Monday, December 30, 2019

David Pakman: "The Problem with Purity Tests": the fight over "resistance" and Medicare for All



David Pakman has discovered the folly of the far Left. “The Problem with Purity Tests” aka “David Smeared as ANTI-Medicare for All”.

  
The title of his video (The “problem with”) sounds like a Martin Goldberg (Economic Invincibility) video.  
  
The Progressive Voice (Kyle Kulinski) had practically called David a shill and a traitor, demanding that all progressives join his mass movement and march in the streets and go on hunger strikes like extinction rebellion until we get our way.

But it is reasonable to design public-private systems like Germany and Switzerland that do cover everyone (except we will have trouble with the needed individual mandate to handle anti-selection). 
      
By the way, I think there was an incident in New Hampshire where some Extinction Rebellion protesters were killed by a train that couldn’t stop in time.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Brian Stelter on CNN reliable sources describes new media; Trump teases the whislteblower


Today, Brian Stelter, on Reliable Sources, posed the question of how “Big Tech has reshaped the news media” and identified companies like Vice and BuzzfeedNews and, well, Vox and The Verge (belonging to Vox) as examples.  He seems to be referring to platforms that offer a lot of commentary without paywalls (which most newspapers have).  Broadcast networks generally do not have paywalls.

But he totally ignores the larger YouTube commentary channels, which are having trouble with monetization because of supposed lack of advertiser friendliness, but partly because of anti-competitive behavior from the major networks.

Commentary (I think it was Paul Kallan) added the comment “not all new news outlets follow legacy standards”.  They have no idea how channels like David Pakman, Tim Pool, or News2share work.

  
Stelter also maintained that Trump is trying to force attention on the whistleblower by retweeting another post that named the whistleblower, and then deleted the tweet.   

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Luke Korns cram-teaches himself Chinese


Luke Korns learns as much Chinese as possible in 24 hours.


Chinese is difficult because while the grammar is simple different levels of tone affect meaning.

Mark Zuckerberg taught himself Chinese, so Luke has a predecessor.

He says he doesn’t like to memorize.  He says a lot of this is hard to remember after a few hours. 

Maybe Paul on the Language Focus Channel can weigh in on this.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Moderates tend to look better in Democratic debate tonight in LA


Here is NPR’s analysis of the Democratic debate tonight in Los Angeles. 


Amy Klobuchar seemed to make a strong presence as a moderate.

Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren got into an early spate over Warren’s campaign financing, and Buttigieg is the least wealthy of the candidates, apparently.  Warren criticized Bittigieg over a wine cave fundraiser in California with $900 wine bottles.  Warren promised to overturn Citizens United.
  
There was an alarming early question as to whether the government should be prepared to relocate entire cities because of climate change.  The candidate said this would happen to individual homes but probably not to entire cities.

Bernie Sanders was challenged as to how he would pay for “Medicare for All”.
  
The debate was carried by PBS Politico (sponsor) and CNN. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Pewdiepie ("I Hate Twitter") explains "Eudaimonia" the way a conservative would



Pewdiepie has an interesting (to be sure) short video this Monday morning, “I Hate Twitter”.


He goes into the discussion of virtue signaling v. action, which Nassim Nicholas Taleb took up in his 2018 book. He explores Greek philosophy, cogently, with The Golden Mean between Excess and Deficiency. . Toward the end, he describes “Eudaimonia”, which is the name of Umair Haque’s “socialist” channel on Medium.  But Pewdiepie is (perhaps unjustly) normally viewed as connected to “the right”.

The Golden mean between foolhardiness and cowardice is courage, and this is an issue (risk sharing) that matters more than most people realize.
  
Pewdiepie isn’t the only one to say Twitter is a cesspool.  Tim Pool says that but uses it all the time anyway.

Update:  Pewdiepie ("Pew News") defies the rumor he is quitting YouTube.   I also had a dream where Pewdiepie invented a new meme called "blowing sabbite".  What could that mean?  

Sunday, December 15, 2019

PBS: Rick Steves: The Story of Fascism in Europe"


Rick Steves: “The Story of Fascism in Europe” aired on PBS stations Sunday evening Dec. 15

The 90 minute program was interrupted by old-fashioned PBS fundraising and sales pitches (actual length 56 minutes).


But the largely black and white film part gave a  cogent history of European fascism during WWII.  

 The biggest cause was the economic desperation in Germany and other parts of Europe after WWI.  

The people were vulnerable to any demagogue who would promise them populist glory if they would give up their individualities and join the new teams. Those who didn’t fit were eliminated, and soon new groups, like Jews, were made into scapegoats.

The film covered the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany as standard history.  Spain, however, stayed out, and had its own separate civil war, with the sacking of Basque cities toward the end under Franco.

The film had a modern-day tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau site near Krakow, Poland. 
  
Yes, this was a warning, we may be on the verge of its happening again.

