Mar 28


Another little-examined area where inequality of a sort exerts itself is how large companies tend to baselessly litigate smaller ones out of existence. Just as importantly, want a reason why productivity has been slowing down? The below and this explain that stat all too well.

Tiny manufacturers who can’t afford to litigate have been forced to fold based on Acushet’s accusations alone, with no proof of infringement. For example in 2015, Acushnet sued five small golf-ball makers. The co-founder of one of these companies, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the terms of the settlement, told Quartz that’s just how business is done.

Yes, it’s about golf balls but this occurs with nearly all products. I’d be really reluctant to start any business in the US that went head to head directly with anyone large — just think about how much competition that is preventing.

Mar 27


The Democrats consistently argue that policy matters but then insist that when it comes to employment and immigration and the economy, that the fickle winds of fate are what matter — that we can’t do anything about long-term unemployment, or job loss due to globalization or automation, or about the decimation of unions.

This does not compute.

Mar 27


Was and have been thinking about immigration levels and the long-term viability of social welfare programs.

From the reading I’ve done over the past few weeks or so, what appears to matter ceteris paribus reference immigration and social welfare programs are a few things:

1) Perception of rising or falling immigration and relatedly whether it is under or out of control.

Integration success or failure (much less strong).

Unfortunately, there has not been a lot of good research in this realm, and further high-quality research is probably taboo as it might discover something that discredits a wishful narrative.

But Germany, the UK, and a few other countries are currently running a nice natural experiment that we can learn from!

Since Germany and the UK are very large, I’d rather use those rather than smaller countries that might have more confounding factors.

So, a prediction or two:

Over the next 10-15 years, I’d expect both Germany and the UK to reduce support for or eliminate altogether some or perhaps many social programs, including educational and apprenticeships (common in Germany).

2) I’d also expect the (already-extant) rise of rightist or nationalist parties to exacerbate these trends and lead to some pretty bad outcomes in at least a few large-ish countries.

Note that wishful thinking can’t wish us out of number 2 occurring as it is part and parcel of high in-migration rates — as shitty as number 2 always is! A common effect of higher or perceived out-of-control immigration is that these right-wing parties achieve ascendance as discontent spreads among the already-xenophobic and the neutral begin trending that way, too.

A sub-prediction: those countries which experience the most immigration from the most-disparate cultures will crash their social welfare programs the hardest, though I think this will be more challenging to gauge (especially with my lack of statistical/mathematical ability) since so much is just contingent and always will be.

The null hypothesis being of course that social support and social programs remain unchanged or increase rather than become diminished (or exhibit divergent results, which will then require further examination).

My thinking though is amenable to being changed by evidence either way. These are just hypotheses awaiting the test of time.

Mar 26

Pro tip

Pro tip: the diminutive of Vladimir in Russian is very much not “Vlad.”

When you position yourself as an expert on Russian matters and you refer to Putin as “Vlad,” it just shows that you are a moron.

However, “Voldemort” is a cognate of Vladimir by way of Ancient Germanic and Lithuanian, so go nuts with the Harry Potter references if you must.

Mar 26


Carrie Coon has a lead role in Fargo‘s Season 3.

I am so all over that.

She’s so chameleonic; I can barely recognize her from role to role. For instance, here she is in Gone Girl:

Who dat?

Mar 26


If it’s not apparent why I object to Yglesias and putzes like him I just wanted to clarify that it’s not merely related to their lack of talent combined with overabundance of credentials. No, these are some of the less emotional reasons:

According to Yglesias and people like him, neoliberalism does not exist. It’s not an ideology, not an approach to and from economics, not a governing principle found anywhere in the world. According to this view, the features and devastation of late-stage capitalism are natural and unalterable, like gravity or photonic emission (Somehow, despite different countries with differing policies seeing different outcomes. Huh!)

2) Also according to these people, the sole explanation for Trump’s victory and consequently Hillary’s loss is racism — not economic effects, not the abandonment of the working class by Democrats, not the destruction of unions, not the Social Darwinistic ideology of neoliberalism (which according to them does not exist) — no, none of these things. Just racism.

3) The complete inability of Yglesias and those like him to step outside of the data points. I call it “spreadsheet fuckery,” where the results you think you’ve “proven” with fucking around with Excel or some other tool is more valid than what’s out there in the real world. Yes, yes, data is important. Without it, we are lost. But the data is not the world, is not the truth, is not even knowledge. It offers no guidance and tell you not at all what to optimize for. Yglesias and his ilk get none of this. Just none.

If Yglesias were merely talentless that would not be such a big deal. Join the club. Most people aren’t very good at very much.

But he is talentless, credentialed and with a large, influential platform where he harms people and distorts the truth daily.

That makes him my enemy.

Mar 26

Matt Whyglesias

When I need to be reminded that Matt Yglesias is a fucking idiot, I just look at things like this.

Also, this.

Yglesias was a strong supporter of invading Iraq, Iran and North Korea, calling the countries on his blog “evil” and stating that “we should take them all out,” although he was critical of the term “axis of evil.”[5][6] He later called his attitudes about the war a mistake.

Well, at least he copped to it being a mistake, I guess, but still: idiot.

I’ll admit it. People much dumber than I am with no skills and no talent but only credentials to wave around who become enormously successful but are fundamentally no better than some mook ranting in line at a Burger King — well, they make me annoyed and angry.

Mar 26

Not a pilot

I’m not a pilot but the idea of a circular runway is just ridiculously stupid.

This would not and cannot work for so many reasons. Banking into a landing or out of a take-off is a terrible idea. No room for error if something goes wrong. Depends more on brakes working correctly and is more confusing for pilots.