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Teachers have about as much impact on student height as they do on their test scores.

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istoner
12 days ago
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To be clear, the issue is not that teachers have no effect on students. (Everyone who has ever had a teacher already knows they do.) The problem is that our current "measures" don't appear to measure anything. (Everyone who has graded standardized tests for Data Recognition Corporation already knows they don't.)
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Russia or California ?

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Would Republican voters rather live under a government like that of Russia, or one like that of California? This sounds a bit like those polling questions we used to laugh at, such as the 2009 finding that 14% of New Jersey Republicans thought Obama was Antichrist and 15% weren’t sure. But it actually reflects the choice Republican voters may well be facing.

Update: I was worried that I might be going over the top with this post. Immediately after putting it up, I found Bret Stephens saying much the same thing, (substituting Ukraine for Russia) in the New York Times. Not that I need Stephens’ endorsement, but obviously these thoughts are in the air. Also, I think Noah Smith mentioned the California scenario a while back, but I couldn’t find where. End update

First, suppose that Trump is re-elected in 2020. That would give him sufficient time to eliminate the last residues of pre-Trumpist thinking within the Republican party and to comprehensively pack the courts with compliant appointees. By 2024, even if he did not seek to ignore the two-term limit, he would be in a position to appoint one of his children as the Republican nominee. As regards the election result, the Republicans have relied on voter suppression for a long time, and would surely not resist Trump’s adoption of more extreme measures, along the lines of Putin, in order to ensure the right outcome. After that, Trumpism would be permanently established. The likelihood that not a single Republican politician will vote to impeach or convict Trump shows that even overt criminality is not going to be a problem.

On the other hand, if Trump is defeated (and yields power), the prospect of California looms large. The defeat would certainly lead to a revival of never-Trumpism and a long period of disarray, making a second loss in 2024 highly likely. By 2028, the combination of demographic change and restoration of voting rights would have the potential to put the Republicans into semi-permanent minority. While that’s never happened in US federal politics, it’s commonplace at the state level, so there are no clear balancing processes that would ensure a return swing of the pendulum.

Neither of these is inevitable. A severe depression in the early 2020s, for example, could derail whichever party won in 2020. But each is more likely, in my view, than the idea of a return to the relative normality of the pre-Trump 2000s, let alone a return to 20th century bipartisanship.

And while this of most direct concern to Americans, it matters everywhere. Trump is the natural friend of dictators everywhere, even if they inevitably fall out from time to time. It’s hard to see democracy surviving anywhere if it fails in the US. Conversely, the defeat of Trump would shatter the idea of inevitable advance that helps to motivate Trumpists everywhere, and would present Putin, Erdogan, Netanyahu and the rest with a US Administration that would (at the very least) be happy to see them depart the scene.

Coming back to the original question, my guess is that a poll along these lines would produce a plurality in favor of Russia, and that actual voting will produce overwhelming majority support for every step along the way. But it’s not necessary to convince the Republican base of the danger here. The defection of a few million Republican-leaning independents would be sufficient to beat Trump, as long as Democratic turnout is maintained, and voter suppression is successfully resisted.

Most Republican voters don’t yet realise the path they are following. But if you had told them, in 2015, that they would be cheering Trump a few years later, they would have laughed. There’s no sign yet of any improvement.

In this context, it’s interesting to look back at the claims of Jonathan Haidt that conservatives understood liberals better than vice versa. His method was to compare the views liberals imputed to conservatives (essentially that they were Trumpists) with the self-descriptions of conservatives. As it’s turned out, liberals knew conservatives better than conservatives knew themselves*. Haidt’s own trajectory, from progressive concern troll to the “Intellectual Dark Web” illustrates this.

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istoner
19 days ago
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A concise retrospective evaluation of Haidt tacked to the end of a Quiggin post about the 2020 stakes. Terrifying in context, and interesting in its own right:

"In this context, it’s interesting to look back at the claims of Jonathan Haidt that conservatives understood liberals better than vice versa. His method was to compare the views liberals imputed to conservatives (essentially that they were Trumpists) with the self-descriptions of conservatives. As it’s turned out, liberals knew conservatives better than conservatives knew themselves."
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A New Worry

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In 1984 University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist Jordan Smoller called attention to an alarming syndrome that hadn’t received much clinical attention: childhood. Features:

