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  • Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

    Welcome Wagon – Progress Note I

    Posted by TM Lutas on 25th November 2020 (All posts by )

    A stub site is up at welcomewagon.citizenintelligence.org. There’s nothing really there at the moment (thus, stub site). I’ve gotten good advice that distribution is a major key to success so work is starting on that front.

    Welcome Wagon has also received our first potential advertising customers.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 3 Comments »

    Radioactive Words

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 16th November 2020 (All posts by )

    There are always radioactive words in any society.  Some are mostly forbidden, some are completely forbidden, some are conditionally forbidden, and some are secretly encouraged, so that people can show what brave rebels they are. At the moment the n-word is both conditionally forbidden, in that black people can say it, but otherwise absolutely forbidden, in that no others can say it under any circumstances.  There is protest over this, that the rules have gone entirely outside any sense of reason, in that it cannot be quoted in a context and cannot be uttered even to condemn it.  This is why I use the word radioactive, rather than sticking with the more usual term forbidden. One cannot even approach the word or handle it in any way unless one has the proper protections. If this seems unreasonable, remember that it was ever thus.  Of course it’s unreasonable.  So what? Live with the unreasonableness, because that is what language does, everywhere, at all times.

    Those whose objections are unreasonable, who declare we cannot even quote from Huckleberry Finn, however important the book was in improving the way the culture thought about black people, might have bad reasons for the insistence.  It may indicate an imbalance in them that suggests they will always be miserable unless they have a change of attitude. Yet this is not new. They are responding emotively that if we do not follow the rule, it is evidence that we just don’t understand how serious this is.  If we protest that we indeed do, they will shake their heads.  If you really understood, you would not do this. They are always among us, and keeping some words radioactive might be good for us, however ridiculous each individual case might be.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 11 Comments »

    Pecans and Aunts

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 15th November 2020 (All posts by )

    Words are pronounced differently throughout the country – just about anything with an “a” in it, for example – but very few words are sometimes pronounced differently by the same person.  Two of the most prominent, the two above, work from the same set of sounds.  People generally say ant or aunt the same way in every context, but sometimes, individual aunts will be referred to by the other pronunciation because well, that’s their name. This happens more often when two sides of a family have a different preference.  The children grow up with a preferred pronunciation for the generic, but some of both pronunciations for individuals. There is also the even more regional Aint or even Ayunt in the south, such as Andy of Mayberry’s Aint Bee. Both sides of my family used the traditional Boston-area aunt-with-a-“u” version, but my mother’s second husband came from North Haven and used Ant. I found it jarring when he would refer to my mother’s aunt as Ant Sal, because…because that wasn’t her name. Of course Aunt Sal wasn’t her name either.  Her name was Selma, and Aunt was a title. And yet, when you are an aunt or an uncle it is your name to some people, and that might even start extending to friends and neighbors as well.

    Pecan is even more complicated, because not only the vowel sound can vary, but also which syllable is accented.  Most people have a single pronunciation for every use of the word, puh-CAHN, or pee-CAHN, or PEE-can, or pee-CAN. Others vary it depending on whether they are talking about the pie, the tree, or the plural of them in the bag at the store. Even people who use one of the “can” variants in every other setting might shop for pecahns at the store, and so buy pecahns to make a pecan pie. The pie is particularly tricky, because for some it is one of those phrases in which none of the syllables is accented: Pee Can Pie or Pee Cahn Pie. Even those who accent one syllable or another in the phrase tend to do so in an underplayed manner. Others will change their pronunciation if there is a modifier in the front, especially “Georgia.” Because that’s their name, don’t you know, regardless of what the nut is called in general.

    The other most common word with variable pronunciation in the same mouth is “route.” One grows up with a preferred pronunciation, but might visit a place for vacation a few times as a child and adopt the other for a specific road.  Rout 17 is the best root to go.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 14 Comments »

    Dead White Males

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 15th November 2020 (All posts by )

    It’s the “dead” part that is the most problem. The goal is not to increase the number of voices the student hears, but to reduce them, so that only the present exists. The illusion of multiculturalism is not hard to overcome, as what they mostly mean is different foods, music, ways of dress. Fun stuff. Not too intellectually demanding. One can indeed learn something about other cultures by reading Zora Neal Hurston and Ida B Wells, and should. But they aren’t very dead, not even a hundred years, and the cultures the write about still not so very far from ours. And even they, if I can tell aright from this distance, are not read for what is different about their lives but for what the student can pretend is “just the same,” as illustrations that prejudice America now is really not that far from what they wrote about.  Those two women would say otherwise, I have no doubt. They sang more than one note.

