Monday, September 29, 2014

Welcome, gentlemen. Do come in.

A few weeks ago, Malcolm Pollack remarked on the appearance of Rudyard Kipling in, of all places, a Roger Cohen column in the New York Times.
The fabric of society frayed. Democracy looked quaint or outmoded beside new authoritarianisms.

…Nobody connected the dots or read Kipling on life’s few certainties: “The Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire / And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.”

Until it was too late and people could see the Great Unraveling for what it was and what it had wrought.

James Howard Kunstler, fresh off his call for closing the borders, remarks on the late phenomenon of alienated, unvalued young men.
My guess is that they will shift their attention and activity from the mind-slavery of the current Potemkin economy to the very monster we find ourselves fighting overseas: a domestic ISIS-style explosion of wrath wrapped in an extreme ideology of one kind or another replete with savagery and vengeance-seeking. The most dangerous thing that any society can do is invalidate young men. When the explosion of youthful male wrath occurs in the USA, it will come along at exactly the same time as all the other benchmarks of order become unmoored - especially the ones in money and politics - which will shatter the faith of the non-young and the non-male, too. Also, just imagine for a moment the numbers of young men America has trained with military skills the past 20 years. Not all of them will be disabled with PTSD, or mollified with rinky-dink jobs at the Wal-Mart, or lost in the transports of heroin and methedrine.

The authorities will have no way to understand what is happening and we are certain to endure a long season of violence and social chaos as a result. The re-set from that will be an economy and a society that few now yammering will recognize. That society emerging from the ashes of the current matrix of rackets will desperately need young men to rebuild, and there will be plenty of opportunity for them - though it won’t feature fast cars, Kanye West downloads, or bottle service.

Better late than never companeros.

(Matthew 20: ...8 “So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ 9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”

Just War Doctrine

Juan Cole is horrified.
“Michele Bachmann took the stage at the Values Voters Summit today, and fired up the crowd with shots at President Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as a firm call for the U.S. to keep killing ISIS terrorists until they surrender...
The Young Turks: “Michele Bachmann’s Frenzied Bloodlust Delights Values Voters”
War against ISIS is entirely justified if people like Juan Cole want continued Muslim immigration. If our borders are to remain open to the Ummah, then radical Islam must be eliminated in its homelands.

We invade the world because we invite the world.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Derek Jeter and Gnosticism

I know, wtf, right? But Sailer spots the connection, and this explains a lot of the persistence in debate in certain areas. Thus, my observation that all I ever do is recycle a few key themes. I was speaking with my dad last night, and he pointed out that when you think about it, mankind just keeps cycling through the first eleven chapters of Genesis.

It's human nature to want some esoteric, arcane knowledge or process to differentiate you from all the rubes. This is Pride, one of the seven deadly sins. Thus, esoteric specialists can demonstrate how billionaire George Steinbrenner was a fool to keep shoveling so much money to Derek Jeter, as he collected four world championships in the process.

Of course, this is not to pooh-pooh data collection but to criticize the idolization of the model constructed from the data. Steinbrenner saw something in Jeter that wouldn't necessarily show up in the spreadsheets. Donald Trump has made the point that he can tell a lot about potential business partners based on how they comport themselves in a round of golf.

My favorite example of gnostic thinking is "climate scientists" who fancy themselves something more than mere meteorologists. When they venture out of their computer labs, they end up trapped in Antarctic sea ice which their models told them did not exist. Then they have to radio actual meteorologists to find out what the weather patterns are so they can determine if their food stores and power supply will last through their taxpayer-funded rescue.

Economics is another area where very bright people get bored with axiomatic things like the supply-demand curve or capital and the structure of production. Genius-level people find this the intellectual equivalent of ditch-digging (which has its own science, as any ditch digger who's had to be pulled out from under a collapsed ditch wall can tell you). So they develop a "macro" field of economics with models that supposedly will have society running like a top. Of course, when they venture out in the real world their models fail appallingly. Long Term Capital Management nearly brought down Wall Street long before Goldman Sachs and AIG. The best and brightest American economists nearly killed post-Soviet Russia, and we came close to the Great Reset when the quants forgot to account for the fact that housing values can plateau, and also decline.

