Stop Talking About the Anthropic Principle, Idiots

There’s a thread at Slate Star Codex about the Fermi Paradox and the Great Filter:

Don’t Fear The Filter

In the comments, the “anthropic principle” comes up several times. The notion is well summaraized by the Infogalactic article’s second sentence: “Some proponents of the anthropic principle reason that it explains why the universe has the age and the fundamental physical constants necessary to accommodate conscious life.” I’m getting really tired of this as an “explanation” of anything or an “answer” to any question. It’s a testament to the stupidity of so many people who consider themselves “wonks” or whatever. Very plainly, people:

Say you have an enemy who is an expert marksman. One day he shoots at you and misses. You might be interested in why he missed. Saying, “If he hadn’t missed I wouldn’t be here to ask the question” IS NOT A FUCKING ANSWER TO THE QUESTION! One wants to know WHY he missed. Was he on drugs? Was he sick? Nervous? Just bad luck, e.g. he was he distracted at the wrong instant? That is, this is about cause and effect. The effect was him missing. We want to know what caused that effect. Your being alive to ask the question is not the cause. It can’t be, since it’s happening after the event it’s purported to explain, fucking duh! So unless you claim to have a time machine, STOP CLAIMING THIS IS AN ANSWER TO THE GODDAM QUESTION!

Robert Heinlein once said that a touchstone for how intellectually serious a person is, is what they think about astrology (he wrote that in the 1970s, back when astrology was a fad). I’m about ready to use mentioning the anthropic principle in the same way. If you mention it, unless you’re being ironic, YOU ARE AN IDIOT. YES, LITERALLY, AN ACTUAL IDIOT.

Suppose your kid asks you, “Hey Dad, how did you and Mom meet?” and you respond, “Well, if we hadn’t met, you wouldn’t be here to ask the question.” Seriously? Anyone who says with a straight face that this is a satisfactory answer – or any kind of answer at all – should be forced to wear underwear made out of steel wool and given a nuclear wedgie.

Cut it out, morons.

Miscellany 15: Oh wow. I’m seeing, like, candy flavored, euphonious chords of Miscellany, man.

(1) Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are barred from visiting Israel due to anti-semitic remarks. This is good news, in light of Milo being barred from Australia and various conservatives like Lauren Southern being barred from the UK. It shows that this sort of thing can go both ways.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/08/15/donald-trump-tweets-then-ilhan-omar-rashida-tlaib-barred-israel/2021918001/

Later, Israel backed down like a bunch of pathetic wimps on Tlaib— when have they ever displayed such wussiness before?— but Tlaib said she wasn’t going to go anyway. And they held firm on Omar.

(2) AI-generated pickup lines, baby!
https://aiweirdness.com/post/159302925452/the-neural-network-generated-pickup-lines-that-are

A selection:

• Hey baby, I’m swirked to gave ever to say it for drive.
• You must be a tringle? Cause you’re the only thing here.
• Hey baby, you’re to be a key? Because I can bear your toot?
• I don’t know you.
• I have to give you a book, because you’re the only thing in your eyes.
• Are you a candle? Because you’re so hot of the looks with you.
• If I had a rose for every time I thought of you, I have a price tighting.
• You’re so beautiful that you say a bat on me and baby.
• You look like a thing and I love you.

(3) Red Pill in Reality: From The Guardian, January 26, 2001:

Prince William effect boosts applications to St Andrews

St Andrews University has seen bar far the biggest increase in applications for degree courses among UK universities this year, signaling the ‘Prince William effect’. Applications are up by 44% compared with last year according to figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.

Last year, the British Council reported a surge in interest from young women – particularly from the United States, after Prince William decided to enrol on an art history degree starting this autumn.

(There was no similar effect for Prince Harry because he enrolled in a military academy instead of a college or university.)

(4) From the comments at Vox Pop, http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/12/adventures-in-jordanetics.html

Current Year SJWs will not tolerate wrongthink either if they can detect it. It will never be enough to simply go along with the narrative because they will change it in order to trip people up. SJW leftists want and need to persecute.

(5) To shrieking man-hating feminists, I can only cite La Rochefoucauld:

If we do not find peace of mind in ourselves it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

(6) A pic at the Victory Girls blog.

