The dichotomy we never tire of

Robert Plomin, in "Blueprint," compared popular assumptions about the heritability of various traits to the best we can do for scientific evidence for each trait.  In every case but one, traits were much more heritable than people liked to think.  The exception was breast cancer, whose heritability is overestimated 5x.
Table 2 How much are these traits influenced by genetics? [%] The first column of results shows the average opinions of 5,000 young adults in the UK. The second column shows results from genetic research. 
Eye colour 77 95
Height 67 80
Breast cancer 53 10
Schizophrenia 43 50
Autism 42 70
General Intelligence 41 50
Weight 40 70
Reading disability 38 60
Personality 38 40
Spatial ability 33 70
Remembering faces 31 60
Stomach ulcers 29 70
School achievement 29 60
Verbal ability 27 60

Centrists and Democracy

A study suggests that support for democracy is weakest among centrist voters, not extremists.

A Real Crisis

The city and country face “wartime conditions,” Ms. Sun said. “There must be no deserters, or they will be nailed to the pillar of historical shame forever.”

Sorry, Bette

The lady is having a tough day. I hope she feels better.

A Fine Rollicking Piece

Still sick, but I fear I'll be better soon. After that I'll have no excuses for all the work I'm not getting around to doing.

Thor's Praise

Just yesterday Kirk Douglas died at 103 years old.

They were just as set on the Vikings in his era; and in the era before his. Sir Walter Scott wrote a poem that opens with a celebration of Viking rapine, although what the poem is about is the conversion of the hero to Christianity.
Woe to the realms where he coasted, for there
Was shedding of blood and rending of hair,
Rape of maiden, slaughter of priest,
Gathering of ravens and wolves to the feast!
When he hoisted his standard black
Before him was battle, behind him was wrack!
They fought big wars in the last century, and joyous ones in the century before. The Viking thing isn't new; what's new is the loss of faith in what were long thought to be timeless truths.

Learn to code

It's not like the Iowa Dem caucus was trying to solve a difficult problem--but apparently it was beyond the skills of whatever novice they turned the coding problem over to.

Which still doesn't explain why three days later they still haven't managed to finish the calculations by pencil.  There's just no explanation for any of this that should lead a voter to conclude he can improve life for Americans by voting for these people.  Incompetence?  Corruption?  Inextricable mix of the two?  It's all the same result, and it's what human institutions always get when the guiding principle is "you just have to leave us in power because Reasons."


As expected, President Trump was acquitted on both articles of impeachment.  Mitt Romney cast the only crossover vote:  to convict on abuse of power, but not on obstruction of Congress.  That made the votes 48-52 and 47-53.

Down Sick

Got the thing the wife had after two weeks of standing it off. I’m going to lay in bed with beer until I feel better. Good luck to you until then.

Cloudy Days

The jet stream and the Polar Vortex are far to the north this winter; there is neither La Niña nor El Niño. As a result we are getting all our winter weather straight off the Gulf of Mexico, which makes this warm and wet. Nearly every day it rains.

People are sick around here, as well. It's a day of ambition on the grand scale, but locally it's little but sickness and rain.

Advice from Colonel Kurt

To Hear the Lamentations of the Women

Specifically, Ms. Kara Swisher, and one other she cites below.
Who won? Who knows? Which is not exactly how the Democrats want to start off these critical primaries. This looks more like my octogenarian mom when her New York Post app does not load correctly than a political party leaning into the future.

This reminds me of another Democratic tech snafu: the debut of the glitch-laden and over-budget Obamacare website, technically called

There was the hashtag #MayorCheat, alleging links between Pete Buttigieg and the company that built the app for the caucuses, Shadow — Could it have a worse name? No, it could not! — and also its funder, a Democratic digital strategy operation called Acronym.... As the writer Maura Quint noted on Twitter: “Feels like you can ask people to trust the process or you can name your election companies Acronym and Shadow like they’re rival gangs of supervillains in a movie where Spiderman teams up with G.I. Joe to save Manhattan, but you can’t do both.”
With 62% of the votes allegedly now being accurately reported, #MayorCheat is very slightly in the lead (in delegates; Sanders leads the popular vote). So-called "Frontrunner" Biden barely made viability. Warren is in third, not very far above Biden but comfortably viable.

"Quality Control"

I'm pretty sure that means "editing."

UPDATE:  The unity headquarters reporting room is apparently located in a boiler room, complete with furnace for undesirable results and documentation.

They're not even pretending anymore.


DNC mulls asking Trump to run as a Democrat, to stop Sanders.

Trump supports impeachment, forcing Dems to oppose it.

In nominally non-satirical news, the Iowa caucus is turning into just about the goat rodeo that was predicted.  Stephen Green says of the lollygagging, "This is a simple game.  You count the votes, you report the votes."

Rider's Journal: Snowmen and Seventy Degrees

It was 66 by the thermometer, but as you can see it hasn't been for long.

It was a nice day today, and I had a few hours this afternoon, so I took a short ride. The longest part of the ride was on North Carolina highway 215, which begins by a rafting and fishing shop (with a credible beer and burger food truck) at US 64, and heads north across the Pisgah Ridge at Beech Gap, then on to Waynesville and eventually I-40. I-40 will take you to Knoxville or Asheville, as you prefer.

Black balsams at this altitude.

I spent the ride listening to Outlaw Country, trying to pick a song to use as the model for the one you folks wanted me to write. I've got the basic structure of the song mapped, but I still need to put it into poetics that match a tune and rhythm. I'm most inclined to use this one:

But David Allan Coe might object, being still alive and ornery.

Another option is this one:

Willie Nelson is still alive too, but he's not so ornery; and since he literally invites you to steal the song in the lyrics, I doubt he'd complain about it.

