Sunday, June 30, 2019

Dusk by Harald Slott-Møller

Dusk by Harald Slott-Møller

Click to enlarge.

The better the research, the more likely it is to refute the narrative. The more it refutes the narrative, the less likely it is to be publicized.

From Scientific Bias in Favor of Studies Finding Gender Bias by Lee Jussim.
My prior two posts reviewed every study I could find addressing the issue of gender bias in peer-reviewed science. . . . The key findings from that second essay are that there was far more evidence of egalitarian or pro-female bias than there is of pro-male bias.
Technically accurate but it seems to me somewhat misleading. Here it is in numbers.
Click to enlarge.

I think there is a subtle over-emphasis here in Jussim's formulation of "far more evidence" but that criticism is a matter of taste.

Out of eighteen studies, only four found that there was pro-male bias in peer-reviews science, the preferred narrative of the Mandarin Class. Only 22% of the research found that there was a pro-male bias in peer-reviewed science. That is true.

But I think it is probably more relevant that 44% (8/18) of the studies found that there was no bias in peer-review science.

Yet another way of reporting this is that of the studies which find that there is bias in peer-review science, 50% more of them find there is a pro-female bias (6 versus 4).

Finally, yet another way of reporting this is that of the studies which find that there is bias in peer-review science, only 40% find that it is pro-male bias. I think this final version is probably more meaningful than "there was far more evidence of egalitarian or pro-female bias than there is of pro-male bias."

A slightly different version would be "Of all the papers investigating bias, the evidence is mixed but overall there is little bias and where there is, the evidence indicates that there is a pro-female bias." I suspect that is the most effective of all.

But this is like an exercise in translating poetry between languages. All the formulations above, including Jussim's original, are technically accurate. It is a matter of taste as to which is most effective at conveying the nuance of the findings.

But the real meat of the article is not about the eighteen papers but rather, about which papers are trumpeted (number of citations) and which are ignored.

Click to enlarge.

That's pretty noisy.
Two things should be immediately and vividly clear from this. The studies showing peer review is unbiased or favors women:
1. tend to be based on MUCH larger samples than studies showing biases favoring men (mean/median sample sizes of 11385.67 & 2311.5 versus 825..5 & 182.5

2. tend to be cited at much lower rates than studies showing biases favoring men (means/median yearly citation rates of 91.75 & 51.5 versus 26.83 & 9.
The overall correlation between citations/year and sample size is -.36 (smaller studies are cited more frequently). Fraley & Vazire (2014) used this type of information to characterize the quality of journals. If used here to characterize the quality of individual articles, by this standard, the quality of articles showing bias favoring men is considerably weaker than that of articles showing peer review is unbiased or favors women.
In other words, the more likely the research is to be true (i.e. much larger sample sizes), the more likely it is to find that peer-reviewed science is unbiased or favors women AND the less likely it is to publicized.

And that's the danger of the Mandarin Class. They are wrong and they don't want to know that they are wrong.

Of course Iowahawk knew this years ago.

But you may take liberties with a Waziri if only you can make him laugh

From Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie. Page 475.
When Hamilton encountered Roger Keyes off the Dardanelles, it was a family reunion of sorts. Hamilton’s first overseas assignment, in 1873 when he was a twenty-year-old army subaltern, was to an Indian army unit commanded by Keyes’s father, General Sir Charles Keyes. Roger Keyes’s mother, wrote Hamilton, “of whom . . . [Roger] is an ugly likeness, was as high-spirited, fascinating, clever a creature as I ever saw. Camel-riding, hawking, dancing . . . she was the idol of the Punjab Frontier Force. His father . . . whose loss of several fingers from a sword cut earned him my special boyhood veneration, was really a devil of a fellow. . . . Riding together in the early morning . . . we suddenly barged into a mob of wild Waziri tribesmen who jumped out of the ditch and held us up—hand on bridle. The old general spoke Pushtu fluently and there was a parley between them. . . . Where were they going? To buy camels at Dera Ghazi Khan. How far had they come? Three days march, but they had no money. The general simulated amazement. ‘You have come all that distance to buy camels without money? These are strange tales you tell me. I fear that when you pass through Dera Ismail you will have to . . . [sell] your nice pistols and knives. Oh yes, I see them quite well; they are peeping at me from under your poshteens [cloaks].’ The Waziris laughed and took their hands off our reins. Instantly, the general shouted to me, ‘Come on—gallop!’ And in less than no time we were going hell for leather along the lonely frontier road. . . . ‘That was a narrow squeak,’ said the general, ‘but you may take liberties with a Waziri if only you can make him laugh.’”

For we can make Liquor to sweeten our Lips Of Pumpkins and Parsnips and Walnut-Tree Chips

New England's Annoyances
by Unknown

New England's annoyances, you that would know them,
Pray ponder these verses which briefly doth shew them.

The Place where we live is a wilderness Wood,
Where Grass is much wanting that's fruitful and good:
Our Mountains and Hills and our Vallies below
Being commonly cover'd with Ice and with Snow;
And when the North-west Wind with violence blows,
Then every Man pulls his Cap over his Nose:
But if any's so hardy and will it withstand,
He forfeits a Finger, a Foot, or a Hand.

But when the Spring opens, we then take the Hoe,
And make the Ground ready to plant and to sow;
Our Corn being planted and Seed being sown,
The Worms destroy much before it is grown;
And when it is growing, some spoil there is made
By Birds and by Squirrels that pluck up the Blade;
And when it is come to full Corn in the Ear,
It is often destroy'd by Raccoon and by Deer.

And now do our Garments begin to grow thin,
And Wool is much wanted to card and to spin;
If we can get a Garment to cover without,
Our other In-Garments are Clout upon Clout:
Our Clothes we brought with us are apt to be torn,
They need to be clouted soon after they're worn;
But clouting our Garments they hinder us nothing:
Clouts double are warmer than single whole Clothing.

If fresh Meat be wanting, to fill up our Dish,
We have Carrots and Turnips as much as we wish;
And is there a mind for a delicate Dish,
We repair to the Clam-banks, and there we catch Fish.
For Pottage and Puddings, and Custards and Pies,
Our Pumpkins and Parsnips are common supplies;
We have Pumpkins at morning, and Pumpkins at noon;
If it was not for Pumpkins we should be undone.

If Barley be wanting to make into Malt,
We must be contented, and think it no fault;
For we can make Liquor to sweeten our Lips
Of Pumpkins and Parsnips and Walnut-Tree Chips.

* * * * *

Now while some are going let others be coming,
For while Liquor's boiling it must have a scumming;
But I will not blame them, for Birds of a Feather,
By seeking their Fellows, are flocking together.
But you whom the Lord intends hither to bring,
Forsake not the Honey for fear of the Sting;
But bring both a quiet and contented Mind,
And all needful Blessings you surely will find.

It’s all about the gotcha and its entertainment value.

An interesting argument from More than Gotcha: Kamala’s Busing Blunder by educationrealist. Educationrealist is probably right about the toxicity of busing as an election issue. He/She finishes:
I don’t understand politics, I know, but for the life of me I don’t understand why every politician from Trump on down to dogcatcher isn’t tweeting about Harris’s plan. Then hound every other Dem candidate and force them to fight that battle for her. Harris will be oh so very popular.

“If you like your school, too bad. Democrats won’t let you keep it.”
But the interesting insight was an aside in ER's argument.
But what I’m more puzzled and aggravated by is all the Republican pundits gleefully celebrating, or at least enjoying, the purported slam dunk of Biden. Ha, ha! Look, there’s Harris, a black woman, taking Biden apart for opposing busing when she was bused! It’s perfect! Wow, what timing! What elan! Harris wins!

It’s all about the gotcha and its entertainment value.

And I’m sitting here thinking what the hell? Busing? Busing was a disaster. Much of the country hated busing. Joe Biden took the lead on busing because he’d have been a one-term Senator if he didn’t. Read about the anger and the white flight throughout the 70s that resulted when cities tried to forcibly desegregate neighborhood schools and end de facto segregation and Biden’s position becomes obvious.

No one else seemed to notice, though. Even conservatives like Mollie Hemingway, Comfortably Smug, and Hugh Hewitt were gleefully celebrating Harris’s body blow based, from what I can tell, purely on hahahaha she’s black, he’s old, she’s using his decades old vote to catch him out on changing times.
That's the gold.
It’s all about the gotcha and its entertainment value.
For the Mandarin Class and the mainstream media, news is no longer to inform. News in entertainment is measured in clicks. Left or right, the establishment derives entertainment from these gotcha moments and will focus monomaniacally on them rather than focus on providing unbiased accurate information in an accessible fashion.

Their financial life blood is clicks. They will do anything for a click.

Best of the Bee

We were often asked, “Well, what do you eat then?"

