"Talks a good game about freedom when out of power, but once he’s in – bam! Everyone's enslaved in the human-flourishing mines."

Links 5/16: Linko de Mayo

The Theory Of Deadly Initials proposed that people whose initials spelled out negative words, like D.I.E. or B.A.D., died earlier because of the associated stress. People believed this for years before someone figured out it was all based on bad statistics.

Jamie Brew has become Internet-famous for his predictive text generator that makes hilarious mishmash out of sources like the political debates (“I am in this campaign for the sake of the four largest people in the history of the world, people who should have a lot of healthcare”). But how come he is able to do this so much better than anybody else armed with a Markov chain and a source text? Some kind of shiny new machine learning algorithm? Rationalist Tumblr user @nostalgebraist investigates and bursts all our dreams by finding that nope, it’s mostly done by good old human judgment.

This seems unbelievable to me, so I challenge readers to tell me how to reconcile my perceptions with the data: of all candidates (including Trump), Hillary Clinton has received the most negative media coverage.

You know those Neuro drinks that are on sale everywhere and promise to lift your mood or help you relax or whatever? They’re now paying $500,000 for misleading advertising. Sounds like a pretty fair decision to this psychiatrist.

BMJ: a large study from 1973 found that replacing saturated fat with vegetable oil did not decrease death from coronary disease, but the results sat in a file drawer for forty years. And the New York Times’ popular presentation of same.

Although shared environment has kind of gotten the short end of the stick in recent behavioral genetics studies, it still shows up sometimes in early childhood and in studies done on the most deprived populations. But what percent of that is prenatal versus postnatal environment? Abstract, table of results. Most interesting finding: adopted adults’ IQ is so unrelated to the IQ of their adoptive mother that in some studies the correlation shows up as nonsignificantly negative.

There’s been some past discussion here about Success Academy, a chain of charter schools that has achieved impressive results. Freddie deBoer argues this will never scale because their business model is hiring a tiny number of elite teachers who have just graduated from top colleges for really cheap, luring them with promises of social impact and getting to live in desirable areas. This might work – have the best teachers teach poorer students and those poor students will do well – but it doesn’t scale beyond the tiny number of elite teachers willing to work in those conditions. I find this idea plausible but far from proven – first of all because the schools themselves say it’s their (easily scalable) discipline policies that lead to their success, and because the research on the importance of teacher quality seems mixed.

A while back I posited a utopian online future of automated machine learning filters that prevent you from ever having to see trolls. Now Hugh Hancock makes the case for pessimism by positing a dystopian online future of automated machine learning trolls.

I can’t improve on this title: Reflections On Reasons for Reduced Rates of Replicability.

A while ago I got a bit paranoid about some kind of deliberate conspiracy to prevent working class people from getting jobs painlessly, and how the government used bureaucracy to smite any opportunity that arose outside this system. This probably isn’t going to help my paranoia: San Francisco to require Uber and Lyft drivers to obtain business licenses.

Related: Google, Ford, Uber, Lyft, Volvo, etc, form lobbying group for self-driving cars. I’d forgotten that people could also lobby in favor of things I want!

Classic Programmer Paintings dot tumblr dot com.

Scientific American: Scott Aaronson Answers Every Ridiculously Big Question I Throw At Him. I disagree with John Horgan about a lot, sometimes vehemently, but man can he do a good science interview.

Andrew Gelman dissects a study on airplane inequality. And Asheley Landrum dissects a study on Ted Cruz and bullshit.

Scientist suggests that quantizing inertia would explain flyby anomaly and make the EmDrive not contradict physics. Anyone want to tell me if this is crazy or not? (EDIT: probably crazy)

Marginal Revolution: Regulatory Arbitrage, Rent-Seeking, and the Deal Of The Year. Why did the Real Estate Board of New York give its Ingenious Deal Of The Year Award to somebody who literally destroyed value with a wrecking ball for no economic reason? And what does it say about our society that they were right to do so? An interesting companion piece to some of what I talked about in my review of Art of the Deal.

Correlation of -0.68 between “rule of law” in a country as defined by the World Justice Project, versus road accident deaths per capita in that country. Is this something boring, like better governments making better road systems, or everything about countries always being correlated by development anyway? Or some more fundamental connection between people following the rules while driving and following the rules while governing. I’d say “paging Garett Jones” except that I think I got this link from his Twitter.

Vox: Inequality As Waste. Discusses increasingly costly signaling in terms of houses, weddings, and parties as a multipolar trap in which everybody has to keep up with a small group of increasingly super-rich Joneses.

Study: “About 40% of studies fail to fully report all experimental conditions and about 70% of studies do not report all outcome variables included int he questionnaire. Reported effect sizes are about twice as large as unreported effect sizes and three times more likely to be statistically significant.

Vox’s profile of Mencius Moldbug is a thing that exists. Nick Land praises it as “almost saintly in its attempt to get the phenomenon right”. Ross Douthat responds in the NYT calling reaction potentially “something genuinely new…a vision as strange and motley as reality itself.”

Also in the NYT, this time by Amanda Hess: “Those who try to signal their wokeness by saying ‘woke’ have revealed themselves to be very unwoke indeed.” I am deeply grateful to have a bubble that mostly insulates me from the sort of people for whom this is a problem.

I had a fun time presenting Plomin’s paper Top Ten Replicated Findings From Behavioral Genetics to a room full of psychoanalysts last month, then fielding their increasingly angry and horrified questions. But this group might be more in need of the (partial) antidote, Turkheimer’s Weak Genetic Explanations 20 Years Later, which I endorse as the most pessimistic about genetic explanations it is possible to be while still being 100% intellectually honest.

In the context of recent papers finding the global warming “hiatus” is real after all, David Friedman notes that he has been predicting this for years, and further predicts (if I understand correctly) that the warming trend should return with a vengeance around 2030.

The percent of Americans who identify as environmentalist has gone down from 78% in 1991 to 42% today! I find this really surprising, and indeed, Gallup notes that how Americans actually feel about environmentalist issues has changed much less or not at all. So what’s going on here? One possibility: global warming has so eclipsed all other environmental concerns that the mainstream environmentalist movement has entirely folded into the anti-global-warming movement, which doesn’t have a catchy name or identitarian label. But I wonder if there’s something deeper going on here – something like environmentalism so permeating the culture that normal people stop identifying with it and the term becomes more relegated to an extremist fringe. How might that relate to other political movements?

Speaking of how people self-identify: did you know the average self-identified vegetarian eats one serving of meat per day? Or that 60% of self-identified vegetarians say they’ve eaten meat in the past 24 hours? Related: Rational Conspiracy on cost-effectiveness of vegetarianism.

Rational Conspiracy: whatever you do, don’t subscribe to the Boston Globe.

New n = 9,000 blinded resume study finds no preference for white over black or Hispanic applicants, contradicting previous research. Before you get too excited, I think there’s a lot of previous research this contradicts, so more studies are needed. Also, they signaled black race by using the last names “Washington” or “Jefferson”, instead of previous studies that had used first names like “Jamal” or “DeShawn”. While people convincingly argued that Jamal and DeShawn might be less popular among employers than the average black person, I worry that “Washington” and “Jefferson”, while indeed disproportionately black names, may not be black enough to effectively signal blackness. On the other hand, the Hispanics were “Hernandez” and “Garcia”, you’d think that would have worked.

Related: “implicit racist attitudes” as measured by Implicit Association Tests do not actually predict whether someone will racially discriminate or not, are of questionable meaningfulness.

r/SubRedditSimulator is a subreddit made entirely of bots; each bot generates posts and comments based off of predictive text from a different subreddit. 8th post is by the r/CrazyIdeas bot: “Open a pizzeria that only serves food made by two different parasites fighting for control in our solar system by detonating calculated explosions near the soda fountain…”

Popehat attorney Marc Randazza files a legal brief about Klingon, partly in Klingon, supporting a very Klingon conception of copyright law.

President Obama makes a Red Wedding joke at the White House Press Correspondents Dinner, threatens to have security bar the doors and take out all the Republicans in the room. Funny in context, but I appreciated Pax Dickinson’s commentary – our history of drone strikes on Pakistan is pretty grim, and jokes about killing everybody at a wedding are less funny when the person making them has actually done that before.

Weasel shuts down Large Hadron Collider in the most blatant act of animal aggression against the particle physics community since a bird dropped a baguette into CERN machinery and a conspiracy of raccoons took down Fermilab.

Aptly-named Impossible Foods says it will have a high-tech vegetarian burger as good as the real thing available at select restaurants this July. No word on when it’ll be available direct to consumers.

Did you know: light bulb manufacturers maintained an honest-to-goodness conspiracy to prevent the introduction of longer-lasting bulbs. I would say this should increase our concern about this sort of thing happening today, except the conspiracy lasted barely ten years before other companies managed to undercut them, so maybe it should decrease our concern.

The price of solar power has decreased 50% in 16 months. Maybe. There’s a lot of complicated stuff about subsidized versus unsubsidized power and I’m not sure it’s an apples-to-apples comparison. But there’s some very impressive claim about solar power that’s true. Sometimes it seems like technologies only have two possible modes – stagnant for decades, or doubling every eighteen months.

David Chapman always has posts that are structurally brilliant and revelatory until I sit back and think about them later and realize I don’t know what half the terms in them mean and I am just assuming they are brilliant and revelatory because they are put together in a way which is a superstimulus for formally correct thought. His latest, A Bridge To Meta-Rationality Vs. Civilizational Collapse, is a typically engaging and impressive example of the genre. I really wish I knew more about post-modernism, or that somebody who does would write an engaging and meaningful introduction.

A scuba diver petting a moray eel, with relevant commentary here.

In 1737, William Penn’s children made a (shady, possibly forged or forced) treaty with the Lenape Indians that granted white settlers all territory within thirty-six hours’ walk from the Lehigh River. Then they hired the fastest power-walkers and best surveyors in the colony to cover as much ground as humanly possible within thirty-six hours. The history of the Walking Purchase.

Scott Aaronson and a student find that the 7918th Busy Beaver number is unknowable. This is a fun read even for someone like me who only understands the tiniest fraction of what’s going on. I think it is about a function which proceeds from being finite, knowable, and known to being Godelian and unknowable in an orderly fashion in a finite number of steps (apparently, less than 7918). If I’m understanding this right, my brain hurts.

The French company behind the TGV supertrain has invested 80 million euros in the Hyperloop.

Tow truck owner refuses to tow Bernie Sanders supporter. This is the world you people have built for us.

Oddly prescient Onion from 2012: Shrieking White Hot Sphere Of Pure Rage Early GOP Front-Runner For 2016. Between this and the Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity article I’m starting to think the Onion employs Nostradamus.

A roundup of everybody who said Trump could never win the nomination so we can laugh at them for being wrong. There’s actually an important rationality lesson here, which is that a person who said Trump had only a 20% chance of winning the nomination (like Nate Silver) may in fact be perfectly virtuous – things with only a twenty percent chance of happening do happen one in every five times. By extension, even a person who said there was only a 0.000001% chance of Trump winning the nomination may be virtuous, although it’s pretty unlikely. I am less contemptuous of anybody who provided a number, and more contemptuous of the sort of people who said “Anyone who thinks Trump might win the nomination is an idiot and shouldn’t be taken seriously”. SSC’s own (rather late) prediction was 60% chance he would be the nominee – an earlier pseudo-prediction was non-numerical and very carefully hedged.

French study shows diversity causes social anomie, but I get kind of suspicious when “social anomie” is treated as a quantified study endpoint. Related: contra usual conventional wisdom, study suggests that ethnic diversity does not decrease support for redistribution, except maybe in special cases involving recent immigrants.

What do actual epigenetics professors and researchers think of the pop epigenetics that always gets cited in the media as the hot new explanation for social phenomena? Jerry Coyne collects some biting responses.

Egypt Independent – “Salah Abdel Sadeq, head of the State Information Service, has blamed the spread of violence and extremism in the Arab world on Tom & Jerry cartoons and video games.” The fun thing about this is that every time another culture blames their problems on the way things are portrayed in the media, it sounds hilarious, but whenever our culture does it people find it totally plausible. Related: Mexican Congresswoman Declares War On Memes

The Open Philanthropy Project has declared that AI risk will be one of their major priorities this year, an important development given both their levels of funding/talent/connections, and their reputation as a gold standard for analysis of what charitable opportunities are important. Especially interesting given that the OPP leader who wrote the report, Holden, was previously one of MIRI’s strongest critics – he notes that “my views on this cause have evolved considerably over time”, though it’s also important to note a lot of his criticisms were MIRI-specific rather than related to the entire field.

Has the more charismatic candidate really won every one of the last thirteen presidential elections?

The theologians say that Hell is the absence of God, marked not by divine abandonment of human souls but by humans who deliberately refuse the salvific power of the Divine. On the one hand, I feel like this is an uncharitable portrayal of nonbelievers, many of whom are not opposed to God but only intellectually unconvinced of His existence. On the other, Haifa Man Seeks Restraining Order Against God

Yet another study showing permanent increase in Openness (and the ominous-sounding “brain entropy”) after LSD use (h/t Emil Kierkegaard)

What does it look like to walk along the ridge of the Matterhorn? (warning: it looks like something that will trigger people who are scared of heights). A less dizzying perspective. Relevant Reddit commentary.

Brad DeLong vs. John Cochrane on the Ease of Doing Business Index.

You know that chart showing how US GDP keeps going up steadily, but after 1973, wages stop going up along with it? Somebody broke it down and figured out why. Some of it is The 1 Percent, but a lot isn’t.

New York bar told it is discriminatory to deny service to pregnant women.

Percent Neanderthal genes in Europeans has been declining over the past 40,000 years in a way consistent with natural selection acting against them.

Ten percent of federal judgeships are currently vacant – study finds that this leads to a thousand fewer incarcerations each year as prosecutors triage which cases they want to bring to trial. Suggested trollish by technically correct spin: Congressional Republicans have done more for the fight against mass incarceration than almost anyone else.

A counterpoint to a recent post on Chinese happiness: Pew asks a very subtly different question and sees vast improvement in all emerging markets including China.

America has 35% fewer police officers per capita than the world average, even though its prison system is much larger. Alex Tabarrok wonders if this suggests a strategy of shifting criminal justice resources from prisons to police, in the hopes that criminals use a rational P(caught)*punishment strategy to determine whether or not to commit a crime and so if we increase catch rate we can shorten sentences.

Artir with a very long and data-intensive argument that there is no technological stagnation. Strongest possible rebuttal I can imagine after this data overflow (unless you can prove the post is cherry-picking indicators, which it doesn’t look like) is that for some reason stagnation is uniquely limited to things that can’t be graphed – progress in how much energy can be stored in a single battery is going as fast as ever, but there are fewer completely new ideas like airplanes. But that might be too close to a god of the gaps argument – people can graph a lot of things.

An argument against denser zoning in San Francisco good enough to get featured on Marginal Revolution???

Why are there billboards across Utah advertising the 9th President of the US, William Henry Harrison?

Is there an evolutionary reason why humans continue to live after they stop being able to reproduce? We still don’t know, but of note, A Simple Offspring-To-Mother Size Ratio Predicts Post-Reproductive Lifespan, suggesting that long life might be a spandrel of the health needed to survive the stress of childbirth.

Is Social Darwinism A Myth? (1, 2). Despite the ubiquitous demands not to be like those nasty social Darwinists who must have dominated 19th century thought or something, there’s very little evidence that people of that era used the term ‘social Darwinism’ or used Darwinian theory to justify their social policies. The whole thing may have been mostly invented by one guy in the 1940s as an attempt to tarnish economists he didn’t like.

Venezuela has come up with a sure-fire solution to its hyperinflation problems which is 100% in keeping with socialist principles.

Can anybody explain whether this image (apparently derived from here?) contradicts or even reverses the narrative that Democrats have stayed pretty normal but Republicans have become much more extreme?

Did iTunes delete all the music on this guy’s hard drive? vs. Apple doesn’t delete all the music on your hard drive unless you do something wrong, which given Apple’s confusing policies and dictatorial business model you inevitably will.

The great thing about ketamine is that it relieves depression near-instantly and much more reliably than ordinary antidepressants. The bad thing about it is that it’s ketamine – a potentially dangerous hallucinogenic drug – and similar but safer compounds don’t seem to have the same effects. Now scientists have found (at least in mice) that it is not ketamine itself but a metabolite of ketamine that treats depression, and the metabolite is relatively safe. Also, the metabolite affects AMPA receptors, not NMDA receptors, which means previous research was looking in the wrong place and now we can look in the right one. Exciting progress!

Thing of Things: Contra Piaget, very young infants probably have object permanence.

The first few paragraphs of this article are standard intra-Christian exhortation boilerplate, but if you can make it through them, the rest is a fascinating and terrifying ethnography of a creepy new charismatic movement.

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1,315 Responses to Links 5/16: Linko de Mayo

  1. Gabe Bankman-Fried says:

    Explanation of the Scott Aaronson paper, if anyone is curious.

    Busy Beaver, BB, is a function defined over the integers. BB(n) represents the largest number of steps that an n-state turing machine (TM) can take before halting (when given the empty string as an input). It grows incredibly quickly. We know that this function is incomputable, meaning there cannot exist an algorithm which explicitly computes the nth Busy Beaver number. This fact can be proven easily by showing that if you could compute the nth BB number, then you could solve the halting problem. Suppose you could compute any BB number. Then give me an n-state TM, and I’ll run it for BB(n) steps. If it doesn’t halt, then I know it never will. So I’ve solved the halting problem! (Which is impossible).

    So we already knew that we couldn’t construct an algorithm which is proven to calculate any arbitrary BB number. But we do know some BB numbers (see above link). For example, BB(1) = 1. Now, thanks to this paper, we have the first lowest current bound on the highest possible BB number that we could compute could provably compute (7918). The authors got this bound by constructing a particular TM whose stopping behavior could not be predicted proven to be predicted, and that TM had 7,918 states. Specifically, the TM would halt if and only if ZFC is inconsistent, and Godel’s second incompleteness theorem tells us that we can never prove that ZFC is consistent (assuming that it actually is, which we do). So anyways, if we knew BB(7918), we could run our TM BB(7918) times, and if it didn’t halt, we’d know that it never would. Since it is impossible to know prove in ZFC that this TM would halt, we’ve proven that BB(7918) is incomputable cannot be proven to be any particular value.

    The tl;dr is that we always knew that a bound like this existed. We could write a python program which did the same thing as the TM in their paper, and just knowing that that program could be written as a TM (h/t Alan Turing, as always) would tell us that there was an upper bound on computable BB numbers. But I dunno, it’s kind of cool to have a specific number.

    Although as ton pointed out (and which I did not know), we had a specific number earlier, and this one is just much lower. Aaronson tries to motivate the practice of lowering this bound, but I think his motivation is borne from intellectual curiosity and not applicability. Hard to fault him for that, of course.

    See this for motivation on Busy Beaver numbers.

    • ton says:

      It’s not the first bound, he previously showed a bound of 340,943.

      https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/100680

    • anon85 says:

      Since it is impossible to know if this TM would halt

      No no no. It is impossible to prove in ZF theory that this TM halts. This is very different from knowing whether it halts (by most reasonable definitions of “know”, we *do* know that it halts).

      we’ve proven that BB(7918) is incomputable.

      A single number cannot be “incomputable”. Only functions can be computable or uncomputable. The number is well-defined and has a definite, knowable, super-large value; the only problem is this value cannot be *proven* in ZF theory. But it can be proven in other axiomatic systems.

      • Gabe Bankman-Fried says:

        Yes you’re right, I should have been a bit more careful with words like “impossible” and “incomputable”. Really the 7918th BB number cannot be proven in ZFC to be any particular value, because their TM cannot be proven in ZFC to halt. BB(7918) is a perfectly well-described positive integer, we can just never know what it is (using ZFC axioms). Although it’s worth noting that this general technique would work for other axiomatic systems too, we would just need a TM that tested the consistency of those new axioms and not ZFC.

        • anon85 says:

          BB(7918) is a perfectly well-described positive integer, we can just never know what it is (using ZFC axioms).

          That’s technically correct, but this statement is weaker than it sounds. If you believe ZFC is consistent, you probably also believe ZFC+con(ZFC) is consistent (where con(ZFC) is the statement “ZFC is consistent”). But the latter is a stronger theory, so it might be able to prove the value of BB(7918). And if not, you could always try ZFC+con(ZFC)+con(ZFC+con(ZFC)), which is a still-stronger theory. And so on.

          If you push this logic far enough (including infinite chains of consistency statements, and the statement that the entire chain is consistent, and the statement that that’s consistent, etc.), there’s no end to it, but you could conceivably become less and less convinced that the resulting mess really is consistent. So whether you can truly know the value of large busy beaver numbers depends on your definition of “know”.

          • ton says:

            but you could conceivably become less and less convinced that the resulting mess really is consistent.

            Why? Don’t we have that, if ZFC is consistent, then all of those are consistent?

          • anon85 says:

            @ton:
            Sort of. Once you get into infinite chains of consistency statements, it actually starts to matter how you defined the chain – usually you’d define it by a turing machine that generates it, but the choice of machine can matter. And since it’s hard to be prove how Turing machines behave, it may be hard to be sure that the machine really generates the statements you claim it generates. See this old post by Aaronson.

            (Note that I’m not an expert on this; people who know more should feel free to correct me)

          • Gabe Bankman-Fried says:

            So I’m confused by the motivation for this debate. Sure, we could throw in the axiom “con(ZFC)”, and we’d need to amend our TM to test ZFC + con(ZFC) in order to still buy our proof. But we could have added any axiom to ZFC and gotten the same result! 7918 was the number for ZFC. We may need a higher number for con(ZFC), and we may need an even higher number for ZFCLGBTQQIA (that’s a very inclusive set of axioms).

            By why? Do we think con(ZFC) is a good axiom to have? Why would we want this infinite hierarchy of axioms?

          • anon85 says:

            @gabe:

            We would want this hierarchy of axioms because if we believe ZFC is sound, then we believe the axioms in this hierarchy are true. So we can know the value of BB(7918) if we know that ZFC is sound, so long as the value of BB(7918) is provable in ZFC+con(ZFC).

          • Gabe Bankman-Fried says:

            @anon85:

            But we’re never going to be able to design a set of axioms for which everything we believe to be true is provable, right? It seems at first glance that it’s worth throwing in as many “true” statements as possible into our axioms, even if it won’t cover everything, but eventually we’re going to have to buy the fact that “truth” and “provability” aren’t the same thing. And I feel like once we buy that, we can accept that con(ZFC) is true without making it provable. And once we do that, we have no motivation for adding con(ZFC) to our axioms in the first place.

            Put another way: is there a reason that mathematicians haven’t added this hierarchy to our set of axioms? Apologies if my CS background is insufficiently math-y for this discussion.

          • anon85 says:

            Okay, you’re basically right, except in your original posts you kept using the phrase “will never know” as if it’s the same as “not provable in ZFC”. But what we “know” is simply what we believe strongly enough; so if we “know” that ZFC is arithmetically sound, we also know that any arithmetic statement provable in ZFC+con(ZFC) is true. Hence we could theoretically know the value of BB(7918).

            The reason not to add con(ZFC) to the axioms is the reason you stated: there’s no natural place to stop adding axioms. However, whenever con(ZFC) is necessary, mathematicians do not hesitate to use it as an axiom (with a disclaimer stating that it is being used). In other words, mathematicians accept the consequences of con(ZFC) as true.

          • Gabe Bankman-Fried says:

            @anon85:

            Yeah I tried to go back and change “will never know” to “cannot prove in ZFC” per your comments. I wasn’t super careful with my wording in the original post since it was aimed at the larger picture, but I agree that I was making non-trivial errors.

            As a tangent, it’s kind of weird to think that most of what we call “mathematically true” is based on some axioms that we all just kind of invented, and the rest of what we call “mathematically true” can’t even be proven by those same axioms that we invented.

            I’m basically just marveling at Godel’s incompleteness theorem. Feel free to ignore.

          • Anonymous says:

            and we may need an even higher number for ZFCLGBTQQIA (that’s a very inclusive set of axioms).

            I chuckled.

      • Briefling says:

        You have it backwards — the TM halts iff ZFC is not consistent, which means we “know” that the TM doesn’t halt.

        This is actually a critical distinction, because a TM that works in the opposite way — halting iff ZFC is consistent — is impossible. Because then the TM does in fact halt after N steps for some N, so ZFC can prove that it halts (for instance by enumerating the N intermediate states), so ZFC can prove its own consistency, which is a contradiction.

        All this presumes that ZFC is actually consistent, of course.

        • anon85 says:

          Right, good catch. I meant to say it is impossible to prove in ZFC whether the TM halts. Of course, since the TM doesn’t halt, it is also impossible to prove in ZFC that it halts (assuming ZFC is arithmetically sound).

        • youzicha says:

          But I guess you could still have a Turning Machine which halts iff ZFC is consistent, as long as this fact is not provable in ZFC. (For example, a turning machine that always takes a single step and then halts.) Conceivably you could give such a machine, and then prove that it has the right property using some stronger axiom (e.g. a large cardinal axiom or whatever)?

    • If anyone is having trouble with the idea of a deterministic machine whose behaviour can’t be predicted, even in principle, it may be worth pointing out that it is an infinitely large machine which may or may not continue to run for an infinite amount of time. This stuff is mathematically important, but there’s a reason why some of it seems implausible. 🙂

      • Gabe Bankman-Fried says:

        I’d say that it’s a finitely large machine which may or may not continue to run for an infinite amount of time. But I agree with your broader point: the BB function seems to have crazy properties, but that’s because it has kind of a crazy definition. It’s defined by the stopping behavior of turing machines, which is a recipe for disaster.

        • I’m not well-versed in this field, but I’m reasonably sure that the fact that the tape is infinitely long is essential to the paper’s argument.

          (A Turing Machine with a finite tape can only go through a finite number of steps before it has to either halt or start repeating itself. Not the sort of thing you could use to evaluate the consistency of ZFC.)

          • Gabe Bankman-Fried says:

            Ah, depends on what you mean by a “infinitely large machine”. I was interpreting that as meaning “a TM with an infinite number of states”, which it wouldn’t have. You are right that it has an infinite long tape.

          • Alex Mennen says:

            > I’m reasonably sure that the fact that the tape is infinitely long is essential to the paper’s argument.

            Correct. The halting problem for Turing machines with finite tapes is decidable. Here’s how: simulate the Turing machine, and at each step, record the current configuration of the machine and tape, and check to see whether this is a configuration that you have seen previously. There are only finitely many possible configurations, so eventually, either the machine will halt, or it will repeat a previous configuration. In the latter case, the machine has entered an infinite loop, and you will know that it runs forever.

          • I see the point of confusion: I said “machine” meaning an actual, physical machine, but you interpreted it as shorthand for “Turing Machine”. That’s my bad, I should have realized there was an ambiguity there.

            To rephrase: if you wanted to actually run the Turing Machine in Scott’s paper, you’d need to implement it physically, and you would need an infinitely large physical machine to do so.

          • Gabe Bankman-Fried says:

            Well, kind of. Depends on what you mean by “run the Turing Machine”. We can simulate a TM on a computer which is what they did in the paper. Now the simulated TM doesn’t have infinite memory (because it doesn’t have access to an infinitely long tape), but until it runs out of memory, their program is effectively running a TM.

            But yeah, we obviously can’t construct a machine with infinite memory.

            And I think you’re absolutely right to point out how theoretical (as opposed to applicable) this is. It’s kind of like CS professors invented a crazy function and then proved that it has crazy properties. I find this particular crazy function kind of interesting, but perhaps a bit unmotivated.

  2. Tsnom Eroc says:

    Well, I can tell you about the news on sites like reddit, and a bit of Salon.

    The fact that Sanders is still in the race seems to mean that on sites that generally lean left, news articles on how Hilary is an evil corrupt demon are pretty constant. Its hilarious on r/politics, leaving me to wonder what’s going to happen when Sanders loses (even without superdelegates or anything approaching shady practices for normal delegates)

    And I have not met anyone IRL who is loud and excited for Hilary Clinton. There’s loud Sanders and Trump. I even heard more support for Kasich. Heck, the people who support Hilary that I know tend to qualify it with some variation of “I like Sanders more but he can’t win” Granted, I am considered to be a young adult, so hearing Sanders Sanders Sanders is expected.

    As for education, how do strict HS military academies fare for at-risk populations? It seems to fulfill a similar enough function as charter schools.

    Related question. What’s the data on adaptive learning for math and science? My few experiences with the better versions of that tell me that its somewhat superior to typical methods of studing. Its simple enough, immediately tailoring problems to ones difficulty level. Of course, as any student of standard deviations will know, there can only be so much gain in subjects like math and physics.

    As for enviromentalism, its probably a lot like a few other “isms” that got big in the 60’s to the 80’s. From my readings, certain types of public pollution was much more obvious and horrid then today, sans some areas with bad smog. Acid Rain was big until most chemicals involved with that became banned. I believe it succeeded enough in quite a bit of its goals that people identifying with its causes are less relatable on a day to day basis.

    Solar–I am starting to become rather jaded about Solar. I have been hearing its 3 years away from public uptake since I was 8 years old, and im quite a bit older then that now.

    Trump— Why did so many people predict Trump had such a poor shot at victory? I remember reading about his poll numbers last August -http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/nbc-wsj-poll-2016-gop-race-n433991,– where he was consistently beating his opponents in multiple states. Not long since after the start he had the best chance nearly since the start of his announcement, according to polls. I don’t feel shocked at all due to that, and I almost feel alone in that.

    And perhaps lastly on antidepressants. Is the reason all the current ones allowed are hard to distinguish from placebo is because all the drugs that actually *work* become illegal as people inevitabely become obsessed with them? Plenty of banned drugs temporary effect is *awesome*, and if people could be trusted to use it properly(however that would be) it would probably outsell any SSRI.

    • E. Harding says:

      “And I have not met anyone IRL who is loud and excited for Hilary Clinton.”

      -The Silent Majority?

      And Clinton is most popular in rich suburbs, the South (including among White Democrats), and Black-majority areas. I suggest talking with some old Black people. The vast majority of them support Clinton.

    • My friendslist has a lot of people saying that it’s crucial to vote for whoever the D candidate is because Trump must be stopped, and telling people to not be too nasty about the other Democrat.

      • E. Harding says:

        Why do they think Trump should be stopped? Do they really want or care about thousands of Muslim immigrants to this country?

        • I wouldn’t presume to read their minds, but there’s not just concern for (only thousands?) of Muslim immigrants, it’s also Muslims who’d like to visit their families in the old country and then come back to the US.

          There’s also an issue of nastiness about Mexicans. And from my point of view, is Trump actually random enough to get the US into a war with Mexico?

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            I wouldn’t presume to read their minds, but there’s not just concern for (only thousands?) of Muslim immigrants, it’s also Muslims who’d like to visit their families in the old country and then come back to the US.

            Oh if only an elected President could stop them rather than the bureaucrats stopping him!

            As for Mexico, I dunno? The risk with total outsiders is that they’re unpredictable. I’d feel better if Cruz had won the nomination.

            On that note, I’ve seen more than one leftist admit that they were more scared of Cruz than Trump. Since journalists are overwhelmingly leftists, why did they spend the entire election season trying to destroy Trump and giving Cruz a free pass, as reflected in the latter’s much better poll numbers against Hilary and Bernie? Simple lack of strategic thinking? Did Trump’s abrasive personality simply force them to be reactive rather than proactive?

          • Chalid says:

            And non-Muslim immigrants too. It’s not a big step to go from anti-Muslim demagoguery to anti-Mexican demagoguery to anti-everyone-else demagoguery.

          • Anonymous says:

            @Le Maistre Chat: probably at least some journalism is based on considerations besides calculated political strategy. For example, Trump just makes more interesting stories than Cruz. More outrage.

          • TheAncientGeek says:

            And the point about electing someone who is just really randomly random.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            t’s also Muslims who’d like to visit their families in the old country and then come back to the US.

            If Trump is so bad, why do people need to deliberately misinterpret the things he says?

          • Joanna P. Thomas says:

            @Chalid:

            First they came for the Muslims
            but I was not a Muslim
            so I stayed silent

            Then they came for the Mexicans
            but I was not Mexican
            so I stayed silent

            Then they came for me…

          • Viliam says:

            First they came for the Muslims
            but I was not a Muslim
            so I stayed silent

            Then they came for me…

            In the alternative universe:

            First they came for the Muslims
            but we all knew this poem
            so we didn’t let that happen

            Then the Muslims came for me
            (because I was gay)
            and everyone was too scared to help me

          • I’ll also note that the quote includes “they came for the communists” with an implication that communists are harmless. Sometimes communists are harmless, sometimes very much not.

          • Nita says:

            @ Nancy

            No, the implication is not that they’re harmless, but that sending communists to concentration camps was socially acceptable, and each next step in the escalation felt too small to raise enough alarm.

            The author was actually in favor of Hitler coming to power at first, so presumably he’s no communist sympathizer. He explained:

            There were no minutes or copy of what I said, and it may be that I formulated it differently. But the idea was anyhow: The communists, we still let that happen calmly; and the trade unions, we also let that happen; and we even let the Social Democrats happen. All of that was not our affair.

            Bonus quote:

            Hitler promised me on his word of honor, to protect the Church, and not to issue any anti-Church laws. He also agreed not to allow pogroms against the Jews, assuring me as follows: “There will be restrictions against the Jews, but there will be no ghettos, no pogroms, in Germany.”

            [..] Hitler’s assurance satisfied me at the time. On the other hand, I hated the growing atheistic movement, which was fostered and promoted by the Social Democrats and the Communists. Their hostility toward the Church made me pin my hopes on Hitler for a while.

            By the way, “then they came for me” is not just a poignant turn of phrase. He was, in fact, even sent to Dachau, the first camp the Nazis built to hold communists.

          • Jiro says:

            No, the implication is not that they’re harmless, but that sending communists to concentration camps was socially acceptable, and each next step in the escalation felt too small to raise enough alarm.

            If there is no implication that the group is harmless, he could equally well have said “first they came after the murderers and rapists”. But we know very well that nobody would write the poem that way, because even if the poem isn’t mainly about the group being harmless, the poem still depends on the assumption that the group is harmless.

          • Nita says:

            “Being a communist” is not a crime, but that doesn’t mean all communists are 100% harmless.

            First they came for the rape apologists, then they came for the pedophile defenders, then they came for the lolicon fans, then they came for the kink activists.

            First they came for the neo-nazis, then they came for the racists, then they came for the white nationalists, then they came for the HBD bloggers.

            First they came for the antifa skinheads, then they came for the SJWs who signed a certain statement, then they came for the SJWs who did not sign a certain statement, then they came for the defenders of political correctness.

            (all hypothetical, of course — but please take note if, God forbid, someone actually starts shipping any of these groups to concentration camps)

          • Vox Imperatoris says:

            @ Jiro:

            As Nita explained quite well enough, the poem does not depends on the idea that Communists are harmless. It depends merely on the idea that they aren’t so harmful they need to be sent to concentration camps and exterminated.

          • Jaskologist says:

            But the context that the poem was brought up in was immigration policy, which doesn’t involve extermination camps either.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            First they came for the Muslims, and I called them racists.
            Then Muslims became 5% of the local population and came for everyone who drew a picture of Mohammed, and I did not speak up because I’d never drawn Mohammed and thought only racists wanted to.
            Then they came for the gays, and I did not speak up because I was not gay, just a straight who doxxed every white person who’d opposed gay marriage.
            Then they came for…

          • Vox Imperatoris says:

            @ Le Maistre Chat:

            Then they came for the gays, and I did not speak up because I was not gay, just a straight who doxxed every white person who’d opposed gay marriage.

            This step is the one that strikes most people as implausible…

            It’s a bit much when the social conservatives turn around after opposing the “gay agenda” at every step and, “Guys! We’ve got to crack down on these Muslims! Think about what they’ll do to the gays, who we’ve always supported.”

            From the Pew Research Center:

            Just 23% of the public now [in 2007] agree with the statement that “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior,” while 72% disagree; when this question was first asked in 1987, public opinion was divided on the question, with 43% agreeing and 47% disagreeing. Responses to this question have become less conservative across the board: significant change has occurred in the views of conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans, and religious and nonreligious people. For example, in 1987, 60% of white evangelicals believed that AIDS might be a punishment for immoral sexual behavior; today just 38% believe this.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            @Vox: Please consider why something that already happened in 2002 would strike most people as implausible.

            The Overton window has shifted so far left in the Netherlands that the relevant government agency requiring immigrants to watch a video of men kissing was denounced as right-wing racism by the left.

          • Randy M says:

            Vox, firstly, there is a difference between wanting a behavior to be taboo, or even just not sanctioned, and wanting participants in that behavior slain. Gay relations join a large swath of other vices, from adultery to cutting in line, where I neither want celebration of the practice, nor the death penalty for it.

            Secondly, even if one assumes conservatives secretly have only malice towards gays, that doesn’t mean that they are wrong when pointing out to gays, “hey, as bad as you think conservative westerners are, Muslims are more than just a bit worse.”

            In response to your quote, I don’t know of Christian doctrine that because a suffering is from God, or natural consequences of one’s actions, or etc., others should not provide aid and comfort. There is a belief that suffering and sickness is largely a result of sin, but not that it is our duty to spread suffering. Doesn’t mean you can’t find any quotes asserting otherwise, or that the idea doesn’t sound cold, but it does not follow from your poll results that the respondents would add “and therefore we are justified in harming them ourselves.” (This is rather similar to our discussion of social Darwinism elsewhere.)

          • Frank McPike says:

            @Randy M.
            There’s a lot of room between approval and death penalty. But I think “think should be punished by the state” falls a lot closer to the latter. And, on that issue, Gallup apparently still finds more than 30% of the American population thinks homosexual relations between consenting adults should be illegal. (Down from over 50% in the 80s.) I can’t say for sure that the 30% is composed mostly of conservative Christians, but I know where I’d put my money.

            (Source: Page six here https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/-polls-on-attitudes-on-homosexuality-gay-marriage_151640318614.pdf)

            (I should note that while the numbers seem higher than I would have expected, I don’t see any obvious methodological problem with it.)

          • Vox Imperatoris says:

            @ Le Maistre Chat:

            @Vox: Please consider why something that already happened in 2002 would strike most people as implausible.

            I’m not sure how you think the story of Pim Fortuyn supports your view of things. This politician was not killed by Muslims for being gay. He was assassinated (in what I obviously think was an evil and unjustifiable act) because he was perceived as scapegoating Muslims, who don’t present a serious threat to gays, by playing the “victim card” in order to gain political power.

            Which is exactly what the social-conservative opponents of Muslim immigration do, except they’re not playing the victim card themselves; they’re playing it on behalf of the gays who they’ve always considered upstanding representatives of the superiority of Western culture.

            The Overton window has shifted so far left in the Netherlands that the relevant government agency requiring immigrants to watch a video of men kissing was denounced as right-wing racism by the left.

            I have no idea about this story or any of the details behind it.

