exiled among ‘the Philistines’–these, needless to say, included her husband–and it was a pose that gave her almost unlimited scope for making a nuisance of herself. –Burmese Days, George Orwell

Men are men and there is no innate virtue in the oppressed. On the contrary, as Bertrand Russell pointed out long ago when underdog changes places with upper dog he proves to be more ruthless because he has learned, while underneath, to scratch harder in the battle for survival. –Freda Utley

The base TakiMag has a post on being an angry white man. You know, I don’t want to devote this blog to going after low hanging fruit in the culture wars, but it would be nice if the anti white man hate would tone down a little. I guess the argument in favor might note that they are structural oppressors, and eventually if they are brought down to the same level as the current squad of minority ethno/gender-alliances in the U.S., the battle will be won and we will move on with our lives. Or, well, that’s what I assume a coherent argument would sound like, I have never seen it made. And even in that made up coherent argument I imagine, I still doubt it would come true.

A thread at The Donald was made on the ‘privilege’ of being a working class white man whose father died at a young age. If you read through the comments it’s sad, you can see lots of frustration and hardship. Growing up I’ve known, and been friends with, about four guys who died from opiate overdoses. The opiate overdose is what killed them nominally, but a wayward depression and lack of belonging or believing in anything is what was behind their addiction. If they went to a cosmopolitan university they could have joined a progressive movement, to get that feeling of belonging.

…but what if they didn’t? What movement or cause can wayward, working-class, white guys, join? Nationalism is frowned upon by the left. Pride in their own sex or race is extremely frowned upon, yet common, revered, and even taught in universities (can you imagine how angry you would feel if being proud of being a white Christian man was viewed as pathetic by a cause that is trying to import immigrants opposite of you to replace your demographic?). I’m not even going to bother with links, what’s the point? Google: The End of White Men.

Let me pause to say that this isn’t an alt-right blog. In a strange way it’s an anti alt-right blog. As a rule I try to avoid claiming I have societal solutions, since what the hell do I know? Still, I can’t help but predict that Democracies don’t function when the party alignments fall on ethnic ridges. The darker question is if this is inevitable, or can be thoughtfully overcome?

 

Ray Dalio wrote a blog post (on LinkedIn) reflecting on Trump’s cabinet picks. Do you see the methodological and structured way he is thinking? This is why the markets volatility is not strongly tied to the shrieking of the NYtimes. It seems “economists agree” that the rise in stock prices is partially attributable to improved conditions for firms. Knowing that stuff is pretty hard, but it’s worth pointing out that variations in a discount factor, risk premium, rent seeking, or corporatist wealth distribution could also explain the increased market share.

 

Here is an old, but great, journal article on the types of errors in a forecast. Outside of normal sampling error there are four main other types of error. For example, the frame is when there is a mismatch between the dimensions of the sample and the voting population. There are other interesting ones as well. If you’re interested in coming up with good forecasts, the best way is to probably find a reliable model where you do your best to correct for these errors mathematically and formally. The trick though is to make adjustments (either ad-hoc, or formalized them into a prior if you are willing to spend time on the stats) based on your own readings of the population. While I obviously could have been lucky, I made about $1,000 voting for Trump. My model was to take Silver’s model, and overlay an adjustment based on how I predicted non-response bias would hurt Trump.

 

I don’t understand Inter-universal Teichmuller theory, not even a little. It makes me happy though to know that other humans do.

There was a high-altitude nuclear test in 1962 called Starfish Prime.

 

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