I dreamed about Ian this morning, playing with a friend. Woke up with the line “my beautiful boy” repeating in my head.
Had a good discussion with a friend the other night about Medicare for All, and played the devil’s advocate. One of my bugbears is the speed of the transition from the mess we have now to the new plan; it seems it would necessarily involve laying off millions of insurance analysts, data entry people in hospitals and clinics, middle managers, all the paper-pushers who make up a large proportion of the medical care establishment, which is itself nearly 20% of the economy by GDP.
A good article on exactly this:
As usual, it’s not the end goal that is destabilizing, it’s the sudden transition. Just like the automation wave that’s happening now.
Go watch this documentary, it’s good. Primarily about Brand New Congress and it’s brethren, and the story of four of the candidates they pushed for the 2018 mid-terms. My friend Dave Winer likes it, too. I particularly liked the scene in NYC where the incumbent didn’t show up for a tiny town hall, probably because he was focused on national politics and sort of forgot who he was in Washington to represent.
I joined Brand New Congress way back, after Trump won. They solicit suggestions from their members for 100 or so possible candidates, no particular party affiliation but all regular schmoes agreeing not to take big money for their run (this is key), then they winnow the field down to 30 or so candidates and provide the organization required to make these first-timers competitive. In 2016, they won 8 or 9 House seats from the 30-odd they contested, including the AOC upset in Queens.
They’re going around again right now, looking for nominations. Go check them out here.
Dave Winer has a radio he loves, and wants to enable it for streaming. He’s thinking maybe a Bluetooth radio to replace it, but Bluetooth audio isn’t that great.
This is exactly the scenario the Google Chromecast Audio was invented for. Unfortunately, they just discontinued it. But if you can find one on EBay, Dave, you can keep using your Sangean radio and open it up to the wonderful world of web audio.
Incidentally: I’d post this as a comment to his blog post, but his blog requires that I have a Twitter account, which I don’t have by choice …
I’ve been reflecting on how useless government sanctions have turned out to be in influencing behavior. I think it’s because they’re effectively forever; until the sanctioned meet some criteria of change, we will just keep the sanctions on.
Some years ago, it was shown that Tit-For-Tat was a winning strategy to harness cooperation from unknown parties. Trust by default, a short but sharp punishment for betrayal, and a reversion to trust. I think this probably works with people, too, because we are more sensitive to change than to steady state, so the punishment is most effective immediately, and wears into a sullen resentment over time. You don’t punish a kid’s staying out too late by banning them from going out until they’ve proved they’re worthy of a reprieve, you punish them with a short but severe cost and then go back to the trust position. So this is a way to regain trust.
It’s clear that cooperation is evolutionarily adaptive on the group level, too. Trust-by-default leads to better outcomes. So tit-for-tat would seem to be the right way to deal with betrayal, because it encourages trust-by-default. How do we deal rationally with repeated betrayal?
Good discussion with Shelley this morning, after going to see a discussion in Seattle last night on constitutional law. The main reminder I got from the talk was that institutions need to be designed to work around the inadequacies of the individuals who operate them, so that they don’t fall apart when mishandled through incompetence or malice (the Presidency, the Senate).
Somehow we got to talking about health care, again, and the way insurance is the driver of health care reform in the US, a rather arse-backward approach, and I realized the insurance problem is a symptom, not a cause. The cause is pervasive lack of trust: between patients and doctors, between hospitals and staff, between the population and the judiciary they appoint to decide disputes. Doctors have to carry huge amounts of malpractice insurance, because they can’t trust that their patients won’t sue them for a bad result. Patients can’t trust that their doctors will do the right thing. People don’t trust their neighbors. Parents don’t trust their kids’ teachers to teach properly. So we build an industry based around the idea that we can start from a position of no trust, and have a mechanism to fix the problems that we expect will inevitably arise from people trying to screw us. And when that fails, we revert to trusting only our extended group, our tribe.
Trust is fundamental. It doesn’t need to imply that there won’t be situations where trust is violated. But trust needs to be the default case, or society doesn’t work.
Sanders wants to make Higher Education freely available. But as Andrew Yang points out, there’s a lot of people finding out that the degrees they’ve been working hard to get are less and less useful in finding a job.
Maybe 5 times out of 10 when I use Google I’m really looking for the Wikipedia page on that topic. They’re making it harder and harder to find this on Google. So much so that I’m thinking Wikipedia has to do a search engine. I would learn to use it.
Which reminds me that I can add “site:wikipedia.org” to my search term when I’m wanting the same thing.
I just read another article bemoaning the state of the Net, saying things like
There are just four big players, each in its own domain, Facebook for “social networking”, Twitter for commentary, YouTube for video, Amazon, Google, etcetera. So we can’t defect because there’s nowhere to go.
The same fallacy, that the Net is the silos + corporate info-sites. And I, amongst many others, counter that anyone can build tools to publish whatever they like and take advantage of the open protocols that the Net is built on. I can put videos up on my blog, and anyone can view them using standard Net clients like web browsers.
That’s true as far as it goes, but doesn’t account for the reasons that people use, eg Facebook or Bandcamp, which is, I think, discoverability. You can find all the people you want to talk to or listen to easily. Same with Twitter. RSS is how I follow things. OPML was intended as the way to find things you want to follow.
What I’d like from Facebook, for example, is the social graph, but the nodes of the graph should point to content I and my friends maintain on our locations of choice, not on Facebooks servers with Facebooks tools. My scrolling page of goodies is then just the RSS feed of the people I’m friends with. Same with Bandcamp; aggregate releases, point me to the authors site, recommend things by all means but link to content that’s not stored on your servers. If I like the recommendations and the release feeds, bill me for that.
Misperceptions about learning math, and a suggestion. A documentary, forthcoming. They have a Kickstarter here, so I pitched in a little.