            Such a policy (if it exists) could very well be enacted for racist motives. For instance, I also consider Islam false and harmful, but I would oppose any policy that required immigrants to burn a Koran before being allowed to enter the country, as the Japanese once demanded that Dutch traders stomp on crucifixes to “prove” they weren’t Christian (which they complied with, by the way).

            @ Randy M:

            If God is punishing our tolerance of homosexuality by sending down AIDS, then not punishing homosexuality is just stupid. Don’t we want to…not have God send plagues down upon us? Plagues that not only effect the sinners themselves.

            That’s whole idea behind this sort of religious thinking: that God collectively punishes communities that don’t do enough to root out sin. Even just the sins of the leaders: pharaoh pisses off God, he kills all the firstborn. This is firmly part of the American tradition; for instance, take the common idea of the Civil War as the punishment for slavery.

            Vox, firstly, there is a difference between wanting a behavior to be taboo, or even just not sanctioned, and wanting participants in that behavior slain. Gay relations join a large swath of other vices, from adultery to cutting in line, where I neither want celebration of the practice, nor the death penalty for it.

            Secondly, even if one assumes conservatives secretly have only malice towards gays, that doesn’t mean that they are wrong when pointing out to gays, “hey, as bad as you think conservative westerners are, Muslims are more than just a bit worse.”

            Anti-gay Muslims are more extreme, but anti-gay Christians are more numerous and powerful in Western countries. It makes complete sense that people in favor of gay equality would consider the latter the objectively greater threat.

            Islamic caliphate with sharia law = extremely bad but very low probability.

            Gays being disowned by their families = much less bad but much higher probability.

            Now conservative opponents of Muslim immigration may think that the probability of Eurabia given current levels of immigration is very high. But this is an empirical point that proponents of gay equality, on average, tend not to agree with.

            If Eurabia is not going to happen, then the only way increased Muslim immigration leads to anti-gay laws is if conservative Christians cooperate with them to pass those laws—which makes the argument simply ridiculous: “You should oppose Muslim immigration because we’ll cooperate with them to pass oppressive laws.”

            In response to your quote, I don’t know of Christian doctrine that because a suffering is from God, or natural consequences of one’s actions, or etc., others should not provide aid and comfort. There is a belief that suffering and sickness is largely a result of sin, but not that it is our duty to spread suffering.

            Providing aid and comfort without expecting or encouraging people to repent is a position some people might hold, but it’s not a very sensible position.

            If God is causing AIDS to punish us for tolerating gays, why would you extend comfort to AIDS-sufferers unless they renounced homosexuality?

            I sure wouldn’t give aid to meth addicts unless they promised to, you know, quit using meth. Otherwise, I’m just blatantly subsidizing the use of meth.

            Moreover, if it’s about dealing with the natural consequences, then the appropriate response would seem to be to encourage gays to use condoms or, better yet, be monogamous with each other. There’s probably a reason why closeted gays tend to do dangerous things like have anonymous sex in bathrooms. Maybe…allow them to get married, for a start? But that was not the general tack taken by these proponents of supposedly natural law, for some reason.

            It was a large part of Justice Kennedy’s reasoning, as a man who’s not exactly in favor of destroying monogamy and the nuclear family.

            @ Frank McPike:

            That is very surprising but good to know.

          • suntzuanime says:

            The sakoku laws were not racist, they were a rational and effective method of preventing cultural colonization by a foreign power that had already been substantially undermining the stability of the nation. I hadn’t really been thinking of the islamicization of Europe in those terms, but now that you mention it I can see the parallels.

          • At a considerable tangent, back when there was a caliphate and the legal system was, at least in theory, based on Sharia, homosexuality was often, although not always, tolerated and largely taken for granted. Among the famous medieval essays there are two that are debates on the relative attractiveness of hetro vs homosexuality.

            Titles, if I remember correctly, translate as “The Debate Between the Page Boys and the Dancing Girls” and “The Debate Between the Back and the Belly.”

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            @David Friedman: My understanding is that sex with page boys or male entertainers is a very old Iranian custom that the strictest jurists wanted to criminalize but many sincere Iranian Muslims were moderate about it.
            Many sincere Muslims were historically moderate about alcohol as well, which is why (I assume) it was hilarious to the original audience when a hadji whips out his hidden wine in a 1001 Nights tale whose title escapes me.

            How much any of this has to do with immigrant Muslims is debatable.

        • I also wouldn’t presume to read anyone’s mind, but I think it true that a lot of the rest of the world (except Russia, apparently?) thinks of Trump, well, not pleasantly. Having a President who is widely seen as the right-wing answer to Hugo Chavez sounds like the sort of thing that at least some Democrats could legitimately consider unfortunate.

          • Randy M says:

            I thought democrats were fond of Hugo Chavez?

          • Seems kind of unlikely, but I suppose I wouldn’t know. Perhaps a poorly chosen example.

          • Randy M says:

            Was that link in support or opposition to my (admittedly overly broad) generalization?
            (It wasn’t exactly showing him dissing a person dearly loved by the archetypal Democrat)

          • In context, it seemed to me to be an attack on the US as a whole. I don’t know whether an American (or, in particular, a Democrat) would think so.

            More importantly, it was just incredibly childish. After that, how could anyone take him, or by extension the country he ruled, at all seriously?

            Going back to Trump, I’m just barely self-aware enough to realize that my impressions of him are thoroughly unreliable, being based mostly on TV ads for The Apprentice plus a few (mostly biased and third-hand) reports of his election and/or business antics. So if he does become President I’m going to try very hard to continue to take America seriously as a nation. But it isn’t going to be easy. I’m thinking a lot of people won’t bother.

          • voidfraction says:

            >More importantly, it was just incredibly childish. After that, how could anyone take him, or by extension the country he ruled, at all seriously?

            It’s tough, but we’re slowly recovering from the Bush years.

            Oh, you mean Chavez?

          • Tatu Ahponen says:

            Well, here’s one (recent) Democrat calling him a ‘dead communist dictator’. Probably some sort of a right-wing, New Democrat exception, though.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            That really isn’t fair. That’s a guy running from president, working from hindsight because Venezuela’s sorry state can’t be defended anymore.

          • Tatu Ahponen says:

            It would seem to be more fair than unsupported assertion “democrats were fond of Hugo Chavez”, at any rate.

          • Randy M says:

            Images like this left an impression of something more than mere diplomatic cordiality, though the Sander’s quote is encouraging.

          • Protagoras says:

            As a Democrat, I was never a Chavez fan. But Chavez pissed off conservatives, and after all it wasn’t us in the U.S. who had to deal with the consequences of his policies, so it is not surprising that some Democrats cheered Chavez as a way of flipping the bird to conservatives. While I certainly wish people were less tribal, and less childish in their choice of tribal signals, things do not seem to be improving on that front. But certainly there was no widespread support among Democrats of Chavez’s actions and policies. As usual, there was in fact no widespread knowledge of his actions and policies among pretty much any large group of Americans, since Americans just don’t pay that much attention to foreign affairs.

          • Randy M says:

            @Protagoras well said and I stand corrected.

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            It would seem to be more fair than unsupported assertion “democrats were fond of Hugo Chavez”, at any rate.

            How could you even support such an assertion to your satisfaction? It seems pretty obvious that no American politician is going to speak highly of a guy whose entire rethoric is based on bashing America, as for what the regular Democrat, unless there is some sort of poll on the subject, you can only go with what you see and hear.

            Now I can’t really say much about Democrats, not being American and all, but leftist in my country (and in the internet) have a long history of defending Chaves, despite de mounting evidence of the ever deteriorating living conditions in Venezuela. Many got an easy out when he died, since now one can blame all the bad stuff on Maduro.

          • ThirteenthLetter says:

            @WHTA: “It seems pretty obvious that no American politician is going to speak highly of a guy whose entire rethoric is based on bashing America…”

            You’d be surprised! Ever since the end of the Cold War we have had a grand tradition here in America of saying kind things about, and sometimes even lavishly funding, foreign governments and NGOs whose rhetoric is based on bashing America.

            I’m not the best person to explain why because I think this behavior is insane, but I believe it’s a sincere desire for global peace and conflict de-escalation that has metastized horribly. We can be the most effective brokers for peace by acting neutrally towards all parties in any dispute, even the ones holding “Death to America” parades in their capitals or speculating in state newspapers about nuking Los Angeles, that sort of thing.

          • Anonymous says:

            Here:

            https://newrepublic.com/article/68892/chavezs-friend-massachusetts

            That month, Kennedy signed a deal with Citgo, the American subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned petroleum company, to supply twelve million gallons of heating oil to more than 40,000 low-income Massachusetts residents (the program has since expanded to include residents of 16 states). It was the first time that such an arrangement had been hammered out between a foreign government and a state, and earned praise from some unlikely sources, like then-Republican Governor Mitt Romney. “I’m delighted to hear we’ll be able to purchase oil at a lower price than the market for our citizens,” the famous free-marketer told The Boston Globe. (As much as it may be a noble venture, Citizens Energy also appears to be something of a vanity project for Kennedy. The organization’s hotline is “1-877-JOE-4OIL,” and its website is replete with campaign-style photographs of Kennedy helping the poor and elderly. He also stars in the charity’s ubiquitous television commercials in which he thanks “our friends in Venezuela.”).

            The memory for inconvenient facts is really short sometimes.

          • Frank McPike says:

            According to Pew, 18% of Americans had “a lot” or “some” confidence in Chavez in 2007. There may be a Lizardman’s constant thing going on, though, the same poll found 9% of Americans willing to say the same of Ahmadinejad.

            (Source: http://www.pewglobal.org/2007/06/27/chapter-6-views-of-world-leaders-and-institutions/)

          • BBA says:

            I lived in MA for a couple of years and I remember those obnoxious Joe Kennedy/Hugo Chavez ads. Thing is, at that time Kennedy had been out of office for years, and to date he still hasn’t returned to politics. Most MA Democrats would’ve voted for him in a heartbeat if he ever ran again, but solely because of who his father and uncle were and not from any active consideration of his policies. So I don’t know how much he counts for determining what “Democrats” believe.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @Frank McPike – I was deep blue tribe in that era, and had fairly favorable impressions of both Chavez and Ahmadinejad. Both were strongly (and at the time apparently effectively) opposed to Bush, and I *hated* Bush.

          • JayT says:

            I don’t know if it’s accurate to say Democrats were fond of Chavez, but I think the far left definitely was. Celebrities like Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte were all ardent supporters.
            I don’t remember too many politicians throwing their support behind him publicly, though there was one Democrat representative, Jose Serrano, that was lambasted for tweeting a fairly pro-Chavez comment when Chavez died.

            From a personal standpoint, I know in the San Francisco Bay Area I had many friends that were always quick to hold Chavez’s early “successes” over my head. Of course, they are all very quiet nowadays.

        • Some Troll's Legitimate Discussion Alt says:

          Do they really want or care about thousands of Muslim immigrants to this country?

          I suspect so.

        • herbert herbertson says:

          His entire campaign has been an ongoing vilification of left/Blue culture. Cruz gets on stage and advocates for things that are against my opinions and values. Trump gets on stage and attacks me and my values. Imagine if Obama had spent his entire campaign touring the country and talking about how bitter clingers are destroying the country–that’s what it’s like to watch Trump from a left/Blue perspective.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            Also, in this scenario, half the Obama supporters you meet online seem to love few things more than using a gross sexual fetish metaphor to call you a class traitor.

          • E. Harding says:

            “Trump gets on stage and attacks me and my values.”

            -Can you give some examples of this? I’ve watched quite a few Trump rallies, but can’t tell what exactly you’re referring to.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            The biggest part is the attacks on political correctness.

            “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t, frankly, have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time, either.”

            I’m a blue state liberal professional. I understand that to some people PC is an invasive and unwanted norm, but every invasive species has a home–and that home is also my home. It’s a normal part of how I live my everyday life, and I have a pretty negative reaction to a narrative which casts it as the source of all problems. That’s doubly true when you look at specifically how that’s supposed to work. Political correctness prevents us from erecting categorical bans on members of certain religions; it prevents us from mass deportations–but avoiding those kinds of actions are part and parcel of liberal values that are important to me, and it’s insulting to cast it as some kind of pearlclutching reaction based on nothing more substantial than fear of “offense.”

            More nebulously, but probably at least as importantly, are the incessant insults against individuals. I’ve never been one of those individuals, but by and large I have more in common with the journalists and protesters who he attacks as “sad” “disgusting” “pathetic” etc than I do with him–I’m sure if I were ever in a position to interact with him, I’d get those same insults. More, zooming out a little bit, the entire practice of insults, bullying nicknames, the arrogant bragging, etc is something I read as an ostentatious rejection of political norms (which has profited him greatly)–but those political norms are ultimately just more-or-less-Blue professional norms, and they’re ones I feel entirely at home in. Certainly, anyone who acted Trumpy at my workplace or any social gathering I’d be likely to be a part would be made to feel very unwelcome… and I think he knows that and his supporters know that, and that it’s all very purposeful.

            For the record, I don’t expect anyone who doesn’t identify with this culture to give a fuck about any of this, and I’m very aware of the fact that it’s essentially the shoe being on the other foot for the first time in a long time. But you asked, and this is the answer, for me at least.

          • E. Harding says:

            Ah, got it. As Scott Adams puts it, New York v. California style.

          • “Political correctness prevents us from erecting categorical bans …”

            I think most people who talk about political correctness are referring to speech, not action. Part of the point of criticizing it is the idea that PC evaluates statements on a basis other than whether they are true. It’s politically incorrect to say that the distribution of intellectual abilities is different for males and females or for members of different racial groups–whether or not it’s true.

            I agree that Trump comes across as a bully. But rejecting political correctness isn’t an attack on you, may or may not be an attack on your beliefs. And attacking beliefs of people you disagree with is normal behavior, across the political spectrum.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            @Mark & @David:

            That was actually sloppily put by me. The “that’s” in “[t]hat’s doubly true when you look at specifically how that’s supposed to work” isn’t intended to begin a description of how political correctness actually works in my view, but rather a description of the purported mechanism for political correctness being “the source of all problems.” That is, Trumpism posits that we are unduly hampered by political correctness in dealing with Islam and illegal immigration, and I reject that on every level (and instead say that the rejections of the solutions it proposes are based in foundational liberal/progressive norms to which I ascribe… and, I’d add here, a proper recognition of the actual non-seriousness of said problems).

          • herbert herbertson says:

            @E. Harding Yep.

            And I’ll give Trump one thing–those of us who never understood the degree of vitriolic hatred some parts of America had for Obama are now getting an unpleasantly first-hand example of what that was (probably, mostly) about. Not really about policies or ideology, and not directly about race, but rather just an in-your-face vision of an unpleasantly alien cultural style.

          • FacelessCraven says:

            @herbert herbertson – thanks for taking the time to write that.

          • Randy M says:

            Herbert, don’t you think that GW Bush was hated in much the same way as Obama? Yes, people hated him for the war, but culture/tribe was a big component of it.

            Secondly, you say we are not unduly hampered by political correctness in dealing with Islam or Immigration. Would you say we are duly hampered by it or unaffected by it?

          • herbert herbertson says:

            @Randy “Herbert, don’t you think that GW Bush was hated in much the same way as Obama? Yes, people hated him for the war, but culture/tribe was a big component of it.”

            Probably, but the war was such a very, very good tangible reason for disliking Bush that it wasn’t as clear as it was with Obama. Or, arguably, is with Trump, although from my view the categorical religious ban is in the ballpark.

            “Secondly, you say we are not unduly hampered by political correctness in dealing with Islam or Immigration. Would you say we are duly hampered by it or unaffected by it?”

            I would say it’s irrelevant, and that most of what gets identified as political correctness in the context of Islam is actually about diplomacy with Muslim allies, an unwillingness to affirm Wahabbist/Salafist claims to represent Islam based on strategic WoT-related reasons, and disagreements about the actual scope of the threat, while in the context of immigration it’s just an alliance between big business and big softies.

          • herbert herbertson says:

            “How does it actually work, in your view?”

            This is probably going to disappoint, but I think the norms against racial/gender/sexual/trans insensitivity are equivalent in form to the norms against calling someone’s mother a whore, except more limited to a particular culture and less stable/simple. Basically just a component of Blue/progressive/professional cultural norms, designed to avoid offence and discord in certain types of groups. I have a fair amount of sympathy to those who are in other types of groups and chafe under the hegemony, and am very hostile to attempts to punish violators through their livelihoods–but I’ve spent at least the last six years in environments where PC reigns supreme and it hasn’t bothered me a bit (contra, I’m very anti-war/anti-military and I spend a fair amount of time in a community that values military service highly–that does chafe, because there the values are discordant)

          • John Schilling says:

            Probably, but the war was such a very, very good tangible reason for disliking Bush that it wasn’t as clear as it was with Obama.

            Except that the war seems to have massively increased Bush’s popularity. Not sure how many people here are old enough to really remember the first months of Bush II’s administration, but I was. The man started with barely over 50% approval, steadily declining from there, and the reaction from the segment that didn’t approve of him was almost exactly the same sort of visceral, largely content-free hatred that Obama gets from the Far Right.

          • CatCube says:

            @ Herbert herbertson

            FWIW, I’m a conservative who thinks George W. Bush was a little too liberal, and the insults against individuals is one of the biggest things making me a “Never Trump” kind of guy. (The fact that most of his core political principals–to the extent he has any–seem to be really liberal is the other half of my problem.) His strikes against PC as a general principal is one I agree with, for the reasons you identify: it’s just the shoe being on the other foot for once, where we’ve been dealing with people acting on closely-held principles being driven out of business by left-wing regulators.

            However, you can be against PC without being nasty to individuals. “Conservative” and “asshole” aren’t synonyms, despite what left-wingers like to tell themselves.

          • MugaSofer says:

            Mark – you’d be wise not to dismiss the idea of virtue.

            As Scott pointed out, the Puritans didn’t accept their Faustian bargain because they enjoyed throwing things we value away; they got results. That we’re unwilling to accept their methods or beliefs doesn’t mean we’re going to get the same results by vaguely implying anyone who tries to be good must lack innate goodness granted by ROB.

            Yes, people do bad, stupid things by default if they aren’t thinking. That’s fairly clear from history.

          • Viliam says:

            It may seem like the best of both worlds to accept the parts of political correctness where we don’t tell things offensive to the protected groups, but we also don’t coordinate hate mobs or try to fire from jobs the members of the unprotected groups.

            Unfortunately, this solution is not stable. What really happens is that soon whenever there is a conflict between a member of the protected group and a member of the unprotected group, the member of the unprotected group is screwed, because anything they do, even the obvious self-defense, will be interpreted as an attack against the whole protected group, and most people will signal their virtue by condemning the member of the unprotected group.

            Generally, when there are too wide rules against speaking about something, someone will abuse them to hurt other people in such manner than the rules prevent them from complaining about their suffering.

            Even more generally, you can’t achieve equality by making unequality a social norm.

            (This is not a sophisticated argument in favor of Trump. I see both SJWs and Trump-like people as two different groups of predators competing over which one gets the power to hurt me. I am not going to support one of them just to spite the other.)

          • Nita says:

            Unfortunately, this solution is not stable.

            Sure, but the comfy temperature in our buildings doesn’t maintain itself, either. Many valuable things require constant maintenance.

            So, suppose we agree that “we don’t tell things offensive to the protected groups.” (Or something more general, like the rules we have here on SSC.) What exactly should happen if someone does say or do something offensive? It should probably be something between the two extremes of “nothing” and “they should be expelled from society”, but what?

            How do we determine a proportionate level of response, and what can we do to keep it proportionate? (The latter is a real challenge when the response consists of many uncoordinated individuals each doing something relatively small, like the shirt-related Twitter storm or the harassment of the women who wanted a cake for their wedding.)

          • “How do we determine a proportionate level of response, and what can we do to keep it proportionate? (The latter is a real challenge when the response consists of many uncoordinated individuals”

            And yet social norms are maintained in just this way.

          • For what very little it’s worth, I didn’t know about the sexual meaning of teabagger until it became an issue about the Tea Party. I took it as a mild minimizing joke about little paper bags with tea in them.

          • Jiro says:

            The joke is “ha ha, those right-wingers are so stupid they don’t even know that ‘teabagging’ is a sexual activity. Let’s make fun of them behind their back”.

            (Of course, someone who thinks every smart person knows what teabagging is is probably living in a bubble.)

          • suntzuanime says:

            Remember what they did to Santorum? The left comes up with some pretty cruel and disgusting “jokes”, I’m not sure they’re in a position to be clutching pearls.

          • Nita says:

            Can we attribute both the ‘pearl clutching’ and the anti-Santorum campaign to the same people?

            The only people who come at me wringing their hands about Santorum’s children are idiot lefties who don’t get how serious the right is about destroying us.

            — Dan Savage

            Apparently not.

          • suntzuanime says:

            Yeah, there were people on the left who thought it was going too far. I was one of them, once. But it had pretty mainstream acceptance by the edgier leftists. It was on the Daily Show and everything. I think it’s fairly comparable to the edgier rightists calling people cucks.

          • tenshal mungafe says:

            that’s what it’s like to watch Trump from a left/Blue perspective.

            Sounds a lot like listening to your culture talk about straight white men

        • Corey says:

          My perspective: even without considering policies, he’s way too thin-skinned to be POTUS. Trump holds grudges and will never back down (see: dude grabbing that reporter at a rally, where it would have much better to just let it go than keep doubling down).
          As POTUS you will be constantly getting criticism from everywhere; if you can’t deal with that constructively (or at least ignore most of it) you’ll be at best ineffective and at worst dangerous.
          (This is also a problem I had with Palin in 2012)

          • E. Harding says:

            “where it would have much better to just let it go than keep doubling down”

            -I certainly don’t think so. Letting it go would have made Trump look weak and unreliable, while doubling down greatly enhanced his perceived loyalty and reliability.

            Trump ignores the vast majority of criticism about himself.

            Palin was in 2008.

          • Civilis says:

            “My perspective: even without considering policies, he’s way too thin-skinned to be POTUS.”

            Isn’t it legitimate for the right to see Clinton as being the thin-skinned candidate? She’s been very controlling of interviews to make sure harmful questions aren’t asked of her on camera, and she’s publicly on record as saying she intends to change the first amendment because of attacks against her.

          • Chalid says:

            she’s publicly on record as saying she intends to change the first amendment because of attacks against her.

            that is a comically uncharitable interpretation of someone criticizing Citizens United.

          • Jaskologist says:

            The question before the court in that case was very literally whether or not a group of people had the right to criticize Hillary Clinton.

          • Chalid says:

            I think that most people realize that Citizens United is actually about more than just the right to criticize Hillary Clinton.

          • keranih says:

            I think that to Clinton, there isn’t a bigger issue than it being about an anti-Clinton ad. Or the possibility of more ads in the future.

          • Chalid says:

            @keranih

            Do you think that a comment similar to that about your favored candidate would contribute to the discussion?

          • hlynkacg says:

            @ keranih
            I agree with you but…

            @ Chalid
            I disagree, whether someone has the right to criticize Hillary Clinton (or any other state official) is exactly what that case was about.

            If you want to argue the “corporations aren’t people” angle you need to concede that labor unions and the cable news networks aren’t people either and thus not protected by the First Amendment.

          • Chalid says:

            @hlynkacg

            whether someone has the right to criticize Hillary Clinton (or any other state official) is exactly what that case was about.

            That is an extremely important parenthetical that was not contained in the statement I was criticizing.

            Compare the original statement:

            she intends to change the first amendment because of attacks against her.

            You really think that these are equivalent? Is the original statement intended to convey information in a way that a rationalist ought to respect?

            Any Democratic candidate for just about any national office is going to oppose Citizens United. From a purely electoral standpoint, this opposition is a political winner both in the primary and in the general election. And such opposition is consistent with Democratic party principles about reducing the power of money generally. These are sufficient to explain Clinton’s opposition, so her position on Citizens United reveals nothing about her character.

            I’m not really a Clintonista (though I prefer her to any other candidate running) but it’s disheartening to see how people here feel free to direct any lazy slur in her direction, and even more disheartening to see such things reflexively defended.

            Edit: Citizens United is opposed by about 80 percent of Americans. Clearly Clinton must be thin-skinned.

          • hlynkacg says:

            That is an extremely important parenthetical that was not contained in the statement I was criticizing.

            Fair point, and I apologize for being less charitable than I really should have been considering the venue.

            That said, I sympathize with the desire to reduce the influence of money on politics but the (for lack of a better term) popular narrative that the bill of rights applies only to isolated individuals and not larger groups robs it of any real “teeth” and clearly goes against the founders intent.

          • MugaSofer says:

            “…would have made Trump look weak and unreliable”

            You mean like promising to fight legal battles for his supporters who beat up protesters, and then immediately backing down and lying about it?

            Look at the tiny hands thing. That’s not just a joke; Trump obsessively mailed a reporter images of his hands, for years, over that comment. If you listen to him talking about it in interviews, he’s clearly still angry about it. Nobody would have thought him “weak” for failing to do that; heck, if anything, his inability to let it go looks like weakness, and for good reason.

          • keranih says:

            I am in disgruntled disagreement over whether my comment lowered the tone of the argument at all. However, in the spirit of the venue…

            That Citizens United was over an anti-Clinton movie which was suppressed from distribution by a Democratic administration is completely unknown to any anti-CU person I have spoken with. There is also a distressing tendency to conflate the Hobby Lobby decision with CU, and so I am really not comfortable with polling numbers on this subject at all.

            When I press people further, they are also extremely fuzzy on how the NYT or NBC or any other media organization is protected from unreasonable searches, has their right to a fair hearing before legal action against the corp, and can print whatever they like, and yet other media are not so protected. (They are also not clear on how a Catholic Diocese can be an incorporated entity without losing its status as a religious organization, nor how 99% of all US charities are corporations of some sort or other.)

            I myself feel that Clinton’s repeated failure to note that CU was against her political career is a failure of integrity. I also sympathize with those who want “less money in politics” but am really *really* more interested in how we are going to get our words printed and our speeches broadcast without money. Most people who are against “more money in politics” are, when I ask them, actually about “less money concentrated in the hands of people promoting candidates I don’t like, and opposing candidates I do like.” Very few of them mention the Clinton Foundation as a problem, f’zample.

            So IMO Clinton is extremely vulnerable on this topic, and promoting it on the campagin trail may well backfire on her.

          • Frank McPike says:

            It seems misguided to evaluate court cases with wide-reaching ramifications by focusing on the details of the case, rather than the implications. Is it actually important that opponents of Obergefell v. Hodges know who Obergefell is, and why he wanted to get married? Should we understand U.S. v. Lopez as being primarily about a student who brought a gun to school to sell it?

            Any decent lawyer trying to challenge a constitutional interpretation is going to attempt to find the most sympathetic plaintiff they can, even if that plaintiff is highly unrepresentative of the changes they’re pushing for. And, conversely, if you want to reduce First Amendment protections, start by prosecuting a Nazi, or the Westboro Baptist Church. In an ideal world, that would have no impact on the result: it’s irrelevant to the point of law at hand, and even if you care only about public policy consequences you’d get a terribly misleading sense of them from the facts of the case. It’s a trick, a rhetorical move. Don’t fall for it, and don’t be proud of falling for it.

            I think Citizens United was rightly decided. But it would be silly to allow the fact that it involved criticism of Clinton to influence my opinion at all, in either direction.

          • Civilis says:

            The actual quote from Hillary: “And let’s remember, Citizens United, one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in our country’s history, was actually a case about a right-wing attack on me and my campaign. A right-wing organization took aim at me and ended up damaging our entire democracy. So, yes, you’re not going to find anybody more committed to aggressive campaign finance reform than me.”

            Slate, in an article both critical of the Citizens United decision and of Clinton’s attacks on the decision, phrases the point much better than I: “Clinton seemed to confirm everything Citizens United apologists have been saying for years. She essentially acknowledged that she hated the ruling because it allowed a corporation to disseminate harshly disparaging speech against her.” (http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/02/10/hillary_clinton_on_citizens_united_was_terrible_and_terrifying.html)

            I think it’s fair to say that a reasonable person on the right could believe that Hillary’s objections to Citizens United are because the case was about her, not because of any devotion to principle (which doesn’t rule out other possibilities).

            As for popular support for overturning the decision, I’d also say that most of the population doesn’t know what the Citizens United decision was actually about, nor do they understand what the proposed remedies would actually do. I understand the desire to get money out of politics, but to believe such a rule change would not be abused by the party in power even unconsciously is hopelessly naive.

          • Chalid says:

            The actual quote from Hillary: “And let’s remember, Citizens United, one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in our country’s history, was actually a case about a right-wing attack on me and my campaign. A right-wing organization took aim at me and ended up damaging our entire democracy.

            Yeah, it’s all about her. Right.

            I also strongly object to characterizing this as “the” actual quote from Hillary, as if this was the only thing she’d ever said on the topic. Heck, keranih objects to Clinton’s “repeated failure to note that CU was against her political career”! Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I guess.

            I think it’s fair to say that a reasonable person on the right could believe that Hillary’s objections to Citizens United are because the case was about her, not because of any devotion to principle (which doesn’t rule out other possibilities).

            What I said was that Clinton’s opposition to Citizens United tells you nothing about her that you didn’t already know from the fact that she was a Democratic politician. It’s not valid to use it as support for the idea that she is thin-skinned.

            If you *already* believe that she is thin-skinned, then Citizens United is *consistent with* that belief but it is not *evidence for* that belief. Bayes’ theorem, people!

          • Civilis says:

            A lot of politicians get criticized. What about the specific criticism of Hillary in the movie made by Citizens United is so bad as to be “damaging our entire democracy”? (Note that in the quote the movie itself, not the resulting decision, was “damaging our entire democracy”) I don’t know how to parse this ‘criticizing me is so bad as to damage democracy itself’ as anything other than ‘hypersensitivity to criticism’ or ‘incredible self-centered ego’.

            I expect Democrats to claim to oppose Citizens United on the principles outlined in the Slate article. The reason Hillary’s specific statement is important is that the recognized damage to her own cause makes it an admission against interest; she’s not saying this because it sounds good, that it sounds bad gives us no other more likely reason for the statement than that it is her actual belief. The fact that a left-leaning publication agrees with me on this suggests that such an interpretation is not just the product of any biases I may have.

            If the left wanted to argue that movies critical of politicians were in fact a problem, they could at least come up with another example for Hillary to cite that avoids the appearance of conflict of interest. (Ideally, they could come up with a token example from all the movies that criticized the right.) What is the probability that of all the movies critical of politicians, especially during the Bush era, the only one actually violating principles claimed by those opposing the Citizens United decision is the one by Citizens United against Hillary?

          • Chalid says:

            (Note that in the quote the movie itself, not the resulting decision, was “damaging our entire democracy”)

            I don’t know what to say to this other than that your reading is wrong – I feel like it is very obviously the decision that is being referred to.

            reason Hillary’s specific statement is important is that the recognized damage to her own cause makes it an admission against interest;

            Why do you think this was damaging to her interest?

            It sounds bad to *you* and maybe to the 20% of the population that supports Citizens United, but not so much to the 80% who oppose it. Clinton is essentially saying “I really understand why this is a problem.”

          • Civilis says:

            It sounds bad to *you* and maybe to the 20% of the population that supports Citizens United, but not so much to the 80% who oppose it. Clinton is essentially saying “I really understand why this is a problem.”

            It certainly sounds bad to Slate, which supports overturning Citizens United. Again, while I may be biased, the fact that I can find a distinctly left-leaning political magazine that has made the same connection suggests that the idea is pretty obvious and is not limited to one political leaning.

            Hillary could have avoided this by finding another example. If it’s really a problem, there should be another example. Heck, if she’d just stuck to the narrative, we wouldn’t be discussing this.

            On Slate’s Political Leanings:
            (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/10/21/lets-rank-the-media-from-liberal-to-conservative-based-on-their-audiences/)

          • At a slight tangent …

            Has anyone tried to estimate which party got more money as a result of Citizens United? It basically made it easier for organizations, such as firms and labor unions, to spend money on politics. Unions mostly support Democrats, firms support both parties. Given how much people on the left attack the decision, it would be interesting to know.

          • Chalid says:

            One opinion piece does not represent “Slate,” (does a David Brooks op-ed capture the NYT’s official opinion?) Slate, while left-leaning, may or may not be similar to the voters Clinton thinks she needs to target, Clinton did not admit to anything in the quote you are emphasizing, and the whole idea that admissions against interest should be believed is questionable at best.

          • tenshal mungafe says:

            So the problem you have with trump is that he wins, instead of letting people who you agree with win.

            As it happens, people who support him happen to like that about him.

    • jes5199 says:

      > And I have not met anyone IRL who is loud and excited for Hilary Clinton.

      Loud and excited might not be the best indicator. I’m a Clinton supporter, and I have a Clinton sign in my lawn. One of my neighbors told me “we’re Clinton supporters, too, but we’ve been afraid to put up a sign… some of friends are really rabid Sanders fans”.

      I like Sanders. He could have won. I just like Clinton more.

      • E. Harding says:

        I just like Clinton more.

        Why? Status quo bias?

        • It’s not in good taste to accuse someone of a cognitive bias before you actually know the justification of their position.

        • HeelBearCub says:

          I like Clinton more (far more) because I think Sanders would make a very poor president.

          He has little to no experience or appetite for building coalitions. He has little tolerance for the everyday art of the possible that is the nature of every executive position of a very large organization.

          Clinton has liberal/progressive goals married to very competent executive and political skills.

          • Tsnom Eroc says:

            ” Clinton has liberal/progressive goals *married* to very competent executive and political skills ”

            Oh dang, shots fired

          • Psmith says:

            Sanders is the amendment king of the current House of Representative. Since the Republicans took over Congress in 1995, no other lawmaker – not Tom DeLay, not Nancy Pelosi – has passed more roll-call amendments (amendments that actually went to a vote on the floor) than Bernie Sanders. He accomplishes this on the one hand by being relentlessly active, and on the other by using his status as an Independent to form left-right coalitions.

            http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-the-horror-show-that-is-congress-20050825

          • E. Harding says:

            He has little tolerance for the everyday art of the possible that is the nature of every executive position of a very large organization.

            My two cents’ worth–and I think it is the two cents’ worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994–is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life.

            So when senior members of the economic team said that key senators like Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have this-and-that objection, she told them they were disloyal. When junior members of the economic team told her that the Congressional Budget Office would say such-and-such, she told them (wrongly) that her conversations with CBO head Robert Reischauer had already fixed that. When long-time senior hill staffers told her that she was making a dreadful mistake by fighting with rather than reaching out to John Breaux and Jim Cooper, she told them that they did not understand the wave of popular political support the bill would generate

            http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2003_archives/001600.html

            In April 2015, obviously, he (unconvincingly) endorsed Hillary Clinton before anyone even thought of the possibility of a Trump presidency:

            http://www.bradford-delong.com/2015/04/endorsing-hillary-rodham-clinton.html

            “Clinton has liberal/progressive goals married to very competent executive and political skills.”

            -First gentleman is not a political position.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            No, I didn’t mean, Bill.

            Seriously, steelman, be charitable, etc.

            Hillary made mistakes at the beginning of Bill’s presidency when she was trying to be an politically active first lady. 23 years ago. On the other hand, she managed to lock up almost every single democratic super-delegate this time around. You don’t do that by being politically incompetent and broadly disliked among the party representatives.

            The example of a Bernie surrogate calling (most) elected Democrats “corporate Democratic whores” is instructive. Sure he resigned. But it is of a piece with the broad tenor of his campaign. He wants to break everything and re-form it. He does not believe in the power of incremental change and is promising much more than that.

          • For what it’s worth, I parse the argument over relative competence of Bernie vs Hilary in just the opposite way from those making it. Both of them are mostly in favor of things I’m against, so the less politically competent the better.

            I’m coming to the conclusion that the least bad result we can reasonably hope to get from the election is Hillary plus a Republican congress. Trump plus a Republican congress means a centrist President whose party controls both houses–not quite as bad as Hillary plus a Democratic congress, but close, quite aside from issues of Trump’s personality and style.

            It’s logically possible for Gary Johnson to take enough electoral votes to throw the election to the house and for the House to then elect him president, but I don’t think it very likely.

          • Randy M says:

            I suspect there will be some making up, or rather Deal Making, but at the rate things are going, a Trump presidency might be a president with two opposition parties in congress. A boon for those that see gridlock as a best case scenario.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            That is a fair hope on your part, but not related to the question at hand (which, as I understood it, was “Is anyone willing to actively back Hillary here at SSC?”)

            It’s logically possible for Gary Johnson to take enough electoral votes to throw the election to the house and for the House

            I mean, in the sense that the rules of the game allow it to happen, sure. But unless you are willing to posit something like “Hillary kills someone in the street while cameras roll”, the current dynamics of the electorate won’t let this happen. If they did, Mitt Romney would definitely be president right now.

            You think centrists are going to leave Hillary for Gary Johnson in enough numbers to actually win states when Gary Johnson will be trying to split Republican base votes with Trump? If Gary Johnson could pull this off, he would be the Republican nominee already.

          • LHN says:

            @HeelBearCub Strictly speaking, Johnson only has to win a state (or electoral votes in a non winner-take-all state like Nebraska. Then a (Republican) House to decide they prefer Johnson to Trump or Clinton, which last doesn’t seem beyond possibility if it ever got that far.

            That “if” is still unlikely enough that I’d expect to ride my flying pig to watch the results, but it doesn’t require Johnson to actually get anywhere near a plurality of the popular vote, just enough electoral votes to play spoiler. If the election managed to go to the House and the House stayed Republican[1], I can see him being seen as the least bad among the top three electoral vote getters assuming he qualified.

            [1] And since each state gets one vote, it’s at least possible for the House to be numerically Republican for this purpose even if it’s got a Democratic voting majority post election.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @LHN:
            He has to peel off enough votes from Trump and Clinton to win a state, but without peeling off enough votes to prevent Trump from winning enough states that Clinton is denied 270.

            Maybe if Gary Johnson gets on the ballot in one sure Republican state only, and then if Trump would have won, except for that one state. Try making that argument to the electorate though “Vote for Trump everywhere but here so that Gary Johnson wins”.

          • Jon Gunnarsson says:

            LHN wrote:

            [1] And since each state gets one vote, it’s at least possible for the House to be numerically Republican for this purpose even if it’s got a Democratic voting majority post election.

            I was under the impression that in case no candidate gets >50% of the Electoral College, the outgoing House (controlled by Republicans) elects the president from among the top three.

          • LHN says:

            That’s the way it used to be, till the 20th amendment moved the convening of the new Congress to January 3. Since 3 USC § 15 specifies that the electors present their results to a joint session of Congress on January 6[1], it’s the newly elected Congress that deals with them.

            (Except the outgoing Vice President can still preside over the Senate if he chooses, since his term doesn’t expire till January 20.)

            Since that’s statutory law rather than Constitutional, it’s not completely impossible for the outgoing Congress to try to accelerate the process. But as things are currently set the electors don’t meet till 12/19. You’d need a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, plus either a veto-proof majority in both houses or presidential connivance, to have a chance of making it happen in time.