Friday, December 13, 2019

"The Hitman: From Pop to Prison": Lou Pearlman and the boy bands


I remember ‘Nsync getting attention around 1998, after I had moved to Minneapolis on a corporate transfer and was in the meantime promoting my own first “do ask do tell” book. In 2000, Justin Timberlake was no longer a teenager, and that was a big deal for the supermarket rags.  I saw the group perform "Popodyssey" in the Metrodome in June 2001 at the end (coincidentally) of gay pride weekend. 
  
In those days, you would hear about O-town, the Backstreet Boys, but most of all ‘Nysnc.  Their videos would play in fern bars, including gay bars like the Boom (on the East Bank) and most of all the Saloon, on Hennepin (in the big video room adjacent to the dance floor).  One video that I recall seemed to be a takeoff on the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy for gays in the military, which still had another decade to live.
  
So today I find that ABC 20-20 has a two hour documentary “The Hitman: From Pop to Prison”, a biography of fraudster Lou Pearlman, who founded the boy bands but never got around to paying them (other than per diem). Pearlman had other shell businesses, like a hotel and an airline with no planes.  The Facebook site for the documentary is here.  Oddly ABC doesn’t have its own cable link yet to play the episode for subscription.
  
  
He was eventually arrested in Indonesia, after being spotted by a tourist.  He would be sentenced to 25 years in prison, but would die after a stroke in 2008. 
   
One of the Boy Band members, Lance Bass, appears a lot and has his own film about this history, “The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story” directed by Aaron Kunkel.  It is available on YouTube and I’ll watch and review it soon on Wordpress.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Sinclair Broadcasting says it will tone down its extraneous "pro-Trump" political commentary


The Sinclair Broadcast Group has stopped its “must run” political commentary on its owned stations (including WJLA7 in Washington), which are thought to be supportive of Donald Trump.  The Huffington Post has a story by Sanjana Karanth. 

Some of the statements sounded to me like they dealt with objectivity in reporting.  Others, late on Sunday nights, sounded like very high level arguments against the far Left and identity politics, similar to PragerU’s.  I didn’t find them particularly remarkable.

  
Sinclair has been somewhat active in covering less popular national security issues, like dangers to the power grids from cyberterror or possibly electromagnetic pulse or flux, particularly before the election in 2016. But the owned stations haven’t always carried all their material.
Sinclair is located in Hunt Valley, near Baltimore. 

Monday, December 09, 2019

CBS 60 Minutes: George Church at Harvard Medical School, reversing aging



Scott Pelley, on CBS 60 Minutes, interviews George Church, 65, at a genetics lab at Harvard Medical School, where he has worked since he was kicked out of Duke at 20, after he became obsessed with crystallography. 


He talks about eliminating all genetic diseases and reversing aging with new copies of genes, within the next few decades.

Would we have a “Brave New World” of perfect designer babies? George Gilder would have objected. 
  
Church also talks about genetic equity, that this technology must be available to all. (But not for those already departed).

Sunday, December 08, 2019

CNN Heroes 2019: ocean cleanup of plastics; a male couple builds a arts center; a wrongful conviction


Tonight Anderson Cooper (with Kelly Ripa) hosted his annual CNN Heroes awards show.
  
The show presented the top ten candidates, but there were various other stories also presented.
   
Many of them are too personal for me to imagine having become involved in. But I’ll talk about a couple that seem relevant to me.

Afroz Shah, of Mumbai, returned to a beach of his childhood and saw it polluted with plastic waste. In the ocean , plastic is killing not only fish but intelligent marine mammals, including dolphins. These animals may well have problem-solving ability and personal awareness equivalent to humans, and not harming them presents a moral challenge.  Think how past generations used whale oil for light!  So  Shah started the dirty work of cleanup.
  
Zach Wigal played Pewdiepie, of sorts, bringing video games to hospital beds for children, with Gamers Outreach.  This happened after police canceled a gaming tournament he had once tried to hold in his home town.  

Richard Miles as wrongfully convicted of a murder merely because of racial profiling and misidentification for merely being in the area in Texas in 1994.  He was released after 17 years. He is using his compensation money to assist other former prisoners get restarted in life.


Woody Faircloth fixes up RV’s for victims of California’s wildfires (with the Paradise fire apparently the result of PSG negligence). Youtubers who have talked about van life include Tim Pool and Martin Goldberg.

Webb Weiman helps seniors parasail and jump out of planes (Trey Yingst of Fox News does that, as does a waiter of a DC area gay bar).

Roger Montoya and his husband helped form an arts center for youth and young adults in northern New Mexico, where opioids are epidemic.  He worked in the Espanola area, north of Santa Fe, on the way to Taos.  I was in the area in 1980 twice, and then in 1984, two times visiting the Lama Foundation which was destroyed by forest fire in 1996 but rebuilt.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

David Pakman makes shocking call for revolutionary urban protests and disruptions


David Pakman made an interesting (to say the least) video where he claimed he was extremely concerned about his audience for not supporting Medicare for All now and for believing that Bernie Sanders could declare a national emergency to implement Medicare for All and declare private insurance illegal.


