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The View from the Malecón
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Lake Chapala at sunrise. It never looks the same twice. Though it is late in the season and should be chill, we do not seem to be having winter this year. The golondrinas, swallows, seem confused and have not migrated as early as they usually do. This year they sat in their thousands, three inches apart, on overhead cables and seemed to wonder what to do. Finally they left. Vifoto.

Before light we awake. The dogs, knowing that they are going for a walk, leap and twirl and bounce and make nuisances of themselves. Violeta brews coffee to rekindle the guttering flame of life. (That’s poetic. Like Milton.) We attach their leashes. They jump into the back of the CRV with enthusiasm. Vi bluetoothes her phone to the car’s sound system, surprisingly good, and we head out to Beethoven or Louisiana blues.

The world is another place before dawn, towns along the lakefront blank and lifeless, stop lights mindlessly changing in the absence of traffic, and existence belonging exclusively to ourselves. Lights glow in Donas’ Donas–Donnas’s Doughnuts–as the staff gets ready for the morning rush. A few cars wait in the parking lot of the all-night pharmacy.

The malecón along the water in Chapala is a wide boardwalk of patterned cement, sometimes fifty feet broad, with benches and trash cans running from the park to the end of town, much of it lit by street lights. It is not quite deserted. Early morning runners are out, and the street sweepers, and others walking their dogs. Still, there is a sense of solitude. We have become regulars and there is much “Buenos-dias”-ing. For a little over an hour we walk at a rapid clip, the dogs wanting to sniff everything and Charlie, a he-dog, signing trees and posts as is right. As the horizon begins to glow we often encounter Arturo, the bartender at the American Legion post, and his wife, who also walk and supervise the arrival of day.

Often in the dimness before dawn there will be a pickup truck or a couple of parked cars with music blaring and much laughter and several young standing around and drinking beer. These are trasnochados, “all-nighters,” men and women, who have spent the night partying. Drinking in public is illegal. So are a lot of things. As long as they cause no trouble, which they don’t, the powers that be somehow fail to notice them. It is a sensible arrangement.

The malecón by twilight. On weekends Chapala swells with tourists from Guadalajara and stalls go up on the sidewalk paralleling the malecón, selling hats and coconut juice and purses and fried this and fried that. On Sunday night the stalls go back down and the town empties. It is as regular as a heartbeat. Phredfoto.

Mikey Laure, a noted guitarist and singer born in Chapala and popular in the Sixties. On the road into town is a statue of Pepe Guize, also of Chapala, who wrote Guadalajara, Guadalajara. In Rosario, a town far to the northwest, there is a statue of Lola Beltrán, the queen of ranchero, in her birthplace. And in Guanajuato, a statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. I think people here have their priorities straight. In statues I much prefer Sancho to some goddam general. Vifoto.

With coming storms the lake has a darker face. The wind comes up, chill and moist with droplets and there is a sense of things going on above our human paygrade. Sunrise never looks the same twice no matter how often we and the dogs inspect it. Vifoto.

Jesús Pescador. Jesus, Fisher (of men). I am not sure to what extent how many people believe what, but the Church is part of what they are and they are content with it. Many of the young are not observant, but this means only that they are not observant, not that they want to abolish their culture and history. Vifoto.

OK, maybe I am getting tedious, but I am an obligate inspector of sunrises. I have been advised to consider therapy for it, but I would rather have hemorrhagic tuberculosis. Vifoto.

Finally, dogs. They are on the right. La Coyota, Africa, and Charlie. As we used to say in Alabama, they ain’t got the sense God give a crabapple, but they are good hearted beasts. The one in the middle, Africa, crept under my stepdaughter’s gate as a nearly dead puppy suffering from full-body mange. Natalia being Natalia, off they went to the vet. There we learned that while few things in life live up to their billings, mange dip works like a mad sonofabitch. Africa turned into a long, low-slung pooch, apparently a cross between a Border Collie and a fire hose, and currently flourishes. Vifoto.

We leave, going by the market for oranges to squeeze for juice in the morning. Mexicans believe that orange juice should have departed an orange no more than an hour before breakfast. This alone is sufficient justification for living here.

Anyway, them’s mornings in the Reed-Gonzalez household. I cannot doubt that

people in their millions have been wondering, “What do Fred and Violeta do in the morning?” I am glad to have supplied this yearning.

 

More Fun with IQ

I have encountered a chart posted by Audacious Epigone at the Unz Review purporting to show the mean IQs of blacks in most American states. Among enthusiasts of such things, the IQ of blacks is always said to be 85 unless it becomes polemically convenient for it to be something else. Anyway, saith the chart, the IQ of blacks in Massachusetts is 92.6, the lowest 84.4 in Wisconsin, for a difference of 8.2, over half a standard deviation. Another of Epigone’s charts puts Hispanic IQ in Montana at 95.0, and in Rhode Island at 86.6, a difference of 8.4.

If tests are off by that much, methinks they need some work under warranty. Since IQists cannot afford to doubt the infallibility of their tests, they usually resort to speculative and unsubstantiated theories, such as that for some reason smart Hispanics went to Montana to freeze to death, and dim ones to Rhode Island. Thus we make evidence fit the theory instead of deriving theory from the evidence.

Knowing IQists, they will come up with some genetic theory, such as all the smart blacks went to New England after their ancestors brought the slave ancestors from Africa. Or maybe sunspots did it. I note that only of states report a black IQ as low as 85, the black IQ held sacred in most IQist circles. Uh…

In pursuance of what I regard as my God given duty to annoy the self-assured, I will ask y favorite question. Is an IQ of 83 enough to invent writing, the abacus, the wheel, and an exponential number system? The possible answers are yes, no, and haughty silence. I’ll bet on three.

 

If you think the cover is weird, you should read the book. Amazon: “Fred’s reflections on America as it was and isn’t. In the title essay he tells of his rural Southern boyhood, driving a 1953 Chevy the color of two-tone dirt, an aging wreck serving as heraldic emblem, codpiece, bar and, far less frequently than he would have liked or admitted, love nest. It usually started but remembered compression as an aging gigolo recalls the ardors of youth and on the night of the possum-squashing, with Bobby on the roof and Itchy in the trunk and a great many empty beer cans…. Well, you get the idea. It was another country, says Fred, and he would like it back. Never happen.”

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Mexico 
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Writing about intelligence is splendid fun if you like watching dogfights among towering vanities. (This assumes that vanities can tower, though I’m not sure how dogs come into it.)

On one side you have the politically correct protectors of Appropriate Values. These secretly believe that blacks are less intelligent than whites and live in terror that genetics will shortly prove it. This is why they call genetics “pseudoscience.” Which it isn’t.

On the other side you have the cultists of IQ. These are bright white guys who conflate the results of IQ tests with intelligence, a fit which is imperfect. Their political aim is to show that whites, especially IQists, are brighter than blacks and Hispanics and pretty much everybody else, except East Asians who have higher IQs than white guys. Admitting the superiority of the Asians is the political price of showing the inferiority of everyone else.

Politics is a strange place. Anyway they take IQ with the solemnity appropriate to a mass funeral and overlook multiple nonsenses. For example:

Australian aborigines, according to IQst siege howitzer Richard Lynn, quoted in the Unz Review, have a mean IQ of 64. They are often regarded as the least intelligent of humans. This is not implausible. They have invented nothing, certainly not writing, and their number systems, if so they may be called, run to “one,” “two,” and “many.”

So much for aborigines. In this piece by John Derbyshire, a mathematician by training and longtime enthusiast of all things IQical, I find his assertion that the Nepalese have a mean IQ of 60. (He is quoting other I Qists thought to know of these matters.)

