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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recent Reading

Palin and Romney seem the only real contenders in the Republican Presidential race - and Palin hasn't yet declared herself a candidate.

Ann Coulter “I can usually tell after a speech what the average SAT scores are, because contrary to my prejudice, at the good colleges they do not heckle, they do not throw food, they usually do not have stupid signs outside; they want to beat you in question and answer,”

Proposed China/South Korea/Japan free trade area - very hopeful because Which deal North Korea out of the position of Chinese ally & signals to NK's officers that China will be happy when Kim dies, of natural causes or lead poisoning, and they can join the free trade area with SK.

Politically China also gains by not being associated with a distasteful ally whom they only supported because SK was seen as a US satellite. The US gains by not having to stay and defend SK.

On the other hand North Korea has noticed that western promises to Gaddafi, Saddam, Yugoslavia

leading to them giving up or not producing WMDs proved untrustworthy

On Lord Thomas Macaulay, and his dictum: "A democracy cannot survive as a permanent form of government. It can last only until its citizens discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury".

Israel arms for cyberwar for cyberwar and indeed biological warfare it is probably at least as easy for small nations to defend themselves than for large ones because there are fewer entry points and connections. This may be important in the future.
Pseudoscience - Wikipedia article about phrenology, homeopathy etc. In normal wikipedia style it does not mention global warming as a pseudoscience but it is clear it ticks all the same boxes.
Media "experts" The result was a collection of more than 27,000 forecasts whose veracity was then checked over the following years. The outcome, published in 2005, was salutary. It showed that the typical expert did not perform significantly better than random guessing...
Those who did badly did not like getting bogged down in complexities, or weighing up the evidence from a variety of sources. Instead, they had a habit of making predictions that complied with some grand, overarching thesis. And having made their predictions, they were - ironically enough - strikingly confident about them.

A grand thesis, simple views, confidence ... as Gardner points out, that's pretty much a thumbnail sketch of the perfect media pundit.

Yet according to Prof Tetlock's research, those are precisely the characteristics of experts whose predictions are worse than random guessing.

And that, in turn, suggests that the very fact a pundit makes regular media appearances means we can ignore his or her predictions.

intelligence made a difference in gross domestic product. For each one-point increase in a country’s average IQ, the per capita GDP was $229 higher. It made an even bigger difference if the smartest 5 percent of the population got smarter; for every additional IQ point in that group, a country’s per capita GDP was $468 higher. Of course which is cause and which effect or how much one reinforces the other is pretty much guesswork. I would like to think that it is mainly effect - that rich countries provide more education and make people smarter.

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