    Female writers are few as one goes back in history, as are writers of color. Yet this is a feature, not a bug, as it becomes difficult to find anyone from the past who might whisper to the student that people thought otherwise than they do today. Let us talk about the prejudices they faced, children – just like today! Pay no attention to how their values and motivations were not quite the same as ours, because then we might learn something from them. We therefore have only moderns to draw from, people who drive cars, watch TV, go to restaurants, and get everything from markets. The amount of diversity is going to of necessity be quite limited.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 2 Comments »

    Specifying Glenn Reynold’s Welcome Wagon: Second Draft

    Posted by TM Lutas on 12th November 2020 (All posts by )

    Thanks to all those who suggested improvements to the mind map in the first draft. The ones I could figure out how to include should be reflected in this second draft below. Volunteers should contact the project email at welcomewagon@citizenintelligence.org . Thank you spammers. So far you have actually provided useful contacts which is a pleasant surprise to this point. When the budget comes together, legitimate companies will get access to the RFPs.

    As before, the mind map is drawn up in Freemind. If you want a copy of the mind map file, email a request. We’re not yet to the size where this needs to go to a Git repository.

    Is this mind map complete enough for a first version of this aspect of the project? Can we move on to a different way of looking at things?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 10 Comments »

    Specifying Glenn Reynold’s Welcome Wagon: First Draft

    Posted by TM Lutas on 9th November 2020 (All posts by )

    Conceptually, a welcome wagon is just two things, information and free stuff. The welcome wagon provider gets paid to distribute the free stuff and the new resident looks at the free stuff in order to get to the useful information.

    Sometimes it’s useful to just noodle around with a mind map. Here’s a first draft written in FreeMind.

    What should I add to it?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 31 Comments »

    The Simple Act of Counting

    Posted by Lucretius on 7th November 2020 (All posts by )

    Apparently, election officials in numerous American states find it challenging to perform the simple act of counting. Surprisingly, Florida is not one of those states, because after the embarrassing “hanging chad” election of 2000 they cleaned up their act (a process seemingly initiated by Jeb Bush in 2001). So here’s a proposal for Republicans, independents, third parties, and even some Democrats to rally around: clean and fair elections from sea to shining sea. Instead of eliminating the Electoral College, institute an Electoral Kindergarten where election officials can learn to count. As states under Republican leadership start to routinely and transparently report election results immediately upon the polls closing, whereas unreformed states continue to take days (and even then under a cloud of suspicion), Republicans can make a straightforward offer to voters: elect us in Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin and Nevada (etc.) and we’ll put in place an election system you can count on. Simple enough, eh?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 12 Comments »

    Five Years is Enough Waiting

    Posted by TM Lutas on 7th November 2020 (All posts by )

    On October 8, 2015, Glenn Reynolds’ USA Today column featured a proposal that people in states receiving a large influx of immigrants from other US States work up a “welcome wagon” that would be “Something that would explain to them why the place they’re moving to is doing better than the place they left, and suggesting that they might not want to vote for the same policies that are driving their old home states into bankruptcy.” That was sound advice. Professor Reynolds suggested that some of the money bags supporting the GOP get behind the effort.

    So what’s happened over the last five years? Here’s Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit Blog, currently the latest mention of the welcome wagon proposal on November 5, 2020, “Someone still needs to implement my Welcome Wagon Project.”

    Five years of waiting for someone else to pick this up is enough.

    I’ve cracked open a new email address, welcomewagon@citizenintelligence.org and am giving the project a free three month trial. If you are interested in participating, drop me a line.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 11 Comments »

    If Biden’s (and Buttigieg’s and. . . ) Description of Trump’s Incompetence Bothers You

    Posted by Ginny on 2nd November 2020 (All posts by )

    “Top Twenty Lies about Trump’s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic” helped organize my thinking. I knew Demo charges against Trump’s treatment of the pandemic were not just emotional and unpersuasive, but often wrong. And it bothered me (undermined trust in my memories) that so many appeared to buy those charges. One of the Nevertrumper ads literally (and many in campaign speeches implicitly) laid every Covid death in America at Trump’s feet, a fearmongering demagoguery on the level of their race baiting. But I couldn’t always remember the actual misreporting or misunderstanding.