Now, a couple of points: First, I have spent time in Nepal and saw nothing to suggest anything even approaching this level of retardation. Second, an average of 60 means that half the population have an IQ of less than that, the distribution being almost symmetrical, and a substantial number below 45. These people would not be able to dress themselves or find their way home at night. I encountered no naked Nepalis wandering about homelessly.

Third, if the above grass hut in Nepal was built by people with a mean IQ of sixty, then the Australian aborigines, at sixty-four, could build something at least as elaborate and perhaps a bit more so.

Does anyone really believe this stuff?

Phredfoto.
Phredfoto.

Three anecdotes. My daughter Macon and I, trekking in the roadless Nepalese Himalayas at 12,000 feet, were approached in a town by these kids, who spoke perfect English. They had, they said, two classes a day in Nepali and the rest in English. Clearly less intelligent than Australian aborigines. Presumably someone else dressed them. I know nothing else about them. The one in the middle is going to have many girlfriends.

Wikipedia:In 1951 Nepal had 10,000 students in 300 schools and an adult literacy rate of five percent. There were 49,000 schools in 2010, and by 2015 the overall adult literacy rate was 63.9 percent (males 76.4 percent and females 53.1 percent.”

If we assume that Nepali girls are as capable of literacy as boys, which of course they are, then in terms of IQ studies literacy was at the 76 percent mark. This means that at least 26 percent are literate with IQs below 60. Since the explosive growth of literacy obviously is a result of getting schools to remote villages, the proportion of severely retarded literates will grow. This is all very mysterious.

Or consider the Meso-American Indians of southern Mexico and Central America. These, said to have a mean IQ of 83, were a minor but remarkable civilization that, while not in a league with Fifth Century Athens, nonetheless did the following: Invented writing, a base-twenty exponential number system, an abacus allowing calculation of huge numbers, and the wheel. They built five-story buildings using poured-in-place concrete and elaborate flood-control systems.

None of this will involve contradictions if IQists agree, clearly and without evasion or equivocation, that an IQ of 83 is sufficient to do these things. Do they so agree?

Colombians, said to have mean IQ 84, run modern cities with telecommunications, airlines and the concomitant people to maintain avionics and big turbofans. This involves no contradiction if IQists say clearly that 84 is sufficient to do these things. Do they so say? (All together now, “Yes! Eighty-four is enough….”)

But then we have American blacks. These, at a mean IQ of 85, are more intelligent than either of the foregoing groups. We must perforce conclude that they could invent writing and sophisticated number systems, maintain avionics and telecommunications.

Do IQists so conclude? The answer must be either ”yes” or “no.” The latter, note, would amount to saying that blacks are not intelligent enough to do things done by people less intelligent than they are. But saying “yes” will imply that something other than IQ must be holding blacks backs such as maybe withe privilege. Oh God….

Another puzzlement difficult of explanation: The 83 figure for Mesoamericans seems plausible today as they do little of intellectual impressiveness. This being so, their considerable pre-Hispanic achievements are hard to understand unless they lost quite a bit of intelligence between 1521 when Tenochtitlan fell to the Spaniards, and now. Since IQists are enthusiastic Darwinians and attribute everything to genetic evolution, probably including loose doorknobs, they may invoke selective pressures favoring stupidity. The advantage in survival of declining acuity in a rough existence with no welfare state is not entirely obvious.

Another mystery, even deeper than the Nepalis: Say IQists, the blacks of sub-Saharan Africa have mean IQs of about 70. This is not implausible given the very low level of civilization in Africa now and before.

But the people of Equatorial Guinea are at 59. This puts them respectively at 15 and 26 points below American blacks, five points below Australian aborigines, and below even Nepalis. The Guineans, half being below 59, provide another example of people who should not be able to put on their shoes, if they have any. Is this the case? (The Darwinian explanation for the low IQ of Africans is that in a hot climate they didn’t have to remember that it gets cold in winter and thus you have to store food, and consequently had no need of intelligence. I am aware of no study showing that Africans can’t remember that seasons change.)

What the faithful need to do, and won’t, is at least try to determine what percentage of a population need to have what IQ for the society to function (engineers, bank clerks, internet help desks, etc.) and then show that a distribution centered on the alleged mean would produce them.

Enough. The point of all of this is not to support the silly idea that “intelligence is a social construct” and does not really exist. Of course it exists. Clearly it has a large innate, and probably genetic, component. This should be obvious to most plants and some rocks. Does anyone think that Mike Tyson and Stephen Hawking would have been equally intelligent given similar childhoods? If intelligence were cultural then all the children in Isaac Newton’s neighborhood should have been towering mathematical geniuses. It is not recorded that they were.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: IQ, Race and Iq 
Another Entry in the Tourney of Damn Fool Ideas
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I suppose that by now everyone has heard of Trump’s offer to send the American military to “wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth,” which he asserts can be done “quickly and effectively. “

Trump phrased this as an offer to help, not a threat to invade, which is reassuring. AMLO, Mexico’s president, wisely declined the offer.

While the President seems to have made the offer in good faith, he has little idea of Mexico, the military, or the cartels. The American military could not come close to wiping them off the face of the earth, much less effectively and quickly. Such an incursion would be a political and military disaster. The President needs to do some reading.

If AMLO were to invite the Americans into Mexico, he would be lynched. Few Americans are aware of how much the United States is hated in Latin America, and for that matter in most of the world. They don’t know of the long series of military interventions, brutal dictators imposed and supported, and economic rapine. Somoza, Pinochet, the Mexican-American War, detachment of Panama from Colombia, bombardment of Veracruz, Patton’s incursion–the list could go on for pages. The Mexican public would look upon American troops not as saviors but as invaders. Which they would be.

The incursion would not defeat the cartels, for several reasons that trump would do well to ponder. To begin with, America starts its wars by overestimating its own powers, underestimating the enemy, and misunderstanding the kind of war on which it is embarking. The is exactly what Trump seems to be doing.

He probably thinks of Mexicans as just gardeners and rapists and we have all these beautiful advanced weapons and beautiful drones and things with blinking lights. A pack of rapists armed with garden trowels couldn’t possibly be difficult to defeat by the US. I mean, get serious: Dope dealers against the Marines? A cakewalk.

You know, like Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. That sort of cakewalk. Let’s think what an expedition against the narcos would entail, what it would face.

To begin with, Mexico is a huge country of 127 million souls with the narcos spread unevenly across it. You can’t police a nation that size with a small force, or even with a large force. A (preposterous) million soldiers would be well under one percent of the population. Success would be impossible even if that population helped you. Which it wouldn’t.

Other problems exist. Many, many of them.

Let’s consider terrain. Terrain is what militaries fight in. Start with the Sierra Madre, which I suspect Trump doesn’t know from Madre Teresa. This is the brutally inhospitable mountain range in the northwest of Mexico, from which a great many of the narcos come.(Sinaloa is next door.) Forestation is dense, slopes steep, communication only by narrow trails that the natives know as well as you know how to find your bathroom. Nobody else knows them. American infantry would be helpless here. The Narcos would be found only when they chose to be found, which would not be at opportune moments.

The Sierra Madre Occidental, home of many of the drug traffickers. I have walked in these mountains, or tried to. It is impossible for infantry, worse for armor, and airplanes can’t see through the trees.

The Tarahumara Indians live in the Sierra Madre. They frequent the trails, sometimes in groups, and carry things not identifiable from the air. In frustration American forces would do what they always do: start bombing, or launching Hellfires from drones, at what they think are, or think may be, or hope might be, narcos. Frequently they would kill innocents having nothing to do with drugs. This wouldn’t bother the military, certainly not remote drone operators in Colorado or somewhere. They get paid anyway. The Indians who just had their families turned into science projects couldn’t do anything about it.