It's quaint to recall Gary Larson's great Far Side cartoons with the archetypal "scientists" peering through microscopes and telescopes, or in pith helmets in the jungle. (Actually, a lot of the humor was in how quaint it seemed even circa 1980 - 1995.) Currently, a lot of science consists in running computer models. Field work can actually be dangerous, which was a big complaint from the subject of a recent post:
I still love rocks and I still dream of the ancient Aegean seas, but for the better part of my career I’ve sealed myself into a locked laboratory, a small well-lit world that I can control. I still do fieldwork, but I do it in “safe” countries like Canada and Ireland — where similar things still happen. Where would I have ended up had I been the first person to report the isotope chemistry of the aquifers that underlie the ancient city of Hierapolis? I’ll never know, because I’ll never go back. I’ll take my chances elsewhere and let my male colleagues study the travertine deposits of the Menderes River Valley. I will continue to do everything right, and it will continue to keep me inadequately safe.

(Note that what is apparently out of the question is marrying a male colleague, who can do field work with her and protect her from harmful sexual encounters with strangers.)

As I've observed (repeatedly), the whole climate change alarum is rather distant from what people used to call "environmentalism." Things like eliminating particulate and heavy metal pollution, solid waste management, flora and fauna preservation aren't consistent with globalism and require some politically incorrect thinking about human r-selected reproductive practices. So the environmentalists tiptoed away from all these real world problems to focus on things with ambiguous metrics like "climate" and "sea levels." (As opposed to "weather" and "erosion.")

I certainly agree that it can't be good for anywhere or anybody to be burning so many fossil fuels, like the acres of idling cars on concrete highways, headed for reflective heat generators in the form of huge steel and glass buildings. I can drive two hours and see that brown smudge in the air above Atlanta and the temperature difference from city to rural to realize something non-normative is going on. But whereas an "environmentalist" used to be making these real world observations and calling for something tangible, now he's sitting in front of a computer trying to craft arguments for government to subsidize energy sources that are way too diffuse to have much utility. Or worse, arguing for some complicated rent-seeking scheme.

"Gnosticism" infects a lot of areas, like the magic thinking that concludes The Gap is because we're not getting black children away from their taciturn parents early enough--instead of thinking about things like how to get iodine and vitamin D into poor people's diets, and laying out some really clear rules for high-risk groups. Or that AIDS has everything to do with a runaway-freight-train of a virus that could Kill Us All, and nothing to do with practices that put intolerable loads on human immune systems. Or what Haitians really need are nice white people handing out canned goods instead of building them a sewage system and putting the Haitian equivalent of Paul Kagame in charge of it.

But the root of it all, it seems, is Pride.

UPDATE: John Derbyshire, on exactamundo, all-fours point:
Professor Thompson—she teaches math at the University of California, Davis—proceeds to apply that careful scrutiny at 3,500-word length. She concludes:

To summarize, the paper “Groups of diverse problem solvers can outperform groups of high-ability problem solvers” contains a theorem that has neither mathematical content nor real-world applications, and a contrived computer simulation that illustrates the well-known fact that random algorithms are often effective. What the paper emphatically does not contain is information that can be applied to any real-world situation involving actual people.

Predictable as the effing tides.

Monday, September 22, 2014

How to increase the incidence of rape on college campuses

Order fraternities to keep women in houses with lots of drunk young men.

Wesleyan orders fraternities to become coed

Eventually though, these fraternities will become safe places for women. That is, they will become sororities, filled with women and their gay friends.

As Bob Wallace puts it, what women enter, men leave.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Allow me to translate

Science's sexual assault problem, via Vox Popoli.
I was a promising graduate student. I landed a position as a professor before I even started to write my dissertation. While I prepared to start my new job, I decided that I would begin by studying the brine that bleeds sideways within the rocks that underlie the inner Aegean region of Turkey. I dreamed of an ocean of hot water underneath Denizli Province, an ocean that occasionally sloshes out onto the surface to form ice-blue thermal springs. I had seen photographs, but I wanted to be there, to take samples and make measurements, to make it “my” field site. I was trying to find an intellectual home.

I was careful to do everything right. I started out modestly and cautiously, in the summer of 1996, with simple reconnaissance. I booked a spot within a chaperoned group tour and stayed in prearranged hotel rooms and ate bland meals with the 10 or so elderly Australian tourists who were my travel companions. We rode in an air-conditioned bus for days while I stared out the window and scribbled notes about the roads and cataloged photos of the landscape. I covered my head with a scarf and averted my eyes toward the sidewalk.

And then, one day in the Mediterranean resort town of Antalya, instead of going to the marketplace with the group, I sat in a cafe to study some maps. It was broad daylight when I began walking back to the hotel, and a stranger pulled me into a stairwell — and then did some other things. Perhaps an hour later I staggered out with his blood under my fingernails. I cannot describe what happened in a way you will understand, because I still do not understand it myself. I have been trying to understand it for almost 20 years.

