Blog

Our Broken Economy, in One Simple Chart

That's the title of a New York Times article, and it's hard to disagree with.

In the 1980, low and middle class saw the largest income growth. These days, they see almost no income growth, but the super-rich see tremendous income growth, both in absolute and relative terms.

It's not sustainable and it's not fair.

The bigger question is, if this is a democracy, why does the majority stand for it?

The answer, of course, is that the US is not a democracy. It's legal corruption. Those with money...

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Rethinking government

When you're developing a piece of software or starting a business or solving some business challenge, it's often times super helpful to go back to the start and rethink everything from a blank slate.

Instead of thinking about what you have to build on, what you have to live with, what the context is, start over. What would an ideal solution look like, if you could do anything you wanted?

You may not be able to implement it, but it's very likely to give you some valuable insights and ideas...

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How would you feel if the other side was doing it?

I'm currently obsessed with how to design a political system that actually works. I haven't experienced one in real life, but that shouldn't stop us from considering what one would look like.

A few minutes ago, I was watching an interview with Michael Moore where he talks about how Republicans are really secure in their seats, and Democrats only have control in 6 out of the 50 state capitals.

In it, he also brings up gerrymandering... the redrawing of districts to almost guarantee that your...

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People should be more loving

I don't actually believe that statement, but it is something I used to believe, and it's something I hear a lot.

I was at an event with Stevie Wonder in April, and they were talking a lot of trash about President Trump. They disliked him so much they refused to use his name, instead referring to him as "the 45th president". They kept saying people should love each other more and not discriminate and hate based on skin color, sexuality, religion, or political orientation.

If you believe that...

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Steretypes are more accurate and useful than you think

One of the links included in James Damore's diversity memo was this article about stereotype accuracy.

I don't know enough about thees things to know whether they've done their homework properly or they're making some fundamental mistake. But the conclusions seem right to me.

The key paragrah is this:

The evidence from both experimental and naturalistic studies indicates that people apply their stereotypes when judging others approximately rationally.  When individuating information is...

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My take on James Damore's Google diversity memo

CNN sums it up: They claim Damore "argued that women are not biologically fit for tech roles" (not linking to CNN because of their autoplay videos).

I read the memo. It says no such thing.

It does say that, looked at it statistically, women and men are different, and that it impacts what kind of jobs will best fit them. And he goes out of his way to make it clear that these are statements about groups of people, and don't necessarily apply to any individual members.

I can't really find...

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Mark Twain—and Christianity

Watched the PBS documentary on Mark Twain, and it was excellent. It's a two-part show, part of the American Lives series by Ken Burns.

Toward the end, I cried. The hardship that brilliant man suffered.

One thing that stuck out to me was his faith in a Christian god, and how it fell away after his daughter and wife both died. Later a second daughter of his would go on to die before him.

It seems to be a common phenomenon that people who believe in a Christian god believe that if you do right...

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Prohibition

Watching the Ken Burns PBS documentary on prohibition on Netflix. It's super interesting.

A few things I didn't know:

  • Before prohibition, up to 70% of tax revenue came from taxes on alcohol. The income tax was implemented alongside prohibition to make up for the loss of that tax revenue.
  • Leading up to prohibition, Americans hated Germans so much, because of the first world war, as well as their strength as brewers, that they renamed sauerkraut "liberty cabbage". Reminds me of how french...

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Who's the 34% that thinks Trump is honest?

There was a new poll out last week, with some key numbers, including these stunners:

71 - 26 percent that he is not levelheaded
62 - 34 percent that he is not honest
63 - 34 percent that he does not have good leadership skills;
55 - 42 percent that he is intelligent

Honestly, who's the 26% that think Trump is levelheaded?

Who's the 34% that think he's honest?

Who's the 34% that think he has good leadership skills?

Who's the 42% that think he's intelligent?

All of the media coverage I've seen...

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Coolidge

Just came across Coolidge, a book about Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States.

True story: When I changed my name from Lars to Calvin, I did so in large part because of Calvin Coolidge. I didn't know much about him, and I still don't, but the one thing I did know was this quote:

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education...

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