Monday, November 17, 2014

The old man and the wolves

 Reading this: http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/282833431.html, and inside my brain statistical hairs start standing on end, bells go off, and finally, a plague of mathematical modelling locusts descends and places the land into darkness. I read the original article with supplements here: http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70122639.

Rolling my R's...It is Crrrap. A 90% confidence interval for population estimates varying by up 5000 individual moose using two different survey methods the authors admit are not compatible, then evaluating variables using a "simple simulation study" for comparing the variables by what is experimental computation? Let me say this, I don't know who the reviewers were, but if I tried to pass off these methods, I should be laughed out of the room. When you have those kinds of error estimates with this sort of modest population size, then start using assumptive linear models to get p-values out of this, it is garbage. I The only way this was published was by his old name and employer. Before a reporter even dares start putting this opinion up, he needs a second opinion.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Celebrating Conquest is appropriate

A central myth of America's origins is the concept of the United States being somehow "different" or exceptional; this is at the core of our politics, and as much a myth as any other origin story. Reagan, the "Great Communicator", actually said very little of any substance based in reality. Instead, he repeated the myths that many Americans believe religiously, much like Dale Carnegie taught salesman. The cynical, gullible and indoctrinated lapped it as dog in gravy.

The United States, and the founders were neither different or exceptional. Our history, from the beginning, has as much been a conquest as any other nation state, ours built on the genocide of the natives, the enslavement of blacks and natives and the exploitation of poor whites. The founders cared not for "democracy" and in fact were terrified of it, thus the Republic. George Washington's central concern was property rights  across the Appalachians, taken from the natives and the hopeful profits derived more than anything else.

With this history, Columbus Day is actually an appropriate holiday to celebrate, for it honors a bloodthirsty, profit seeking European willing to exploit, murder and torture merely for his own enrichment and amusement, something at the very core of the United States culture as it was built on the genocide of the natives, the enslavement of blacks and natives and the exploitation of poor whites.  The view of natives and others as subhuman is just as much  American as it was of Columbus'. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Welfare to Work...

Since Paul Ryan has shown such great concern for the poor and their deficiencies, I thought I would advocate for a new welfare to work program for those who truly don't know how: the children of the wealthy and well connected,  trust fund babies such as the poor Walton family children and Paris Hilton or legacies such Mika Brezenski and George W. Bush.  In local politics, we have Stewart Mills III, scion of Fleet Farm, graduate of the Amway-DeVos Northwoods University, aka the " Ayn Rand Institute for indoctrination of trust fund justification".

These people, having never learned the value of thrift and climbing  the ladder by intelligence, discipline and hard work,  raised at the hands of a pernicious private welfare state created by their forebears, oft by theft, swindle, government subsidy or just plain luck, have had to suffer the indignation of "getting a gold medal because their Grandfather won one" or "being born on third base and hitting a triple".

Oh the things they have suffered and  never experienced.

Forced to get debt-free Vanity degrees from private schools with guaranteed graduation and never having had to expedite financial aid to purchase food.

Never having had to choose strategic options for funding one's education such as high rate student loans or joining the military.

Never having had to actually work at whatever job is available, such as scrubbing toilets or scraping gum off the bottom of desks, rather than living vicariously and choosing  options such as a summer "helping out at a pet spa". Or, having had to work at three jobs while taking summer classes.

Learning math through calculating how long one's school debt will accumulate as any job obtained will never provide enough income to actually pay it off.

Or, choosing whether to fix the tail light or pay the car insurance, despite the probability of being stopped by the police because the piece of crap looks "suspicious".

Having to choose jobs that go against one's value system or serve some psychopathic monster just to earn a living because of the debt and the ridiculous system we live in.

No, these poor ingenue have never had to learn these lessons. Never having reached their full abilities due to this horrifying caste system, it is time to remove the illegitimate life support system which weakens them and cast them into the maelstrom of life, forcing them to make the same hard, dignified choices the ordinary must make so they can learn the value of hard work.

An estate tax of 90% for any value over $200,000 should suffice, as it allows them to fund an education or start a business. But, they will have to do something, and that will be for their own benefit. The rest can be doled out in small amounts by random lottery to other taxpayers, since knowing modern state capitalism, that's who it was likely stolen from from .

They, and the world, will be better for it.