BBO Discussion Forums: Official BBO Hijacked Thread Thread - BBO Discussion Forums

Jump to content

  • 185 Pages +
  • « First
  • 179
  • 180
  • 181
  • 182
  • 183
  • Last »
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Official BBO Hijacked Thread Thread No, it's not about that

#3601 User is offline   Winstonm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 15,257
  • Joined: 2005-January-08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Interests:Art, music

Posted 2020-May-20, 13:47

We are definitely through the looking glass.

Quote

A follower of QAnon, a conspiracy theory that has been spreading from the far fringes of right-wing social media into more mainstream Republican circles, won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Oregon Tuesday, crediting fellow followers for her victory.


Quote

You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
0

#3602 User is offline   Winstonm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 15,257
  • Joined: 2005-January-08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Interests:Art, music

Posted 2020-May-22, 10:11

Btw, I don't know how many have heard of the anonymous nurse video posted on Facebook that claimed all sorts of evil goings-on in New York City hospitals concerning Covid-19 patients, but I can tell you that in my experience as a nurse this smacks of a Russian disinformation campaign.

First, it is second hand. A nurse friend is replying for another nurse. If there were genuine concerns, there are approved ways to make the complaint.
Second, the hospital is unnamed. This was supposedly from a visiting nurse from Nevada so there was no reason not to call out the hospital by name if the claims were accurate.
Third: the video touted drug treatments like hydroxychloroquine and other vitamin treatments that have no known positive effects.

Don't be a dodo when this crap lands on your facebook shares. Dump it or at least do your due diligence to determine accuracy.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
0

#3603 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-May-22, 10:58

What are facebook shares kemo sabe?
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#3604 User is offline   Winstonm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 15,257
  • Joined: 2005-January-08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Interests:Art, music

Posted 2020-May-22, 20:21

View Posty66, on 2020-May-22, 10:58, said:

What are facebook shares kemo sabe?

I meant by that if someone shares it from their facebook account, which is how I found out about it. Not my account, but my wife. Her friend shared it (breathlessly, I'm sure)

On a related not, Facebook is still the greatest disseminator of false information on the planet. One must approach any article posted there with critical thinking skills, not a forte' of the U.S. populace.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
1

#3605 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-May-23, 05:42

I enjoyed Timothy Egan's story about the lavender-sweatered philanthropist dude from Medina at NYT: https://www.nytimes....ronavirus.html. He does abide.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#3606 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-May-29, 15:29

Meet Rutger Bregman — outspoken historian and scourge of Davos interviewed by Simon Kuper at FT:

Quote

“I’ve got everything here,” Rutger Bregman calls out. He holds up each item in turn. “Butter! Most important ingredient: peanut butter. Cheese — biological. Bread from Michel, the ‘real baker’ in the old village of Houten.” He sniffs it: “Smells good.” 

The image screams Dutch sobriety. Bregman, 32, with thinning, unkempt Covid-era hair, sits in T-shirt and fleece in the modest house where he lives with his wife in Houten, a small town south of Utrecht. You wouldn’t peg him as a global public intellectual who spreads progressive ideas through bestselling books and viral videos. From Paris, I wave my baguette céréale and Dutch Gouda cheese.

We have agreed to a simple sandwich video lunch, partly because of the lockdown and partly in homage to the austere Dutch lunching tradition in which we both grew up, eight miles apart. Bregman, a Protestant minister’s son from Zoetermeer, has stuck with it: “I always eat bread and almost always peanut butter and apple syrup, sometimes cheese. I hardly ever ate out as a child. When I did it more as a student, it felt strange to be served.” 

Bregman is best known for upsetting the 0.1 percenters’ cordiality at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. In an onstage outburst of Dutch frankness that went viral on social media, he said, “I hear people talk in the language of participation and justice and equality and transparency, but then almost no one raises the real issue: tax avoidance, right? . . . It feels like I’m at a firefighters’ conference and no one’s allowed to speak about water.”

Dismissing “stupid philanthropy schemes”, he said, “Taxes, taxes, taxes. All the rest is bullshit, in my opinion.” 

His grumble about attendees flying in on private jets to discuss climate change earned him an interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News. Bregman told Carlson he was “a millionaire funded by billionaires”. Carlson swore at him and terminated the interview, not realising Bregman was recording it. That clip went viral, too. 

Bregman is more than just a situationist prankster in the spirit of 1968. His new book, Humankind, displays his gift for synthesising libraries full of academic research into spellbinding reads.

I whizzed through Humankind’s 480 pages, engrossed by his accounts of soldiers who didn’t shoot, the Dutch school without lessons and the Norwegian jail-cum-holiday camp that reforms criminals. It all feeds into his thesis: most people (except the ones who become leaders) are altruistic, at least to those whom they see as members of their in-group (so they might be cruel to migrants, for instance). 

The claim at times feels too grand, and the book overambitious, but Bregman says this central finding reflects a growing consensus in fields from biology to psychology to anthropology. 

I remark that the global lockdowns have mostly backed up his point. The general compliance, kindness to neighbours and ovations from balconies recall his description of the calm decency in London during the Blitz, when British officials had expected mass disorder.

“Afterwards they thought, ‘This must be typical British culture,’” Bregman says. “No, it’s human nature. Sociologists of disasters have shown that crises tend to create explosions of co-operation and altruism. Now, though, we’re going from crisis to more like an occupation. It’s as if we’re occupied by the virus. That puts us in another era.” 