From Sneaking Out for a Burger With My Indian Dad by Shaila Kapoor. While the specifics are those of an Asian Indian family in West Texas, it a universal story of all those living between cultures. Every family is a conspiracy of uniqueness in the context of an undifferentiated universalism.
When I was a teenager, several of our relatives from India came to visit for a few weeks. It was the first time any of my mother’s siblings had come to America and, therefore, especially significant. My mother had every meal organized, the house was spotless, sightseeing and weekend road trips were all arranged.

My mother had been a strict vegetarian when she lived in India. Her family is Jain, and a fundamental tenet of Jainism is to not harm any living creature. That means not eating meat, eggs or even any root vegetables for fear of killing bugs as food is pulled from the ground. So we were to be vegetarian the entire time our Indian relatives visited us.

It was hard for Texans in the early ’80s to understand or relate to anyone who didn’t eat steak or hamburgers. We were often asked, “Well, what do you eat then?” Eventually, my mother forced herself to eat meat so that I would grow up eating it. But she had never mentioned her decision to her parents or siblings back home.

Our visiting family had no idea we ate meat and I was strictly warned not to give it away. No mention of eggs by accident, no discussion of turkey sandwiches that I sometimes ate for lunch, or my favorite chicken enchiladas I yearned for. My mother had planned all kinds of Indian delicacies — there were special daals, stuffed vegetables, curries, homemade yogurt, rotis, amazing desserts. Enough food to eat more than three times a day, and we did — we ate all the time.

One Saturday evening, a few weeks into the visit, my mother sent me and my father to the grocery store to pick up some items before dinner. “Don’t be too long,” she warned as we walked out to the garage.

We sat in the car, both of us enjoying the brief silence after weeks of entertaining. The planning, the reunion, the late nights, the weeks of altered home life had been intense. We were weary. I admitted to it first. “I’m really tired of all the Indian food.” My father smiled knowingly and looked at me before replying. “What do you think? Want to go to Braum’s and get a hamburger?”


We hardly ever went to Braum’s, a popular burger and ice cream place in town, the epitome of American food. We didn’t really eat hamburgers. In fact, fast food was not a concept my parents condoned. But I think my father and I needed some time away, some time together, and something profoundly not Indian that day.

“Really? What will Mom say?”

“Never mind what she will say. We won’t tell her.”

He parked in the restaurant lot and we walked in, his arm around my waist, leading me. Once inside, we paused at the counter to regard the menu, finally choosing for one another what each would like.


It was completely dark now and we rushed to the store to get the items my mother had sent us for and to get home. I heard my father laugh out loud as he opened the car door for me. In a near whisper, he said, “You’re American. Why not?”

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Pyrrhic Dance, 1869 by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The Pyrrhic Dance, 1869 by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Click to enlarge.

From the Wikipedia entry for Pyrrhichios.

The Pyrrhichios or Pyrrhike dance ("Pyrrhic dance"; Ancient Greek: πυρρίχιος or πυρρίχη, but often misspelled as πυρρίχειος or πυρήχειος) was the best known war dance of the Greeks. It was probably of Dorian origin and practiced at first solely as a training for war. According to ancient sources it was an armed dance.


Plato (Leges, 815a) describes it as imitating by quick movements the ways in which blows and darts are to be avoided and also the modes in which an enemy is to be attacked. It was dance to the sound of the aulos; its time was quick and light, as is also shewn by the metric foot called pyrrhic.

It was described by Xenophon in his work the Anabasis. In that work he writes that at a festival was held in Trapezus to celebrate the arrival of his troops in the city. The following is the part in which the pyrrhic dance is mentioned:
A Mysian who saw that they were amazed, retorted by persuading one of the Arcadians who had acquired a dancing girl to dress her in the finest costume he could, fit her with a light shield and bring her on to give a graceful performance of the 'Pyrrhic' dance. Thereupon there was a roar of applause, and the Paphlagonians asked if the Greek women also fought side by side with their men. The Greeks answered that these were the very women who had routed the king from his camp.
Homer refers to the Pyrrichios and describes how Achilles danced it around the burning funeral of Patroclus.

The dance was loved in all of Greece and especially the Spartans considered it a kind of light war training and so they taught the dance to their children while still young.

Athenians youth performed the dance in the palaestra as part of training in gymnastike.

The dance was also performed in the Panathenaic Games. There were three classes of competitors: men, youth and boys.

Nothing in his portfolio except a blank check signed with those grand yet simple words ‘John Bull.’

From Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie. Page 474. General Ian Hamilton has been charged with leading the Dardanelles Campaign.
That afternoon, March 13, Hamilton left Charing Cross station on a special train, seen off by his friends Winston and Clementine Churchill, but not by Kitchener, who declared that he was too busy. The new commander was accompanied by a small staff of officers yanked the day before from behind their London desks. In their briefcases, they carried all the information the War Office could supply: an out-of-date map, a prewar Admiralty report on the Dardanelles defenses, an old handbook on the Ottoman army, and two tourist guidebooks to western Turkey. Whisked to France on a destroyer, then hurried south in another special train, they embarked in Marseilles on the new 30-knot light cruiser Phaeton. Along the way, Hamilton mused on his situation in his diary: “Only two sorts of Commanders-in-Chief could possibly find time to scribble like this on their way to take up an enterprise in many ways unprecedented—a German and a Britisher. The German because every possible contingency would have been worked out for him beforehand; the Britisher because he has nothing—literally nothing—in his portfolio except a blank check signed with those grand yet simple words ‘John Bull.’

Five Kernels of Corn

Five Kernels of Corn
by Hezekiah Butterworth

'Twas the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,
The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;
Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o'er the seas,
And the woodpeckers tapped in the clocks of the trees;
And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,
And dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.
The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddening morn;
There were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
But to Bradford a feast were Five Kernels of Corn!

"Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye people, be glad for Five Kernels of Corn!"
So Bradford cried out on bleak Burial Hill,
And the thin women stood in their doors, white and still.
"Lo, the harbor of Plymouth rolls bright in the Spring,
The maples grow red, and the wood robins sing,
The west wind is blowing, and fading the snow,
And the pleasant pines sing, and the arbutuses blow.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
To each one be given Five Kernels of Corn!"

O Bradford of Austerfield haste on thy way.
The west winds are blowing o'er Provincetown Bay,
The white avens bloom, but the pine domes are chill,
And new graves have furrowed Precisioners' Hill!
"Give thanks, all ye people, the warm skies have come,
The hilltops are sunny, and green grows the holm,[63]
And the trumpets of winds, and the white March is gone,
And ye still have left you Five Kernels of Corn.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye have for Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn!"

"The raven's gift eat and be humble and pray,
A new light is breaking, and Truth leads your way;
One taper a thousand shall kindle: rejoice
That to you has been given the wilderness voice!"
O Bradford of Austerfield, daring the wave,
And safe through the sounding blasts leading the brave,
Of deeds such as thine was the free nation born,
And the festal world sings the "Five Kernels of Corn."
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
The nation gives thanks for Five Kernels of Corn!
To the Thanksgiving Feast bring Five Kernels of Corn!

Evidentiary arguments

From The Democratic Candidates Are in a Bubble on Immigration by Andrew Sullivan. I don't always agree with him but he always has a good argument to make. And compared to virtually all his mainstream journalistic peers, he usually makes his argument based on reason and empirical evidence. Smart, iconoclastic, and to brave enough state his opinion rather than conform to mob expectations.

This column looks like it is basically a blog piece for Sullivan in the New York Magazine as he tackles three entirely separate issues: Open Borders Democrats; The Gender-Theory Backlash; and Life After Canceling.

Open Border Democrats
This is an admirable goal, but it is classic economic immigration, and it would appear, based on what we know, that it has absolutely nothing to do with asylum. Here again is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services definition: “Refugee status or asylum may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”

But somehow the courts have decided that you qualify for asylum if there is simply widespread crime or violence where you live, and Ramirez was also going to use that argument as well. A government need not persecute you; you just have to experience an unsafe environment that your government is failing to suppress. This so expands the idea of asylum, in my view, as to render it meaningless.

Courts have also expanded asylum to include domestic violence, determining that women in abusive relationships are a “particular social group” and thereby qualify. In other words, every woman on the planet who has experienced domestic abuse can now come to America and claim asylum. Also everyone on the planet who doesn’t live in a stable, orderly, low-crime society. Literally billions of human beings now have the right to asylum in America. As climate change worsens, more will rush to claim it. All they have to do is show up.

Last month alone, 144,000 people were detained at the border making an asylum claim. This year, about a million Central Americans will have relocated to the U.S. on those grounds. To add to this, a big majority of the candidates in the Democratic debates also want to remove the grounds for detention at all, by repealing the 1929 law that made illegal entry a criminal offense and turning it into a civil one. And almost all of them said that if illegal immigrants do not commit a crime once they’re in the U.S., they should be allowed to become citizens.

