The US left and its belief in institutions

In the US, "liberalism" is synonymous with the Democratic left. However, the US liberal paradigm is not primarily freedom. It's primarily belief in institutions and their ability to solve problems. Obviously, there's nothing liberal about this, so it's better called "progressive" or somesuch, but the idea is to have strong, powerful institutions and to solve all sorts of problems with them.It doesn't strike Democrats as ironic at all that the most powerful institution on Earth, the US federal government including the armed forces that are by far the largest in the world, is currently led by Donald Trump. The left fails to realize how this is a bit of a chink in our plan to save the world with powerful institutions, seeing how we haven't solved the problem of who leads them.The desire to save the world with powerful institutions comes hand in hand with a mentality that if you're not prospering, then an institution has failed you. If you'r…

The level of disease risk at which breathing becomes criminal

We know Covid has a higher case fatality rate than seasonal influenza. Therefore we've engaged in many behaviors in an attempt to eliminate Covid or reduce its spread, including:Fines of GBP 200 and more for not wearing a face mask.Indefinite bans affecting concerts and gatherings, as well as one-time life events such as funerals and weddings. Children this year do not have birthdays.Economic shutdowns, accumulating bankruptices and millions of people in severe economic distress (screenshot).Reduced access to health care, including in countries with socialized health care where doctors protect themselves first and serve patients later. Refusals to see patients lead to long delays in diagnosis, which results in increased deaths from non-Covid causes, including cancer and heart disease.Reduced effectiveness of schooling for most pupils and students. Socialization mostly eliminated.Reduction in travel by 70% or more (screenshot).Let us suspend disbelief and assume these responses are…

On wokeness

Wokeness in the US is a movement to remove competence as a criterion for economic participation, and replace it completely with inclusivity. For example, it means prohibiting the University of California from using SAT and ACT test results in admissions in any way shape or form, because standardized tests are classist, racist and ableist:University of California System can't use SAT and ACT tests for admissions, judge rulesThis leads to gradual but ongoing destruction of US economic competence through removal of competent people and the "biased" processes that select them, and their replacement with ever so slightly less functional, "inclusivity" choices.Wokeness is the promotion of the dysfunctional over the functional, in the name of fairness. It is equality of outcome as opposed to equality of opportunity. It is the recognition that not everyone is born an Einstein, and that this is fundamentally unfair because it means not everyone gets a Nobel Prize in Phy…

The immediate purpose of schools is child care. This is essential, virus or no

We often hear teachers are invaluable since they raise our future generations. And they do. This is their long-term value.But this is not the immediate value of schools. The immediate value is that people cannot go to work unless someone watches their children. If there is no child care, the economy stops.Different countries value education differently. South Korea values it highly. Teachers are well-paid and treated like superstars. This makes the pressure on children very high, starting from early childhood. There is the stereotype of South Korean students committing suicide over less than ideal exam performance.In the US, we emphasize education less. This is not necessarily bad. A large portion of what schools teach is not useful. Folks like to believe that schools have magical powers to make people smart, like medicine has magical powers to cure. In truth, the useful parts of schooling are socialization, certification, and the basic skills everyone needs. Beyond that, schools don&…

How to not break a sweat and get buff in 15 years

This was me recently, on my 40th birthday:

Yeah, yeah, I'm flexing. But I have not been to a gym in 5 years.

This was me in February 2006, age 25-something:

If you have a long enough time horizon, here is how you too can get good results with "minimal effort". The title is an exaggeration: if you keep up what I describe for 5 years, you'll see the results in 5 years, and probably sooner.

Calories in, calories outIf you want defined muscularity, you need to hit low body fat. To hit low body fat, you have to use up the fat you have now. To use up the fat, you have to eat fewer calories than you are using.

Long term, there are no tricks or workarounds. You need to track the calories you eat, without exception.

There's a lot we still don't know about how the body uses calories. We don't know the effects of different gut bacteria on digestion. We know the bioavailability of different foods varies. You might get way fewer calories from food that is stale or raw …

The Doghouse: PSU in the Dell Alienware Graphics Amplifier

Here's the deal with the Dell Alienware Graphics Amplifier:
It's an external unit that connects to recent Alienware gaming laptops.If you mostly need graphics at home, it lets you upgrade the laptop GPU with a stronger desktop GPU.This way, you can upgrade your GPU ($500 - $1,000) without replacing the whole laptop ($2,000 - $5,000).You can still travel with the laptop (who does that during Covid 😁) and use its GPU, which is fine on occasion.Excellent deal. Great idea. But, practical problems:
Dell suggested the GeForce RTX 2080 Super as a compatible card. After I put the two together, it worked but the power supply in the Amplifier produced an obnoxious buzzing sound. It sounded like a tractor. It was so loud, my wife across the house was worrying that our fridge broke down.The noise reacted immediately to power use – it didn't build up or taper down. Could be a choke or a capacitor.I contacted Dell Support on July 23. They didn't reply until July 28. The reply was to …

Things you ought to know that people don't

I've spent most of my life collecting knowledge, so that by now I have collected some. I've also done a fair amount of living, so that my knowledge is not purely theoretical, but also stood up to practical scrutiny. Having hit the age of 40, I find myself knowing things that lots of people do not seem to know, and which no one seems to bother to tell them.

If you're a person growing up today, many of the things people tell you are true. Many of the ideas you're receiving are better than the ideas that prevailed in the past. At the same time, you are not being told many things that are true, because they are incongruous with the better realities people are trying to create as they tell you stories.

People do not lie to you with ill intentions. What they're omitting, they themselves might not realize. If they're aware, they omit it because they think not telling you will make you a kinder person who makes fairer decisions. And perhaps it will.

However, in your ig…