Humankind ends by imagining a society that gives people more freedom to learn, work and govern themselves, instead of treating them as selfish, aggressive profit-maximisers who require surveillance by teachers, managers and rulers.

I compliment him on his pastor’s gift for speckling a sermon with well-chosen metaphors and stories. He replies, “Sometimes people say, ‘We’ve discovered that his father is a dominee [pastor], that explains everything.’ Some critics tell me, ‘You’re such a dominee.’ I say: that’s exactly what I’m trying to be.” 

Still, underlying the sermon is academic rigour. Humankind prioritises meta-analyses — examinations of data from multiple studies of a topic — over cherry-picked single studies. He says, “My aspiration was to write a book that you could still read in 10 years. That’s hard. Then you start doubting every sentence you write. You find a paper in Nature or Science that looks very promising and fits your theory. Then you think, ‘Replication crisis. Leave it out.’” Most published findings in social sciences are not replicated in subsequent studies. 

Watching the video of our lunch later, I will realise that I placed my laptop too low and gave Bregman a horrifying hour-and-a-half-long view of my face from below. Nonetheless, the initial awkwardness of a virtual meal between strangers has given way to happy munching.

I ask where we would have gone in normal times. “I think a local restaurant here in Houten. I know a couple where you can eat vegetarian pretty well.” An ideas man in his bones, Bregman was converted to vegetarianism by Yuval Noah Harari’s depiction of the meat industry in Sapiens.

“But I’m still inconsistent because I’m eating cheese,” he laments. “A Dutchman can’t easily get away from cheese. I was dropped into a cauldron of cheese when I was young.” 

Bregman grew up on cheese, church and video games. “That’s why my English is relatively good,” he laughs. “When I was 15, 16, I was gaming nonstop. I played a game — called “Utopia”, by the way — where you were with about 24 people in a kingdom, and you each had your own province. Those people were from around the world. At one point I’d become king and had to lead the thing. I remember in high school texting a man of about 40 or 50 in America, saying, ‘Attack now! We’ve got to get him!’ That really teaches you English.” 

Bregman’s spoken Dutch is full of neo-Anglicisms like gedisrupt (“disrupted”) and gedebunked (“debunked”). Past Dutch thinkers could have lambasted Davos in English, but not with the colloquial fluency required for virality.

He claims to have been a lazy schoolboy. After he joined a Christian fraternity at Utrecht university, his new friends dragged him to lectures. Suddenly he fell for ideas. “I had such a hunger for knowledge. I still do, but not as strong as then. If I hadn’t read at least one or two books in a week, it could make me unhappy.’” Reading thinkers such as Richard Dawkins converted him to atheism. That gave him a sense of urgency: without an afterlife, problems had to be solved in this world. 

Late in his history degree he decided to become a professor. “I wrote complicated papers. In English! I sent some in to journals. They were even gepeer-reviewed. Nothing got through because it was really bad, but I think I cost them a lot of time. It was all written in the academic jargon I was trying to master. When I read one paper back later, I had no idea what I was talking about.” 

So he went into journalism. Is there something wrong with academia if it’s losing people like him? “It’s one of the tragedies of the modern university that it offers little space to generalists,” he says. “But the book I’ve written is built on the work of countless specialists. Sometimes one sentence is somebody’s four-year PhD. So I can’t pretend that specialisms aren’t important.”

The glory days of intellectual journalism, when one book review could pay a month’s rent, had gone. Luckily for Bregman, in 2013 a Dutch philosopher called Rob Wijnberg launched a revolutionary online publication called De Correspondent. Its premise was that “news” covers exceptional events — plane crashes, terrorist attacks — and therefore distorts our understanding of society. De Correspondent tries to show how the world works. 

Bregman has never worked anywhere else. He says, “De Correspondent is a rare place that sort of fills the gap between university and newspaper. I’m so lucky that — how old was I? 24, 25? — Rob said, ‘Here’s a basic income. Go and do what you want. Write an essay a month and that’s fine.’ Most journalists have to go through a whole merry-go-round and then at 50 they might get to be ‘editor-at-large’ and do fun things. But by then lots of time has passed, and many ideas have become anchored in your brain. Maybe not everything is as open any more.” His 50-year-old lunch partner in Paris winces. 

In 2016 I got an email from a 27-year-old Dutchman. He was essentially self-publishing a book in English, the translation funded by De Correspondent, called Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek. Please could I read or even review it? Bregman laughs at the recollection: “I asked you, ‘Can you help? I don’t know anybody.’” 

Utopia for Realists eventually appeared in more than 30 languages. It helped to mainstream the argument for universal basic income, and showed that well-written wonkery can reach a mass market. Bregman travelled the world, met the stars and was underwhelmed. “I’ve abandoned the idea that titles and big names mean much.” 

He discovered how the powerful co-opt potential critics. “People are by nature friendly beings,” he says. “In Davos you don’t meet evil crazies scheming behind the scenes to take over the world. You meet very friendly people, for whom a certain worldview has been made easy and pleasant. I find that uncomfortable.”

One arena where thinkers are co-opted is the speaking circuit. “Powerful players pay obscene sums for talks. For a 10-minute speech you can get my mother’s annual salary in special education. Generally, the more you’re paid, the dumber your audience. The cleverest audiences are students and, of course, old people. If you speak in a care home, they’ve always read your book and they undress you with good questions. But a 25-minute keynote at some hip congress — nothing happens, man.”

