this week i

published longitudinally on elderly and disabled americans with high out of pocket prescription drug spending.  i hit this ridiculous error while polishing health and retirement studypew research center smoother sailing.  claudia sent me a tremendous haiku, people like her prompted people like me to shrug, invent the phrase, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."  choosing the correct statistical test another gripping read, plus hey that's me

drew with dilorenzofor people who are not fans of drawing hands or feet.  on my own circe, gwss: is it chilly down here, or is it just me?


saw molly tuttle's first performance after second grammy win alongside some like it hot, joni mitchell.  revati carved giraffe-print statue of liberty


seek opportunities to create and recreate governments based on watersheds

this "balkanization" ... of watershed management

an historical exercise in counterfactualism

create and recreate governments based on watersheds

only the borders of a hand full of states such as west virginia - virginia and idaho - montana were delineated along watershed lines

the borders of the swiss canton valais are wholly based on the rhone river watershed

 in 1776, when george washington (a general and land surveyor) crossed the delaware river on christmas eve in a pivotal battle of the revolution, the dictionaries of the time did not list "watershed" as a word

the boundaries of the greenbriar river watershed in wv constitute a lengthy boundary between east and west virginia



read between ocean and bay: a natural history of delmarva by jane scott.  did you know snapping turtles are ornery motherfuckers?  now you do.

a banded, blue-grey metamorphic rock called gneiss..the main component of a strata ten miles thick below the delmarva piedmont

by the close of the cretaceous period, the class of mammals known as marsupials were common.  our familiar opossum is a survivor

mammoths and mastodons were principally differentiated by the structure of their molars

tobacco..the peninsula's first monoculture

the farmers in this country, if they can be called farmers, is not to make the most they can from the land, which is . . . cheap, but the most of the labor, which is dear
-george washington, 1791

dunghill fowl

the red-cockaded woodpecker is gone and the delmarva fox squirrel threatened

pill bugs (family armadillidiidae)

woodpeckers' feet have two toes forward and two toes behind

cardinals, cardinalis cardinalis

a buck's antlers are deciduous..the most rapidly growing osseous (bony) structures found in mammals

a history of new sweden, first published in 1759

as in most east coast estuaries, the denser salt water moves to the northeast, making the chesapeake saltier on the eastern shore side, and the delaware bay on the new jersey side, a phenomenon that is believed to be caused by the earth's rotation, or coriolis force, the same force that in the northern hemisphere causes water to run down drains in a clockwise direction

the multitude of fireflys glittering in the dark upon the surface of the [elk river] marsh makes it appear like a great plain scattered over with spangles.
-alexander hamilton, 1744
the skeeters were so thick you could twirl a pint cup around your head and catch a quart every time.
-ralph c. wilson, nineteenth century
the musk-rat furnishes a savory dish for any one who will set a choke-snare in the nearest creek, and his skin will purchase the accompaniments to make up the meal.
-robert wilson, 1876

the seaside alder, alnus maritima.  the seaside alder resembles the common alder, alnus serrulata, except for the fact that it flowers in the autumn.  it is endemic to the peninsula..there are also a few trees in a small area of south central oklahoma: it is thought that they grew from seeds or plants carried west by the lenni-lenape

swamp warblers..the flamboyant prothonotary

before world war ii, there was an eagle's nest about every three miles along the convoluted chesapeake shoreline

blackwater's eagles usually return to the peninsula from the gulf coast sometime in december.  before breeding, the pairs indulge in spectacular courtship flights, sometimes locking talons and executing a series of descending somersaults

studies done on an osprey colony in nova scotia have shown that the birds actually exchange information about good fishing grounds and even discriminate between fish species.  an osprey returning with an alewife, for instance, will cause other birds to take to the air and retrace his flight path, yet one returning with a flounder will not.  the birds seem to know that, because alewives move in large schools, they have a good chance of getting a fish for themselves.  catching a bottom fish like a flounder, on the other hand, is a random occurrence, not likely to be repeated

the males are smaller and have appendages that look like boxing gloves, called pedipalps.  they are designed to grasp the carapace of the female during mating..then on a moonlight night in early may, millions of male horseshoe crabs appear on delmarva's beaches..female crabs rise out of the water behind them.  the males scramble after them waving their tails like sticks in the surf..they then cover the egg mass with sand and return to the water.  that is, if they are lucky; many crabs are flipped by the surf and cannot right themselves.  they die on the sand before they can be rescued by the next incoming tide

semipalmated sandpipers

the american oystercatcher..loosens the muscle from its moorings and inflicts rapid well-directed blows until the shell breaks.  if the bird breaks its own bill in the process, he can grow a new one in two to three weeks

a snowy egret feeds by stirring up the water with his foot to flush out tiny shrimp and aquatic insects.  they grow handsome plumes in the breeding season, and were once a prime target of the millinery trade

herons, night herons, and egrets, as well as the bitterns, all belong to the family ardeidae whereas ibis are in the family threskiornithidae with the tropical spoonbills