Yes, that won’t happen, and most countries (outside Britain) have some meaningful private insurance to supplement the public floor (Germany and Switzerland have mixed systems that handle pre-existing and deserve a look).

But at 7:58 in the video, he suddenly took a dark turn, and called for “mass rallies in urban centers”, “strategic defaults to cripple the financial system”, and mass general strikes to cripple industry.

David is usually pretty temperate and moderate (although he attacked Andy Ngo inexplicably) so these suggestions for revolution and probably confiscation sound shocking to me.

Maybe David thinks that such radical demonstrations would enable a more radical candidate to beat Trump, or would somehow get Medicare for All passed after all later.  I'm not sure how this makes sense.



Seriously, I remember this kind of talk in 1975 when New York City was close to default and the NY Daily News published “Ford to City, drop dead”..  I lived in the Village then and worked for NBC at 30 Rock as a computer programmer, financial systems.  An important period in my life. (Yes, NBC, I would work for you again or for one of your stations.  It was a good experience.)


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

"The Good Doctor" ends with a confrontation between Shaun and his father dying of cancer


The fall portion of Season 3 of “The Good Doctor” closed with episode 10 “Friends and Family” ended Monday night as Shaun Murphy returned with Dr. Glassman and Lea (Paige Spara) to Cheyenne, where Shaun’s father was dying of cancer.


Shaun had emotional outbursts, not wanting to see his dad, whom he thinks blames him for the death of his little brother when falling from a train exhibit.

Yet on his deathbed the father said the autistic son had risen to heights unimaginable to him.  Shaun still insisted his father had not been a good person.

This was rather painful viewing.

When Shaun left home at the beginning of the series he had an attentive cat.  It would make sense for him to be befriended by a cat now. 
  
Wikipedia attribution link for picture of downtown Cheyenne.  I stayed there Aug. 7, 1994 on a day that was important to the genesis of my first book, CCSA 4.0

Monday, December 02, 2019

David Pakman wins a chess game on his show: was he trying to show the absurdity of COPPA?



David Pakman plays a chess game and wins with the Black pieces in a double-king-pawn opening.


The opening was a 3-knights game where David played 3… Bc4.   White blocked in his own W Bishop with d3 and weakened his Kingside with h4.  David attacked the white king after castling with pieces and wound up winning his opponent’s Queen with a simple discovered check.

He says he plays on Lee Chess and chess.com.  

Seriously, David seemed to have a good grasp of making his pieces work together and setting up a logical position. 
  
Seriously, you might wonder if the video would fall under the rubric of “made for kids” under COPPA-FTC.  Actually, a video like this shows why the idea of expecting content owners to label the intended audience for their videos (that could some day extend to blog posts like this one) shows with COPPA (when applied to “cookies”) is just absurd.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

CBS 60 Minutes reviews YouTube CEO on the YT as an open platform


Lesley Stahl interviews Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube on 60 Minutes, “Taming the Hate”, CBS link. 


Susan says YouTube uploads 500 hours of video every minute.

Stahl mentioned the recent FTC fine and controversy for creators over COPPA. There is a more subtle concept of "commercial viability" that deserves more discussion. 
  
Wokcicki gave an example of the company’s desire to remove misleading sites, such as a video that slowed down a video speed to make Nancy Speaker look drunk.

She discussed the removal of content after Christchurch.

She talked about the job of content moderator, and how moderators can be fooled by videos. She discussed a video from Syria which was very violent but trying to expose Assad's crackdown, and she left it up.  She also discussed a WWII video about Nazi Germany that had a number mark on it that as a steganographic code for communication among white supremacists.  There was mention of Crowder-Maza, and mention of the ideology of supremacy as such. 

She also discusses the controversy over narrowing Section 230, with respect to recommendations.

Update:  Dec. 4

Matt Christiansen blasts this interview here

Friday, November 29, 2019

CNN: "All the President's Lies"


Jake Tapper has aired a one-hour documentary “All the President’s Lies” several times on CNN, link.

There are various important points.  Trump’s exaggerations and falsehoods tend to produce cognitive bias and desensitivity because they have to be talked about to be refuted.  The repetition of rants with misleading contexts amounts to gaslighting.

  
Trump’s behavior could be very damaging to markets because they tend to be short-term (next few months) and are easily surprised.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

CNBC: "Why the Inequality Gap Is Growing Between Rich and Poor"






Why the Inequality Gap Is Growing Between Rich and Poor”, from CNBC, indeed, a legacy network’s account of growing polarization.  I really noticed this walking the Tenderloin in San Francisco in 2018, and now in Minneapolis, where I used to live, this fall. 