Why not? “I think a certain intelligence requires a freedom and playfulness that you maybe don’t have if you’re CEO of some fat company. Maybe you’re just too busy with everyday work, which is often more one-dimensional.”

His own speaking fees go to De Correspondent, as will 30 per cent of Humankind’s royalties. “It’s all invested in new journalism,” he says with satisfaction.

Wouldn’t he like being three times richer? “No. I’ve nothing to spend it on. Luckily, in the Netherlands you’re on a 52 per cent tax tariff. And tax dodges are dealt with better nowadays.” 

I remark that the Netherlands remains a tax paradise for multinationals. “But not for Dutch companies. Look, what does wealth change? You take taxis and order takeout more often. And you can buy a house. Those are already enormous privileges.” 

What he wants is for his “realistic utopias” to have an impact. He says, “If you believe in ideas, you have to go out and do it. An idea can be in a viral YouTube film.” 

He believes his fellow progressives have been clearer about what they oppose — sexism and racism, for instance — than what they are for. He believes they failed to enthuse voters with a vision of a better society, and consequently wasted the crisis of 2008. His model as a public intellectual is his intellectual opponent, Milton Friedman — the economist who propagated “Homo economicus”, the individual as rational maximiser of his self-interest. 

“The people who called themselves neoliberals, Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, in the 1950s were the radicals, the outcasts. They met in the Mont Pelerin Society, a think-tank in Switzerland, and said to each other, ‘We’re not being taken seriously now, we’re capitalist resistance fighters, but we’ll build a network, institutions, think-tanks, develop our ideas, and when the crisis comes, we’ll be waiting backstage.’ 

“That has been my frame. There are lots of roles in a movement. Just having someone who writes books is useless. You then need people who can start organisations, from think-tanks to schools. Those have to be anchored, which takes a generation. You need a networker, an agitator, someone who makes little viral films, and a super-thorough thinker writing academic publications for a small audience. I think I have a small role to play. What I do well, I think, is separating the essential from the side issue, and trying to synthesise it for a large audience. Zooming out.” 

The risk in his work, he adds, is “Mount Bullshit”.

“Mount Bullshit?” I ask. 

He holds up his arms to mimic a graph. “On the X-axis is the amount of time that’s passed, and on the Y-axis how much you think you know about something. When you go to university, the curve rises fast: ‘I really know something about this!’ And at a certain point you think, ‘Oh, I know nothing about it,’ and you enter the valley of despair. Then, slowly the curve rises again, but it will never be as high as it was here, on Mount Bullshit. Who are the people who rule our country, the people most often invited on talk shows? The people on Mount Bullshit. I think it’s healthy to walk around constantly fearing: am I on it?”

When was he on Mount Bullshit? 

“So far, with every previous book,” he laughs. Many of Humankind’s arguments, about why Easter Island’s civilisation collapsed, or the veracity of the Stanford prison experiment, contradict Bregman’s past writings. 

Zoom conversations are draining, probably because virtual interaction requires extra personal animation. With no waiter to provide interruptions, we are flagging. I suggest getting coffee. 

We both return to our screens two minutes later, Bregman bearing a Nespresso. I ask him to tot up his lunch. “Two sandwiches, one with cheese and one with peanut butter. And a mango-orange juice.” His cheese cost €3.99, but he ate only one of the six slices. We estimate his total expenditure at about €3. 

“Not the most expensive Lunch with the FT ever,” I remark. 

“Maybe the cheapest!” he laughs. 

I ask what he’s doing next. With characteristic media savvy he replies — in case any TV producers read this — that he’d like to make a Netflix series. Then he clicks “End meeting” and escapes back to small-town Dutch life. 

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#3607 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-June-16, 11:26

From a transcript of Patrick O'Shaughnessy's wide ranging conversation with entrepreneur John Collison about Stripe, the digital payments company Collison started with his brother Patrick at age 19:

Quote

Patrick O'Shaughnessy: My closing question for everybody, which I’ll ask you as well, is to ask for the kindest thing that anyone’s ever done for you.

John Collison: Yeah. Wow. You really set it up with a high bar when you say kindest to run an extensive query over a large data set there. No, I think there’s… Yeah, I was reflecting on this, and, so I grew up in Ireland, I spent all my years there until I moved out to the United States for college. And there’s something, and I feel very culturally Irish, and there’s something about acts of kindness I’ve experienced with Irish people, that’s maybe different to that I’ve experienced with Americans. And just, there’s something about kind of the culture there, just to give you maybe two examples. One is when first moving out to San Francisco, the person we stayed with was an Irish guy and in the way we got to know him is, Patrick had a going away party at MIT, there was an Irish guy who came to the going away party, didn’t know… He and Patrick didn’t know each other that well, but you know, “Oh, sure. You’re going to San Francisco, you can stay with my brother.”

We had… I mean, barely met the guy, never met his brother, but this guy Lorcan, very Irish name, was willing to let us stay at his place for a week. And so we got there and it wasn’t like one of his many guest rooms. We get there and it’s a studio apartment, and so he’s like, “Okay, you can take the bedroom,” and he sleeps on the couch. But that was for me, kind of a very Irish act of kindness when first moving here. Or similarly, when I was in secondary school, we just had this incredibly understanding principal, where we always had various pursuits and weird things going on. And we know we were serious about academia, but we were taking maybe an unconventional course or unconventional path. And so this principal, a guy called Martin Wallace who’s since passed away sadly, but he was always incredibly understanding that we had a path in mind that we wanted to take, and it might not be fully aligned with all the rules that were written down that they had for running a secondary school.