            [1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/3/15

          • LHN says:

            It belatedly occurs to me that Johnson in principle doesn’t need any popular support to be in contention if the election is thrown to the House. Just one faithless elector.

            The same, of course, could also put any of the other contenders– Cruz, Kasich, Rubio, Sanders (or even someone who didn’t run at all like Ryan or Biden) into contention. You could even have multiple groups of electors contending to make their guy number three to give them a shot in the new House. But of course it’s been well over a century since more than one presidential elector in an election defected.

          • Hlynkacg says:

            You could even have multiple groups of electors contending to make their guy number three to give them a shot in the new House. But of course it’s been well over a century since more than one presidential elector in an election defected.

            Mattis crosses the Potomac. 😉

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @LHN:
            No, you have to have no candidate get to 270 electoral votes. So the 1 faithless elector would have to coincide with a 270-268 vote split. And would spark a massive constitutional crisis.

            Again, unless you posit something like “Trump and Hillary take turns murdering old ladies in cold blood live on camera”, that kind of scenario is not happening.

          • LHN says:

            An effective electoral tie is extremely unlikely, but it doesn’t strike me as requiring either one to commit public atrocities.

            I’m not seeing how the Constitution operating according to its rules provokes a constitutional crisis. Handwringing and renewed calls to abolish the electoral college, sure, but we had that in 2000 with no long-term effect on the system.

            (Maybe afterward the National Popular Vote compact gets enacted in enough states to be tested in court, maybe it doesn’t. If not, I don’t think an amendment is likely to make it through, but maybe it does. Either way, that’s not a crisis.)

            The electors almost certainly won’t be punished, faithless elector laws notwithstanding. And it’ll be two years before the members of Congress face election. It’s hard to see the Supreme Court intervening when there’s no constitutional ambiguity. Where will the crisis come from?

            (Assuming that voter anger at being deprived of their preferred candidate, who almost won, outweighs the relief at dodging the near-triumph of the other.)

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @LHN:
            I agree that an essential electoral tie does not require anything particular of the candidates. But the part where you have a faithless elector who deprives the US of the result of their popular election? And throws it to the house? And the house elects someone who was not even part of the campaign? That is not going to happen unless BOTH candidates are so beyond the pale that they both have become completely unacceptable in a rapid and unusual manner.

            Because what you are talking about otherwise is a scenario that basically says to the populace “screw you, we elect who we want”. The very legitimacy of the government would be immediately in grave doubt. We would essentially be in a third world tin-pot dictator scenario.

            This is REALLY different than what rolled out in 2000. Imagine if in 2000 you had enough faithless Florida electors that they threw the election to the house and the house elected Bloomberg. That is the scenario you are describing.

          • LHN says:

            It’s hardly a tinpot dictatorial move to operate according to clearly written, two-century-plus established rules, however little they’ve needed to be invoked. It’s weird, but so was Gerald Ford becoming President without ever standing for election to any national office. And I suspect that a Republican congress choosing anyone over Trump would be viewed with substantial relief by Democrats and a sizable fraction of Republicans. (However mad the former might that they didn’t cross party lines and elect Clinton.)

            (The Trump voters would, of course, be both hopping mad and betrayed. But I don’t think it would be likely to erupt in armed rebellion, so that’s mostly a problem for 2020. By which point perhaps the horse will have learned to sing.)

            Regardless, the odds that this will ever be more than a thought experiment are we can agree, extremely low.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @LHN:
            Theoretically, 1/2 the house and 2/3s of the senate can remove a sitting president essentially arbitrarily, but it would still provoke a crisis if they did it arbitrarily.

            The Bork nomination fight continues to impact politics today, and that was just a tiny toe over the norms that sit on top of the constitution.

            The expectation is that the popular vote in each state is what governs the votes of the electoral college. Mess with that and it starts to look like you can make anybody president. Why should Trump II run a campaign at all when he can just “convince” the electors to vote for him?

            If Gore had followed the advice of those who thought he should take his fight to the electoral college, and then won that fight, the damage to the legitimacy of the federal government would have been resounding. As amped up as partisanship has gotten, it would be peanuts compared to what would have happened if he did that.

          • I think the faithless elector version would create a lot of problems as well as being very unlikely, since it depends on an almost perfect tie. But Gary Johnson picking up at least one state, possibly New Mexico where he was a popular governor, is a little more likely and doesn’t require such a close tie to prevent anyone from getting enough electoral votes to be elected.

            I’m not sure what the popular response would be if Congress made him president, and perhaps made the VP candidate of one of the major parties VP. It would seem unfair to give the victory to the candidate with by far the fewest votes. On the other hand, each party would prefer him to the other party’s candidate, and a fair number of Republicans and a few Democrats would prefer him to their party’s candidate.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @David Friedman:
            Assuming Gary Johnson gets ballot access via the Libertarian party, he will be on the ballot in all 50 states. In order for him to pull enough votes from Trump to win New Mexico outright, he would be pulling votes from Trump everywhere, and you don’t get the close election you want.

            You have to posit some white knight candidate who only has ballot access in just a few states, say Mitt Romney, and beats Trump and Hillary in those states. The problem here is that a) if such a white knight existed, they would have won the primary, and b) it require Trump to be popular enough to keep Hillary from 270. If Trump can win on his own, the party is much less concerned about him, frankly.

            Now, if Gary Johnson manages to convince Bernie Sanders to run as his VP pick, maybe you get something? But, assuming that, how do you get the House to throw the result to them? Because if that ticket gets traction enough to cost Hillary 270, the likely result is Trump winning outright, because they would be running as liberal-libertarians. It would be a sort-of nonsense ticket.

            Perhaps it is failure of imagination, but I don’t see anyway to get someone who a)wins a state (needed to keep someone from 270), b) pulls voters from both parties in noticeable numbers and c) is more acceptable to a presumably Republican house than Trump, the Republican nominee.

          • James Picone says:

            I’m not seeing how the Constitution operating according to its rules provokes a constitutional crisis.

            I think it’s fairly common for the term to be used when one of the get-out-of-deadlock clauses in a constitution gets used. They’re kind of rare and extreme, after all.

            For example, the 1975 Australian Constitutional Crisis (brief: one party is in government, other party has control of the other house, refuses to pass budget bills. Resolved when the governor-general dismissed the government and forced a double-dissolution election to be held) ran according to provisions in the constitution, but is still referred to as a ‘constitutional crisis’ (well mostly it’s referred to as ‘The Dismissal’…). Theoretically it could happen again today – our Senate retains the ability to block supply, and Australian elections often lead to different parties controlling the House of Representatives and the Senate, because they have different voting mechanisms (one is districted, one is proportional by state).

          • John Schilling says:

            In order for him to pull enough votes from Trump to win New Mexico outright, he would be pulling votes from Trump everywhere, and you don’t get the close election you want

            How so? If, absent Johnson, the voters would have split 55% Trump / 45% Clinton, but Johnson wins 10% of the vote and that from Republican voters only, then Johnson turns what would have been a Yuge Trump Landslide (just ask him) into a close election.

            I think 45% Trump / 55% Clinton is far more likely than the reverse, but how confident can you really be on that right now?

            Also, Johnson will draw votes from anti-Trump Republican voters, anti-Clinton Democratic voters, and from people who wouldn’t have voted at all if the only two choices were Trump and Clinton. That’s going to further complicate the analysis.

            Gary Johnson almost certainly isn’t going to be President, but the theoretical path to get him there runs through territory that I don’t think you have adequately mapped.

          • Chalid says:

            The constitution only has power to the extent that the American people accept it. Every so often people think “hacks” to the system that are technically consistent with the constitution, but would immediately lead to the constitution losing legitimacy if they were enacted.

            For example, Republicans could guarantee themselves a presidential victory by changing the electoral college allocation rules away from “winner take all” for every Blue state with a Republican state government. Or Obama could promise to pardon anyone who murdered a Republican senator. etc.

            One thing that is a bit scary about these days is that the parties are pushing their legitimate powers beyond their traditional bounds, to the point where it erodes those powers’ legitimacy. If, for example, the Garland nomination doesn’t go through, and president Trump manages to appoint someone similar to Scalia next year (or if Clinton wins, and McConnell refuses to confirm anyone through 2020, as some people suggest) there are going to be a lot of leftists questioning why the hell they should respect the court anyway. (Obligatory disclaimer that examples of Democrats pushing limits can easily be produced too.)

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @John Schilling:
            Because Gary Johnson won’t be on the ballot in only 1 state, he’ll be on the ballot in all 50 (if he has the libertarian nomination). So if he can pull 45% percent of the vote, all from Trump, in some state that votes 40% Clinton (not New Mexico, BTW), then there are a bunch of closer states where he gives Clinton the victory.

            So, again, you have to posit that you can field a candidate in only certain states, just enough to throw it to the house. In my view, the scenario that Republicans are really worried about is a Donald Trump “big loss”. If Donald Trump really looks like he has a shot at winning on his own steam, I don’t think you are going to see much push from Republicans behind making him lose the election. But even assuming this is so, can you pick the candidate and the few states where you can do that right now? Because now is about when you need to be working really, really, really hard to get ballot access.

            What you would really need to throw the election to the house is a candidate who can beat Hillary in enough states so SHE doesn’t go over 270, but don’t give those states to Trump. Well, the Republicans aren’t going to be able to field that candidate. Again, maybe a really pissed off Bernie. But he isn’t doing the work to get on those ballots as an independent. But then you are talking about the house making who, Paul Ryan?, president. Again, constitutional crisis, although less so than the faithless elector scenario.

            The thing is that money and work and organization (and a lot of it) would have to be going on right now to make that possible, and I’m not seeing it.

          • Chalid says:

            Endorse HBC here. The problem with any of these scenarios is that the system is winner-take-all by state.

            To make one of these scenarios happen you need a *regional* third-party candidate with strong appeal in his region and very weak or equally divided appeal outside it. Hard to imagine that happening these days.

          • LHN says:

            @Chalid The Constitution survived the elections of 1800, 1824, 1876, and 2000, plus FDR’s repudiation of the century and a half old informal two-term limit and his attempted court-packing, and Gerald Ford’s accession to office by appointment by someone who resigned just ahead of impeachment. (Having been to Ford’s museum and library, I’m actually pretty impressed with him. But the bare bones of the story sound like the machinations of a banana republic, or the Putin-Medvedev two-step.) So I’m pretty sure it would survive Republicans choosing a two-term Republican governor, in the unlikely event that the country was faced with what’s otherwise a statistical tie between two candidates who both had >50% negative ratings.

            I think the GWB administration gives a fairly good sense of what it looks like for large parts of the electorate to think the President’s accession is illegitimate and the Court corrupt. That neither prevented Bush from being elected to a second term nor damped Democratic reliance on the courts as a vehicle for political and social change (as one might expect if the institution had lost legitimacy).

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @LHN:
            There is a difference between saying a constitutional crisis would occur and claiming that the country would not survive. Constitution crises are damaging, not necessarily fatal.

            Now, look at 2000 one of your examples. Gore accepted the ruling of the SCOTUS. He did not provoke a constitutional crisis (nor were we in one before that). The normal channels spoke and that was the end of it.

            Another example, the court packing plan, the bill ultimately failed. No constitutional crisis.

            FDR violated a tradition of only being elected for two terms. It is important to note that Teddy and Grant had already run for a third, non-consecutive terms, which means that the nation had had ample time to codify the tradition. More importantly, FDR was broadly popular, winning 38 of 48 states and 85% of the electoral college. Being elected to a third term or fourth term with those results hardly looks like losing the support of the populace. The popular vote legitimizes the move.

            That is nothing like what we are talking about here.

          • suntzuanime says:

            2000 was definitely a constitutional crisis. The SCOTUS is not supposed to decide elections. The fact that Gore accepted their decision just meant that the constitutional crisis didn’t lead to civil war.

          • John Schilling says:

            Because Gary Johnson won’t be on the ballot in only 1 state, he’ll be on the ballot in all 50 (if he has the libertarian nomination). So if he can pull 45% percent of the vote, all from Trump, in some state that votes 40% Clinton (not New Mexico, BTW), then there are a bunch of closer states where he gives Clinton the victory.

            Yes, but so what? Clinton getting the victory in a bunch of states in no way rules out a close election. Clinton getting the victory in a bunch of states – roughly half of them – is necessary for a close election. And it still counts as a close election if the only reason she gets those states is because of Johnson.

            You seem to be assuming the proposed model is to start with a close election, add Gary Johnson to claim New Mexico’s five electoral votes while changing nothing else, and wind up with a hung election. You’re right that this doesn’t work, but that’s not what we are talking about.

            We are talking about an election that would have been e.g. Trump 370, Clinton 168 if it were just the two of them. Johnson’s entry draws enough marginal voters to swing 100 EV from Trump to Clinton(*), while campaigning intensely to claim New Mexico’s 5 EV from Trump for himself.

            In that case, in spite of his entry having siphoned off enough Trump voters to give Hillary a net 100-point gain, the result is Trump 265, Hillary 268, Johnson 5. Enter the House of Representatives.

            * Net; there will probably be a few states where Johnson’s entry favors Trump.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @John Schilling:

            Trump 370, Clinton 168

            OK, if (and it is a big hug massive if) that scenario is in play, then yes.

            But that scenario is not the concern of people who are talking up the idea of somehow throwing the election to the house so that Trump isn’t elected. Trump is splitting the Republican party along some ideological fault lines that the establishment didn’t even quite realize were there.

            Again, if the Republican establishment actually thought that Trump was on pace to destroy Clinton, they would mostly just be getting in line behind him. But the concern being talked up (by Republicans, importantly) is that Trump will a)get destroyed b)suppress down-ballot results and c) may lose Republicans the Senate and, on the outside, the House.

            Trump isn’t even very popular among Republicans, let alone the broad electorate. Hillary is broadly popular inside her own party which means that predictions that Trump is going to outperform her in Democratic leaning states aren’t what are being bandied about by anyone but Trump.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @suntzuanime:

            2000 was definitely a constitutional crisis. The SCOTUS is not supposed to decide elections.

            The recount in Florida was already in the hands of the courts and had already made it to the Florida State Supreme Court. I didn’t agree with the SCOTUS ruling, but all the SCOTUS ruling did was prevent even more recounting of ballots, which had already been counted and recounted and the result of which counts kept coming out in favor of Bush.

            This is entirely different than a few individual electors choosing to simply ignore the results of the popular vote, which is what is being proposed here.

          • Vorkon says:

            John Schilling’s model seems to rely an awful lot on the idea of Johnson pulling votes from Hillary. While I’ll admit that it’s certainly possible for a Libertarian candidate to draw votes from the Democrats, (classical liberalism, and all that) in today’s political climate I don’t think it’s really fair to assume that will actually happen, at least in significant enough numbers to make a difference. Yes, it’s true that there are some issues where the Libertarian platform matches the Democratic one more closely than the Republican one, but as our host said recently, the ideology is not the movement.

            That said, am I alone in thinking that I wouldn’t necessarily mind a Constitutional crisis of the sort that a faithless elector might cause? I’ve long thought that America’s political climate in general would be a lot healthier if we moved away from the winner-take-all first-past the post system, and that the electoral college is an anachronism that doesn’t serve any practical purpose, but the only way to change any of that would be a Constitutional amendment, and I can’t imagine there ever being the political will to do that without some sort of crisis beforehand.

            Admittedly, I can’t say for sure that whatever we get from that amendment will be better, but I don’t think it would end up being significantly worse. And even as tense as things are right now politically, I don’t think we’re quite at the point where a Constitutional crisis would spark a civil war, just yet.

          • “If Trump can win on his own, the party is much less concerned about him, frankly.”

            I was commenting on my concerns, not the concerns of the Republican party. I’m not sure if I find Trump with a Republican House and Senate more or less scary than Hillary with a Democratic House and Senate.

            So far as the party is concerned, if we assume my unlikely scenario happens, they get to choose between Trump, who is unpopular with the party establishment even if tolerable, and an ex-Republican governor. And even if a majority of Republican representatives prefer Trump, the minority might ally with the Democrats in favor of Johnson.

            So far as the legitimate worry that a strong Gary Johnson campaign would throw the election to Trump, that assumes he doesn’t pull a substantial number of voters away from Hillary. It also ignores his special position in the state where he was a popular governor.

          • John Schilling says:

            John Schilling’s model seems to rely an awful lot on the idea of Johnson pulling votes from Hillary.

            The Trump 370 / Clinton 168 baseline model, which I believe is within the error bars of current polling, would allow Gary Johnson to tie up the election while pulling votes only from Donald Trump. So, no.

            I expect that, if it comes to that, most of Johnson’s support would come from people who otherwise wouldn’t have voted at all – and there will be a lot of those come November. Of the votes he does actually draw away from the major-party candidates, I agree that most but not all will be Republicans who would otherwise have voted for Trump.

            And, as David Friedman notes, in the extremely unlikely event that this does go to the House, a Johnson victory would depend on at least some Democratic delegations holding their noses and saying “If we can’t have Clinton, better Johnson than Trump”.

          • John says:

            The Trump 370 / Clinton 168 baseline model, which I believe is within the error bars of current polling,

            Wait, what? Where are you seeing that? The Cook Report is showing 304/44/190 for Clinton, toss-up, Trump.

            Even if you back out the lean Clinton (Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida = 87) and the likely Clinton (Minnesota, Michigan = 26) she still has 191.

            Dropping to 168 would take a miracle.

      • MugaSofer says:

        I admit, I too feel a vague sense of confusion at someone endorsing Clinton.

        I’m pretty much a Bernie supporter, but I can comprehend hating him. He’s flawed. I basically hate Trump, but I can comprehend liking him; he’s charismatic.

        But Clinton? Why? Does she have policies you support? Do you think she’d be a good leader, or is a particularly ethical person, or has some other presidential quality? Is there some sort of coherent political philosophy buried deep in there that you support?

        … or is it, as Harding may have been uncharitably groping toward, a belief in the ramshackle meta-system of political corruption that select who gets to be the “Establishment” candidate? I mean, things had been going pretty well lately. Western democracy is pretty darn nice, as these things go…

        • suntzuanime says:

          From talking to Clinton supporters IRL (who are relieved to hear that I’m supporting Trump and therefore won’t be able to take a position of moral superiority towards them), there are two reasons people endorse Clinton. One is, like you say, things had been going pretty well lately, at least for some folks, and Sanders, Trump, and even Cruz seem more inclined to boat-rocking than Clinton. Shouts that the system is corrupt and broken are less appealing to people who have been well-served by the system. The second reason is a sense of personal identification. Just as I identify with Trump’s presentation as a loathsome troll, some people identify with Clinton’s presentation as a total lame-o. All of her horrible attempts at memes and social media that get her cast as “out of touch” let the out-of-touch see her as in touch with them. (I’m reading between the lines on this one, but I think it’s accurate.)

          • Guy says:

            Clinton projects (or others project for her) an appearance of competence. It seems, based on how she carries herself and how she speaks and so on and so forth, that she will be able to successfully carry out the duties of the President, subject to the usual caveats for a politician. Sanders, while he has interesting ideas, seems likely to be rather ineffective, liable to give up a leadership role on any particular thing to the first (or, really, most recent) person to ask. Trump and Cruz both seem actively dangerous; Trump for reasons outlined by other commentors, Cruz for his debt ceiling shenanigans. Turning briefly to other candidates, I would say Kasich and Rubio presented the same appearance of competence (less so Rubio after Christie finished with him). Christie I would probably see as competent where I not from New Jersey and aware of his style of governing there, which shifts him over to the “danger” category (substantially less so than Cruz or Trump, though). Fiorina strikes me as incompetent, possibly because I’m tech-adjacent. Carson confused me until he quit to do a book tour. Oh and Jeb. I always feel bad for Jeb. It was plain from the beginning he wasn’t going to win. Such a sad story. Why did they ever make him run? It wasn’t necessary. Let the poor boy have his retirement.

          • Do people who are opposed to Clinton think she would be merely a sub-optimal president (good luck finding an optimal president) or a worse than average president? If the latter, what’s your line of thought?

          • keranih says:

            Worse than average.

            She has not shown herself to be able to create amacable agreement between opposing parties, she has a history of severe misjudgement of other nations’ interests and goals, domestically she promotes identity politics and is a poster child for crony capitalism. (In this she represents the worst of both parties.) As both a Democrat and a woman she would be forced to use military intervention when a man or a Republican would not have their bluff called.

            I have not been a fan for a long time, and I regard the Bengazi attack itself as the sort of thing which happens from time to time. I do hold her responsible for lying to the American public about the motivation for that attack, and find the attempt to blame free expression of speech – and to actually defend violent reaction to speech – horrific.

            The combination of incompetence and willful disregard of the law which led to the home server is just the icing on the cake.

            I think Bernie is a crazy old professor whose economic theories would break the world economy. But I’d vote for him over Trump, no problem.

            Not Clinton.

          • John Schilling says:

            Do people who are opposed to Clinton think she would be merely a sub-optimal president (good luck finding an optimal president) or a worse than average president? If the latter, what’s your line of thought?

            Almost certainly worse than average.

            First, lack of relevant experience. A single Senate term and one more as a Cabinet secretary is near the bottom of what makes for a successful President in the post-ACW era. State, admittedly, is probably the best cabinet posting for a Presidential apprenticeship, but only one term? Benghazi and the followup, which as others have noted is more clusterfuck than malice, but where are the great successes to balance against it? Hillary’s actual experience in government seems to have been treated more as ticket-punching for the resume than an actual career accomplishment or learning experience.

            Second, Arrogance, and hostility to anyone not 100% on her team. That’s a particularly bad thing to go with inexperience. Again from the other commenters, treating Citizens United as cause for a vendetta rather than simply a tactical defeat, isn’t good leadership or good politics, and it’s not an outlier for Clinton.

            Third, object-level policy issues, both in terms of values and consequences, but we don’t need to rehash all of that here.

            Fourth, nobody really likes her. It isn’t necessary for a President to be liked, but it does give them political capital they can use to accomplish things they otherwise couldn’t, and it gives them margin to survive mistakes without going into a full-on wagon-circling defense or worse counterattack. Hillary is going to be playing aggressive defense her entire term.

            And finally, she’s a crook, straight up, and always has been. Running classified material through her own email server is just the last example and evidence of that, and should have been enough to disqualify her even before her campaign started.

            But she’s an experienced, capable crook, and like anyone in the extortion-racket business will be careful not to actually drive her “customers” out of business. The republic can survive four years of Clinton rule.

            And the alternative is Donald Trump

          • @John, I have no dog in this race, but you’ve made me curious: how do you get “crook” from “running classified material through her own email server” ?

            Granted it was a very bad idea and at least technically illegal, did she actually make money out of it somehow?

          • “how do you get “crook” from “running classified material through her own email server” ?”

            Presumably on the theory that she used her own server not in order to expose classified material but in order to conceal unethical or illegal activities reflected in her correspondence.

            But the best evidence that she is a crook is the old cattle market case, which looks very much like funneling illegal bribes to her husband, disguised as speculative profits.

          • houseboatonstyx says:

            @ HBC
            all the SCOTUS ruling did was prevent even more recounting of ballots, which had already been counted and recounted and the result of which counts kept coming out in favor of Bush.

            You might want to check that before using it as a heavy duty talking point. My memory is that SCOTUS may have stopped recounting of some already recounted votes, and also prevented recounting of some votes that thus never got recounted. Iirc after the deadlines had passed, the news media got ahold of those votes and counted them under several different scenarios, and they came out for Gore under 5 of 8 scenarios (or some such ratio).

          • hlynkacg says:

            “how do you get “crook” from “running classified material through her own email server?”

            The Clinton Foundation is a charitable organization. Any suspicion that it acts as a front for selling diplomatic access is unfounded nonsense. Just look at our official email server.

            PS: please ignore the unofficial email server that we actually conducted all our business on.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            @houseboatonstyx:
            I am well aware that I am glossing over the finer points of the Florida recount. I actually did work at a State Board of Elections for many years, said work being at least partially motivated by HAVA which passed after the Florida debacle.

            The primary point of dispute in Florida was whether vote counting in some of the counties accurately reflected the intent of the voter, especially where no vote was tallied. Said voting procedures had been used for many decades without (legal) complaint. The judiciary making a decision that essentialy said the voting procedure would need to stand for that election, even though I think the decision was wrong, doesn’t rise to the level of constitutional crisis, in my opinion.

          • John Schilling says:

            I have no dog in this race, but you’ve made me curious: how do you get “crook” from “running classified material through her own email server”

            What David Friedman said, on both counts. If you see someone with an empty gas can standing next to a mound of burning documents, the proper question is not “Gasoline costs money; how can they be making a profit on this?”

            Like most crooked politicians and other white-collar criminals, if Hillary ever does go down it will probably be for the coverup rather than any of the original offenses – which I don’t think we need to try and catalog here.

          • @John, OK, so you were presenting the use of a private server as evidence of other wrongdoing, expecting that your audience would already be aware of the relevant allegations? That makes more sense.

            It might have been clearer if you’d said “official material” or “incriminating material” or something like that, the classified material would seem to be a red herring in this context. (On the other hand, it seems that all the US readers understood what you meant!)

            (Having now skimmed the relevant Wikipedia articles, I’m unconvinced that the evidence is as strong as you suggest, but I don’t care enough to attempt to argue about it.)

          • John Schilling says:

            @Harry: Clinton both violated federal law and endangered national security by running highly classified material through a private email server, and rather obviously used that server to avoid the whole pesky transparency-in-government thing and cover up God only knows what. Each of those is individually objectionable. Clinton’s personal corruption is probably rather petty, and harmless except insofar as it reveals her character. She’s a crook. Playing fast and loose with TS/SCI in the process, makes her a dangerous crook, even if her motives are personal and petty.

            Making it OK for her to get away with all of this because she is Saint Hillary of the Clintons, Only Hope for Democracy in America, is corrosive to the very concept of rule of law and objectionable as well.

          • @John: OK, but from my perspective, the fact that she sent potentially classified material via the private system makes the theory that she was using the private system to avoid transparency far less likely. (If it was me, at any rate, I’d be very careful to use the official system for anything that might attract attention or provide an excuse for someone to audit the private server.) So I hope you can see why focusing on that left me a bit confused as to what you were saying.

            For what little it’s worth, I can add one relevant observation from my own field of expertise: the stated motivation, wanting to continue to use BlackBerry phones, really is entirely credible. That’s exactly the sort of thing IT departments have to deal with all the time. (And generally speaking, if management won’t enforce the rules – or when it is management that is breaking them – there’s not much IT can do about it.)

          • John Schilling says:

            How does “wanting to use a Blackberry” translate to “setting up a private email server”? The people I know who use their own Blackberries, mostly use Gmail or Yahoo. Setting up your own basement server, with any degree of security and confidentiality, is definitely the hard way to go about it, and it’s just as illegal as simply using Gmail, so I’m not seeing the motive for that part. People autoforwarding their office mail to Gmail, yes, that’s common and it’s wrong but it’s easy to understand why basically honest people do it.

            Setting up a private server in your basement is an uncommonly wrong thing to do, which suggests a different motive.

            And, classified vs. unclassified is orthogonal to honest vs. corrupt. Some information will fall into both categories, some into neither, and sometimes people will make mistakes about that. If you’re being corrupt the odds of discovery will increase if you have to spread your corruption across two servers rather than keeping it to one (particularly one that you control).

          • My understanding is that the private server already existed at the time Clinton became Secretary of State, so since she couldn’t use the official servers without giving up her Blackberries, the path of least resistance would have been sticking with the status quo. (But perhaps there is evidence that the private server was set up at that time? But that seems unlikely, since the Blackberries in question already existed, and must have been running on something.)

            (To anticipate your next objection: Gmail only became available to the general public in 2007, and I for one wouldn’t have trusted it for anything important at that time – the concept was too novel.)

          • Oh, I should perhaps have mentioned that at least one of the academics in the faculty I work for is running his own email server, and I’ve run across a number of students with private servers – I don’t know whether they manage the servers themselves, necessarily, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they did. So in my experience, it isn’t all that uncommon even nowadays. (Granted we’re talking about the Computer Science department here, so an unusual concentration of techies, but even so.)

          • Douglas Knight says:

            Before becoming Secretary, Hillary shared a server with Bill and everyone else at the Clinton Foundation. After, she had her own server, probably run by the same people.

            Colin Powell used AOL email, but only from desktop computers. That sounds a lot more secure, but Hillary probably didn’t know that she could get gmail imap on her blackberry. Fewer of his emails have been determined to have contained classified info, but probably a larger proportion (not counting deleted emails). He also used email on the classified system, while Hillary only used the one system, relying on her aides to deal with electronic system for classified materials.

          • John Schilling says:

            I’m still not seeing how anyone gets from “I want to use a Blackberry” to “I need my own private email server”.

            Because, for anyone who isn’t a techie, setting up a private email server is about the least convenient possible way to use a Blackberry. And always have been, even before Gmail in 2007. Anybody who has ever had or wanted their very own Blackberry and asked, “Now how do I make email work on this thing?”, will have got an answer that involves IMAP and a bog-standard commercial email account, not a kludge with a server in their basement.

            And anyone with a server in their basement, has it for a reason that isn’t “I needed it to make my Blackberry work”.

          • Anybody who has ever had or wanted their very own Blackberry and asked, “Now how do I make email work on this thing?”, will have got an answer that involves IMAP and a bog-standard commercial email account

            I think that would depend who you asked. I can easily imagine the answer being “no problem, I’ll set up a server for you”. Particularly if, as Douglas’s post suggests, the person you asked was the person who was running the server you had been using up until that point. (I could definitely see myself having said that, under the right circumstances. Nowadays I wouldn’t dare, of course.)

            I can also see a legitimate privacy motivation … hmmm, I’m concerned that this could be misinterpreted, but I guess I can take it for granted that nobody here is likely to fall victim to the “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” fallacy … if you’re dealing with sensitive material, e.g., stuff reporters might like to get their hands on, a server administered by someone you trust personally is likely to be far more appealing than a server administered by a business whose technicians you’ll likely never even meet.

            It looks like I’ve fallen into the trap of trying to convince you, though, which isn’t what I’d intended. All I wanted to say is that, speaking with some experience in the area, I don’t find the argument that the private email server demonstrates malice convincing. I’ll try to leave it at that.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            but I guess I can take it for granted that nobody here is likely to fall victim to the “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” fallacy

            Government officials don’t get this. Their records have special handling rules.

            The simplest way to make sure you follow the complicated rules is to have someone who doesn’t work for you and whose job title is “carry out the complicated rules” carry out the rules.

            When Clinton made the choice to run her own server, she chose to take all that responsibility onto herself. And we know she failed, because initial FOIA requests for Benghazi stuff returned no records from her.

            You came up with the right reasons, though: she wanted control. She didn’t want some pissant G-12 deciding which of her emails would be released in regards to an FOIA request. She wanted her direct employee to do it.

        • keranih says:

          I do know several women over the age of 40 who support her on those grounds alone (gender.) The identification is esp strong in a few with broken/no marriages.

        • Brian Donohue says:

          Why Clinton?

          1. She is the devil we know.

          2. I think divided government works best, and I think the past 35 years support this view.

        • Earthly Knight says:

          I don’t think this comment is really directed at me, because I voted for Sanders, but I’ll answer anyway:

          I support Hillary because, of the available candidates with a snowball’s chance of winning, her policies will be most likely to improve the welfare of the country (and the world), while protecting the rights of its citizens. This is the basis on which I make all of my voting decisions, and I find it incredible that anyone could use any other selection criteria. My only real concern is that she might spend her entire term so mired in scandal that she’s unable to govern effectively.

          If all of their relevant character traits had been switched around, if Bernie had been the inveterate sleaze-weasel with decades of skeletons in the closet and Clinton honest and upright, I would still have voted for Bernie. I view our obsession with the character, moral fiber, and private lives of politicians as deeply unhealthy, like children being distracted by a shiny bauble. What really matters is policy, and whether it promotes the common good.

          • LHN says:

            I support Hillary because, of the available candidates with a snowball’s chance of winning, her policies will be most likely to improve the welfare of the country (and the world), while protecting the rights of its citizens. This is the basis on which I make all of my voting decisions, and I find it incredible that anyone could use any other selection criteria.

            It at least presumes the happy situation that at least one of the candidates fits those positive criteria. I don’t think I’ve ever done better than “hopefully likely to degrade the welfare of the country (and the world) and erode the rights of its citizens measurably less than their rival(s)” in my voting career.

          • Wrong Species says:

            I strongly agree. I’ll take the crook over the idiot any day. There’s a lot to disagree with Moldbug but his basic point about government is important. The best government is one that governs well. Who cares if politicians don’t meet up to our demanding personal standards as long as they are doing well?

          • DrBeat says:

            But there’s crooks who govern well and crooks who don’t. IOW, there’s crooks, and there’s malignant narcissists.

            I’ll vote for a competent crook over an incompetent saint. But I’ll vote for an idiot over a malignant narcissist, and I would classify Trump and Hillary Clinton in the latter category.

            Like, the ideal is someone who aligns with your ideology and knows what they are doing.

            Second-best is someone who has a sincere viewpoint you disagree with, but at least knows how to perform the job. Their intentional policies may make things worse, but they won’t fuck things up on accident.

            Then there’s incompetents. Even if they are trying to do things you want to do, they don’t know how, and they’ll fuck everything up in the process, which always causes more damage than competently-executed plans to do bad things.

            But below them, are the people who will constantly fuck things up because they cannot separate their feelings from the world, and will make policies with no regard to whether or not they fuck things up, only if they fit the emotional landscape they wish to fit the world into.

            Mitt Romney would lessen people’s ability to live on welfare by lowering its budget. Bernie Sanders would do something badly thought out that was attempting to help people on welfare, but was executed so badly and created such perverse incentives it made their lives even worse than they would be under Romney. Clinton and Trump would institute welfare policy solely designed to flatter Clinton or Trump’s emotions, without competence OR pure motivations, taht would wind up an even more bloated and unnavigable mess because each component was actively fighting with the others.

        • houseboatonstyx says:

          @ MugaSofer
          But Clinton? Why? Does she have policies you support? Do you think she’d be a good leader, or is a particularly ethical person, or has some other presidential quality? Is there some sort of coherent political philosophy buried deep in there that you support?

          All of the above. As for Enthusiasm(TM)!, Clintonistas who lived during our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity*, already know what the Clintons can do in a Billary’s third term. But after what happened in November 2000 and in the 2008 primary, we’re busy knocking wood with crossed fingers. On Inauguration Day, we’ll clap.

          For younger Hillary supporters’ enthusiasm, see the links I posted for Jill.

          * http://www.theonion.com/article/bush-our-long-national-nightmare-of-peace-and-pros-464

          • wubbles says:

            Bill Clinton flew to Arkansas to execute a convict so incapable of understanding what was happening to him he saved a piece of pecan pie for later. That political philosophy resulted in being more Reganite then Regan: Bill Clinton cut welfare, which Reagan couldn’t even do.

          • houseboatonstyx says:

            @ wubbles

            Bill Clinton had the same kind of problem Obama did: a GOP Congress with a near-veto-proof majority. He kept vetoing their attempts, finally getting the best compromise he could.

        • jes5199 says:

          > But Clinton? Why? Does she have policies you support? Do you think she’d be a good leader, or is a particularly ethical person, or has some other presidential quality? Is there some sort of coherent political philosophy buried deep in there that you support?

          Generally, I trust Clinton to put more thorough thought into policy than any of the other candidates. She seems more likely to listen and compromise. I find that to be “presidential”.

          I actually find her ethical system to be more like mine than Sanders’s is – sometimes situations require you to make ethical compromises rather than seeing everything in a moral black and white. I don’t find any of her so-called “scandals” to be even the slightest bit important.

          And I don’t think the system is as broken as people make it out to be. I mean, if you compare the US to Canada – vastly different electoral system, but in the end the policies aren’t *that* different. Mostly government lags social changes, but eventually the law converges onto something inside the society’s Overton Window.

          Part of this is informed by seeing things I thought would never change actually change very quickly: gay rights, drug legalization.

          Not that I don’t have major problems with our society! I hope that we can move to a world with less violence, more support for people who are struggling, more freedom for people with diverse experiences, and generally less us-vs-them thinking.

          I guess part of this is informed by sort of a Systemantics ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systemantics ) point of view – our society is more like an organism than a computer program, and I don’t want to do a lot of extra surgery on its vital organs.

          • “I don’t find any of her so-called “scandals” to be even the slightest bit important.”

            It’s very old, but have you looked at the cattle futures story from back when her husband was governor? I cannot see any plausible interpretation of that other than as a way in which a firm could pass bribery money to her husband through her.

            My basis for that is an old article analyzing the transactions by a libertarian writer who was a Soros protegé and a successful speculator.

            Three possibilities:

            1. You have never looked at the case.

            2. You have looked at it but disagree with my interpretation (in which case I would be interested in your explanation).

            3. You don’t see funneling bribes to a state governor as the slightest bit important.

          • houseboatonstyx says:

            @ David Friedman
            2. You have looked at it but disagree with my interpretation (in which case I would be interested in your explanation).

            This was discussed here not long ago. Even Wikipedia had enough information to dismiss the bribery theory.

            Republicans have been investigating Hillary every time she breathes, since her time as First Lady of Arkansas. They haven’t found anything that held up, yet.

            Covering up that many crimes would argue the Clintons capable of faking the moon shot, even while being born in Kenya.

          • “@ David Friedman
            2. You have looked at it but disagree with my interpretation (in which case I would be interested in your explanation).

            This was discussed here not long ago. ”

            I may have missed it. Can you point me at the explanation of how Hilary made quite a lot of money speculating in a market she had no expertise in while betting, on average, against the direction the market ended up moving? A way of eliminating what seems to me the obvious explanation?

          • Anonymous says:

            Donald Trump almost certainly worked with the mob. There are no good choices this time around. It’s even worse than Bush v. Gore. Worst of my lifetime I’m pretty sure.

    • Deiseach says:

      This seems unbelievable to me, so I challenge readers to tell me how to reconcile my perceptions with the data: of all candidates (including Trump) , Hillary Clinton has received the most negative media coverage.

      (a) If they’re digging up dodgy pasts, unfortunately Hillary has a lot of skeletons in the cupboard – things like the Vince Wallace suicide which a good few conspiracy theorists seem to like to think was murder, etc. There’s a lot of negative coverage of Bill and Hillary to regurgitate

      (b) Swooning over Bernie as the favoured Dem candidate. Nobody seems to want to do any dirt-digging on “Feel The Bern” and come on, he’s a career politician, he must have done something dodgy (or that can be perceived as such) at least once in his career

      (c) the Republican candidates – coverage has seemed to be more mockery (“none of these losers should be taken seriously”) rather than establishing them as credibly Evil (the worst I’ve heard about Ted Cruz, apart from the “Zodiac Killer” meme, is that apparently he might be a raving theocrat if he wants to get into power, and since most of that type of coverage boils down to ‘raving theocrat = did not donate to Planned Parenthood’, I remain sceptical on that – show me real proof he wants to establish a Puritan-style Commonwealth of the Elect or shut up).

