Saturday, December 26, 2015

Bruce made Tapes!*

and, right underneath my nose, Gerhart made tapestries!

In 2009, in editions of 8. Each one enlarging a detail from one of his epic paintings.

I just became aware of these from a friend's photo from Art Basel Miami (I am not making that title up).

They are titled, Musa, Yusef, Ibian, and Abdu.

Looks like they run just a bit north of $1,500,000 per rug (not too bad for a 9x12 carpet, eh?).

Needless to say, my house is available to display any/all of these bad boys.

* Not Jenner. THIS Bruce

Friday, December 25, 2015

All That Experiments Is Not Science...

All that glitters is not gold.  Not all who wander are lost.  And some people who do experiments are not scientists, but just hacks pursuing an overtly ideological agenda.

Invisibility Cloaks and Knapsacks: How the Advantaged Work to Conceal Privilege 

Taylor Phillips & Brian Lowery 
Stanford Working Paper, January 2016 

Abstract: We suggest the experience of unfair advantage pits two critical motives: the merit motive and the maintenance motive. Together, these motives lead people to mobilize their advantage in order to secure desired outcomes, but to conceal these advantages under the cloak of merit as they do so. In Experiments 1a and 1b, we find that when their advantages are exposed, the wealthy (but not the non-wealthy) claim increased effort at work. In Experiment 2, we show that the social elite claim their social advantages (family connections) were the result of effort, but suggest others’ social advantages were not. In Experiment 3, we find that the wealthy not only claim, but commit greater effort when their class advantages are exposed. Finally, in Experiment 4, we show that the educational elite claim that advantage resources are not useful, but then continue to take these resources and use them to their benefit anyway. 

Lest you think this is an isolated incident, there's more.  A remarkable piece of work.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Average is so over

People, I once had a department chair who denied that, if we had a policy of giving above average (in percentage terms) raises to the lower paid faculty, in the long run everyone would be paid the same. Just flat out denied the math.

This same chair, upon the occasion of me complaining that my evaluation was above the departmental average while my raise was below, told me not to worry, that everyone had gotten a below average raise.

I am not making this up.

But I guess you can see where all this is leading.

Yes HRH HRC has proclaimed that she would close any school that was below average. Like it was obvious and I guess just be a few. Sadly, no one asked her how, in the long run, we were gonna fit all the kids in the US into one school (barring ties of course).

Mrs. Angus has suggested to me that maybe HRC was thinking globally, closing any US school below the global average.

I think Mrs. Angus has a bright future in politics.

ps. this same chair, in a public seminar, vehemently denied that (PQ)/Q = P. Vehemently.

Monday, December 21, 2015

You only need it as long as you don't use it....

Terry Pratchett's book, Making Money, has a passage on gold that I found pretty insightful.
It is in Chapter 5 of the book, starting on page 136.

Moist grinned as the discussion wobbled back and forth. Whole new theories of money were growing here like mushrooms, in the dark and based on bullshit. But these were men who counted every half-farthing and slept at night with the cash box under their bed. They'd weight out flour and raisins and rainbow sprinkles with their eyes ferociously focused on the scale's pointer, because they were men who lived in the margins.

If he could get the idea of paper money past them then he was home and, if not dry, then at least merely Moist. "So you think these might catch on?" he said, during a lull. The consensus was, yes, they could, but should look "fancier," in the words of Natty Poleforth--

"You know, with more fancy lettering and similar." Moist agreed, and handed a note to every man, as a souvenir. It was worth it. "And if it all goes wahoonie-shaped," said Mr. Proust, "you've still got the gold, right? Locked up down there in the cellar?"

"Oh yes, you've got to have the gold," said Mr. Drayman. There was a general murmur of agreement, and Moist felt his spirits slump.

"But I thought we'd all agreed that you don't need the gold?" he said. In fact, they hadn't, but it was worth a try. "Ah, yes, but it's got to be there somewhere," said Mr. Drayman.

"It keeps banks honest," said Mr. Poleforth, in the tone of plonking certainty that is the hallmark of that most knowledgeable of beings, The Man In The Pub.

"But I thought you understood," said Moist. "You don't need the gold!"

"Right, sir, right," said Mr. Poleforth soothingly. "Just so as it's there."

"Er . . . do you happen to know why it has to be there?" said Moist.

"Keeps banks honest," said Mr. Poleforth, on the basis that truth is achieved by repetition.

America the Beautiful

Having sat on top of Texas for like 17 years now, I can tell you this is the most Texas thing ever!

This video makes me want to move to Texas and drive in a way that gets me stopped for DUI (while actually being totally sober of course), just so I can call this bro to represent me.

big hat tip to @texasinafrica

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Libertarian Doctrine in "Attack of the Clones"

Star Wars 2 has an interesting passage, one that fully comprehends politics.  Surprisingly insightful, for a George Lucas script....

OBI-WAN You look tired.

ANAKIN I don't sleep well, anymore.

OBI-WAN Because of your mother?

ANAKIN I don't know why I keep dreaming About her now. I haven't seen her since I was little.

OBI-WAN Dreams pass in time.

ANAKIN I'd rather dream of Padmé. Just Being around her again is... intoxicating.

OBI-WAN Mind your thoughts, Anakin, they betray you. You've made a commitment to the Jedi order... a commitment not easily broken... and don't forget she's a politician. They're not to be trusted.

ANAKIN She's not like the others in the Senate, Master.

OBI-WAN It's been my experience that Senators are only focused on pleasing those who fund their campaigns... and they are more than willing to forget the niceties of democracy to get those funds.

ANAKIN Not another lecture, Master. Not on the economics of politics.... It's too early in the morning... and besides, you're generalising. The Chancellor doesn't appear to be corrupt.

OBI-WAN Palpatine's a politician, I've observed that he is very clever at following the passions and prejudices of the Senators.