And so, like I just dropped out of… There was a half year of high school that I more or less skipped, when we were running on a kind of a previous technology company prior to Stripe. And he just kind of made it work, despite the fact that all their attendance requirements and things like that, he was willing to enable that because he felt like it was a good thing, or in the case of Patrick, Patrick just decided to skip the Irish end of school exams and do the British ones as well, because you could shortcut, you can go to college earlier.

But again, if this kind of extremely benevolent oversight of us and flexibility and understanding in a very unassuming and quiet way, where it never really came up as a big thing. It was just, he almost assumes that of course, I want to enable you on the path that you want to be on, even if it makes my life hard. And it’s extremely different to what I might be used to, and so, because I think a lot of the acts of kindness that people have done for me and especially the Irish themed ones, those, I mean, some of the most interesting ones, are ones that are much bigger steps than certainly you would expect from someone in that position delivered really unassumingly.

Patrick: Your answer makes me think of just one more question, which is obviously a big part of your guys’ success has been, now it’s become an overused term of first principles thinking, but it just applies well, you mentioned the five why’s earlier as one sort of fun example. Is there any advice, and the stories you just told there are also like the enablement of people just going their own way, which is really cool. Any advice that you would give to very young people that are kind of searching for what they want to do, given your success at following that unique path?

John: Oh, that’s so much pressure. I mean, the youngsters, there’s so much to say. Patrick actually wrote up a guide to this, it’s actually pretty good that he put on his website of advice for youngsters. But I think for me, it is being willing to go down the rabbit hole. Whatever your particular rabbit hole is, and that I think all the institutions you are probably part of want to help you, want to bring you back on the normal track, as it were. And again, kind of Martin Wallace the principal I mentioned, one of the things that was remarkable about him is, despite the fact that he was a principal, that’s almost the perfect societal clip art of someone who brings you back on track and makes you do the dumb thing. Instead, he was incredibly supportive in us, wandering in all our weird and wacky ways. And so we’re really interested in how you, or I’m really interested in how you help people wander and go down those rabbit holes, similarly actually, Stripe invested in a company called Pioneer, which is going after the same opportunity, which is, how do we help people go further down the rabbit holes? Rather than trying to bring them back on track.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#3608 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-June-18, 09:37

We’re Living in Phyllis Schlafly’s America by Sophie Gilbert at The Atlantic

Quote

If, as per Baudelaire, the greatest trick the devil played was convincing the world that he didn’t exist, the irony of Phyllis Schlafly’s legacy is that she undermined women so efficiently that her pernicious influence on American politics hasn’t gotten the credit it deserves. During the 1970s, Schlafly was camera-ready pith in pearls and a pie-frill collar, a troll long before the term existed, who’d begin public speeches by thanking her husband for letting her attend, because she knew how much it riled her feminist detractors. Armed only with a newsletter and a seeming immunity to shame, Schlafly took a popular bipartisan piece of legislation—the Equal Rights Amendment, which affirms men and women as equal citizens under the law—and whipped it up into a culture war as deftly as if she were making dessert.

For all her efforts, she actually won very little—she was too toxic for a plum Cabinet post, and too early for a prime-time cable-news show. After her heyday, only glimmers of Schlafly lingered in mainstream culture. The character of Serena Joy in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, who once worked full-time lecturing women on the sanctity of staying home, was partly inspired by her. By the time a hagiographic biography of Schlafly was published in 2005, reviewers deduced that although her impact on the ugliness of American politics had been profound, her manipulation of grassroots resentment (not to mention her isolationism and hostility toward immigrants) had rendered her fogyish and obsolete in the George W. Bush era.

The other great irony of Schlafly is that she died in September 2016, two months before Donald Trump, a leader anointed in her image, beat the first female candidate for president of the United States. Like it or loathe it, the new Hulu series Mrs. America makes clear, we are living in a moment that Schlafly begot. From dirty tricks to media manipulation, brazen lies about crowd sizes to the weaponization of privilege, her ghost is everywhere, and it may never be banished.

Mrs. America is maybe the first great television series of 2020, a project that manages to capture the complicated essence of real characters while telling a story at both micro and macro levels. Perhaps predictably, the show divided people before it debuted: One of Schlafly’s daughters disavowed its portrayal of her mother, while some critics argued that it was too flattering a portrait. On its face, the nine-part show from Dahvi Waller (Mad Men) is about the years-long fight over the passage of the ERA, a window into second-wave feminism that sweeps activists such as Gloria Steinem (played by Rose Byrne), Betty Friedan (Tracey Ullman), Shirley Chisholm (Uzo Aduba), and Bella Abzug (Margo Martindale) into Schlafly’s orbit. Most characters are based on real women, although some are composites or fictional creations. But it’s Schlafly, played as an elegant coil of wound ambition by Cate Blanchett, who turns Mrs. America from a starry historical miniseries into a stunning explainer on the poisoning of national politics. “The person that everybody’s paying attention to always wins,” Schlafly explains in one scene, as neat a distillation of the Trump era as might be imaginable.