      • Aegeus says:

        >(b) Swooning over Bernie as the favoured Dem candidate. Nobody seems to want to do any dirt-digging on “Feel The Bern” and come on, he’s a career politician, he must have done something dodgy (or that can be perceived as such) at least once in his career

        Also, since Bernie is way behind and the race is almost over, Hillary’s campaign isn’t going to spend any time and effort digging up dirt. They’re too busy digging up dirt on Trump for the general.

        • onyomi says:

          Hillary has also made a pretty obvious, understandable effort to play nice with Bernie in order not to piss off his supporters so much that they vote for Trump, or, more likely, stay home for the general.

      • FacelessCraven says:

        @Deiseach – Vince Foster, not Vince Wallace. otherwise much agreed.

        There’s a meme on the right that the media has held its fire on Trump, and will now obliterate him in the general with the REAL negative coverage. I don’t see it. I think they’ve taken their best shot already. Likewise, I think that the media has not really engaged with the meat of Hillary’s negatives, and that is largely because the Republican fire has likewise been aimed at Trump.

        • Acedia says:

          Yeah, where can you go from “Trump is literally Adolf Hitler”? There are no gears left to switch to.

          • E. Harding says:

            @MugaSofer

            -Unfounded accusation.

          • Not unfounded, but perhaps inadequately founded, since the sole basis seems to have been a claim made during a divorce fight and later in part retracted.

            Also, legally speaking, whether the claim counts as rape depends on what state the event happened in, which I don’t think the linked story said. By that time all states recognized the possibility of marital rape, but the standards varied.

          • MugaSofer says:

            To be clear, that was an example of possible escalation past Nazi. The media has never really cared about whether accusations are merely partly founded.

        • MugaSofer says:

          Hypothetically, the Media could simply dismiss Trump as a joke. A joke not worthy of being loudly laughed at, because it’s over. He won, the Republicans showed they were idiots, and now we can expect a Democrat presidency: what will Clinton do in office?

          It’s be easy. Clinton is way ahead in the current polls. Without a media presence beyond Internet memes that can’t quite decide if they’re ironic, Trump would crumble. It would be easy.

          But it won’t happen, because the Media aren’t actually strategic.

          • suntzuanime says:

            The Huffington Post tried.

          • Anonymous says:

            Hypothetically, the Media could simply dismiss Trump as a joke. A joke not worthy of being loudly laughed at, because it’s over.

            Trump would crumble. It would be easy.

            Right, just like when the Huffington Post declared that they’d only cover Trump on the entertainment page because he wasn’t a serious candidate.

            I’m pretty sure Trump’s campaign petered out and he dropped out a few weeks later.

          • MugaSofer says:

            Moving someone to the Entertainment page for a few months while covering them like crazy isn’t no-platforming them. It’s extra-double not no-platforming them when only one publication does it and they capitulate after a few months.

            If the media treated Trump the way they treat people who actually don’t have a chance – i.e. by not covering him – then he wouldn’t win.

    • brad says:

      And I have not met anyone IRL who is loud and excited for Hilary Clinton. There’s loud Sanders and Trump. I even heard more support for Kasich. Heck, the people who support Hilary that I know tend to qualify it with some variation of “I like Sanders more but he can’t win” Granted, I am considered to be a young adult, so hearing Sanders Sanders Sanders is expected.

      I know several left of center baby boomer women that are very excited about the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency if not Hillary Clinton per se. When this came up my mother (born 1950) said something like “You have to remember I grew up in a different era. There were five women in my entire law school class.”

    • Buckyballas says:

      Re: solar, you may want to take a look at this wiki. This should help calibrate you on how fast/slow solar is actually growing. Regarding the price curve, subsidy vs. non-subsidy does indeed complicate the picture (although one could argue it also complicates the picture for other non-solar electricity sources). Quick aside: The price in Scott’s link is bid price from solar companies, and “price” and “cost” are not the same thing (price will include a strong subsidy effect; the effect on cost will be less, but not zero). Another complicating factor is that the cost of a solar module is strongly dependent on polysilicon material costs, which were quite volatile in the early aughts. Although, as module prices decrease (through scale and incremental technological improvements), more and more of the cost is bundled up in what industry folks call “balance of system” and “soft costs” which include ancillary hardware (inverters, moutning), permitting costs, labor, etc. See this link for more info.

      Full disclosure: I work in solar, but I have not ever edited the wiki page.

    • Glen Raphael says:

      Why did so many people predict Trump had such a poor shot at victory? […] he was consistently beating his opponents in multiple states.

      There was a really simple and straightforward story most people could use to rationalize away his early lead. To wit:
      – This early in the race nobody KNOWS most of the other candidates, whereas Trump being a reality TV star and general newsmaker more people have HEARD OF Trump. But as the campaign goes on we’ll get more exposure to the other candidates and eventually public opinion will settle on whichever one turns out to be electable and seems “presidential”. Maybe Jeb!
      – This early in PREVIOUS elections the guy who was leading usually didn’t win – tortoise and the hare. Early leaders tend to flame out, so we shouldn’t read much into it.
      – Trump has huge negatives, so as people learn more about him they’ll hate him more – nobody has ever gotten elected with this high disapproval ratings.
      – The republican race started out with MANY candidates all dividing the “someone republican-ish and presidential” vote. As the field winnows, even if Trump keeps his ~30% the remaining ~70% will land on whatever non-Trump candidates remain.
      – Seriously, TRUMP???? Really???

      • Wrong Species says:

        In retrospect, it sounds like rationalizing but it wasn’t ridiculous. Remember the 2008 election? Remember the 2012 election? And look at what happened to people like Ben Carson and Fiorina in this last election. So we were wrong but had good non-ideological reasons for believing what we did(admittedly, the ideological reasons were a factor).

    • John Schilling says:

      Trump— Why did so many people predict Trump had such a poor shot at victory? I remember reading about his poll numbers last August , where he was consistently beating his opponents in multiple states.

      Trump was consistently scoring about 20-40% in the polls and early primaries in multiple states. Nobody expected him to do better than that except maybe break 50% in his home state of New York and maybe NJ/PN. And for the most part, that expectation was consistently proven correct through the primaries.

      What people didn’t predict was that e.g. Kasich would stay in the race much past Super Tuesday, never mind to the very end, such that 40% would be a winning plurality for Trump. And I don’t think anyone even has a good retrospective understanding of why that happened.

      • E. Harding says:

        Kasich got what he thought to be a mandate from New Hampshire, than another one from Ohio. He only dropped out when all hope was truly lost.

        • John Schilling says:

          Any hope that was remotely grounded in fact or reason, was gone long before Kasich dropped out. Rationally, his best hope for being inaugurated as POTUS was to drop out early, and try to come back as a dark-horse candidate in a contested primary.

          But if someone wants to believe that winning just their home state, and that on a plurality, counts as a “mandate”, that’s not the sort of behavior that other people are going to be able to reliably forecast. Though the possibility should have been sufficient to have everybody carrying large error bars on their electoral predictions.

          • HeelBearCub says:

            If the same rules are in effect for this convention as last, Kasich would have needed to win multiple states to be nominated at the convention.

            If the party was really united about #NeverTrump, they would have actually started cooperating around it far earlier and more meaningfully that’s the Kasich/Cruz fiasco. The problem is that non-establishment candidates like Cruz and Carson stayed in for so long, making establishment cooperation unable to provide a single establishment candidate who seemed inevitable. That and the establishment candidates all had fatal flaws.

          • John Schilling says:

            If the same rules are in effect for this convention as last, Kasich would have needed to win multiple states to be nominated at the convention.

            There was never a realistic possibility of Kasich winning on the first ballot. And while I’m not sure, I believe that the current rules would allow anyone with any delegates at all to win on a later ballot. I am certain that the rules allow the delegates to vote to change the rules as necessary to avoid infinite deadlock or other clearly undesirable outcomes when there isn’t a first-round winner.

            That was Kasich’s only chance, however slim, of winning the GOP nomination in 2016. He needed two things to make it even possible: A contested convention, and status as a Serious Candidate. Winning Ohio gave him the second, or as close as he was ever going to get. Everything he did after Ohio, guaranteed that he’d never have the contested convention where he could even argue the case.

    • haishan says:

      I might lose some Trumpkin friends here, but I actually think that the prediction that Trump had a minimal chance of winning the nomination was the correct forecast to make last summer and fall, on the evidence available then. Trump’s rise was due to a combination of his impressive political skill, the GOP’s dysfunction, and sheer dumb luck.

      It’s true that Trump consistently led in the polls starting not long after he announced last summer. What people might have forgotten is that he still didn’t have that much support. From June 16 to August 31, his polling average never crossed 25%, and while it briefly hit 30% in September, it started falling again after that. A 25% vote share is enough to win a 17-candidate race, but Trump would need to pick up more support to hang on after the field started to consolidate. For a period around Halloween, Ben Carson was essentially tied with Trump. We’d seen this pattern before in 2012, with guys like Herman Cain briefly polling really well before falling to Earth.

      Trump’s polling didn’t start to approach the high 30s until after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. His proposal to temporarily suspend Muslims from entering the U.S. was treated with shock by mainstream media outlets and politicians, but it was really popular with Republican voters. As terror moved to the forefront of the campaign, Trump gained a lot from his willingness to say things outside of the usual Overton window — he deserves a lot of the credit here for coming up with a policy proposal that really struck a nerve with the electorate. But without the Paris attacks, Trump might have been another Herman Cain, or at best another Pat Buchanan — a factional candidate who routinely managed about 25-30% of the vote, but not more.

      This willingness had a downside, too: it made Trump unacceptable to large parts of the Republican party elite. This is why pundits assumed that said elites would close ranks, coordinate around a mainstream alternative, and ultimately defeat Trump. But the Republican party experienced repeated and massive coordination failures here.

      Republicans knew what they had to do. When Scott Walker exited the race in late September, he explicitly called for other candidates to drop out to coordinate around a Trump alternative. Here’s a New York Times article from early December about how everyone wanted somebody to go after the Donald, but every individual actor was disincentivized from doing it themselves. Here’s a Vox article from mid-January listing some of the high-profile GOP figures who’d indicated a preference for Trump over Ted Cruz — right as conservative media outlets like the National Review were making the opposite case. Here’s a Times piece from late February describing a meeting of high-profile Republican elected officials and strategists to stop Trump, featuring Paul LePage suggesting an open letter from GOP governors to the people. LePage endorsed Donald Trump later that month.

      I don’t know why the party apparatus failed so utterly to stop Donald Trump. If Trump loses badly in November, there’ll probably be books written on the subject for a long time. But, even if they didn’t take them, they clearly had opportunities to at least launch a coordinated assault. And it might not have worked! Trump is a smart guy, a skilled political tactician, and he would have done a pretty good job arguing that the Republican Party was conspiring to stop him (indeed, this is pretty much what he did through much of the spring, when Cruz was collecting delegates at unelected state party conventions and briefly teaming up with Kasich). But the party didn’t even try — something that nobody expected in August or September.

      I think that it’s safe to say that by December 2015 or thereabouts, there was a clear possibility that Donald Trump really might win the Republican nomination. He’d broken through his previous polling highs, and there were signs that the party establishment was having serious trouble coordinating a response. But for most of last fall, the idea that he’d fade fast, turn into a Buchananesque gadfly, or be stopped by elite party movement wasn’t so crazy. It was to be expected.

      • meyerkev248 says:

        My model has basically been:

        * The fundamental goal of the Republican Establishment, rulers of the House, Senate, and most governorships, ever since Trump popped up has been to maintain their positions as party leaders of an influential conservative national party. They might not like getting 47%, but better 47 than 27.

        * There are some deep, deep fractures in the Republican Party base, and between the base and the establishment.
        * Anything that was perceived as seriously screwing Trump would cause those fractures to become breaks.

        Therefore, while they’d love it if someone stopped him, they won’t. Because they can’t.

    • Maggie says:

      I have seen many people on the internet say they don’t know anybody excited for Hilary. This surprises me as I probably run in similar IRL circles (work academic-adjacent research in STEM, live with other such people just outside Cambridge, MA), and most of my friends are enthusiastic about Hilary Clinton. Granted, most of my friends are not rationalists.

    • Peffern says:

      Wait a minute, what about Lizardman’s constant? This casts some doubt onto the vegetarian thing too…

      • Jiro says:

        Two thirds of vegetarians having eaten meat in the last day is far larger than the lizardman’s constant.

        • timorl says:

          Not necessarily — maybe it’s ~5% of people who are both meat eaters and “vegetarian” (which actually agrees with the data in the post ~7% of vegetarians in the coutry, 5/7~2/3). You have to be careful with the lizardman’s constant, as with any other kind of conditional probability.

          Also, this would make the data sadder for the animals — only 2% of veg*ns. :<

          • Anomaly UK says:

            This is actually the error behind the financial crisis

            You have a model that says there’s a 10% chance of an investment being wiped out, and you calculate the expected value of the investment based on the model

            Now there’s also a 2% chance your model is a pile of horseshit. But that still means there’s no more than a 12% chance of going to zero. Your calculations won’t be too far off.

            If you build an instrument that you model as having 0.1% chance of failing, however, you’re in deep shit. That 2% chance of your model being crap is now your major risk, and it’s 20X bigger than you’ve calculated for.

            (Obviously there was way more to the crisis than that, but I saw the above happen).

          • My feeling is that the “way more to it than that” describes most of the financial crisis, and subsequent economic crisis. Market psychology is a big deal.

            Bear Stearns wasn’t obligated to bail out its hedge funds, for instance. At least I don’t think it was.

        • Deiseach says:

          How many of those are “ovolactovegetarians” or “pescatarians” or “I was at my family’s house for a particular occasion and my mother cooked dinner and I ate it rather than make a big fuss”, I wonder?

          • Acedia says:

            The latter is me. I never purchase meat for myself but when I’m a guest at somebody else’s place I eat what they serve me, because doing otherwise would just be making a nuisance of myself for no reason. I think this approach is pretty common.

          • Cadie says:

            Same for me, Acedia. I don’t buy meat, and I don’t eat it unless someone else bought it and served it to me and it would be rude to refuse. Or it’s going in the garbage, like if my sisters and I are at a restaurant and one of them orders ribs they don’t finish and don’t want to take home. I don’t mind taking them myself then, because that doesn’t add to animal harm; the animal is already dead and everyone involved already got their money. It’s just reducing waste and displacing a different snack from my diet, which arguably does a tiny bit of good for animals even though that snack would have been dairy or plant-based. And it saves a little money.

            That said, these situations don’t pop up every week, more like every other month.

          • naath says:

            I don’t much care for meat and don’t usually eat it unless someone else cooked it… but I wouldn’t describe myself as “vegetarian”! I don’t find it surprising that there are other people eat meat ‘sometimes’, what I find surprising is that so many of them describe themselves as ‘vegetarian’.

  3. gwern says:

    I had a fun time presenting Plomin’s paper Top Ten Replicated Findings From Behavioral Genetics to a room full of psychoanalysts last month, then fielding their increasingly angry and horrified questions.

    Sounds like a good potential blog post.

  4. E. Harding says:

    “Can anybody explain whether this image (apparently derived from here?) contradicts or even reverses the narrative that Democrats have stayed pretty normal but Republicans have become much more extreme?”

    -Majorities in Arkansas, West Virginia, and Louisiana voted for Bill Clinton in 1996.

    “This seems unbelievable to me, so I challenge readers to tell me how to reconcile my perceptions with the data: of all candidates (including Trump) , Hillary Clinton has received the most negative media coverage.”

    -E-MAILS! LIBYA! Hard to escape from these!

    “Or some more fundamental connection between people following the rules while driving and following the rules while governing.”

    -Russia has gotten much better at both over the last 20 years.

    “I am less contemptuous of anybody who provided a number, and more contemptuous of the sort of people who said “Anyone who thinks Trump might win the nomination is an idiot and shouldn’t be taken seriously””

    -Nate Silver provided a number: 2%. Months later, it was soundly critiqued by Yudkowsky. Scott Sumner was more of the “Anyone who thinks Trump might win the nomination is an idiot and shouldn’t be taken seriously” kind.

    BTW, this Nate Silver tweet is just…
    https://twitter.com/natesilver538/status/718836449424977920

    “An argument against denser zoning in San Francisco good enough to get featured on Marginal Revolution???”

    -You are assuming the Marginal Revolution only features good arguments. That is demonstrably wrong.

    “A counterpoint to a recent post on Chinese happiness: Pew asks a very subtly different question and sees vast improvement in all emerging markets including China.”

    -What’s the big difference between Russia and Poland in 2014?

    • JDG1980 says:

      Russia has gotten much better at both over the last 20 years.

      Considering what we regularly see on YouTube from Russian drivers now, I shudder to imagine how bad it must have been back then…

    • Ed says:

      “Or some more fundamental connection between people following the rules while driving and following the rules while governing.”

      -Russia has gotten much better at both over the last 20 years.

      Boris Yeltsin was more law abiding than Putin. Admittedly not a high bar, but going in the wrong direction.

      -You are assuming the Marginal Revolution only features good arguments. That is demonstrably wrong.

      They had the good judgment to ban you. That’s worth a major update in the reliable direction.

      -What’s the big difference between Russia and Poland in 2014?

      Poland is an imperfect democracy. Russia is a dictatorship.

      I’d have thought with the fall in the price oil the FSB wouldn’t be able to afford the web brigades anymore. Are you now working pro bono?

      • E. Harding says:

        “Boris Yeltsin was more law abiding than Putin.”

        -Boris Yeltsin was less capable of executing laws than Putin. And the bureaucracy as a whole was much less willing and able to do its job in the 1990s.

        “Poland is an imperfect democracy. Russia is a dictatorship.”

        -No, Russia’s not a dictatorship, it’s an open anocracy. Was FDR a dictator? And did you look at the table?

    • bellisaurius says:

      Nate’s call is a failure of imagination, not mathematics. Trump’s still 200 delegates shy. He’s the presumptive nominee now because the other guys dropped out because he’ll probably get there when they thought he would.

      • Edward Scizorhands says:

        Isn’t predicting candidates dropping out part of predicting who will win the nomination?

        I, too, was skeptical of Trump, but making predictions about the GOP nomination wasn’t my job.

      • E. Harding says:

        “Nate’s call is a failure of imagination, not mathematics.”

        -Exactly. There is a severe shortage of imagination among the pundit class.

    • MugaSofer says:

      >E-MAILS! LIBYA! Hard to escape from these!

      You’d think so, but I’ve heard almost nothing about the emails from mainstream outlets.

      The favourite for President of the United States committed a federal crime! An actual, honest-to-God federal crime! Am I just in such a big bubble that the expected furore hasn’t reached me?

      • E. Harding says:

        I’ve seen a fairly steady trickle of stories, none of them especially positive to Clinton.

      • Aegeus says:

        Probably because there’s not a lot to go on now that the initial news has broken. Pro-Bernie and Pro-Trump outlets will keep talking about the scandal, because it’s part of the narrative. Every editorial and every internet comment is going to mention that Hillary’s going to be indicted any day now.

        But the actual events in the scandal are few and far between. The current status of the investigation is just “The FBI is still investigating. They aren’t saying anything about what they’ve found so far.” If you’re not pushing the “any day now” narrative, all you can do is wait for a verdict, and the wheels of justice grind very, very slowly.

        And from what I’ve read (disclaimer: this comes from an internet lawyer), it isn’t going to result in indictment. You need intent to have a crime, and everything we’ve seen so far looks like stupidity, not malice.

        It could get you fired, but since Hillary has left the State Department, that ship has already sailed.

        Also, Hillary and the DNC have probably already had an army of lawyers look over the situation to make sure, because getting their presidential candidate indicted would be pretty goddamn embarrassing. If they aren’t expecting indictment, I wouldn’t be either.

    • As a general point, people have to decide not just whether something a politician did was bad, but whether it was bad enough to matter. Oddly enough, bias affects those decisions.

  5. ton says:

    I worry that “Washington” and “Jefferson”, … , may not be black enough to effectively signal blackness.

    Do we have a new candidate for “worst thing you’ve ever wrote out of context”?

    • Kolya says:

      Maybe try Eric Washington Jackson Jones Johnson Jefferson? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoNsFQkdRpU

    • Steve Sailer says:

      The surname “Washington” is now 80% or more black, according to one of Weyl’s books of surname analysis. But I don’t think that’s all that widely known. Weyl used people named “Washington” in his analyses as a proxy for blacks, but that’s a pretty obscure bit of social science trivia.

      I think during the late 20th Century that “Jackson” was the most famous surname for blacks — I have a vague recollection of the Wayans’ sketch comedy “In Living Color” using Jackson that way. But there are a lot of white Jacksons too.

      I can remember an All Pro receiver named John Jefferson who had started his college career at Arizona State as John Washington, but then changed his name to John Jefferson for some family reason for his sophomore year. His coach, Frank Kush, said he could play as John Lincoln as a junior and John Roosevelt as a senior as long as he kept catching touchdown passes.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Okay, Gregory Clark’s surname analysis book “The Son Also Rises” lists four surnames as over 90% black in the U.S.:

        Washington, Smalls, Merriweather, and Stepney.

        The highest average achieving black surname in the U.S. is probably Appiah from West Africa.

      • Brandon Berg says:

        Jackson is a very white first name.

  6. Alyssa Vance says:

    “Rational Conspiracy makes the unexpected case that, even if you care about animals, charity toward humans is more effective than charity toward animals. I am very doubtful, perhaps because I don’t really understand the relevance of the “money moved” measure they’re using.”

    As the author, it’s my fault this wasn’t clear enough, but I’d still like to make a correction. The thesis in that post is that personally not eating meat is, for most people, a less effective form of charity than GiveWell per life-year, assuming that an animal life-year counts for negative one human QALY. You can compare the two by asking what an average person would otherwise buy with GiveWell money, and comparing the pleasure they get from those purchases to the pleasure they get from meat-eating. I haven’t looked in enough detail to know whether the most effective way of helping-animals-in-general is easier than the most effective way of helping-humans-in-general.

  7. Thursday says:

    As far as how Hilary got the most negative coverage, it is all in how you define and measure negative. It may well be that more pieces about her have used negative words or something than for other candidates, but in the “being compared to Hitler” sweepstakes she loses in a landslide to Trump.

    • Cole says:

      The story also mentions that a lot of negative press coverage includes the email scandal. And since it goes back to Jan 1st 2015, it would also include the Bengazi hearings. The differences in media coverage didn’t seem that large. Clinton had the highest at 41% negative, and Kasich had the lowest at 31% negative. Trump at 36%, and Cruz/Sanders tied at 35%.

      After seeing the actual numbers, I’m less curious about why Clinton was the worst, and more curious how the numbers are all so close.

    • Randy M says:

      Clinton does have an ongoing FBI investigation. Call it overblown and politicized if you want, but it is news, and technically any factual reporting on the mater is going to read as negative coverage.

      • bellisaurius says:

        Yup. Spinning is powerful, and Hillary’s actions may be below the level of a punishable offense, but it’s hard to not describe them in negative terms.

  8. Anon. says:

    The Phoebus cartel is brilliantly fictionalized in what might be Pynchon’s best work: the story of Byron the Bulb.

  9. ton says:

    The Aaronson thread links to EY’s post at http://echochamber.me/viewtopic.php?p=3254229#p3254229 re big numbers.

    • It’s worth mentioning that although the number Eliezer Yudkowsky described in his post is the largest numerically, several other posters (listed here) came up essentially the same methods for producing large numbers, some of which could have been larger than his with only mild reformulations. The earliest of these was itaibn, who in this brief post described a nearly identical number to Yudkowsky’s.

      I was twelve years old at the time….

  10. Anonymous says:

    This seems unbelievable to me, so I challenge readers to tell me how to reconcile my perceptions with the data: of all candidates (including Trump) , Hillary Clinton has received the most negative media coverage.

    It’s amusing that this is a mystery to you.

    The woman who published the study was dishonest, obviously.

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I find “dishonesty” too often a black box. It’s almost never outright fabrication of data, and almost always some complicated statistical trick. So don’t say “dishonesty”, explain the statistical trick. Or if you think it’s outright fabrication, make that (very bold) claim.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sure that if you examined her methods in detail you could indeed find the specific way in which she was being dishonest but why bother? How is finding the specific trick she used of any value? The author is going to keep on producing dishonest “science” and academia isn’t going to discipline her in any way. Nor is the author an exceptional fraudster who must specifically be found out. She commits fraud because she comes from a culture where fraud is valued and which selects for people who enjoy committing fraud.

        • Scott Alexander says:

          Because this attitude seems like a sure route to confirmation bias where any time you hear something that contradicts your worldview, you assume it’s lies and ignore it.

          • Anonymous says:

            Except that you and I both know damned well which culture controls academia and which types of lies they like pushing. Hunting down every one of their tribal lies is pointless unless you just want an excuse to accept their narrative – “well, these 20 studies we looked at were all fraudulent but there are thousands of studies (by the same people and people given grants and positions by the same people) that all say the same type of thing!”

            They’ve gone over the line of presumption of honesty. Observing that a study has been published gives you no new information.

          • Siah Sargus says:

            @Anonymous

            This is the kind of gratuitous addition of tribal politics I would like to see less of here.

          • Jiro says:

            I don’t think “academia leans heavily leftist and has been untrustworthy in the past about research that produces conclusions convenient for leftists” really counts as tribal signalling.

            (Of course people in other comments have already taken apart this study. So the claim actually makes useful predictions….)

          • suntzuanime says:

            Love the irony in a black-and-white anon advocating for ignoring claims based on their source.

          • Aapje says:

            @Jiro

            He didn’t actually say ‘left,’ so you are putting words in his mouth/pen.

            Left/right are pretty useless labels in this context, IMO. There are various tribes on the left and the right. Most of the rationalist community is probably left-wing, yet this is a very distinct group from the identity politics-tribe.

            There are also tribes on the ‘right’ that value winning a debate over truth and which would be equally destructive if they would monopolize science.

            Anyway, I saw an interesting paper a while back that showed that the beliefs of social scientists had homogenized, which seems like a big problem no matter which set of beliefs the echo chamber settles on. To quote Aaronson:

            In social sciences, there’s an absolutely massive bias in favor of publishing results that confirm current educated opinion, or that deviate from the consensus in ways that will be seen as quirky or interesting rather than cold or cruel or politically tone-deaf.

          • Jiro says:

            He didn’t actually say ‘left,’ so you are putting words in his mouth/pen.

            Okay, change “left” to the appropriate tribe name. The tribe in question is still on the left, and produces shoddy reasoning for political positions associated with vilifying their outgroup. I didn’t think it was particularly controversial that academia is strongly left-wing, even if the name of the tribe isn’t “left”.

      • Cole says:

        Frustratingly, there is very little I could find from the actual source of the study. It was supposedly done by a company that claims to be good at analyzing social media data. Vox just cites them as a source by linking to their homepage http://www.crimsonhexagon.com/

        On their website they have a bunch of their old case studies, white papers, etc. But none of them are this social media study. And since this isn’t a peer reviewed paper, and they don’t have their data available, I’m not going to call it a study. Its a Corporate Relations Academicky Paper.

        If I had to guess what the culprit is of this data looking weird, it would be that they picked certain news organizations that would give them this result, and they picked . Here is their list:

        1) The Huffington Post;
        2) The Washington Post;
        3) CNN;
        4) The Washington Times;
        5) Politico;
        6) The New York Times;
        7) Fox News;
        8) MSNBC;
        9) CBS News;
        10) The New Yorker.

        Here is what could be said to be missing:
        ABC News
        NBC News
        Los Angeles Times
        USA Today
        The Wall Street Journal

        So I don’t know much about traditional news organizations. And I don’t have a way of measuring their bias for or against a candidate without seeing the news stories. So I have no way of verifying my hypothesis about them cherry picking the data sources.

        Another problem with this CRAP, is that the data goes back to Jan 1st 2015, when most of the candidates, including Hillary, announced in the summer of 2015. And Hillary has been in two major new cycles that are unrelated to the presidential campaign: Benghazi and the email server stuff.

        Finally, the numbers for all the candidates look suspicious the range is only 31% negative to 41% negative and only includes the 5 candidates that were in the race until now. So we lost any chance to see whether there was some relationship like ‘more coverage = more negative coverage’.

        • Earthly Knight says:

          Of the media outlets you cite, The Washington Times, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal are traditionally regarded as right-leaning. This gives us 20% in both groups, so no obvious cherry picking.

          • Aapje says:

            The Wall Street Journal is very different kind of right-leaning than Fox News though.

            Your argument is like saying that both Trump and Kasich are Republicans, so it doesn’t matter which one of them you’d do a study on.

        • voidfraction says:

          They’re just doing automated sentiment analysis, which is notoriously unreliable. I suspect that an article like ‘8 claims that the evil patriarchy makes about Hillary’ would be marked as negative because of the close proximity, in-article, of Hillary’s name and negative words.

      • Uhurugu says:

        Here’s a theory:

        News sites are incentivized to sell stories. Negative stories kick up more controversy and therefore views, and are therefore more profitable. Therefore, news sites will run a lot more negative articles for candidates, while activist groups and sites will make up the difference by either running their own positive articles or by providing a market for the same. Hillary has less supporters active on the internet; therefore, there is more advantage to running a pro-Bernie article than a pro-Hillary one.

        Another possibility is that the juicy stories around Hillary tend to be scandal-focused and therefore negative.

        Additionally, all of the numbers were normalized; so Hillary might have “the most negative media coverage” proportionally, while not actually having the most negative coverage by raw number of stories.

    • Douglas Knight says:

      What woman? What study? Scott’s link attributes the claim to a company, not an individual and does not indicate that it was published beyond the Vox article, let alone in an academic journal, as you imply later.

    • Results of that sort often are produced in a way that’s easy to rig, a point I recently discussed in a comment. But, assuming the description of how this one was done is truthful, it isn’t clear to me how it could be rigged.

      On the other hand, they seem to be measuring number of negative and positive stories, not how negative or positive they are. It might be that Clinton got more negative stories than Trump, but that negative stories about Trump were a lot more negative.

      • Aapje says:

        On the other hand, they seem to be measuring number of negative and positive stories, not how negative or positive they are.

        What about even-handed stories that note both the arguments in favor and against? What about stating inconvenient facts? Are these counted as negative? There is a lot of potential for fudging especially if one has bias and considers criticism that matches one political beliefs to be neutral and criticism that goes against it to be negative.

      • Walter says:

        It seems weird to me, instinctively. I can’t hit news.google.com without seeing ten negative stories on Trump. Thoughts…

        Maybe the study is doing things proportionally? That is, maybe there are more absolute stories critical of Trump, but since there are also a few favorable he falls behind Clinton in percentage?

        Much more likely, the author’s “negative” is different for each politician. Trump stories would just be counted as truth telling, not negative, when they slam him. Ergo, he has many truthful stories, but what could count as negative vs. him? By contrast, anything against Hillary is negative.

        • voidfraction says:

          There’s no author to determine negativity. Crimson Hexagon’s a machine learning/sentiment analysis company (I interviewed there once upon a time) that does automated sentiment analysis. That doesn’t mean it’s free of bias, because things like sarcasm and (maybe) mentioning & debunking negative arguments might be counted as negative.

          • Walter says:

            That just moves it up the ladder a step, right? Program author, or whoever sets its criteria is in the position that I mentioned. I mean, the software isn’t somehow deciding whether an article is negative with no human input, yeah? Someone “told” it what to look for.

    • Matt says:

      I doubt the study’s wrong. Whatever you think about Hillary, it’s a simple and not particularly disputable fact that the mainstream media has been waging a jihad on the Clintons for two decades. Bob Somerby of the daily howler has been documenting it since ’98. As a total coincidence, I was searching something in his archives last evening, and I ran across a series he did on Margaret Carlson, and what she’d written in Anyone Can Grow Up, and how she’d covered the 2000 Presidential race (Gore, of course, was treated as an extension of Clinton). It’s just amazing to read. Part 1 ishere, from there you can navigate onward (recommended).

  11. ton says:

    >There’s actually an important rationality lesson here, which is that a person who said Trump had only a 20% chance of winning the nomination (like Nate Silver) may in fact be perfectly virtuous – things with only a twenty percent chance of happening do happen one in every five times.

    Silver said 2%.

    Also, ” Suggested trollish by technically correct spin” should be but, not by.

  12. Alyssa Vance says:

    “In the context of recent papers finding the global warming “hiatus” is real after all, David Friedman notes that he has been predicting this for years, and further predicts (if I understand correctly) that the warming trend should return with a vengeance around 2030.”

    I think this is already happening:

    https://twitter.com/ClimateOfGavin/status/721084941405184001/photo/1

    To be fair, it’s an El Nino year and those tend to be warm. But last I heard, climate models weren’t predicting any serious cooldown even when La Nina sets in this summer.

    • Dan says:

      If you fit a straight line to the global temperature from 1970-1997 and extrapolate, then 2014 is basically right on that line and 2015 is well above it. Of the data points since 1997, the year 1998 is the farthest from the trend line (0.18C above trend), and 2015 is the second farthest from the trend line (0.12C above trend).

      It seems pretty safe to bet that temperatures will keep going up over the next 15 years, based on the agreement between researchers’ climate models and very simple trend fitting.

      • Wrong Species says:

        That’s only true because the 80’s and 90’s had such significant warming that it made up for the lack of significant warming since then. If the pause continues for another 15 years, then temperatures won’t follow that trend line anymore.

        • James Picone says:

          I am willing to bet that the 2000 to 2030 (inclusive) linear trend in global atmospheric surface temperature will be within the 3-sigma error bounds of the 1970 to 2000 (inclusive) linear trend in global atmospheric surface temperature, or it will be larger. But I’m probably not willing to bet enough to make it worth waiting 14 years. On the order $1000 USD? Bet void in the event of >= VEI6 eruption, nuclear war, or fancy futuretech that substantially reduces the CO2 content of the atmosphere.

          For reference, that trend is the following in the following datasets:
          HADCRUT4 1970-2000: 0.166 +-0.080
          NOAA 1970-2000: 0.169 +- 0.051
          GISTEMP 1970-2000: 0.172 +- 0.083

          HADCRUT4 2000-2015: 0.116 +-0.186
          NOAA 2000-2015: 0.157 +- 0.179
          GISTEMP 2000-2015: 0.151 +- 0.189

          Trends calculated using SkS’ trend calculator. Note that the calculator is endpoint-exclusive, and the trends presented are endpoint-inclusive.
          EDIT: I mean that the calculator includes the start year and excludes the end year, and the trends I have in the table above include the start year and the end year (i.e. the date range is 1/1/1970 to 31/12/2000 for the first entry).

          Endpoints chosen because they’re nice round numbers; I would make a similar bet with jiggled endpoints I suspect if you feel I’m cherrypicking things. But note that, for example, HADCRUT4 1975-1998 (inclusive) is 0.184+-0.125 and 1998-2016 is 0.139+-0.165, so jiggling things doesn’t get you that much.

          In order to satisfy my sense of fairness I should note that even though the payoff is tiny I consider this a sucker bet.

          • Wrong Species says:

            I would be willing to make that bet but I have a couple questions:

            Is there a way to make this bet in a way that can preserve my anonymity? Because if it not, then I’m not going to agree.

            I’m not exactly sure what 3 sigma means. It seems to mean high probabilities correct? I’m not exactly sure what specifically that would mean within the context of the bet.

            And you’re going to have to further clarify “fancy futuretech”. Part of the reason I’m optimistic about global warming is that I think technology will help in this regard. I’m assuming you’re not talking about further advances in solar energy or anything like that. What would you give as an example of “fancy futuretech”?

            As far as end dates, that doesn’t bother me. 1970-2000 and 2000-2030 work fine.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @Picone:

            even though the payoff is tiny I consider this a sucker bet.

            What would you consider a non-sucker bet on this topic?

            IIRC the conventional wisdom in the late 1990s was that the warming rate should be accelerating. Here, you’re not even betting that it stays linear, but rather that it doesn’t end up more than 3-sigma LESS than linear. Which suggests you have such a low confidence in the warming trend that you should perhaps be calling yourself a “denialist”.

            Do you really need BOTH such a wide negative swing allowance AND such a large time period?

          • James Picone says:

            @Wrong Species:
            I have no experience making long-term bets of this sort; I don’t know how possible maintaining anonymity is. Is there somebody with experience doing this sort of thing around who can make some suggestions?

            Worst case scenario, this is my real name, and this is my real email: jamesmpicone at gmail.com. I expect to still use that email address in 14 years time, so staying in contact and then transferring monies then would work, and there would likely be a plausible way of transferring $1000 USD anonymously around.

            Do you care whether it’s $1000 in 2030 USD or however much $1000 in 2016 USD is in 2030 USD? I would take either.

            By 3-sigma means 3 standard deviations – all the +/- numbers are 3 standard deviations around the mean. If the linear model is right, then there should be a 99.7% chance of the real trend for that period being inside the range [(mean – 3 std dev), (mean + 3 std dev)]. So, for example, the HC4 range for 1970-2000 is 0.086 C/decade to 0.246 C/decade, and the HC4 trend for 2000-2016 is 0.116 C/decade, which is inside those bounds, so if the bet were decided today I would win. This is part of the reason I consider it a sucker bet, and I strongly recommend you try to figure out what kind of temperatures we’d have to get for me to lose the bet.

            David Friedman is correct; I meant active carbon sequestration sufficient to actually reduce the CO2 content of the atmosphere. I don’t expect that to happen in the next 14 years. I don’t think emissions pathway really matters over that timeframe.

            We should probably agree on a dataset. NOAA, HADCRUT4, GISTEMP, or BEST land/ocean are all acceptable to me; I’m happy to agree that if one of those turns out to be broken or is discontinued in the next 14 years we shift to some other dataset with equivalent properties (i.e. surface temperature, global).

            The three-sigma bounds should include autocorrelation; the trend calculator I’ve linked to does that, so it won’t change the numbers from the table above. The short version: surface temperature from one year to another is not strictly independent, this reduces the effective degrees of freedom of a dataset, so you get wider error bounds.

            Again, just to be clear, under the conditions I’m specifying if we’d made this bet for the periods 1970-2000 and 2000-2015, I would win in all four surface temperature datasets.

          • James Picone says:

            @Glen Raphael:
            A similar bet for 15-year periods, say. For 1985-1999 and 2000-2014 HC4 (inclusive, periods chosen so there isn’t one year in both periods) I would lose at the 2-sigma level but win at the 3-sigma level, but mostly because the confidence interval is very wide. Probably still very unlikely to lose

            Hard for me to come up with them; I’m not normally a betting person.

            I could probably relax the offer to 2sigma and be quite safe, yes.

            I am betting that it stays linear – I’m betting that the 2000-2030 trend line will be statistically indistinguishable from the 1970-2000 trend line using only those two periods. Do you have a better way of formulating the position “the best model for warming from now to the immediate future has a second derivative that is in the range [0, infinity)”?

          • @ James:

            “I am betting that it stays linear”

            Not really. You are betting that the slope of the fit to a straight line is in the range which would be expected if it were linear, which is a much weaker claim.

