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November 23, 2012, 12:36 pm
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More evidence for my theory that too much pre-college math instruction is thought up by people who don’t like math.

I wonder what it would be like if the people in charge actually cared about the lawfulness of things like Obamacare. We’ll never know, of course.

Another vote for just going over the ‘fiscal cliff’ already.

Big surprise: TARP mostly helped bank bondholders.

This James Kwak piece on how ‘maybe Nate Silver was wrong’, i.e. pointing out that polls tended to underpredict Obama’s final vote tallies, is exactly why I was so eager to remind Gentle Readers of the existence of cheating/fraud a while back. If you forget about/ignore cheating, then you – like Kwak – make the mistake of interpreting any/all mismatch between polls and Final Tallies as an issue with ‘turnout models’ or some such. This is wrong. Again: reminder: cheating exists and is nonzero.

Odd story: Adoboli’s Fate Decided at Wine Bar as UBS Market Bets Unraveled. Wait, how could his fate have been ‘decided’ at some meeting with his colleagues? I thought these trades were all him and no one else even knew about them until they blew up. Certainly not his colleagues or higher-ups. And there’s this: “Hughes and the junior traders, Simon Taylor and Christophe Bertrand, denied the meeting at All Bar One ever took place when they testified.” So, see?, there can’t have been such a meeting, because otherwise these guys would have perjured themselves! (Heh.)

Obamanomics may be designed to make sure we have a sufficient supply of waiters. Yup, that’s the “Blogs & Chop’ts Economy” at work.

Girliness is alive on the internet. Although I’m not sure about Vi Hart, who seems more a sign that aspiness, not girliness, is alive on the internet. Also, every time I see her she’s wearing those detachable sleeves on her arms, which makes me worry that either she’s some kind of ‘cutter’, or had a suicide attempt in the past. It would be great to learn that she Just Likes Those Things Because She Thinks They’re Cool.

Open Borders speaks up in defense of the Pilgrims, telling the Pilgrim story as one of open-borders: after all, the Indians enforced no borders and made no ‘sovereign’ claim to the patch of land. EXTRA-CREDIT QUESTION: How’d that all work out for the Indians?

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Wait, states that don’t set up exchanges are essentially exempt from Obamacare’s enforcement mechanisms entirely? And nobody noticed this until now? I’ve been procrastinating on a post about how Obamacare is already collapsing; apparently the collapse is even bigger than I realized already.

Comment by joshua

Obviously my view is that Obamacare has larger issues, but the issue described there is clearly something that could be routed around by simply ignoring how the law is actually written and/or extra-legislatively rewriting/’interpreting’ the law. So, that is what will be done.

Do you doubt it?

Comment by Sonic Charmer

Yes I suppose I doubt that such a conclusion is inevitable, at least until it becomes evidently futile to doubt so. I believe McArdle’s ‘Rube Goldberg’ post noted that the legal challenges to the bamacare beast were not yet concluded, and this may be another. So there is at least the possibility of some entertainment along the way…

Comment by joshua

I can’t decide whether your answer is an indication that you are more optimistic, or nihilistic, than I on this subject :-)

Comment by Sonic Charmer

Here’s an attempted answer to your extra-credit question: by Chris Hendrix.

Nathan was talking specifically of the Pilgrims, not of European immigration/invasion at large.

Comment by Vipul Naik

It seems the Indians’ fate was overdetermined, whether from immigration, disease, or invasion.

It also seems indisputable – and that post you link doesn’t say otherwise – that none of the three factors would have been an issue for them had they had, and defended, borders.

Just saying.

The point being, however you slice it or interpret those historical events, it’s pretty weird to present the Indians’ experience as a compelling case for the glorious benefits of open borders. Whatever lesson there is to be learned from the Indians’ fate, I just can’t see that as one of them.

Comment by Sonic Charmer

Something recently occurred to me regarding the (pre-election) “It’s closer than Nate Silver thinks” kerfuffle.

The pollsters attempt to account for likelihood-of-voting, and they may do so with varying degrees of certainty and bias. But what they can’t predict is the amount of GOTV effort that the two parties will perform. And GOTV may have enough of an effect to make a difference. And GOTV may in turn be affected by the publicized predictions of the pollsters and news-talkers.

Suppose you were betting on a two-horse horse race, where the historical performances of the horses were well-known and where statistical models have been shown to reliably predict outcomes. But for this particular race, the owners of each horse are allowed to buy extra seconds deducted from their official finish time for, say, a hundred grand each. But nobody will know how much time each owner has bought until the race is run. Would you still bet according to your statistical models? Or might there be other factors you would start looking at (like “enthusiasm” or whatever) to improve your betting?

I’m not saying that Romney had a chance, but I’m suggesting that there may be a reasonable argument as to why Nate Silver’s probability estimate (or yours, for that matter) wasn’t the be-all-end-all of the race. If it were just about probability and statistics, sure. But if you look at it as game theory, where the actions of the players can affect the outcomes, well then, maybe not.

Comment by eddie

… which I now see is more-or-less the point James Kwak was making. I still think it’s a good point, though, and one I haven’t seen discussed elsewhere (not that I’m really looking all that hard).

Comment by eddie

The issue of feedback/game theory regarding the interplay between polling and campaign strategy is indeed an interesting one. I haven’t thought about it enough to even come up with my usual half-baked theory about it… :-)

Comment by Sonic Charmer

How’d that all work out for the Indians?

Pretty good, in the long run. Bingo, smoke shops, casinos, are money-making machines. Tribes who just happened to be camped on top of oil deposits made out like bandits in the early 20th.

Granted, getting to this point really sucked for all parties.

Comment by Brian Dunbar

I always thought the indians were furious at having their ‘borders’ invaded and tried to kill the invaders but failed.

Comment by Anon.

[…] subsidies for buying insurance and the penalties for not buying insurance to the state exchanges (h/t Sonic Charmer). In other words, if the federal government sets up the exchange, they can’t fine businesses […]

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