* More than 20 per cent of the Swiss population, and 25 per cent of its workforce, is non-naturalised.I wish it said how many of those "interned" were there for immigration crimes. None of them, or most of them?
* At the end of 2006, 5,888 people were interned in Swiss prisons. 31 per cent were Swiss citizens – 69 per cent were foreigners or asylum-seekers.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
If you hang out with race-realist types a lot — and yes, I do, and count myself one — a thing you notice is that a high proportion of them, of us, are antisocial loners. Trust me, it’s not just because of their opinions that race realists don’t win any popularity prizes. ...
Like every other feature of human nature, the groupish emotions are unevenly distributed. Some individuals are richly endowed with them. They are plunged into despair when their baseball team loses; they bristle to hear their religion criticized; they are furious at insults to their nation; if of eccentric sexual preference, they may swear brotherhood with those similarly disposed; and yes, they are mad as hell to hear their race described as failed, even though they understand at some level that it’s an abstract statistical description that does not reflect on them personally, any more than their baseball team’s losing the World Series does.
Your antisocial loner isn’t like that. He probably has no strong opinion about the relative merits of Yankees and Mets. If he goes to church, it’s for personal and metaphysical reasons, not social ones. He’s a poor employee and a feeble team-sports participant. He may like his country, and be willing to fight for it, but exuberant expressions of patriotism embarrass him. He’s more likely than the average to marry someone of a different race. (Am I describing anyone in particular here? No! Absolutely not!) Tell him he belongs to a failed race and he’ll probably say: “Yes, I guess so. It’s sad. But hey, I’m doing okay...”...
If you are not that type — and most people, even most Americans, are not — it’s much more difficult for you to discuss human-group differences. Too much groupish emotion gets in the way. ...
... people strongly susceptible to group identification do better in the world — are more successful. It’s a social world, success-wise, and they’re social people. What is social success, but identifying with groups and securing high status within them? Having a set of good robust groupish emotions will do that for ya. Thus, race realists don’t get much of a hearing; and when they pipe up, their views sound strange and eccentric. They heat up the groupish emotions of the majority — of most normal human beings — and shouting breaks out.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
...1950's liberalism was based on southern white racism and solid support from the unions, neither of which exists any more. There is no future in pure redistributional policies in the USA for this reason. Indeed, if one looks at other social democratic countries, almost all are moving from corporate liberalism to embrace new options, such as Sarkozy in France (French socialists have the same pathetic political sense as American liberals, and will share the same fate). I am sorry that we can't do better than Krugman. There are very serious social problems to be addressed, but the poor, pathetic, liberals simply haven't a clue. Conservatives, on the other, are political sophisticated and hold clear visions of what they want. It is too bad that what they want does not include caring about the poor and the otherwise afflicted, or dealing with our natural environment. Politics in the USA is no longer Elephants and Donkeys; it is now conservative Pigs and liberal Bonobos. The pigs are smart but only care about what's in their trough. The Bonobos are polymorphous perverse and great lovers, but will be extinct in short order.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
This is an argument worth thinking about. It is not an argument about yourself, but about helping your children. Here, perhaps, is the fallacy. If I am selfish, I care about my own salvation, which this project will surely doom. If I care about my children, I should choose the best estimated outcome for each of them-- which is the religion which best meets the conditions of Pascal's Wager (a high up-side gain and a low down-side cost). The Wolfers project makes sense only in a mixed case where my utility is concave in my children's utility. That's not unrealistic, but it's what we think of as our duty towards the children either-- and remember, if we're thinking about realism, my own salvation is going to weigh very heavily.
Of course, Pascal said that he didn't think his Wager was sound, since only God can give saving faith-- cold-blooded calculation won't make you love God. But the Wager does work as a way to avoid punishment for sin, if not for adoption into God's family.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Another component to autonomy is the rational choice of one's moral principles, in the name of "authenticity". This seems to me to have authenticity backwards. Which is more authentic, the person who picks and chooses to construct a hodge-podge of moral principles that fails to hang together but is individual and self-chosen, or the person who is true to the morality of his culture? Which is more authentic, the modern American mish-mash, or the Amazonian savage who sticks to the beliefs of 1000 years of his culture? And which is more stable? Someone who tries to create himself is less likely to stick with it precisely because he is always self-creating and because he never is bound to what he has chosen. Almost by definition, he changes more easily, and of course he will give in more easily to temptation, since his habits are less established.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
When a person is thankful, he is of course has to thanking someone---"to thank" is a transitive verb, requiring an object. Thanksgiving is a time to thank God, as the government proclamations traditionally say. These proclamations make nonsense of the claim that the American Constitution forbids a place for Christianity in public affairs, though it is noteworthy that Thomas Jefferson, unlike his two predecessors, refrained from issuing any Thanksgiving Proclamations. The 2006 Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation is here. (Click here to read more.)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
They also have a good explanation for overconfidence:
Subprime loan problems had surfaced just before and at the start of the 2001 recession but then rapidly retreated from 2002 to 2005 as the economy recovered (Chart 3). This pre-2006 pattern suggested that as long as unemployment remained low, so, too, would default and delinquency rates.