It’s true, that young adults with “extreme cognition” have an enormous advantage in earnings over “average people”, because they can solve problems (medicine, energy, climate change, and now contentious issues with Internet platforms, even COPPA) that have become critical.

The video talks about jobs with “high cognition” but repetition and regimentation.  The video left out that some trade jobs (auto repair, plumbing, construction) actually do demand a lot of skill and training.

The video also emphasized the role of China, which will instill communism on its citizens as a form of discipline (social credit) and capitalism for the state, and invite the west to take advantage, sort of.  
  
Then you have the horrors of the Hong Kong protests and the camps in Uyghur.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Did David Pakman destroy Trump's legal defenses in a four-minute video? Pool has waffled, but really not weakened the legal case for removal from office


David Pakman discusses “quid pro quo” (This for that) in the context of bribery and extortion.
  

The 4 minute video, in response to a visitor question last week, would seem to suggest that Trump has met the legal definition that would require removal from office.  Republicans won't vote to remove from office in a Senate trial yet.  Getting testimony from Bolton (or pleading the 5th) could change everything. Trump may well already be in a legally "lost position" as they say in a chess endgame. 
  
Last week Tim Pool tweeted that Trump was nearing “game over” then backed away.  Was he kidding?  It is true, the Democrats do not seem to have done anything to vindicate Joe Biden and his son.  Biden appears to have done a lot of wrong himself, and seems weak intellectually and his own integrity is slipping (more recent Pool tweet ).  A president might be entitled to use foreign sources to examine actual corruption legally sometimes, but only if he could not get reliable information from his own DOJ, etc?   A president would have to be very careful not to do this for his own personal gain. But Biden is obviously no longer an acceptable candidate. 
     
You want candidates who are stable and intellectually sound.  OK, Bloomberg, Kamela Harris, Amy Kolbuchar, and Pete Buttigieg seem the lost capable of thinking something through logically when they have to. That’s a diverse group.

Update:

If Biden did something illegal in Ukraine, it is conceivable that a president could decide legally that the safest way to find out is to use foreign intelligence.  Of course, Trump seems politically motivated and self-serving.  The (classified) CIA whistleblower analysis might be critical. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Pewdiepie discusses COPPA, FTC



Pewdiepie talks about COPPA and the FTC (he calls the video an episode of "Pew News":


He mentions that South Park has supposedly been machine marked as “made for kids”.  Well, Southpark has Big Gay Al and talks about gays in the military.

He says he has never intentionally intended his channel specifically for kids.  But it may be so incidentally.
  
The Kids App is set up in such a way as to avoid the behavioral marketing. But not ordinary channels that are considered now “made for kids”.

Update:  Nov. 25 

Pewdiepie has another video "Morgz Is Cancelled". 

Friday, November 22, 2019

PBS: "Can You Observe a Typical Universe?"


PBS Digital Studios presents “Can You Observe a Typical Universe?


Sam discusses the tension between the Coperican Principle and the Anthropic Principle (strong or weak).
  
Essentially, we see the universe the way we do from our own vantage point because we can live here.

Monday, November 18, 2019

"Operation Firewall" back in 2004 on "CNN: Declassified"


The CNN series “Declassified” presented an interesting series Sunday night “Operation Firewall”.
  

An international criminal ring set up multiple ATM thefts and then identity thefts under the rubric “Shadow Crew”.
  
They tended to target companies, but employees often had identities stolen and used, even overseas, without any symptoms. But it might have been possible to be framed or arrested for a crime you had no idea had been done in your name, with severe reputational damage. 
  
The Secret Service set up a Sunday night raid in 2004, where they had to bust into many homes and offices at once, even around the world (UK, Europe, even Brazil).  About 40% of the operation was around New York City.

The progress of Internet computer crime by 2004 seems amazing in retrospect. 
  
The episode is available for YouTube rental for $1.99 here
   
CNN has a short video above of someone stealing a face for an identity.  Is this a reason for people to be picky about being photographed in discos?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Impeachment hearings livesteamed by everybody; getting down to details



Chris Cillizza has a detailed analysis of the most “important moments” of Day 1 of the Impeachment hearings.


(For the video, I pretty much picked a broadcaster at random.)

I won’t pretend to be an expert on this myself, as it isn’t something I have my arms around (like gays in the military).

But every detailed timelines have been laid out, and there is talk of a second phone call and maybe a second whistleblower.

Trump has been reported to say "Get over it; there is going to be foreign influence on political campaigns." 
   
The main point seems to be the discretion of the president in conducting foreign policy under the law.  But it certainly sounds improper for a president to ask a foreign power to troll Americans or potential political opponents.  But the Bidens had indeed worked with Ukraine  (NY Times, Ken Thrush et al )
  
SE Cupp has an important perspective on CNN about tribalism not being the same thing as community.  
 
