We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, June 25. 2015
Tuesday, June 23. 2015
As readers know, I get a huge kick out of NYC. Have theater tix for next Sat., and dinner, which is good, but just wandering around is a blast for a country boy like me.
It is a comfort and a pleasure to a middle-aged fellow to see that they will remain a bonded family when we parents are dead and gone. I imagine their future Thanksgivings and Christmases, and maybe continuing the ritual Cape Cod family reunions with our annual family morning Wellfleet Triathlon with all of my sibs and any available kids (bike around 15 miles ending up at Long Pond, race across Long Pond and back maybe 1/2 mile or more and try not to drown, then run about 7 miles back home for a hearty breakfast. Better yet, to the Lighthouse for blueberry pancakes, bacon and eggs). Family traditions are important life foundations. Body-surfing in the ocean in the cool north Atlantic. The annual family baseball was good too. Batter Up! My Mom at 84! She knew how to hit a baseball and to do lots of other things too.
Their being fond of, and grateful to, their parents is good too. Already, they will drop anything to give us a hand when needed. Blessed, I guess. Will do the same for them as best we can.
Sunday, June 21. 2015
I believe that gender surgery is, or is close to, medical malpractice. Psychotherapy is not likely to change these people either. Same with effeminate gays. Like it or not, we must all just accept that there is a lot of strangeness and discontent in the human species. Blame our hypertrophied cortex.
And if you are out there in your gardens, now is a good time, and the last chance, to shear back the late summer and fall-blooming perennials that you don't want to grow too tall and scraggly, eg Asters, Daisies, and Seaside Daisies.
It's been a cold Spring in New England. Tomato plants aren't growing vigorously. New England is marginal for tomato compared to New Jersey or South Carolina, but home-growns are so tasty that we persist anyway. We really only get a crop in July-Sept while in south Jersey they can be harvesting garden tomatoes June-October. Unless you have a greenhouse. Some days, like today, I wish I had one. But naw, not really. Who wants the hassle?
Saturday, June 20. 2015
Who is to blame for this? Weenie Dads? Tort lawyers? Government? Mom-headed households? Truth is, when I was ten I would disappear all day on bikes with friends, exploring woods, swimming illegally in reservoirs, building forts (snowball fights in winter, rock and stick wars in summer), shooting BB guns, fishing, sailing a Sailfish, playing vacant-lot baseball, shooting hoops on the asphalt-covered schoolyard, enjoying occasional fistfights, stealing candy from the candy shop, smoking cigarettes stolen from parents, teasing girls (mainly the ones we liked). Home by dark of course. That was the rule.
Normal stuff. The wife says I turned out fine.
If your kid doesn't come home dirty and bruised, with a mouth full of lies and the occasional broken bone, it's a shame. But I guess the boys play video games all day now and rot their brains.
In England, they call it "garden croquet" as opposed to formal croquet on a graded, manicured court.
We have neither a backyard pool nor a backyard tennis court, but we have an outdoor ping-pong table in the barn and, of course, a good English croquet set.
In time for Fathers' Day,your Quick Reference Guide for Backyard Croquet Rules
A fun town to visit. Historic and salty. Been there a number of times. Excellent seafood restaurants, jolly pubs, comfortable antique hotels and B&Bs, and interesting architecture. Interestingly, also the oldest synagogue in America as was noted by George Washington. People like to visit the grand old "cottages" but they aren't too interesting to me although I guess you have to do it once.
A few friends of ours have recently bought weekend homes there. I don't want one but it is a pleasant location with plenty of good social activity around clubs and boats.
Salt Water New England - whoever she is - was there this week. Nice boat. Good photos. Too bad she didn't stop by the important and elegant Newport Flower Show where she might have met Mrs. BD and her good pals. Mrs. BD would have stayed longer for the parties, etc. but we have a wedding today. That magnificent show attracts people from all over the US and Europe and they even bus them in from the airport.
Friday, June 19. 2015
It seems to me that decent, spirited people always aspire to improve their souls, their brains and knowledge, their fitness, their appearance, their skills, their morals, their relationships, etc. etc. Giving up is not cool and shows no respect for God's gifts - and surely nobody wants their teeth to indicate that they might be from England or Bosnia.
Orthodontia in America: America’s obsession with perfecting its teeth.
How to make weddings fun even in cheesy catering halls.
Crazy, bawdy lyrics of C'e La Luna Mezz'o Mare. "Marry the guy with the cucumber. " The singer has the real rough southern Italian peasant accent - wonderfully bad.