Everything this picture represents: This is what we need to restore.

VictoryGirls

Supreme Court Paves Way for President Trump to Use Military Funds for Wall

Wall

AWESOME!!!

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/supreme-court-paves-way-for-trump-administration-to-use-military-funds-for-border-wall

The Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration on Friday in lifting a freeze backed by a lower court that had halted plans to use $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds for border wall construction.

The decision, which split the bench along ideological lines, allows the administration to move ahead with plans to use military funds to replace existing fencing in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

…The president celebrated the ruling on Twitter: “Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court recognized that the lower courts should not have halted construction of walls on the southern border,” Justice Department spokesperson Alexei Woltornist said in a statement. “We will continue to vigorously defend the Administration’s efforts to protect our Nation.”

In related news, Ruth Bader Ginsberg just announced that she recently completed treatment for pancreatic cancer. I think that if the God Emperor is re-elected in 2020, we get at least one more Supreme Court appointment.

Red Pill in Fiction: Witches of East End, by Melissa de la Cruz

WitchesOfEastEnd
From the back cover: “Freya, the younger sister, is trapped between two handsome brothers in a dangerous game of desire.”

As I was looking for a cover image for this slab of cheese, I learned that it was a TV show for a couple of years. There’s no accounting for taste. Anyway, the setting is our contemporaneous world but with magic. The “witches” in the title are not metaphorical. The first couple of chapters power-wash the reader’s brain with estrogen forced through a hose at 10 gallons per second. There are three witches, a mother and her two daughters. The sisters are both friends and rivals (female authors love that story element for some reason). There’s a hapless nice guy and a rough-cut Harley-riding Bad Boy(TM).

Of course, Our Heroine has sex with the nice guy and tells the Bad Boy, “I just think of you as a friend.” Ha, no, just seeing if you’re paying attention.

As usual, I’ll edit for length. Also, “Spoiler Warning,” LOL.

The opening to Chapter 1:

Freya Beauchamp swirled the champagne in her glass… This was supposed to be the happiest day of her life—or at the very least, one of the happiest—but all she felt was agitated.

Immediately I guessed that this was her wedding day and that she has just gotten married to a boring nice guy who is going to have something bad happen to him. Well, not far off: Turns out it’s an engagement party, not a wedding, but everything else falls out how you expect… only more so.

She loved Bran. “Bran”? LOL. Poor bastard. She truly did…. There was something about him that felt exactly like home, like sinking into a down comforter into sleep: safe and secure.

Poor guy.

There’s then a little interlude about how all the other females in town are forced to come up to her and congratulate her, through gritted teeth, on the engagement. They’re jealous because “Bran” (LOL) is incredibly wealthy. He attends charity regattas on the weekends, wow!

…she accepted the insincere congratulations from another cadre of female well-wishers… All the eligible ladies of North Hampton, who not so long ago had harbored not-so-subtle dreams of becoming Mrs. Gardiner themselves… had all come to the grand, refurbished mansion to pay grudging homage to the woman who had won the prize…

For a sex that’s not supposed to be obsessed with dominance hierarchies, women sure do spend a lot of time fantasizing about having their intrasexual rivals forced to kiss their asses. Read fiction by men, the supposedly competitive sex. You won’t find a tenth as much of this sort of thing. Also, men like to fuck hot pussy; we really don’t care whether other men are envying us. The point is the pussy, not other men’s opinions about the pussy.

We then get that the main character, Freya, was possessed of an effervescent beauty… Small and petite… She’s small AND petite, mind you. This is also funny because we’ve just been treated to a little homily (which I spared you, dear reader) about how modern beauty standards are too focused on “emaciated” women. In the same paragraph, we get that Our Heroine is “small and petite.” Also, she has cheekbones that models would kill for, a tiny little nose, and as for her tits: No one would ever forget her breasts—in fact, they were all the male population looked at when they looked at Freya.

