Friday, November 15, 2019

Links 15 November 2019

Sassanian coin showing a Zoroastrian fire altar

"I was hired as an assassin. You don’t bring in a 37-year-old woman to review John Updike in the year of our Lord 2019 unless you’re hoping to see blood on the ceiling." If there is any writer I hate more than John Updike, I can't at the moment think of who that would be, and for a list of reasons that this particular hatchet job doesn't even get to.

The US Army was integrated during the Korean War. White soldiers who served in integrated units had lower rates of anti-black prejudice for decades after the war.

The political original of Pad Thai.

Did the US really win the Cold War?

This is America now: Man Charged in Slashing of 'Baby Trump' Balloon

One American tradition that many immigrants love is tailgating at sporting events. I have an immigrant neighbor who takes his giant RV loaded with food and cooking gear to Maryland lacrosse games; he told me "Mexicans love picnics." Here the Times writes about Kurdish tailgaters at football games in Tennessee.

"Nothing makes sense except in light of inter-individual variation."

"This paper uses US decennial censuses for the period 1850 to 1940 to show that the race gap in incarceration can be traced back to the abolition of slavery in 1865." Also, events like floods and boll weevil infestations that reduced the demand for black labor led to declines in incarceration rates.

Extract from a much praised new history of the Aztecs explains where the notion comes from that they mistook the Spaniards for gods. (Not from Cortez himself, whose letters say nothing of the kind, but from later writers and especially from later Native writers.)

Globalization has reduced global inequality. (Because the gains of poor people in China, India, Indonesia, etc. far more than outweigh the increase in inequality within wealthy nations.)

This black box algorithm can predict which cardiac patients will die within a year better than standard measures, but doctors can't figure out how the AI is doing it.

What it might feel like to touch the moon.

It's hard to train AIs to screen for child pornography when just possessing those images is a crime and sending them from one computer to another can get you ten years in prison.

Polls that are not weighted for education – which is many of them – massively overstate Democratic support.

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