Well, nothing but join the narcos, who might call this a “force multiplier.”

Some other northern Mexican terrain. The Duarte Bridge between Sinaloa and Durango. A company commander, looking at it, would would have PTSD in advance, just to get a start on things.

Of the rest of Mexico, much consists of jungle, presenting the same problems as the Sierra Madre, and of cities and villages. Here we encounter the problem that has proved disastrous for US forces in war after war: there is no way to tell who is a narco and who isn’t.

In cities and towns, narcos are indistinguishable from the general population. How–precisely how, I want to know–would American troops, kitted out in body armor and goggles and looking like idiots, fight the narcos in villages with which they were unfamiliar? The narcos, well armed, would pick off GIs from windows, whereupon the Americans would respond by firing at random, calling in air strikes, and otherwise killing locals. These would now hate Americans. The narcos know this. They would use it.

Culiacan, Sinaloa, Chapo’s home city. It has a high concentration of narcos. Suppose that you are an infantry officer, sent to “fight the cartels.” You have, say, twenty troops with you, all with hi-tech equipment and things dangling. How do you propose to fight the cartels here? Which of the people in the photo, if any, are narcos? You could ask them. That would work.

Don’t expect help from the locals. Most would much rather see you killed than the narcos. And if they collaborated they and their families would be killed. This would discourage them. Bright ideas?

Now a point that Schwarzehairdye in the White House has likely not grasped. The narcos are Mexicans. So is the population. You know, brown, speak Spanish, that kind of thing. The invaders would not be Mexicans. This matters. Villagers usually do not hate the narcos. These provide jobs, buy their marijuana crops, often do Robin Hood things to help the locals. Pablo Escobar did this, Al Capone, Chapo Guzman. There is a whole genre of popular music, narcocorridos, celebrating the doings of the drug trade. (Corridos Prohibidos, by Los Tigres del Norte, for example). Amazon has the CD.

Which means that they would side with the narcos instead of the already-hated soldiers, putos gringos cabrones, que se chinguen sus putas madres.

Further, much of Mexico doesn’t much like its government.

And of course the narcos will have the option of fading into the population and waiting for the gringos to go home. This means that the invasion would become an occupation. The invading forces would thus need bases, which would become permanent. Bases where? All over the country, which is where the narcos are?

Getting the American military into one’s country is much easier than getting it out. The world knows this. Mexicans assuredly do. They know that America has wrecked country after country in the Mideast, always to do something good about democracy and human rights. They know that America is squeezing Venezuela to get control of its oil, squeezing Iran for the same reason, attacked Iraq for the same reason, has troops in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for the same reason, and has just confiscated Syria’s oil . Mexico has oil. So when Trump wants to send the military to “help” fight drugs, what do you suppose the Mexicans suspect?

Another point: Roughly a million American expats live happily in Mexico. These would be hostages, and they–we–are soft targets. The drones kill five narcos, and the narcos kill five expats. Or ten, or fifty. What does Washington do now?

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Donald Trump, Mexico 
Why You Should Stay the Hell Away From the American Military
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Some advice: Don’t get shot in the face. I don’t care what your friends tell you, it isn’t a good idea. Further, avoid corneal transplants if you can. If you find a coupon for one, in a box of Cracker Jacks maybe, toss it. Transplants are miserable things. Unless you really need one. What am I talking about? Eyes, and losing them, and getting them back. On this, I am an accidental authority.

Long long ago, in a far galaxy, the United States was bringing democracy to Viet Nam, which had barely heard of it and didn’t want it anyway. As an expression of their desire to be left alone, the locals spent several years shooting Americans. I was one of them: a young dumb Marine with little idea either where I was or why. But that was common in those days.

A large-caliber round, probably from a Russian 12.7mm heavy machine gun, came through the windshield of the truck I was driving. The bullet missed me, barely, because I had turned my head to look at a water buffalo in the paddy beside the road. Unfortunately the glass in front of the round had to go somewhere, in this case into my face. Not good. I didn’t like it, anyway.

So I got choppered to the Naval Support Activity hospital in Danang with the insides of my eyes filled with blood, which I didn’t know because my eyelids were convulsively latched shut. An eye surgeon there did emergency iridectomies — removing a slice of the iris — so that my eyes wouldn’t explode. He also determined that powdered glass had gone through my corneas, through the anterior chamber, through the lens, and parked itself in the vitreous, which is the marmalade that fills the back of the eye. It had not reached the retina, though they couldn’t tell at the time, which meant that I wasn’t necessarily going to be blind. Yet.

Two weeks followed of lying in a long ward of hideously wounded Marines. (I hope this part isn’t boring, but it explains what happened later.) My face was bandaged, but I remember well what the place sounded like. I heard stories. The two tank crewmen across the aisle from me, were burned over most of their bodies. An RPG had hit their tank, the cherry juice — hydraulic fluid, I mean — had cooked off, and cooked them too. The other two guys burned to death. It’s hard to get out of a tank filled with flame and smoke with your skin peeling off.

But that’s neither here nor there, being merely among the routine fascinations of military life in those days. Anyway, every two hours a Vietnamese nurse came by and injected me with what felt like several quarts of penicillin. Perhaps I exaggerate in retrospect: Maybe it was only one quart. The reason was that if your eyes are full of blood, and decide to become infected, you are categorically, really and truly, beyond doubt, blind. After so much penicillin, my breath alone would have stopped the Black Death.

What saved me, the doctors speculated, was that the tremendous energy of the 12.7 round had instantaneously heated the glass powder — it wasn’t much more than powder — and thus sterilized it. If a bullet is going to come through your windshield, make sure it has lots of energy.

Bear with me a bit more. I’m going to explain what happened so you will understand that eye surgeons are the best people on this or any other planet, and probably in league with spirits, because the things they do are clearly impossible.

After stops at the military hospital in Yokota, Japan, and a long flight in a C-141 Medevac bird in which the guy slung in the stretcher above me, full of tubes, died en route, I ended up in Bethesda Naval Hospital, Maryland, in the suburbs of Washington, DC. I spent a year there, and had the first eight of fourteen eye operations. (See what I mean about being in league with spirits? Any fool knows you can’t cut an eye open that many times, sucking things out, sewing things in, and expect it to see. Well, they did, and it did. Magic, I tell you.)

Now, eyes are special parts. Ask any soldier what he most doesn’t want, and he’ll tell you being paralyzed, blinded, and castrated, probably in that order. Losing a leg is a nuisance. In fact, it’s a royal, wretched, motingator of a nuisance, but that’s all it is. No, you won’t be a running back for the Steelers. But you can walk, sort of, chase girls, travel, be a biochemist. Not optimal, but you can adapt.

Eyes are different. On the eye ward, I watched the blind guys come in from the field. They curled up in bed and slept for days, barely ate, wouldn’t talk much. I didn’t so much do this because it wasn’t clear that I was going to be blind. Once the blood cleared the doctors could see that I had good retinas and, though I was going to have a fine case of traumatic cataracts, those were fixable. This was not true of Ron Reester, though, who had a rifle grenade explode on the end of his rifle. His eyes were definitively jellied, and that was that. Then there was a kid from Tennessee, maybe eighteen, with both eyes gone and half his face. I was there when his betrothed, still a senior in high school, came to see him. It was almost enough to make me think that wars weren’t such a hot idea.