Waller’s series resists flashbacks and heavy exposition; its characters reveal who they are by what they say and do in the moment, and the rest is up to viewers’ interpretation. The show opens on Schlafly, who is posing in an American-flag bikini at a fundraiser to reelect Representative Phil Crane (played by a pleasantly oily James Marsden). From the beginning, there’s a discernible disconnect between Schlafly’s public face and the private mechanics of her mind, but it’s not one that seems to ultimately deter her. “Don’t forget to smile,” Crane tells her, as he hosts her on a local cable talk show. “Smile, with teeth.” A flicker of irritation passes over Schlafly’s face, until she swiftly replaces it with a broad, telegenic grin.

The person that everybody's paying attention to always wins? If I watch this, which is likely, I will definitely be paying attention to Cate Blanchett.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
3

#3609 User is offline   Winstonm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 15,257
  • Joined: 2005-January-08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Interests:Art, music

Posted 2020-June-18, 09:42

View Posty66, on 2020-June-18, 09:37, said:

We're Living in Phyllis Schlafly's America by Sophie Gilbert at The Atlantic


The person that everybody's paying attention to always wins? If I watch this, which is likely, I will definitely be paying attention to Cate Blanchett.


Who do you have to sleep with around here to get a Stoli martini with a twist of lemon?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
0

#3610 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-June-19, 05:52

Fun conversation with Marc Andreessen.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#3611 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-June-21, 10:35

From Tim O'Reilly's new book 21 Technologies for the 21st Century:

Quote

The beauty and power of math is that, like language, it can be used to describe the world in useful ways. It can increase the depth of your understanding of any topic. Tomas Pueyo, whose influential essay, Coronavirus: Why We Must Act Now or People Will Die, was published on March 10 and since then has been viewed more than 40 million times and translated into 40 languages, is not an epidemiologist. He is a Silicon Valley growth marketer, who understood and was able to explain the implications of exponential growth.

Ultimately it was math that led to the lockdowns and stay at home orders. It was math that told us what would inevitably happen if the virus was left unchecked, and why it was insufficient to follow a gut instinct that “it couldn’t be that bad.” Math is a key tool in all kinds of forecasting—weather, finance, economics, the likelihood that you will click on a search result, an ad, or a social media post, and whether a business is on track or going to miss its targets. Those who are masters of math can literally see around corners relative to those for whom it is a dull subject barely remembered from school with little seeming relevance to the real world.

Even in the age of human-machine hybrids or centaurs, we need the sharpened ability to see and understand the world that math gives us. One of the people I’ve known with the deepest mathematical facility was the physicist Freeman Dyson. In his autobiography, he described one of his earliest mathematical jobs, for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. He’d been asked to study the patterns of bullet holes on the returning bombers with an eye towards reinforcing the areas with the most holes. He pointed out that this was entirely wrong. The areas with the most bullet holes showed where the planes were able to survive being hit. His mathematical facility made it obvious to him that when vital areas seemed to be damaged less often, the planes couldn’t survive when they were hit there.

Many business processes can be improved with mathematical insight. You can make the case that the era of transformative internet business models began with the Google ad auction, which was fundamentally an application of better math to an area that had previously been operating well below its potential. Almost every revolutionary technology going forward will have new mathematical insights as part of its secret sauce.

Math runs through many of the most important technologies of the 21st century: data science, AI, materials science, matching marketplaces, energy and climate, health care, space travel, and more. Unfortunately, most of the math curriculum in schools today is badly out of step with current needs, spending far too much time in areas that have little practical application today, and virtually none on the fields that are most critical.

Fortunately, we’re in a golden age of online math education. You can learn the basics of virtually any topic on Khan Academy, and read surprisingly good explanations on Wikipedia.

My favorite math resource right now is the YouTube channel 3Blue1Brown. It’s a mistake to think that math is just for those who need to apply it every day. Just as literacy is enhanced by reading the works of Shakespeare or Virginia Woolf and not limiting yourself to the daily news, hearing Grant Sanderson explain various math problems and show how their solution is not just useful but beautiful will gradually increase your numeracy and your familiarity with the basic ideas, providing a better foundation when you do need to dive in.

I’ve followed this approach throughout my career. When I began working in the computer industry in the early 80s, I had no background in programming. But by talking with people, reading a lot, listening to conversations that I didn’t entirely understand and letting them sink in, I built a bottom up sense of this new world much as a child does, and went on to a very successful career. I strongly suggest adding 3Blue1Brown to your media diet.

In Welcome to the 21st Century, I focused on the way that scenario planning is a useful discipline for business and policy planning in an age of uncertainty. Scenario planning has a mathematical correlate in probability theory, which helps us to understand the odds of various events, and very specifically, in Bayesian logic, which is based on the field of contingent probability. How do the odds change when multiple dependent factors influence each other? When should you change your mind?

Think Bayes by Allan Downey teaches Bayesian logic via Python programming rather than mathematical proofs. His book Think Stats does the same wonderful trick for broader statistical methods. Downey’s ability to teach mathematical concepts through programming highlights the important point that math isn’t just about calculations and proofs, but is a way of describing fundamental ideas that don’t come naturally to people, like (for statistics) the law of large numbers, regression to the mean, biased samples, and so forth. Once you have these concepts, you will see the world differently.

