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blackbootz's profile

following: 51
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hubskier for: 2467 days

"But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?"

blackbootz's recent comments, posts, and shares:
blackbootz  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 17, 2019

It doesn't start until September. But I'll be sure to update you. The pace is apparently steady but not overwhelming. And while there is some homework, there's a lot of help. We'll see how different the environment is from college.

blackbootz  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 17, 2019

Dudes and dudettes: There is this stuff called Spindrift. It's seltzer water with a tiny bit of actual juice, so a can will have 13 calories per. It's not sweet at all, it's mostly an aftertaste, but it's not aspartame or artificial sweetener! I recommend it.

blackbootz  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 17, 2019

You were approached by them? Interesting--how did that work?

I wonder how popular the program has gotten. I get their targeted ads everywhere now, so it's hard for me to judge.

I'm going the data science track. With the intensity of the schedule, I'm told it's as much or more coding as a four-year CS degree. Seems like a good way to get competent quickly, then get a foot in the door.

blackbootz  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 17, 2019

    It's 2019, we out here drinking water, getting to bed at a reasonable time most nights. Woo!

This is not the motto I imagined as a kid that would get me out of bed in the morning, but now that I'm here, I fucking love it.

blackbootz  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 17, 2019

Have you read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon? The storyline centers around two young comic book makers. It's about a lot else, but I've never had literature describe such a visual activity so goddamned well. It's seriously one of my top ten favorite books ever. You might enjoy it.

blackbootz  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 17, 2019

Fully settled into my summer routine. Gymnastics training (16 hours a week), gymnastics coaching (25-30), and studying coding (4-10). Free time split between seeing friends and reading. Not bad.

My birthday is Sunday (twenty-eight!). This weekend I'm having a birthday party at my gymnastics facility, where about 20 of my friends and family will come and I'll coach them gymnastics. It's also partly an elaborate ruse to show off my progress. Because, who knew, practicing four hours a day four times a week means you get marginally better at things.

I've also been not-drinking. Weekends come and go, spent merrily reading or staying up a little bit late talking to roommates, and I've--happily--not been feeling the temptation to join the teeming throngs at the bars.

While I'm optimistic about Lambda School and what I'll learn, I'm still concerned of the nuts-and-bolts logistics of the nine-month term. My runway is small. I've managed to reduce expenses pretty reliably, but it's the unpredictable expenses that get ya. I'm probably going to stay in my basement and rent out my bedroom because that's just too much money cushion to turn down. I really don't mind staying in my basement. Plus the girl I'll most likely be seeing doesn't mind either so ::shrug:: who am I trying to impress?

blackbootz  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Labor Econ Versus the World

All I'm hearing from you is that I'm forbidden from thinking these things. And with an urgency that totally confuses me. That workers have become more productive, causing employers to compete for them along axes like higher wages and providing more hospitable working conditions, not only has no explanatory power to you but apparently paints me a mental invalid or worse for thinking, and stupid for falling for.

Does that mean people who consider these things are stupid? Even if it somehow did, why would your sanctimony push edge cases like me to your side? You know how hard it is to persuade anti-vaxxers to change their minds with condescension and outrage, and that sort of position actually has clearly persuasive data refuting it. Here we're talking about the economy, something at the edge of our epistemic limits, and I'm getting told I'm stupid for considering critiques 1, 2, 5, and 8 are onto something and worth discussing.

I understand that you think Caplan is an invidious, pernicious shit, but surely there are lots of really interesting theories as to why wages and productivity decoupled. And now I don't want to even bring them up because hubski is off limits for this stuff for fear of looking stupid to you.

    >Why do large group differences exist?

    Because "work" is a cultural construct and cultures differ.

Isn't that precisely Caplan's point? There are group productivity differences not because there's something wrong with black people--a statement nil imputes to Caplan--but because humans are wildly diverse in their preferences, preferences that are psychologically wired to be influenced by our cultural heritages and upbringing, and not because there is a compartmentalized racist shutting seven doors to African-Americans at Stuyvesant but opening four to Asian-Americans.

blackbootz  ·  93 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Labor Econ Versus the World

My goal in sharing this is not to wholy convince anyone of Caplan's views. I'm not persuaded by all of them myself. But moreover, I understand how difficult it is to change minds on something so resistant to experimentation and clearly persuasive data. We're mainly left with theorizing. Caplan's list, to me, is a list of underrated explanations for things we observe.

For instance, workers' standards of living. The conventional wisdom, that but for government regulation workers would still be dying in mines or there would be child labor, is one theory. And it's true to some (immeasurable) extent. But that would mean we could wipe out poverty by installing American workplace regulations the world over. That doesn't seem like it would solve the problem. Most labor economists would say that government regulation lags the real cause of rising workplace and living standards: "economic growth, which in turn is driven by technological progress, a market system, and a culture of entrepreneurship. As the economy grows, the demand for labor grows, and workers achieve better wages and working conditions." Greg Mankiw goes on:

    Economic studies of unions, for example, find that unionized workers earn about 10 to 20 percent more by virtue of collective bargaining. By contrast, real wages and income per person over the past century have increased several hundred percent, thanks to advances in productivity.