It’s funny how people adapt to being blind. Reester, also from Tennessee — the South got hit hard in Vietnam — came out of his depression after a few weeks and became something of a character. Clowning takes your mind off things, which is what you need most.

After cataract surgery I had good vision for a while and they kept me on the ward to see whether something catastrophic might happen. Nothing did, really. I had minor hemorrhages and a fixable retinal detachment, but nothing else. Anyway, Reester decided he wanted to sight-see in Washington, though he was stone blind. Another guy on the ward was McGoo, or so we called a shot-up Navy gunner from the riverine forces in the Delta, the fast heavily-armed patrol boats, PBRs. McGoo also had thick glasses from cataract surgery, thus the name. Anyway, McGoo, Reester, and I would go downtown to see things.

I remember we pointed Reester at the Washington Monument once and told him what it was. “Oh, wow, that’s really magnificent, I didn’t know it was so tall,” he said, or something similar. Pedestrians thought we were being horribly cruel to a blind guy. No. He was having a hell of a time. And it was something to do. There wasn’t much to do on the ward.

Some of us adapted to blindness better than others. The Tennessee kid with half a face and no longer a girlfriend was somber and stayed to himself. I couldn’t blame the girl. She was still just a teenager and had figured to marry her good-looking sweetheart from high school, and now he was blind and looked like a raccoon run over by a truck. She would have spent a life caring for a depressive horror living on VA money. It was a lot to ask. I don’t know what happened to him. He just faded away somehow.

Reester made the best of things once he got beyond the first couple of weeks. He was a smooth-talking Elvis simulacrum and the concussion that jellied his eyes hadn’t made him ugly. At parties on Capitol Hill sponsored by congressmen who wanted to appear interested in Our Boys — nobody is more patriotic than a politician in election years — Reester made time with the girls supplied from local universities for the purpose.

We all lost touch with each other on leaving the ward, but a few years ago, I bumped into him via the Web. I called and we talked a bit. He had become a serious Christian and did things for vets.

To shorten the tale, I ended up with not just cataract surgery but also vitrectomies (removing the marmalade) in both eyes, leaving them full of water and nothing else. For a while both eyes actually worked, but the right one eventually gave up. At Bethesda the surgeons liked me and let me borrow some of their textbooks, so I ended up scrubbing and watching several operations in the OR. I liked that.

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: American Military, Vietnam War 
Fred in His Darkness Pleads for Help, Piteously
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A good bit more now than a decade ago I was a member of Steve Sailer’s HBD (Human Biodiversity) mailing list. This dealt with (who would have thought it’) human biodiversity, meaning such things as evolution, racial differences, evolutionary psychology, and genetics. It was a bright and usually congenial group, if doctrinaire, from which I was dropped for, I think, apostasy. My sin, as best I could tell, was expressing doubts about Darwinism. This is something that One Doesn’t Do.

Among the members were Greg Cochran, a physicist; John Derbyshire, a mathematician by training and political philosopher by preference; and Razib Khan, currently a brilliant geneticist. All seemed decent sorts. Of all it could be said that if self-assurance were oil, they could use Saudi Arabia as a doorstop.

The list tolerated my heterodoxy, barely, for a bit. Several said that I wanted to destroy science. I would have thought this beyond my powers, but perhaps I underestimate myself. Finally Razib exploded in fury at questions I asked, deleted everything by or about me on his website, Gnxp.com, did not answer my questions, and threatened to banish from Gnxp all of what he called “Fred Reed clones.”

This seemed excessive in response to a negligible blogger expressing curiosity about evolution. However I was made to understand that I had done the Darwinian equivalent of questioning the tripartite nature of Christ. I was, Razib said, arrogant.

This in particular surprised me. I had asked questions. A question is an admission of ignorance. How is that arrogant? I had made, and make, no claims to authority in genetics or related fields. I have none and pretend to none. That is why I asked simple questions. They were the only kind I could ask.

Well, all right, I thought. The web is a dark and savage place, rather like a biker bar though with higher syllabic density. And Razib wasn’t unique. There are in fact others on the web who dislike me.I find incomprehensible as I am sure that I am a splendid fellow.

Well and good. Then, a few months back, I found on the Unz Review a piece by John Derbyshire, in which he denounced Intelligent Design. This–ID–is the view that life looks more designed than accidental. Seething Darwinians equate doubts about evolutionary mechanisms with ID, and then with Biblical Creationism, and then with snake-handling primitive Baptists with three teeth in North Carolina. This chain has more of polemical convenience than of logical connection, but never mind.

Derbyshire’s article was more a credo than an argument, amounting to a long exhalation of haughty disdain (John is British) approximating: “ah, well, you know, these poor fools, what can you expect from such benighted, oh, ‘tis sad,” and the like.

Since he is quite bright, it is possible that he knows a great deal of the biological bases of doubts about Le Grand Chuck, but if so, he keeps it to himself.

Razib, however, is another matter. He certainly has the intelligence and training to dispel simple doubts about aspects of evolution. If he can’t, it is likely that nobody can. He is said not to suffer fools gladly, but perhaps he would suffer this one shortly.

But first, an apology to readers. Some of this requires more familiarity with matters evolutionary than constitutes a reasonable allocation of time for those with good sense. Providing background would require tens of thousands of words. I beg indulgence. Anyway, questions, some of which got me consigned to HBD perdition.

First, from what simpler coding system did the three-nucleotides-per-codon system arise by gradual and beneficial steps? Two nucleotides and a maximum of sixteen aminos? This seems to me a straightforward question about a simple and well-understood coding mechanism which, lacking a clear answer, would seem irreducibly complex.

Second, male homosexuality seems evolutionarily mysterious. It is not clear how one passes along one’s genes by not passing them along, or at least not to women, which would seem an evolutionarily necessary part of the transference. Greg Cochran solved this apparently intractable puzzle by postulating that a virus caused homosexuality. Has this virus been found? If not, might one suspect its nonexistence?

Third, can the evolution of Behe’s flagellum by gradual beneficial steps from earlier structures be explained? An answer, to be an answer, will require a chain of specific events and an explanation of the benefits that would keep them in existence while awaiting the next step.

The only answers I have seen to the foregoing questions have been that although we do not know the answer now, we do not doubt that answers will eventually be found. Yet while the assertion that answers will one day be found cannot be refuted, it is equally consistent with the possibility that there are no answers.

Fourth, if I may, a question more philosophical than technical regarding the chance beginning of life:

Molecular biology has existed for a considerable time and is now a mature science. How many more years, decades, or centuries must pass without the mechanism of abiogenesis being found before it becomes permissible to ask whether it actually happened? The simpler we posit the first life to have been, the harder to explain why millions of scientists have not found it, and the more complex we posit it to have been, the less likely that it happened at all.

The question has no specific answer, but brings to mind the Philosopher’s Stone, perpetual motion, phlogiston, and the luminiferous ether.

Fifth, evolution is said to retain the beneficial and discard the neutral or deleterious. An almost unlimited list of traits that seem to violate this principle can be adduced.

For example,nerve tissue in the kidneys makes kidney stones agonizing to the point of paralysis. Yet there was nothing at all the victim could do about kidney stones until recent times. What is the survival benefit of such nerves? Similarly, what is the benefit to survival of migraines? The victim can do nothing, and curling up on the ground and screaming seems of limited value.

Sixth, more a comment than a question: Just as Cochran’s Virus, for which there is no evidence, seems a desperate attempt to explain the evolutionarily embarrassing matter of male homosexuality; and the Multiverse, for which there is no evidence, to explain the appearance of Anthropic Principle; and Punctuated Equilibrium to explain the absence of desired fossils, so RNA World, for which as far as I know there is no convincing, much less persuasive, evidence, seems an unsupported attempt to avoid the apparently inexplicable disinclination of abiogenesis to have happened.