How, I ask, is that not practically open borders? The answer I usually get is that all these millions will have to, at some point, go to court hearings and have their asylum cases adjudicated. The trouble with that argument is that only 44 percent actually turn up for their hearings; and those who do show up and whose claims nonetheless fail can simply walk out of the court and know they probably won’t be deported in the foreseeable future.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement forcibly removed 256,086 people in 2018, 57 percent of whom had committed crimes since they arrived in the U.S. So that’s an annual removal rate of 2 percent of the total undocumented population of around 12 million. That means that for 98 percent of undocumented aliens, in any given year, no consequences will follow for crossing the border without papers. At the debates this week, many Democratic candidates argued that the 43 percent of deportees who had no criminal record in America should not have been expelled at all and been put instead on a path to citizenship. So that would reduce the annual removal rate of illegal immigrants to a little more than 1 percent per year. In terms of enforcement of the immigration laws, this is a joke. It renders the distinction between a citizen and a noncitizen close to meaningless.

None of this reality was allowed to intervene in the Democratic debates this week. At one point, one moderator tellingly spoke about Obama’s record of deporting ” 3 million Americans.” In that bubble, there were no negatives to mass immigration at all, and no concern for existing American citizens’ interests in not having their wages suppressed through this competition. There was no concession that child separation and “metering” at the border to slow the crush were both innovated by Obama, trying to manage an overwhelmed system. Candidates vied with each other to speak in Spanish. Every single one proposed amnesty for all those currently undocumented in the U.S., except for criminals. Every single one opposes a wall. There was unanimous support for providing undocumented immigrants immediately with free health care. There was no admission that Congress needed to tighten asylum law. There was no concern that the Flores decision had massively incentivized bringing children to game the system, leaving so many vulnerable to untold horrors on a journey no child should ever be forced to make.

What emerged was their core message to the world: Get here without papers and you’ll receive humane treatment while you’re processed, you’ll never be detained, you’ll get work permits immediately, and you’ll have access to publicly funded health care and a path to citizenship if you don’t commit a crime. This amounts to an open invitation to anyone on the planet to just show up and cross the border. The worst that can happen is you get denied asylum by a judge, in which case you can just disappear and there’s a 1 percent chance that you’ll be caught in a given year. Who wouldn’t take those odds?
He is usually feted on the far left but this is a classical liberal argument with which most traditional Republicans would agree. Look after your own citizens first before trying to take care of everyone else.

The Gender-Theory Backlash
I wondered when this would happen. How long would it take, I asked, before a younger generation revolted against the new left orthodoxy that there is no sex binary, or gender binary, or indeed any place for biology in understanding the differences between men and women? How long before boys rebelled against the notion that their sex is actively toxic and in need of psychotherapy? Or how long before girls felt violated or just uncomfortable seeing people of the opposite biological sex in their bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers? How many are miffed that they have to compete with biological males in athletic contests?

New data suggests that that time could be now. For the first time, we’re seeing a sharp drop in tolerance of “LGBTQ” people among the younger generation. This is an entirely new phenomenon. It used to be the young that spearheaded toleration and inclusion. Now they’re suddenly bolting in the opposite direction: “The number of Americans 18 to 34 who are comfortable interacting with LGBTQ people slipped from 53 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2018 — the only age group to show a decline,” according to the annual [GLAAD] Accelerating Acceptance report. And that is down from 63 percent in 2016. (Perhaps they should rename the report Decelerating Acceptance.) “36 percent of young people said they were uncomfortable learning a family member was LGBTQ in 2018, compared with 29 percent in 2017, and 24 percent in 2016. 34 percent were uncomfortable learning their doctor was LGBTQ vs. 27 percent a year earlier. 39 percent were uncomfortable learning their child had a school lesson on LGBTQ history vs. 30 percent in 2017.”

Or check this out: 62 percent of young men regarded themselves as “allies” of LGBTQ people in 2016; only 35 percent now say the same — a near-halving of support. Women “allies” have dropped from 65 to 52 percent. The turn began in the year that the Obama administration — with no public discussion or congressional support — imposed critical gender theory on America’s high schools, determining sex to be whatever a student says it is. The imposition of trans ideology by fiat on the entire country’s young — along with severe public stigma for those with even the slightest questions — was almost textbook left authoritarianism. Well meant, perhaps. But dictatorial.
I am leery of using surveys as evidence but I agree that we are reaching a tipping point where the cause shifts from ensuring equality of all citizens to the law to privileges for special insider groups. A transition which always leads to a backlash.

Life After Canceling
What does life look like after you’ve been canceled? You do your best to get on with your life, I guess. Maybe that means finding some other way to make a living, against a constant tide of contempt or disgust or social-media harassment. Or maybe it means inching back slowly into your old identity … and getting an uproarious standing ovation for which your hosts subsequently must apologize.

In Christianity, the rules are much kinder. The exposed sinner — even someone who commits a mortal sin — has an instant chance of redemption. You repent and ask God for forgiveness. Absolution follows. And if you start over, it is actually incumbent on other Christians to help you succeed again. They switch immediately from condemnation to support. The same in recovery. All you have to do is own your addiction and helplessness, make amends, start over day by day — and you will be encouraged, supported, cheered on by your fellows.

In the Woke Era, the cancellation process is far more brutal. An abject apology from the sinner is required — but just as a starter. If the apology is not a form of complete and utter self-flagellation, or fails to meet the standards of woke orthodoxy, you’ll still get canceled. And if you’re canceled for your unwoke opinion or a stupid, impulsive tweet, you’re permanently canceled.

And at that point, you will have absolutely no support from your peers, whatever you do. Any attempt to revive a career will be immediately suppressed. Whatever you once said clumsily or foolishly will never be forgotten. Any sign of social or career reemergence will mean another recitation of your sins, which, thanks to the permanence of the web, will go on forever like some Gregorian chant. It may even be that future woke culture will make your sin look even worse, and therefore even less forgivable.
Well written, well argued, reasonable evidence, and a touch of humor at the end. Oh, that all could write and argue as well as he usually does.

Men Can . . .

Project Veritas has a noble aspiration but sometimes seems to get distracted with simple entertainment. This one seems especially substantive though. UPDATE: Google-owned YouTube has removed the following video revealing Google's intentions to manipulate the next election. To access the video, click the hotlink preceding this update.

Double click to enlarge.

Listen in particular to the segment starting at 7:15 minutes and then especially 15:30. Nice analytical approach to demonstrating the objective implications of what might otherwise seem fevered speculation.

UPDATE: Well, they do seem to have hit a nerve. I scheduled this several days in advance anticipating that the mainstream media would simply ignore it. Seems like it can't be ignored. Not only are there news articles now coming out, they have actually achieved the greatest accolade for consequential reporting. A Hitler "Downfall" parody video.

Here is the parody of the Project Veritas revelation of Google's ambitions to manage the political landscape by selectively suppressing information with which they disagree.

It is hard to know when we can't discuss.

Cheating is a perennial problem wherever there are students. Since I was a college student in the late seventies, there have been whispered discussions about cheating by Chinese students. I was at Georgetown and some of the first Chinese exchange students came there. Everyone wanted the program to be a success but the inclination of Chinese students to treat cheating as a pragmatic means to an end rather than as a moral problem was one of the wrinkles.

Since then I have heard similar such observations across the country. It is one of the more obscure issues. One that everyone who has some familiarity seems to think is a real problem and yet one which no one wants to discuss for fear of seeming insensitive, unsophisticated, racist, etc.. We also cannot ignore that there is a more than $10 billion dollar industry at risk.

My childrens' recent experience in university seems to indicate that cheating remains a serious and privately acknowledged issue and with a particular concentration among Chinese students. The students know it is happening. The administration knows it is happening. The great majority who are non-cheating students resent that some students are advancing through deceit. And no one wants to upset the applecart.

From How an industry helps Chinese students cheat their way into and through U.S. colleges by Koh Gui Qing, Alexandra Harney, Steve Stecklow and James Pomfret.

The article focuses more on the cheating to get into university whereas most the conversations I hear are of routine
traditional academic cheating, i.e. improving test scores by various means.

I don't know what the reality is. I just know that it is a topic that seems privately acknowledged and publicly ignored.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Thats a hard fact which is relevant to the story

From Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade. Page 352.

Oh, I forgot. She had to get her licks in on climate change as well. Even though she gets her facts wrong on that as well.
The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season generated the highest total accumulated cyclone energy ever recorded. Multiple Category 5 storms tore up the Caribbean islands and coastal US. In September and October of that year, historic downpours in Houston and Florida (Hurricane Harvey), unfettered destruction in the Virgin Islands (Hurricane Irma), and total devastation in Puerto Rico (Hurricane Maria) left millions of people without electricity, potable water, homes, and access to medical care.

During that single season, hurricanes caused more than $188 billion in damages and took dozens of lives.

That money could have been spent building renewable energy infrastructure for our children.
What does any of this have to do with El Faro? Nothing. We have had a remarkable stretch of low activity hurricane seasons and 2017 was an uptick from that surprising intercession of low activity. It has nothing to do with AGW and everything to do with decadal cycles of solar, current, el nino, etc. And why on earth is there that last line non-sequitur in there? It is all partisan/ideological mumbo jumbo.