    Through the spring my husband and I had listened to Trump’s press conferences, waiting for the nightly news to begin. Lately, I hear statements of Trump’s arrogance, lack of empathy, incompetence. That wasn’t how I remembered it. Of course he blustered – that’s his way. But neither he nor the scientists were omniscient or even consistent: the usefulness of masks was just one of many turns and reversals. But then, China had not been forthcoming or even honest. The curve did flatten, respirators were created – harnessing the natural ingenuity of American business. What worked and what didn’t as far as treatments – often attacked politically – slowly proved themselves. We all started taking zinc and vitamin d. Older people were given more protection.

    The allegations seemed wrong, sometimes I could remember why and sometimes not. This gave me more faith in my often deceptive memory. Instapundit linked it. So I just wanted to say thank you and pass it on.

    Posted in Health Care, Miscellaneous, Politics, Trump | 10 Comments »

    You Knew This

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 2nd November 2020 (All posts by )

    I like Bing because of the photos, and I think they are marginally better on privacy than Google. I use DuckDuckGo most of the time.  Yet i have been annoyed at the bias of the Bing newsfeed, those clickable stories along the bottom of the page.  At the moment it is a refutation of the video claiming that Biden misidentified the state he was talking to.  I’m on conservative media pretty regularly, and I hadn’t seen that one.  I’ve seen links to lots of other videos with Biden gaffes but not that.  You see the effect?  By telling you the one that is discredited, without reference to how commonly viewed it is, it casts doubts on all those other, accurate Biden videos. 

    Next is that Lady Gaga “hits back” at Trump, with headlines that the Trump campaign has “chosen a celebrity target,” as if the poor girl was hunted down and selected out of nowhere to be criticised by the Trump campaign.  She chose herself.  Maybe it’s terrible optics for Trump to even acknowledge it, but now a whole slew of folks claim Trump is drowning who have thrown themselves into the deep end quite on their own.

    And the GOP “can’t stop count” in Nevada county, as if the Republicans didn’t want votes from that county from being counted, rather than an objection to the way this is proceeding.

    Multiply this by a thousand days and ten thousand stories, creating an impression based on selective reporting.  I think I read something somewhere recently about the indoctrinated believing they have come up with their opinions entirely on their own.  That is not only ironic, it is part of getting them to believe their misapprehensions forever. They consider arguments carefully.  They weigh pros and cons.  They check on alternate opinions (or more usually, what their usual sources tell them are the opinions of those stupid people over there). And then, with furrowed brow and a quiet nod of the head, they conclude that their tribe is the most intelligent, the arguments of the people who control their social destiny are superior, and none of their authorities need Air Wick.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 8 Comments »

    Apropos of nothing, really: The Browder Boys

    Posted by Ginny on 31st October 2020 (All posts by )

    Jay Nordlinger’s National Review article has stuck in my mind – an interesting family history of curious (in both senses) people and how complicated man and his loves and choices are. I know nothing about math and little about American communists, who seemed (and seem) to me quite foreign.

    But the Browders were broad in their abilities: perhaps the effect on of Russia and America, communism and western values, might draw observations, especially if readers are more familiar than I with their lives. Bill Browder “goes around the world campaigning for “Magnitsky acts” — laws in honor of the murdered lawyer” who had represented him, battling Putin who was behind Magnitsky’s persecution and death. His grandfather is probably not a familiar name today, but he represented the Communist Party in America for decades and was famous for what we may (I’m sure my parents who were more his contemporaries would) see as absurd, the concise argument: “Communism is 20th-century Americanism.” The generation between – three sons – were remarkable American mathematicians.

    The complexity of human nature? What we learn from our parents and what we believe and how we rebel? How remarkable talents are handed down and how some families are able to cultivate those talents? How math can deliver real answers and politics become fuzzy as consequences, empirical evidence, is ignored? Oh, well, at least this may entertain as we await Tuesday’s verdict on our culture – perhaps a temporary one but important nonetheless.