En fin, since the aforementioned men seem to want to vanquish doubters, and a large public interests itself in these matters, there would seem a chance to put paid to the doubts above. I cannot imagine that a geneticist would need more than half an hour.

 

Nekkid in Austin

Amazon review: “Essays on America, life, politics, and just about everything. The author chronicles among other adventures an aging stripper in Austin, dressed in a paper-mache horse, who had with her a cobra and a tarantula like a yak-hair pillow with legs and alternately charmed and terrified a room full of cowboys sucking down Bud and…. Fred was an apostle of the long-haul thumb during the Sixties and saw…many things. He tells of standing by the big roads across the desert, rockin in the wind blast of the heavy rigs roaring by and the whine of tires and dropping into an arroyo at night with a bottle of cheap red and watching the stars and perhaps smoking things not approved by the government. He tells of…well, that’s what the book is for. Join him.”

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Creationism, Political Correctness 
At Last, A Reasonable Voice
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I have often pointed out that the Dissident Right, fervently disliking Latinos, criticizes Hispanics for all sins real or imagined but never says what policies it favor toward the tens of millions American citizens of Latin-American descent. I have to retract. Recently John Derbyshire, the star writer at the anti-immigrant site Vdare.com, has stated clearly and even eloquently that he favors assimilation. Thus:

This country can only work—can only be a country worth the name—under an ethic of relentless assimilation. You settle here, you Americanize yourself, for which the very first step is to master English, so you can join in the national political conversation. John Quincy Adams understood that. My immigrant wife understood it.

This is not just a wise position. It is the only wise position. If the United States is to have a chance of coalescing into a workably amicable polity, it needs to absorb the newcomers. They are not going to go away. Endlessly attacking them, often nonsensically, sometimes dishonestly, always with a grinding undercurrent of racial hatred, is not a recipe for domestic tranquility. Yet this is exactly what the Dissident Right does.

The immigrant wife John speaks of is Chinese, which is at least reasonable and in my view desirable, the Chinese being an impressive people. Also very pretty in their female variety, which doesn’t hurt. Apparently Derbyshire has remained married to her for thirty-three years, which is un-American and grounds for revoking his citizenship. I suspect without knowing that he gets vulgar comments from ill-bred weblouts as a race traitor. Me too. Pueden chingarse.

But back to business. Suppose the Dissident Right, instead of snuffling around after defects of Latinos like truffle pigs on the hunt, asked how to make the best of a situation that, good, bad, or undecided, can’t be changed? Suppose it asked what might be said good of them. Or even, “What things have we been told about them that aren’t quite true, or at all?” Or–I’m going off the deep end here–what are the prospects of successful assimilation?

Of the Latinos, it is as easy to find pros as cons. The Latino birth rate in the US is way down. (In Mexico itself, 2.19 births per woman. Source: CIA WorldFactbook). In the second generation on, they speak English. I don’t know Mexican literacy in the US, but in Mexico it is at 95 percent (Source: CIA WorldFactbook). They do not burn cities, loot stores in flash mobs, or engage in gang attacks on whites. There is no Brown Lives Matter. They intermarry. They serve in the military. They don’t do race riots. They start businesses. They work.

There are good reasons for wishing that the Latinos had not come. America doesn’t need the population, assimilation is expensive, and any immigrants inevitably provoke hostility. Conservative businessmen make things worse by deliberately giving American jobs to illegals to make more money. (Which, by the way, is illegal.) The objections of the Dissident Right are not always frivolous or merely loutish.

Yet there is a certain automatic, predetermined quality to the antipathy. Judging by the comments that I get, men tend to be far more hostile than women, conservatives than liberals, Republicans than Democrats, the old than the young, the unschooled than the educated, those who have traveled little than those who have traveled much. This supports the common observation that conservatives tend to be robotically tribal, and liberals, robotically universalist. I suspect that that if God sent his angels flying to earth, the Right would try to shoot them down. If he sent a plague of cobras, liberals would bid them welcome and try to include them.

My impression, though it is no more than an impression, is that people of North European origin tend to be more hostile to Latinos than those of southern European, plausible since Mexican culture is more Ibero-Italian than Nordic.

Trump has said that America is not getting Mexico’s best. This is true. Cardiac surgeons and software engineers do not swim the Rio Bravo to pick oranges. If they did, assimilation would take a few hours. The Mexican middle and professional classes behave as everybody else’s–mow the lawn, go to work, buy a house, send the kids to university. If the immigrants fit this description, they would have no reason to come to America and considerable reason not to given the chaos into which the country sinks.

But they are not educated. They tend at very best to be high-school grads and usually well below. This makes assimilation more difficult but no less necessary. The choice is to ghettoize a fifth of the country. How bright is this? Does the country need more Detroits and Baltimores?

Yet it is exactly what the Dissident Right seems to want. When someone suggested a program to help immigrants go to college, I found one of the anti-immigrant leaders saying approximately, and angrily, “They sneak into our country illegally and then want to go to school on our dime. Assimilation? Keep them as far from Americans as possible.”

But the great majority are legal or, usually, citizens and increasingly born and raised in America. For how many years should we regard them as internal enemies? Encouraging their entrance into the middle class, what is left of it, is not charity but self-preservation, much in the national interest whether the Dissident Right likes it or not. Left to themselves, Latinos will do rise on their own, and are doing it, but anything that speeds the process is good for America. Better that Eduardo have a landscaping business or restaurant and be taxed than that he live on welfare for lack of an alternative.

Encouragement should not include affirmative action, which engenders racial hostility. It is one thing to help qualified students, quite another to pump out inadequates of whatever kind

Illegal aliens are a special case that requires nationally self-interested examination. The crucial question of course is whether they can be gotten rid of. If tomorrow morning all illegals could be deported to somewhere, that would be that. Since they are unlawfully present, there could be no legal objection.

But if they cannot be gotten rid of? This seems to be the case. Depending on your politics there are between ten and thirty million illegals, or more if you forgot to take your medication. Does anyone see the slightest chance of their eviction? Trump threatened to deport “millions,” and then forgot about it a week later. We can fantasize about massive military sweeps, or death camps, or what Reagan would have done, yes. But…the realistic chance of ten to thirty million deportations?

If the illegals are in the country to stay (they mostly are) what then? The Dissident Right rages furiously against amnesty, but does not rage furiously in favor of a better idea. Without amnesty, illegals will remain an underclass until they die of old age. On the other hand an amnesty might encourage further illegal entry. What now? Growling and fizzing are not a program.

Dissident Righters can grind their hair and pull their teeth as desired, complain endlessly of the very real difficulties of assimilation, but it is the only practical real, even patriotic, solution.

Other Stuff

Regarding the attacks on the Saudi oil business: it is a miracle that it hasn’t happened long before. A couple of decades ago, in my guise as a tech writer, I wrote about Aerosonde, a European company that made small unmanned airplanes, guided remotely or by GPS, for scientific purposes: tracking whales, flying into volcanic calderas, that sort of thing.

 
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For a couple of decades I covered the military for various publications, as for example the Washington Times and Harper’s, and wrote a military column for Universal Press Syndicate. I was following the time-honored principle of sensible reporters: “Ask not what you can do for journalism, but what journalism can do for you.” The military beat was a great gig, letting you fly in fighter planes and sink in submarines. But if you take the study seriously, as I did, you learn interesting things. Such as that a war with a real country, such as Russia, China, or even Iran, would be a fool’s adventure. A few points:

Unused militaries deteriorate

The US fleet has not been in a war since 1945, the air forces since 1975. nor the Army in a hard fight since Vietnam. Bombing defenseless peasants, the chief function of the American military, is not war.

