Monday, September 2, 2019

Partial List of Political/Ideological Religious Symbols

The Left (progressive minds):
  • Bike lanes (inspired by this)
  • Organic food
  • Recycling logo
The Right (conservative minds):
  • War memorials that honor battles, victory, and the nobility of soldiers
  • Flags
  • "Buy American" & "Made in the USA" labeling and sloganeering*
*Yes, this puts labor unions (the organizations rather than the members, per se) on the right, where they have always been--a backwards-looking mindset focused on protecting the status quo.

Related: The right has its own political correctness.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Honesty versus Politeness in a 2x2 Grid

I have a number of things I've been thinking about in the form of a 2x2 grid for comparison and contemplation. This is the first of these: honesty against politeness.

Examples of each of the four resulting categories (one fictional character and one real-life one): 

Dishonest Bugs Bunny, Donald TrumpEddie Haskell, Barrack Obama
HonestColonel Nathan Jessup, Ayn RandAtticus Finch, Abraham Lincoln

Monday, August 12, 2019

What I'm Listening To (Podcast Rundown) circa August 2019

This is an update to my prior list of podcasts I am currently listening to. No comments this time, but after listing my favorites, I will group them into those I listen to every episode and those I listen to occasionally (alphabetical after the favorites). Just because one is listed under "occasional" doesn't mean you should dismiss it--there are gold in some of those occasions.

Thinking about the list today I notice that there have been many that have come and gone--some were just tried on for size and others were one-time staples. I think this has been healthy turnover.

Every Episode (favorites):
Conversations with Tyler
Reason Podcast
The Fifth Column - Analysis, Commentary, Sedition
Free Thoughts
The Fribrary Podcast
The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Every Episode (others):
30 Animals That Made Us Smarter
50 Things That Made the Modern Economy
99% Invisible
Against the Rules with Michael Lewis
Akimbo: A Podcast from Seth Godin
Animal Spirits Podcast
Building Tomorrow
Cato Daily Podcast
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History
Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: Addendum
Darknet Diaries
Economics Detective Radio
Every Little Thing
Freakonomics Radio
Grammar Girl Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
It's Not What It Seems with Doug Vigliotti
Kibbe on Liberty
Macro Musings with David Beckworth
Made You Think
Make No Law: The First Amendment Podcast
Mercatus Policy Download
More or Less: Behind the Stats
Oklahoma Sooners Postgame
Oklahoma Sooners Unofficial 40
Pessimists Archive Podcast
Rationally Speaking
Reason Video
Revisionist History
Science Salon
Science Vs
So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast
The Anthropocene Reviewed
The Curious Investor
The Emergent Order Podcast
The Long View
The Political Orphanage
The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg
The Subgame Perfect Podcast
Words & Numbers


Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Beary Best

Partial list of the best bears:

My strange mind had thought of this some time ago, but it was Bearmageddon's appearance on The Remnant Podcast with Jonah Goldberg that inspired me to post it.

Not All That Glitters . . .

Related image

What does it take to be rich? 

Consider this thought experiment:

Imagine an island where the trade winds and the sea currents effectively prevent any ships from reaching it. On this island is a tiny mountain of gold about 10-feet high and 10-feet wide at its base. The value of this gold at today’s price of $1,500/troy ounce is about $6.89 billion.  But it is the 1800s, and this island is completely uninhabited and never discovered. Is this island rich?

Now suppose a big storm causes a ship to go off course and wreck into the island. There are 30 survivors of the shipwreck cast away on the island. The island has a minimal amount of resources to sustain these shipwrecked survivors. They live for a few years and then sadly perish having not been found. Before their deaths, are the shipwreck survivors rich?

Now suppose that modern air travel has revealed this island's existence. The shipwreck is discovered decades after its occurrence, and no one since the wreck has come upon the island. Although all of the survivors have a long died, the direct descendants of the survivors (some of them had children before having left on the final voyage) are tracked down and happen to be a limited number of people--about 1,000. It is determined that the shipwreck survivors were the first to stake claim on the island and are thus the rightful owners. By inheritance the 1,000 descendants are equal owners of the island and all its possessions. Are these descendants now rich?

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

We're Doomed, I say. DOOOOOMED!

Is humanity doomed? We certainly don’t lack apocalyptic scenarios: nuclear war, a robot uprising, out-of-control climate change. Unlikely, far-fetched? Not according to scientists and mathematicians who, in recent decades, have found a surprising new source for anxiety about the long-term survival of the human race: probability theory. The so-called “doomsday argument” holds that there is a 50% chance that the end of human life will come within 760 years.
That is the opening paragraph from an essay by William Poundstone in the Wall Street Journal. He also was a recent guest on Michael Shermer's Science Salon podcast discussing the wide implications for this elegant theory.

Also from the essay:
Since it is equally likely that those of us living today are in the first or second half of all past and future human births, let’s say that we are in the second half—which would mean that there are no more than 100 billion births yet to come. There is a 50% chance that is true, which at the current global birthrate (about 131 million a year) translates to a 50% chance that we have at most 760 more years of births. A changing birthrate would modify that estimate, but the calculation is that simple.
A friend forwarded the original link to me and we had a bit of discussion on it basically agreeing that the math and process is compelling, but that it seems to be missing something to make it as much as it seems to be. Specifically, I find it very interesting, but it seems to me like a confusion between or muddling of two different concepts.

One (German tanks) is like a kid turning to a football game on TV randomly and guessing about how much longer in real time (not game time) the game will last. The other (humanity) is like being a kid on vacation who wakes up in a car wanting to know "are we halfway there yet." The second case is much harder to answer if we include a key condition that the destination distance is not known by the kid. Even if he knows he is 100 miles from his house in OKC, he doesn’t know if the destination is Branson or New York City or elsewhere. It is much easier to ascertain where he might be in the football game as opposed to the vacation. A score of 14-7 and a flash of the scoreboard showing "3rd Quarter" is much more revealing than a road sign that has a highway number inside a Missouri silhouette. While he can apply the analysis in both cases, his prediction revisions will be orders of magnitude different as time passes for the vacation as compared to the football game.

Another problem I have is that the time frame is inversely proportionate to the future population growth rate. If we slow birthrates down to just above replenishment (about 2.1 births/woman), then we extend the time between now and the next 100 billion people. Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlich might agree, but Jean-Baptiste Say and Julian Simon (and I myself) would not.  So my complaint boils down to: that when applied to something like humanity and it’s future, this doomsday calculation is not telling us as much as it is purporting to.