As I recall, Kent was asked if he was a "never-Trumper." 
  


Monday, November 11, 2019

"Does Life Need a Multiverse to Exist?" PBS Digital Studio


Matt O’Dowd for PBS Space Time asks “Does Life Need a Multiverse to Exist?
  

Maybe so.  The many constants of physics must be fine-tuned for galaxies, stars, planets, stable elements, chemistry, and organic chemistry to exist.

By the weak anthropic principle, we live in the universe that happens to fit perfectly (like the same idea for the rare earth hypothesis).  The strong anthropic principle adds an observer.

Black holes may spin off other daughter universes all the time, with other sets of constants.
His logic is contrapositional.

Friday, November 08, 2019

AJ channel explores, "What's scarier to racists than reparations?" Answer: Reconstruction III


Francesca Fiorentini on Al Jazeera Plus (AJ+), supported by Qatar, you know, explores, “What’s scarier to racists than reparations? 


Well, Reconstruction.  Not the first one (40 Acres and a Mule as by Spike Lee), or even the second one (the Civil Rights Act), but another one, which would undermine capitalism and elitism.

I think this can be a serious matter for a lot of independent “speakers”.  There are issues as to how people behave personally with respect to inequality that matter – I’ve covered that for myself like in the DADT-III book.  But the Left would conflate this, maybe by demanding that I work off my own penance for a particular minority as a qualification for being heard again – total corruption.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Luke Korns: adventure YouTube channel, from the "upper midwest": travel and vacation are not the same


I’ll introduce another vlogger, Luke Korns, who made this video “Why Do I Have So Much Money (to be able to travel anywhere)?” in Jan 2017 when he was 20.

  
His answer to the question in his video is, travel isn’t the same thing as vacation.

Luke has over 2 million subscribers and makes lifestyle, travel, and fun videos (they don’t seem to be political) that are advertiser-friendly, so now, at 23, he seems to make a living at this (and is probably unaffected by all of YouTube’s recent monetization controversies).  He lives in Wisconsin and seems part of the upper Midwest, would fit in to the Twin Cities scene and Bryant Lake Bowl film festivals on Lake Street (Minneapolis), I presume.
  
In this video, he makes a trip to the Dominican Republic (next door to Haiti), and stays in a luxury pad cheap (is this Airbnb?).  Is he recruiting baseball players?  (Sorry, the Milwaukee Brewers blew a playoff game to the Nationals on Oct. 1, 2019, and we know what happened next.)  Animals seem to like him (particularly a street stray cat).

Some of his videos are little experiments, like throwing a dart on a map and taking the cheapest possible flight to where it lands.

His video style is to cover a lot of visual material very quickly, talk fast and shift scenes quickly.
  
I know that Ford Fischer (News2Share) has mastered the art of lastminute cheap flights when a political protest develops.  Ford should probably meet this filmmaker (who doesn’t seem to be political). Tim Pool has a different solution, an outfitted van to drive anywhere and stay.  The world of performing classical musicians, which I am familiar with, also has to he skilled at keeping bags packed and being ready for the TSA.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Pakman interview on Ayn Rand



David Pakman interviews Yaron Brook for a half hour on “Does Ayn Rand Make Any Sense?


Well, pursuing your own happiness may not work if everyone does it the same way and collides with others, David argues.

Yaron gives an example from The Fountainhead, where Howard Roark works in a quarry rather than build something he doesn’t believe, and as I recall, he destroys a building when the secondhanders cheat on it. Pure principle.  Don’t be someone else’s mouthpiece/

Monday, November 04, 2019

Anderson Cooper: "Impeachment Inquiry" on Sunday night of "All Saints Day"


Sunday night, Anderson Cooper held a two-hour “Impeachment Inquiry” on CNN.


Recently Mulvaney had admitted to the “quid pro quo” and demanded that people “get over it, there is going to be political influence in foreign countries.

“We do that all the time with foreign policy”.

He also mentioned that Trump was would release a transcript of the July 25 call (??)

Amazingly, even some Democrats don’t think Trump broke the law.
  
“There is no “pro quo” (Trump).   Trump is still demanding that the whistleblower be revealed.

Update: Nov. 6

Rand Paul calls for identifying the anonymous whistleblower on the Ukraine mess.  Sure, and expect him and his family to join witness protection?  Twitter link to video

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Look at Bucky Dent's 1978 home run in Boston for the Yankees from MLB-TV's vault


To celebrate the World Series one more time, here is the 1978 playoff game when the Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-4, highlighted by Bucky Dent’s homer into the Fenway Park screen (now there are seats) with two outs in the top of the 7th off Mike Torres.


The homer occurs at about 1:35 in the MLB Vault video.
   
Dent choked up on the bat.  He had fouled the previous pitch off his foot and needed attention from the trainer.