In general the writing qua writing is not great, as you’ve just seen. The author will manage a couple of paragraphs without perpetrating anything stupid or grammatically incorrect, then she’ll say something like “The tennis courts gleamed in the distance…” What? I grew up in a house that was less than 100 yards from a set of tennis courts. They don’t gleam in the distance. Or we get (in the inevitable Prologue) “Perpetually damp, even during its brilliant summers, its denizens were…” LOL, its denizens were perpetually damp? Come to think of it, maybe the female ones are, if the main character’s hormone-revved behavior is typical. But obviously that’s not what the author meant. (Don’t dangle your participle here; there are children about!)

Freya originally meets Bran – shit, I laugh every time I have to write that. BRAN?! Seriously, fucking BRAN?! She’s named after a sex goddess and he’s named after… a cereal product that’s good for your colon! Anyway, she meets Bran (snerk) by tripping into his arms, literally, because she’s so surprised when a load-bearing element of her dress snaps and her unforgettable tits spill out. It’s stated that she never wears bras or underwear (which Bran should have taken as a warning sign, as we will see).

Read this and guess whether she’s ever going to have sex with Bran:

It was Bran’s acute embarrassment that had endeared him to her… But what most people did not know was that he was kind. When Freya met him, she thought he was the kindest man she had ever met. She felt it—kindness seemed to emanate from him. The way he had been so concerned, his embarrassment, his stammer—and when he had recovered enough, he had bought her a drink and never quite left her side all evening, hovering protectively.

An absolute clinic in What Not To Do.

He radiates niceness, he buys her a drink, and he hovers around her the rest of the evening. He’s combining Too Nice and Possessive Creepy Guy. I haven’t read past the first chapter yet, but I foresee him conveniently having a lethal heart attack or something before their wedding day, before the main character has to have sex with him.

Don’t worry, it gets worse!

Bran Gardiner was not at all charming or erudite or witty or worldly. He was awkward and self-conscious. The first night they met, he hadn’t even asked her out because he was simply too modest to think she would be interested in him. Instead he showed up the next night during her shift at the Inn, and the next night, and every night after that, just staring at her with those big brown eyes of his, with a kind of wistful yearning (GOD!) until she had to ask him out.

Gah! The author is stacking the deck here; she’s not even making it plausible that any female in the multiverse could be attracted to this guy. I’m hoping she has a twist queued up, because otherwise this is about as telegraphed as a punch can get. Especially by contrast with Mr. Sexyman:

The problem was Killian Gardiner. Bran’s younger brother, twenty-four years old, and looking at her as if she were on sale to the highest bidder and he was more than willing to pay the price. When they were introduced, he had looked at her with those startling blue-green eyes of his, and she had felt her entire body tingle. The Tingle! Directly from a woman’s word processor! He was, for lack of a better word, beautiful, with long dark lashes (WTF?) framing those piercing eyes, sharp-featured with an aquiline nose and a square jaw. A clean-limbed fighting man of Barsoom, narrow of waist and broad of shoulder, he wielded his sword with—sorry, I just had an Edgar Rice Burroughs flashback from when I was thirteen. He looked like he was always ready to be photographed: Brooding, sucking on a cigarette, like a matinee idol in a French New Wave film. LOL, fucking what? French New Wave… Melissa de la Cruz, you weirdo! Anyway…

Stop looking at him, she told herself. This is insane, just another of your bad ideas. Um, what is? Not that we can’t guess…

Goddamnit, did he have to be so good-looking? She thought she was immune to that kind of thing. Such a cliché: tall, dark, and handsome. Well, at least she includes the Oxford comma, of which I’m a partisan. So this book is not ALL bad. She hated cocky, arrogant boys who thought women lived to service their voracious sexual appetites. She bangs him within a page. As per the Chateau and Rolo Tomassi (Rational Male), women both love and hate male sexual entitlement. Because they both love and hate it, be prepared for a hella shit test, more like several, if you project this attitude in real life. Note I didn’t say “Don’t do this.” I said, “Be prepared for a hella shit test.” He was the worst offender of the type—screeching up in his Harley, and that ridiculous hair of his—that messy, shaggy, bangs-in-your-eyes kind of thing, with that sexy, come-hither smolder.

