Daily Reading #112

These are not normal times. Politics is insane :


Society, politics and all institutions are changed by the economic landscape.  Each step is a limit on the future for individuals :


Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a fine analyst of complex systems and human games within them. “Skin in the Game” is his newest book, he has been publishing chapters during the last year :


‘Putting their skins back in the game’ is the way to read this.  It is not possible to hide your identity if you are being photographed.  This craziness ends the first time an intelligent prosecutor does with the evidence what the people at 4chan/pol/ do routinely. Can’t expect that out of Berkeley, but Pikesville, KY? Armed doesn’t count unless you are willing to pull the trigger, and being photographed pulling a trigger is setting yourself up for a murder charge. Or vengeance :



I don’t think this is due to any particular about denizens of Silicon Valley except the fact that they are in the midst of a bubble at the leading and bleeding edge of business and technology and markets.  Every new business in this part of the economy is a bet on the outcome of projections about the future.  The internet provides leverage of all kinds, so people pay big $ for a piece of their projected futures. Of course it becomes just like this, it is just bubble behavior, we see versions in every one of the historical episodes :


I think self-driving cars and humanoid robots doing anything are further in the future than predicted, by at least 10 years.  Dealing with fractal reality is NOT at all the same as identifying pictures or playing computer games. We haven’t even begun to deal with the bugs in the Deep Learning algorithms, e.g. the near-universal small sections of images that destroy a Deep Learning neural net’s ability to identify pictures :


Another large-scale medical experiment with no followup, long-term studies. When you look at these from the pov of ‘skin in the game’ … :


More shortages of water due to infrastructure not keeping up with population :


On the many ways the system is biased to more war :


So we see the same thing with every immigrant group. They move to the US and have excellent health for the first generation, typically bring with them diseases from back home, e.g. Chinese stomach cancer due to so much salted food, but don’t have more of US’s heart and cancer problems for the first, maybe even the 2nd generation.  But then things change, and they are the same as the rest of the US, except more recent immigrants.

By this time, maybe 50 years after it was first noticed, one would think we citizens had learned something about what the immigrants knew.  One would be wrong :


More examples of how smart we have to be to understand how smart animals are :


An interaction of drought, bugs, fungi and bacteria with trees not native to an area.  This describes just another artificial ecosystem with too few species, so easy spread of disease and no natural resilience.  It happens in natural systems, e.g. the elm and the chestnut, but there is a natural resilience in a natural ecosystem, e.g. the chestnut still has trees in the forest that last well into adulthood before dying of the blight, and so some will eventually evolve an immunity. There are Elm trees resistant to the Dutch Elm Blight, experimental crosses with various Asian species of elm :


An interesting version of a cultural-political-economic divide. The same underlying causes, the wealthy biasing the system for their own benefit, but such different divisions :


The real effect of fake news, long-term, is that nobody has any idea what is real and what is not. Examples abound. Any day now, Antifa will denounce Assange and Snowden, I predict. I can’t tell if that is a joke, or not? :



Full professorships are a highly valued good.  People are willing to cheat. The incentive system produces bad science as a direct consequence of government funding mechanisms and university evaluation mechanisms :


The relatively-poor will always be with us, but this level of poverty is not good for anyone, how can it be allowed to continue? Policy produced it, policy sustains the state that produced the policy. Same as everywhere, you don’t even need to know details, it is the way government systems work, the powerful bias the system against lesser fish in the pond :


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