Thursday, June 18. 2015
I'll confess that I do not greatly enjoy wedding events, and this season has been, and will be, heavy with these weekend social duties. Of course, I am always pleased when people find life partners, though.
In youth, attending friends' weddings was great fun. Drinking, smoking pot behind the church, getting dressed up, guys meeting new gals and vice versa, making out on the club porch with a new person after too many champagnes. Many youth meet their future mates at weddings, for good reason: they have been socio-culturally vetted.
I also understand that parents like to throw lavish weddings to entertain their friends, families, and business associates. An excuse to check that box. But only the youth really enjoy these things because it's new to them. As an adult, I do not really enjoy attending (although I feel hurt if not invited). They interfere with your whole day and go on too long.
An inconvenience, in fact, but showing up is an obligation to people you care about. It's important to them that you show up. A brief ceremony with sandwiches and drinks after would be fine with me, same as a funeral. Two hours, max, go through the receiving line, leave your gift on the pile, and then get to your tennis game. I've been to enough weddings (and enough funerals too). Throwing a wedding need not be a major imposition on your guests' lives.
- People do not realize that your wedding is not the only one they are obligated to go to this year. For them, it seems like a Big Deal.
- You get seated with people you have to make small talk with. Dull, usually. You keep wondering "Can we leave yet?"
- You have to pretend to have 'fun," and to be grateful for the abundant food, drink, loud music, and the opportunity to dance like a teenager. I do not need any of those things but the youngsters might.
- Old Yankee Rules: Excess and display are tacky. Old Puritan Rules: weddings are not religious matters. Marriage is not a Protestant sacrament but is a solemn, witnessed vow, and a secular contract.
- 67% of American marriages end in grisly divorce
- Weddings without children attending are just no darn good.
- Weddings are an industry today. $10,000 for flowers? For one afternoon?
I don't mean to sound like a curmudgeon (or do I?). Marriage is an essential institution and God bless all who partake and whose vows are deadly serious.
My idea of a wedding event for my kids would be old-time, slightly post-Puritan New England. Bring a fiddler and an accordionist to the town green with a pig roast, with kids crying and running around. Don't even get me started on beach weddings, mountaintop weddings, black tie weddings, and golf destination weddings. But we have boys so I will be mercifully out of the loop.
The "Honored Mother of the Bride"? Gag me.
Here's a traditional New England wedding:
The percentage of pregnant brides is said to have been quite high amongst the puritan Congregationalists, maybe 50% or more.
What caught my attention, though I'm not sure if it caught my wife's, was the trail itself. I was an avid hiker/camper in my youth. My wife is not. El Camino is roughly 800 km, or about 500 miles, if started in Roncesvalles, France.
The history of El Camino is quite lengthy, a pilgrimage which preceded even the Christian era. With the growth of the Church, and the incorporation of many pagan rituals and groups within the Church itself, El Camino took on new significance as a means of penance. The attraction of Santiago de Compostela is related to the belief that St. James the Greater's (Santiago) tomb is in the church at that site. The belief was, for years, that the path offered an opportunity for penance and spiritual growth, as any pilgrimage seeks to provide.
There were, and to some degree still are, many paths to complete the pilgrimage. Which is one reason given to the rise of the symbol of El Camino, the scallop shell, with many routes ending at a single point. Other reasons for the shell include the belief that to 'prove' one completed the trip, a scallop shell was required to be taken as a token. Scallop shells also happened to provide other traveling purposes, such as acting as a plate for food, or large enough for a small drink of water. All the stories about the shell relate back to some myths about the arrival of St. James' body to Spain's shores.
Continue reading "El Camino de Santiago"
Wednesday, June 17. 2015
Today, the documentary world is full of nonsense. Outside of Ken Burns, whose work usually captures my eyes and ears, there aren't many documentary works which are interesting at all. Most documentaries today seem to be paid for by either corporations or left-wing nutjob organizations. They are more propaganda than documentary.
Which is a shame. The term documentary used to mean something, and not just mean "telling you a story I'm paid to tell you because it's what my paymasters want."
"Nanook of the North" was one of the first documentaries, and this work comprised at least 3 full classes in one semester of documentary study. Even then, much was known about how much Robert Flaherty had scripted, rather than actually documenting 'Nanook's' life. Flaherty defended his position, pointing out the issues a producer has in trying to recreate reality. As a class, we agreed that Flaherty's limitations, based on the bulkiness of his equipment and limited capacity for being in the right place at the right time, gave him some leeway to play somewhat fast and loose with the generally accepted rules of documentary film-making. Even so, his work perpetrated and reinforced some stereotypes, rather than helping to inform people about how accustomed to modern life Eskimos really were.
