Posts by linger

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  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.,

    From the quality of leadership on display, one has to ask:
    Are we currently being led by the lead-poisoned generation?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1371 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Mike's minute: Mike's maths!, in reply to Alex Martin,

    Oddly, that statement (while being incredibly misleading) is much closer to being correct, because the tax year starts April 1, and the effective average income tax rate is around 1/6, i.e. two months’ worth of the year’s income.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1371 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to BenWilson,

    The threshold level for eviction should presumably be commensurate with the level of contamination posing a measurable health risk.
    Whereas, as Matthew notes above, the threshold level for cheap field tests is set much more sensitively.
    So we need a less sensitive field test for this purpose, and/or we need to use the field tests only as an initial screen for doing more detailed analysis, before people face life-changing consequences.

    How hard would it be to have a multiple-sensitivity field test (consisting of, say, three separate test strips with different concentrations of reagents), so converting the binary response of each strip into something more graded?

    Also, doing field tests should be routine BEFORE new tenants move in, so that there is an initial baseline.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1371 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to Ian Pattison,

    Also, and even more basically, I hadn’t immediately noticed this was a table of GDP growth – so the figures are already massively biassed towards subsets that had increased income (which then paid a higher overall tax rate as a direct result). These are figures that ignore most individual New Zealanders.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1371 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to Ian Pattison,

    We didn’t actually get tax cuts, we got tax increases.

    GDP is a very misleading measure of individual income, so you’re just playing with numbers there. Even so, the interpretation of the table cited is still open to question. The table shows GDP fell in absolute terms (while the population increased, so per capita GDP fell even faster). The fall in productivity is largely because the proportion of unemployed went up. Furthermore there was a decile differential in the impact of job loss (more unstable work, more unemployment, nett income loss in the bottom deciles; less unemployment, and nett income increases in the top decile only). Decreases in low income don’t affect the overall tax rate as a percentage, but increases in high income do, hence the overall increase in percentage of GDP going to tax. (Note that even there the absolute figure is roughly constant: in fact, it corresponds to a per capita fall once you adjust for population increase.)

    This is a textbook example of Simpson’s paradox (where aggregate percentages tell the opposite story from what’s happening in most or all subsets of the data, because you haven’t controlled for subset categories subject to different effects).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1371 posts Report Reply

  • Cracker: Breaking the Silence, in reply to Marc C,

    If an intervention is not assigned randomly to individuals, if evaluation criteria are not set in advance, and if equivalent data is not collected for those not receiving the intervention, then it is not a trial, and the results cannot be interpreted as such. Sounds like none of that is happening here, so any report can only be a farce.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1371 posts Report Reply

  • Cracker: Breaking the Silence, in reply to andin,

    corruption favours the disenfranchised

    That has never happened in all of human history. Corruption overwhelmingly favours those who have power.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1371 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Are we seeing the end of MSM,…, in reply to Alfie,

    That one’s not an error (cf. genitive use for subject in Colin’s overuse of litigation), and doesn’t even present serious processing difficulties (as we usually understand the agent to be animate).

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1371 posts Report Reply

  • Cracker: Breaking the Silence, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    We changed, and science changed.

    Consider the typical (adult) audience for such pamphlets.
    One data point: my grandfather, typically for his generation, left school at 13 to get a job (he then spent most of his career working for a bank). He keenly felt his lack of formal education, and set about educating himself in science, particularly astronomy, which became his consuming hobby. With the aid of a telescope on loan from the Carter Observatory, which he set up in a specially converted shed, he spent decades doing observations of sunspots.

    So you have this combination: an intelligent, literate middle class, relatively uneducated, but who value education as the way forward, and seek it out for themselves, at a time when there is still scientific and technological progress to be made by self-trained hobbyists working alone.

    Fast forward two generations.

    My high school year mostly stayed on to 7th form, and about half of that group went on to some form of tertiary education (still largely free, though that was about to change). So basic scientific understanding changed from something people sought out for themselves, out of interest, to something that was part of the ordinary curriculum (and therefore boring). Meanwhile, the cutting edge of science and technology moved on to a point considerably beyond that curriculum. Doing active research now generally requires expensive equipment, and collaboration among groups with a considerable amount of formal training and standardised special knowledge.
    (There still is a place for hobbyists who have developed their own special knowledge in areas such as biological taxonomy – but no paid employment.)

    The products of those advances in science and technology, meanwhile, became ordinary commonplaces that ordinary individuals couldn’t hope to understand. I’m not sure exactly when a lack of scientific knowledge – and then, an open distrust of science – became fashionable; but I think it must stem from this disconnect.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1371 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A simple strategy for Trump to…, in reply to David Hood,

    rouge poll

    I love this term: suggests exaggerated influence of red-state rednecks…
    (or results entirely made up: a conspiracy theory to make one blush!)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1371 posts Report Reply

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