I remember listening to the end of the game in the office at Bradford National Corp, when the Yankees led, 5-4, in the bottom of the ninth, as Yastremski fouled out.

The Yankees had stormed back in the second half of the season, sweeping an early September series in Fenway, 15-3, 13-2, 7-0, and 7-4.
   
They would be the Royals in the playoffs and win the world series against the Dodgers 4-2.
I would take a new job in Dallas in January 1979.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Washington Nationals win World Series on Fox, first time visiting teams have won all seven games


Well, I guess we all know what took the TV ratings last night.

For the first time since 1924, a Washington baseball team has won the World Series, defeating the Houston Astros in seven games.  Local Fox stations carried the game.




The visiting team won all seven games of this World Series, for the first time ever.  That is so despite the fact that the AL Park has the designate hitter rule and the NL does not.

Home teams win about 52.5% of regular season baseball games. Batting last means the possibility of a walkoff and (in the NL) getting one more inning out of a starting pitcher before pulling him for a pinch hitter. But at home some pitchers have more trouble in the first inning.  In a short series with rest days, being on the road and the travel is less stressful, and home team advantage tends to mean less in playoffs. In fact, visiting teams lead in seventh games.
 
In many of the games in the playoffs, the Nationals stormed from behind when on the road in the last three innings with sudden onslaughts, sometimes after an opposition mistake (a third baseman miscue gave the Nats 5 runs in game 2).  This reminds me of the 1978 Yankees and Bucky Dent’s home run in Boston (when I lived in NYC).
 
Howie Kendick (whose grand slam beat the Dodgers) sliced a line drive to the opposite field, off the right field foul pole, 326 feet away.  In Washington the distance is 335 and the drive would have gone foul.  This was a “backyard baseball” home run, something that would happen in kid’s softball games.

Since May 24, the Nats were 86-43 in all games.  Their total for the season was 105-74, a .587 pace. Visiting teams outscored home teams 49-14 (seven touchdowns to two) in the series.

I attended the watch block party at Nats park on Oct. 23.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Joe Scott: "Busting Climate Change Myths"


Let’s start another video channel label, scientist Joe Scott, for a lot of factual videos. It’s called “Answers with Joe”.

He has done several videos on climate change.  Here is one from about a year ago, “Busting Climate Change Myths”.
  
  
He starts out by chronicling a social experiment in Oklahoma in the 1950s where boys were put in groups, to see it they could be forced to compete in tribes, and then challenged to work together at the end.
  
One of the biggest problems is that fossil fuel companies, being publicly traded, have a fiduciary responsibility for their shareholders.
   
So like tobacco companies and lead mining companies in the past, they have a "responsibility" to engage in partisan lobbying.  What if the same is said about social media companies? 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

"Fire in Paradise" on PBS Frontline documents the Camp Fire in northern CA on Nov 8, 2018



Tonight PBS Frontline aired the 53-minute documentary “Fire in Paradise”, a detailed account of the fire Thursday, November 8, 2019 that destroyed the town of Paradise, CA and burned an area the city of Chicago.  The link is here
  
The documentary begins with a clear morning with a temperature around 50 F and 45 mph winds.  A ranger gets a cell phone report of a brush fire about 6:15 AM in an inaccessible area.  It becomes quickly apparent that this could become a major fire, with high winds making air firefighters hard.
 
The fire (“Camp Fire”) started when 100-year-old transmission equipment owned by PS&G failed and short-circuited.

Unusually strong winds aloft prevented cooler air from tempering the fire. The fire traveled 7-1/2 miles in 90 minutes, unprecedented. 
  
The evacuation plans for civilians in town turned out to be grossly inadequate, in terms of ability of roads to handle traffic (leading to people being trapped), and in terms of notification.  This included people in a hospital.  There would be 85 fatalities.

"People have to be responsible for their own safety. The best person to create an evacuation plan for you, is you." 

The film notes that climate change has caused temperatures to rise about 2.5 F in the past ten years, and the area goes until almost Christmas without rain, about 8 months.

Twice in the 1980s, I visited a place called the Lama Foundation on the side of a front range in New Mexico north of Taos.  The only access was a dirt road, often impassable if muddy.  There was a major fire there in 1996, but I believe the commune was rebuilt.
  
Intentional communities in wooded areas could be very vulnerable during droughts in many parts of the country.

I have visited northern CA by rental car twice, in May 2012 and Sept. 2018.  

Wikipedia attribution:

By NASA - https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2018/raging-six-day-old-camp-fire-reaches-125000-acres-in-size, Public Domain, Link

Monday, October 28, 2019

Identical Twins presented by Lisa Ling on her "This Is Life" series on CNN


Lisa Ling’s “This Is Life” segment Sunday night followed several sets of identical twins.
   
She started out with two young women, one of whom is lesbian and the other is not.  Ling said that identical twins have a slightly less than 50% concordance on gay sexual orientation.