the ship, which was bound for spain in the early 1800s with a cargo of gold and silver from peru, ran aground on assateague after breaking up in a gale.  also on board were one hundred small draft horses that had been used by the spaniards in panamanian mines.  the horses, bred to be small in order to work in mine tunnels, had been blinded by the spaniards to make them easier to handle underground


this week i

drew the milky way galaxy, plus dominoes on exercise mat.  as you can see, the orion spur survives the galactodominopocalypse


fed samira the orange trinity between east, west wings of the national gallery.  this statue is kinda like đź–•


stood in the embassy echo chamber. so if you lie down at just the right angle you can get the canadian flag above the us capitol #warof1812

argued north or south american marsupials cooler.  oh as if your disputes more important.  my favorite sam mcgee though: his recline smile inferno

watched nordic crusaders like antonius block flee black plague in the seventh seal

imitate a bear

emptiness in the moonlight

my herbs could have purged you of your anxiety about eternity, but now it's too late



(1) a 'statistical standing army'

on 27 april, for example, the cover of the saturday evening post was norman rockwell's depiction of a census-taker making notes as a large woman counts on her fingers the names of the red-headed, freckled children who peek out all around her

no census, no feeling, a slapstick short featuring the three stooges

harriet beecher stowe was one of those who expressed outrage that 'the most important statistical document of the united states has been boldly, grossly and perserveringly falsified' and appended a discussion of 'fact v. figures' to her 'key' to uncle tom's cabin

it was only after 1970, when a postal census was widely implemented, that people were finally able to represent themselves, albeit within the limits of the categories offered

of 'taking the census in alabama,' he signed it 'by a "chicken-man" of 1840' - a reference to the common belief that his job was to identify (for tax purposes) every chicken, cow, and loom

what statisticians call a differential undercount.  'none shall escape me and none shall wish to escape me,' walt whitman declared in 'carol of occupations', one of many poems in which he presents himself as a kind of ideal census-taker.  in reality the poorest and most precarious parts of the population often escape the purview of the census, whether they wish to or not

not until i came to harlem that one day a census-taker dropped around to my house and asked me where i was born and why, also my age and if i was still living

(2) france must pay a fair price for nigerien uranium

on 16 september, mali, burkina faso and niger signed the liptako-gourma charter establishing their own tripartite 'alliance of sahel states'

(3) the continuing statelessness

before, i used to say that gaza is an open-air prison.  now i say gaza is an open grave . . . you think people here are alive?  they are zombies

to overcome its humiliation by hamas, the idf has been no different from - and no more intelligent than - the french in algeria, the british in kenya, or the americans after 9/11

grotesque asymmetry

(4) mammalian milk least as biochemically elaborate and dynamic as blood

perhaps you'd like your cafe au lait black

in 1950 the average cow in the united states produced 5,314 pounds of milk per year.  by 2019 that annual output had more than quadrupled, to 23,400 pounds

(5) the ukranian word volia, which means freedom but also the will to fight for it

europeans again said, "never again!"  now it has happened yet again.  this is the "never" that seemingly never comes

we're not afraid of anything

 europe doesn't end at any clear line - except possibly the north pole, where it ends at a point.  in all other directions, europe merely fades away: across the vast expanse of russia, somewhere between st. petersburg and vladivostock; across turkey, somewhere between istanbul and the iranian frontier; across the mediterranean, that mare nostrum (our sea)

canada would be an ideal member of the eu

the now 830 million africans under the age of twenty-five.  (for comparison, the total population of the eu is 450 million)


(6) a new international right to cognitive and mental privacy

cognitive liberty

apple, for example, has a patent to integrate sensors that track brain wave activity into its earbuds; these sensors can determine if someone is alert and paying attention, or dragging and disengaged.  this sounds benign until you consider who, in addition to yourself, might want access to that data

implant sensors directly into the brain in order to merge human intelligence with artificial intelligence.  since this could open our bodies to malware, it suggests a whole new way of losing our minds

rights do not protect us from ourselves if we are willing to waive them

no quantitative measures to determine whether and how much..treatments work: an anti-psychotic "works" if a patient looks and feels less psychotic

(7) deserves a place in the pantheon of women with no fucks left to give

the new york society for the suppression of vice

the heirs of polyanthos and the national police gazette continue at fox news and newsmax

(8) aracataca

a dense cloud of yellow butterflies

nothing interesting happened to him after the age of eight

those first eight years, spent with his maternal grandparents in aracataca..gave him enough material for the whole of his writing life

united fruit took everything

true in another way

the endless line of people who waited more than twenty-four hours to pay him tribute in the palacio de bellas artes in mexico city, and one man in that line who told a tv news camera that he learned to read so he could read one hundred years of solitude

one hundred years of solitude - a book that, for readers who came after, has always been there

(9) killing eighty thousand people instantly

the bombs..had deliberately been aimed at people's homes

the true objective of the bombings had been to intimidate the soviet union and render stalin more amenable to american demands regarding eastern europe

american voters would not forgive any concessions after years of hirohito's vilification..the emperor could stay on his throne, but 'subject' to the authority of the supreme commander of the allied powers'.  it was an artful compromise, bellicose in tone but conceding on what had long been the major impediment to surrender