Or maybe I'll think of something else. As long as it's a good excuse to take motorcycle rides instead of working, I'm game to keep thinking about it.

Super Bowl Ads

A few are making the rounds such that even I saw them, which means you've all seen them already.

But heck, let's watch them again anyway.

Democrats Offline Not Liberals

A clean majority of non-Twitter Democrats are "Moderate," "Conservative," or "Very Conservative." Fifty-eight percent so identify, 49% choosing "moderate" and the rest one of the right-wing labels (which for some reason are depicted on the left side of the chart).

Of those who do have a Twitter account, 56% are either "Liberal" or "Very Liberal."

A New Quarantine

Wuhan is under a radical sort of quarantine, one in which only one resident per household may leave the house -- and that only every two days, and that only if masked. Roads are closed, public places are largely closed as well.

That's intense, but it's not a new approach. What's new is the digital aspect: if you're from Wuhan, your IDs and payment methods will no longer allow you to function anywhere else. China has flagged those IDs and issued orders to deny them service outside Wuhan. You have to go home even if you got out before, or you can't live because you can't buy things or rent hotels. You cannot buy gas to travel, you cannot go to a hospital outside of Wuhan if you develop the illness.

This is a good reason to keep cash on hand, in spite of the convenience of payment cards. The United States government won't do this to you -- today. But it could.

I Didn't Realize You Could Do That

I wish Atlanta had banned growth thirty years ago, like this town in South Carolina. It's actually a suburb of Charlotte, which sits on the NC/SC border.

But watch out, AVI:
Ms. McCauley, who moved here from San Jose, is leaving later this month. Her husband took a job in Boston and will telecommute from the far suburbs of rural New Hampshire.

“New Hampshire has that quiet feel that Lake Wylie used to have,” she said.


An interesting quiz. I matched up 93% with "Agorist," which they describe thus:
Agorists are market anarchists who seek to starve the state of its resources through counter-economics. The concept of counter-economics includes the gray market (unapproved economic activity) and the black market (illegal economic activity that obeys the NAP), but not the white market (state-approved economic activity) or the red market (violence, theft, and/or coercion). The original agorist was Samuel Edward Konkin III (also know as SEK3), who was dissatisfied with the American libertarian movement of his time. He, like Murray Rothbard and the anarcho-capitalists, supported extreme free market principles. Unlike them, however, he held that these principles, taken to their farthest extremes, supported traditionally left-wing goals such as solidarity and worker's self-management. Thus, Agorists consider themselves left-libertarians, and tend not to call themselves capitalists.
They also have a "Which type of Socialist are you?" quiz. It gave me "collectivist anarchist," which was the kind of anarchism that I scored lowest on with the Anarchy quiz. My guess is that it's just the closest results I could get on a quiz about socialism.

I Suppose That's A Fair Point

Mother Jones Worries About Iowa

In addition to eliminating the Senate and the Electoral College in the name of democracy, the Iowa caucuses are also on the list:
A dozen years ago, I set up shop at a Des Moines middle school to cover the Iowa caucuses on a snowy January night.... Back home the next week, friends asked for a debrief. I told them it reminded me of something I’d recently seen on YouTube: grindadráp, a centuries-old community organized whale hunt practiced annually in the Faroe Islands, when the animals are driven out of the North Atlantic into shallow bays and then beached and bludgeoned with clubs, or stabbed with gaffs until the water runs red. Both events were dynamic, homespun, an exercise of tradition, a visual spectacle—yet archaic and totally disturbing. How do these things happen in the 21st century? Could what I witnessed in Des Moines really be the best way to kick off the selection of the next Leader of the Free World?
Sometimes old traditions are exactly the best place to locate democracy, as it happens. A form that has been stable for generations is a form that generations of people have chosen. If the good of democracy comes from considering the views of others and not only of a small group, why not include the choices of your fathers and mothers, grandfathers and great-grandmothers? If this was choice-worthy for so many for so long, why not consider that they perhaps had a point?

Well, that's just a restatement of Chesterton: "Tradition is the democracy of the dead."

Public/Private Partnership

South Bend has one.
La Casa in December 2016 began issuing the community resident card, branded as “SB ID,” to undocumented immigrants to help them conduct routine daily activities, such as picking up children from school or day care, providing identification to police, obtaining college transcripts, library cards and prescriptions, and clearing background checks needed to volunteer at schools....

...the request for a South Bend card first came to Common Council members from parishioners at St. Adalbert Catholic Church. Buttigieg embraced the idea and the council approved $18,000 in the 2016 city budget to pay for the program.
But by the end of 2016, the city’s legal team had decided that cardholders’ identities might be disclosable under Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act if the city, a public entity, issued the cards, so La Casa agreed to do it instead, Centellas said.

“The program is run, operated and maintained by La Casa, so the data is all ours and there’s been no government dollars used in this,” Centellas said.
It’s like hosting otherwise official emails on a private server.


I was shocked to learn that price controls in the New York rental housing market depressed supply.
“A big majority of our housing stock of stabilized units have been occupied between 40 and 50 years. These units require up to $100,000 and sometimes more, to complete a gut rehabilitation. You don’t need to be a genius to understand it makes no sense to invest that much only to get an $83.00 rent increase,” one survey respondent told CHIP.
* * *
The Commercial Observer reports that the new rent laws are encouraging small- and mid-sized landlords to exit the market entirely, writing that “many property owners have woken up to a world where their buildings are worth 30 to 50 percent less than they were a year ago.”
Stephen Green's take at Instapundit, because crony capitalists love them some crony capitalism:
Easy prediction: Big, connected players will snap up these properties at a steep discount, at which point the city will grant relief and exemptions from the new regulations.