In my discussion of scenario planning, I also talked about the importance of thinking in vectors. Vectors are the stuff of a field called Linear Algebra, which plays a major role in fields from logistics to deep learning. The best learning resources for Linear Algebra, in my opinion, are the lectures of MIT Professor Gilbert Strang, recorded in the fall of 1999 and available as part of MIT Open Courseware.

Joel Grus’s Data Science from Scratch provides a programming-oriented introduction to the various fields of math that play a role in data science and machine learning, including linear algebra.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#3612 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-June-23, 08:09

From the chapter titled "The Heart of the Gambling Beast" in The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova:

Quote

Any form of delusion should be punished at poker. It's really tilting to see it rewarded. It's just cultivating the wrong mindset. Eventually, that's going to get you in trouble. That's not poker. -- Erik Seidel

A friend of Niels Bohr, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, was visiting Bohr's office. He kept looking up at the horseshoe over the door. Finally, he could no longer contain his curiosity. Could it really be that a mind as remarkable as Bohr's believed that horseshoes brought luck? Of course he didn't believe it, Bohr replied. "But I understand it's lucky whether I believe it or not."

This chapter also explains why if you accidentally damage a seemingly ordinary object which, unknown to you, has sentimental value to your wife, she might freak out. So, not just useful for understanding poker.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#3613 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-July-03, 12:32

The Mystery of High Stock Prices by Steven Rattner at NYT

Quote

Why is the market doing so well when the economy is doing so poorly?

Quote

My vote for the most significant driver of stock prices is the huge amount of liquidity that the Federal Reserve has injected into the financial system, in an effort to counteract the depressive economic impact of the virus.

That has pushed interest rates to record lows, turning money market funds, bonds and other fixed-income instruments into low-returning investments. The Standard & Poor’s index of 500 stocks, for example, currently has a dividend yield of 1.9 percent, compared with 0.7 percent for 10-year Treasury notes.

Unusually, an investor can now make more in current income from stocks than from high-quality fixed-income securities while participating in any future appreciation in share prices. (Yes, while stocks can also go down, over the long term, they have always appreciated.)

Coincidence or not, the day the Fed announced a massive injection of liquidity, the plunge in the market abated and the extraordinary recovery in stocks began.

“Don’t fight the Fed” has been a mantra for investors for decades. During the tenure of Alan Greenspan as Fed chairman, the notion that the Fed would provide a fire hose of liquidity whenever a crisis threatened became known as the “Greenspan put.”

In fairness, the Fed is not the only factor influencing the market. Individual investors, known for their often poor timing of entry and exit points, have been trading actively, aided by commissions that major online brokers have dropped to zero.

That has created some weird anomalies: After pandemic losses drove Hertz shares below $1 and the company filed for bankruptcy, small investors piled in and sent the stock briefly above $5, even though shareholders rarely receive material proceeds from a bankruptcy.

However, as a whole, data on fund flows do not show — at least yet — enough new retail money coming into the market to materially account for its quick and strong recovery.

And the overall strong performance of stocks masks the fact that the market has recognized that profits of fast-growing technology companies have not been significantly hurt by the pandemic while more cyclical companies in manufacturing, retail and the like are suffering mightily.

Since the market peaked on Feb. 19, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index is up four percent essentially unchanged while the Dow Jones average — more oriented toward cyclical companies — has fallen by 12 percent.

Nonetheless, many legendary investors — from Stanley Druckenmiller to Paul Tudor Jones — remain deeply concerned about the gap between share prices and economic fundamentals. Warren Buffett, who made billions for his company, Berkshire Hathaway, by investing heavily during the financial crisis, appears to have mostly stayed on the sidelines.

In recent days, the market has seemed sympathetic to their view. As virus cases have begun spiking, stock prices have shuddered, as they did on Friday, June 26. But so far, at least, they have quickly stabilized, albeit below the highs of early June.

So at the moment, as much as President Trump would like to think otherwise, lofty stock prices are not a sign of a strong economy.

And in the long run, the view of professional investors that share prices must eventually align with economic fundamentals will prevail.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#3614 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-July-03, 12:42

The Day the White Working Class Turned Republican

Clyde Haberman's review of "The Hard Hat Riot -- Nixon, New York City, and the Dawn of the White Working-Class Revolution" by David Paul Kuhn:

Quote

The nation, we keep hearing on television and in social media blather, is politically divided as never before. Nonsense. The ostensibly united states have been disunited many, many times, and “The Hardhat Riot,” by David Paul Kuhn, vividly evokes an especially ugly moment half a century ago, when the misbegotten Vietnam War and a malformed notion of patriotism combined volatilely. They produced a blue-collar rampage whose effects still ripple, not the least of them being Donald Trump’s improbable ascension to the presidency.

Let’s remember what the United States was like in 1970: a country torn apart after years of political assassination, unpopular war, economic dislocation, race rioting and class disharmony. The last thing it needed in 1970 was more open fighting in the streets. But that’s what it got on May 8, days after President Richard Nixon had expanded America’s Southeast Asia misadventure into Cambodia and Ohio National Guardsmen shot dead four students during antiwar protests at Kent State University.