Let’s get it over with:

She looked up and found him still staring directly at her. He nodded his head, motioning to a nearby door. Truly? Right here? Right now? In the powder room? Was that not just another cliché that went with the motorcycle and the bad-boy attitude? Was she really going to go into the bathroom with another man—her fiancé’s brother, for god’s sake—at her engagement party?

She was.

Now I’m thinking this is too reprehensible for the heroine of a novel. Maybe they don’t have sex; maybe she turns into a magic vampire and sucks the life force out of him or something. They don’t actually show them boinking.

LATER: OK, I’ve read, er, skimmed to the end, and here’s the deal: de la Cruz indeed has some mis-direction queued up here. It is, in fact, an estrogen-drenched mechanism for the author-insert character to have her cake and eat it too. That is, to get fucked by the bad boy in the bathroom at her engagement party and still be a demure, virtuous good girl. How? you ask. Does he cast a spell on her to force her to have sex with him against her will? Is the whole scene just an elaborate fantasy, dream, or magical illusion? Nope. Here is the key surprise of the book, revealed in the last couple of chapters:

Our Heroine, Freya, is actually Freya, the Norse goddess of sex, fertility, and all that stuff. “Bran” is actually Loki, the Norse god of mischief, who had put a spell on her to make her think she was in love with him. And Mr. SexyBadBoy is actually another god named Balder who is her One True Love and Destined Husband. So you see, all along she should have been having sex with Mr. Bad Boy – who is in a truer, deeper sense the Good Guy – and she should have been monumentally dissing “Bran,” who is actually a villain who uses the magical equivalent of a date rape drug on her.

Well, it’s interestingly inventive, the mental acrobatics a chick will go through to justify having no-strings-attached sex with a Harley-riding Bad Boy in the bathroom.

By the way, Freya does have sex with “Bran” one time, but since he actually turns out to be Loki, the god of mischief, the point that chicks don’t want nice guys stands.

Miscellany:

Page 18: The main character’s sister is melodramatically described as the “ranking archivist” of the library where she works. LOL. I associate this phrase with rather more dramatic situations, like, “We should destroy the alien spacecraft before it comes any closer to Earth!” “No, I’m the ranking officer here and I say hold your fire!” Not so much “Let’s re-shelve these books now.” “No, I’m the ranking archivist here and I say we’ll re-shelve them after lunch break!” The drama of the language should match the drama of the situation, unless the author is deliberately going for humor.

Page 39: “Natasha Mayles was all wrong for Ross. She swanned into the North Inn with her haughty accent and her bored, quasi-European attitude.” “Quasi-European attitude”? Every now and then de la Cruz will write something that makes you go, “What was she even trying to say there?”

Pages 85-6: The librarian chick – the “ranking archivist” – is about to be asked out by this one dude. She thinks about how to let him down gently, until it turns out that he’s actually soliciting her advice about asking some other chick out. At this point she suddenly becomes jealous and interested in the dude. The power of the neg, right from the horse’s mouth.

Chunks of cheese rating: Hmm. This has a few standard female cheese elements, to wit, the “must choose between two men” cliche, the “must have sex with Bad Boy!” thing, and hypergamy, in that the viewpoint character has sex with actual gods.

Yet somehow, after the first couple of chapters, the overall effect wasn’t a mammoth blast of cheese, perhaps because after the main character cheats on her fiancé at their engagement party, everything else seems tame by comparison. Or maybe because I’ve read so much of this stuff now that I’m becoming jaded: It takes a lot to compete with a cyborg woman having sex with the man who burned off all four of her limbs and poked her eyes out, or a female author’s fantasy of being raped by an immortal alpha and having a worshipful beta help raise the resultant child. (I hope y’all appreciate the suffering I bear to bring these little reviews to you.) Or maybe the estrogen hose-down didn’t bug me as much because the mediocre-at-best writing distracted me with its irritating just-below-competence obnoxiousness.

Chunks of cheese rating:

If the main character fucking her fiancé’s brother at their engagement party actually turned out to be what it seemed at first, that would be eight or nine out of ten chunks of cheese right there. But since, thank goodness, it’s not what it seems, I award six out of ten chunks of cheese to this book.