In extended periods of peace, which includes the bombing of peasants, a military tends to assume that no major war will come during the careers of those now in uniform. Commanders consequently do what makes their lives easy, what they must do to get through the day and have reasonable fitness reports. This does not include pointing out inadequacies of training or equipment. Nor does it include recommending large expenditures to remedy deficiencies. Nor does it include recommending very expensive mobilization exercises that would divert money from new weapons.

Thus an armored command has enough replacement tracks for training, but not enough for tanks in hard use in extended combat. When the crunch comes, it turns out that getting more track requires a new contract with the manufacturer, who has shut down the production line. The same is true for air filters, there not being much sand at Fort Campbell but a lot in Iraq. Things as mundane as MRATs and boots are not there.in real-war quantities.

GAU-8 ammo is in short supply because theory says the F-35 will do tank busting. The Navy runs out of TLAMs early on and discovers that manufacturing cruise missiles takes time. Lots ot it.

And of course some things simply don’t work as expected. Military history buffs will remember the Mark XIV torpedo, the Mark VI exploder of WWII, and the travails of the Tinosa.

Come the war, things turn into a goat rope. FUBAR, SNAFU.

Conscription

The United States cannot fight a large land war, as for example against Russia, China, or Iran. Such a war would require conscription. The public would not stand for it. America no longer enjoys the sort of patriotic unity that it did at the beginning of the war against Vietnam. It will not accept heavy casualties. People today are far more willing to disobey the federal government. Note that many states have legalized marijuana in defiance of federal law, that many jurisdictions across the country simply refuse to assist federal immigration enforcement. Any attempt to send Snowflakes and other delicates to fight would result in widespread civil disobedience.

The Navy

The existing fleet has never been under fire and does not think it ever will be. Most of its ships are thin-skinned, unarmored. One hit by an antiship missile would remove them from the war. This is as true of the Tico-class Aegis ships as of the newer Arleigh Burkes.

An aircraft carrier is a bladder of jet fuel wrapped around high explosives.The implications are considerable. A plunging hypersonic terminally-guided ballistic missile, piercing the flight deck and exploding in the hangar deck, would require a year in the repair yards. The Russians and Chinese are developing–have developed–missiles specifically to take out carriers. Note that the range of some of these missiles is much greater than the combat radius of the carrier’s aviation. Oops.

The USS Stark, 1987, after being hit by a pair of French Exocet missiles fired by an Iraqi Mirage
The USS Stark, 1987, after being hit by a pair of French Exocet missiles fired by an Iraqi Mirage
The USS Forrestal  in 1967 after a five-inch Zuni land-attack missile, a pipsqueak rocket, accidentally launched on deck. It hit another fighter. The resulting fire cooked off large bombs. One hundred thirty-four dead, long stay in repair yards.
The USS Forrestal in 1967 after a five-inch Zuni land-attack missile, a pipsqueak rocket, accidentally launched on deck. It hit another fighter. The resulting fire cooked off large bombs. One hundred thirty-four dead, long stay in repair yards.

The Navy is assuming that it cannot be hit.

The Milquetoast Factor

Through Vietnam, America’s wars were fought by tough kids, often from rural backgrounds involving familiarity with guns and with hard physical work. I know as I grew up and went to Marine boot with them. Discipline, if not quite brutal, came close. Physical demands were high. In AIT–Advanced Infantry Training–at Camp Lejeune, it was “S Company on the road!” at three-thirty a.m., followed by hard running and weapons training until midnight. Yes, oldsters like to remember how it was, but that was how it was.

Today America has a military corrupted by social-justice politics. Recruits are no longer country boys who could chop cordwood. Obesity is common. The Pentagon has lowered physical standards, hidden racial problems, softened training. The officers are afraid of the large numbers of military women who are now in combat positions. One complaint about sexism and there goes the career.

Officer Rot

In times of extended peace the officer corps decays. All second-tour officers are politicians, especially above the level of lieutenant colonel. You don’t get promoted by suggesting the the senior ranks are lying for political reasons, as by insisting that the Afghan war is being won. Peacetime encourages careerists who advance by not making waves. Such Pattons of PowerPoint invariably have to be weeded out, at a high cost in lives, in a big war.

Today’s military is not going to fare well in anything resembling equal combat against Afghans, Russians, or Iranians. The US military has not been able to defeat Afghan villagers in eighteen years with an immense advantage in air power, gunships, armor, artillery, medical care, and PXs. What do you think would happen if they had to fight the Taliban on equal terms–sandals, rifles, RPGs, and not much else?

Unrealism

The future is the enemy of the present.

The military is not ready for a real war now because its focus is always on things down the road. For example, the Navy cannot now defeat hypersonic antiship missiles but will be able to, it thinks, someday, maybe, world without end, with near-magical lasers still in development. These will funnel lots of money to Raytheon or Lockheed Martin or somebody whether they work or not. Which isn’t important since nobody really believes there will be a serious war.

This is common thinking. America is in process of acquiring B-21 intercontinental nuclear bombers for a frightening price. These will be useless except in a nuclear war, when they would still be useless because the ICBMs would already have turned targets into glowing rubble when the B-21s got there.

What the B21 will look like. It has a seat for Robin. The appeal of such things for adult twelve-year-olds is underestimated.
What the B21 will look like. It has a seat for Robin. The appeal of such things for adult twelve-year-olds is underestimated.

Why build them? Because Northrop-Grumman has so much money that its lobbyists use snow shovels to fill Congressional pockets. In my days of covering the Pentagon, whenever a new weapon was bought, the AH-64 for example, the prime contractor would hand out a list of subcontractors in many states–whose congressmen would support the weapon to get the jobs. It is all about money. Sometimes Congress forces the military to buy weapons it explicitly says it doesn’t want, such as more M1 tanks from the factory in Lima, Ohio. Jobs.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, John Bolton, Neocons 
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All cultures are equal. At least, as things are going, they soon will be. But couldn’t they be equal somewhere else?

Month after month after month, surprising as sunrise, predictable as the value of pi, come the casualty reports documenting racial disaster. Details change. The substance does not. Gangs of American Africans beat whites into brain damage, often rape and sometimes torture, kill policemen, loot stores, burn our cities. Week after week sullen dark faces glare from mug shots. The stories run briefly in the local press and are disappeared.

Woman bludgeoned to death by black male in random attack in laundromat. She called 911, screamed, then went silent. Las Vegas police arrested a black male carrying a bloody sledge hammer. This was thought suspicious, though perhaps police unfairly profile men carrying bloody sledge hammers. He was doubtless a troubled youth who broke under the unbearable torment of white privilege. The woman remains dead.

The race war rages on the culture front:

Mary Reid, assistant professor at University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, worries math tests for all new teachers could lead to fewer visible minorities entering the profession.”

The purpose of schooling is to include visible minorities. A math test uncomfortably approximates an intelligence test. These make the obvious…well, obvious. Another step backward toward the Olduvai Gorge.

Queens, New York. More troubled youths, suffering unbearably from institutional racism, attack a woman of 67 years, take her cane, and beat her with it. Video. Presumably in their troubled childhoods they didn’t have canes and all the white kids did, so it was OK to take the woman’s. And beat her with it. Indicative of a hunter-gatherer genotype.