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Business, Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, History, Human Behavior, Miscellaneous, National Security, Political Philosophy, Science | 11 Comments »

    De Tocqueville on Cancel Culture

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 31st October 2020 (All posts by )

     Rather prophetic.

    Princes had, so to speak, materialized violence; the democratic republics of today have made violence as entirely intellectual as the human will that it wants to constrain. Under the absolute government of one man, despotism, to reach the soul, crudely struck the body; and the soul, escaping from these blows, rose gloriously above it; but in democratic republics, tyranny does not proceed in this way; it leaves the body alone and goes right to the soul. The master no longer says: You will think like me or die; he says: You are free not to think as I do; your life, your goods, everything remains with you; but from this day on you are a stranger among us. You will keep your privileges as a citizen, but they will become useless to you. If you aspire to be the choice of your fellow citizens, they will not choose you, and if you ask only for their esteem, they will still pretend to refuse it to you. You will remain among men, but you will lose your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellows, they will flee from you like an impure being. And those who believe in your innocence, even they will [419] abandon you, for people would flee from them in turn. Go in peace; I spare your life, but I leave you a life worse than death. (Democracy In America Volume 2, Part 2, Chapter 7, “Of the Omnipotence of the Majority in the United States and Its Effects,)

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 3 Comments »

    Political violence

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 26th October 2020 (All posts by )

    I am caught up with my reposts with this one.

     I observed decades ago, and reported in the first years of my own blog, that there is a fundamental difference between conservative violence and liberal political violence.  This is more apparent when one gets to look at the psychiatric cases, where the usual filters are off. The left goes on offense. The paranoid leftist fantasizes about going out and assassinating someone, or going and destroying some stronghold of what they think is oppressing the people. I have heard them say “I think about skinning George Bush alive,” or being caught in a plan to blow up a federal courthouse.  As things progress, they may have developed a grudge against Ted Kennedy, who they used to work for but the campaign fired them, or against Hillary Clinton, who they just don’t believe is responding properly to the 100 letters they have written her appealing for help. The press uses such dodges to pretend the person who showed up with a bomb-vest at Clinton headquarters was actually some sort of conservative, but this is just a dodge. Yet even those are exceptions.  Most stay true to form and want to set a housing development on fire because it harms the environment or break windows at a drive-by of Republican headquarters or a military recruitment center.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 23 Comments »

    Fundamental Fairness, and Voting For Trump

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 25th October 2020 (All posts by )

    There is a joke which is actually semi-serious advice among lawyers: 

    “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell”

    It is first attributed in this form to the poet Carl Sandburg, but likely long predates him.

    I have heard something similar argued about “fundamental fairness,” that it is a doctrine that is argued by an attorney when she has nothing better to put forward for her client; a pleading that “Your honor, don’t you think that this just seems more just?” That is an exaggeration, certainly.  Such appeals, in aggregate more than individually, are persuasive as culture changes, and have likely improved justice in the long run.  Just because it is often abused does not mean that there is nothing to it.  Wolves don’t hide in wolves’ clothing, I used to say.  What would be the point of that?  They hide in sheep’s clothing because there is actual innocence in the world.

    So it is a suspect approach, but not wholly without merit.  I have at least four attorneys who are regular readers, and they are free to correct me on the point. I will leapfrog in this discussion a bit, so if I seem to be suddenly veering off course, please understand. 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 12 Comments »

    Transition to Farming in Europe

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 24th October 2020 (All posts by )

    Just a conceptual framework here. 

    Just so you know going in, whenever reading up on the topic.  There are ritual incantations by all the sources that depend entirely on PC money – National Geographic, Smithsonian – that must be made whenever discussing European genetics.  They must recite that there are no pure European races dating back endlessly with continuous presence until the present day.  Nay, nay.  Nazis, thought that, and you don’t want to be like them.  Lots of other people thought so, too, and they were also racist.  All of your recent European ancestors were likely racist, and good people don’t even come close to thinking like that anymore. Once you understand that this is part of their common religion and they have to say this at the opening of every academic exercise (sort of like everyone saying the Pledge of Allegiance at town meeting, or singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events) it becomes more endurable.  It is comforting to them, making the appropriate obeisance before proceeding.  Because it’s a new religion, they are still working things out. They see heretics everywhere.

