aphar: (lambda)
A real life replay of the old jokes ("Yankee Barbarian Kills Family Pet"/"US Marine Assaults African Immigrant and Steals His Lunch"):

"Couple heartbroken after golden retriever shot to death by neighbor"

What actually happened:

  • a couple "let their dogs outside... for a run"

  • the dogs went after the neighbor's chickens

  • the dog was growling and teeth showing

  • the neighbor felt he and his wife were in danger

  • the neighbor defended himself and family


This seems like a cut and dry case.
Why do the journalists prefer to distort the truth?
Is it because of the gun being used?
What if the neighbor clubbed the offending beast?
aphar: (lambda)
More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows spews the following not so obvious lies.

Guns used for crime prevention



Emphasis mine:

In 1995 Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University, ... randomly surveyed 5,000 Americans and asked if they, or another member of the household, had used a gun for self-protection in the past year. A little more than 1 percent of the participants answered yes,... extrapolated [to] Americans use guns for self-defense as many as 2.5 million times a year.

This is "contradicted" by (emphasis mine):

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) suggests that victims use guns for self-defense only 65,000 times a year... The NCVS first establishes that someone has been the victim of an attack before asking about self-defense gun use, which weeds out yes answers from people who might, say, wave their gun around during a bar fight and call it self-defense.

According to this perverted logic, rabies vaccine does not help against rabies because first we need to establish that the patient has actually fell ill before we can decide on the efficacy of the treatment.

IOW, the base population should be all people bitten by a rabid animal (that's what Kleck did), and not people who actually developed the symptoms (that's what NCVS did).

If one has been the victim, it already means that the self-defense failed.

If one waved their gun around and walked away unscathed, the gun was used successfully to prevent a crime.

Yes, guns are rarely shot in self-defense - but shooting is the last resort.
The main use of a gun in self-defense is "wave it around", or even just indicate that you have it.

Who are the victims?



The article claims that

But a January 2017 study reported that when “stand your ground” was passed in Florida, the monthly homicide rate went up by nearly a quarter. And a 2012 study found that states that adopted these laws experienced an abrupt and sustained 8 percent increase in homicides relative to other states.

Who are the victims of these homicides?

If X stands his ground instead of being robbed and shoots Y, then we see a homicide instead of a robbery, but one could argue that this is a desirable effect.

Who are the perpetrators?


The authors fail to mention that the vast majority of guns used in crime are already illegal.
IOW, reduction of legal firearms can only have a trivial effect on gun crime.
aphar: (Default)
Treason convict Manning was named an Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award Winner.
I am stopping all support of the EFF.
It's a sad day.
aphar: (Default)
The standard counterterrorism strategy is based on intelligence: find terrorists, infiltrate, then catch them red-handed with a dud they think is a real thing.

Social Networks dramatically simplify discovery (the first step).

However, instead of creating a conveniently monitored sandbox, the powers that be purge them (deleting domains, closing FB and Twitter accounts) in the name of preventing radicalization.

This kills early detection and closes an excellent counter-propaganda venues.

So sad...
aphar: (Default)
Amanda Agan, Sonja Starr; Ban the Box, Criminal Records, and Racial Discrimination: A Field Experiment, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, , qjx028, https://doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjx028

BtB: ban employers from asking job applicants for their criminal record.
Before BTB, white applicants to employers with the box received 7% more callbacks than similar black applicants, but BTB increased this gap to 43%. We believe that the best interpretation of these results is that employers are relying on exaggerated impressions of real-world racial differences in felony conviction rates.

IOW, BtB hurts the blacks.
aphar: (Default)
The best summary I have seen so far is Ok folks, here’s what REALLY happened in Charlottesville – and what everyone is missing.

On a more "removed" level (i.e., leaving aside the media frenzy, disgusting slogans and violence from both sides &c), I think there are two things to contemplate.

First, who are the people commemorated in the monuments? Confederate generals, like Lee and Jackson were exceptional warriors and generals, children of their times, and, probably, no more reprehensibly racist than their Northern or Southern contemporaries. Removing their monuments because they were racists is absurd - like removing Aristotle's statues because most of his Physics was nonsense.