But she knows how to write if she had any sort of self-control. She could, and should have dropped all that hogwash and led with her next paragraph.
Hurricane Joaquin was the strongest October hurricane to hit the Bahamas since 1866, and the strongest Atlantic hurricane of nontropical origin in the satellite era. Its recorded wind speeds hit 155 miles per hour. Its lowest pressure was 931 millibars, close to a record.
Thats a hard fact which is relevant to the story.

Try This Pair by Frederick Daniel Hardy

Try This Pair by Frederick Daniel Hardy

Click to enlarge.

“I am sure I am right, I am sure I am right, but he is always convincing me against my will."

From Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie. Page 442.
Fisher attended this meeting in the belief that in their just completed conversation, Asquith had said that a final decision on the Dardanelles was not to be taken that day. The mood at the council meeting was cheerfully optimistic; Churchill’s continuing enthusiasm had colored the views of his colleagues. The First Lord reported that preparations for the attack on the Dardanelles were well advanced, but that the council must understand that the expedition “undoubtedly involves risks.” As soon as Churchill finished, Fisher intervened to say that “he had understood that this question would not be raised at this meeting and that the prime minister knew his views on the subject.” To this, Asquith replied that “in view of the steps which already had been taken, the question could not be well left in abeyance.” Fisher thereupon stood up and made for the door. Kitchener saw this and, jumping to his feet, succeeded in reaching the door first. Steering Fisher to a window, he quietly asked the admiral what he was going to do. Fisher replied that he would not go back to the table and that he intended to resign as First Sea Lord. Kitchener pointed out that Fisher was the only man present who disagreed with the proposed operation; that the prime minister had made a decision and that it was the First Sea Lord’s duty to his country to accept it and continue in office. Reluctantly, Fisher went back to the table where ministers were competing in optimistic predictions. Kitchener now declared that a naval attack was vitally important; the great merit of this form of offensive action, he said, was that “if satisfactory progress could not be made, the attack could be broken off.” Balfour said that “it was difficult to imagine a more hopeful operation.” Grey said that “the Turks would be paralyzed with fear when they heard that the forts were being destroyed one by one”; that the neutral Balkan powers, all anxious to be on the winning side, would watch the progress of this effort, and that he hoped that success would finally settle the attitude of Bulgaria. Through all of this, Asquith noticed, Fisher maintained “an obstinate and ominous silence.”

The meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m. to resume in the late afternoon. During this interval, Churchill, who had seen Kitchener talking privately to Fisher, spoke to the old admiral in his room at the Admiralty. The conversation was “long and very friendly,” in Churchill’s phrase, “I am in no way concealing the great and continuous pressure which I put upon the old admiral,” Churchill admitted later, and Fisher often complained to friends about his inability to withstand these tactics. “He always out-argues me,” he said to one. And to another: “I am sure I am right, I am sure I am right, but he is always convincing me against my will. I hear him talk and he seems to make the difficulties vanish and when he is gone I sit down and write him a letter and say I agree. Then I go to bed and can’t sleep, and his talk passes away and I know I am right. So I get up and write him another letter and say I don’t agree, and so it goes on.” Something of this kind happened on the afternoon of January 28. By the end of his talk with Churchill, Fisher had consented to support the Dardanelles operation.

When the War Council reconvened in the late afternoon, Churchill—accompanied by Fisher—was able to announce that everyone at the Admiralty agreed that the navy would undertake the operation. Fisher’s conversion seemed, for the moment, to be complete. “When I finally decided to go in,” Fisher said later, “I went the whole hog, totus porcus.” Indeed, Churchill had been so successful that Fisher added Lord Nelson and Agamemnon as well as Queen Elizabeth to the operation. “This I took as the point of final decision,” Churchill wrote. “After it, I never looked back. We had left the region of discussion and consultation, of balancing and misgivings. The matter had passed into the domain of action."

Greece vs Rome

Greece vs Rome, with Boris Johnson and Mary Beard

Double click to enlarge.

What a pleasure.

Ah, these are the lightest losses, mayhap, that befall us here; B

The First Thanksgiving Day
by Margaret Junkin Preston

"And now," said the Governor, gazing abroad on the piled-up store
Of the sheaves that dotted the clearings and covered the meadows o'er,
"'Tis meet that we render praises because of this yield of grain;
'Tis meet that the Lord of the harvest be thanked for His sun and rain.

"And therefore, I, William Bradford (by the grace of God to-day,
And the franchise of this good people), Governor of Plymouth, say,
Through virtue of vested power—ye shall gather with one accord,
And hold, in the month November, thanksgiving unto the Lord.

"He hath granted us peace and plenty, and the quiet we've sought so long;
He hath thwarted the wily savage, and kept him from wrack and wrong;
And unto our feast the Sachem shall be bidden, that he may know
We worship his own Great Spirit who maketh the harvests grow.

"So shoulder your matchlocks, masters: there is hunting of all degrees;
And fishermen, take your tackle, and scour for spoil the seas;
And maidens and dames of Plymouth, your delicate crafts employ
To honor our First Thanksgiving, and make it a feast of joy!

"We fail of the fruits and dainties—we fail of the old home cheer;
Ah, these are the lightest losses, mayhap, that befall us here;
But see, in our open clearings, how golden the melons lie;
Enrich them with sweets and spices, and give us the pumpkin-pie!"

So, bravely the preparations went on for the autumn feast;
The deer and the bear were slaughtered; wild game from the greatest to least
Was heaped in the colony cabins; brown home-brew served for wine,
And the plum and the grape of the forest, for orange and peach and pine.

At length came the day appointed: the snow had begun to fall,
But the clang from the meeting-house belfry rang merrily over all,
And summoned the folk of Plymouth, who hastened with glad accord
To listen to Elder Brewster as he fervently thanked the Lord.

In his seat sate Governor Bradford; men, matrons, and maidens fair;
Miles Standish and all his soldiers, with corselet and sword, were there;
And sobbing and tears and gladness had each in its turn the sway,
For the grave of the sweet Rose Standish o'ershadowed Thanksgiving Day.

And when Massasoit, the Sachem, sate down with his hundred braves,
And ate of the varied riches of gardens and woods and waves,
And looked on the granaried harvest,—with a blow on his brawny chest,
He muttered, "The good Great Spirit loves His white children best!"

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Needless digressive polemics in the middle of an adventure story.

From Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade. Page 256.
From the moment labor organized, America’s power brokers have hacked away at it. William Randolph Hearst, the Rupert Murdoch of his day, used his tabloid papers to disparage all unions, but especially the maritime unions. He called organized labor anti-American at best, communism at worst. Case in point: conservatives loathed the fact that merchant seamen received medical care through a system of public health hospitals first established in 1789. Seamen’s hospitals were founded to prevent the spread of disease and, over time, grew to serve military dependents, coast guard personnel, and the poor. These hospitals were once financed by a tax on imported commodities, but as of 1884 that money went straight into the Treasury’s general fund rather than specifically supporting seamen’s health. After World War II, Republicans went to great lengths to dismantle the hospital system in support of their tax-cutting agenda. As president, Ronald Reagan finally succeeded in eliminating the hospitals from the federal books, and now the entire population those facilities once served, including America’s mariners, receive care at private hospitals at private hospital rates.
Another instance where Slade let's her Mandarin Class critical theory self get in the way of telling a good story.

This particular story is pretty much guff. She is projecting her imputed motives onto others without understanding the other motives they might have. Her disgust with private hospitals making money in their business has nothing to do with the El Faro story. What is it doing here? Where are the editors? Come on Slade, tell the good story that you clearly can and leave off lecturing your readers on the finer points of foolish political obsessions.

And if you want to focus on the horrendous conditions of maritime labor, why not tell the story about war time merchant marines who not only had one of the highest casualty rates of all branches of service but also ceased to be paid the moment their ship sank.

My First Sermon, 1863 by Sir John Everett Millais followed by My Second Sermon, 1864.