    Then they go on to explain to you that until very recently, the major sources for European genetics do come from three waves which stabilised thousands of years ago.  But don’t get any idea that this means anything.  Those were really, really different groups, you know, and there were groups within groups, like Celtic and Slavic tribes both being Indo-European, and groups within those groups. So no one is pure. Got that, you potentially fascist reader?

    The first group in were hunter-gatherers 45,000 years ago. Unsurprising, as there was nothing but h-g’s at that point, no farmers anywhere. They outcompeted but did interbreed some with Neandertals, possibly because they were meaner, or maybe smarter. Glaciers came and went and areas were depopulated and repopulated. Who they were has been murky, but we are starting to get some initial narrative. It’s complicated, but a group we call European Hunter-Gatherers, especially West Hunter Gatherers (WHG) became the temporary Indigenous Peoples of their day. Europeans still have lots of that ancestry, as you can note from the Distribution maps of European Admixture I linked to a couple of days ago. 

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 5 Comments »

    Sadd Colors

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 23rd October 2020 (All posts by )

    History Friday- yes, bring it back! I had forgotten. I only have a side dish for this potluck, but here it is.

    *****

    The orangey-brown you see on the leaves now is a puritan color.  We call it russet. It was then called “Philly Mort,” a corruption of the French feuille morte.* They preferred the restrained, subdued hues called sadd colors, which those who have read Albion’s Seed may remember. Puritan hats were black. Black was otherwise considered a bit pretentious, or at least over-formal.  Clerics adopted it as time went on, reflecting their increased self-regard. But for everyday, the colors which occurred in nature were considered acceptable, though even a few of those were suspect.

    Consider, for example, the dull magenta which Harvard calls “crimson,” and the dull blue and gray of Yale, or the dark Dartmouth green.  And of course Brown has the color…brown. The colleges and universities in other parts of the country have more exciting colors. Here, it is rust, puce, tawny, forest green, and other somber shades.

    Those are the old New England colors you could still find until after WWII.  Immediately afterwards, all those gaudy golf/Bar Harbor/LL Bean colors suddenly became the mark of the moneyed, salt-water elite. I don’t know why, but I suspect that the universality of the dull colors even among the poor here created a counter-reaction of adoption of shades that had heretofore been favored by the gaudy urban and ethnic poor.  Just a guess on my part.  But you will remember the preppy look of the 70s and 80s which tended toward pink and bright green. Or lemony yellows, Nantucket Red, and all the rest. 

    *There is a minority opinion that philly mort was an even duller, gray-brown color, but I am following the decisions of Plimoth Plantation on this.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 3 Comments »

    Where Your Treasure Goes – Obverse

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 22nd October 2020 (All posts by )

    I have not done much cross-posting here in the last month. I will do a bunch over the next week, of things I should have put in here. But not more than one per day. That seems excessive.

     Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Even those of us who know the verse still respond as if only the inverse were true, that we give our treasure to where our heart inclines.  That latter is certainly true, but Jesus is teaching the interesting principle that if we give something, or commit something, our heart is much more likely to follow.  This is why salespeople or charities or organisations try to get you to commit any small thing – even a smile or a nod can be a down payment. 

    Churches want to make sure that all is grace and no one is left out for inability to pay – but teachers of adult Sunday School notice that people are more likely to do the homework and participate if they have paid for the book than if you give it for free.  We grow more attached to something if we have bought it rather than received it. There are all sorts of applications – if college students male and female are set across a table from each other and included in their chitchat, are required to confess one secret or slight embarrassment, the find they like each other and have a higher probability for going on a date after than if that requirement is left out.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 5 Comments »

    When Big Tech Came for the NY POST – “Our 2020 Abbotabad Moment”

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 16th October 2020 (All posts by )

    I’m writing this Chicagoboyz piece to clarify the moment we are living in with regards to the Techlords oppression of America’s 1st Amendment constitutional right to free speech on their social media platforms.

    I’m calling it “Our 2020 Abbotabad Moment” (see photo) because, like the SEAL Team 6 killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad Pakistan, it was a Moment of Strategic Clarity about the nature of an oppressive & corrupt regime that cannot be unseen.