Continue reading "A Brief History of Documentary"
Friday, April 17. 2015
Sultan offers The Deconstruction of Marriage and deconstruction in general. A quote:
Other topics there, but I can say that, without my marriage of many years, my life would be terrible. To each his or her own, though. Invent your own life if you want, and go for it! Just do not ask me to pay your bills because I have organized my life to pay my own.
I posted about it earlier. Well, it's a "boot camp" deal, 15-30 seconds rest between strenuous exercises - some whole-body, some targeted - for an hour or more, 3 days/week. The aerobics is just built into the non-stop exertion.
He made me clarify my goals, and he tracks everything. I said I wanted to avoid muscle atrophy, to increase endurance, overall fitness, agility, and physical vigor. Going from 36" to 35 belt would be fine too. So he made a plan to destroy me.
A trainer will whip you along like you would never do yourself unless you are far more self-disciplined than I am. It is quite intense because there is no recovery time - and that's the point. When he senses that I need a two- or 3-minute break, he puts me on the elliptical or the bike instead of real rest to keep the heart rate up.
Battle ropes and medicine balls? Sheesh.
Guy says that if I don't hurt all over then he has not done his job. Says that if you are not sore after exercise, you've done no good and wasted your time. Even walking with intention for 30 minutes, he says, should leave you exhausted and sweaty. Says his goal is to get me barely stumbling out to my car, covered with sweat and gasping for air, in the dark around 6:15 am. For the final 5 minutes, he stretches me out and it hurts like hell and he laughs. So far, that has been working.
He caught me checking my watch 40 minutes in this morning, and laughed. Cruel SOB.
He says that, for now, to rapidly convert fat to muscle, he wants me mainly on protein, 4 small doses of food per day. Like one hard-boiled egg for breakfast, a small bowl of plain yoghurt or a little cheese around noon, a slice of meat mid-afternoon, a few slices of meat or fish for supper. No bread or mashed taters, no beans, no pasta, no bread, no fruit except perhaps half an apple with peanut butter on the slices in the afternoon. Non-carb vegetables if I want anytime, but, like me, he thinks they are nutritionally irrelevant for anything other than pleasure or filling a stomach. Says I can take a multivit for the placebo effect. Mind you, I have no weight issue but since I pay him, I might as well follow his dietary advice for a while. Stupid not to. I am determined to be a good and gratifying customer and the notion of converting soft weight to hard weight is appealing. I'll believe it when I see it.
Next week he'll tell me what routine he will require me to do on days between and after sessions. Oh boy - can't wait. Says he just wants to keep waking up my body for a few weeks first. Sheesh. For now, he just wants me pushing the elliptical on off days to stay loose and to keep the muscles awake. The guy is a sadist. Don't most of us prefer comfortable "exercise" most of the time? He says ordinary walking is worthless unless it's just for fun - unless you are over 75.`
Man, I knew my endurance was slacking but I did not realize how badly until there was a guy with a whip (altho a gal with a whip might be more interesting). Ladies, if your hubbie is going a little soft (I mean in general, not you know) and you don't really like it, give him the present of a couple of months of boot camp so I don't feel so alone...
These guys will negotiate fees for a package deal especially during their slow hours. I go at 5 am instead of milking the cows. Some American ladies I've seen in Walmart could use this too but, around here in Yankeeland, many or most ladies do hard things to stay trim, youthful, and desirable. Admittedly, it is social class-related to some extent. However, as Murray says, social class (not $) is correlated with self-discipline and goal-orientation.
"Letting yourself go" gets just so easy, like letting a garden fill with weeds. I do not want that for myself.
Thursday, April 16. 2015
This gives a very close idea, I'd say +/- 3 points. It is context-free so has nothing to do with education, just pure mental horsepower. Give it a try. You will either be humbled and hate yourself for being an overachiever - or hate yourself for being an underachiever. No, not really. Many will figure they had themselves pegged correctly.
Speed counts, of course. No allowances for slower thinkers or "disabilities" because it is not a test of knowledge or operations. I came out 123 which I think is about right.