Then she talked to a Korean man adopted in California after the Korean War, who is reunited with a twin he didn’t know he had.

But the most important segment presented two sisters, 51, in Idaho, married to two twin brothers, following birth order.  The first born twin is sometimes more assertive.


Recently one of the men died of a heart attack, leading to real heartbreak.  The women say that they feel like one person.  Does this make sense?  CNN's link to this part. 

There are cases where one twin gets neurofibromatosis and the other dies not or has a much milder expression, video

Saturday, October 26, 2019

David Pakman answers "Are dating preferences a form of racism?"



David Pakman takes on an audience question, “Are dating preferences a form of racism?
  
  
Pakman admits that in a literal sense the concept exists, and some people, in bad faith, want to make something of it, as if you could even extend it to justify ethno-nationalism.
  
I think you could run into this with blind dating, or speed dating.
  
The idea that your “preferences” become a form of speech that can be used against others has occurred before in my own life, even back in my period at NIH in 1962.  In some bars and discos, some people whom I would not be attracted to will try to become aggressive in getting me to dance with them when I am watching someone else.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

David Hogg's "Party Crashers" premiered today


Today, David Hogg premiered his first episode of “Party Crashers”, a 19-minute episode about 17-year-old candidate Marcel McClinton for city council in Houston, TX.


It’s interesting that the series premiered today, the same day that the baseball World Series opens in Houston’s Minute Maid park hosting the Washington Nationals, and that Minute Maid Park used to be named after Enron, and then came the big corporate scandal.

Later in the video, Hogg and McClinton ride around to various neighborhoods, including one where Union Pacific freight trains will block local street traffic for hours.  I have never heard of this problem. 

He also visited some homeless encampments near I-69 in NR Houston.

Hogg mentions that young people generally don’t make large contributions, so attracting quantities of people to participate in campaigns is critical.

Hogg doesn’t mention the recovery from Hurricane Harvey. 

I lived in Dallas 1979-1988 and visited Houston frequently.  I last visited it in May 2018, mostly the west side of town.
   
The episode mentions a shooting at a church near Houston in 2016, where Marcel had taught Sunday School.  It didn’t mention the Santa Fe high school incident near Galveston in 2018. 

How does David have time to travel everywhere and make major video programs while a freshman at Harvard? 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

"Scheme and Scandal: Inside the College Admissions Crisis": Fareed Zakaria documentary for CNN


Fareed Zakaria tonight examined “Scheme and Scandal: Inside the College Admissions Crisis” on a CNN special report, concerning college admissions scandals, that have put a few parents in jail for bribery.

Back in the 1920s, Harvard and a few other Ivy League schools were racked with “Jewish scandals”, and started admitting more alumni families as a way to deflect anti-Semitic charges.

Daniel Markovits, a law professor and dean at Yale Law School, has recently turned on the idea of the meritocracy his system perpetuates.  His graduates wind up working 80-hour weeks for the rest of their lives to prove their “deservedness”. 


The documentary also showed a school in Kentucky, that admits only low-income students, for free, but requires 10 hours of menial work a week.

Zakaria also discusses Stuyvesant high school in NYC, a public high school for the academically gifted that winds up admitting few blacks and Hispanics and is majority Asian.

He also covered the case before the Supreme Court regarding Harvard’s deliberately disfavoring of Asians in admissions.  Zakaria also mentioned the Bakke case in 1978.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

"The Pink Skirt Plot" on NBC Dateline; a wife hires a hitman on her husband and flees to a country with aversion to the US death penalty


NBC Dateline aired another 2-hour tale of particular treachery, “The Pink Skirt Plot”, Friday night. 


The 2-hour episode with Natalie Morales told the story of the murder of young Canadian real estate developer Adam Joel Anhang Uster in “Old San Juan” in Puerto Rico in September 2005.

He had been to a restaurant “The Pink Skirt” that he had bought, with his estranged wife, when he was beaten to death outside the restaurant, with considerable suffering, and his estranged wife Aurea Vazquez-Rijos was slightly injured.

Someone who had worked there was at first arrested and wrongfully convicted on eyewitness testimony.  The FBI investigated, indicted a different person, and became suspicious that the wife had hired a hit man to come out of the divorce rich.

She had moved to Italy, where she would be immune to extradition because the US has the death penalty for her crime.  The FBI would set up a ruse to get her to go to Spain on business, where she would be arrested and extradited and tried in Puerto Rico in 2018, and sentenced to life in prison, thirteen years after her crime.

Anhang's father hired private investigators to track her in Italy to find weaknesses to get her brought down.
  
The investigation and trial waited somewhat because of the effects of Hurricane Maria.
  