This interpretation ignored two other factors that had helped alleviate subprime loan problems earlier in the decade. First, this was a period of rapidly escalating home prices. Subprime borrowers who encountered financial problems could either borrow against their equity to make house payments or sell their homes to settle their debts. Second, interest rates declined significantly in the early 2000s. This helped lower the base rate to which adjustable mortgage rates were indexed, thereby limiting the increase when initial, teaser rates ended.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
working. You may not be able to fix the degree of your belief, and without a strong belief you may find the discipline of following it hard, but you can make the decision.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
On the one hand, I never really did have a Vermeer, and now at least I am not fooled. On the other hand, before I was happier in my misperception.
To be sure, in a world in which I am always told the truth, I have the advantage that if my Vermeer is genuine, I know that for sure too. But psychologically we have a convenient ability to ignore small probabilities such as the probability a painting is a forgery, so the uncertainty wouldn't really bother me much.
I think I must conclude that the real reason the forgery should be revealed is not for my sake, but to deter future forgery and to help the owners of real Vermeers.
The same would apply to some similar conundrums such as whether a man should be told that his wife has been unfaithful to him. He will be worse off, but if such affairs come to light, they are less likely to happen in the first place.
A somewhat different question is whether a man who is going to die in six months should be told immediately or not. Let us suppose he has no preparations to make, so the information has no direct use. Then it seems he should not be told. But my premise is faulty. I think there are always things a man would do differently if he knew he faced death.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
There is an inconvenience which attends all abstruse reasoning, that it may silence, without convincing an antagonist, and requires the same intense study to make us sensible of its force, that was at first requisite for its invention. When we leave our closet, and engage in the common affairs of life, its conclusions seem to vanish, like the phantoms of the night on the appearance of the morning; and ’tis difficult for us to retain even that conviction, which we had attain’d with difficulty.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
... the 1952-1988 elections. For six of the elections, the probability is fairly independent of state size (slightly higher for the smallest states) and is near 1 in 10 million. For the other three elections (1964, 1972, and 1984, corresponding to the landslide victories of Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan), the probability is much smaller, on the order of 1 in hundreds of millions for all of the states. This strong dependence of the estimated probability on the size of the victory margin invalidates most of the existing theoretical models.
1 in 10 million is really a huge number, in this context at least (not in most, I guess). If the difference between Bush and Kerry is worth 10 billion dollars, a trivial amount on the international scale, then a vote is worth $1000.
Even in a landslide year, a vote is worth perhaps $2, if $10 billion is at stake. But in those years, people think the amount at stake is bigger too. We can work the calculation out the other way using that thought. Suppose it costs $20 to vote. The marginal voter thought that $200 million was the difference between Clinton and G.H. Bush. He thought perhaps $10 billion was the difference between Goldwater and Johnson. These amounts seem way too small, not too large.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Man is base by comparison with God, and by comparison with God we are all about equally base. It is right for us to love God and to wish we could be holy too. And just as we would try to please a human object of love, so we try to please God, not because we think we will succeed, but because it is fitting to try even so. We want to be worthy of the object of our love, and even if we know we are not and cannot be, we still want to try.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
1. Believe X because it would be nice if X were true.
2. Believe X because evidence for the alternative, Y, is not overwhelmingly strong (even though it is stronger than for X).
3. Believe X because smart people believe X, even though I know they haven't thought about it.
4. Believe X because most people believe X, even though I have no respect for their judgement.
These are all surprisingly tempting.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
This is the same as junk DNA. It is best to have regressive DNA. That way you can lurk. Being dominant, you'll get wiped out in some era when you're not optimal.
This is related th why having two sexes is useful, perhaps, to keep dispersion of genotypes into a population and thus make it more robust to environmental changes.
But junk DNA and recessives have no defense against mutation. If one of them is mutated, the mutation can survive just as well. A dominant, on the other hand, which is mutated will probably mutate to a harmful form and will immeidately die out, with no chance of taking over by genetic drift.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007