Wednesday, April 15. 2015
I’m not going to paint this post with pictures or videos, but just let the words stand on their own. Today is Yom Hashoah, the day of remembrance of the millions of Jews singled out for slaughter in World War II and the heroes who fought back. Everyone says “never again”, but we all know that is a hollow pretense for almost all who say it. We have watched mass slaughters, including some specifically targeted against discrete ethnic or religious groups, and done little or nothing. As always, almost all say it’s not their business or they don’t want to get involved or similar. So, where does that really leave the Jews of Israel who are daily, openly threatened with extinction by MidEast fanatics who are gathering the means to do so, and getting closer? It leaves the Jews of Israel to do everything possible within its limited persuasion and power to protect itself. That’s the simple truth of the matter. And, the other simple truth of the matter is that the enemies of Israel have so infected this administration in Washington that it is speeding and easing the day of confrontation, in effect and in direct consequences of Washington’s weakness.
It is not surprising that some Jews in the US go along, either out of comforts or lack of ever actually feeling the wolf’s breath. There have always been such. And, although fate has not been kind to them in the past, they are an infection that is not due any excuses for their perfidy. These are simple truths. We will all face the violent outcome and consequences -- regardless of religion or national background -- either by fallout or the burning of our souls in the hell deserved for cowards. Or, we can be more forthright and outspoken and involved in doing all we can, really, to turn this administration away from utter capitulation and the prospective presidential candidates from any shadow of such policies.
I have posted about IQ in the past. It's said to be a measure of "g", which is not much different than saying IQ is a measure of IQ.
IQ and total SAT scores are well-correlated so, at the least, it says something about one's power to handle relatively, but not extremely, complex cognitive tasks like higher math, challenging reading, high-level abstractions, etc. etc. It's about cognitive potential more than anything else. In today's world, cognitive powers matter more than they used to and more than they should, I suppose.
Many psychiatrists and psychologists have learned over the years to estimate peoples' IQs quite accurately, just in conversation. Subtlety of mind, rigor of logic, and curiosity as manifested by breadth and depth of knowledge are some of the markers. Of course, there is the birds of a feather issue too: people tend to find others within a similar range most engaging.
Very high IQ is a life handicap, sad to say. There are few of those, though. Lower IQs which are fully-functional and effective in life are far more common.
Medium-range IQ is the most life-adaptive (ie 110-115) for 95% of things in life from plumbing to software sales to money management. It's often been reported that the ideal IQ for CEOs of large, intricate organizations is near or around 130. Of course, character, personality style, sense of humor, and ability to connect with others in a positive way play perhaps larger overall roles in life although they will not help you perform, or even understand, a regression analysis. Furthermore, even moderately alert managers can easily hire brighter people to carry their water and make them look good. We call that "savvy" or "street smarts," not intelligence.
Here's a good essay on IQ and professional performance.
Lots of awkward nerds there.
Report says schools still shortchanging gifted kids - UI research finds many high-ability children bored and unchallenged, despite increased access to programming
Most public school teachers can rarely keep up with the truly gifted
IQ and wealth are the two of the main things social justice warriors hate. They sort-of tolerate every other sort of inequality like musical talent or running speed.
Tuesday, April 14. 2015
I have a better idea. Shut it down and generate taxes via another method.
I think there are some easier ways to take money by taxing financial transactions, given the size of those markets.
But even if that isn't going to work, and income taxes remain the main method of tax taking, then funding the IRS is a terrible idea. The best way to raise revenue isn't to force people to adhere to a difficult and unworkable code that is punitive. It's to simplify that code and reduce the work. The idea of increasing enforcement is a 'jobs creation' idea that produces nothing. Let jobs be created where they add, rather than take, value - in the open market.
To do this, make the income tax low and flat. You earned $10,000? Fill out the form on the back of a postcard. Maybe you have deductions for family members living at home, but beyond that, you pay 10%. So $10,000, deduct yourself and pay $900. $250,000, deduct the wife and 3 kids and pay $24,600. Easy to file, easy to audit, easy to enforce, hard to avoid...lower staff, lower costs, higher collection rates.
It really is that easy. But again, it's just another good idea that won't pass because people are too caught up in how things have been rather than considering how they can be.
A friend skied it last week with his 7 year-old son. He ended up carrying the kid's backpack and his skis up. Just one torturous hike up and one wild and hairy run down. Pick your ski route down carefully. It's rugged, lots of rocks. Hiking up Mt. Washington in summer is a good outing, much easier but still a leg challenge.
Monday, April 13. 2015
Photo: I look in pretty good shape for a country boy, don't I?