My First Sermon, 1863 by Sir John Everett Millais followed by My Second Sermon, 1864.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

The hell where youth and laughter go

From Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie. Page 430.
The real impetus for the Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns came from a general revulsion in Britain at the carnage taking place on the Western Front. The German march on Paris had been brought to a standstill, and by December 1914 huge armies confronted each other in trenches running from the Channel to Switzerland. No breakthrough appeared possible by either side: machine guns slaughtered infantrymen as soon as they climbed out of the trenches; by the end of November, Britain and France had lost almost a million men. This grim fact did not deter Field Marshal Sir John French, the Commander-in-Chief of the BEF, who insisted that the decisive theater lay in France and that the war could be won only by continuing to hurl waves of men into enemy machine-gun fire until somewhere, someday, the German line was pierced. It was this philosophy of war that led Siegfried Sassoon, a decorated soldier, to write,
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
Sir John French’s belief was shared by France’s government and generals and by Lord Kitchener, who, although he personally disliked Sir John French, remained generally supportive. Nevertheless, by the end of the year, a majority in the British War Council—Asquith, Churchill, Lloyd George, and Haldane—were eager for an alternative: a place where the Allies might attack the Central Powers at a weaker point with a lower cost in blood. This was a particularly British approach to war. Always in the past when fighting great continental powers, Britain had used her sea power to mount operations in secondary theaters; over time, these campaigns had drained the enemy’s power and will to fight. And the form this strategy was to take in this particular war—an attack on the Dardanelles—had a particularly personal flavor. As First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill had helped to create the mightiest sea weapon in the history of the world. Yet this huge armada seemed almost impotent; it could not strike a telling blow because its enemy would not fight. In a man of Churchill’s temperament, this passive role stirred bitter frustration. The first specific mention of an attack on the Dardanelles came in a War Council meeting on November 25, 1914, in connection with reports that the Turks were preparing an overland attack on Egypt and the Suez Canal. As a countermove, Churchill suggested a combined land and sea operation against the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli peninsula. Kitchener immediately declared that, although strategically the idea had merit, no troops were available. Churchill said that while a substantial military force—40,000, 50,000, 60,000 men—might be required, the soldiers need not necessarily be British. Fisher asked whether Greece could be persuaded to land an army on the Gallipoli peninsula. Grey replied that any immediate hopes of Greek participation were illusory, and the council passed to other business. But the seed of a campaign against Turkey had been planted.

They tend to think that all conflicts are really political, concerning who has power over whom.

From Forgiveness and Irony: What makes the West strong by Roger Scruton. An interesting exploration of the intersection between Islam and the West.

This passage in particular stood out to me.
People inoculated by the culture of repudiation, reluctant to acknowledge the search for meaning as a human universal, tend to think that all conflicts are really political, concerning who has power over whom. They are apt to believe that the causes of Islamist terrorism lie in the “social injustice” against which the terrorists protest and that the failure of all other attempts to rectify things renders their regrettable methods necessary.

The Canaan of their wilderness

The Mayflower
by Erastus Wolcott Ellsworth

Down in the bleak December bay
The ghostly vessel stands away;
Her spars and halyards white with ice,
Under the dark December skies.
A hundred souls, in company,
Have left the vessel pensively,—
Have reached the frosty desert there,
And touched it with the knees of prayer.
And now the day begins to dip,
The night begins to lower
Over the bay, and over the ship

Neither the desert nor the sea
Imposes rites: their prayers are free;
Danger and toil the wild imposes,
And thorns must grow before the roses.
And who are these?—and what distress
The savage-acred wilderness
On mother, maid, and child may bring,
Beseems them for a fearful thing;
For now the day begins to dip,
The night begins to lower
Over the bay, and over the ship

But Carver leads (in heart and health
A hero of the commonwealth)
The axes that the camp requires,
To build the lodge and heap the fires,
And Standish from his warlike store
Arrays his men along the shore,
Distributes weapons resonant,
And dons his harness militant;
For now the day begins to dip,
The night begins to lower
Over the bay, and over the ship

And Rose, his wife, unlocks a chest—
She sees a Book, in vellum drest,
She drops a tear and kisses the tome,
Thinking of England and of home:
Might they—the Pilgrims, there and then
Ordained to do the work of men—
Have seen, in visions of the air,
While pillowed on the breast of prayer
(When now the day began to dip,
The night began to lower
Over the bay, and over the ship

The Canaan of their wilderness
A boundless empire of success;
And seen the years of future nights
Jewelled with myriad household lights;
And seen the honey fill the hive;
And seen a thousand ships arrive;
And heard the wheels of travel go;
It would have cheered a thought of woe,
When now the day began to dip,
The night began to lower
Over the bay, and over the ship

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

She got distracted

From Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade. Page 166.

This is one of those chapters that could have been dropped or sharply edited. Slade wants to take pot-shots at capitalism, businessmen, the economics of logistics, and preppers and spends a few pages talking about stuff about which she has little knowledge but strong opinions. In terms of preppers, its almost as if, in the middle of writing her book about the El Faro sinking, she got distracted by The New Yorker article on preppers by Evan Osnos. It doesn't really have anything to do with her story, but it gives her a platform to express political opinions. Ugh.

On the Road from Waterloo to Paris, 1863 by Marcus Stone

On the Road from Waterloo to Paris, 1863 by Marcus Stone

Click to enlarge.

Stone provided a description of his work in 1912.
After the disastrous defeat of Waterloo, Napoleon with a small escort fled to Paris. Resting for a brief space, he has entered a cottage, and is brooding by the fire. General Bertrand is drying the Emperor's coat, while a group of peasants stand aloof and gaze with awe and sympathy at their fallen idol - a young mother with a baby in her arms, a little girl and boy, a young widow, and an old soldier with an empty sleeve. There is an absence of men of fighting age, who have been drawn away for service in the campaign. A statuette of the Emperor on the chimney shelf, and a print of him in his coronation robes on the wall, accentuate the lost glory, which is further emphasised by the drizzling rain outside, where the villagers are to be seen questioning the escort.

Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' Into the future . . .

The the Rolling Stones are a better time fit - What a drag it is getting old. . .

From Woodstock ‘Took on a Life of its Own,’ Recent Archaeological Survey Reveals by George Dvorsky.

Its just a archaeological survey, not digs, so its a little light as a report but still intriguing in many ways. And I am always a sucker for historical before and after pictures.

Such as

Click to enlarge.


Click to enlarge.

I have always wondered how long it took to clean up the site and restore it to agricultural activity. A month? A year? Five years?

None of the results that we had been taught to believe as gospel had happened

From Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie. Page 416.
“The Dogger Bank was the first sea battle between dreadnoughts whose high speed and heavy gun power dominated the action. Both the British and German Battle Cruiser Squadrons were accompanied by flocks of light cruisers and destroyers, but except in the opening moments near dawn and, at the end, in delivering the death strokes to Blücher, they played little part in the fighting. Neither submarines nor mines were involved, although fear of their presence affected British tactics. The preponderance of heavy gun power favored the British: Beatty’s five battle cruisers carried twenty-four 13.5-inch and sixteen 12-inch guns to Hipper’s eight 12-inch and twenty 11-inch guns. During the battle, the five British battle cruisers fired a total of 1,150 13.5-inch and 12-inch shells. The Germans fired 976 12-inch and 11-inch shells. Lion was hit by sixteen heavy shells from the German battle cruisers and one 8.2-inch shell from Blücher. Six heavy shell hits were recorded on Tiger and none on any of the other British ships except one 8.2-inch hit on Indomitable by Blücher. Seydlitz was hit by three heavy British shells—two from Lion (one of these nearly destroyed her) and one from Tiger. Derfflinger also was hit three times, once each by Lion, Tiger, and Princess Royal. Obviously, accuracy on both sides was poor: 3½ percent of the shells fired by the German battle cruisers hit a target while on the British side the percentage achieved by the three Cats firing at the three German battle cruisers was below 2 percent.

[A number of shells fired by the Cats were aimed at Blücher, while New Zealand and Indomitable fired only at Blücher.]

The dismal gunnery figures on both sides do not take into account the circumstances of the battle: high speed, long range, smoke, and the fact that no one on either side had ever fought this kind of battle before. Nevertheless, Lion was hit sixteen times and no German ship more than four times. Discussion of comparative gunnery began on board Lion even as the ship was being towed home. “My impression,” said Filson Young, “was that the German gunfire was better than ours initially, and they got on the target sooner. . . . To anyone sitting, as I was, on the target surrounded by the enemy’s shells, his shooting appeared to be painfully accurate; and, indeed, towards the end of the action, when two and possibly three ships were concentrating on Lion, she was very nearly smothered by their fire.” Young believed that one cause of poor shooting was that “we had no director firing [“a device by which all the guns can be aimed and fired simultaneously and accurately from one central position, generally on the foremast well above the smoke,” according to Young’s footnote definition] in any ship except Tiger.” Yet Tiger, using the new system, had scored only three hits and Lion, which lacked it, had scored four. The result was an erosion of confidence among British naval officers in their equipment, training, and tactics. “Every one of them,” said Young, “had been brought up on the theory of the big gun, the first blow, etc. We had the biggest guns and we got in the first blows, but none of the results that . . . [we] had been taught to believe as gospel had happened. . . . We had gone on hitting, and hitting, and hitting—and three of their four ships had got home. Why?

The breaking waves dashed high

Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers
by Felicia Hemans

The breaking waves dashed high
On the stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods, against a stormy sky,
Their giant branches tossed;

And the heavy night hung dark
The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted, came:
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear,—
They shook the depths of the desert's gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard, and the sea;
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free!

The ocean-eagle soared
From his nest by the white wave's foam,
And the rocking pines of the forest roared:
This was their welcome home!

There were men with hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band;
Why have they come to wither there,
Away from their childhood's land?

There was woman's fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow, serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?—
They sought a faith's pure shrine!