Second, what do the monuments represent? Most were constructed in the early 20th century in an attempt to reconcile with the past within the flawed Lost Cause framework. If today they insult the sensibilities of most people, they could be moved to museums.

Note that there are no monuments to Hitler's Field Marshals in Germany. Neither to Rommel (who was, allegedly, a decent person, although, apparently, not such a great general), nor to Manstein (who was a Nazi and a brilliant strategist). Moreover, personally, I am quite disgusted that Manstein was "buried with full military honours".
aphar: (Default)
  1. The US pays for Pax Americana.

  2. The US pays for drug discovery.

  3. The US does have a very limited free health care via emergency rooms.


However, we still could do something...
aphar: (Default)
Евгеника была вполне уважаемой дисциплиной пока её не дискредитировал Гитлер.
Социальный дарвинизм тоже был в чести, и левые с ним всячески боролись.
Советская школьная биология, учившая дарвинизму, должна была, разумеется, объяснить, почему расисты неправы.
Объяснение было такое: ни одна из рас не может претендовать на то, что она "выше", потому что у каждой есть признак, по которому она ближе к обезьянам, чем другие расы:
1. У европеоидов это оволосение.
2. У негроидов это цвет кожи.
3. У монголоидов это ЧТО??? Не помню. Может кто напомнит?!
aphar: (lambda)
Gilens, M., & Page, B. (2014). Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens Perspectives on Politics, 12(3), 564-581
doi:10.1017/S1537592714001595 PDF

An interesting study with a pessimistic conclusion:
...policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans...

prompted morons to claim
American democracy is a sham... basically similar to Russia or most other dubious 'electoral' 'democratic' countries.

The paper is relatively short - 18 pages, please read it!
They start with honestly admitting that their work is tentative and preliminary.
They consider 1779 policy issues for which they have national surveys with income breakdowns for respondents and build a model predicting legislative response to the issues from 4 attributes:
  1. opinion of the general population

  2. opinion of the "affluent" respondents (top decile, household income above $146k in 2012 dollars)

  3. organized interest groups
    1. mass-based
    2. business-oriented

What they discover is:

  1. Individually each variable has a high statistically significant effect on the legislative outcome

  2. Correlation of the first and second variables is 78%

  3. Other correlations are negligible

  4. All but the first variable have a significant effect on outcome

  5. R2 is 0.074 when all interest groups are combined into a single variable (i.e., 3 variables are used for modeling) and 0.07 (smaller!) when all 4 variables are used.


My conclusions:

  1. The extremely low predictive power of the models casts a huge shadow of doubt on any possible practical conclusion

  2. The high correlation of popular and affluent opinion means that

    1. the methodology is unsound: instead of these two variables, one should use the sum and difference (i.e., orthogonolize them)

    2. the conclusion made by morons that "the poor don't matter" is unfounded

  3. the research is very interesting and should be continued:

    1. I would try adding a variable which indicates whether the outcome is policy change or continuation (the authors mention strong status quo bias themselves)

    2. I would love to see something similar done for other countries

    3. I think the definition of "affluent" is too inclusive (2% is more reasonable than 10%), but I am afraid it is impossible to get the survey data for the truly affluent

  4. The best counterargument to the alleged irrelevance of "common man" to the American polity is the election of Trump: he was opposed by everyone: all business groups, all elites - political, intellectual, scholarly, but he still won. Admittedly, this is just one example, and, alas, it is a high price to pay (4 years of incompetent erratic egomaniac in the white house), but it does debunk the claim that the US is an "oligarchy".



PS. Comment here or on fb.
aphar: (Default)
Как известно, изучающий Тору неуязвим для Ангела Смерти (например ему пришлось сломать ветку дерева чтобы отвлечь Рава Хисду от Торы и забрать его на небо).

