February 28, 2013


Lack thereof is why Bryan Caplan thinks the GOP loses Asian voters. A number of comments are worthwhile, for example this one and this one about Canadian Tories' success at attracting these voters: attracting them away, in fact, from the Liberals who imported them. (HT: Instapundit.)

Shikha Dalmia notes that GOP traditionalism may have echoes of colonialism and the concomitant racism. She notes also that the image of the GOP as a Christian party does not play well with non-Christian Asian-Americans, presumably less so as Asians become increasingly confident wrt the West; in other words, visible Republicans like Jindal and Haley are less influential with their ethnic group than one might suppose.

Yes, once again the Republican base is also a ceiling.

OT: Despite the best efforts of the Left to polarize the country by race, intermarriages are apparently booming. If they start to dwindle, look out.

February 2, 2013

Death Spiral States

Forbes compiles a list using what they call the taker/maker ratio and other fiscal metrics. Some surprising names are on it. The bottom eleven, from least bad to worst:
11. Ohio
10. Hawaii
9. Illinois
8. Kentucky
7. South Carolina
6. New York
5. Maine
4. Alabama
3. California
2. Mississippi
1. New Mexico
Look at the red states on that list. And some very blue states are missing.

I had no idea NM was tops; my attitude toward Gary Johnson may need reassessing, and my endorsement of Susana Martinez may have been premature.

February 1, 2013

Virtual Trekking Via Google Maps

They've done part of the Grand Canyon. Haven't tried it yet, so I don't know if it offers 360° views (or 4π steradians...presumably not yet).

I expect more--eventually, much more--like this, including virtual reality. The question is how soon.

I want Everest!

Addendum 20130209:

The Singularity is Near So 20th Century?

Joichi Ito, the recently appointed head of the MIT Media Lab, is not a fan:
"I'm on the other side of the singularity guys. I don't think immortality is a good thing," Ito said. People who think about maximizing efficiency "don't think about the ecological, social-network effects. In the future, every science invention we do should be at least neutral," and preferably positive.

"When you introduce immortality, you have to think about what does it do to the system. At the Media Lab, our design principle is not to make the world more efficient, but making the system more resilient, more robust."
The Precautionary Principle is an indicator of civilizational stasis. Who decides whether an invention is at least neutral? Unfortunately, do-it-yourself biotech may make despotism even more inevitable than it seems today.

In very grudging defense of Ray Kurzweil, I note that the Singularity should happen spontaneously, not be a decision made by elitist big shots ("you introduce immortality"). In that view, whether or not it's a good idea is beside the point.

A skeptic might wonder whether Joichi Ito, as he continues to age, will decide that immortality should be offered to a few individuals who are essential to humanity's continued progress. People like...Joichi Ito? Afaic, in principle, such technology should be available to all or to none.

(The Media Lab used to be Kurzweil's personal stomping grounds. Maybe the attitude of the new administration played a role in his decision to work for Google. However, IMO the primary driver was, shall we say, the lack of Kurzweil-denominated IPOs in recent years. And in Mountain View he can be close to so-called Singularity University, at which he holds the title of chancellor.)

NB: I have not checked out the Media Lab since Ito took over. The foregoing critical take is based on an a single hyperlink.