How Far We’ve Come

From Against Jebel al-Lawz, my other blog.

Against Jebel al-Lawz

Your sigh of relief for today:

Screenshot (134)

This is my latest unemployment severity index. The first version was unveiled in July of 2014, where it recognized a massive labor market improvement everyday Americans only noticed a few months later. Obviously, I hope this trend will turn around in the following months, or at least slow down greatly, so that Trump, that savior of American sanity, can become President. The Fed seems to be accomodative to my position. Good.

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How Far We’ve Come

Your sigh of relief for today:
Screenshot (134)
https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=31nG
This is my latest unemployment severity index. The first version was unveiled in July of 2014, where it recognized a massive labor market improvement everyday Americans only noticed a few months later. Obviously, I hope this trend will turn around in the following months, or at least slow down greatly, so that Trump, that savior of American sanity, can become President. The Fed seems to be accomodative to my position. Good.

New Year’s Eve Assorted Links

1. Americans had the most free time since 1991 in 2009.

2. Microsoft demands all the profits from Corel Home Office for its supposed use of a Microsoft-owned design.

3. Iranian Atheist rejects characterization of Muslim critics of modal Islam as Uncle Toms.

4. Lessons for the GOP on Trump.

5. Martin Van Creveld on how women came to live longer than men.

6. Biggest supporters of Trump are Reagan Democrats. Also, as usual, the most popular NYT comment is filled with blatant lies.

7. Only 10% of Clinton emails released.

8. Erdmann on the rise of the Penn Effect in the housing market.

Black Man Charged With Rape of White Woman

From the New York Times:

“The evidence is strong and sufficient to proceed,” said Mr. Steele, now first assistant district attorney. “A person in that state cannot give consent,” he added.

“Investigators recognize that individuals who are falsely accused of sexual assault generally do not unilaterally offer generous financial assistance, and apologies, to their accuser and their accuser’s family,” the complaint says.

The criminal charges stem from a woman’s accusation that he drugged and sexually abused her at his home in a suburb north of Philadelphia in 2004.

Judge McHugh concluded the proceeding after about 15 minutes by saying, “Good luck to you, sir.” He replied, “Thank you.” He will remain free on bail of $1 million.

Would the reaction be different were Cosby were known as a progressive, instead of as right-of-center by American Black standards?

Wednesday Assorted Links

1. The director of Human Rights Watch blatantly contradicts himself in a matter of five days.

2. If Bernie were a Phillip K. Dick character…

3. The Donald on national security.

4. Ralph Nader on immigration.

5. The Decline of the American family. I’d like to see such a graph for Japan.

6. 70-year-old tanks to be used in 2016 by South American military.

7. “To win, Romney would have had to do a bit better than even Obama did among Hispanics.”

8. What it takes for a fish species to inhabit all tropical seas.

Is It Better For a Country to Score Better on PISA or TIMSS?

According to Kevin Drum, the countries whose students are most overachieving on the 2011 TIMSS relative to the 2012 PISA are Israel, Russia, the U.S., Kazakhstan, Hungary, and Korea. Those most overachieving on the 2012 PISA are Norway, New Zealand, Slovenia, Australia, Finland, and Turkey.

The main difference between those sets of countries seems to be about cognitive inequality. The TIMSS-overachieving countries have large numbers of smart people, especially in the technical fields. The Russian language is well known to be overrepresented on the Internet relative to the world’s Russian-speaking population. Russian and Israeli scientists are well-known across the world. Meanwhile, the PISA-overachieving countries listed above are much less famous for their smart people, especially scientists and technologists. Yet, it is clear the Russian and Israeli people are not as good at creating First World countries as, say, the Norwegians, Australians, and New Zealanders.

So scoring well on PISA is better correlated with a country’s ability to build a good society for its citizens, while scoring well on TIMSS is better correlated with a country’s will to power, especially in military, in technology, and on the Internet. America, Russia, Israel, and Korea are well known for their powerful militaries. Of the PISA-overachieving countries, only Turkey (Turkiye Delenda Est) and, to a lesser extent, Finland, are known for their militaries, and they haven’t fought a major war since the 1940s. Meanwhile, Korea fought in Vietnam and remains technically at war, Israel’s history of warfare does not need to be summarized here, and Russia won wars in Chechna, Ossetia, and Donbass in the past fifteen years alone. A country which is always under the threat of war will have an education system built for it. Given the TIMSS is meant to measure school curriculum, which can be altered by the state to a far greater extent than a nation’s IQ, an improved education system, especially in the technical fields, those most vital to the military, will be most manifest in improved scores on the TIMSS tests. TIMSS does stand for Trends in International and Science Study, after all.

I also suspect that much of the difference lies in sampling: where the tests are taken. The 2012 PISA, for example, is certainly more representative of Kazakhstan than the 2011 TIMSS, where a higher-scoring population, probably Russian (I haven’t looked), is almost certainly overrepresented. The 2007 TIMSS was even more unrepresentative of Kazakhstan (4th grade) and Hungary (8th grade, but not 4th grade), placing their average mathematics scores between those of Japan and Russia. Nobody who seriously understands the nature of those countries can believe this is representative. The 2012 PISA is also almost certainly more representative of Russia’s and Israel’s IQ- the PISA-based estimate of Russia’s IQ (in the mid-90s) seems about right, as well as the PISA-based estimate of Israel’s IQ, especially given the society the Israeli leadership has created over the past six decades (more on that in a later post). Most likely, the residents of the big cities-Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tel Aviv- tend to be more overrepresented in at least some TIMSS-taking countries, with low-average-IQ ethnic minorities in both countries (Arabs in the case of Israel, native Siberians and Caucasians in the case of Russia) being underrepresented (though Arabs in Israel were fairly represented in the 2007 TIMSS). Indeed, the 2007 TIMSS was much more consistent with the 2012 PISA than the 2011 one was for Israel’s ranking, suggesting sampling in the 2011 TIMSS was far less fair. So while both tests should be used, TIMSS’s sampling should be usually considered as more suspect, while PISA’s questions should be considered less indicative of a country’s population’s technical competence.

Tuesday Assorted Links

1. Munger on comparative advantage v. opportunity cost (Hat tip: Don Bordeaux).

2. This year in blasphemy criminalization. Plenty of U.S. allies here (Islamic State, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, 1991 Restoration State, Bahrain), as well as some surprises for the less sophisticated observer (New Zealand, Denmark, Singapore).

3. Don Bordeaux on reasoning from minimum wage to CEO compensation.

4. Life after the Islamic State.

5. Krugman calls for a housing bubble, tries to weasel out of it, then blames capitalism. Fun.

6. “I disagree with Razib Khan on a lot of things”. Biggest unintentional understatement of the year. If biologists from such distant sides of the aisle so strongly agree then this subject, then it is Law.

7. “The book of Europe and ancient DNA is coming to a close in regards to outlines of the tapestry. We are in the phase of filling in details, and scholars need to truly become interdisciplinary, and marry what genes are telling us about demographics, with linguistics, archaeology, and folklore.

8. Reagan did a Nixon on monetary policy.