Aye, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod!
They have left unstained what there they found—
Freedom to worship God!

De Havilland Mosquito: The Plane That Saved Britain Part 2

De Havilland Mosquito: The Plane That Saved Britain (part 2of 2)

Double click to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Danish Landscape, 1891 by Harald Slott-Møller

Danish Landscape, 1891 by Harald Slott-Møller

Click to enlarge.

There is but one God that is Lord over the earth, and one captain that is lord over the Pequod

From Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade. Page 121.
Davidson was in a fragile state of mind, broken. He was disgusted that at age fifty-three, another job was slipping away.

Chief Mate Steve Shultz was worried about his future too, but at the moment felt compelled to focus on the fact that they were playing chicken with a major storm. The NHC reports had become unequivocal—Joaquin and El Faro were on a collision course. He had to say something.

In industries in which human error can lead to devastating consequences, it’s important to foster good communication that respects the hierarchy while allowing room for debate. In the emergency room, nurses and doctors are trained to work together to make critical decisions about patient care. The commercial airline industry has developed standardized training procedures designed to encourage pilots and copilots to collaborate while in the cockpit. All military branches have checklists and protocols to help people work together to determine risk and check each other’s work. No one makes decisions in a vacuum.

The US merchant marine is different. Few succeed in the shipping by questioning authority. Fresh out of school, cadets are no better than servants; they do what they’re told. They might have to scrub and squeegee the cavernous holds of an oil tanker while choking on the fumes or fetch someone’s coffee while the ship rocks and rolls. A third mate “never forgets that he’s at the bottom of the heap, nothing more than a pair of eyes watching the sea and a pair of hands to assist the other officers. Second mates have the whiff of authority about them, but like the middle child, they’re forever caught between giving commands and taking them. Even chief mates wait respectfully outside the captain’s cabin until they’re invited in.
On a ship, the captain reigns supreme. The final word. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed since Herman Melville wrote Moby-Dick in 1851.

“Dost thou then so much as dare to critically think of me?” cried Captain Ahab to his chief mate, Starbuck. “There is but one God that is Lord over the earth, and one captain that is lord over the Pequod.”

Some masters solicit the opinions of their mates and actively encourage their officers to think for themselves. They’re the teachers and mentors of the merchant marine committed to making their officers better mariners.

Captain Davidson had a dangerous swagger that belied a fragile ego. He jealously guarded his power and wrapped his authority around his heart like a shield.
All true and all a known issue. It is a known problem with known solutions. Back in the 1980s and 1990s there were a series of airline crashes in Asia which were attributable to cockpit human error. Apparently in Sinotic cultures, deference to hierarchy is extremely powerful. Co-pilots and even ground crew deferred to the pilot even on issues they knew to represent danger. I believe both Japan Airlines and Korean Air ended up launching structured culture change programs to tackle the human behavior issue head on. One of those soft "human" issues which, if you don't pay attention, can crash your spreadsheet. It is a choice to address or ignore.

War and literature

From Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie. Page 368.
When they arrived, the British pilots and observers looked down into “a thick ground fog drifting in masses . . . which blotted out everything except what was lying immediately under the machine.” One aviator descended to an altitude of 150 feet and still could not see the ground. Another set his course by a line of railway tracks and passed over villages, farms, and plowed fields. Eventually, the tracks led him to the Jade estuary where he flew over seven light cruisers, many destroyers, and a battle cruiser, all of which vigorously fired at him. Another pilot dropped his three bombs on sheds that he thought might constitute a seaplane base. One bomb scored a hit, but the sheds subsequently turned out to be structures for drying fish. Of the seven seaplanes that had taken off, only one reached the Nordholz zeppelin base. Its crew had been mistakenly briefed that the base was farther to the south and, because dense fog obscured the immense airship hangar, they failed to recognize it and contented themselves with bombing two antiaircraft guns. Only two of the seaplanes came close to harming the enemy. One dropped three bombs near the light cruisers Stralsund and Graudenz; the closest fell into the water 200 yards from Graudenz. Another seaplane, her engine misfiring, gave up the search for the zeppelin base, turned back, and, passing low over the Schillig roads, caused consternation among the crews of the warships anchored there. All of the ships opened fire on the small plane and some attempted to get under way.

[A long-perpetuated myth was that in the confusion caused by the appearance of British seaplanes over the Jade, the battle cruiser Von der Tann collided with another vessel and was severely damaged. This, supposedly, was the reason that Von der Tann was not present a month later at the Battle of Dogger Bank. Actually, during that battle, Von der Tann was in dry dock undergoing routine maintenance.]

The seaplane was hit, but the observer, Lieutenant Erskine Childers, a Royal Navy reserve officer now on active duty and the author of the popular thriller The Riddle of the Sands, managed to perform his mission. Childers was an expert on the German North Sea coast and river estuaries and, knowing exactly where he was and what he saw, he pinpointed the location of seven battleships and three battle cruisers in Schillig roads.

For we would rather never be, Than dwell where mind cannot be free

Song of the Pilgrims
by Thomas Cogswell Upham

The breeze has swelled the whitening sail,
The blue waves curl beneath the gale,
And, bounding with the wave and wind,
We leave Old England's shores behind—
Leave behind our native shore,
Homes, and all we loved before.

The deep may dash, the winds may blow,
The storm spread out its wings of woe,
Till sailors' eyes can see a shroud
Hung in the folds of every cloud;
Still, as long as life shall last,
From that shore we'll speed us fast.

For we would rather never be,
Than dwell where mind cannot be free,
But bows beneath a despot's rod
Even where it seeks to worship God.
Blasts of heaven, onward sweep!
Bear us o'er the troubled deep!

O see what wonders meet our eyes!
Another land, and other skies!
Columbian hills have met our view!
Adieu! Old England's shores, adieu!
Here, at length, our feet shall rest,
Hearts be free, and homes be blessed.

As long as yonder firs shall spread
Their green arms o'er the mountain's head,—
As long as yonder cliffs shall stand,
Where join the ocean and the land,—
Shall those cliffs and mountains be
Proud retreats for liberty.

Now to the King of kings we'll raise
The pæan loud of sacred praise;
More loud than sounds the swelling breeze,
More loud than speak the rolling seas!
Happier lands have met our view!
England's shores, adieu! adieu!

De Havilland Mosquito: The Plane That Saved Britain Part 1

De Havilland Mosquito: The Plane That Saved Britain (part 1 of 2)

Double click to enlarge.

What's all this tell us? Not a great deal and not with great confidence.

Hmm. From Do Some Countries Discriminate More than Others? Evidence from 97 Field Experiments of Racial Discrimination in Hiring by Lincoln Quillian, Anthony Heath, Devah Pager, Arnfinn H. Midtbøen, Fenella Fleischmann, and Ole Hexela.

Having grown up internationally and lived and worked internationally as an adult, Americans often regard me as quixotic when I argue from experience that aversion to the outsider is a universal human trait and that only a handful of countries (usually from the Anglophone) have a pretty strong culture of acceptance (as measured by the World Values Survey). Contrary to the story some Americans tell, America is pretty open to outsiders and much of the argument about racism is ill-informed, unfounded, or unsophisticated. It is ideological, not empirical.

Hence my interest in this research. It confirms my experiential priors.
Comparing levels of discrimination across countries can provide a window into large-scale social and political factors often described as the root of discrimination. Because of difficulties in measurement, however, little is established about variation in hiring discrimination across countries. We address this gap through a formal meta-analysis of 97 field experiments of discrimination incorporating more than 200,000 job applications in nine countries in Europe and North America. We find significant discrimination against nonwhite natives in all countries in our analysis; discrimination against white immigrants is present but low. However, discrimination rates vary strongly by country: In high-discrimination countries, white natives receive nearly twice the callbacks of nonwhites; in low-discrimination countries, white natives receive about 25 percent more. France has the highest discrimination rates, followed by Sweden. We find smaller differences among Great Britain, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, the United States, and Germany. These findings challenge several conventional macro-level theories of discrimination.
On the other hand, they are using a research technique (call-backs - they create identical resumes but with ethnic affiliated names and then see who gets a call-back) as a measure of discrimination which is popular but known to be riddled with methodological issues, particularly when used across boundaries.

For example, in America there is a wealth of call-back research but most of it is motivated research and the flaws are readily identifiable. About 15% of blacks in America are of foreign birth - Jamaica, Nigeria, Haiti, Brazil, South Africa, Somalia, etc. We know that each of these groups have markedly different success rates. Nigerians do better on most socioeconomic measures than do white Americans and dramatically better than African Americans. Similarly, but to a lesser extent, with Jamaicans and Haitians.

American academics have been markedly uninterested in these differences and yet they are central to whether we are talking about discrimination and or success based on race or ethnicity or culture or class, etc. It has long been my contention that what gets classified in America as racial discrimination is what would elsewhere be readily identifiable as class discrimination.