    In Pakistan’s case, it revealed a nationalist, separatist, tribal, and above all a terrorist-supporting regime rent by murderous religious and ethnic hatreds. One where the one thing all the leadership factions there can agree on is fear of India. Think of a nuclear-armed Somalia in the mountains, but one good enough at faking a government to get military & economic aid from stupid foreigners.

    By way of contrast,  Big Tech’s censorship of  the NY Post, the Trump campaign, Trump’s press spokeswomen, the GOP House Judiciary Committee and others, followed by the open endorsement of the “Free Press” on Twitter of these actions have showed we don’t have a “Free Press.”

    We don’t have a “Press” at all.

    We have OPRESSORS.

    They are the propaganda arm of an unelected & unaccountable elite that hates the American Republic.

    I’d call these people’s disregard for free speech “Unamerican Activities” but, point in fact, they are as American as the Ku Klux Klan.  Or more on-point, the Pinkerton men putting down the United Mine Workers.  Complete with Denver Channel Nine’s hiring of a Leftist activist as a security guard who subsequently murdered a Trump supporter at a protest they covered.

    If this were the movie “The Empire Strikes Back,” we would be at the point of the film where Lando Calrissian picks up the mike and says “Attention. This is Lando Calrissian. The Empire has taken control of the city; I advise everyone to leave before more Imperial troops arrive.

    Unfortunately, there is nowhere to run. The moment of strategic clarity the NY POST’s censorship has brought shows is this is no longer just a “9/11/2001 election.”

    We are on Sun Tzu’s “Desperate Ground” with a choice of acquiescence to enslavement by inches, or a fight for freedom where absolutely nothing is guaranteed, even if you “win.”

    And Sun Tzu advises that, on Desperate Ground…FIGHT.

    Posted in Anti-Americanism, Big Government, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Culture, Current Events, History, Miscellaneous, Morality and Philosphy, Politics | 25 Comments »

    Who Does That?

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 23rd September 2020 (All posts by )

    I read an article a week or two ago about the non-silence of many Trump voters, with a bit of cultural disdain for people who write TRUMP in big letters on the hulls of their boats.  Who does that?  You never saw anyone do that with Obama, however much they admired him. Fair enough.  That does seem a bit much, though no harm done.

    Who puts up lists of haranguing strawman criticisms in their yard, in rainbow colors?

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 34 Comments »

    Excess Deaths Are C19 Deaths

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 21st September 2020 (All posts by )

    Note: The graphs in this post may require an administrator to be made visible, which I have requested. In the meantime, those graphs and more are at the link. (I take it back. It looks like they came up first time!)

    I wrote early on that there would be errors in both directions in the Covid count of deaths, that some might be called C19 that could be better attributable to another condition, and some ascribed to flu or pneumonia that were really coronavirus. A couple of months ago, when the drumbeat started that there were all sorts of deaths being called Covid that really should be called something else, I repeated that claim of errors in both directions, but noted that our numbers were more likely an undercount than an overcount, largely because some places require a confirmed diagnosis of C19 before it can be put down as a cause of death. This was unpopular in some corners. As reports of more suicides crept into the news, more attributable to lockdowns than to other explanations (isolation, loss of employment, anxiety) I likewise cautioned again: wait  for the data.  Do not speculate on why something has happened until you know that it has actually happened.

    Please note, this is true for other countries as well.  Everyone seems to have excess deaths, and it is difficult to measure how many at present. There are different problems in counting in rural vs urban areas.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 36 Comments »

    IQ

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 12th September 2020 (All posts by )

    I have written a lot at my own site. I don’t know how strong the interest is here. It is a topic I know a fair bit about, both the Mythbusters and the recent-thinking-and-research varieties. I can put up a couple of posts here if you like. To get the blood warm, I will tell you that it is much better to live in a place of high average IQ than to have a high IQ yourself, in terms of prosperity, lack of violent crime, freedom, and individual rights. Doubly warm, it is a real thing that measures real properties and has significant predictive value. It is usually polite to say YMMV, but I won’t because your mileage really doesn’t vary, you just want it to.