            Suppose my guess is correct and the actual pattern is the sum of a linear warming due to AGW and a cyclic pattern due to something else, probably air/ocean heat transfer. You still win, provided the time periods for establishing the slope and testing the slope are both long enough for a full cycle. I haven’t looked carefully enough at the relation between the time periods you use, first to establish the slope and then to test it, to say whether you will win the bet if my picture is correct, but you well might.

            Anyone thinking of taking up your offer needs to consider not merely how likely it is that the pattern isn’t linear but how likely it is that the pattern is far enough from linear so that it won’t fit the relatively wide range of your prediction.

          • James Picone says:

            @David
            Hard for any effects that aren’t extremely large to be visible over the time period concerned, but point taken.

            I would be interested in a similar style of bet with you, if you have a variant that you think captures our disagreement. I appreciate that it’s not really worthwhile from a monetary point of view; I’m just trying to put my money where my mouth is.

            As I understand what you’re claiming, isn’t the period ~2000 to ~2030 supposed to be the down-slope part of your cycle? If so, the residuals from a linear fit from ~1970-2030 should have an obvious cyclic component left in them. Not sure how to make that mechanically decidable in a way that’s immediately obvious and that we’d both accept. Residuals 1910-1970 might not be reliable enough; frankly I don’t see it here (not that that’s the residuals, but looking at it the residuals are not going to have something like a sin in them).

            Quick estimate: if we repeat the 2014 temperature until 2030, that ~halves the 2000->2016 trend, so ~0.058 to ~0.078 depending on dataset. That’s outside the 3-sigma range in all three datasets I mentioned above. Continuation of the 2000-2014 trend is outside at 3 sigma for NOAA and HADCRUT, but inside for GISTEMP (mostly because GISTEMP has more uncertainty in trend). It’s outside for all three datasets at 2 sigma.

            Update: I’m willing to offer the general bet I’m discussing here at 2-sigma.

          • James:

            I approve of the general idea of offering bets, but it’s hard to get an unambiguous distinction between different models in a reasonable length of time. Also hard to organize such a bet for an unreasonably long period of time.

          • anon says:

            David and James, I’m sure you’re aware of it, but remember that Long Bets provides a platform for long horizon bets. I think they require the money go to charity, which is a shame, but I do think they have a good chance of being around in 30 years, in some form.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @anon:
            It seems unlikely to me longbets will be around in 30 years, and I say that as somebody who made a bet using it. (and lost, by a hair).

            Longbets seems to be run as a hobby side project. The main revenue model seems to have been a couple grants from Jeff Bezos way back when. There’s no budget for forum staff or tech support, so when spammers found the site they just ended up shutting down discussion of most bets and predictions. They used to allow people to bet on current predictions and track the resulting odds but that’s disabled too – it’s become a ghost site.

            (They still occasionally accept new bets or adjudicate old ones, but the turnaround time is horrendous.)

          • Anonymous says:

            @David:
            Fair enough.

            @anon:
            I didn’t know about longbets, actually. Thanks.

            Actually money to charity would be a way for bets to happen and Wrong Species to maintain pseudonymity. Works for me.

          • James Picone says:

            Er, obviously that last comment above was me. Made a joke elsewhere in the thread as anon, forgot to change it out. Ugh. Now it looks like I’m one of the jerk anons. :/.

        • “fancy futuretech that substantially reduces the CO2 content of the atmosphere.”

          (quoting James but responding to Wrong)

          Solar power can reduce the rate at which CO2 is added to the atmosphere, but decay time is long enough so that unless it reduce it close to zero the CO2 content keeps going up. And even if the CO2 content stayed constant, temperatures would continue to rise for a fair while as global temperature shifted towards its long run equilibrium.

          What James was talking about was a hypothetical tech that actually pulled CO2 out of the atmosphere.

          • Wrong Species says:

            That makes sense. I’m willing to void the bet in that scenario.

          • Nornagest says:

            There’s serious work going into geoengineering, even if it doesn’t get much press. The two processes that come to mind — don’t know if they’re the most significant or promising — are ocean fertilization to encourage algal blooms (which sequester carbon when they die and sink to the bottom of the ocean), and what’s called “enhanced weathering”, which involves olivine or other silicate rocks reacting with water and atmospheric CO2.

          • hypnosifl says:

            Engineers have developed a prototype of this sort of carbon capture technology, see this article:

            The plastic is a resin of the kind used to pull calcium out of water in a water softener. When Lackner and Wright impregnate that resin with sodium carbonate, it pulls carbon dioxide out of the air. The extra carbon converts the sodium carbonate to bicarbonate, or baking soda.

            This article also says that a single “artificial tree” made with this technology could remove CO2 from the atmosphere at a rate about 1000 times greater than a real tree. It seems like the main question about the practicality of this is about how much it would actually cost to mass-produce these devices and also create enough of the needed underground storage facilities for all the captured carbon.

        • Glen Raphael says:

          @Wrong Species:

          One thing that makes Picone’s offer (in his words) “a sucker bet” is that he’s defined it in such a way that even if the temperature stays perfectly flat for the next 15 years he still wins the bet. He is privileging the hypothesis of a linear increasing trend to such a degree that for you to win, the result can’t just be under trend, it has to be SO far under trend that we can be 99.7% certain that’s not the trend. (which is the same game Tamino plays, so not really a surprise)

          So if the trend is within 3 sigma of flat, that somehow doesn’t count as “a flat trend”, but if the trend is within 3 sigma of sloped, that does count as “a sloped trend”. If the same temperature fits BOTH criteria at once (which seems likely), you lose.

          Another thing that makes it “a sucker bet” is that Picone is betting on a 30-year window of which the first 15 years has already passed and (as of this moment) already reflects a positive warming trend, at least according to his preferred (not-satellite) data sources.

          If you want to make a bet, I’d recommend figuring out exactly what your hypothesis is and trying to work out terms such that if you’re right, you’d win. I don’t think the bet on offer does that.

          • James Picone says:

            @Glen Raphael:
            Quick estimate, 2000 is ~0.5, 2015 ~0.85, 10 * (.35 / 31) = 0.113 c/decade, which is outside for NOAA and inside for the other datasets, point. But as I’ve noted upthread I’m happy to go down to 2 sigma, which it’d obviously be outside of in all datasets (Wrong Species: has to be so far below we’re 95% certain it’s a different trend)

            Wrong Species referred to ‘the pause continuing for another 15 years’. I believe that 15 years does not, in fact, contain a pause. Betting that in 15-years time we’ll look back and there will be no discernable pause is what I am trying to do. Also it lets the trend be over a sensibly large period of time so we can actually get a meaningful trend.

            Your dismissal of actually trying to get statistical significance as a ‘game’ says far more about you than about Tamino.

            So if the trend is within 3 sigma of flat, that somehow doesn’t count as “a flat trend”, but if the trend is within 3 sigma of sloped, that does count as “a sloped trend”. If the same temperature fits BOTH criteria at once (which seems likely), you lose.

            Assuming that the uncertainty in 2000-2030 is about the same as 1970-2000, only HADCRUT allows for a range that includes both the 1970-2000 trend and zero. And only barely. I do not think it likely that that will happen.

            Say you’re watching a tunnel from a distance and you see a car drive into it. You can’t see the car, which is consistent with it driving at half the speed it was going before it entered the tunnel. Do you consider “The car is going half the speed it was going before it entered the tunnel” as good a hypothesis as “The car is going at the same speed it was going before it entered the tunnel?”

            But hey, thanks for admitting that you don’t think you can exclude “absolutely no pause at all” at the 99.7% level. How about the 95% level? Keep in mind that you can’t even exclude “the trend to the present day is different from 1970-2000” at the /1-sigma/ level in GISTEMP or NOAA. In HADCRUT4 it’s 1.8 sigma, so about 7% chance of it being the same trend. The significant differences in the datasets is a clue that you’re comparing far too short trends, incidentally.

            Final note, while I’m being all bet-ty – I predict that there will be a large cold bias discovered in the satellite datasets in the next few years. Say 5? Not sure I’m confident enough to bet on that one.

          • “Final note, while I’m being all bet-ty – I predict that there will be a large cold bias discovered in the satellite datasets in the next few years.”

            I think that demonstrates one of the problems with the betting approach–it requires an unambiguous true/false outcome. It’s possible that, in the next few years, people will come up with evidence they interpret as such a bias, much less likely that agreement will be sufficiently widespread so that someone who bet the other way will agree he lost.

          • anon says:

            David, I think the RSS and UAH maintainers are still likely to be around in 5 years. They periodically update their datasets to correct problems. If they make a change that has an average warming effect greater than some threshold, measured over some specified interval, that would seem to me to be a relatively uncontroversial criterion for “discovery of a cold bias in the satellite data”.

          • James Picone says:

            @David:
            Which is why I framed that one as a prediction rather than a bet.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            Your dismissal of actually trying to get statistical significance as a ‘game’ says far more about you than about Tamino.

            Please. You’re smarter than this. Of course there’s nothing wrong with “trying to get statistical significance.” But that’s not what Tamino is doing. And it’s not what you were doing when you chose three sigma for your initial bet offer.

            Tamino plays a semantic game, the goal of which is to make sure his side doesn’t have to admit error or lose any points to the other side. He uses a combination of statistical machinations and motte-bailey claims to provide cover fire to his pals.

            One of these tricks – one move in the game – is to waffle on the meaning of the word evidence.

            The game is to claim in an argument “there is no evidence for X” when what you really mean is “though there is some evidence for X there isn’t strong enough evidence to prove X” where by that you might in the worst case mean little more than that you have found a method of analysis which applied to a data set produces a result which just barely fails to meet your own arbitrarily high standard of proof. (If you can’t reach that result, tweak variables until you can!)

            Another move in the game is to be really loud about it (and publish more!) when through random chance the latest data looks especially good for your team and be really quiet about it (and refer inquiries back to an earlier analysis) when it doesn’t.

            As for statistical machinations, some key tricks include picking the right amount/type of smoothing and the right amount/type of statistical significance.

            If the latest data on a curve is pointing up, use ALL the data. If it’s pointing down or flat, use a 10-year moving average or better yet, do a decadal moving average, plotting one point for each decade. (That way if it’s 2008 you can ignore the entire 2000s and end your plot in the 1990s!)

            If the data rejects your hypothesis at, say, the 10% significance level, don’t mention that because obviously 5% is what matters. If you’re worried a value might fall outside a 2-sigma bounds, switch to 3-sigma instead!

            I’m never quite sure how conscious Tamino is of doing this stuff, but once you notice it, it’s hard not to see, and it’s sufficiently angry-making that I finally had to stop reading Tamino’s blog. So heck, maybe he’s gotten better lately. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

            UPDATE: Oh, hey, I nearly forgot one of Tamino’s best tricks: pretend that your own analysis constitutes independent evidence that your own analysis is correct! As an example, go to this blog post and scroll down a bit to find this quote:

            that’s not really evidence, the most recent 15-year trend would have to be enough lower to be meaningful, my analysis says it isn’t (as does the published research by Cahill et al. and by Foster & Abraham)

            Well heck, if the published research by Foster & Abraham says it’s true, surely that shows “Tamino” is on the right track! 😉

            Oh, and speaking of that published research by Foster & Abraham, you can find that here and notice this opening sentence:

            The climate science community has reached a near consensus that the warming rate of global surface temperature has exhibited a slowdown over the last decade to decade and a half.

            So if you think there hasn’t been a slowdown, you might be in agreement with Tamino and his “two” confirming sources, but you are disagreeing with a near consensus of the climate science community. I sure hope that doesn’t make you a “denialist”! 🙂

          • James Picone says:

            @Glen Raphael:
            Gosh, you’ve convinced me that I should just eyeball a graph and make shit up. That seems far better than applying statistical rigour!

            I have yet to see any ‘oh look it’s paused’ analysis with any level of statistical rigour. If you think Tamino is playing games, who do you think is a) not playing games and b) demonstrates that the recent trend is different from the older trend in a way that’s statistically meaningful? The only thing I’ve ever seen is “Look! The 3-sigma window for the trend back to this point includes zero!”, which at best is exactly what you’re accusing me and Tamino of doing.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @James Picone:

            I have yet to see any ‘oh look it’s paused’ analysis with any level of statistical rigour.

            Have you looked? Serious question: have you read any published papers that take the hiatus seriously, or have you only read the “takedowns” of a few such by way of Tamino/SkS/RealClimate? Is this – like our earlier discussion of Lomborg – a case where you think you don’t need to read what the other side said because your side seems devastating when discussing it?

            If you think Tamino is playing games, who do you think is a) not playing games and b) demonstrates that the recent trend is different from the older trend in a way that’s statistically meaningful?

            Remember, Foster (aka Tamino) says there is a near consensus in the climate science community that some sort of pause/slowdown/hiatus exists so in this instance I’m the one defending the scientific consensus and you’re defending a few oddball cranks trying to deny that consensus.

            So to answer your question about who isn’t playing games, my answer is: everyone else. All those scientists – nearly everyone, even Mann and Santer – who have written papers trying to explain why the pause exists. When faced with an obvious and trivially measurable slowdown of the rate of warming compared to both past warming and (especially) our simulations of what we expect the current rate of warming to be, most scientists asked “why is this happening?” and wracked their brain to come up with interesting possible explanations for the divergence- more than 60 have been offered so far – while Tamino continues to stick his statistical fingers in his ear and shout lalala this isn’t happening.

            I’m fine with Fyfe et al, the paper Tamino is attacking in the link I gave earlier. But if you don’t like Fyfe, here is a large list of recent papers discussing the hiatus, most of which take it seriously. Are you comfortable claiming these papers are all based on a false premise?

            So far as I’m concerned, a measurement that even just goes ONE standard deviation outside an envelope and then stays there for 15 years (when it never had done this before and high-profile scientists had repeatedly assumed it couldn’t) constitutes sufficiently “statistically rigorous” evidence that something interesting might be happening that we might want to stop making additional isolated demands for rigor and move on to trying to figure out what’s actually going on.

            Some of Tamino’s arguments on the subject are relevant and correct, some are correct-but-irrelevant, and some are transparently terrible. If you never read the other side you might not notice the difference.

          • James Picone says:

            @Glen Raphael:
            I’ve seen McKitrick’s efforts, obviously I’ve seen Monckton’s nonsense, and I’ve seen the not-quite-the-same but related “Temperature measurements are a random walk so you can’t prove there’s any significant trend” stuff. I’m reasonably confident I’ve already referred to McKitrick’s thing here – the “find the longest contiguous span that is not statistically significantly different from 0”. The obvious problem being that you’re /always/ going to have a ‘pause’ at the end of a dataset using that mechanism if there’s enough noise.

            There’s a difference between “The noise seems to be on the low end for this span of time, I wonder why that’s the case” and “this represents a fundamental shift in the underlying trend”. You are conflating scientists saying the first with the second. Consider, for example, noting that 2015/2016 were particularly warm because of el Nino. That’s an example of the first kind of thing – “This temperature measurement has jumped way high, what’s going on?”. You wouldn’t interpret that as saying that there’s been a shift in what underlying model is appropriate to use, though.

            PDF of Fyfe et al.. Personally, I don’t find “The 15 year trend is less than the 30 year trend” to be particularly convincing.

            You couldn’t have found a better website for that list than one that disputes the basic mechanisms of EM absorption? Ah well.

            I’m not going to go through the full list, for obvious reasons, but the first one is Fyfe et al., the second is Trenberth 2015 and is pretty obviously in the “What’s the noise doing?” genre, not “the underlying greenhouse forcing is lower” genre, which is obvious from even the goddamn quote on the site you linked: “Natural fluctuations are big enough to overwhelm the steady background warming at any point in time.”.

            The third the website itself excerpts this section:

            Using this method, the AMO and PMO are found to explain a large proportion of internal variability in Northern Hemisphere mean temperatures. Competition between a modest positive peak in the AMO and a substantially negative-trending PMO are seen to produce a slowdown or “false pause” in warming of the past decade.

            (my emphasis)

            Trend from 1985 to 1998 inclusive in HC4 is 0.252 +/- 0.170 c/decade (2 sigma). That’s different to the trends either side of it at the 1-sigma level. Does it only count if it’s a slower?

            If you’re referring to the model envelope, then yes scientists should work out what’s going on, I agree. Some of it is apples-to-oranges, some of it is natural variation, some of it is that stuff should be outside the 95% envelope 5% of the time. The thing I’m rejecting is that it’s because the models are too sensitive; that this is anything other than noise.

            Calling my position an isolated demand for rigour is fucking hilarious. It’s a demand for any rigour. Literally any! The same goddamn rigour you’d apply to a study claiming that guns cause murders, or some other field! My very first post in this thread gave all the relevant trends, with uncertainty and made a testable prediction. Meanwhile all I’m getting from you is selective quoting that would make a creationist proud and accusations of dishonesty.

            Maybe I should just start replying to people saying ignorant things about climate change here with a link to the relevant Dr. Inferno blog post. Here’s an argument you might recognise.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @James Picone:

            And…this is when I realize the phrase “the pause” shares a characteristic with “global warming” (and also with “God”), that if you’re thinking of arguing over whether X exists it might be a good idea first to ask the other guy what they mean by X.

            Near as I can tell, your definition of “the pause” includes a connotation that if you admit it “exists” (or even admit that it did exist) you are disagreeing with all of climate science and agreeing with Monckton. To you, saying there was “a pause” is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary statistical evidence.

            My own definition of the “the pause” does NOT include such a connotation. I just think of it as a feature in the data, one most clearly apparent in the satellite data and in earlier iterations of the surface data. My reasoning process is roughly: “Is there a flattish, not rising-much section through most of the 2000s to date? There is? Great, it’s settled then!” I find Fyfe convincing because very little convincing is required to say “hey, that part over there, in context, looks to be unusually not-rising. And what’s it doing so far outside the model envelope?”

            Thus by my terminology if somebody – say, Trenberth – comes up with a really good explanation for the pause, it doesn’t definitionally stop being “the pause” or become a “false pause”.

            I still think I might be able to convince you Tamino is dishonest or at least an overly-motivated reasoner (and will take another stab at that later), but I no longer think i can convince you that (by your definition) “the pause” exists. So I give up; we’ll have to agree to disagree. Too much inferential distance to bridge.

            You couldn’t have found a better website for that list than one that disputes the basic mechanisms of EM absorption? Ah well.

            Yeah, the guy who runs that site has some pretty wacky ideas (which I don’t endorse) but he’s a family friend in real life and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the list itself. Just part of how Google gives us our own personal viewport to reality! 🙂

          • James Picone says:

            @Glen Raphael:
            Fair enough. I should probably stop commenting on climate change stuff here anyway; it’s probably not very healthy.

            Yeah, the guy who runs that site has some pretty wacky ideas (which I don’t endorse) but he’s a family friend in real life and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the list itself. Just part of how Google gives us our own personal viewport to reality! ?

            On the plus side the UV light thing is fairly highbrow as far as wacky ideas go; My family has some anti-vaccination, pro-homeopathy friends.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            I think I’ve figured out why that definitional gap exists.

            Suppose somebody – let’s say Monckton – claims that the rate of global warming has slowed down and this proves global warming is a hoax. And this claim shows up very early in the life of “the pause”. Let’s say…2004.

            If you are a confirmed consensus defender, how do you respond? It’s a two-pronged argument. The claims are:

            (a) the measured warming rate has slowed
            (b) the fact that the rate has slowed is troubling for global warming theory and/or casts doubt on the validity of our current models.

            In 2004, prong (a) is dicey so that is where you want to concentrate your fire. In 2004, Tamino can trivially do some actually-valid math to demonstrate that the case for (a) isn’t very strong and therefore nobody needs to spend much effort on (b). He gets status and publishable papers out of doing so; everyone else can rest easy.

            But as the pause persists for another decade, eventually there is a shift such that prong (a) stops being the vulnerable part of the argument. Yet Tamino remains committed. Having debunked pause claims so many times before he now just knows there must exist some math which makes the case that it’s still not a real slowdown; all he has to do is find that math and declare victory. This shift happens so gradually he and his followers don’t notice the exact point where his work shifts from valid statistics into apologetics.

            A problem with having invested too much effort in debunking prong (a) is that it implicitly grants prong (b) legitimacy. Like, why would you try so hard to prove there’s no pause if it doesn’t matter to the theory? Thus to his fans “the pause” starts to mean “a warming slowdown that poses problems for the theory” rather than simply “a warming slowdown” and his math starts seeming like a last line of defense rather than merely a first line of defense.

            There’s a popular propaganda meme that when skeptics shift from one weak argument to another this shows dishonesty; this makes it hard for warmists to do the same thing when they need to. The proper course is to say yes, even though we argued very hard against the warming rate having slowed, eventually the data did show it had slowed, so now we’re going to focus elsewhere. Now we’re gonna look at prong (b). But admitting errors is hard, it grants solace to the enemy.

            On the plus side the UV light thing is fairly highbrow as far as wacky ideas go

            Yeah, the guy managed to publish a paper on it in an actual scientific journal, which puts him one up on most of us. He’s a bright retired geophysicist who became convinced the key to understanding global warming can largely be found in…geophysics. The world hasn’t yet beat a path to his door but it keeps him busy.

          • At a slight tangent, I don’t think anyone denies that there was a pause for about thirty years in the mid-20th century. As best I can tell, the IPCC deals with that by a combination of restricting its claim that humans are the main cause of warming to the second half of the century and blaming that pause on aerosols.

            This time, lots of climate scientists accept the pause and offer ways of fitting it into their models. I’ve already suggested one way which seems plausible to me.

            But some don’t.

          • Glen Raphael says:

            @Picone:
            Oh, and when I mentioned rigor, I probably should have put what I was trying to say in terms of Type I versus Type II errors, or perhaps “privileging the hypothesis”. That’s one of the bigger issues I have with what Tamino does.

            Here’s the problem. We have two competing hypotheses about the recent (pre-2014) temperature trend:
            (1) It’s a nice upward slope – plus lots of random noise.
            (2) It’s surprisingly flat – plus lots of random noise.

            If you decide to test #1, you will find it is very hard to prove (with 95% certainty) that you need to reject the hypothesis.

            On the other hand if you decide to test #2, you will find that option is also very hard to prove (with 95% certainty) that you need to reject the hypothesis.

            So picking which hypothesis you should be trying to disprove essentially decides which one wins.

            The trouble here is that “plus lots of random noise” part combined with the fact that we don’t really want to wait 20 years for a result. Real data is bumpy and uncertain.

            So Tamino goes with the first option and that choice largely determines his conclusion. He says in effect: there’s an upward slope in that data unless you can disprove it, applies some degree of statistical rigor to suggest you can’t disprove it, and thereby concludes anyone claiming to see a pause is wrong.

            But why did he pick the first option instead of the second? Answer: Because his prior is that by default we ought to go with what the scientific consensus says.

            Which might have been a fine choice…in 2004. But as of today according to Tamino himself (writing under his real name) there is now “a near-consensus” behind the other hypothesis. So IMO we now should either treat both hypotheses on an equal playing field and see which comes closer to describing the data or we should privilege the second one – the one that has the near-consensus behind it – and see if we can disprove that.

            Does that make sense?

            The relevance of this issue to placing bets about warming trends is left as an exercise to the reader. 🙂

          • anon says:

            I’m curious whether James or anyone else can comment on the peculiar role of climate change in Australian politics. It seems to have been an especially important focal point for the Australian left wing. Australia is a natural resource exporter, but (unless I’m mistaken?) most of this is not fossil fuels. Still, mining and other forms of commodity extraction are energy intensive, so in terms of the pure politics of self-interest, maybe it makes sense that “Capital” in Australia would be aligned against policies that make resource extraction more expensive. But it still seems strange to me that Australian progressives are so fixated on this issue. I wonder if I’m missing some important part of the story.

          • James Picone says:

            @Glen:
            The differing choice of which hypothesis to test comes down to not expecting the climate to bounce about on that timescale; it was doing X before, the forcings haven’t really changed much, so it should keep doing basically the same thing.

            @David:
            Also forcings increase faster post-1970s – CFCs in particular have a large spike after they were invented and then a fairly rapid dropoff after the Montreal protocol.

            @anon:
            I haven’t noticed anything weird about climate in Australian politics, but I guess I wouldn’t, would I?

            We have a pretty significant coal-mining industry, and I think a combination of that, a deep-seated distrust of hippies and regulation, and the Nationals having a tetchy relationship with environmentalists has led the Liberals (the right-wing party, for hysterical raisins) to not care about climate change, but the full-blown “It’s not happening” position isn’t quite within our Overton window so instead you get figleafs like the LNPs Direct Action program, designed to hook swinging voters that care a little about climate change.

            Labour’s had to drop the issue really hard since Julia Gillard’s coalition government got hammered over the ‘great big new tax’, but I don’t think you need anything special to understand that – people don’t like taxes, the Liberals managed to position the ETS as being basically a tax, bam. Labour’s historically been a union party, not a general-purpose left-wing party, so they’re not super into climate as a thing.

            The Greens care, obviously, and have the usual swag of lefty policies, but they only get ~11% of the vote.

            Might be some weird demographics out of our lovely combination of heavily exposed to climate change + fair chunk of coal mining.

            Also maybe having a preferential system makes it easier for the Greens to shift the Overton window.

    • anon says:

      AFAIK climate models used for long-term forecasting do not reproduce El Nino or La Nina at all; it’s not well-understood enough to be correctly captured by the models’ dynamics. (Even specially designed “seasonal” models that seek only to forecast the El Nino Southern Oscillation say 6 months to 1 year out only have a small amount of skill — compared to a simple autoregressive baseline — in predicting El Nino indicators.) So of course the models are not predicting any serious cooldown.

      Sensible humans, probably including Gavin, certainly should be expecting 2017 to be substantially cooler than 2016, assuming La Nina sets in as expected, since this pattern is fairly robust in the historical data. But do note that this says nothing about trends. For a while there was a theory that some funny business with ocean heat content could be causing AGW to manifest in the form of a “step function” with jumps at large El Nino events. I do not think there is enough historical evidence to support this (just the ’98 EN and subsequent “pause”), and I have seen no reasonable theoretical explanation why it might be the case.

    • John Schilling says:

      To be fair, it’s an El Nino year and those tend to be warm. But last I heard, climate models weren’t predicting any serious cooldown even when La Nina sets in this summer.

      For most of the past decade, we’ve been hearing that the hiatus isn’t real, it’s just a statistical artifact because 1998 was an anomalously warm El Nino year and we shouldn’t include outliers in that in our statistics. And there was some truth to that; local outliers probably shouldn’t be included in the statistics, and the hiatus shouldn’t have been taken seriously until it was statistically significant without the outlier year of 1998. By my math, that occurred in 2009-2010.

      But it works both ways. If you argue that 1998 needs to be thrown out, then so does 2015. At present, the global warming hiatus is real, statistically significant, and ongoing, if we include both El Nino years, or if we include neither of them.

      As for climate models not predicting a cooldown, the whole point of the discussion is that this is about as relevant and reliable as Vox pundits not predicting a Trump primary win.

      • James Picone says:

        By my math, that occurred in 2009-2010.

        Your maths is wrong. See this paper, or approximately every post by professional statistician Tamino ever (with special reference to this one).

        If what you’re doing is computing the longest trend going back that can’t statistically exclude zero (the classic Monckton RSS-based approach, for example), you are implicitly assuming that global average surface has a discontinuity at the point where you start your trend. Temperature is probably continuous.

        • John Schilling says:

          you are implicitly assuming that global average surface has a discontinuity at the point where you start your trend

          I don’t pick the start point for the trend, I let an optimizer decide whether, or if, to do that. If I throw out 1998 and 2015, the best fit has a discontinuity in 2003 if I use satellite temperatures, 2004 if I use ground data.

          • James Picone says:

            Wait, what are you actually doing? AFAIK if you use AIC and data starting ~1970s linear trend is the best fit easily (and if you use earlier data you get a breakpoint in the 1970s, like the changepoint analysis I just linked). I was assuming you were doing something like finding the longest contiguous period where 0 isn’t excluded as a trend. If you’re fitting a piecewise linear trend from 1970ish to now, then yes, the specific objection that you get a break at your startpoint isn’t true. Then I just would be very surprised if you got a better fit than a linear trend, compensating for the additional parameter; that’s essentially what the Cahill study was doing, and it couldn’t find a statistically significant change in trend.

          • John Schilling says:

            I am doing – well, telling an optimizer I coded many years ago to do – piecewise log-linear fits, temperature anomaly vs. log(CO2), with the break points being left to the optimizer and the number of segments starting at one and increasing until adding another segment doesn’t result in a significant improvement to the fit.

            I’ve done this with a number of data sets and with generally similar results. With NOAA MSU Global Lower Troposphere Temperature vs NOAA Globally Averaged Marine Surface CO2, going back to 1979 but throwing out 1998 and 2015, the best fit has a break in 2003-2004. There’s no significant improvement for adding a third segment

            Using the annualized Goddard Surface Temperature Analysis and going back to 1946, tossing out six anomalous El Nino / Nina events, there are significant break points in 1974/75 and 2004/2005.

            If I push things back to 1880, there’s another break point in 1944/45, but the numbers that far back are narrow and noisy enough that it’s barely significant.

            Interestingly, though, the slopes for the 1880-1944 and 1975-2004 segments are within each others’ error bars, as are the slopes for 1945-1974 and 2005-2015. I had for some time favored the hypothesis that we were seeing a bimodal system with sensitivities of ~2.8C and ~0.9C, but there’s something to be said about David Friedman’s model of a steady linear increase superimposed on a ~60-year cyclic term.

            Which says nothing about the causes, except that David’s secular trend and my low-rise mode both look like what you’d expect from straight greenhouse effect without forcing or feedback.

          • James Picone says:

            Ah, I thought you were just working on T data. That’s pretty neat.

            If your log(CO2)-to-temperature is just straight correlation I don’t think you’re going to pull anything meaningful out of that; there’s a pretty large time constant in that interaction. Are you doing anything about the annual CO2 cycle?

            Have you considered trying to include things like aerosols / ENSO / TSI? Foster&Rahmstorf 2011 did a multiple regression of some indicators for aerosols / ENSO / TSI / maybe some other things I forget against surface temperature to try and remove their effects; might be worth looking into.

            Isaac Held’s blog does some interesting from-the-start climate modelling stuff you might find interesting as well.

          • John Schilling says:

            Are you doing anything about the annual CO2 cycle?

            I’m mostly using the NOAA annual means and interpolating to match the timestamps of the temperature data. At one point tried to use the monthlies with an offset for the annual cycle, but that was more trouble than it was worth and didn’t look like it was going to be enough of an improvement over the interpolated annual data to bother.

            Pre-1958, I use the smoothed DE08/DE08-2/DESS ice core data, but as already noted things get pretty noisy much before 1958. I only have a few cases going back past WWII and I only half-believe them.

            Aerosols I haven’t done anything with yet; probably should, but I have too many geeky technical hobbies already.

    • TomFL says:

      We’ve been instructed that single years are not relevant for trend analysis, especially ones that are correlated to known warming events (El Nino, etc.). In fact as the hiatus was ongoing it was deemed to need to go on for 5 years, 10 years, 15 years for it to be called significant. One hopes the same standard applies in both directions.

      It is also noteworthy this warm spike(?) in the trend is still below the mean of model projections. Many people like to argue that “warming will still continue” and that is what counts, but this is incorrect. It is the rate of warming that is important (a.k.a. climate sensitivity to carbon). Sensitivity estimates based on empirical data are coming in much lower than model estimates (1.5C vs 3.0C). There appears to be a lot pressure to not lower model estimates as far as I can tell.

  13. Error says:

    I had a fun time presenting Plomin’s paper Top Ten Replicated Findings From Behavioral Genetics to a room full of psychoanalysts last month, then fielding their increasingly angry and horrified questions.

    This sounds amusing and I’d be interested in hearing more about it.

    • E. Harding says:

      Agreed. Scott has a knack for detail.

    • Zorgon says:

      A YouTube channel comprised entirely of (admittedly very occasional) videos of psychoanalysts getting trolled with behavioural genetics when they’re not expecting it would be compulsive, if niche, viewing.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Although shared environment has kind of gotten the short end of the stick in recent behavioral genetics studies, it still shows up sometimes in early childhood and in studies done on the most deprived populations. But what percent of that is prenatal versus postnatal environment? Abstract, table of results. Most interesting finding: adopted adults’ IQ is so unrelated to the IQ of their adoptive mother that in some studies the correlation shows up as nonsignificantly negative.

    There’s been some past discussion here about Success Academy, a chain of charter schools that has achieved impressive results. Freddie deBoer argues this will never scale because their business model is hiring a tiny number of elite teachers who have just graduated from top colleges for really cheap, luring them with promises of social impact and getting to live in desirable areas.

    But if those teachers would adopt those students the effect would go away.

    • Randy M says:

      Ha! Well, the students do spend more time listening to the teachers than the parents, most likely.

    • Steve Sailer says:

      “Most interesting finding: adopted adults’ IQ is so unrelated to the IQ of their adoptive mother that in some studies the correlation shows up as nonsignificantly negative.”

      It’s not uncommon for higher IQ women to delay childbearing, then run into fertility problems when they do finally want children, for which adopting is one solution.

      • Aapje says:

        @Sailer

        Both the cost and ‘fitness tests’ required for adoption probably result in adoptive mothers being more intelligent than average as well, as higher income correlates with IQ.

        And it’s surely more likely for conservative Christians to give up an unwanted child for adoption and studies have found that IQ negatively correlates with religiosity.

        So it’s very likely that mothers who put up their child for adoption are a less smart than average and adoptive mothers are smarter than average.

        • Deiseach says:

          IQ negatively correlates with religiosity

          Dis beez troo, uz god peeples not eevn abel reed or rites propper, me am so iggnerent! 🙂

          • James Picone says:

            Dei, consider a model where:
            1 – Most people are religious
            2 – Most people have the same religious opinions as their parents
            3 – More intelligent people are more likely to end up with a different religious opinion than their parents (because they actually think about the issue).

            In that model you would expect intelligence to correlate with non-religiosity (which, as it happens, it does) without it being because religious people are dumb.

          • On the other hand, Dan Kahan found that where beliefs function as a marker of group identity, more knowledgeable people are more likely to hold their group’s belief–whether that’s believing in evolution or not believing in it. Religious belief is very much a marker for group identity.

            He is looking at cases where whether your beliefs are true doesn’t affect you, whether they match the beliefs of the people who matter to you does, and although that’s true of evolution or global warming it’s not true of religion. But I’m not sure that the costs to someone of believing in a false religion that the group he is part of, including his parents, believe in instead of no religion are large enough to reverse the conclusion.

        • Two McMillion says:

          Aapje, why do you think it’s more likely for conservative Christians to give up a child for adoption?

          • Brad (The Other One) says:

            @Two McMillion

            Probably for the same reason we might imagine it’s more likely for utilitarian to push the fat man off the bridge in the trolly problem.

            Not because people always follow through on their claimed ideals, but because that is what the ideal would seem to suggest they might do.

          • Two McMillion says:

            Okay, but I’m a fundamentalist evangelical Christian and I can’t think of any principles I hold to that would make me more likely to give up a child for adoption. In fact, many of my local tribe of Christians see having children as something of a duty.

          • brad says:

            I think the idea is:
            Not a conservative christian -> unwanted pregnancy -> abortion

            conservative christian -> unwanted pregnancy -> adoption

          • Two McMillion says:

            Oh, I didn’t think of that. Maybe Aapje’s right, then.

            My prior is still 60% that there’s no statistically significant difference between professing Christians and others, though.

          • Randy M says:

            If you’ve updated, it’s no longer a prior, it’s now a current.

          • Two McMillion says:

            My current, then. Thank you.

          • Protagoras says:

            Yeah, the idea that a conservative Christian would be more likely to choose adoption than abortion is intuitive, but I thought the research indicated that whether someone identified as pro-life actually had little or no correlation with whether they actually chose to have an abortion when the situation arose for them.

          • Aapje says:

            Yes, my point was based on abortion, as well as a dislike that conservative parents have for sex education, which result in more teenage pregnancies among conservative Christians.

          • Agronomous says:

            @Protagoras and @Aapje:

            Citations needed, or you’re just flinging mud / signaling.

      • JuanPeron says:

        And, on the flip side, it’s not uncommon for adopted children to be low IQ. Think of families putting kids up for adoption because they can’t afford good nutrition, severely disabled children that birth families weren’t prepared to care for, or drug addicted mothers “involuntarily surrendering” babies for adoption.

        This result seems pretty unsurprising – median adoptive parents are on the opposite end of a lot of spectrums from median adopted kids.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          Back in the 1950s you had more adoptions with children moving from higher status genetic parents to more middling status adoptive parents. Steve Jobs is a famous example: his genetic father’s uncle was Foreign Minister of Syria, while his adoptive parents were upper working class.

          Adoptive parents tended, however, not to have many obvious flaws. They’d been checked over carefully by adoption agencies for alcoholism, violence, instability, etc. The one thing Jobs, not an uncritical man, was satisfied with was his upbringing.

          I always felt sorry, however, for Jobs adoptive younger sister. She had to grow up competing for scarce parental resources with a sibling rival who was the World’s Greatest Salesman. They did not get along.

  15. Dan says:

    The Twitter image on polarization claims to be based on this Pew survey data, but the image does not match Pew’s actual data.

    Actual method: people were asked 10 questions, such as whether they agree more with the claim “Government is almost always wasteful and inefficient” or “Government often does a better job than people give it credit for”. Conservative answers were scored as +1, liberal answers as -1, and other/non-response as 0. Add up the 10 numbers for each person, and that is their ideological consistency rating (ranging from -10 to +10).

    A person with a score of +7 or higher they call “consistently conservative”, -7 or lower “consistently liberal”.

    In 1994, 7% of people were consistently conservative and 3% were consistently liberal. In 2014, using the same 10 questions, 9% of people were consistently conservative and 12% were consistently liberal. The mean on the scale also moved left, from +0.6 to -0.6, which they say is primarily due to shifts on the questions about homosexuality (“Homosexuality should be accepted by society”) and immigration (“Immigrants today strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents”).

    So there is clearly an increase in polarization (from 10% of consistently extreme people to 21%), but it’s hard to say if it’s asymmetric. Maybe conservatives polarized more prior to 1994 and since then liberals have caught up and passed them. Or maybe both sides have always been just as polarized as each other, and have become increasingly polarized, and it appears slightly asymmetric at times because the conservative view started out as more popular on these 10 questions and now the liberal view is more popular.

    • bluto says:

      It matches the interactive graphic on Pew’s site if one selects politically active people.

    • AnonLefty says:

      Another possibility is that the while the left as a whole has become more consistently liberal, the right is much better at coordinating around a single candidate and can actually win elections. Thus the base of the left may be more liberal, while the representatives in Congress at most levels are more conservative. This would also match up with a lot of the complaints about this aspect of politics that I see a lot.

      Getting people to actually go out and vote is very difficult on the left. This is especially true because of the many ideological divides within the Democrats.