Kuhn, who has written before about white working-class Americans, builds his book on long-ago police records and witness statements to recreate in painful detail a May day of rage, menace and blood. Antiwar demonstrators had massed at Federal Hall and other Lower Manhattan locations, only to be set upon brutally, and cravenly, by hundreds of steamfitters, ironworkers, plumbers and other laborers from nearby construction sites like the nascent World Trade Center. Many of those men had served in past wars and viscerally despised the protesters as a bunch of pampered, longhaired, draft-dodging, flag-desecrating snotnoses.

It was a clash of irreconcilable tribes and battle cries: “We don’t want your war” versus “America, love it or leave it.” And it was bewildering to millions of other Americans, including my younger self, newly back home after a two-year Army stretch, most of it in West Germany. My sympathies were with the demonstrators. But I also understood the working stiffs and why they felt held in contempt by the youngsters and popular culture.

New social policies like affirmative action and school busing affected white blue-collar families far more than they did the more privileged classes that spawned many antiwar activists. For Hollywood, the workingman seemed barely a step above a Neanderthal, as in the 1970 movies “Joe,” about a brutish factory worker, and “Five Easy Pieces,” in which a diner waitress is set up to be the target of audience scorn. (Come 1971, we also had “All in the Family” and television’s avatar of working-class bigotry, Archie Bunker.)

It was, too, an era when New York was changing fast and not for the better. Corporations decamped for the suburbs and warm-weather states. Kuhn notes how between 1967 and 1974 the number of Fortune 500 headquarters in the city fell to 98 from 139. Whites moved out in droves. Crime rose, and if you proposed getting tough on felons you risked being labeled a racist. Roughly one in three city residents was on public assistance. Municipal finances were in tatters. In short, 1970 New York was a caldron of misery, one rare bright spot being its basketball team, the Knicks, neatly integrated and en route to its first championship.

Kuhn quotes the estimable Pete Hamill as observing back then that the workingman “feels trapped and, even worse, in a society that purports to be democratic, ignored.” One could go further. Many blue-collar workers felt scorned — by the wealthy, by the college-educated, by the lucky ones with draft deferments, by every group that qualified as elite. They sneered back, especially at the patrician New York mayor. The way many of them referred to Lindsay, you’d have thought his first name was not John but, rather, an all-too-familiar obscenity.

Understanding hard-hat resentment, however, does not translate into excusing the violence that hundreds of them inflicted that May 8, the 25th anniversary of the Allied victory over Germany in World War II. Self-styled paragons of law and order, they became a mob, pounding and kicking any antiwar youngster they could grab, doing the same to bystanders who tried to stop the mayhem and justifying it in the name of America. Kuhn ably and amply documents the cowardly beating of women, the gratuitous cold-cocking of men and the storming of a shakily protected City Hall, where the mayor’s people, to the hard hats’ rage, had lowered the flag in honor of the Kent State dead.

“A tribal tension had infused downtown,” Kuhn observes. Among the tribes were the police, who were anything but New York’s finest that day. Mostly, they stood aside while the hard hats ran amok; examples of their nonfeasance abound. Some of them even egged on the thuggery. When a group of hard hats moved menacingly toward a Wall Street plaza, a patrolman shouted: “Give ’em hell, boys. Give ’em one for me!” Yet the police were never held accountable for failing to stop the marauding, and “few hard hats owned up to the extent of their violence.”

Kuhn favors straightforward journalistic prose, with few grand flourishes. In setting scenes, he tends toward a staccato, some of it overdone: One speaker “exuded Establishment. The jacket and tie. A WASP face with a Roman nose. The side-swept hair, straight and trim with delicate bangs, a tidy mustache, pinkish skin.” Hardly every antiwar protester merits his go-to characterization of them as potty-mouthed hippies.

But over all, this is a compelling narrative about a horrific day. In their fury, the hard hats left more than 100 wounded, the typical victim being a 22-year-old white male collegian, though one in four was a woman; seven police officers were also hurt. Kuhn concludes that while the workers plainly came loaded for bear, their tantrum was essentially spontaneous and not, as some believed, part of a grand conspiracy.

That said, they were just what some conservative strategists were looking for. Patrick Buchanan, then a Nixon aide, said of blue-collar Americans in a memo to the boss, “These, quite candidly, are our people now.” He wasn’t wrong. Republicans have since catered as ever to the rich but they have also curried favor with working-class whites, while Democrats seem more focused on others: racial minorities, gays, immigrants. Thanks in good measure to white blue-collar disaffection, Trump in 2016 narrowly won Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, a hat trick he may yet pull off again in November.

In a way, Vietnam continues to cast its shadow. A short walk from those 1970 streets of chaos, there is a memorial to the 1,741 New Yorkers who died in the war. Its dominant feature is a wall of thick glass etched with reflections on combat, including part of a haunting letter sent home from Vietnam in 1968. “One thing worries me — will people believe me?” The Navy lieutenant Richard W. Strandberg wrote. “Will they want to hear about it, or will they want to forget the whole thing ever happened?”

Indeed, most Americans forgot about Vietnam long ago. The same has been true about the shameful hard-hat riot of 1970. Until now.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#3615 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 5,495
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2020-July-14, 21:34

I see that Justice Ginsburg is in the hospital again for treatment of a possible infection. I hope they take good care of my favorite justice and that she is feeling better soon.

This image is by Maira Kalman who visited RBG in DC in April 2009.

Posted Image
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
1

#3616 User is offline   johnu 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 3,955
  • Joined: 2008-September-10
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2020-July-15, 02:33

View Posty66, on 2020-July-14, 21:34, said:

I see that Justice Ginsburg is in the hospital again for treatment of a possible infection. I hope they take good care of my favorite justice and that she is feeling better soon.