    So ignore this if you don’t want to see valuable ChicagoBoyz space taken up with the topic, or jump on it if you want to engage. If you have a common Myth, I will of course Bust it, but if you have an uncommon myth I might be set on my heels and have to think about it a bit. Much is known, but much remains dark.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 69 Comments »

    Victimhood

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 9th September 2020 (All posts by )

    I reviewed a book in 2013 about The Saint Benedict Center, a Feenyite (renegade Catholic with old-fashioned trappings) group in rural NH.  I link back to it now because they very much believe that they are victims, and victimhood is in the air more than ever at present.  I believed as I wrote it that much of what I said then had general applicability, and rereading it today, I still think that.

    Longtime readers might recognise that this last point is of particular importance to me. The more deeply pathological people are, the more they are certain that absolutely none of the fault is against their score. Ultimately, it is the perpetual victimhood of criminals and narcissists, that cannot allow there is even a 1% chance they are 1% wrong. Stalin, as an example, believed he was the victim of the starving Ukrainian peasants, who wanted so desperately to discredit him that they would even starve themselves to death rather than admit his enforcement of collectivisation was a better idea. Hitler did not see himself as a an aggressor, but as a lone defender against the worldwide Jewish conspiracy. SBC is orders of magnitude less pathological, certainly, but the tone is the same. That they did not live up to their permit agreements, that they repeatedly moved beyond what was allowed even as they promised not to, that they made insulting comments about their neighbors, these things are never mentioned. It’s all those others against them.

    It is related to paranoia, and the genesis is similar. The feeling of victimhood comes first, like the paranoid interpretation, and then goes looking for an explanation that validates it. They are first driven by the whine, not the divine. Victimhood is a pose of weakness that is actually a cover for inordinate retribution. Being thin-skinned and attuned to small sleights and being “disrespected” is a prelude for revenge. We have all heard guys who say, “I’m not looking for a fight, but if anyone messes with me…” Yeah, dude, you’re looking for a fight.

    As this was a several years ago and I had paid them no further mind I did wonder if they had mellowed, as I don’t like to kick folks unfairly. I looked them up again. I suppose they might have mellowed, but it isn’t showing in their online presence.  They are still out of communion with the Roman Catholic Church and claiming they are right and the others are all wrong.  Seldom a good sign.

    BTW, Sgt Mom gets a good mention in the comments of the 2013 post. Solid things last, i suppose.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 6 Comments »

    Follow The Science

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 5th September 2020 (All posts by )

    Posted yesterday at AVI

    Teddy Roosevelt’s 1910 speech has been frequently quoted

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    I think of this with regards to all the complaints on a variety of topics about “following the science.” Folks are throwing that phrase around pretty blithely lately, both seriously and as a sneer. I like Glenn Reynolds and his site is one of the ones I go to first every day, but his credentials, formal and informal, do not include anything about making judgements about scientific matters that affect others. He is complaining about the experts, always in quotes, and how they have failed us recently, and he is not the only one. It has become a popular sport this year. I’m calling it out. It’s a cheap way to make points. People who have to read scientific research and try to get some sense out of it that they can pass it on safely to other people tend much more to “On the one hand, on the other hand.” People trying to score political points tend to make broader statements. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 19 Comments »

    The Imperial Japanese Surrender in Tokyo Bay, Sept. 2, 1945…Plus 75 Years

    Posted by Trent Telenko on 2nd September 2020 (All posts by )

    On September 2, 1945, the surrender ceremony for Imperial Japan occurred in Tokyo  Bay with General Douglas MacArthur officiating.

    There are several films of this event. There was the official one MacArthur’s Signal Corps camera crew recorded.  There is a film from war correspondent William Courtenay and a finally a film taken by Commander George F. Kosco of the US Navy.

    I have included in this post several versions of each of these films in black and white and color below.

    The end of this ceremony marked the close of the most destructive war in human history whose 75th anniversary passed today.

     

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Japan, Military Affairs, Miscellaneous, National Security, USA, War and Peace | 23 Comments »

    Sullivan Act

    Posted by Assistant Village Idiot on 1st September 2020 (All posts by )

    Readers may be interested in commenter James’s link to and brief speculation on the Sullivan Act, which tended to disarm the populace without much affecting criminals in New York over a century ago. He’s a modest lad who doesn’t put himself forward much, so sometimes I do it for him. He will also keep you up-to-date on recent discoveries in physics if you browse there.

    Posted in Miscellaneous | 26 Comments »