      The easiest example that comes to mind is Workers Party v. Green Party. Many of the things that one group wants the other actively opposes(more fracking and coal jobs v. solar power). Up until recently, this degree of animosity and competition within the party wasn’t as present for the Republicans.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Brad deLong smacks down WSJ misuse of the Ease of Doing Business Index.

    Cochrane (the WSJ op-ed author) wrote a response to DeLong on his blog, which I thought was fairly vindicating. DeLong’s initial post also (not untypically for him) struck me as unnecessarily mean-spirited and weak-manned, so I’m somewhat surprised to see it here

    • E. Harding says:

      Why didn’t Scott mention Soltas’s infinitely more interesting finding that Doing Business reforms do nothing to encourage growth?

      http://evansoltas.com/2016/05/07/pro-business-reform-pro-growth/

      The most obvious example of this is Georgia.

    • CaptainNemo says:

      I don’t agree that it vindicates him. DeLong obviously understands logarithms, his point (which he doesn’t actually ever state explicitly) seems to be that using a logarithmic graph in this case is misleading. His alternative shows how unreasonable it is to just draw that trend line [on the logarithmic graph] out and claim it’s meaningful, as Cochrane does. He tries to justify it by then citing (inaccurate) numbers for China’s recent growth.

      As a semi-amusing aside, his update also includes this line:

      Update: It’s clear from many comments and the twitter storm that many readers, even trained economists, missed this basic point. My graph is an illustration of a conclusion reached by hundreds, if not more, papers in the academic literature. It is not The Evidence, or even particularly novel evidence. Were it so, standard errors, specification search, endogeneity, much better measures of institutions, etc. would be appropriate, as many suggest. My graph is just a quick graphical illustration of the conclusions of much growth economics, including much work by Jones, Acemoglu, Barro, Klenow, and many many others. Institutions matter to economic growth; bad governments have amazing power to ruin economies. As always in writing, I should have made that clearer; but I thought this literature was familiar to the average economist-blogger.

      Despite his original post (I’m quoting from DeLong’s republication because I don’t have a WSJ subscription) saying this :

      It is amazing that governments can do so much damage. Yet the evidence of the graph is strong. The nearly controlled experimental comparison of North Korea versus South Korea, or East Germany versus West Germany, is stronger. But if bad institutions can do such enormous harm, it follows inescapably that better institutions can do enormous good.

      While DeLong was obviously (and unacceptably) rude, I do tend to agree with him that it’s a bit baffling to see the WSJ publish an article claiming that if it was 10% easier to do business in the US than the world’s current best country, it could have a GDP per capita of $400,000; and their sole piece of evidence for that figure be an extrapolated exponential trend line. And some erroneous Chinese growth statistics.

  17. anonymous says:

    If it helps with the Chapman thing at all, Kegan is not talking about system 2 understanding of systems that might be mistaken for stage 5. An S1 understanding of stage 5 shows up automatically in behavior without a need for various debiasing tools or tricks. Part of the reason that “postrationality” can be a useful term here is that the stage 5 person can not give you rules for doing what they are doing in a language you can understand (an algorithm or fairly explicit heuristic). If they could, there wouldn’t be this bridging problem.

    All of this is NOT to say that progress can’t be made. Reference class forecasting is an example of someone going off into the woods and returning to the village with something beautiful, comprehensible, and incredibly useful even to people who never could have constructed it.

    Chapman wants progress.

    You can also ask yourself “What is it that CFAR is trying to do?”
    Are they trying to teach specific techniques, so that students when confronted with a problem can whip out the appropriate technique and use it quickly, correctly, and context appropriately? Or are the techniques taught so you can ultimately see through the techniques to the pattern of the techniques? Become the sort of person who can search for, identify, construct, bug fix, and execute whatever technique is needed for a situation, because you see the situation clearly, you see techniques clearly, and you see yourself using them clearly?

    • I’m sure I’ve run into this 5 stage model somewhere before, and I’m sure I’m still as ambivalent about it now as I was then. Part of it is with its structure – by wrapping up a particular ethical or philosophical viewpoint as a “stage of development”, it implies disagreement with the model and its end stage is in fact evidence of existing at a lower, more primitive level in the model. Sort of like how postmodernism, just by its name alone, implies modernists are basically just archaic and behind-the-times, without ever having to deploy actual arguments. That said, some of the stages do seems to me to reflect authentic development. No doubt I’ll be accuse of being a stage 4er, but I’m not sold on the idea that stage 5 is legitimately and unambiguously “higher”. We certainly should question ideological systems from external viewpoints, but it seems like 5 probably implies an implicit, (meta)viewpoint anyway, one that seems almost aesthetically based, but keeps it deceptively hidden and mysterious (cannot be communicated easily to “lower” levels). Stage 5 especially appears to have very specific and quite controversial views on ethics and metaphysics, and because of that I feel pretty suspicious that the stages of development are being used as a rhetorical device.

      Stage 5 can, therefore, conjure with systems, as animated characters in a magical shadow-play drama.
      This in particular sets of warning bells to me – deploying systems on a ad hoc basis seems like a recipe for self-deception, motivated reasoning and rationalizations.

      Many of the people I care about most, and find most interesting, are STEM-educated refugees from ideological rationalism. They’ve mastered rationality, they’ve seen through it—and many now are stuck. Systems cannot provide them with meaning; but neither, it seems can anything else. Many fall into crippling nihilistic depression—a characteristic of stage 4.5. This is awful.

      This also seems a little like an attempt to use the personal feelings of STEM folks to coax them away from their perspective without rational argument. So I’m a little wary.

      I’m definitely interested in ideas that correct for the postmodernist anti-rationalism mistake currently weighing down our culture’s thinking, but I don’t know enough about these mysterious stage 5 values to be able to translate and assess it as a non-rhetorical idea. Anybody care to try to change my mind on this?

      • anonymous says:

        >one that seems almost aesthetically based

        Yes! And this is worthy of further investigation! Unfortunately when authors try they are forced to invent lots of vocab and their stuff winds up being hard to decode.

        >This in particular sets of warning bells to me – deploying systems on a ad hoc basis seems like a recipe for self-deception, motivated reasoning and rationalizations.

        Yes! This is what Nietzsche was referring to! When you look into the abyss the abyss also looks into you, it is easy to slip and eviscerate yourself when you start inquiring into the nature of meaning. And there are LOTS of ways to cut yourself.

        >This also seems a little like an attempt to use the personal feelings of STEM folks to coax them away from their perspective without rational argument. So I’m a little wary.

        There is no “away” IMO, the “higher” stage is “higher” in the sense that it subsumes the one below it. You are capable of deploying the tools of the lower stage with wisdom.

      • ssica3003 says:

        It’s interesting because the article specifically says that stage 5 thinking looks irrational to someone who is stage 4, and that is the entire substance of your criticism. It’s a catch-22. I REALLY recommend reading the blog post of the full summary of the stages that Chapman links to at the top of the post.

        I’m definitely interested in ideas that correct for the postmodernist anti-rationalism mistake currently weighing down our culture’s thinking

        In the article Chapman specifically says that the postmodern critique is correct. You may not have to believe him, but seeing it as an ‘anti-rationalist mistake’ also seems like a stage 4 comment.

        And the system the person has learned in stage 4 doesn’t have to be rationalism, it can be any system that works well for them. Like me, it might be social justice theory. It might be monogamy. It can be anything.

        Post-modernity does not critique rationalism, it critiques the idea of one system being true for everyone, or even that systems are the total answer, or that there can even be a ‘total’ answer.

        Here is my personal example of Stage 5 thinking:
        My background made me a massive SJW lefty, but I was introduced to LessWrong about three years ago.

        Recently. after reading Scott’s blog posts about Left wing and Right wing thought possibly being explained as a reaction to scarcity / times of plenty, I suddenly realised that both the left wing and right wing have good points, they are not perfect optimisations for everything but they are both useful systems.

        This was an unthinkable thought to me before because in stage 4, one has ‘principles and projects’. My principles and projects could not allow right wing thought to be correct. Right wing stuff and evil capitalism offended my principles and I decided they were just wrong.

        Now I think you might want to analyse a situation and say, ‘ok we’re going to be prone to right wing thought here because there is perceived scarcity when really we should be sharing,’ or you might even say: ‘this is a scarce resource, let’s apply right wing protocols’. I don’t think observing that something is scarce and deciding to use right wing thought is ‘a rationalisation’ or ‘motivated reasoning’. I don’t think deploying a system in that example is deploying a system on an ad hoc basis, because you haven’t just made something up to fit a situation, it’s a highly informed choice that should give desirable outcomes.

        I now feel the same way about many systems I previously could not tolerate: capitalism, dictatorships, homeopathy, but also things I thought were ‘true’: monogamy, identity politics, western medicine (yeah that one is not so useful some of the time as well and has in built beliefs that hinder it). Rationalism is on the list of systems.

        Now I know that no one thing is the ‘right’ answer, neither left nor right are ‘evil’ or ‘good’. All systems are necessarily too constricting the more specific they become, but if they are very general they fit no ‘real’ life example. Exactly as described by Chapman/Keegan, I see systems more as tools and the cognitive skill is to match the tool to the situation, perhaps even take some ideas from one system and merge them with some ideas from another because they have compatible patterns – that is the ‘woo’ of system 5.

        The whole thing is amorphous, but hopefully the left wing and right wing example helps to explain.

        • Ilya Shpitser says:

          I liked the stages and bridges essay. I think the way I phrased that idea on LW back when I still posted there was “rationality is a style of kung fu.”

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually rationality is necessary for stage 5.

          And you can still call bullshit on homeopathy, as you should. Because it doesn’t work. This is why you need solid rationality before stage 5.

          Unless by “homeopathy” you mean a combination of ritual, placebo and white lying.

          So reason explains well how it “works” when it works and why it doesn’t when it doesn’t. What systems are you applying to homeopathy to get a better picture than this? What experiences have you had that lead you to question the rational view on homeopathy?

          • Nadia R. says:

            I would modify that—stage 5 reasoning requires stage 4 reasoning, and stage 4 reasoning requires a thorough understanding of deriving judgements from systems. This system could be rationality but need not be—social justice, Marxism, and Catholicism have all served for my friends.

          • ssica3003 says:

            Yes, you need rationality for Stage 5 (you need every system you can get your hands on).

            I do not question the rational view on homeopathy, it’s just not the ONLY view of homeopathy. Instead of thinking of homeopathy in a loaded way (it doesn’t work! It’s bullshit!) because I’m critiquing it from the view of another system, I just see it as its own system that has features, benefits and disbenefits. If you want to trigger the placebo effect in a certain kind of person then homeopathy is the best system to do so. Who am I to take away a person’s 30% improvement just because my rational system conflicts with their magical-thinking-placebo-generating system?

            Have you ever criticised western medicine in the same way? Criticised its binary, fixed-or-broken, body-as-machine worldview? it’s really good for a vast number of things but really bad at taking a view of the whole person and their social context, at dealing with complex biological feedback loops or illness with a mental component. Examples: female reproductive health, all mental health, IBS.

          • Anonymous says:

            @ssica3003

            I do criticize western medicine in the way you describe.

            I think we actually agree on everything but one definitional thing, I don’t think its fair to consider one proposed technique (Homeopathy) to be on the same level as a system of knowledge.

            To clarify, several magicians, shamans and so on have ranted against homeopathy themselves for a lot of reasons, including that “They do it with machines now and sell it like pills in a store, preventing all flow of positive energy” Those aren’t being exactly rational but still can still clearly see how homeopathy does not work by using their own systems.

            I agree its fine to pretend it works when you think it can do good for someone, however, I also think its important to aknowledge this on places like this one and separate that from specific claims like “Water has memory” and “Homeopathy works, it would work in a blind study” for the sake of clarity if nothing else.

        • null says:

          My super-stage-4 comment: How do you know you’ve reached stage 5 and aren’t just at stage 4 where your system is ‘not having a system’ or relativism?

          EDIT: Presumably, stage 5 does not mean giving equal time to all systems.

          • Nadia R. says:

            As mentioned by others, it’s hard to explain but you’ll know it when you see it. Stage 5 is the ability to move fluidly between systems. It’s not that you think all systems are equally valuable or anything. It’s that you can recognize relationships between ideologies, structure them, and understand meaning through this structure.

            Consider this argument on occupational licensing: “Yes, it’s a moral good according to the values of the upper middle class, and it’s contrary to the morals of the working class, and there is ongoing attempted oppression of the working by the upper-middle class. It is the relationships between the two value systems and the system of class struggle that causes me to think that occupational licensing is better repealed.”

            The author does not draw support from any of the systems individually, nor are they “averaging” them in any sense. Instead, they are drawing support from a complex relationship of three different systems, perhaps under a principle analogous to, I value more the moral judgements of an oppressed system.

            Just like at stage 4 (where we would debate whether occupational licensing incentivizes hard work, resilience, and tradition) or stage 3 (where we would debate whether licensing is something people should do), there are questions to ask and answer at stage 5. It is not clear that one should favor the judgements of oppressed systems. But the principle itself, in defining and drawing from relationships between systems, requires stage 5 mental capabilities to understand, debate, and apply.

          • Anonymous says:

            You can’t prove reason with reason, this would be circular reasoning etc. So you take on “Faith” at least the base “axioms” that tell you you perceive what you perceive and so on. Unless you think that Reason is some platonic monstrosity with map=territory properties, this is, well, reasonable! So it makes sense that if you encounter a situation where Reason is not sufficient or ideal you could accept other systems, and maybe the whole faith thing is not necessary anymore if you drop the absolutist pretenses for your systems. Which is not to say that you throw them away or anything like “not having a system”.

            Values, aesthethics and so on are “axiomatic” and subjective. You can try to be rational utilitarian about the how but you can’t even pretend to be objective about the why. Best to recognize this whenever there is conflict on this level.

            Take this with a very big grain of salt…

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            @Nadie R
            Or the person talking could be a sociologist. Of course there is a problem;

            and there is ongoing attempted oppression of the working by the upper-middle class. It is the relationships between the two value systems and the system of class struggle that causes me to think that occupational licensing is better repealed.”

            The argument is an empty one; if your premise is “x is bad”, then it should be a surprise your conclusion is “x is bad”.

            There is a correct answer- you don’t make policy.

            If you want to figure out the most rational policy, figure out your goal and find which policy advances it the most.

            There are fields where people do switch from different ways of thinking about problems; architecture where cost, ascetics, material constraints, functionality and a whole host of other concerns are all balanced against each other. In fact any thing dealing with design (whether industrial plants or smart phones) is going to have to have multiple different concerns and methods of viewing things being balanced against each other.

            None of that appears to resemble Stage 5 thinking. Are there any concrete and testable examples for Stage 5?

            Edit-
            Curse you anon ninja!

          • Nadia R. says:

            @Samuel

            First time I’ve been called a sociologist.

            The argument is an empty one; if your premise is “x is bad”, then it should be a surprise your conclusion is “x is bad”.

            In the example, class oppression is obviously bad but not obviously relevant to occupational licensing.

            There is a correct answer- you don’t make policy.

            I don’t think I understand, but thank god I do not. Imagine what Obama and Ryan have to put up with.

            Of course putting together a smartphone, a modern state, or a financial system all require fluidly moving between multiple systems. Kegan makes the claim in later books that while managers can survive on stage 4 reasoning, CEOs need stage 5 reasoning to do a competent job. But no one at all puts together a smartphone (in full), nor a state, nor a financial system (except the blind ghost of Adam Smith).

            But some people really *do* make policy. None of us is the whole of Congress, but one of us (humans) is President Xi and one President Obama, one of us is Mrs. Yellen, dozens are CEOs deciding some part of the fate of dozens of thousands, and so on. All these tasks will require looking through the same phenomenon through multiple lenses. Not just lenses of cost versus stability, say, which are perfectly compatible, but two or a dozen lenses of morality, of aesthetic value, and so on.

            If you want to figure out the most rational policy, figure out your goal and find which policy advances it the most.

            Figuring out your goal is the whole game. We all want to do what is good, and finding a system to support a concrete description of the good is a mostly mechanical process (thank the progress of philosophy) but choosing your goals and not identifying your goals with your systems is also crucial. Stage 5 reasoning is identifying your goals with relationships and structures between systems, which happens to be a step up from identifying goals with systems.

          • Peter says:

            The trouble with advancing your goals is getting other people to go along with it.

            Supposing your goals would be served by building a bridge somewhere. If you’re El Presidente Dictator For Life, then you can just build the bridge. If it’s your land and your materials and your actual getting-dirty-and-doing-the-hammering-yourself labour, then it’s like being El Presidente of your own very limited domain.

            If you don’t have such resources, well, maybe you could persuade the bank or VCs or the government or a charity to fund you, but they all have goals a bit different from yours and figuring out how to persuade them is not always straightforward. Likewise if you have to hire people to build it, then you’ve got to persuade them that they want to be working on it, and get them to actually do the job properly. Also getting the land, getting planning permission, avoiding getting blocked by protestors (or, failing that, removing them from the site), and other difficulties that come under the general heading of “other people”.

            It may be that there’s one design of bridge, a bit complicated and novel maybe, that would be just ideal as a solo effort, but good luck persuading people to fund it or build it or not mess things up when building it, and another design that’s less good from a purely mechanical standpoint but which fits in better with other people’s goals, understandings and systems of justifications.

            All of the Stage 5 stuff, AFAICT, is working out how to interact with other people, either to figure out that the second bridge is a better bet in practise because people are annoying like that, or how to put the arguments for the first bridge in terms that they will understand and accept. For some people those terms will include “you’re outvoted” or “I’m paying good money for this you know”; working with those involves working out how to interact with their understandings of democracy and economics.

            TLDR – concerns about other people are very different to other sorts of concerns and often can’t usefully be modelled as “just another engineering concern”.

            One of the things that makes me skeptical of the whole stage thing is that it seems that being the only Stage 5 reasoner in a situation full of Stage 4 reasoners – or the only Stage 4 reasoner in a situation full of Stage 3 reasoners – seems like being the only person with a fax machine.

          • Anonymous says:

            @Nadia R.

            >class oppression is obviously bad

            Class oppression is obviously good.

            Consider your own body, systems are in control of each other. The immune system oppresses and keeps everyone in control. People no longer have reproductive rights, the Seeders handling this for everyone. Sometimes the systems in lesser levels revolt, sometimes its even cancer and sometimes they have pretty good reasons for doing this, yet class opression remains necessary.

            In the world its the same thing if we want a highly hierarchical and specialized superorganism with no infighting and a sense of divine righteousness (And we obviously do!)

            Ideally we want the lower classes to become p-zombies and useful workers.

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            “In the example, class oppression is obviously bad but not obviously relevant to occupational licensing.”

            But you don’t show that. And if you did have evidence to show that, you wouldn’t need to frame of class oppression; screwing over poor people for personal gain doesn’t really need a systematic view in order to attack.

            “I don’t think I understand, but thank god I do not.”

            I’m saying making political judgments is completely irrelevant for most people and this almost certainly includes people reading Chapman’s post.

            “All these tasks will require looking through the same phenomenon through multiple lenses. ”

            I’m going to assume you mean ‘do well’; otherwise you would be implying all political decision makers ever have been stage 5.

            And I’m not seeing why c/b ratio is not a good way to look at decision making. It isn’t good for coalition building, but coalition building is noticeably bad at making coherent policy.

            “Figuring out your goal is the whole game. We all want to do what is good, and finding a system to support a concrete description of the good is a mostly mechanical process ”

            People accept that charity helps people not die. People do not give as much as they can to charity. There is zero reason to believe ‘do good’ is what people’s goals are.

            @ Peter
            “concerns about other people are very different to other sorts of concerns and often can’t usefully be modelled as “just another engineering concern”.”

            I hate to be snarky, but it sounds like Chapman just reinvented empathy. We should care what other people are thinking in order to figure out the best way to get them to do what we want is not a novel insight; salesmanship is all about that.

          • “People accept that charity helps people not die. People do not give as much as they can to charity. There is zero reason to believe ‘do good’ is what people’s goals are.”

            I think a lot of people have a goal of doing good. They don’t have a goal of doing as much good as possible.

          • Peter says:

            @Anonymous:

            Your choice of metaphor is interesting. By and large my immune system is meant to leave the bits of me that are actually me alone. I mean, it should round up and deal with virus particles and other uninvited guests as the virus particles that they are, but when it starts deciding that some of my tissues are targets, well, that’s an autoimmune disorder you’re talking about.

            (I’m not entirely sure how going to the doctor for a packet of immunosuppressant pills fits into the metaphor, but it’s amusing to think about.)

            @Samuel Skinner – I think it’s a little more nuanced than that. Stage 3 gets described as running more or less entirely on empathy, but relies on being in fairly closed communities full of people similar enough to you to be easy to empathise with, and a safe distance from those freaky others who are hard to empathise with. The parody-oversimplified version of Stage 4 is “who needs empathy when you’ve got systems?”. Which would make Stage 5 “being able to empathise effectively with people with other systems”.

          • Nadia R. says:

            @Peter, I really like your half-phrase summary. (For those reading uncharitably, I mean, in the space of half-phrases, @Peter has a good summary. There are better, longer summaries.)

            I now see my foolishness in bringing class oppression into this. Apparently it is not so cut and dried.

            @Samuel is totally correct that most people do not make politics, and should not. An increase in the complexity of one’s mental models is mostly useful in resolving relationship disputes, better understanding oneself, and in living a more fulfilling life. It’s hard to bring up instantly-recognizable examples from these topics, since everyone’s lives are so different. I’d recommend Kegan’s “In Over Our Heads”, though, where he has some compelling vingettes of the Stage 3/Stage 4 distinction.

            Re doing good: it was a mistake to bring this up. There is general agreement on which goals are net positive. There is general consensus that personal kindness, charity, and gratitude are good things to cultivate. To a large extent, interpersonal morality is well understood by adolescence, and even traditional societies have mostly the same ones as us. Systematic morality, like how to relate to your boss or that charity does good to people you’ve never met but is still a moral imperative, is more complex, and often requires a systematic mindset (“He’s not being mean to me by assigning me this task, he’s trying to help me grow into a management role.”).

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            “I think a lot of people have a goal of doing good. They don’t have a goal of doing as much good as possible.”

            It doesn’t even have to be ‘as much as possible’. There are people who don’t give any charity.

            “An increase in the complexity of one’s mental models is mostly useful in resolving relationship disputes, better understanding oneself, and in living a more fulfilling life. ”

            The problem I’m having is stage 5 is described as
            -after stage 4
            -requiring stage 4

            I’m pretty sure a large number of people have managed to pull of stage 5. Modeling how other people work is something people are really good at. People are capable of going to different countries or cultures, figuring out the new rules and working within them.

            It is really weird that Chapman is talking about the necessity of having people in stage 5 to keep society running when it appears that what he is describing is something that is pervasive.

        • Thanks for the thoughtful reply and the interesting comments that it provoked. I’m actually at least a little familiar with postmodernist writers, including a little Focault, though I admit it was from a while back. At the time I rejected it because of what I felt was fallacious reasoning in its main themes. I’ll just also mention for others that I’ll ignore the idea “that’s normal thinking for level 4” as rhetorical and fallacious in its implication.

          I can definitely relate to your example. I too look at left and right wing thought in a very similar way, though I do believe the left has it mostly correct on value of the environment. I absolutely love turning over left, centre and right wing ideologies over in my head, rejecting bits or combining them. Part of that is basically agreeing with Scott’s main idea that a lot of it is tribal/factional BS. So perhaps I am in some sort of unexpected way using “fluid” thinking without knowing it.

          Having read people’s interesting comments here though, I’m still very concerned that the criteria on which the ideologies, which are now supposed to be considered not so much fallible but relative are being deployed either on an aesthetic, emotional, or unspoken (secret? hidden?) basis, because ultimately you still have to choose the context in which each system gets deployed or doesn’t. I cannot accept aesthetics as the criteria, because ultimately systems of reason are unnecessary to aesthetics – I feel it effectively amounts to just doing what you aesthetically feel like and deploying a sophisticated justification from your toolkit after the fact.

          Edit> This article I wrote some time ago would best illustrate why I consider truth-seeking superior to the ad-hoc tool approach. It’s also the main trouble I have with the LW approach to rationality.

          • Anonymous says:

            What are your non aesthetic, emotional, unspoken, secret etc. values?

            Please don’t answer with complex “values” which are rationalizations of good ways to execute your base values.

            There is simply no way for anybody to justify this.

          • Well it’s not just values that determines the system you deploy, its epistemology, which absolutely ought not to be just subjective preference. And while I appreciate your reference is-ought problem, I kind of think its solvable in certain ways, and I’d also add some systems of values are more internally consistent than others. So I think there’s much value on that being explicit and logically discussed.

          • ssica3003 says:

            Yes, if I may rephrase that last part:
            “What criteria are people using to judge which systems to use / move between”?

            Presumably one still has to have a ‘system’ of deciding which system to use! A meta-system. You fear it is a system with certain kinds of criteria that are not acceptable.

            I like this question and I don’t know the answer.

            But, Chapman’s post was all about not skipping through stage 4. I *want* to say that if a person is coming from rationality, they are less likely to use emotional or ‘gut’ feelings to decide on systems unawares, their rational training is still all there in their head.

            I’m tempted to say: experience? Even trial and error? Pattern-matching? These may be seen as less good than chance by rationality. But sometimes old, rejected ways of doing things come back into play as I mature.

            Example: I used to be honest, because I didn’t know about lying. Then I realised life is a human game of lies and half truths so I did that. Now I’m all the way back round to unlearning all the ‘games’ and being brutally honest again, but with a much more mature awareness this time round.

            So is it plausible to see a series of systems that are more useful than they are true and say: this system worked well in these situations but I was stumped in this one place, so what system do I know matches it? And it’s just a pattern criteria: this problem is emotional, let’s use an emotional system?

            Perhaps it’s theoretically trying ALL systems one knows on one scenario to see how different things play out and compare the results. That still leaves you with a decision about which to use, and therefore a hidden agenda / set of criteria needed to make the decision. Argh!

            Well, some of the descriptions of system 5 imply that, however you make the decision, you feel kind of chilled about it because you know there is no right answer anyway and we should be all jogging on with making meaning for ourselves despite that knowledge.

          • Nadia R. says:

            I think the question of how to know which system to apply is a challenging one that there is not yet a developed answer to. Humanity has several centuries of experience understanding systematic thought (Stage 4 / modernity / adulthood). We have less than a century critiquing it, and probably a few decades of trying to reach something beyond it. That said, just as at one point you likely realized that some of the norms you were taught as a child were incorrect or no longer applicable, and started to change your norms to fit a logic that made sense to you, you can start learning different systems that can organize aspects of the world and then you will start to notice relationships between them.

            As the daughter of Russian parents, for example, it took me a while to realize that being a good Russian woman was not too much like being a good American woman. Changing my mishmash of womanhood norms to fit the logic of American gender norms helped me make sense of my behavior and the behavior of others. Note that both notions of womanhood are sensible and have an internal logic of their own. But moving to a systematic understanding of my gender role improved on my adolescent, confused understanding, and gave me more confidence and control of this part of my life. This is like a Stage 3→4 transition in my understanding of gender norms.

            A Stage 4→5 would then be learning about different systems for organizing genders, that different people might be using. (For example, men and women in the US have starkly different understandings of how the genders are organized, as do liberals and conservatives, or the working and upper-middle classes.) By understanding the interrelations of multiple systems of womanhood, I would gain (I hope) a greater understanding of what my womanhood and gender presentation means.

            (I can’t imagine gender will be less explosive than morality on this blog—but I’d rather not talk much about my life on a more personal level.)

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            “I think the question of how to know which system to apply is a challenging one that there is not yet a developed answer to.”

            ?

            If it is “is this true about the external world”, use the stuff we use to figure that out. Evidence, logic, reason, science- the well known stuff.

            If it is dealing with people, I’m pretty sure that is anti-inductive. If norms have any function as gatekeeping (er, you need to learn the norms so members now you have an investment in the group), they will be hard for outsiders to easily parse without substantial time investment.

      • ADifferentAnonymous says:

        I’m also very skeptical of these stages. But the one thing I’ve experienced that might count as a 4-> 5 transition was a big realization that I was acting like reality ‘had to’ follow my preferred system, and that I should stop doing that. As far as I can tell I haven’t fallen into that trap the same way again.

        But if I’m S5 now, I’m an odd one, because all of your objections to S5 seem right on. Nor do I feel any nihilistic 4.5 tendencies.

        • Nadia R says:

          Unlike Scott’s summary of Chapman’s summary of Kegan, Kegan himself writes that this transition happens neither in “one big step” nor quickly. The “big realization” you describe is one step along a longer journey.

    • Nadia R. says:

      A quick essay I wrote outlining intellectual history in the large, in case you like perspective on what Chapman writes. I tried to keep out jargon:

      http://nadiarodinskaya.tumblr.com/post/144183028084/intellectual-history-in-brief

      • Viliam says:

        Artistic beauty, culinary taste, or musical preference has proven difficult to ground in ultimate values (though people have tried!). Scientists have ground the stuff of the world into the smallest bits and have failed to find particles of justice, morality, beauty, honesty, or cleverness, and attempts to ground one meaning in another—honesty in truth, morality in value, beauty in honesty—fail to capture the rich nuance of the meaning being explained away.

        Well, if “level 4” is supposed to be like this, then I would say that LessWrong-style rationality is already “level 5”. However, when I am reading something about “post-rationality”, I usually get the impression that those people consider LessWrong-style rationality “level 4”, and themselves “level 5”; I think they sometimes say it explicitly.

        Therefore, my impression is that the main purpose of “post-rationality” is to make a strawman of others, and feel superior to them. (Of course, this is probably something that only a stupid person at level 4 would say.)

        • anosognosic says:

          I actually think that the LW diaspora is a giant, uncoordinated L4-L5 bridge.

          LW used to be pretty L4: Bayesianism was often taken to be a workable meta-system, it was often assumed that rationality would yield answers to most or all of the big questions, EY declared a lot of longstanding philosophical questions solved, and the discourse tended to be pretty New-Atheisty.

          But we’ve moved on from that as a community! Bayesianism has largely been deemphasized as a philosophical superstructure to merely a very useful tool. The atheist-liberal-libertarian-simple-truth core has splintered into a panoply of beliefs and political ideologies that are at least listening to each other. I see a lot of postmodern methods being introduced into our discourse alongside Sequences-style rationality. And in all this, my feeling is that we’re as a community generally mastering the skill of being ironic and self-reflectively ideological, which is what Level 5 is all about.

          (I like to think the seeds of this were in the Sequences themselves, or at least what we chose to emphasize in them. If I ever have time, I’ll try to dig into that history and trace some coherent intellectual line between then and now.)

          And I’m actually kind of excited about where all this is headed, because I feel like this is a pretty productive place to be in as a community.

          • Nadia R. says:

            Agreed. Old-style LW was very focused on (specific formal) rationality as the ultimate truth—Bayesianism, utilitarianism, many worlds (‽). More recently members of LW have been moving to understanding some of the flaws of this view.

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            “The atheist-liberal-libertarian-simple-truth core has splintered into a panoply of beliefs and political ideologies that are at least listening to each other.”

            Wait, people have started accepting supernaturalism? That sounds pretty bad.

          • anodognosic says:

            Dude, Leah Libresco converted to Catholicism like six years ago. Get with the program.

          • Samuel Skinner says:

            “Dude, Leah Libresco converted to Catholicism like six years ago. Get with the program.”

            I was never a member of Less Wrong. I do not know about your crazy little dramas.

            “But we’ve moved on from that as a community! ”

            That implies an improvement. What you described… isn’t.

      • ssica3003 says:

        Loved this essay, thank you Nadia. I’d like to be in touch on this topic, if interested, I’m @ssica3003 on Twitter.

        • Nadia R. says:

          I don’t do Twitter (I never got with the program!) but I sent you an email, @ssica3003.

  18. cassander says:

    >This seems unbelievable to me, so I challenge readers to tell me how to reconcile my perceptions with the data: of all candidates (including Trump) , Hillary Clinton has received the most negative media coverage.

    Complicated statistical analysis on Vox proving things the writers want to believe? Should be presumed false or misleading until very strong evidence is provided to the contrary.

  19. cassander says:

    >Can anybody explain whether this image (apparently derived from here?) contradicts or even reverses the narrative that Democrats have stayed pretty normal but Republicans have become much more extreme?

    Looking at the issues in question tells you a lot more than statistical models. 4 years ago, Obama and Hillary were against gay marriage. Today, that position is routinely derided as extreme right wing. Hillarycare was rejected by a democratic senate in 92 for being too left wing, the entire democratic party supported the largely similar ACA in 2009. With the exception of gun control, there’s not a single issue on which the republican party is to the right of where it was in, say, 1994. There are many issues where democrats are far to the left.

    • Edward Scizorhands says:

      It all depends on which issues you use to measure left-wing and right-wing.

      The right has become outright hostile to racism among its own during my lifetime. The left has decided that taxes on middle-class people are bad.

    • Anon Ymous says:

      The ACA is not particularly like what Hillary Clinton proposed in ’92. Arguably the ACA is far more like what the Heritage Foundation (a conservative think tank) proposed in ’92 (source). It’s also more like what Mitt Romney passed in Massachusettes in the ’06 (source: Mitt Romney himself admitted that without Romneycare we probably never would have had Obamacare. Sorry for the ironic Boston Globe link, but I prefer to provide the original source for things).

      As for whether the Republican party has gotten more conservative about anything, I would refer you to the actual actions of Ronald Reagan. He sometimes raised taxes. He granted amnesty to illegal immigrants. After US troops were attacked abroad, he withdrew from the country. Could you see Republicans supporting those actions today, much less revering the author of them the way they do Reagan? Of course, this was before the ’94 cutoff in your post, but it’s not like these are from a different generation or something like that.

      • cassander says:

        >Arguably the ACA is far more like what the Heritage Foundation (a conservative think tank) proposed in ’92

        No, it isn’t. The heritage plan involved zero new spending. the ACA spends 100 billion a year. the heritage plan did not require illusory cuts to medicare to make the books come out, the ACA does. the heritage plan did not have an employer mandate, it actually blew up the group market entirely, the ACA has an employer mandate. Read up on Hillary’s plan. The language is somewhat different, but the plan is essentially the same, heavily subsidized and mandated insurance, organized regionally, with a maximum focus on expanding access. The only thing it lacked was the medicare expansion, and the ACA only had that because it made the numbers look better.

        >It’s also more like what Mitt Romney passed in Massachusettes in the ’06

        that was passed over romney’s veto by the most left wing legislature in the country. calling it romney’s plan, even though romney himself did, is inaccurate.

        > He sometimes raised taxes.

        Reagan passed 5 major tax bills in his first 6 years in office, the net effect of which was either revenue neutral or a slight lowering of tax rates. it makes no sense to take one of those bills in isolation, unless one is trying to cherry pick evidence.

        >He granted amnesty to illegal immigrants

        Yep, he teamed up with democrats to pass a bill doing that over the objections of a wing of the republican party. And that’s exactly what Bush tried, what mccain and the gang of 8 tried, and what romney promised. The difference is that there are fewer democrats around today, not that republicans have moved right.

        > After US troops were attacked abroad, he withdrew from the country. Could you see Republicans supporting those actions today, much less revering the author of them the way they do Reagan?

        When you’d described them more neutrally, yes, absolutely.

    • Julie K says:

      It looks to me like first the Democrats moved to the left, and afterwards the Republicans moved to the right. Perhaps the latter shift is more recognized because it is more recent.

  20. Alyssa Vance says:

    “An argument against denser zoning in San Francisco good enough to get featured on Marginal Revolution???”

    Tim Redmond is very intellectually dishonest, and any numbers from his blog should be treated as guilty until proven innocent. (I suspect Tyler Cowen posts so many links that he doesn’t have time to fact-check everything.) Eg., a few years back, there were a bunch of headlines that half of San Francisco’s new condos were being used as “second homes” by the wealthy, ie. no one was living in them. This came from an analysis by Redmond where he explicitly didn’t account for condos owned by one person, and rented out to another. Two thirds of San Francisco households rent rather than own, so this is almost certainly a large fraction. He then tries to sweep this under the rug by using cherry-picked examples to scapegoat AirBnB. Credible estimates of the number of San Francisco housing units taken off the market by AirBnB are in the hundreds to low thousands, ie. on the order of tenths of a percent of the city’s housing stock (cite).

    A number of commenters on MR pointed out the most obvious dishonesty – saying that San Francisco was “dense” by only comparing to cities in the US (which is unusually sprawly) and especially the western US (which is even more sprawly), and also ignoring that only ~10% of the Bay Area lives in San Francisco proper, which artificially raises the density when you compare SF to cities whose city limits include all the surrounding suburbs. But I’d bet at very good odds that the other numbers are wildly misrepresented too.

    There is a ton of “credible evidence” that building more and loosening development restrictions will lower prices. For a brief overview, I recommend this report by Jason Furman, chief economic adviser to President Obama. I’m sure Redmond has seen this evidence, he just doesn’t want to believe it, like creationists or anti-vaxxers. Just as creationists believe that all evidence for evolution was planted by the nefarious Big Science conspiracy, and anti-vaxxers believe that all the evidence was planted by the nefarious Big Pharma conspiracy, any evidence against zoning is planted by the Big Real Estate and Big Tech conspiracies.

    • meyerkev248 says:

      It just seems strange to me that “We’ll have 3 jobs for every housing unit on the Peninsula with a grand total of 2 3-lane bridges leading to the place with more houses” + “Wow, not even rich people can afford to live here anymore” doesn’t immediately make everyone go “For the love of…, build more housing on this side of the bridge, DUH!”

      I totally get the “We don’t want our neighborhood to change” argument, but then you either need to get rid of jobs or add some serious infrastructure to move people to the jobs from the place where you’re making them live 40 miles out.

      /in practice, the traffic is causing the Bay Area to split into many chunks, because you can’t get there from here on a Thursday evening.
      //My particular rage at this may be caused by my office moving to Palo Alto, and the resulting 70 minute commute when I’m on the Peninsula.

      • Matt says:

        I totally get the “We don’t want our neighborhood to change” argument, but then you either need to get rid of jobs or add some serious infrastructure to move people to the jobs from the place where you’re making them live 40 miles out.

        This is yet another reason our system of land ownership is bullshit. People regard land as they do a house or a car or any other item: it’s theirs to do with as they will. But land simply isn’t that way. The land parcels, taken together, make up San Francisco, which is a portion of California, which is a portion of the United States. Unlike houses or cars or other property, that land was not created by anyone, but simply claimed by the US. Ultimately, all of the land of the US is held by force by the population of the US, and is subject to the rules of that population. Land ownership is an expedience; it’s a means to make fixed improvements possible. But the land should ultimately be regarded as something that is to benefit all citizens. This idea that the land is “their” land, and that their preferences should trump the well-being of their fellow citizens is simply ridiculous.

        • Jiro says:

          By thios reasoning, nobody should have the right to own raw materials either. Or charge money for electrical power.

          Of course you could say that electrons in their natural form aren’t much use and people must work to get them into a form that is useful, but the same is true for land.