In response to Caplan's assertion that "large group differences persist because groups differ largely in productivity" you charge Caplan as ignorant of history and probably racist. I don't think he's either, but I'd ask you: Why do large group differences exist? That's a sincere, genuine ask. I think the conventional story--institutional and individual sexism and racism--is a theory that explains the state of things to some (immeasurable) extent. But Caplan alludes to another theory: groups have different preferences, affinities, and abilities, largely the result of cosmic forces no one is responsible for. Some of them are uncontroversial, like that women, not men, give birth to children because they have the reproductive organs. Or that men are more often in prison, or on death row, because they are more aggressive and prone to violence than women. More controversial: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced plans to eliminate the test that apportions seats to the NYC elite high schools and replace with a system that would offer spots to the top students at every middle school in the city. The reason being that the composition of the elite schools does not mirror or even approximate the racial proportions of New York City's population. For instance, the city's public school are 70% African-American, while the most recent admitted class at Stuyvesant, the flagship of the elite high schools, admitted something like only 10 African-American students. That's a racial injustice, which ought to be remedied. However, Asian-Americans, who comprise 16% of students enrolled in city schools, are 62% of the students enrolled at the elite high schools.

The composition of New York City's public schools and its elite high schools would seem to foreclose the argument that institutional racism is responsible, since Asian-Americans, the object of animus and racism for much of American history, are so "overrepresented." If invidious discrimination does not explain every disparity, what does? An underrated source of explanation are that there are differences in preferences or inclinations between groups. I'm hesitant to say exactly what they are because I would only be speculating, and it's controversial enough a point already. However, because something is controversial--radioactive, even--therefore it is untrue in principle? I doubt it.

I don't follow Caplan's point on mating markets to speak knowledgeably about it. But, again, if the state of the world is not monocausal, then a full accounting would entail lots of theories and explanations, no matter the derision they're met with because of social taboos or political correctness.

I left 30% room for non-signaling value because, ya know, literacy and numeracy. But yea, it's sheepskins, baby.

Consider. No one would stop me from walking into a classroom at Cornell or Princeton and sitting in a classroom and listening to the professor everyday, all semester. Hell, they'd probably be flattered. Furthermore, a world class education exists a few clicks (or a library pass) away. But try slapping that on your resume.

I spent five years as a college dropout variously partying, traveling, working, and volunteering in all manner of places (alpaca ranch, elementary school, summer camp, to name a few). Made a lot of friends. Had a lot of fun. Had the formative experience living by my own decisions chasing my fancy, scraping my knee, and gaining some perspective.

An employer sees a five year gap in employment.

It was only because I had an (ongoing) degree at Tailgate State that Morgan Stanley offered me an internship. Non-conformism, no matter how ennobling, just does not look good.

I agree with you that education's value is in its signalling (I'm excited for you to read The Case Against Education). But signalling isn't 100% of the value of the education--maybe more like... 70%? hard to quantify--and I believe that's where there's room for ideas about what that education should consist of. After all, if we're gonna make them jump hoops for four years, they ought to be doing something socially useful during that time.

I like Pinker's articulation. It's concrete, for one (get out of here with that "the purpose of college is to find yourself." I don't like the federal government subsidizing something so vague). I agree it ought to impart humanism and intellectualism.

blackbootz  ·  108 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Smartphones and dematerialization

The theme of the article dovetails with the thesis from Julian Simon's The Ultimate Resource, taken here from wikipedia:

    The overarching thesis on why there is no resource crisis is that as a particular resource becomes more scarce, its price rises. This price rise creates an incentive for people to discover more of the resource, ration and recycle it, and eventually, develop substitutes. The "ultimate resource" is not any particular physical object but the capacity for humans to invent and adapt.

    The work opens with an explanation of scarcity, noting its relation to price; high prices denote relative scarcity and low prices indicate abundance. Simon usually measures prices in wage-adjusted terms, since this is a measure of how much labor is required to purchase a fixed amount of a particular resource. Since prices for most raw materials (e.g., copper) have fallen between 1800 and 1990 (adjusting for wages and adjusting for inflation), Simon argues that this indicates that those materials have become less scarce.

It's honestly a soothing thought that electricity use in the US has flatlined for ten years. Ten years ago I would have thought that bringing that sort of trendline down would be impossible.

blackbootz  ·  111 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: OPEN DISCUSSION DEM DEBATE TONIGHT

So would Frank Bruni.

blackbootz  ·  112 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: OPEN DISCUSSION DEM DEBATE TONIGHT

I cannot watch these things. I get the most profound sense of cringe at seeing the virtue signaling and performing. I get that we haven’t come up with a better way to do this, but my god, we’ve completely signed ourselves over to whoever wins a raw popularity contest.

Like I couldn’t get past two minutes last night. Ick.

Once I understood that consuming national politics has asymptotically zero instrumental value—it’s value is in how it makes you feel—I just filter it all out.

Call me privileged.

blackbootz  ·  113 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 26, 2019

The absolute, unquestionable best five dollars I spend a month (on the student discount). And I'll happily up it to $10 when my student offer expires.

They have an enormous library where I basically never want for artists or tracks (my music interests are not extremely niche, though). The app is great and bug-free. And I'm happy with their music-recommending algorithms (many different playlists appear at the main screen which are populated on daily or weekly for you to listen to based on your interests). Only feature I want for is a built-in song lyric display, which I see Apple Music has, for when I want to belt loudly along.

blackbootz  ·  119 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: June 19, 2019

I've bookmarked a "classic" MIT lecture by Dr. Gilbert Strang that came highly recommended for linear algebra. It just so happens that since I won't be starting the program until the fall, I can really prepare myself. Thanks for the encouraging words.