As I said, allow me to translate:

Eighteen years ago, Dr. A. Hope Jahren was the 20-something, globe-trotting grad student getting picked up for rough sex by exotic strangers in Turkey. Now, at age 45, she realizes that everybody's looking straight through her--like she's invisible or something--to the latest grad-student hottie to saunter into the department. So suddenly, after 18 years of silence!, Dr. Jahren drops the bombshell that she was RAPED, yes, RAVISHED in her virginal bloom without her consent, lo those long years ago.

Therefore, we obviously and urgently need to keep all of Dr. Jahren's rapacious male colleagues in the present from sleeping with all these new, young, female grad students.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The U.S. Democratic Rainbow Warrior Army

Is there anything it can't do?

US to commit up to 3,000 troops to fight Ebola in Africa, from The Vault.
WASHINGTON — Under pressure to do more to confront the EBOLA sweeping across West Africa, President Obama on Tuesday is to announce an expansion of military resources to combat this deadly attack on liberal democratic values, administration officials said.

The president will go beyond the 25 anti-EBOLA missile batteries that Pentagon officials have already established in Liberia, one of the three West African countries ravaged by EBOLA.

Mr. Obama will offer help to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia in the construction of as many as 17 missile silos in the region, with about 1,700 unit-yields of anti-EBOLA nuclear megatonnage per warhead. The silos will be fed by direct conveyors from Martin Marietta facilities in Seattle, Washington, powered by micro-credit and killer whale farts in LEED-certified plants, lovingly attended by immigrant labor.

Senior administration officials said Monday night that the Department of Defense would open a joint command operation in Monrovia, Liberia, to coordinate the international effort to rip off EBOLA's head and shit down its neck. The military will also spawn 10,000 orcs to construct siege machines, trebouchets and catapults to rain down over 500 pounds of Greek fire per minute to deal with the crisis.

"We will bomb EBOLA into the dirt, then we will bomb the dirt, then we will decompose the dirt into its constituent elements, then we will form the elemental slurry into clay balls which we shall load on to rockets and fire into the heart of the Sun," said Obama, severing the head of an EBOLA minion and displaying it to the delighted hoots and gibberings of his Cabinet members.

Obama, in blood-crazed frenzy, severs head of EBOLA minion

Just kidding. Click through the links and read the actual New York Times article. And yes, that's really the name of the head of the Liberian matriarchy.

All of the media's effusive coverage is a polite way to leave unsaid that West Africa is so lawless and barbaric that we have to send 3,000 troops along to protect the medical professionals attempting to rescue Africa from its enormous disease load. You're welcome.

UPDATE: Eight dead in attack on Ebola team in Guinea.

So how come the CIA isn't offering me and my friends in this corner of the Internet lucrative contracts for our prognostications?

Monday, September 15, 2014

What then?

As the US assembles its multi-national coalition to wage war on the Dar-al-Islam, now would seem to be a good time to ask, what then? As in, once we've bombed what I will henceforth refer to as ISIS into the dirt, and put occupying troops on the ground, what then?

Or, if we are not going to put occupying troops on the ground, once we've bombed ISIS into the dirt and the survivors are left to poke around in the rubble, what then?

Commenter Cataline Sergius at Vox Popoli calls this Schrodinger's War:
This is a war caught up in quantum entanglement. It has both objectives and non-objectives. A desired end-state and no way to measure that end state. A state of war and non-war simultaneously.

It does however have a goal.

It is particularly important to Obama that the box containing it, isn't supposed to be opened for three years.

This adjunct law professor and community activist, just two and one-half years away from the lecture/book tour circuit where he'll earn millions, is about to be Commander-in-Chief of military operations in the Middle Eastern theater. I do not expect combat operations to begin until an overwhelming force has been assembled, just as I do not expect the Obama administration to change course until this force has been assembled, even if it requires the US commit 100,000 troops. And, it follows, Obama and the US Congress will secure military victory by any means necessary.

So, after ISIS is defeated--as they will surely be--what then?

Who will police what's left of Syria and Iraq at that point? Who will provide food, shelter, potable water and sewage to millions of Middle Easterners whose infrastructure has been destroyed?

Do we really expect the Sunnis currently paying tribute to ISIS to unite behind pluralistic governments of "Syria" and "Iraq"? (Do these states still exist?)

Who gets to be the government of what's left of these places? How do we choose them? Where do we draw the borders? Do we carve out an Assad-ruled coastal region? Who gets Aleppo? Does Kurdistan get legal recognition?

Any members of the Obama administration reading this, feel free to chime in.