  21. Will Whitney says:

    Sometimes it seems like technologies only have two possible modes – stagnant for decades, or doubling every eighteen months.

    Theory: Change in annual societal investment in a field is directly proportional to the amount of recent success in that field, minus a baseline corresponding to the average rate of return over all fields. And also, suppose the amount of recent success in a field is proportional to the (total) amount of annual investment.

    This corresponds to the standard exponential-growth ẋ = ax formula.

    Under that model, there are fields of study (perhaps a lot of them!) which produce about the mean return, and grow or shrink slowly for a long time. There are fields which underperform, and shrink very fast. And there are fields which outperform, receive an amount of investment which saturates their ability to grow, and double as fast as you can hire/train new people and ship things around the world.

  22. duckofdeath says:

    Possible explanations for the Vox article from a quick skim
    1. The article seems to be looking at what percentage of media coverage is positive or negative rather than absolute numbers. It’s possible that the absolute amount of negative coverage trump gets is larger than clintons.
    2. The data gather starts in January 2015, long after it was clear that Clinton planned to run but significantly before it was clear that Trump running for president was anything other than a joke (back when the most likely republican nominee was considered to be JEB, who isn’t even on this list). Clinton likely had a significant period in early 2015 in which near-100% of republican media’s political energy was spent on attacking her.
    3. The article is only talking about internet media, an area that, at least according to the common wisdom, is dominated by Sanders supporters who have likely focused their ire on Clinton more than Trump. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump supporters were also disproportionately powerful on the internet relative to other right-wingers.
    4. The controversy with Clinton’s emails and some of the Benghazi stuff would be caught within the timeframe of the study, almost all articles on that would probably count as negative press coverage of clinton.

    • Jill says:

      Benghazi and the email thing have been covered incessantly by Right Wing radio, TV, and Internet sites– and by Right Wing pundits and writers on whatever Center or Left Wing news shows or publications would allow them to appear or write an article. And always with a very strong presumption of guilt and strong anti-Hillary bias.

      Negative political ads work. And being far more goal oriented than Dems, the GOP uses anything that works to attain their goals. The only reason Hillary is doing well in polls and primaries still is because a lot of people do not believe the heavily biased Right Wing media or heavily biased Right Wing pundits or writers.

      They successfully Swift Boated Kerry, and they are trying to do the same sort of thing to Hillary.

      • CatCube says:

        The “presumption of guilt” for Clinton’s e-mail server comes from the observation that any peon who did what she did would be sitting in jail right now, based on just the information that’s been made public.

        I knew a captain in our brigade who inadvertently sent out an e-mail on an unclassified system with a PowerPoint slideshow that had a classified map in one of the images. The (US Government-owned) BlackBerries and hard drives off all the recipients were gathered up and destroyed and the captain got his career wrecked. BTW, that was with information from a SECRET system. Compare that to building a goddamn privately owned server shot through with TOP SECRET//SCI information.

        • Josh says:

          Seriously. Anyone who’s ever worked a DoD job, even as a contractor, knows how seriously that stuff is taken.

          Unless your name is Hillary Clinton, in which case it appears they’re going to sandbag the investigation until she can become President and pardon herself.

          • j r says:

            Probably has less to do with her name than with the title “Secretary of State” that preceded her name.

            The people at the top will always find a way to increasingly force compliance below while finding new ways to get around those new rules themselves.

          • Held in Escrow says:

            This sort of thing happened with the heads of basically every government agency since the Bush years so no, you’re totally wrong on this one

          • Anonymous says:

            No one that ever worked for a DoD job, even as a contractor, was going to vote for Hillary Clinton anyway. They are still bitter her husband cut the gravy train in the 90s.

          • Vorkon says:

            @Held in Escrow

            What on earth are you talking about?

            CatCube and Josh are 100% correct, and I can throw another data point in their favor. Anyone who has ever worked with classified material knows that anyone without the sort of political clout Hillary has can, and would, go to jail for this.

            Do you just mean that, like j r said, it’s not because it’s Hillary, but that anyone in as high a position as Secretary of State would get special treatment? Fine, I’ll grant you that, but the fact remains that even if there have been a couple minor, accidental infractions here and there which have been covered up well enough that I’ve never heard of them, NO ONE not named “Snowden” or “Manning” has mishandled classified information on this scale in recent memory. The amount of hedging you would need to do to say “this sort of thing” happened all the time is mind-boggling.

            You can argue that people are making a bigger deal out of it than it really deserves. I might even be with you on that; overclassification is a real problem, and I know people like the captain in CatCube’s example who have gotten slammed for similar things, who deserved better. But to say that those things don’t happen is willfully ignorant, at best.

            I hope I’m misunderstanding you.

          • Hlynkacg says:

            This sort of thing happened with the heads of basically every government agency since the Bush years so no, you’re totally wrong on this one.

            That the current rules were implemented after Powell left, and the fact that Petreaus lost his job for what was a comparatively innocuous violation seems like strong evidence against this being the case.

            As Vorkon says; no one not named “Snowden” or “Manning” has mishandled classified information on this scale in recent memory. Spinning it as “not a big deal” or “something that happens all the time” is a pretty big pill to swallow.

            @anon,
            They may be bitter, but that’s not what they’re bitter about.

          • Held in Escrow says:

            As in “I have personally talked with people in the SES who yell at their political appointee heads of agency not to do this yet they do it anyways.” Private email servers where you keep all your shit, classified or not were really common and the fact that Congress kept pulling Hillary up for it is what finally got these people to stop.

            Having your own email server to handle this sort of thing has been considered to be no big deal; it’s hugely different from purposefully leaking documents or otherwise being loose lipped with them.

            You can say that the heads of agencies shouldn’t do dumb shit like this and I agree. But it’s a totally different ballgame from Manning or Petraus. You get busted for actively giving away secrets, not for failing to uphold best practices.

          • Vorkon says:

            @Held in Escrow

            Okay, I guess that makes a bit more sense. So, to ensure clarity, you are basically agreeing with j r that it’s not so much the fact that it’s Hillary, as the fact that anyone in such a high position could get away with it?

            Still, even if that’s true, it definitely does not follow that CatCube and Josh are “totally wrong.” Sure, maybe it’s possible that heads of entire government agencies can get away with it. But anybody who is not the head of an agency knows damn well that they’d end up in jail if they were caught doing the same thing. Even the people you’re talking about seem to understand, now that Hillary has been caught, that they can’t get away with it anymore, and by your own admission, have stopped.

            I’m also uncertain, just based on the information you’ve provided, just how widespread it was. Sorry to sound accusatory, or anything; I’m sure people in high positions have told you things to that effect. But I’m not sure there isn’t a bit of a telephone effect going on here: they may be talking about yelling at people for something similar, but not as extreme, as what Hillary did, such as storing backups of old emails on their personal computer, or having emails automatically forwarded to a civilian email account as soon as they arrive (which, admittedly, is probably an even bigger security concern than what Hillary did, but easier to pass off as just not knowing any better. Plus it definitely was pretty widespread, and they started clamping down on that long before the thing with Hillary ever came to light.) It would also be important to note just which agencies you’re talking about, here: This would be a much bigger deal in a law enforcement, military, or diplomatic position, for example, than in a lot of others. More importantly, it’s hard for me to imagine how even someone in an SES position would be in a position to know that multiple people were doing this. They might have known about their own head of agency’s private email server, and may have extrapolated that other people are doing it, but how would they know for certain about any others? If it was really as widespread as you are saying, it’s hard for me to imagine how no one was ever caught doing it.

            That might be naïve of me to say; after all, in order for them to be caught doing it, there needs to be someone who is actually interested in catching them, and at those levels of power that pretty much means “your political enemies,” from whom it is pretty easy to hide such things. Maybe it was really was as widespread as you say. But such a situation doesn’t seem to jive with my own experiences. (Experiences which, I’ll admit, have mostly involved lower ranked individuals, but that doesn’t invalidate my central point: That what CatCube and Josh said is true, and should not be dismissed.)

            Either way, I take issue with you framing it as “failing to uphold best practices,” rather than “getting away with a crime because people can’t or won’t enforce it.” But even if that is how you want to describe it, people can, and do, get busted for failing to uphold best practices. Just not people like Hillary.

        • Earthly Knight says:

          Is there yet good evidence that Clinton sent emails which were classified at the time at which she sent them? As of September 10, 2015, there was not.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            Still no indication that the contents of the email were classified.

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            If I mailed a bomb through the USPS, it would be nuts to scream “well, it wasn’t labelled as a mail bomb until someone else did that!”

            The State Department has said that many emails on the system, some authored by Clinton, should have been marked classified based on knowledge at the time.

            This isn’t Fox News saying it. This is the State Department saying it.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            If I mailed a bomb through the USPS, it would be nuts to scream “well, it wasn’t labelled as a mail bomb until someone else did that!”

            Sending a bomb through the mail is itself a crime. Sending emails which contain material that is later marked classified is not (if it were, it would mean that actions could be criminalized ex post facto, which the constitution forbids).

            The State Department has said that many emails on the system, some authored by Clinton, should have been marked classified based on knowledge at the time.

            Do you have a source for this?

            Look, it may be that, even if Hillary never sent emails containing material which was classified when she sent them, she is still guilty of some lesser offense. Maybe she was criminally negligent in unsecurely transmitting information which should have been marked classified and which she ought to have known should have been marked classified. This is something for the investigation to turn up, though.

          • Teal says:

            Isn’t the SoS the original classifying authority for the State Department?

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            Sending emails which contain material that is later marked classified is not

            The State Department said it should have been classified. Not “on retrospect, we should have classified this.” But rather “this should have been classified at the time.”

            The best reporting of this has consistently been the Washington Post. Here is their long-form story: https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/how-clintons-email-scandal-took-root/2016/03/27/ee301168-e162-11e5-846c-10191d1fc4ec_story.html

            You can ^F for “These emails were not retro­actively classified by the State Department”. It’s a pretty direct reputation of this frankly insulting dodge.

          • John Schilling says:

            Sending a bomb through the mail is itself a crime. Sending emails which contain material that is later marked classified is not

            Sending emails which contain material that is later marked classified may or may not be a crime, depending on factors like whether or not the material is classified at the time (and at what level), and whether or not the sender knows that.

            Material doesn’t need to be marked classified, to actually be for-real, throw-your-sorry-ass-in-jail-if-you-leak-it classified. And when somebody is being this carefully strategic with their denials or defenses, well, if the question is “did you have sex with that woman?” and the answer is “I did not have vaginal intercourse with that woman”, somebody was getting a blow job.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            @Edward Scizorhands

            This is discussed in the Politifact article:

            “As for emails turned over and reviewed so far, there’s some interagency squabbling that makes it confusing to sort out what is classified and what is not. Independent inspectors general have said her emails contain some classified intelligence community information, but Clinton’s campaign and the State Department dispute those findings — saying the information was not classified.

            Government agencies regularly disagree over what should be classified or not, and transparency advocates say the government overclassifies. (We talked about this at length in a previous article.) It means, though, that the inspectors general’s findings are not definitive proof that Clinton’s server contained classified information.”

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            but Clinton’s campaign and the State Department dispute those findings — saying the information was not classified.

            I was quoting the Inspector General for the State Department. He says they were classified. He signed his name to it.

            https://oig.state.gov/system/files/statement_of_the_icig_and_oig_regarding_review_of_clintons_emails_july_24_2015.pdf

            But, I guess, if the Clinton campaign disagrees, that’s reasonable doubt, right?

          • Earthly Knight says:

            You said:

            The State Department has said that many emails on the system, some authored by Clinton, should have been marked classified based on knowledge at the time.

            Politifact says:

            “Independent inspectors general have said her emails contain some classified intelligence community information, but Clinton’s campaign and the State Department dispute those findings — saying the information was not classified.”

          • Edward Scizorhands says:

            I’m quoting a primary source. You are quoting a secondary source.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            The problem is not that our sources conflict. The problem is that you’re attributing to the State Department the opinion of the State Department’s inspector general. The State Department itself, in fact, backs Clinton, maintaining that the contents of her emails should not have been classified at the time. The inspector general disagrees. But if there is ongoing inter- or intra-agency debate about whether the contents of her emails should have been classified, it will be very hard to prove that (1) Clinton transmitted material which should have been classified and (2) Clinton ought to have known that it should have been classified. That’s why an investigation is needed.

        • new anon says:

          Even worse, there was also SAP. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/20/us/politics/hillary-clinton-email-said-to-include-material-exceeding-top-secret.html

          I’ve witnessed people’s clearances revoked, escorted out of the building, and blacklisted from ever coming near intel again for way less.

        • Teal says:

          And yet the IC mouthpeice lawfareblog considers Trump a disaster. They have an open invitation for anyone to make the national security case for him, that no one has seen fit to take up.

          https://www.lawfareblog.com/will-anyone-make-national-security-case-donald-trump

          This must be a tough year for the spooks.

        • Tyrant Overlord Killidia says:

          “I knew a captain…”

          Well, there’s your problem right there. I know lieutenant colonels who drove drunk and rolled their cars and only got a slap on the wrist.

      • The_Dancing_Judge says:

        hehe always strange to find a straight up conservative or liberal on SSC. SSC has a rep for deatheaters, socialists, and libertarians that i welcome some good ole non-ironic partyism.

      • Randy M says:

        Do you mean to imply that the media on net is heavily biased right, or that just the portion that is heavily biased is unbelieved?

      • Walter says:

        As a republican myself, I swear to you that describing us as “far more goal oriented” is hilarious. Like, I wish.

    • Richard Gadsden says:

      The article makes no assessment of the intensity of the sentiment.

      Negative articles about Trump can be very very negative; negative articles about Clinton can be pretty mild.

    • Protagoras says:

      Thanks. I thought your 1 was most likely the explanation (the linked article claims Clinton got more unfavorable articles, but then shows data with just percentages, which suggests that the writer of the article was confused). But the other items you mention sound like plausible contributors as well.

  23. Thursday says:

    RE: Moldbug

    It is extremely interesting that when it comes to its piece on reaction, Vox focuses so much on some obscure technocrat like Curtis Yarvin. In the real world, people tend to rally around things like ancestry, language and religion, not technical rejiggering of the political machinery. If we ever get a serious reaction against the current liberal order, its not likely to look to the likes of Yarvin for its inspiration.

    My guess is that Vox technocrats can sort of understand a fellow technocrat. Plus, Yarvin does have some followers in Silocon Valley. Still, this is a mistake similar to judging the popularity of libertarianism by the number of libertarians you find on the web.

    • Wrong Species says:

      You don’t think it’s significant that he basically founded the movement? Intellectuals matter. The famous Keynes quote about economics comes to mind but can applied to other academics:

      “Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

      • Thursday says:

        He hasn’t founded anything, and his importance in the broader alt right is negligible.

        • Wrong Species says:

          Are you serious? He didn’t found the alt-right but he founded techno-commercialism and the movement which shall not be named. People like Nick Land talk about him all the time.

          • Thursday says:

            Any “movements” that Moldbug has founded consist of a few guys on the interwebs, a couple of Silicon Valley entrepeneurs and maybe and eccentric academic or two. Compare that with traditional religious or nationalist reaction and it’s nothing.

          • Wrong Species says:

            Regardless of how influential he is or might be, your original statement(“He hasn’t founded anything”) is straight up wrong.

          • Thursday says:

            Now you’re just quibbling about the meaning of the word “anything.” Given the extremely negligible impact of Moldbug, I’m comfortable with my usage.

      • stillnotking says:

        It is significant that Moldbug founded the movement, but movements take on lives of their own. Just look at Moldbug’s and Carlyle’s bête noire, the French Revolution.

        If the alt-right becomes a significant political force, its leaders will be a lot more like Trump than like Moldbug, whatever intellectual debt they owe the latter.

        • Thursday says:

          People exaggerate Moldbug because he’s the one figure that a few Silicon Valley types have glommed onto, but he’s really nothing. Traditional reactionary thinking, based around religion and ancestry, has been around forever, is far more influential, and will continue to be far more influential. Do you think the LePenistes or the Sweden Democrats or the AfD have taken any inspiration from Moldbug? Do they need it? I doubt any American version of the same will take notice of him either.

          • Anon. says:

            Can SD or FN really be said to be reactionary in any way? Their platform is essentially “social democracy status quo, but with slightly fewer immigrants”.

            Just take a look at SD’s website..

            Growth is essential to sustain our prosperity, but must be balanced against the important social values ​​such as public health, heritage, environment, social equity and national sovereignty.

            Social equity!

            The tax may not be so low as to endanger the state’s ability to protect vulnerable groups

            Clicking around you can read about their support for animal welfare, environmentalist energy policies, etc.

            If this is “reaction”, “reaction” is meaningless.

          • Thursday says:

            You’ve been confused by the heavy libertarian influence on the Anglosphere right. Ideas like the ingroup taking care of its own, the sacredness of the land etc. are all perfectly compatible with reactionary politics.

          • Anon. says:

            What are they reacting against, exactly, if all the progressive values (except immigration) are “perfectly compatible”?

            In any case, any political categorization that groups Moldbug and social democrats under the same label is simply not very good.

          • Thursday says:

            They’re also more conservative on abortion, gay rights etc. Cultural issues generally.

    • Wrong Species says:

      Have you never heard of Karl Marx?

      • Thursday says:

        Human beings tend to have a pretty strong leveling instinct (see Christopher Boehm), so you can often build a pretty strong political movement around class resentments, justified or not. That, and his call for immediate revolution, was Marx’s appeal.

  24. Jill says:

    Of course, Hillary Clinton has much more negative press coverage than Trump. We are immersed in Right Wing propaganda in the U.S. And Right Wing news sources, and Right Wing writers in any Center or Left publication that will publish them, and on any TV station that will have them, and on Right Wing radio, pretty much constantly bash Clinton and Obama.

    • E. Harding says:

      Is this satire?

      • Jill says:

        Of course not. Even Sanders complained about hearing about Hillary’s emails incessantly. And he is running against her. And Benghazi was also covered incessantly and with a very strong anti-Hillary bias.

        Go to the most popular Right Wing web sites and see if they are not incessantly bashing Hillary and Obama, as we write this. Here are what are said to be the 50 most popular Right Wing web sites.

        http://rightwingnews.com/top-news/the-50-most-popular-conservative-websites/

        If you don’t believe we are immersed in Right Wing propaganda, ask someone who recently moved here who knows English well enough to tell. I forget that almost no one here in the U.S. notices this. It’s like you’re a fish. You don’t think about being in water, because it’s just normal.

        • onyomi says:

          “If you don’t believe we are immersed in Right Wing propaganda, ask someone who recently moved here who knows English well enough to tell. I forget that almost no one here in the U.S. notices this. It’s like you’re a fish. You don’t think about being in water, because it’s just normal.”

          Just because Europe is left of the US doesn’t mean we’re “immersed in Right Wing propaganda.” What if Europeans are “immersed in Left Wing propaganda” and any non-left wing views sound to them like “Right Wing propaganda”? Of course it’s all relative.

          Also, Europe is not the world. Ask a Chinese person who recently moved to the United States. They find our propaganda very tame.

          As for the idea that our media is dominated by “Right Wing” perspectives… well if talk radio and Fox News are our only media: http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy/559-1.gif

          http://www.journalism.org/files/legacy/u29/14-Tone_of_Coverage_on_Cable_News.png

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            Yeah, that’s just called an Overton window. Europe isn’t a windowless fortress of Truth.

          • Jill says:

            Of course China has more propaganda than the U.S. They set the bar pretty low.

            The people who watch, listen to, or read Right Wing propaganda here still believe that Obama is a Muslim, that he wasn’t born in the U.S. and other ridiculous lies. If you believe those things are true, well, what can I say?

          • onyomi says:

            “The people who watch, listen to, or read Right Wing propaganda here still believe that Obama is a Muslim, that he wasn’t born in the U.S. and other ridiculous lies. If you believe those things are true, well, what can I say?”

            Wow, I expect a lot better than this from SSC.

          • Jill says:

            So, Onyomi, so you expect no one here to discuss what sorts of statements are passed off as truth by Right Wing media here? Or are you saying you believe those statements, and how could anyone doubt them? Or what? I’m new here, so if this is a Right Wing site, I didn’t know that.

          • Wrong Species says:

            @Jill

            While not an explicitly conservative website, people here are probably more right wing than you expect so if you start making statements about how conservatives obviously dominate propaganda and no evidence to back that up then you’re going to be laughed at.

          • Jill says:

            Even this conservative American Enterprise Institute political scientist states that, beginning with Gingrich in the 1990’s, the GOP has specifically targeted Democrats in government, to bash them and to bash Democratic administrations. And he says that their doing so prepared the way for someone like Trump to arrive and win big with the GOP voters.

            http://www.vox.com/2016/5/6/11598838/donald-trump-predictions-norm-ornstein

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            When I put together “We are immersed in Right Wing propaganda in the U.S.” and “The people who watch, listen to, or read Right Wing propaganda here still believe that Obama is a Muslim, that he wasn’t born in the U.S. and other ridiculous lies”, I arrive at the conclusion that nearly everyone in the US believes Obama is a Muslim who wasn’t born here. Is this true?

          • Earthly Knight says:

            http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2015/images/09/12/iranpoll.pdf

            Pg. 32
            % of Republicans who identify Obama as a:
            Muslim– 43%
            Christian– 30%
            Not religious– 15%

            Pg 34
            % of Republicans who believe Obama was born in:
            USA/Hawaii: 68%
            Africa/Kenya: 16%
            No opinion: 12%
            Other country: 3%

          • Aapje says:

            @Jill

            So Earthly Knight just showed that your blanket statement isn’t even true for Republicans (43% and 19% are less than 100%). Do you want to take back your statement?

            You might also want to apologize for your passive aggressive ad hominem attack (“If you believe those things are true, well, what can I say”).

          • Saint Fiasco says:

            It’s not just Europe. Latin America is also to the left of the US. So is the rest of North America. Asia is also kinda left-wing-ish because China has that “socialism with Chinese characteristics” going on and Russia is Russia.

            It may be the case that the US are the only sane people and it is the rest of the world that is crazy for even considering socialism, but it is a fact that the US is more right-wing than the rest of the world.

          • Anonymous says:

            While not an explicitly conservative website, people here are probably more right wing than you expect

            At least 60% by volume, higher if we count hysteria over so-called SJW as right wing.

          • Deiseach says:

            I’m definitely right wing (I’d consider myself centre-right) but according to that political leanings quiz linked here a while back, I’m Solidly Liberal.

            So European centre-right is American liberal? Perhaps 🙂

            I don’t think the Democrats are Communists or even Socialists (not by European standards; Bernie Sanders may be old-style 70s Socialist but really more of an Old Labour type) but they do, to my eyes anyway, seem to be locked into a position on a handful of “culture wars” issues that they will purge their own moderates and centrists from the party on and that they will use with all the conviction of the zealot to decry any deviation from as racism/sexism/homophobia/evil evil evil, rather than “you have a different opinion on this, please explain reasons why?”

          • Earthly Knight says:

            I should note that the CNN/ORC results are on the low end; others put the numbers much higher:

            Q28 (Republicans) Do you think Barack Obama
            was born in the United States?
            Yes 29%
            No 44%
            Not sure 26%

            Q30 (Republicans) Do you think Barack Obama is a
            Christian or a Muslim, or are you not sure?
            Christian 14%
            Muslim 54%
            Not sure 32%

            (To be fair, the left has its own problems with conspiracy theories– around half of democrats are truthers)

          • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

            It’s not just Europe. Latin America is also to the left of the US.

            This hasn’t turned out great for us.

            Besides, I wouldn’t say Chile is any less right wing than the US. As for Argentina, Brazil and Mexico… well, it depends on how exactly you define left and right, and what values you consider more essential to each side.

      • No, it’s just that Jill has decided to step into the niche that multiheaded’s absence has mostly left vacant.

        I actually kind of like it. It’s annoying when the low-information trolls are all on one (my) side.

        • Deiseach says:

          Aw, I prefer multiheaded, she’s a proper Commie! Jill is a nice ordinary liberal who thinks that the natural laws of the universe and what is true, right and just line up with the positions she holds on everything, and the opposition is all foam-flecked, swivel-eyed loons who are dangerous in power 🙂

    • The_Dancing_Judge says:

      perhaps i spoke too soon. this has got to be a fellow deatheater doing a bad satire

    • Deiseach says:

      Perhaps 2016 is hugely different from 2013 but back then, there was a general sense of agreement that in the main, the media does lean left, not even so much in politics as that most newsrooms are filled with people from a particular type of background who share particular values.

      From a 2008 column by the Washington Post ombudsman:

      But some of the conservatives’ complaints about a liberal tilt are valid. Journalism naturally draws liberals; we like to change the world. I’ll bet that most Post journalists voted for Obama. I did. There are centrists at The Post as well. But the conservatives I know here feel so outnumbered that they don’t even want to be quoted by name in a memo.

      Journalists bristle at the thought of their coverage being viewed as unfair or unbalanced; they believe that their decisions are journalistically reasonable and that their politics do not affect how they cover and display stories.

      Tom Rosenstiel, a former political reporter who directs the Project for Excellence in Journalism, said, “The perception of liberal bias is a problem by itself for the news media. It’s not okay to dismiss it. Conservatives who think the press is deliberately trying to help Democrats are wrong. But conservatives are right that journalism has too many liberals and not enough conservatives. It’s inconceivable that that is irrelevant.”

      Everybody thinks The Other Lot are in positions of power and spreading their horrible propaganda, while Our Side simply reports the factual truth in an unbiased manner.

      • Alexp says:

        This is true, but there are a lot of non-mainstream right wing aligned news outlets, especially talk radio. And a lot of them spend a lot of time with negative stories about Clinton.

        If the Vox articles counts those, then it’s conceivable, just by sheer volume, that anti-Hillary news outweighs anti-Trump news.

        But maybe I just see more “Her husband rejected her, you should reject her too” memes on my facebook wall.

  25. Alexp says:

    On another forum, I found some criticisms of Scott’s pieces on ancient religion and Albion’s Seed. Part of it is the normal trained-historians-turning-their-noses-up-at-pop-history stuff but some of it was insightful.

    https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/a-theory-about-religion.28767/

    “There are lots of interesting ways you can relate culture and iconography of america to the use of house hold gods in the ancient worlds. Unfortunately this has none of that and rambles on about Judaism for some reason. Also it seems to some how think that Judaism of 1000 bc even had much to do with it in 0 ad much less in the modern worlds. Judaism is not some weird crystal entity that just sits around unchanging. It is a living, breathing culture and religion that constantly is evolving. ”

    ” ‘The act of writing it down in a book, declaring this book the sort of thing that people might doubt but shouldn’t, and then passing that book to their children – that made it a modern religion, in the sense of something potentially separable from culture that required justification. I think that emphasizing the role of God and the gods provided that justification.’

    Is most peculiar, because not only did no one doubt the texts of the bible for a very long time (and doubt about the Greek gods or some legends of them was quite popular in antiquity), but to claim that Jewish religion is seperate from culture and required justification is glaringly wrong. Jewish religion is Jewish culture, it is the basis of the Jewish belief in their separateness as a people. Even the most secular jew participates to some extent in Jewish festivities; this contradicts everything else that Alexander has to say. How does this work, if Judaism is a “modern religion” that detaches culture from religion, when Jews are the most ethnoreligious group in existence “

  26. DataPacRat says:

    Scientist suggests that quantizing inertia would explain flyby anomaly and make the EmDrive not contradict physics. Anyone want to tell me if this is crazy or not?

    The idea is apparently based on the idea of treating information horizons seriously – that anything on the far side of such a horizon really can’t have any information gathered about it, regardless of whatever clever tricks can be imagined. One such trick that is thus limited is using partial waves of the vacuum energy, similar to the Casimir effect; thus, large-sized waves are limited to fitting inside the Hubble horizon, and are effectively quantized, which leads to a minimum possible acceleration.

    Some further math notices that objects which accelerate have horizons much closer than the Hubble horizon, leading to unequal pressures by the vacuum energy – which seems to result in a counter-force which has the properties we usually associate with inertial mass. Light doesn’t have rest mass, but it does have inertial mass, so when it’s reflected, it has a high acceleration, and thus a close horizon, leading to more forces; which, possibly, through some clever physical arrangements, can be calculated to result in accelerations similar to those of EmDrives.

    The theory’s authour lists further predictions at http://physicsfromtheedge.blogspot.ca/2016/04/predictions-of-mihsc.html , and more details elsewhere in that blog.

  27. smocc says:

    Physics PhD student reporting: here is the McCulloch paper on the emDrive.

    I can’t give much more than vague impressions, but to my (not quite expert) eyes the is a mess. It reads like someone who got good at the trickery and formal manipulation that we feed to freshman and then stopped learning.

    As the main example, at one point he has an equation that includes a multiplicative factor of mc^2 (where m is never defined and c is the speed of light). He then says “E = mc^2” and “E = ∫P dt” and so replaces mc^2 with P times some characteristic time.

    This is very nearly nonsense. It certainly needs more justification to be convincing to anyone. E does not equal mc^2. In special relativity E^2 = m^2c^4 + p^2 c^2 where m is mass and p is momentum. For objects near rest you could say E ~ mc^2 approximately, but the photons must have momentum or the proposed mechanism wouldn’t work, and m is earlier assumed to be small!

    What’s more, the mechanism depends on the photons’ inertial mass being modified because they are accelerating. But light accelerating is exactly opposite the assumption of special relativity, so how do we justify bringing in a relativistic energy relation in the first place? I can accept that solving strange problems requires sometimes sloppy thinking, but I’d at least expect a brief note on the applicability (or lack thereof) of relativity.

    Here’s the worse part. The paper makes four predictions: The thrust can be increased by increasing 1) the input power, 2) the Q factor of the resonator. 3) The thrust can be increased by introducing a dielectric, slowing the effective speed of light. 4) The thrust can be reversed by making the length of the resonator equal to the width of the narrow end.

    1) and 2) are just what you’d expect intuitively. 3) is kind of an interesting prediction and is probably worth trying, though it being true definitely wouldn’t make me believe McCulloch right away. But unless I’m nuts, 4) is completely unjustified in the paper! He references two equations relating the thrust F and the length L and in both there is no physical choice for L that reverses the sign of F (which would reverse the thrust). I just have no idea what he’s talking about.

    Long story short: any news report of the form “[new physics theory] may explain [phenomenon]” is wrong. Even more wrong than most science reporting. Basically, don’t trust anything you read about physics theory until the reporter can find multiple physicists that all agree that the theory is correct.

    • knzhou says:

      Another physics student here, just confirming that nothing in the paper makes sense. It’s a vague mishmash of unrelated equations dressed up with fancy words. The few times he makes a concrete statement using the fancy words, they’re wrong. The papers are only published in predatory or ‘alternative’ journals, and his only citations are from himself. And I can’t find the part where he actually ‘quantized’ anything. Quantization is not just a fancy word you can drape around equations, it’s an actual procedure that requires a lot of work!

      I’m ashamed that the MIT technology review fell for this. SSC and some of my non-physics friends, too, but that’s more excusable.

      • Edward Scizorhands says:

        I wonder if someone is pulling a Sokal.

        • smocc says:

          I doubt it. I’m not sure it’s even full on crankery, just bad physics. MOND is a real thing and not an intrinsically terrible idea, despite it being heavily disfavored now. The idea of MOND arising from a dynamical mechanism that has boundary conditions at the edge of the observable universe also isn’t a intrinsically terrible idea, and is kind of creative. As others here have pointed out, it’s an idea that does not do what he wants it to do, and he should have realized that by now, but you can kind of understand why he might think it works.

          As for the “quantization”, it doesn’t play a role in this paper, but it does seem to have meaning in the anomaly paper. (Though it’s quantization in the “modes on a string” sense, not in the deep Quantum Mechanics “second quantization” sense.)

    • Charlie says:

      More physicist here 🙂

      There are also a bunch of experiments involving the interaction of small accelerations with quantum mechanics, the most direct probably being the wonderful bouncing neutrons (which you can use to measure magnetic field!), and none of these experiments have seen anything to contradict our current understanding of inertia (other experiments include cavity optomechanics experiments and time-of-flight measurements of trapped atoms).

      So not only is it nonsense, it’s nonsense that we should already have noticed if it were true.

    • Jonathan Lee says:

      Math post-doc who has studied GR, EM, QM and argued about McCulloch with cosmologists here. tl;dr McCulloch is almost surely wrong.

      The paper is a mess, and has enough flexibility in the failure to actually calculate typical length scales in a frustrum that the fit to existing thrusts is… arbitrary. McCulloch’s papers in general are a mess like this.

      From a theory point of view, what is proposed is very strange, because the information horizons only appear in the large time limit, and for small accelerations are close to the Hubble boundary anyway. But on his hypothesis the inertial modification occurs immediately. Put another way, when the small accelerations occur, how does one know which modes of Unruh radiation will be suppressed in the very far field? How does one couple acceleration now to the distant metric expansion? He treats the radiation modes as spatially extended and instantly excited, which is just… wrong.

      In the new and updated hypothesis, the suppression can be modified by distant conductors to boot… so this gives you superluminal signalling. The flyby anomalies would be different if you suddenly encased (or partially encased) the solar system in a conductive shell a light year in radius, thereby increasing the quantisation by a factor of some billions. But the flybys take only a few hours. Sure, this isn’t impossible per se, but it makes the EmDrive look like the smallest of possible fry.

  28. Sniffnoy says:

    The “Charlie Stross” link is actually by Hugh Hancock, guest-posting on Stross’s blog.

    Also, with the moray thing: If you want to link to a linear series of comments on Reddit, a better way to do it is to link to the bottom one and then [use the context option](https://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/4ho3xs/petting_an_eel_underwater/d2ravsr?context=1) to show the ones above. That way you get a cannonical link to that particular series of comments, rather than relying on the reader’s sort order. (And on the vote totals not changing!)

  29. onyomi says:

    This seems quite obvious, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of people self-identifying as feminists parallels the number of people self-identifying as environmentalists, though 1991 was a real high-water mark for the more feel-good “save the whales,” “save the rainforest,” “save the ozone layer”-type environmentalism. Like environmentalism, feminism used to have a more innocuous reputation: equal rights for women, poaching rhinos to make their horns into aphrodisiacs is bad.

    For better or for worse, and fairly or unfairly, the causes have now come to mean something closer to “everything is rape” and “it’s worth crippling the fossil fuel-based industrial economy to respond to some seemingly ‘chicken little’-esque weather predictions.”

    • JDG1980 says:

      In both cases, I think the explanation for this change is the same: almost all of the blatant and obvious problems were fixed, so the moderates “declared victory and went home”. Those who remained were those who wanted not just incremental reform but a thorough-going restructuring of Western society, so they became recognized as extremists, and the mainstream was increasingly reluctant to associate with them.

      • Randy M says:

        I was going to suggest something like that. No fewer people want smog cleared up and forests preserved, but a lot fewer probably feel the need for activism about it.

        • onyomi says:

          See, I don’t know anything about the plight of forests and endangered species anymore (though I know air pollution is still a huge problem in China). I don’t know if this is because the former problems are not as severe (or never were as severe as made out to be), or if now climate change is just drowning everything else out?

          I feel like it was a big strategic error to focus on apocalyptic climate changes. People can’t relate to it. If you say “look at this cute endangered rabbit whose habitat is being destroyed by rising sea levels” or “look at all these coral reefs being destroyed by acidification,” people have something to try to “rescue,” as opposed to just reducing the amount of certain types of gases in the atmosphere as a whole, a project which seems vague, vast, and impossible.

          • Randy M says:

            The former problems are less severe. Air pollution in southern california is greatly reduced from twenty years ago. Overall coverage of forests is up in the nation, acid rain doesn’t seem to be a concern anymore, the Ozone hole is gone (right?).
            Some endangered species that aren’t cute and cuddly are protected to the point of shutting off water for irrigation or closing down development, etc.
            Things may be entirely different in other countries, but I do think the near-mode environmental issues are greatly reduced in severity over the last half century or so.

          • Murphy says:

            ” the Ozone hole is gone (right?)”

            Not really, but it is a bit smaller than before and isn’t getting as much media attention.

            https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a011700/a011781/Predict-Future-Ozone-Hole2.gif

    • Whatever Happened To Anonymous says:

      For better or for worse, and fairly or unfairly, the causes have now come to mean something closer to “everything is rape” and “it’s worth crippling the fossil fuel-based industrial economy to respond to some seemingly ‘chicken little’-esque weather predictions.”

      You’d make your argument stronger if you compared it to, say, anti-GMO sentiment.

      • onyomi says:

        My impression is that anti-GMO sentiment is stronger, or, at least, no weaker now than it was several years ago. It’s also a much less prominent issue in general than feminism.

    • boottle says:

      I may have my time frames wrong (this likely happened before 1991), but the environmentalist movement nowadays is heavily left wing/anti-capitalist. See almost any green party anywhere in the world. This wasn’t always the case. It’s possible that more conservative environmentalists, in the Tolkien ‘evil industry destroying ancient Albion’ mould, have therefore stopped identifying as such.

      • Nornagest says:

        I think I’d put the inflection point in the Sixties: no nukes, Silent Spring, and so forth. That’s about when leftism started picking up its modern Romantic slant.

      • John Schilling says:

        My own model, which I think I have discussed here in the past, divides “Environmentalists” in to three camps, the Gaians, the Pastoralists, and the Conservationists. The embrace of Global Warming as the One True Cause of environmentalism, and the associated tribal politics, have I think put the Gaians in ascendance and convinced the Conservationists that they aren’t welcome in the tent any more. And the Pastoralists aren’t all comfortable with the current state of affairs either.

      • Le Maistre Chat says:

        I would identify as Green if it were about protecting ancient Albion from pollution. Alas, reading any actual Green Party platform shows a long list of left-wing shibboleths with no logical connection to environmentalism, like homosexual “marriage” and letting the Palestinians conquer Israel.

        • Nornagest says:

          The (American) Green Party of today is less a single-issue environmentalist party and more Ralph Nader’s brainchild, even if Ralph Nader himself isn’t running anymore. So, environmentalism plus left-wing populism.

          I understand that similar situations prevail in many other countries, though the actors are different.

          • Le Maistre Chat says:

            @Nornagest: If so, the story of how individual national Green Parties got taken over by specific actors must be interesting.

          • Nornagest says:

            Nader is the only one I know about. WRT other nations, I was talking more about the policy mix.

          • James Picone says:

            The Australian Greens spun out of a variety of environmentalist groups, mostly Tasmanians with issues with the logging industry and dams and things, but also out of some leftist radicals – wasn’t so much taken over as left to begin with. Don’t know about any other countries.

        • boottle says:

          There are a handful of right-ish wing green parties around. Probably the most explicit are Germany’s EDP, who have a seat in the EU parliament due to absurdly low vote thresholds. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_Democratic_Party

          The nordic agrarian parties also have a bit more of an old fashioned less overtly leftist bent, though I don’t know much about them individually, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_agrarian_parties and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Greens_and_Farmers

  30. Chalid says:

    Regarding the Clinton news coverage not matching your perceptions – it looks like the analysis is on articles in:

    1)The Huffington Post; 2) The Washington Post; 3) CNN; 4) The Washington Times; 5) Politico; 6) The New York Times; 7) Fox News; 8) MSNBC; 9) CBS News; 10) The New Yorker.