  1. Congenital onset
  2. Dwarfism
  3. Emotional lability and immaturity
  4. Knowledge deficits
  5. Legume anorexia

Billy J., age 8, was brought to treatment by his parents. Billy’s affliction was painfully obvious. He stood only 4’3″ high and weighed a scant 70 pounds, despite the fact that he ate voraciously. Billy presented a variety of troubling symptoms. His voice was noticeably high for a man. He displayed legume anorexia and, according to his parents, often refused to bathe. His intellectual functioning was also below normal — he had little general knowledge and could barely write a structured sentence. Social skills were also deficient. He often spoke inappropriately and exhibited ‘whining behavior.’ His sexual experience was non-existent. Indeed, Billy considered women ‘icky.’

Most children are unemployed and poorly educated, and the condition appears to run in families. Public schools don’t seem to reduce the number of victims, but a longitudinal study suggests that it tends to abate with time. “Clearly, much more research is needed before we can give any real hope to the millions of victims wracked by this insidious disorder.”

(Jordan W. Smoller, “The Etiology and Treatment of Childhood,” Journal of Polymorphous Perversity, 1984, 3-7.)

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istoner
29 days ago
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Legume anorexia
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Behold Our Dazzling Night Sky When the Milky Way Collides with Andromeda in 4 Billion Years

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This is what our night sky is going to look like in 3.9 billion years:

Milkdromeda

Wow! So what’s going on here? Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers at NASA have predicted that our own Milky Way galaxy and the nearby Andromeda galaxy (M31) will collide about 4 billion years from now. As part of the announcement from 2012, they produced a video of what the collision would look like and a series of illustrations of what our sky will look like during the collision process.1

In 2 billion years, Andromeda will be noticeably closer in the sky:

Milkdromeda

By 3.75 billion years, it will fill a significant chunk of the sky. And the Milky Way will begin to bend due to the pull of gravity from Andromeda:

Milkdromeda

In about 3.85 billion years, the first close approach will trigger the formation of new stars, “which is evident in a plethora of emission nebulae and open young star clusters”:

Milkdromeda

Star formation continues 3.9 billion years from now. Could you imagine actually going outside at night and seeing this? It’s like a nightly fireworks display:

Milkdromeda

After the galaxies pass by each other in 4 billion years, they are stretched and warped by gravity:

Milkdromeda

In 5.1 billion years, Andromeda and the Milky Way will come around for a second close pass, their galactic cores blazing bright in the night sky:

Milkdromeda

And finally, in 7 billion years, the two galaxies will have merged into a single elliptical galaxy nicknamed Milkdromeda:

Milkdromeda

Interestingly, despite the galactic collision and the dazzling view from Earth, it’s extremely unlikely that any individual stars will collide because of the sheer amount of empty space in galaxies.

  1. I mean, assuming there will still be someone or something standing on the Earth 4 billion years from now to witness it. Presumably whoever’s around will have solved light pollution by then? The bigger worry is that according to the timeline of the far future, Earth will be uninhabitable long before an collision occurs (average surface temp of 296 °F in 2.8 billion years). Toasty!

Tags: astronomy   Milky Way   NASA   science   space
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istoner
52 days ago
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I missed this in 2012. What a view!
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BREXIT!!!!!: Hugh Mannerings: " I'm not saying there wasn't a Democratic ma...

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BREXIT!!!!!: Hugh Mannerings:

12 Hugh Mannerings on Twitter Yep https t co tcc7LmqJp1 Twitter

" I'm not saying there wasn't a Democratic mandate for Brexit at the time. I'm just saying if I narrowly decided to order fish at a restaurant that was known for chicken, but said it was happy to offer fish, and so far I've been waiting three hours, and two chefs who promised to cook the fish had quit, and the third one is promising to deliver the fish in the next five minutes whether it's cooked or not, or indeed still alive, and all the waiting staff have spent the last few hours arguing amongst themselves about whether I wanted battered cod, grilled salmon, jellied deals, or dolphin kebabs, and if large parts of the restaurant appeared to be on fire, but no one was paying attention to it because they were all arguing about fish, I would like, just once, to be asked if I definitely still wanted the fish...


#2019-10-17 #noted
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istoner
56 days ago
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To φ Or Not To φ

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istoner
58 days ago
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This is PERHAPS the most philosophy-major joke I've seen on Daily Nous. SWP (Snort With Pleasure)
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