Mrs. BD decided that my lazy middle-aged, sedentary-working ass needed a trainer. Well, I happily do outdoor work all I can on weekends, but there is church, theater, museum, music performances, etc...
In long-past years, I would routinely swim a mile a day racing friends, or run 5-20 miles. As I say, middle-aged lazy ass now. It's crazy, isn't it? In America, many people pay for physical exertion while, mostly, the whole world prays for work with no lifting. I love sort-of mindless physical work like ditch-digging or log splitting or chain-sawing. Mental work fatigues me.
How in this world can physical labor be a luxury good? Anybody, no matter how impaired; every person can do at least useful simple physical work and I am not talking about Steven Hawking who works 10 hrs/day.
I haven't even been playing tennis regularly since the organizer of our group died (dropped dead on the tennis court, which I said he would have always wanted, but not right then. I feel the same way, but one would feel bad to interrupt a good doubles game that way).
Anyway, Mrs. BD gave me 20 beginning sessions for Christmas with this young trainer she uses, quite inexpensive, in a hole-in-the-wall gym (not Equinox). (For presents, our family goes more for the experiential than the material.) 5 am sessions, fine with me. Get it done before work. An Ohio farm lad. He is good, cheerful, not a body-beautiful type and with just the right amount of sadism to laugh when you feel pain. He asked me what my tolerance for aching muscles was. I honestly told him that I love the feeling of physical fatigue and ache - bring it on - and only hate mental ache and worry.
Naturally, he asked me my goals. I said maintaining and improving strength, fitness, and endurance in middle age. I have no weight problem or physical problems (thus far). I can ski all day and hike up hills all day, do manual labor all day, but I do tire. My many sibs are all exercise nuts, wiry, a bit too skinny, hard-bodied, and far more fit than I am.
For no good reason I can see, Mrs. BD wants me alive so she made me get a physical and an echo stress test before starting. I avoid "physicals" like the plague, and figure every 5-7 years is just barely tolerable. Anyway, I went. Passed. I quickly found out why she wanted that. This guy said I won't need too much aerobics for a while because his fitness training plan for me will be highly aerobically stressful in itself. He does not allow rest periods and claims any endurance improvement will come from that. It's called "boot camp." Whew!
Trainer said my weight is fine, but I am soft, with some signs of age and muscle loss. Gee, thanks - but I knew that. He wants to build muscle weight and eliminate soft weight so it comes out about even. He said quit carbs and eat a hard-boiled egg, or a small plain yoghurt, or one slice of meat or 2 of cheese after hard work-outs as breakfast, to inject a little protein in the bloodstream. Nothing more. Said that was plenty for a guy doing a hard morning workout since I have mostly sitting or just walking afterwards. I guess I can handle that, altho I never have eaten any breakfast except coffee since I was a teen and do not like to eat in the morning. 2 coffees and a smoke is a perfect breakfast.
I am not a big eater at all but I am known to nibble. I can appreciate fine food but I don't need it - a small sandwich or a small bowl of soup for supper is plenty for me. I am not a carb addict other than mashed taters (in a lifetime of Dunkin Donuts, I have almost never bought one of their pastries - maybe one a year at most).
I'll confess it's a good, luxurious feeling to put part of your well-being in the hands of an expert.
Sunday, April 12. 2015
OLD WORDS AND PHRASES REMIND US OF THE WAY WE WORD by Richard Lederer
About a month ago, I illuminated old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included don’t touch that dial, carbon copy, you sound like a broken record and hung out to dry. A bevy of readers have asked me to shine light on more faded words and expressions, and I am happy to oblige:
I sauteed a pile of chopped carrots, onions, whole head or two of garlic, celery (all skin on) in olive oil until browned.
You always brown bones, meat, and carcasses for a French, Anglo, or American stock. I browned a pile of veal bones, chicken wings, a chicken carcass, and turkey legs in the oven. Then I threw it all in the stewpot with a jug of Chardonnay, a bottle of cheap ruby port, some water, a handful of fresh thyme sprigs and a handful of fresh parley, a handful of frozen blueberries, half of a small can of tomato paste, a handful of dried oyster and porcini mushrooms, and a handful of peppercorns, and low-simmered it all for 6 hours. Three hours with lid on, three hours with lid off.
Then I strained it all, and I am reducing it a bit more. Smells good. Not sure what I would call this, except delicious and fragrant. Not for beef, though. As a base, you can add currants or berries or berry jam to it for a venison sauce, some chopped apple for a pork sauce, mushrooms for a poultry sauce, etc.