    Do you spend much time reading the politics sections of any of these? If not, the discrepancy is explained.

  31. Anonymous says:

    What terms and ideas are you having trouble with in “A bridge to meta-rationality”?

  32. onyomi says:

    I haven’t looked at the stats, but the fact that Hillary has gotten more negative press doesn’t surprise me at all, though I think it would depend a lot on what counts as “negative.” For example, virtually any mention of Benghazi or private servers could be taken as “negative” coverage of Hillary. But what about a story to the effect “Donald Trump insults John McCain but poll numbers don’t take a hit! Can nothing stop this rude maniac?!” That story might be a net positive for Trump.

    • Also, does more negative press mean more intensity of negativeness in the stories, more numerous negative stories, or wider circulation of negative stories? Possibly some combination (balanced how?) of all three?

      • Richard Gadsden says:

        Scanning the vox article, it means “a greater proportion of stories that mention Hillary are determined by our sentiment analysis tool to be negative about her”.

        Non-negative Trump articles would include:

        Every article that’s a straight report of polls.
        Every “why is Trump doing so well” article.
        etc…

      • JuanPeron says:

        The study scanned a bunch of major outlets for candidate names, and automatically tagged them for tone (positive, neutral, negative).

        So circulation wasn’t included (they skipped duplicates and republishing) but the sources were large outlets. Intensity was totally ignored – “Hillary’s boring debate performance” gets the same -1 as “Hillary eats baby on stage”.

        The result is that there’s not much news here: fifty analyses of Hillary’s awkwardness in one speech produce -50, but three unrelated “Carson is batshit crazy” stories produce -3. They clumsily applied a business analysis to political news and called it science.

    • JuanPeron says:

      I’m seconding this as a major cause.

      It also explains the failure to match our perceptions in two ways.

      First, I can round off 100 articles about Benghazi to “lots of news about Benghazi”, which is a smaller perceived unit than 20 unrelated articles about Trump lunacy. Redundancy is ignored by this study, but not by actual news readers.

      Second, this is only a raw-count result. Hillary has lots of low grade pseudo-news I don’t care about, from “Benghazi still happened, remember?!” to “Hillary’s debate performance unimpressive”. Those may be more numerous than “Sanders: SECRET RACIST” and “Trump says ‘I eat babies'”, but they’re way less potent. Hillary’s news coverage, like the rest of her campaign, is simply less emotional than many of the candidates.

  33. FacelessCraven says:

    Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News

    “In other instances, curators would inject a story—even if it wasn’t being widely discussed on Facebook—because it was deemed important for making the network look like a place where people talked about hard news. “People stopped caring about Syria,” one former curator said. “[And] if it wasn’t trending on Facebook, it would make Facebook look bad.” That same curator said the Black Lives Matter movement was also injected into Facebook’s trending news module. “Facebook got a lot of pressure about not having a trending topic for Black Lives Matter,” the individual said. “They realized it was a problem, and they boosted it in the ordering. They gave it preference over other topics. When we injected it, everyone started saying, ‘Yeah, now I’m seeing it as number one’.” This particular injection is especially noteworthy because the #BlackLivesMatter movement originated on Facebook, and the ensuing media coverage of the movement often noted its powerful social media presence.”

    Thoughts?

    [EDIT] – Perhaps my own thoughts first. I am not really interested in the “conservatives are discriminated against” angle, so much as I am in the question of how much of the social consensus in the last decade or so has been actually real. For me, this flows into the question of why so few saw Trump coming (and whether he can win in november), Sad puppies and the hugos, ants, and into the Something Awful discussion from a few threads ago. How much of the current political landscape is downstream of a handful of technical chokepoints?

    • Jill says:

      I read all the Gawker pieces about the former news curators, and this is what emerges:
      –Facebook didn’t want trending news pieces that linked to sites (“like Breitbart, Washington Examiner, and Newsmax”) that have a reputation for ignoring standards of journalism, and would instead link to reputable outlets covering the stories

      –consistent with the above, news topics that were trending among Facebook users, but sourced only from crap sites, were left off the trending page

      –the Facebook algorithm for ranking trending stories had a slower response time to breaking news than Twitter did, and didn’t always pick up news items that were front-page stories at major media outlets, so curators “injected” these stories onto the trending page

      –Facebook didn’t want the contract curators to post trending stories referring to Twitter by name, and required clearance for stories about Facebook.

      That’s it.

      The Gawker cites a single ex-curator who’s information about suppression of conservative topics is entirely consistent with Facebook trying not to link to crappy sites. Another curator who confirms that Facebook didn’t want to link to those sites put it this way: “Every once in awhile a Red State or conservative news source would have a story. But we would have to go and find the same story from a more neutral outlet that wasn’t as biased.”
      ———————————————————

      Right Wing “news sources” that lack journalistic integrity have gotten very spoiled in the past decade and now expect their lies to be treated as truth by Facebook and others.

      “News” is supposed to be factual. E.g. Facebook should have no obligation to classify stories as news, that are from National Inquirer, and are about space aliens, complete with photo shopped photos of the aliens. Neither should they have to classify as news, stories about Obama being a Muslim and not being born in the U.S. as “news.”

      I guess this is going according to the old fashioned standards that news is supposed to be facts rather than entertainment though. And I know that most people don’t use that standard any more. Young as he is, I guess Zuckerberg has old fashioned standards in that way.

      • E. Harding says:

        “I guess this is going according to the old fashioned standards that news is supposed to be facts rather than entertainment though.”

        -All news is entertainment.

        • Jill says:

          Well, there are still people who do go by the old standards that news should be true rather than lies. And Zuck seems to be one of them.

      • Wrong Species says:

        And as we all know, reality has a liberal bias so a conservative website is going to lack journalistic integrity by default!

      • suntzuanime says:

        “Journalistic integrity” lol.

        It’s fair for Facebook to decide they don’t want to associate their brand with those nasty right-wingers. But it’s also fair to tell the nasty right-wingers what they’re doing, so they can decide whether to associate with their brand.

        • Who wouldn't want to be anonymous says:

          Yeah, I have this gut reaction that “Journalistic integrity” is totally code for “people I agree with.”

          And the cure for “wrong” speech is “right” speech in opposition, not suppression of the wing speech.

          While of course FB is free to do what they want, I think the approach is wrong on philosophical grounds. And the explaination just feels totally disingenuous.

        • Patrick says:

          So, for future calibration of my response to your comments- can I interpret your words as “I, suntzuanime, believe that Breitbart is a credible news source.”?

          • suntzuanime says:

            Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is Breitbart a credible news source, or not?”

            But Moldbug, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Click that link. Observe the atrocious graphic design. (Have you noticed how far above the rest Obama’s graphic design is? Some font designers have.) Observe the general horribleness, so reminiscent of Fox News. Then hit “back.” Or, I don’t know, read an Ann Coulter column, or something. Dear Lord. I am not a progressive, but I’m not a conservative either. (If you must know, I’m a Jacobite.) Over time, I have acquired the ability to process American conservative thought – if generally somewhat upmarket from Fox News or townhall.com. This is an extremely acquired taste, if “taste” is even the word. It is probably very similar to the way Barack Obama handled the Rev. Wright’s more colorful sermons. When David Mamet points his readers in the general direction of townhall.com, it’s sort of like explaining to your uncle who’s a little bit phobic that he can understand the value of gay rights by watching this great movie – it’s called “120 Days of Sodom.” It’s not actual communication. It’s a fuck-you. It’s Mamet.

            But many people will think exactly this: if you stop being a progressive, you have to become a conservative. I suspect that the primary emotional motivation for most progressives is that they’re progressives because they think something needs to be done about conservatives. Game over. Gutterball. Right back to the insidious grip.

            Where does this idea that, if NPR is wrong, Fox News must be right, come from? They can’t both be right, because they contradict each other. But couldn’t they both be wrong? I don’t mean slightly wrong, I don’t mean each is half right and each is half wrong, I don’t mean the truth is somewhere between them, I mean neither of them has any consistent relationship to reality.

            Let’s think about this for a second. As a progressive, you believe – you must believe – that conservatism is a mass delusion. What an extraordinary thing! A hundred-plus million people, many quite dull but some remarkably intelligent, all acting under a kind of mass hypnosis. We take this for granted. We are used to it. But we have to admit that it’s really, really weird.

            What you have to believe is that conservatives have been systematically misinformed. They are not stupid – at least not all of them. Nor are they evil. You can spend all the time you want on townhall.com, and you will not find anyone cackling like Gollum over their evil plan to enslave and destroy the world. They all think, just like you, that by being conservatives they are standing up for what’s sweet and good and true.

            Conservatism is a theory of government held by a large number of people who have no personal experience of government. They hold this theory because their chosen information sources, such as Fox News, townhall.com, and their local megachurch, feed them a steady diet of facts (and possibly a few non-facts) which tend to support, reinforce, and confirm the theory.

            And why does this strange pattern exist? Because conservatism is not just an ordinary opinion. Suppose instead of a theory of government, conservatism was a theory of basketball. “Conservatism” would be a system of views about the pick-and-roll, the outside game, the triangle defense and other issues of great importance to basketball players and coaches.

            The obvious difference is that, unless you are a basketball coach, your opinions on basketball matter not at all – because basketball is not a democracy. The players don’t even get a vote, let alone the fans. But conservatism can maintain a systematic pattern of delusion, because its fans are not just fans: they are supporters of a political machine. This machine will disappear if it cannot keep its believers, so it has an incentive to keep them. And it does. Funny how that works.

            So, as a progressive, here is how you see American democracy: as a contest in which truth and reason are pitted against a quasicriminal political machine built on propaganda, ignorance and misinformation. Perhaps a cynical view of the world, but if you believe that progressivism is right, you must believe that conservatism is wrong, and you have no other option.

            But there is an even more pessimistic view. Suppose American democracy is not a contest between truth and reason and a quasicriminal political machine, but a contest between two quasicriminal political machines? Suppose progressivism is just like conservatism? If it was, who would tell you?

            Think of conservatism as a sort of mental disease. Virus X, transmitted by Fox News much as mosquitoes transmit malaria, has infected the brains of half the American population – causing them to believe that George W. Bush is a “regular guy,” global warming isn’t happening, and the US Army can bring democracy to Sadr City. Fortunately, the other half of America is protected by its progressive antibodies, which it imbibes every day in the healthy mother’s milk of the Times and NPR, allowing to bask securely in the sweet light of truth.

            Or is it? Note that we’ve just postulated two classes of entity: viruses and antibodies, mosquitoes and mother’s milk. William of Ockham wouldn’t be happy. Isn’t it simpler to imagine that we’re dealing with a virus Y? Rather than one set of people being infected and the other being immune, everyone is infected – just with different strains.

            What makes virus X a virus is that, like the shark in Jaws, its only goals in life are to eat, swim around, and make baby viruses. In other words, its features are best explained adaptively. If it can succeed by accurately representing reality, it will do so. For example, you and I and virus X agree on the subject of the international Jewish conspiracy: there is no such thing. We disagree with the evil virus N, which fortunately is scarce these days. This can be explained in many ways, but one of the simplest is that if Fox News stuck a swastika in its logo and told Bill O’Reilly to start raving about the Elders of Zion, its ratings would probably go down.

            This is what I mean by “no consistent relationship to reality.” If, for whatever reason, an error is better at replicating within the conservative mind than the truth, conservatives will come to believe the error. If the truth is more adaptive, they will come to believe the truth. It’s fairly easy to see how an error could make a better story than the truth on Fox News, which is why one would be ill-advised to get one’s truth from that source.

            So our first small step toward doubt is easy: we simply allow ourselves to suspect that the institutions which progressives trust are fallible in the same way. If NPR can replicate errors just as Fox News does, we are indeed looking at a virus Y. Virus Y may be right when virus X is wrong, wrong when virus X is right, right when virus X is wrong, or wrong when virus X is wrong. Since the two have no consistent relationship to reality, they have no consistent relationship to each other.

            There’s a seductive symmetry to this theory: it solves the problem of how one half of a society, which (by global and historical standards) doesn’t seem that different from the other, can be systematically deluded while the other half is quite sane. The answer: it isn’t.”

          • That was a lot clearer than most Moldbug. It might even be a reasonable statement about the world.

            However, I’m distracted by “you will not find anyone cackling like Gollum over their evil plan to enslave and destroy the world”.

            Did Gollum ever actually do that? Does Moldbug tend to get popular culture wrong?

            Have I mentioned that if you look at LOTR from the point of view of the Ring, it’s a very sad story? The Ring tries so hard for so long and against such odds, and is destroyed just before its moment of victory.

            I’m not sure that even Sauron did that sort of gloating, though Morgoth might have.

          • suntzuanime says:

            I believe the “like Gollum” was intended only to apply to the “cackling” and not to the further “over their evil plan to enslave and destroy the world”. Gollum certainly cackles.

          • MugaSofer says:

            That was really good. That wasn’t actual Moldbug? I felt my respect for him shoot up, but I assume that was actually you imitating his style.

            You should do that more often, you’re much better at it than he is.

          • Salem says:

            No, that was actual Moldbug – possibly his most famous work. It’s from “Open Letter to an Open-Minded Progressive” (you’ll have to google; Scott’s system doesn’t like the link).

          • suntzuanime says:

            If I say “Moldbug said” followed by something in quotation marks, I feel like I have in fact attributed that quote to Moldbug. I apologize for any confusion.

          • Nornagest says:

            Did Gollum ever actually do that? Does Moldbug tend to get popular culture wrong?

            I parsed that as “(cackling like Gollum) over (their evil plan to destroy the world)”. Gollum certainly did a lot of cackling, at least in the movies, but his ambitions were a lot smaller than the world.

          • MugaSofer says:

            I guess the confusion is over whether a group of first-century Jewish religious authorities conspired to attack poor innocent Moldbug 😉

            EDIT: woah! this site has smileys?

          • suntzuanime says:

            I did quote the Bible without attribution, I suppose. I’m not going to apologize for that, that’s been a legal move in Western intellectual discourse for centuries.

          • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

            Indeed, Gollum’s Ring-induced power fantasies were remarkably modest considering how long the Ring had control of him. (‘Perhaps we grows very strong, stronger than Wraiths. Lord Smeagol? Gollum the Great? The Gollum! Eat fish every day, three times a day, fresh from the sea. Most Precious Gollum!’) Sam only had it a few minutes before he started imagining himself as Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age.

          • Aegeus says:

            >Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is Breitbart a credible news source, or not?”

            Never has the phrase “Come down off the cross, we can use the wood” been more appropriate.

      • Forlorn Hopes says:

        The obvious question is if Facebook did the same for equally bad left wing sources.

        • Jill says:

          Assuming there are equally bad Left Wing sources. Not necessarily so. A false equivalence here perhaps.

          • Anonymous says:

            You could examine that. Let’s take a few examples of lack of journalistic standards:

            1) Jackie Coakley’s rape hoax – zero evidence for her story to the extent that her friends didn’t even corroborate details and the reporter didn’t do any other follow ups; reported as truth. Was that filtered from facebook feeds?

            2) Michael Brown was a criminal who attacked a cop and was shot. Obama’s Justice Department ordered multiple autopsies of him and still couldn’t come up with any pretext to recommend indicting the cop who killed him. Were stories implying or stating that he was murdered filtered out?

            etc.

          • anonforthis says:

            Give it up Jill. You are not particularly good at it.

          • voidfraction says:

            It’s called Salon.

          • keranih says:

            Nah. I’m starting to be amused. It could be that grit and leaning in could overcome her disadvantaged upbringing and poor early education. Why deny her the chance to fulfill her dreams, just for a lack of any indication of talent?

          • Nita says:

            Anons being rude is one thing, but non-anon old-timers like you represent the community, keranih. You should know better than that.

      • MugaSofer says:

        Would they accept trending links from, to pick an example totally and utterly at random, Gawker?

        I really appreciate the context of what they were thinking when they did this – and, honestly, I’m not all that appalled at a private website not being perfect saints of free-speech and balance, because we already knew that about every major social media site; Facebook is already infamous for selectively banning things for violating “community standards”. Learning that their “trending news” thingy is actually a curated list, not an algorithm, is interesting but not really shocking.

        On the other hand, uncritically accepting the idea that conservative news sources were suppressed because they have no standards passes all the way through charity and steelmanning and approaches the point of parody. C’mon. Be serious.

    • bluto says:

      I wonder if someone will test how much editing is allowed before a common platform loses their Good Samaritan protections under the CDA, (to avail themselves of the protections the site isn’t supposed to be a content provider).

      • I really don’t see a single “trending” topic my Newsfeed that looks like “news.”

        The closest is a story about the next X-Men movie, which will be set in the 1990s. Apparently.

    • Nornagest says:

      I’m mostly just surprised that this is coming from Gawker.

    • The Nybbler says:

      Certainly; that the social consensus is indeed false has been adequately demonstrated by at least two things: The rise of Trump, whose supporters have in common only that they do not share the consensus. And the ants, who are clearly more numerous than their consensus-claiming opponents.

      Note we also had a false consensus in climate change… that was completely blown apart by Climategate; I think this ties into the fall of self-identifying environmentalists. My sense is that while the whole climate thing has used many of the same tactics as the culture war, that it’s a separate thing.

      I don’t think it’s technical chokepoints, though. It’s _true_ consensus (both on social issues and on climate change) among what the right calls the “MSM”, and the lefty blogs. The other perspectives are all still available if you are willing to look at despised sources such as Fox or Breitbart. Facebook cutting them off from “trending” is a pretty minor thing in itself; if Twitter and Google and Yahoo all did the same, THEN it might be technical chokepoints causing the issue.

      • Nornagest says:

        This would be a stronger post without Climategate. I’m probably more skeptical than average on climate, but I never found any of the various allegations there at all convincing.

        As far as I can tell, there is a true consensus on climate change among the people studying it, now and in 2009. And no significant deception, though this doesn’t rule out groupthink issues or simplifications of a lies-to-children type. Insofar as skepticism is justified, it has to take that into account.

  34. Jill says:

    Scott, do you actually perceive that Trump has gotten more negative media coverage than Hillary? I guess you must not read, listen to, or watch many Right Wing news sources then? There are tons of them, and they bash Hillary constantly. Look at, listen to, or read a few and you will see what I mean.

    Although the GOP establishment doesn’t like Trump, they certainly dislike Hillary more, and it shows. And there have been long periods of time that Right Wing media didn’t say a lot about Trump, because they were trying to figure out what to do. They’d try to hurt him. It wouldn’t work. His poll numbers would go up. And they would stop for a while and be stunned.

    Also, with Trump, a lot of the coverage of him was him speaking on TV– just him being there talking, which maybe would be positive or neutral, rather than negative. Or else just articles reporting what he said or did, which would be usually neutral.

    They wanted to have a different nominee than Trump, but I guess they knew that it was possible that he would turn out to be the only man left standing in the GOP race. And they knew in that case that they wanted to bash Hillary more, so that the pres would have an R behind their name, not a D.

    • E. Harding says:

      Have you seen any positive media coverage about Trump from the MSM? And if you haven’t noticed, the MSM is hardly right-wing. That Vox piece rates Trump as the second-most-positively covered candidate. Ridiculous.

      • Jill says:

        Most media coverage of Trump is neutral, because it’s just him talking, or a writer reporting what he said. A lot of media people don’t know what to make of him or what to say to or about him, so they hand their show or article over to him to say whatever he says. They want ratings, viewers, listeners, readers. Because of that, many of them are not willing to criticize the entertainer that people clicked on their article to hear about, or turned to their channel to see or listen to.

        • E. Harding says:

          The vast majority of media outlets I’ve seen (HuffPo, NYT, Vox, WaPo, NRO, TIME, Der Spiegel, the New Yorker, FiveThirtyEight) have done nothing but criticize Trump ever since he started running. He’s not getting much favorable media coverage. Politico provides some neutral coverage.

          • Wrong Species says:

            I think Jill might be a troll but it’s really hard to tell.

          • Jill says:

            Liberal web sites criticize Trump a fair amount. Right Wing web sites criticize Hillary a lot more than liberal ones criticize Trump.

          • Jill says:

            If a troll means the only non-Right Winger on this board, then I guess that is me.

            I try to find a forum with more Left Wingers or Center folks than Right Wingers, but they are very hard to find.

            Yes, there are a few Left Wing news sources. But most news sources are just entertainment and trivia, no news to speak of.

          • Wrong Species says:

            Jill, it’s not you’re left wing beliefs that make you sound like a troll. It’s your “reality has a liberal bias” attitude that makes you sound like a conservative caricaturing a progressive.

          • Jill, You might like Amptoons and/or Making Light.

          • Daniel says:

            Deleted my comment to be more charitable.

          • anon says:

            >Right Wing web sites criticize Hillary a lot more than liberal ones criticize Trump.
            But not nearly as much as those same right-wing websites criticze Trump.

          • keranih says:

            Nancy, I’m no fan of Making Light anymore, but I don’t think they deserved that.

          • Nornagest says:

            Making Light introduced me to John M. Ford, so I can’t say it’s totally bankrupt. However shrill and tribal it’s gotten.

        • Jill says:

          Thanks, Nancy for the links. I will check them out.

          • houseboatonstyx says:

            @ Jill

            Us Lefties, especially Clintonistas, mostly keep our heads down.

            reddit.com/r/hillaryclinton
            Nice and polite and logical.

            http://www.thepeoplesview.net/
            Logical articles, applauded sweetly by a large choir.

            Both are Hillary sites, well moderated.

            (I don’t like Making Light either.)

      • Steve Sailer says:

        Maureen Dowd columns in the NYT about Trump are so affectionate that I sometimes wonder if they might have been an item at one time.

        • E. Harding says:

          OK, but the Editorial Board is about as anti-Trump as could possibly be. Remember all those Trump’s a Fashist articles in December?

          And while Dowd’s columns do count as positive coverage of Trump, they are hardly pro-Trump.

          • Richard Gadsden says:

            I think you’ve nailed the problem. Run an automated sentiment analysis tool and tell it to score -1, 0, +1 and you’ll get these sorts of results. There’s lots of mildly positive coverage of Trump: primary results; grudging acceptance that he’s won (the nomination); noting how many people attend his rallies; MoDo; polling stories; “why is Trump doing so well?”. Negative coverage tends to be super-negative, on the other hand: “Trump is a fascist”. “Is Trump a fascist, a neo-fascist, a post-fascist or a crypto-fascist?”.

            Run it again with -5 to +5 and you’ll see that there’s lots of Hillary -1 and -2 stories, but virtually all the -5 stories on the MSM are Trump.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Mark Leibovich’s columns in the NYT Magazine also tend to be crypto pro-Trump. But journalists have to keep this under covers.

          • Earthly Knight says:

            There’s lots of mildly positive coverage of Trump: primary results; grudging acceptance that he’s won (the nomination); noting how many people attend his rallies; MoDo; polling stories; “why is Trump doing so well?”.

            1. What makes you think that the sentiment analysis software would classify these stories as positive, rather than neutral?

            2. It’s hard to see how primary results, polling stories, and stories about how Trump is the de facto nominee could explain how he has a greater proportion of positive coverage than Hillary, given that she has won basically the same number of primaries, has led in the polls for even longer, and is also the de facto nominee.

        • dndnrsn says:

          I’ve noticed elsewhere (eg, the NYT magazine did a sort of journalist-follows-candidate-around piece on Trump sometime earlier, when his candidacy was still kind of a novelty) that some journalists who are generally left-wing seem like they’re charmed by Trump in spite of themselves.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Trump has survived as a New York celebrity for 30 years in part because New York media types who know him tend to like him.

          • This reminds me of Talleyrand. Everyone who didn’t know him thought he was a terrible person. People who knew him liked him.

            Another man who was surprisingly successful, although probably for different reasons.

  35. We should hope that the EmDrive doesn’t work for great filter reasons. An EmDrive being possible would shorten the time a civilization would need before being able to colonize other star systems and so, conditional on the Fermi paradox being caused in part by civilizations destroying themselves, would reduce the expected lifespan of our high tech civilization.

    • EyeballFrog says:

      Great Filter arguments never really convinced me. “If interstellar colonization is possible, and there aren’t any known interstellar civilizations, there must be something stopping civilizations from reaching that point.” is one valid explanation, but it seems like it’s equally valid to say “Nothing stops civilizations from reaching that point–humans are just the first.”. After all, someone has to be first. No reason it can’t be us.

      • Urstoff says:

        Yep, plus given how little we know about the distribution of planets capable of supporting life throughout the galaxy, things like the Drake equation are basically guesses.

  36. Peter Scott says:

    America has 35% fewer police officers per capita than the world average, even though its prison system is much larger. Alex Tabarrok wonders if this suggests a strategy of shifting criminal justice resources from prisons to police, in the hopes that criminals use a rational P(caught)*punishment strategy to determine whether or not to commit a crime and so if we increase catch rate we can shorten sentences.

    It’s better than that, actually: Alex Tabarrok is assuming that criminals aren’t using that rational strategy, and are instead discounting larger punishments heavily. That is, they’d be more deterred by a 50% chance of a year in jail than by a 2% chance of 25 years, even though both have an expected-jail-time of six months. If that’s the case — and we have strong evidence that it is — then shifting resources from prisons to police could be a big win, both by reducing crime and by reducing punishment.

    • I think this is the conventional view of the subject, usually put as criminals being risk preferring, but there’s a problem. The analysis, as I understand it, assumes that a two year jail sentence is twice the amount of punishment of a one year sentence–which sounds right but isn’t.

      The cost to the criminal of being arrested, tried, and convicted isn’t just the amount of time he spends in jail. It includes the cost of posting bond, the cost of a lawyer if he has one, the reputational cost of being known as a convicted criminal. That’s about the same whether he is sentenced to one years or two, so two years is less than twice the punishment of one year, so the deterrent effect of a .1 chance of two years is less than that of a .2 chance of one year even if the criminal is risk neutral.

      • Richard Gadsden says:

        The classic historical version of this is the (British) Victorian-era replacement of the “bloody code” (220 capital crimes and transportation also common) with imprisonment for many crimes (by 1861, the only capital offences were murder, treason, espionage, piracy and arson of the – then still wooden – Royal Navy) and the simultaneous introduction of modern policing – the Metropolitian Police in 1829, progressively extended across the country, completed in 1857.

        Crime levels dropped dramatically at that time.

        • “Crime levels dropped dramatically at that time.”

          Evidence? We don’t have very good data on crime rates in the 18th century, but such evidence as I have seen doesn’t support that.

          The rate of homicides known to police in England from 1906-1910 was 0.8 per 100,000. (Ted Robert Gurr, “Historical Trends in Violent Crimes: A Critical Review of the Evidence,” in Crime and Justice: An Annual Review of Research v. 3, Michael Tonry and Norval Morris eds.)

          Homicide indictment rates reported by Beattie fell from 8.1 per 100,000 (1660-1679) to 0.9 (1780-1802) in the urban parishes of Surrey, from 4.3 to 0.9 in the rural parishes of Surrey, and from 2.6 to 0.6 in (rural) Sussex.

          It’s possible that homicide indictments in the 18th century were a smaller fraction of homicides than homicides known to police in the early 20th century, of course. But those were the best figures I was able to find when I wrote an article on 18th c. English criminal law enforcement.

          It’s worth noting that, although almost all serious offenses were capital in the bloody code, only a small fraction of those tried for such offenses were hanged, and probably only a minority of those convicted. For more details see:

          http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Legal_Systems_Draft/Systems/England_18thc.htm

      • John Faben says:

        “the deterrent effect of a .1 chance of two years is less than that of a .2 chance of one year even if the criminal is risk neutral”

        I’m a bit confused as to why this would be a problem. Doesn’t this mean we get even more bang for our buck by reducing sentence length and increasing policing?

  37. JayMan says:

    Correlation of -0.68 between “rule of law” in a country as defined by the World Justice Project, versus road accident deaths per capita in that country. Is this something boring, like better governments making better road systems, or everything about countries always being correlated by development anyway? Or some more fundamental connection between people following the rules while driving and following the rules while governing.

    Doesn’t that just scream WEIRDO to you? It does to me.

    this group might be more in need of the (partial) antidote, Turkheimer’s Weak Genetic Explanations 20 Years Later, which I endorse as the most pessimistic about genetic explanations it is possible to be while still being 100% intellectually honest.

    Your standards of “intellectual honesty” are pretty damned low. Turkheimer is cursed by not being able to deal with the implications of his own discovery. Hence, he makes every effort to undermine it. Most of which of course is nonsense, as much of this ultimately is.

    • Steve Sailer says:

      “Correlation of -0.68 between “rule of law” in a country as defined by the World Justice Project, versus road accident deaths per capita in that country.”

      According to WHO, the highest road death rate in the world, by a factor of two is in … Libya.

      http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A997

      There’s a General Factor to good citizenship, which includes driving well, paying taxes, and not littering. It’s probably something that the Obama Administration should have thought about it before getting involved in Libya.

  38. Sniffnoy says:

    America has 35% fewer police officers per capita than the world average, even though its prison system is much larger. Alex Tabarrok wonders if this suggests a strategy of shifting criminal justice resources from prisons to police, in the hopes that criminals use a rational P(caught)*punishment strategy to determine whether or not to commit a crime and so if we increase catch rate we can shorten sentences.

    This seems to me to be a big misreading of the linked piece. If you read the earlier post he links to, What Was Gary Becker’s Greatest Mistake, he explicitly says that the P(caught)*punishment model does not predict criminal behavior, and that P(caught) matters much more than punishment does — and that therefore such large punishments don’t gain us anything, and we’d do much better to focus on P(caught).

    So the post you linked to isn’t saying “If we increase P(caught), we can decrease punishment”; rather, it’s just pointing out way in which you can see that we haven’t put enough resources into increasing P(caught). (And that increasing P(caught) and decreasing punishment are things we should do anyway, because this would increase deterrence, not keep it constant.)

    • Surely the subjective disutility of punishment doesn’t scale linearly with the length of the sentence given that people have discount rates and criminals are likely to have particularly steep ones.

    • Richard says:

      For the p(caught)*punishment to work, it requires that criminals have a realistic estimate of both.

      I don’t know if criminals in the US are different, but this side of the pond it has been shown that criminals have epsilon knowledge of punishment and only a vague idea of p(caught).

      What they do have a good grasp on is how often they see a cop on the street, so that having lots of cops walking around and never arresting anyone lowers crime.

      • John Schilling says:

        I believe most criminals socially interact with other criminals and criminal-adjacent types without keeping their criminality strictly secret. Indeed, I believe most criminals brag about their criminality, within their social circle, for status.

        This suggests that most potential future criminals will have a pretty good feel for the ratio, Crimes Bragged About : Criminals Arrested, calibrated for the particular type of crimes they’d likely commit and the quality of the accomplices they would bring to the job. There is still room for systematic error when it comes to the ratio, Crimes Bragged About : Crimes Actually Committed.

  39. It looks to me as though the link about the implicit association test just says that racist behavior is so ill-defined that no one has figured out whether the test predicts anything. Have I missed something?

    • Randy M says:

      They ought to have made some definitions and looked for correlations before touting it as “This one trick will show your hidden racism!”
      I’ve been rather incredulous that anyone took that seriously since first hearing about it. Not terribly surprising that no one has bothered to match it’s findings to anything of consequence.

      • Anonymous says:

        Definitely this. I remember the first time I took the test. I guessed what they were doing less than halfway through, and then tried to game the rest of the test. Also, since it’s taking a time differential on quick reactions, it’s incredibly susceptible to noise. We need a really strong link to something else for it to mean anything.

        • Chalid says:

          Why on earth would you game the test? Were you taking it in some context where you would gain a benefit from doing so?

          • keranih says:

            For a bit, it was A Thing in some stridently progressive agitprop circles to boast of how well one did on the association test.

          • Anonymous says:

            I was taking it purely for my own curiosity. I’m also a nerd, so I quickly became curious about whether I could game the test. I figured that if I consciously had a model of what the test was doing, the idea that it could capture subconscious effects was broken, anyway. If the results are going to be garbage, I might as well satisfy my curiosity!

  40. Jill says:

    Good article that I linked to on a previous thread too. It relates to the planned bashing of Democrats who are, or have been, in government, which has been going on since Gingrich’s time. Which will tell you why a Democratic Secretary of State and Dem presidential candidate gets bashed more than anyone running as a Republican gets bashed, at least by Right Wing media.

    The political scientist who saw Trump’s rise coming
    Norm Ornstein on why the Republican Party was ripe for a takeover, what the media missed, and whether Trump could win the presidency

    http://www.vox.com/2016/5/6/11598838/donald-trump-predictions-norm-ornstein

    • E. Harding says:

      The right-wing media (Breitbart) bashes left-wingers. The left-wing media (New York Times) bashes right-wingers. Nothing new here.

    • The interesting thing for me is that the left spent a huge amount of time talking about how awful the conservatives are…. and then when Trump came along, they didn’t want to believe Republicans would be awful enough to support him.

      • Nebfocus says:

        Well, he’s quite different from what one would call a “Republican”. Much of his support has come from working class whites who have been abandon by the Democrats.

        • Jill says:

          Yes, working class whites who’ve been catered to by Republicans since Nixon, using approval of racism as bait. He is very Republican in that way.

          • Deiseach says:

            Can we get some solid figures on this, other than hand-wringing articles about how the only reason people are supporting Trump must be because they’re all racists?

            I’m fed-up of seeing this. Show me good polling data on “Yeah, I hate black, brown, and yellow people and that’s why I’m voting for Trump” as distinct from “The major employer in town shut up and moved to China and I haven’t worked in the last three years, I don’t think we should be sending our jobs to China”. The second is treated as racism (“how dare you not be delighted that a poor person in China is marginally less poor now they have your job at a fraction of the wages you used to be paid?”) but need not be based on thinking Chinese people are inferior or hatred of Chinese people.

          • People often call Trump a racist, but what’s the evidence? Yes he has said mean things about Muslim and Mexican immigrants, but neither are a race.

          • Teal says:

            @Deiseach
            If someone says that political correctness is the number one problem facing the United States, what exactly do you take from that?

          • E. Harding says:

            All those racists in Massachusetts…

          • Hlynkacg says:

            If someone says that political correctness is the number one problem facing the United States, what exactly do you take from that?

            That they think social justice and most of the concepts derived from it are a scam.

          • Salem says:

            That they’re concerned about the excessive political correctness in the USA… what do you take from it?

          • Teal says:

            Even if you think social justice is a scam, that still doesn’t get you to number one problem in America.

          • Hlynkacg says:

            Does it need to?

          • Deiseach says:

            If someone says that political correctness is the number one problem facing the United States, what exactly do you take from that?

            That they have a particular political slant and unless I see more of what they mean by “political correctness” (which can range from “don’t use ‘tran*s’ instead of ‘trans’, that’s hurtful and offensive!” to “Quentin Tarantino should really stop using ‘nigga’ in his movie scripts”) and how it’s such a big problem, I can’t say if they’re making a reasonable point or not.

          • cassander says:

            >working class whites who’ve been catered to by Republicans since Nixon, using approval of racism as bait.

            This is demonstrably false. The southern strategy is almost entirely a myth. Nixon, in particular, lost the south in 68 because he wouldn’t pander to the racists. And in 72, he won 49 states

          • Aapje says:

            @Teal

            Even if you think social justice is a scam, that still doesn’t get you to number one problem in America.

            Perhaps he thinks that there are taboos that prevent recognizing and thus solving certain problems. For example, in my EU country, integration of some groups of immigrants (mostly Muslim) was/is going very badly, but there was political consensus that pointing this out was racism. Non-racist ideas like ‘let’s limit migration of groups from a culture that integrates badly, so we don’t keep adding to the problems’ were outside the Overton Window.

            To give a US example, I think that the US political system is one of the main problems in America, not because of the political system itself, but because it makes solving many other problems is near impossible now.

          • Nita says:

            @ Aapje

            Perhaps you could suggest some ethnically neutral criteria for rejection? For example, reject everyone who believes in “traditional family values” or authoritarian parenting?

          • Aapje says:

            @Nita

            I assume that by ‘rejecting,’ you mean placing something outside of the Overton Window.

            If so, I believe that it shouldn’t be the business of mainstream politics or media to enforce a certain morality by refusing to engage & socially shaming certain (semi)popular opinions, especially not with smears (people who advocate X are fascists/Nazis), weak manning or straw manning. After all, we shouldn’t forget that in the past certain ideas were outside the Overton Window that we now consider to be right (for example: black people deserve equal rights). It would be pretty arrogant to think that right now we are 100% correct in our ethics. I also find it very worrisome when people have no confidence in the strength of their arguments and instead seek to coerce people. If people have a poor message, they should understand why and fix it.

            Another big reason is that the Overton Window polarizes. It tends to create an echo chamber of ‘politically correct thought’ and echo chambers of ‘politically incorrect thought.’

            To take Trump (and similar movements that are growing throughout the West) as an example, I think that most of the people who vilify him would be better served to examine what legitimate issues there are that makes him popular (like reduced social mobility or to phrase it in American: the end of the American Dream). Then the second step would be to examine how their own politics has contributed to this and how it can address this.

            I think that Sanders and Trump actually address the same issue in this regard, although from a different side of the culture war (where each side has their own dog whistles and other rhetoric that is emotionally pleasant to their own side, but off-putting to the other).

          • Nita says:

            @ Aapje

            Well, you were talking about limiting immigration, so that’s what I meant by “rejecting”.

          • Aapje says:

            @Nita

            I’ll also address your first example:

            “Traditional family values” is in essence the fear that abolishing certain rules will result in societal problems/chaos. Children experiencing bad parenting, due to both their parents working too much, policies making it easier to be a single parent, easy divorces, etc.

            Instead of looking for ‘ethnically neutral criteria’ to reject traditional family values, why not flip it around and look for commonality first. Do you believe that divorce harms children (as studies tend to show)? Do you believe that single parenting is harmful (as studies tend to show)? Do you believe that some children are neglected because their parents both focus on their careers? Do you think that it’s good for children to have role models of both genders? But of course the advantages that ‘traditional families values’ do have are offset by disadvantages. For example, without divorce, people can’t escape their abusive spouse. So the situation is not black/white, but there is a balance you need to seek.

            So now we no longer are at ‘I reject everything my opponent says,’ but at ‘I share some of your concerns, but think that my standpoint is the proper balance between various interests.’ Such a point of view enables you to convince your opponent from a position of empathy: ‘I understand that you are afraid that gay couples will make bad parents, but research shows….’ Of course, if you are fair, this also means that you have to allow your position to be challenged in the same way. My experience is that people on all sides of the spectrum have a tendency to idealize their ideologically preferred solution, downplaying certain issues. In an open debate, you can point these out for others, but there is a good chance that others will point out your blind spots.

            TL;DR version: don’t categorically reject people with certain ideas, reject their solutions based on a position of empathy/good faith.