Wikipedia attribution link for Old San Juan picture, CCSA 4.0 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Bostwiki explains the ABC "fake news" scandal (pseudo-Syria), which Tim Pool says you can't talk about (among many things)


Bostwiki explains the ABC “fake news” gaffe where a gun show in Kentucky was used to simulate a battle in Syria.


Tim Pool seems to be suggesting that YouTube actually caught ABC for falling out of line, losing some status toward more favored legacy channels (CNN, MSNBC, and, for conservatives, FOX). Here is Pool's full podcast

Tim Pool, on his full daily podcast, explained how YouTube is trying to socially engineer all media to keep crony corporatese democracy (and pretending to bend the knee to the far Left for show) in control. It’s pretty serious – the main social media channels let incumbents (including Trump) get away with anything, and demonetize challengers so they can’t win (in Britain, they knocked down Carl Benjamin).  Does Big Tech want world domination, to become world government?  Do they think they can swallow Putin and Jingping too, some day? Ask Edward Snowden.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

CNN big Democratic candidate debate in Ohio spurs youth movement on Twitter


It’s very hard to decide who “won” a presidential candidate debate, or even to summarize it.
  
CNN offers on op-ed on its own broadcast, and I’ll give in to wokeness in linking to it. 

One of the points was about the wealth tax.  Yang pointed out to Warren that a few countries in Europe have tried it and found it impossible to implement. 

Warren said she did not have a problem with people who earn fortunes when they really invent something, but they must give back.
  
There was some discussion about age, and Biden said that with age comes wisdom.  In the meantime, there was silly speculation on Twitter about the idea that David Hogg or Emma Gonzalez would be intellectually capable of being president even now.  (The country would be safer with them right now than with Trump, but I rather prefer Cameron Kasky. )   I really do think we need to have younger scientists (both Andraka brothers, Taylor Wilson, etc) closer to public service and policy decisions.


Buttigieg and Gabbard (and maybe Kamela Harris, who has very strong views on Syria which sounds like she follows Trey Yingst on Twitter) are clearly the strongest on national security and on the really dangerous stuff (power grid safety, careful approach to climate change).  Buttigieg mentioned his plan for national service and said we have a crisis in belonging.  Time Magazine has recently called for reinstating a “reverse engineered draft” to stop wars.

Kamela Harris has pointed out that Trump has committed federal crimes by intimidating witnesses.
Expect Tim Pool to weigh in tomorrow.
  
CNN had to compete with the Washington Nationals finishing a sweep of the Cardinals and winning the National League pennant, heading for the World Series.  Expect Max Scherzer and Ryan Zimmerman go to into politics when they retire from baseball. 

FactCheck disputed a lot of claims in the debate, here.  But Carlos Maza has an odd take on FactCheck's intentions.  Note the comment on climate change. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

"Why We Hate" premiers on Discovery Channel, looks at the biological reasons for tribalism as related to external stresses on a group



On Oct. 13, The Discovery Channel (which seems to have a tie to ABC/Disney given the “go” weburl) aired episode 1 of “Why We Hate”, the opener called “Origins”.  It is available free for six days. It was narrated by evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare, produced in part by Stephen Spielberg (with Amblin Entertainment) and Alex Gibney, and directed by Sam Pollard and Geeta Gandbhir.  The Sunday night presentation was followed by a brief “Behind the Series” interview of Spielberg and Gibney.
  
Subsequent episodes will include material from Ford Fischer (from Charlottesville, maybe Hong Kong or France, not sure yet).


The early part of the film shows a shocking example of road rage in California, as a driver deliberately tries to cause as many freeway crashes as possible.

The first part of the episode compared is to both regular and bonobo chimpanzees, who were separated geographically about six million years ago by the Congo River.  The bonobos evolved on the south side, were food was more plentiful.  They developed a female-centered society (sometimes open to homosexuality) and cooperation.  On the north, food was harder to get, and it remained male-dominated and super tribal.  Males would sometimes cannibalize the young and females of nearby tribes if they could get away with it.

It is true that areas of the world with harsh conditions (like the deserts in the Middle East) sometimes develop aggressive fundamentalist religious ideologies.

The film moved on to consider high school bullying, and maintains that bullies are often the more popular kids, although sometimes those who are bullied retaliate by becoming bullies. The film presented a transgender teen in Nashville as a target.

The film looked at the biology of aggression, and noted that in many young adult males of mammals and primates, the possibility for “wisdom” and seeing deeper into consequences develops later than physical maturity. Indeed, gifted teens to who do achieve great things in especially the sciences or classical music, among a few fields, often show more independence (of group or tribal pressures) and “wisdom” earlier in adulthood than average, especially the males.  Maybe there are genes that control the rate of brain maturity. Or maybe it has to do with parenting, health, and the absence of substances.

The episode concluded with the story of Megan Phelps-Roper, who broke away from the Westboro Baptist Church after she was challenged about the beliefs of her family of origin.
  
Picture: My trip to Topeka, 2006