University Holds Training Session On Avoiding Single Standard Objectives in Grading”

You-know-who can’t do the work so we have to corrupt the universities to hide what everybody knows anyway. Biologists will tell you that yeast in a nutrient solution will reproduce rapidly until all the glucose has been metabolized, and then starve. For yeast, there are limits to the free stuff.

If you doubt the extent of censoring of the race war by the media, read this, by Ann Coulter. You may not like Coulter. I don’t. Facts remain facts regardless of their source. Goebbels would blush.

Shocking moment a gang of 14 teenage boys and girls brutally beat and kick a tourist outside a famed hotel in Washington, DC.” Video.

A hunting pack of feral teens. As the race war comes closer and streets grow dark and dangerous, the civilized will perhaps fly between tops of buildings in helicopters to avoid the encroaching Morlocks.

Merriam-Webster: “Teen”: A black, usually male, between the ages of fourteen and twenty-eight who recapitulates phylogeny by savaging members of other races.”

Video: “Teens Allegedly Loot Walgreens in Downtown Philly”

Not too allegedly, since it is on video. The teens can’t be blamed because they had bad childhoods and anyway they wanted free stuff. So do yeast.

11 wounded in shooting at block party near playground in New York (VIDEO)”

You have probably guessed. The shooters were Chinese girls studying information technology at Stanford and on vacation in New York. We all know how Chinese girls in computer-science are: Low IQs, poor impulse control, limited future orientation, and–you can bet on it–long criminal records.

University seminar teaches faculty not to judge ‘quality’ of writing when grading”

There is a seminar on this matter. “It’s led by Asao Inoue, a University of Washington-Tacoma professor, and the purpose is to pursue “antiracist ends” through writing assessments.”

In other words, give A’s to semiliterates.

Who do you suppose can’t or won’t learn decent English? Probably those wretched Chinese girls at Stanford again. I know pubescent Mexicans who have learned good English by watching American television, though they are unlikely to have learned anything else. We conclude that the cognitively understated at the U. of Washington probably are not pubescent Mexicans. Who then? Asians are logically the only possibility.

If I were not the soul of charity, I would ask why people too stupid or lazy to learn Englih, or anything else, are in unniversity the first place. I might even suggest that barbarians should either be controlled or segregated from the rest of society.

A country that allows its civilization to be degraded by the already degraded, that exalts in being degraded by people who can’t spell “exalt,” that allows itself to be attacked and beaten by people who merit the name of savages, deserves it. I have no sympathy.

Write Fred at [email protected]. Put the letters “pdq” anywhere in the subject line to avoid being heartlessly autodeleted.

Other Stuff

A Mexican orchestra that will never compete with the New York Phil. I thought it admirable, so I stuck it in. It will attract really stupid comments from weblous, and perhaps give them something to live for, but the better-mannered may find it interesting and commendble.

What the orchestra says about itself:

“In 2009 Esperanza Azteca (Aztec Hope) was born as a socio-musical project for children and the young with few resources, from five to seventeen, years of age…Today there are moe than sixty-two orchestras and choruses of which more than twelve thousand children and young people are the beneficiaries. Besides learning music, they develop good character and learn discipline, the pursuit of excellence, and working together in a team.”

Original: “Esperanza Azteca :Desde 2009 Esperanza Azteca nació como un proyecto social-musical para niñas, niños y jóvenes de escasos recursos, de entre 5 a 17 años de edad…Actualmente contamos con más de 62 orquestas sinfónicas y coros de los cuales más de 12 mil niñas, niños y jóvenes son beneficiados, además de aprender música, desarrollan altos valores como la disciplina, la búsqueda de la excelencia y el trabajo en equipo.”

 
And Other Dismal Reflections
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America again wins the annual International Math Olympiad! The contest pits the brightest high-school students of countries against each other in six-member teams. The American victories continue the mastery by the European cultures that invented most of modern math. This supports the claim (I hope I do not sound racist) that European superiority is genetic. In any event, the outcome is crucial because these young prodigies will shape the future of their peoples for many decades.

US Ties with China in 2019 Math Olympiad.
The team: Vincent Huang, Luke Robitaille, Colin Tang, Edward Wan, Brandon Wang, and Daniel Zhu.
US Ties with China in 2019 Math Olympiad.
The team: Vincent Huang, Luke Robitaille, Colin Tang, Edward Wan, Brandon Wang, and Daniel Zhu.
2018 Math Olympiad, US First!
Team: Adam Ardeishar, Andrew Gu, Vincent Huang, James Lin, Michael Ren and Mihir Singhal.
2018 Math Olympiad, US First!
Team: Adam Ardeishar, Andrew Gu, Vincent Huang, James Lin, Michael Ren and Mihir Singhal.
2017  Another win!
Members of the first-place 2017 U.S. team: Ankan Bhattacharya, Zachary Chroman, Andrew Gu, Vincent Huang, James Lin, and Junyao Peng.
2017 Another win!
Members of the first-place 2017 U.S. team: Ankan Bhattacharya, Zachary Chroman, Andrew Gu, Vincent Huang, James Lin, and Junyao Peng.

2016 America first again!

Team members: Ankan Bhattacharya, Michael Kural, Allen Liu, Junyao Peng, Ashwin Sah and Yuan Yao. All six team members received individual gold medals, and Liu and Yao earned perfect scores.
Team members: Ankan Bhattacharya, Michael Kural, Allen Liu, Junyao Peng, Ashwin Sah and Yuan Yao. All six team members received individual gold medals, and Liu and Yao earned perfect scores.

Yet another American victory. Will they never end? The 2019 European Girls Math Olympiad. U.S Championship Team: Emma Qin , Ishika Shah, Janabel Xia and Catherine Wu. Meghal Gupta served as team leader and Rachel Zhang as deputy leader.

We should be gratified by America’s victories over all other Asian countries.

Despite the overwhelming dominance of Americans in math, pessimists point with alarm at developments which they believe show that the United States is losing its edge. Not so. Appearances can be deceptive. Let us examine some of these (unnecessarily) gloomy tales:

China Exceeds US in Number of Companies in Fortune 500”

This may seem ominous. In fact it is no cause for worry. The New York Stock Exchange is at an alltime high. Wall Street prospers. The growing rate of suicide in Middle America, much bemoaned by conservatives, should actually be applauded for its eugenic effects: It will raise American intelligence. In the long run, this will benefit America.

Forbes : ““The World Economic Forum calculates that China had at least 4.7 million recent STEM grads as of 2016; India had 2.6 million as of 2017; the U.S. pulls in at third at 568,000.”

Again, there is no reason for concern It is actually a sign of China’s weakness: If its students knew stuff, they wouldn’t have to go to school, would they?

Yes, Forbes says that in many American universities, departments of math, engineering, and the hard sciences would close if it weren’t for foreign students, largely Chinese. Why is this thought bad? Obviously the more money MIT and CalTech drain from the Chinese economy in tuition, the less money Beijing will have to spend on research and development. Slowly but surely, this impoverishment will bring China down.

To be sure, the Chinese can do a few things well, such as making pencils and little paper umbrellas for expensive drinks. By contrast, American universities excel in inclusiveness, the care and feeding of barely sentient diversity-admits, and courses such as Batman and the Struggle for Gender Equity. China cannot compete at this level.

Democrats unanimous as House passes bill forcing schools to let male athletes compete in girls’ sports”

The Chinese regard this as insanity, as they do most of American behavior. Here we see their lack of originality as they are just following the rest of the world.

Overestimation of the Chinese runs rampant among American intellectuals. Here we have:

As 5G networks begin rolling out and commercializing around the world, telecoms vendors are rushing to get a headstart. Huawei equipment is now behind two-thirds of the commercially launched 5G networks outside China….”