This image is by Maira Kalman who visited RBG in DC in April 2009.

Posted Image

I'm not sure how much is fictional to make the movie better, but there is a recent movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's early life called On the Basis of Sex. I saw it recently and enjoyed the story. Felicity Jones played RBG.
0

#3617 User is offline   Winstonm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 15,257
  • Joined: 2005-January-08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Interests:Art, music

Posted 2020-July-15, 19:17

I have stated in these forums often how I believe libertarians express adolescent self-centered illusions and need to grow up. Surprise, I found those same sentiments expressed in Psychology Today:

Quote

The conservative Washington Post op-ed writer Michael Gerson observed in a recent column that "Conservatives hold a strong preference for individual freedom. But they traditionally have recognized a limited role for government in smoothing the rough edges of a free society. This concern for the general welfare helps minimize the potential for revolutionary change while honoring a shared moral commitment to the vulnerable." This kind of "traditional" Burkean (and Platonic) conservativism is radically opposed to libertarianism, which Gerson calls a teenage fantasy that we need to outgrow. Freedom, as the social commentator Charles Morgan put it many years ago, is the space created by the surrounding walls. It's time to begin paying attention to the walls.
my emphasis

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
0

#3618 User is offline   thepossum 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 1,008
  • Joined: 2018-July-04
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Australia

Posted 2020-July-15, 19:39

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-July-15, 19:17, said:

I have stated in these forums often how I believe libertarians express adolescent self-centered illusions and need to grow up. Surprise, I found those same sentiments expressed in Psychology Today:

my emphasis


Personally I feel it is extremely simplistic to associate attributes/believes of freedom/liberty/justice/authoritarian to any political persuasion. That is very simplistic and very dangerous. Mst of the worst authoritarian, totalitarian and oppressive attitudes and behaviours against other's rights come from some on the so-called left
0

#3619 User is offline   thepossum 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 1,008
  • Joined: 2018-July-04
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Australia

Posted 2020-July-15, 19:39

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-July-15, 19:17, said:

I have stated in these forums often how I believe libertarians express adolescent self-centered illusions and need to grow up. Surprise, I found those same sentiments expressed in Psychology Today:

my emphasis


Personally I feel it is extremely simplistic to associate attributes/believes of freedom/liberty/justice/authoritarian to any political persuasion. That is very simplistic and very dangerous. Mst of the worst authoritarian, totalitarian and oppressive attitudes and behaviours against other's rights come from some on the so-called left. But I was brought up on the left, always supported and felt to be part of the left. And part of what the left were fighting for was complete freedom and liberty

regarding psychology specifically there is a concerning trend (possibly politically moitviated or at least biased) to associate all bad qualities (eg authotitarian) with the right and to deny the existence of the left wing authoritarian. This clearly is ridiculous and fails every historical and rational test or debbate. But sadly it is there. Everything has become totally tarnished with the Trump obsession. Even respected and trusted instutions and professions are somewhat tarnished by poiticisation and possible bias. I find it alarming to see such potentially biased academic research. It is extremely dangerous

But I have almost come to terms with the fact that I am associated with everything bad in this world purely due to my age, gender, and skin colour. What I find amusing is those associations and insults are often thrown about by certain political tendencies who have forgotten how to progress and think debate solely requires ad hominem attack
0

#3620 User is offline   Winstonm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 15,257
  • Joined: 2005-January-08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Interests:Art, music

Posted 2020-July-15, 20:31

View Postthepossum, on 2020-July-15, 19:39, said:

Personally I feel it is extremely simplistic to associate attributes/believes of freedom/liberty/justice/authoritarian to any political persuasion. That is very simplistic and very dangerous. Mst of the worst authoritarian, totalitarian and oppressive attitudes and behaviours against other's rights come from some on the so-called left. But I was brought up on the left, always supported and felt to be part of the left. And part of what the left were fighting for was complete freedom and liberty

regarding psychology specifically there is a concerning trend (possibly politically moitviated or at least biased) to associate all bad qualities (eg authotitarian) with the right and to deny the existence of the left wing authoritarian. This clearly is ridiculous and fails every historical and rational test or debbate. But sadly it is there. Everything has become totally tarnished with the Trump obsession. Even respected and trusted instutions and professions are somewhat tarnished by poiticisation and possible bias. I find it alarming to see such potentially biased academic research. It is extremely dangerous

But I have almost come to terms with the fact that I am associated with everything bad in this world purely due to my age, gender, and skin colour. What I find amusing is those associations and insults are often thrown about by certain political tendencies who have forgotten how to progress and think debate solely requires ad hominem attack


Consider this: authoritarianism is a right wing trait based on a desire for safety and order. The authoritarian strongman cares not about the form of government, communist, fascist, or some form of democracy - it is the forced order he wants to impose. The very nature of the left-leaning person is antipathy to those ends.

And, yes, libertarians use a simpleminded model to protect heir views, unwilling to accept the fact hat humanity evolved in small communal groups and it is the empathy and sharing that gives life meaning. It ain't property.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
0

Share this topic:


  • 185 Pages +
  • « First
  • 179
  • 180
  • 181
  • 182
  • 183
  • Last »
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

2 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 2 guests, 0 anonymous users