It's glace when a stock is reduced to a syrupy state, which I rarely if ever do. You have had glace in restaurants though, on the plate under a piece of meat. I just aim for a thick, intense stock and I call it "jus" or "gravy," although it is not gravy. It's super-jus.
Stocks and glazes, including:
Friday, April 10. 2015
I had several questions about the project. For one, was there a revenue impact which was expected to offset the cost, and if so how was it calculated? What was the timeline for introduction at departmental and company-wide levels? What were the expectations of the use of the data? Was it better to implement in a piecemeal fashion, department by department - continuing the current path we are on - or was their top-down approach more efficient and likely to yield better results? Each question received an answer, sometimes dismissive, which led to more questions.
I was viewed negatively for my inquisitiveness. I explained I wasn't opposed to the project, but that I'd seen projects like this many times. None have worked as expected and most never paid off. These were not reasons to avoid doing it, but it is good to ask questions and be sure. I was told to 'trust' the data scientists, none of whom I know, and don't stand in the way. I acquiesced, and ceased my questions. Groupthink is a powerful thing. Data was here to save our business, I was assured.
On the train ride home, I ran into a colleague from another department who is much closer to this project and he told me even more details about the project. For one, it was the third attempt by this team to implement the 'vision' (so much for trust!). For another, they were abandoning all the work done in the previous 2 operations and starting from scratch, meaning work which had been done on all the old systems had to be reassessed and either tossed or transferred to newer platforms. Finally, they'd spent exorbitant sums of money already, to the point that break-even was probably 10 years off, assuming they met their 4 year timeline. He listened to my questions and nodded, saying they were all the right questions and there was good reason to question the nature and scope of this project.
Google, Facebook and all the other firms with huge data systems have the benefit of being young and starting from scratch while new technologies were being introduced. This is how business works, it's part of the process of creative destruction. The newer companies benefit from untried, but potentially beneficial products, living or dying by their ability to manage and incorporate these ideas and technology. Older companies have to try and keep up, and many are incapable of doing so. However, these older firms need to be careful about the implementation. Data is as much about art as it is about what the data tells us, sometimes less is more. Sometimes your gut tells you as much as $10mm worth of information does. I have seen people collect information on months-long projects only to confirm suggestions which were made at the outset. The delays cost money. There are rare, very rare, occasions when the data tells us something different. Sometimes the reason it tells us something different is due to the time delay in collecting the data. Perhaps this is a form of Heisenberg's Cat played out in the realm of business.
I am a huge believer in collecting and managing data. My job relies on it. But as I tell my boss, data and technology are like Stradivarius violins. You can give me a Stradivarius and I will make awful noise with it. Give it to a concert violinist, and beautiful music is made. The same is true of data. Many data scientists today, I've found, make very basic mistakes in their assumptions about what data tells them. The most common is the confusion over causation and correlation. I have had arguments with PhDs over this very issue when they present correlative data without proving the linkage to causation.
Baseball is a great example of this point. Sabermetrics have revived and increased my interest in the game. Yet Sabermetrics have limits. A cute, sappy movie Trouble With The Curve illustrates where data intersects with knowledge and experience. Data can provide support, but it takes experience to know what that data is telling you.
Dr. Joy Bliss recently posted about this issue, as the problem has infected even the realm of medicine and health.
Data can do many things. But the last thing it should be used for is policy-making, because data is typically utilized under the 'pretense of knowledge' and applied in a fashion that has unintended consequences. They may also have politics, which don't benefit you, built in.
Michael Crichton famously warned us of the problem of politicized science and data. Sadly, many intelligent people remain ignorant of misplaced trust in data, demonizing critics without explaining fully why the critics' logic is flawed.
A company, like the one which employs me, is just as likely to politicize positions. We call it groupthink. In my briefing, I was not part of the groupthink. I enjoy being on the outside. I may be wrong at times, but when I am, I'm happy to know that I have played the role of Captain Obvious, asking difficult questions in a fashion to open up the thought process further - if it can be opened up further. Sadly, as I watch what happens in the office, I begin to understand why Progressives remain so prevalent in our society. They are incapable of moving past groupthink. If everyone else is doing it, it must be good - right?
Thursday, April 9. 2015
I think it's generally a bad idea, but I have done it many times including around NYC. A good adventure for sure at night, but daytime is fine. Here's something, but it's the half-drunks and the immigrants in cars that are the problem and I do not think this will have any impact on them because they are too busy jostling cars and dinging pedestrians to worry about bikers:
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