American academics, when they design call-back research, use African American names as black names when in fact those names are markers for African Americans rather than markers for black. It would be interesting to see the call-back research if they used characteristic names from other black groups such as Nigerians to see whether the responses are being triggered by race or by culture.

The point is that academics are using a highly flawed methodology to reach a conclusion not actually supportable because of the very flaws of the methodology.

So, my inclination is to appreciate the research for making the point I have long argued - America is not systematically racist, it is not uniquely racist, and it does a better job of policing invidious discrimination than most. At the same time, I substantially discount the research because of the flawed methodology. One step forward, one step back.

But for the sake of argument, let's pretend that the call-back approach does have some indicative power.

Another issue that lurks in the background is the absence of context by country. How are racial attitudes in Britain, where they have seventy-five years experience of material Asian immigration, different from those of Norway where it is much more recent. And how are those attitudes affected by within Asia origin (i.e. in Britain, Asia is primarily South Asia Hindu/Muslim whereas in Norway it might be East Asia Sinotic)?

Then there is the real issue that cultural origin indicators can often carry significant information which is accurate. It might be indicative of recency of immigration (and therefore an indicator of how much training might be involved), quality of education (a college degree from Oxford is different from a college degree from University of Angola), degree of native origin misogyny (a possible harbinger of future sexual harassment lawsuits), etc. Setting all that aside as well.

Here are the results.

Click to enlarge.

Each box is the results for a country. From left to right are black, white, MENA, Hispanic, Asian. The discrimination ratio is the ratio of callbacks for white natives to the indicated minority group. The line is the confidence interval. The number below the line is the number of studies.

Let's discard any results with fewer than three supporting studies. The authors acknowledge that they are underpowered.

First let's do an average of the discrimination ratio for each country based on the groups for whom there are three or more studies in that country, and excluding white immigrants. Raw discrimination rankings:
Germany - 1.24
Netherlands - 1.25
USA - 1.29
Norway - 1.35
Belgium - 1.49
Canada - 1.53
Britain - 1.54
Sweden - 1.65
France - 1.9
US uniquely racist and discriminatory? Doesn't look unique and doesn't look strongly discriminatory compared to others. It is in the top third for least discrimination.

Now let's look at the degree of discrimination which might be attributed solely to presumed immigrant status. Across the nine countries, the average discrimination ratio against whites is 1.12. So for all the numbers, accepting that there are employer costs of hiring someone unfamiliar with the country's laws, customs, language, etc., you would logically have to subtract .12 which is the discrimination premium attached to immigration. USA would become 1.17. Beginning to look kind of impressive.

Now let's look at discrimination against blacks. Surely the US has a uniquely endemic racism against blacks? Civil War, KKK, all that? Well, No. For those countries with measurements for discrimination against blacks. Remembering that in the US there are black immigrant groups who do much better than African Americans and even average white Americans.
Netherlands - 1.19
USA - 1.36
Britain - 1.49
Canada - 1.65
France - 2.02
What's all this tell us? Not a great deal and not with great confidence. But it is entirely consistent with my experiential observations.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Basic tasks seemed to elude her, like correctly plotting the ship’s location during her watch.

From Into the Raging Sea by Rachel Slade. Page 57.
Twenty-two minutes after Charlie texted him about Joaquin, Davidson texted back: “yup . . . thx for the heads up.”

Charlie sat on that sofa all day, watching the weather.

Monitoring the storm was the second mate’s job.

Danielle should’ve been obsessing about it just like him.

Charlie knew she wasn’t. He was fond of his fellow Mainer, a perky, freckled redhead half his age. He’d taken her under his wing like a little sister a decade ago when she joined the company while a cadet at Maine Maritime Academy. Back then, she was all energy, but ten years of shipping was wearing her down. Danielle recently found out she’d been passed over for a promotion to the new LNG ships. That killed what was left of her enthusiasm for her shipping career, and now he thought she was clocking in, clocking out.

Basic tasks seemed to elude her, like correctly plotting the ship’s location during her watch. She didn’t actively seek extra work to keep things running smoothly on the decrepit ship. Why bother? TOTE had kicked her to the curb after she’d sacrificed so much of her life to this career. Danielle started taking over-the-counter meds to fall asleep during her breaks and slamming caffeine to stay awake during her watch. These days, she went unusually quiet when her closest friends in Maine asked her about her life at sea.
Charlie Baird was El Faro's off-duty, on-shore Second Mate and Danielle was his on-board counterpart. This is one of those instances where Slade reveals but discounts the on-board personnel's culpability. It is tragically ironic that the on-shore, and therefore safe, Second Mate was more concerned about the weather conditions than the on-board Second Mate.

The Burgesses of Calais, 1347 by Henry Holiday.

The Burgesses of Calais, 1347 by Henry Holiday.

Click to enlarge.

The Siege of Calais from Wikipedia.

From John Ruskin:

A well-conceived and interesting scene: the face of the knight successful; that of the wife is a little beyond the painter's strength. It is a fair representation of the class of pictures now produced in numbers by the advancing school, which, with considerable merit, have the general demerit of making us feel in an instant that they would never have been painted had not others shown how; and the greater demerit of slightly blunting the enjoyment of the work of original men. Nevertheless, in every school these engrafted pictures must exist; and it is a cause for sincere congratulation when the habit, which is becoming derivatively universal, is to read human nature and history with sympathy for nobleness and desire for truth.
From Frossart's Chronicles.
Then the king sayde . . . let syxe of the chiefe burgesses of the towne come out bareheaded, barefooted, barelegged, and in their abides, with halters about their necks, with the kayes of the towne and castell in their handes, and let them syxe yelde themselfe purely to my will, and the residue I will take to mercye.
Per the Barbibcan
Edward III began laying siege to Calais on 3 September 1346, with a force of 30,000 men and the town finally surrendered, after many privations, on 3 August 1347. Edward planned to kill the deputation of townsmen who came out to hand over the keys, but they were spared through the intercession of his wife, Queen Phillippa. Once Calais was taken, its citizens were expelled and an English colony established there.

A truly lovely sight . . . as she ran free in the light breeze, for all the world like a herald of peace.

From Castles of Steel by Robert K. Massie. Page 269. In the midst of the Battle of the Falkland Islands:
At this moment, when the two squadrons were trading blow for blow, an apparition appeared four miles to the east. A white-hulled, full-rigged, three-masted sailing ship, flying the Norwegian flag and bound for the Horn with all canvas spread, was, in the words of a British officer, “a truly lovely sight . . . as she ran free in the light breeze, for all the world like a herald of peace.”

Scharnhorst, still plunging ahead through a forest of waterspouts, now had been struck by at least forty heavy shells. And there was no respite; with implacable regularity, orange flames glowed from Invincible’s turrets and a few minutes later more 850-pound shells burst on Scharnhorst’s deck or plunged through to the compartments below. What surprised the British was the volume of fire still coming back from a ship as badly battered as Scharnhorst. Her upper works were a jungle of torn and twisted steel; her masts and her third funnel were gone and the first and second funnels were leaning against each other; her bridge and her boats were wrecked; clouds of white steam billowed up from the decks; an enormous rent was torn in her side plating“near the stern; red and orange flames could be seen in her interior; and she was down three feet at the waterline. Yet still her battle ensign fluttered from a jury mast above the after control station and still her starboard batteries fired. From Invincible’s spotting top, Dannreuther reported, “She was being torn apart and was blazing and it seemed impossible that anyone could still be alive.” On Inflexible, Verner, astounded by the continuing salvos from the German armored cruisers, ordered his crews to fire “rapid independent,” with the result that at one point, P turret had three shells in the air at the same time, all of which were seen to land on or near the target. Yet the German fire continued. “We were most obviously hitting [Scharnhorst,] but I could not stop her firing. . . . I remember asking my rate operator, ‘What the devil can we do?’ ”

At about this time, a shell splinter cut the halyard of Spee’s personal flag on Scharnhorst and Captain Maerker on Gneisenau noticed that the admiral’s flag no longer flew from the flagship’s peak. If Spee was dead, Maerker would be in command of the squadron. He signaled: “Why is the admiral’s flag at half mast? Is the admiral dead?”

Spee replied, “No, I am all right so far. Have you hit anything?”

“The smoke prevents all observation,” Maerker said.

Spee’s last signal was characteristically generous and fatalistic. “You were right after all,” he said to Maerker, who had opposed the attack on the Falklands.

Nevertheless, for another half hour, Scharnhorst’s starboard batteries boomed out. Then, just before four o’clock, she stopped firing. Sturdee signaled her to surrender, but there was no reply. Instead, slowly and painfully, the German cruiser’s bows came around. Listing to port, with three of her four funnels and both her masts shot away, her bow so low that waves were washing over the forecastle, Scharnhorst staggered across the water toward her enemy. As she did so, Spee sent his last signal to Gneisenau: “Endeavor to escape if your engines are still intact.” At just that moment, Carnarvon arrived on the scene and opened fire with her 7.5-inch and 6-inch guns. These blows were gratuitous. With water pouring into her bow, Scharnhorst rolled over on her side. Then, at 4:17 p.m., her flag still flying, her propellers turning in the air, the armored cruiser went down, leaving behind a cloud of steam and smoke. Every one of the 800 men on board, including Admiral von Spee, went down with her. Sturdee’s battle cruisers, still under fire from Gneisenau, did not stop to look for survivors, and fifteen minutes later, when Carnarvon passed over the spot, her “crew saw nothing in the water except wreckage.