В России роль лимуда играет пьянство: мужик пьянствовал с ножевым ранением в живот 2 дня(!) и умер когда пошёл в магазин за добавкой.
aphar: (Default)
A problem with wills is that they is relatively hard to change as the circumstances evolve:
--- How does your family like you new hearing aid?
--- I didn't tell them yet. I have been changing my will twice a week since I got it!

The halachic solution is that there is no such thing as a "will": one cannot circumvent the laws of inheritance.
Almost. There are two ways one can dispose of one's property:

  1. Gift: one can always give away whatever one owns, effective immediately.

  2. Shechiv M'ra: a person on a deathbed, fearing imminent death, can order how their property is distributed (with some minor limitations). The instructions are null and void if the person recovers.

This way the situation when one's property is inherited by an erstwhile friend is avoided.
aphar: (Default)
Shabbos discusses כירה (stove) and תנור‎ (oven).
Turns out the latter is actually still in use.
What about the former?

Today!

Jul. 13th, 2017 03:33 pm
aphar: (Default)
It will happen today.
In the evening.
Late.
Specifically, 2017-07-13 22:40:00.
Unix timestamp 1500000000.
aphar: (nil)
The biggest fiscal danger the US is facing is the skyrocketing cost of health care and welfare.
Proposal:

Health Care:

  • Replace medicaid and medicare with a single payer system, available to all legal residents.

  • Commercial entities can provide secondary insurance.

  • Only palliative methods are paid for when the remaining life expectancy is low (most medicare costs are incurred during the last year of life, when the invasive methods no longer extend the life of the patient anyway).


Welfare:

  • UBI is given to all adult (21+yo) citizens(green card is not enough).

  • All other programs (SSI, food stamps, rent control, public housing) are discontinued. Current recipients who prefer it over UBI, can refuse UBI and stay on their current programs for up to 3 years.

  • UBI is used to pay child support when a parent does not do so on their own



UBI should encourage recipients to seek employment.
It is not supposed to ensure "care-free" existence.
A child is a luxury, not an income source.
aphar: (Default)
ivanov-petrov posted several scans from memoirs of Russian immigrants in the USA in 1920-ies.
One note that caught my fancy was the recurring complaint that while "things" (food, cars &c) are relatively cheap, "people" (domestic help - cleaning, cooking, driving) are relatively expensive:
Car driver is more expensive than the car itself, so the happy car owner has to wash, oil and service it oneself. Ladies have to do it too. One lady admitted to me that she has two cars but no household help. (translation is mine)
This is actually a direct contradiction to Marx's prediction that "haves" and "have nots" will drift further apart and that the "have nots" will be paid exactly the minimum cost of their food, cloth and shelter.
In fact the virtual disappearance of permanent domestic help (as opposed to, say, a weekly cleaner) indicates a reduction in economic inequality (as computed by, say, Gini coefficient).

PS. The domestic help issue for the immigrants is also related to the reduction of their status from "rich" in Russia to "middle class" in the US.
aphar: (nil)
- What do you get when you cross a Kangaroo and an Elephant?
- A letter from the Scientific Ethics Committee and a withdrawal of your grant money.
aphar: (Default)
Меня, похоже, забанил idelsong.livejournal.com (интересно, почему?)
Пропал последний стимул ходить в жж.
Через несколько месяцев aphar.livejournal.com исчезнет (я не согласился с их новыми правилами после переезда серверов в Россию).
aphar: (nil)
The Illusory Theory of Multiple Intelligences: basically, when you try to measure something which has to do with cognition, you get either IQ or nothing (either your tests' results will be highly correlated with the standard IQ tests, or they will not measure anything robust).
IOW, intelligence is, essentially, one-dimensional (plus noise).
It makes The Bell Curve still relevant (summary: Part 1, Part 2).
aphar: (lambda)
even a smart and rigorous scientist could cart himself to crazyland, just by following the rules of the road:
  • ESP ("precognition") is real
  • Listening to Beatles makes you younger

By following the accepted practice of experimental psychology research one can raise the false positive rate to 60%.
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