This is easily misinterpreted. Talking heads, unencumbered by knowledge of either technology or economics, espy doom. They say that China’s lead in 5G represents the beginning of a global shift in technological leadership. They further say that Trump, by banning Huawei in America while the rest of the world adopts it, is putting the US two years behind the rest of the world.

This is nonsense. Well, it is at least misunderstood. The very savvy Trump is letting the Chinese spend to develop 5G. When they have done the heavy lifting, Washington will buy it from them for a song and perhaps some soybeans. The resources thus saved by America will be spent on more pressing needs, such as nuclear bombers. It’s like, you know, economic jiu jitsu.

A study” describes the domination of scientists and engineers in the Chinese political elite at all levels. Worth reading. A sentence extracted: “This means that 8 out of 10 among them have four-year degrees or more in science or engineering.”

By contrast, I find (can I possibly be right?) in the 535 members of Congress one PhD in math, and one in physics. This is actually a good thing as it shows that our government is truly democratic and Of The People, which is to say technically illiterate, not very bright and and undistracted by, you know, like equations and atoms and all that stuff. Remember the prescient warning of George Wallace against have pointy-headed intellectuals.

Xi JinPing holds a doctorate in chemistry. Trump holds a faint lead over pursuing law enforcement.

Fortunately America has a democratically elected government that does not focus on absurdities. This maturity contrasts with the Chinese government which is burdened by stability, long-term planning, and adult leadership. Further, the US practice of changing governmental personnel every few years prevents stultification.

Unz (2012) reported that although the Asian (meaning “Northeast Asian”) population is about 5% in the U.S. in 2009, 28% of the top 0.5% of SAT takers were Asian Americans …Also, the recipients of the Westinghouse-Intel Science Talent Search during 2002–2011 are 60% Northeast Asian”

The overrepresentation of Northeast Asians in American universities is clearly racist and should be deplored. However, discrimination is worse in China, where virtually all students are Asian. This constitutes rigid and unjustifiable privileging which would never be allowed in America. Further, China’s insistence on intelligence in university students is an unmistakable sign of falling prey to White Supremacy. A further result is to deprive China of the invaluable contributions of the intellectually hopeless.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Academia, Asians, China 
And Why Would Anyone Care?
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It is curious: Though I have for decades worked in journalism, mostly in Washington, I know almost nothing of Congress. I mean this literally. I do not know who Mitch McConnell is, his function, or his politics, though I have the impression that he is a Republican. Who was, or is, Paul (I think it is) Ryan? Is he in the House or the Senate? I don’t know. I have no idea who heads any committee.

You might ask, “What sort of fraud is this Reed guy? Why doesn’t he know stuff that everybody knows?”

Easy. Because Congress doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. It is a bauble that fascinates the strange ingrown world of DC, but the marionettes are less important than those who pull their strings.

It may seem odd, but the national legislature has nothing to do with anything of importance. Consider the most crucial issues affecting America:

The endless wars. These kill millions who have done nothing to deserve killing, threaten America’s position in the world, and cost trillions. Congress does nothing.

The military budget, euphemistically called the “defense” budget. It drains money desperately needed for other things, encourages massive corruption, and distorts the national economy. Congress rubber stamps it.

The Empire. Washington’s attempts to dominate the world through hundreds of military bases, sanctions, and tariffs that have made enemies of Russia and China and increasingly unite the world against America. Congress does nothing.

Israel. Jewish, and therefore Israeli, control of Congress and the media engenders disastrous policies in the Mid-East. In particular it drives Iran into the growing Sino-Russian project of Eurasian integration. Congress does nothing.

The national debt, a form of counterfeiting. Its headlong growth encourages de-dollarization of the international economy with likely catastrophic results for America’s financial position. Congress rubber stamps it.

The opening of American borders. The influx causes fury that offers to tear the country apart and causes all manner of problems that urgently need attention. Congress does nothing.

Racial disaster, especially, the dysfunction of the country’s Negros, their inability to function in a modern society. It has lead to tens of thousands of abandoned buildings, to rotting urban no-go zones infested by rats, to savage racial attacks on whites, and the annual loosing from the schools of millions of semi-literates who will never be employable. It is probably irremediable. It could be ameliorated, however, if Congress had the virility. It doesn’t, instead doing…nothing.

The end of constitutionality. The Constitution is being–has been–eaten away. Congress has abdicated its authority to declare war or not to declare it. If it had not done so, we would have few or no wars. Surveillance increases, censorship rushes onward. Religious freedom dies. Police power grows. Privacy no longer exists. Unelected college dropouts at Facebook, Google, and Twitter determine what we are allowed to know. Congress does nothing.

The rise of lawlessness. Groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa attack anyone they don’t like, besiege government (in Portland, for example), beat reporters, and prevent access of speakers to their audiences. Mobs of blacks loot stores, kick whites into brain damage. America’s murder rates astonish the world. Congress does nothing.

Corruption. In America it takes many forms, often legal. Regulatory agencies are controlled by the industries they are mandated to regulate. Medical care is worse and more expensive than in other developed countries. Wall Street operates cons like the subprime scam, and nobody goes to jail. The pharmaceutical companies rape the government and the public. Congress does nothing.

Deindustrialization. This gutted American manufacturing and created the Rust Belt. Jobs still move to Mexico and China. The result has been profits for shareholders but catastrophe for the American working class. Ditto the importing of cheap labor from Mexico. Congress did nothing, does nothing.

Infrastructure. The problem goes beyond creaking subways and shaky dams. The country seems paralyzed. To anyone who has enjoyed China’s high-speed rail, or its payment system, or watched its domination of 5G, America looks like a country of the past. Fast trains are not just a clever gimmick. They are a major improvement in efficiency. For trips of at least 300 miles, and probably much more, China’s trains at 180 mph are comfortable, and go from downtown to downtown. Their maglev trains in development will cruise at 360 mph.

But in America the automotive and airline lobbies oppose fast rail. They have lots of money. Fairly obviously, this is why…Congress does nothing.

So why pay attention to Congress? Of what use is it?

It works on the principle of the Coca-Cola machine: You choose your law, put in your money, pull the handle, and– voila!–out comes a tax break. You want an overpriced contract for something unnecessary? Repeat the process.

Aside from selling the country to the highest bidders, Congress works chiefly to avoid responsibility and to get reelected. So…what reason is there for knowing who Mitch McConnell is?

In high school we are told that the federal government consists of three parts, the executive, the Supreme Court, and Congress. It does not. Rather it consists of five departments, the Presidency, the corporations, AIPAC, Wall Street, and the media. Do you see Congress in that list?

True, there is amusement value in the more prominent congressistas--AOC, Maxine Waters. These make the legislature seem an overpriced playpen for retarded marsupials. So why Congress? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to watch reruns of Jerry Springer instead?

Really Screwy Stuff

The thundering onrush of weirdness: Hail in Zapotitlán el Rey a few days back. In midsummer. An inelegant pose, but you can’t have everything. The weather has gone mad, and needs counseling. We probably need a federal program.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Congress, Corruption, Washington DC 
Fred Reed
About Fred Reed

Fred, a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times.

He has been published in Playboy, Soldier of Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harper's, National Review, Signal, Air&Space, and suchlike. He has worked as a police writer, technology editor, military specialist, and authority on mercenary soldiers.

Personal Classics
Not What Tom Jefferson Had in Mind
Sounds Like A Low-Ranked American University To Me
Very Long, Will Bore Hell Out Of Most People, But I Felt Like Doing It
It's Not A Job. It's An Adventure.
Cloudy, With Possible Tidal Wave