Rise up, my children of no name

The Word of God to Leyden Came
by Jeremiah Eames Rankin

The word of God to Leyden came,
Dutch town by Zuyder Zee:
Rise up, my children of no name,
My kings and priests to be.
There is an empire in the West,
Which I will soon unfold;
A thousand harvests in her breast,
Rocks ribbed with iron and gold.

Rise up, my children, time is ripe!
Old things are passed away.
Bishops and kings from earth I wipe;
Too long they've had their day.
A little ship have I prepared
To bear you o'er the seas;
And in your souls my will declared
Shall grow by slow degrees.

Beneath my throne the martyrs cry;
I hear their voice, How long?
It mingles with their praises high,
And with their victor song.
The thing they longed and waited for,
But died without the sight;
So, this shall be! I wrong abhor,
The world I'll now set right.

Leave, then, the hammer and the loom,
You've other work to do;
For Freedom's commonwealth there's room,
And you shall build it too.
I'm tired of bishops and their pride,
I'm tired of kings as well;
Henceforth I take the people's side,
And with the people dwell.

Tear off the mitre from the priest,
And from the king, his crown;
Let all my captives be released;
Lift up, whom men cast down.
Their pastors let the people choose,
And choose their rulers too;
Whom they select, I'll not refuse,
But bless the work they do.

The Pilgrims rose, at this, God's word,
And sailed the wintry seas:
With their own flesh nor blood conferred,
Nor thought of wealth or ease.
They left the towers of Leyden town,
They left the Zuyder Zee;
And where they cast their anchor down,
Rose Freedom's realm to be.

Hard topics without hard numbers

From Sexual Victimization by Women Is More Common Than Previously Known by Lara Stemple, Ilan H. Meyer.

I have been aware of this type of research for two or three decades. This is a reasonable summary.
Take a moment and picture an image of a rapist. Without a doubt, you are thinking about a man. Given our pervasive cultural understanding that perpetrators of sexual violence are nearly always men, this makes sense. But this assumption belies the reality, revealed in our study of large-scale federal agency surveys, that women are also often perpetrators of sexual victimization.

In 2014, we published a study on the sexual victimization of men, finding that men were much more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than was thought. To understand who was committing the abuse, we next analyzed four surveys conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to glean an overall picture of how frequently women were committing sexual victimization.

The results were surprising. For example, the CDC’s nationally representative data revealed that over one year, men and women were equally likely to experience nonconsensual sex, and most male victims reported female perpetrators. Over their lifetime, 79 percent of men who were “made to penetrate” someone else (a form of rape, in the view of most researchers) reported female perpetrators. Likewise, most men who experienced sexual coercion and unwanted sexual contact had female perpetrators.

We also pooled four years of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) data and found that 35 percent of male victims who experienced rape or sexual assault reported at least one female perpetrator. Among those who were raped or sexually assaulted by a woman, 58 percent of male victims and 41 percent of female victims reported that the incident involved a violent attack, meaning the female perpetrator hit, knocked down or otherwise attacked the victim, many of whom reported injuries.

And, because we had previously shown that nearly one million incidents of sexual victimization happen in our nation’s prisons and jails each year, we knew that no analysis of sexual victimization in the U.S. would be complete without a look at sexual abuse happening behind bars. We found that, contrary to assumptions, the biggest threat to women serving time does not come from male corrections staff. Instead, female victims are more than three times as likely to experience sexual abuse by other women inmates than by male staff.
Among the challenges in the field of sexual violence is that it is consequential, it is overladen with agenda driven research and it involves many social taboos. It is difficult many times to sort the wheat from the chaff. A point which the authors acknowledge.
Our findings might be critically viewed as an effort to upend a women’s rights agenda that focuses on the sexual threat posed by men. To the contrary, we argue that male-perpetrated sexual victimization remains a chronic problem, from the schoolyard to the White House. In fact, 96 percent of women who report rape or sexual assault in the NCVS were abused by men. In presenting our findings, we argue that a comprehensive look at sexual victimization, which includes male perpetration and adds female perpetration, is consistent with feminist principles in important ways.
I have long been ambiguous about this research.

On the one hand one of the most dreadful and challenging features of the past couple of decades has been the deconstructionist influence leading to definition creep. "Rape" once was widely perceived as a violent penetrative act by men of women and was almost universally condemned in the extreme. It was among the last capital punishment crimes to go.

Over the years "rape" has been stretched to include all sorts of other acts including use of drugs to sedate. To an extent that makes sense, and I don't think we would have a research problem if the stretching had stopped there. But then we included coerced sex where emotional coercion was involved rather than physical coercion. At that point we are back to a Victorian infantilizing of women, where females have no agency.

But the stretching did not stop there. "Rape" grew to include unwanted touching, unwanted comments, consensual drunk sex, etc. One of the expansions has led to the idea of "believe all women", an empirical nonsense with the same evidentiary basis as "believe all Yankees", "believe all teachers", believe all fourteen year-olds". There are no categories of human who are unable to lie, deceive and dissimulate. To assert that women, uniquely, are of such infantile innocence that they are beyond bad moral behavior is to once again set them into a category without agency.

This sort of Orwellian changing of definitions is of course a hallmark of all advocacy groups. They want the currency of the real to work in the realm of their desires. They want to harness natural revulsion to their own ends.

Which is reprehensible but understandable. On the other hand, there is a counter dynamic which is ironically self-defeating. Megan McArdle has noted among her writings, The Upside of Down, increasing the penalty for a crime makes it less likely that a person will be convicted of that crime. You are far less likely to be falsely convicted of murder or rape than you are of being falsely fined for an ordinance infraction.

The reason is obvious. If we are going to take someone's life for the crime they committed, we absolutely need all the safeguards possible. And it is still not infallible. So to accuse someone of a heinous murder or rape means an expensive prosecution and likely multiple appeals. The City, County or State might spend more than a million dollars to achieve the conviction. And if the punishment is long duration incarceration, there is another million or more of taxpayer money. There are lots of reasons to spend a lot of money to ensure that convictions of the most heinous crimes are also the most unassailable.

Advocates, by trying to widen the definition of the crime, are usually trying to increase the punishment. But that opens up an unintended mismatch. As an extreme example, if the death sentence is the only punishment for rape but rape now includes mutually consensual drunk sex, then no jury is going to find the male participant guilty. The punishment needs to be popularly seen as commensurate with the act. If you are asking for extreme punishments for reprehensible but minor behavior, then you are going to see fewer convictions.

The effort by advocates to gain tactical advantage (punish more people for the perceived crime) is undermined by strategic loss (reduced conviction rates owing to perceived injustice).

So in that regard, I viewed the early work to establish real empirical dimensions has made a lot of sense. Because it is ideologically unacceptable to the Mandarin Class, because the definitions have continued to evolve, because the reality is so counter to popular perceptions, etc. the field has been slow to develop, slow to gain visibility or traction, and slow to advance improved approaches to the emerging and different understanding of what we are dealing with.

I am still not confident we have a well defined understanding of what we are attempting to measure. It has had the productive outcome of bringing the importance of definitions to the fore. I think we do now know that women are much more likely to be the perpetrators of sexual violence than we used to think. I think we do now know that any survey of sexual violence has to include prison populations and that when they are included it dramatically shifts the victimhood rates. But what those absolute numbers are and the actual rates? Still a lot of obscurity.

Reading this piece by Stemple and Meyer, they switch so often between different definitions, between absolute numbers, rates, and relative numbers, they take so many narrow slices without providing context, etc. that it is hard to get a clear overall picture. For example, taking a very narrow definition, I cannot tell how many men and how many women have suffered violently coerced rape with serious injuries by a stranger in a given year. Is it the same number? Do men suffer more than women (because of the prison populations)? Do more women suffer than men?

From my other readings over the years, my sense is that those numbers might be about equal, they would be much lower than is usually bandied about, they would be much more demographically targeted (minority women suffering disproportionately and incarcerated men suffering disproportionately). But that is a best guess.

If we relax the definition so that it does not require the victim to have a serious injury as a result of the violent coercion, the numbers explode, and the context, the victims profiles, the offender profiles, etc. become much more variable. There is great value and need to understand better through better definition and measurement. But it is really hard to get reliable numbers.

I don't have an answer. I am uncomfortable with some of the implications of the research of Stemple and Meyer and others. I am not yet confident in it.

On the other hand, I think what they are doing is necessary in order for us to reduce victimhood, improve conviction rates, reduce commission of the crimes (however defined), and increase citizen confidence in the judicial and legislative processes.