I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
October 17, 2016 - 1:30 p.m.
It's 11:09, let's see if I can finish this by noon. I doubt I will but it's possible. I've already eaten breakfast and had coffee; that will help. Since it's important that you know what I have for every meal it was matzoh brei to make your bubbe cry. I understand if you want to leave out the ham but here's a pro tip, add a little garlic salt to the batter before you fry it. I add MSG too. Not a lot of either, it should be subtle.
The noon thing isn't happening, it's 11:39. Welcome to my life. I got distracted. But now I'm going to be good and not do some of my daily checking in the world till I write this. Damn give me five more minutes. I have to check the election prediction sites. That can't wait. I'm back. FiveThirtyEight gives Hillary an 88% chance of winning while the Upshot says 70%. There's a much bigger disagreement about the senate where FiveThirtyEight gives the Democrats a 68% chance of controlling the Senate and the Upshot only 56%. Don't choose to believe the numbers that you want more. That's what I'm going to write about today but first I have to give the little details of my life. Hey this is my blog. You're supposed to be interested in me!
I did not leave the apartment yesterday. I was going to but there was nothing pressing and WFUV got me hooked. From 8 AM when A Thousand Welcomes comes on till 8 PM when John Platt's Sunday Supper ends I listen all day when I'm home with just a break from 11 till noon when the Catholic Mass is on. Somehow I can miss that. I listen to WFUV far less than I used to. It used to be the default if I was home. I'd stop to watch TV or listen to CDs. Otherwise it was on as I did other things. Now they just play what I love on Sundays but I really love what they play then. It's a day of Irish music and Folk music. There's one thing that John Platt has been doing that I don't like. He uses birthdays and other anniversaries to feature main stream artists that I can hear anywhere. He only has three hours a week, I wish he'd concentrate on the music that only he plays. When I take over for him that's how I'm going to run the show. You didn't know that I was John's heir apparent? That's OK neither does John or anyone at the station. It's just like the women that don't know they are going to marry me. One of them got married to somebody else this year; good thing I have back up plans. Are you hoping you are one of them or fearful of it?
Now that I finished Stranger Things I've turned totally uncool; I'm binge watching a network TV show without a cult following, The Flash. I have always had a soft spot for the world's fastest human. The new series is quite good. I like the old fashion element of someone who feels that their job is to keep everyone safe. Nerds are heroes in it. They go to trivia nights at bars. Give it a try; it's on Netflix.
Last night I made ham steak and French fries. I haven't done the fries in ages. Argh, I forgot to take tonight's chicken for dinner out of the freezer. I'll be right back. I'll be eating late tonight. Can't do it right now, remind me in 20 minutes. Don't forget.
One useful thing about Facebook is discovering how other people's minds work. Sure you get that from talking to people too but not as many people and some topics never come up. I have friends that I thought of singularly weird which thanks to Facebook I've discovered that many people share their peculiarities. I find some that share mine too. If only 1% of the people have some trait that means, there are over 33 million people in America with it. You won't encounter it that often but when you have 1400 Facebook friends 14 will have it and you'll see it.
So now back to choosing the prediction that you prefer. To me that's ridiculous but I see so many people doing just that. In baseball the sabermetricians have won the day. Now people know about advanced statistics and to not take batting average and rbis so seriously. Of course there are still holdouts. I posted about Noah Syndergaard's WAR, wins above replacement and someone said, "What's that? What's wrong with ERA, wins and losses?" Wins and losses are worse than RBIs which is why you can now win a Cy Young with less than 15 wins.
Nate Silver one of the sabermetricians then applied the same methods to politics and it has replaced the simple statistics there too. He and his peers have shown how noisy single polls are. One poll is almost meaningless. It is totally meaningless if you don't know details of how it was taken and the history of the pollsters. Some are far more reliable than others and because of the way things are weighted there are "house effects" than are biased. It doesn't mean they have a thumb on the scale. It's not a moral failing. It's a product of their methods not their political leanings.
All that has been widely publicized. Even if you don't know the details that only wonks know you should know not to take any one poll seriously, especially outliers that are far from what other polls have found. Yet every day I see people posting things like "Clinton is up 14%!" "Trump is ahead!" "Clinton is winning in Texas!" I see intelligent numerate people posting these things. Why? Because they are looking for affirmation of their personal bias and value that more than they value the truth.
That does not just happen in election results. We see it all over. People will hunt for the one thing that backs up what they want to be true even if it means ignoring most of what they encounter. Of course people put themselves in bubbles where they only read things by likeminded people so it is most of what they see. People will decry it in others then do exactly the same thing. Here's a simple rule to follow. Never post anything from a clickbait site. They have misleading headlines and tell you exactly what you want to be true. You can find something to support any position on them. I know it's not easy but work at fighting your confirmation bias. It will make you a better person.
I know it won't do any good but if you don't make that post getting all excited about one poll you'll make me happy. More accurately you won't make me unhappy. If I go days without seeing it then I'll be happy and you will have contributed.
Thank you very much. You did not remind me to take the chicken out. Luckily I didn't depend on you and set my timer. You got a lotta nerve to say you are my friend. See how classy this blog is? I quote a Nobel Literature Prize winner.
Moralexicon - October 22, 2016
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