Index page for my Red Pill in Fiction posts:
https://neurotoxinweb.wordpress.com/red-pill-in-fiction/

I Don’t Know How to “Solve” Banking, and I Doubt Anyone Does

Unless I’m wrong, and you know how to solve it, in which case let me know in the comments. I’m curious. Or get it published in an Economics journal, and get the Nobel prize.

DollarSign

Consider this scenario: Vinny the Loan Shark, whom you owe $50,000, came up to you at 9:00 this morning and said, “Gimmee my fifty back by 5:00 tonight or I’ll break both your legs.” Vinny is a very direct guy. Isn’t it great to get away from stuffy circumlocutions?

Fortunately, you own a house worth $100,000. No problem! You’ll just sell it by 5:00 this evening, and you’ll have enough money to pay Vinny back and then some. You and your legs will be fine. What’s that? You can’t liquidate your house that quickly? Or dear, you do have a problem. I hope your health insurance is paid up.

Before you censure Vinny too harshly, grok this: When it comes to banking, you and I are Vinny.

See, we all want banks to offer checking accounts so we can use them to pay for stuff. Obviously this only works if you can spend the money in those accounts any time you want. So, from your point of view, the funds in that account are a zero-maturity asset. From the bank’s point of view, since they have to make payment whenever a check is cleared, those funds are a zero-maturity liability.

The problem, of course, is that most of the bank’s assets are in rather illiquid forms like 10-year loans they made to businesses, 30-year mortgage loans they made to families to buy houses, etc. They can’t liquidate all that instantly. So if a bunch of checking account owners – Vinnies – come up to them at once and say, “We all want our money back right now,” the bank can’t comply.

This is called a bank run and leads to that exciting scene in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life in which the bank where the hero works suffers a run and he has to deal with the emergency. It also leads to the same thing happening in real life, which is more exciting but less entertaining.

“OK,” you say, “just prohibit banks from holding very much of their assets in 10-year business loans, 30-year mortgage loans, etc.” Alas, that won’t work, because you and I demand that banks provide mortgage loans so we can buy houses. And businesses need loans for various purposes, etc.

So here’s the problem: You and I, the public, demand that banks borrow money from us with zero-maturity checking accounts and lend to us with 30-year mortgage loans. This is called “maturity mismatch,” for obvious reasons, and it’s not just an unfortunate accident that banks are set up this way. The public demands that they be set up this way. How are we supposed to square this circle?

I don’t know. So far, no one else knows, either.

Deposit insurance has greatly reduced the problem of bank runs, but as the crisis of 2007-2009 showed, we are far from Eden.

I once heard an economist say that he thinks the current system— riven though it is with occasional banking panics, waves of failures, etc.— may actually be the best that can be achieved! It was much worse in the bad old days. At the start of the Great Depression, there was a banking crisis that forced about 30% of the nation’s banks to shut their doors! Believe me, the regulators are very aware of the maturity mismatch problem. We’ve been tinkering away with banking policy in the last 80 years and seem to have improved things, but certainly haven’t achieved perfection.

So: If you know how to totally fix banking, send a quick email to Jerome Powell. He’ll appreciate it.

Just Some Inside Baseball

Update: Alf links here and weighs in with:

“No room for blue pilled men, which is to say, they are free to join in on other topics, but if they start spouting off bs about women, they are put in place. See Neurotoxin.”

Jesus, you’re still butt-hurt about losing a debate that ended more than a week ago. If it bugs you that much, don’t engage in debates.


Most readers of this blog won’t know or care what this is about; it’s in reference to some horseshit from another forum where my posts are likely to be deleted. Just getting some stuff on the record. I regret that this clutter is necessary. Regular posts resume next time.

You (you who know who you are): “I demand examples!”

Me: “OK, here.”

You: “That’s not an example of what I’m talking about! Provide examples!”

Me: “Yes, it is. Also here’s another example.”

You: “No it’s not! Also, where’s your argument? I demand that you make an argument.”

Me: “The argument is (etc.)”

You: “Hey, stop rambling for screen after screen.”

Cute. This kind of behavior is characteristic of malignant narcissists. Caught.

And… bye.

Funny, I thought I’d feel regret exiting that forum. Instead I feel this flood of relief.