(10) how to turn a crowd into a nation

cuiaba - "our tropical siberia"

the only brazilian to have a state named after him

(11) laughing francis hurling doves from his hands

what a nun who is also a widow would wear to the y

unaffected by a papal audience..'if i were there, i would just be like "hey"'

he smells like ten men

across the aisle, naked and rosy, dangles the largest baby foot i have ever seen.  i text my friends a picture of it, to give them an idea of the infant's proportions.  king baby, i call him, and steal looks at him throughout the flight; reassured, protected, in the presence of a monument


 me in the bathtub like whoopi goldberg, covered with unblessed hosts

this is constantly happening to me

'yes, i'll take these.  and the torso,' i tell her, pointing to the window, where a little tin belly button winks in the afternoon light


a little rulepig

before leaving that morning, we stuffed my bag with all sorts of objects, reasoning that if the pope blessed me, anything on my person would be blessed as well..there's a tampon in there that going forward i will hesitate to use

i walk forward to meet him, i glitch.  i tell him my name, which seems untrue.  'i hope your stomach feels better,' i say, insanely, pointing to mine.  possibly i even say tummy

let every chair that was not invented by this guy break instantly under my ass for the rest of my life

rose petals instead of a head, for believers

(12) against "woke" education

rutherford's pamphlet a measuring rod to test text-books, and reference books in schools, colleges, and libraries laid down instructions as rigid as those of a soviet cultural commissar

companies sometimes published separate editions of a textbook for north and south (the latter were known in the trade as "mint julep" editions) disgruntled author complained that "to write a history of this country, without giving offense to anyone, one should stop at 1492

a mcclatchy-marist poll in 2015 asked a national sample of american adults, "what's your impression of why the civil war in this country was fought?"  only 42 percent said it was "mainly about slavery"; 43 percent said "mainly about states' rights"

(13) the new heart of darkness

governor muyej used to call his province "the saudi arabia of cobalt," and the comparison is apt, if a little ungenerous: saudi arabia produced 13 percent of the world's oil in 2022, while almost 70 percent of last year's global cobalt output was mined in congo

the feverish excavation of cobalt in medieval conditions

the filth-caked children

(14) dinosaur renaissance

"dragons of the prime/that tare each other in their slime," alfred tennyson wrote of dinosaurs in 1850, in a poem we best remember today for the expression "nature, red in tooth and claw"

lizard-hipped dinosaurs unalike to bird-hipped dinosaurs

a t. rex, a triceratops, a sail dinosaur, perhaps a pterodactyl..the age of thermal plastic that turned loving dinosaurs into a recognized phase of childhood development

skeuomorphism: the sentimental or surplus mimicry of a mechanical feature within a digital one - the way that programmers have added the sonic effect of a snapping lens shutter to phone cameras - naturalizing the novel technology by wrapping it in the trappings of the old

no stegosaurus ever choked on a shopping bag.  no ichthyosaur expired in the sludge of an oil spill

the continents unstitch along their tectonic boundaries and shuttle to and fro

the primordial origins of multicellular life..bottled up in a single mysterious species scientists call luca, the last universal common ancestor

the moon..twelve thousand kilometers nearer and some 15 percent brighter than it is at its modern-day perigee

the lives of charismatic megafauna

world-forging cataclysms


(15) all the power and force of constitutional law pushed against public health interventions

democratic-appointed judges rejected the religious claims and ruled for the government 80 percent of the time, while republican-appointed judges accepted them and ruled against the government 77 percent of the time


(16) alexandria in the cloud

the mickey mouse protection act

copyright legislation has only gone downhill

of the 10,000 us books published in 1930, only 174 were still in print in 2001

(17) named after its superficial resemblance to the placental lion and its ecological niche as a large predator

apex predator within australian ecosystems

their inclusion within vombatformes..only two families represented by four herbivorous species (koalas and three species of wombat) have survived into modern times

marsupial lions were found to be unable to use the prolonged, suffocating bite typical of living big cats..incisors would have been used to stab at and pierce the flesh of their prey while the more specialised carnassials crushed the windpipe, severed the spinal cord, and lacerated the major blood vessels such as the carotid artery and the jugular vein

syndactyly (fused second and third toes)

a hypercarnivore

the marsupial lion may have cached kills in trees and in a manner similar to the modern leopard

the arrival of humans in australia and the use of fire-stick farming precipitated their decline

(18) roosevelt's unfinished second bill of rights

the tragic errors such as ostrich isolationism

mr. churchill, and marshal stalin, and generalissimo chiang kai-shek

disunity at home - bickerings, self-seeking partisanship, stoppages of work, inflation, business as usual, politics as usual, luxury as usual

people who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made

the whining demands of selfish pressure groups who seek to feather their nests while young americans are dying

benjamin franklin on july 4, 1776: "we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately"

(19) fordism is the foundation of musk's business model

"i am the alpha in this relationship," he whispered to his first wife, justine, while dancing at their wedding.  later, he would often tell her, "if you were my employee, i would fire you"

behind cupertino sits zhengzhou, where workers assemble phones for apple; behind mountain view sits nairobi, where workers moderate content for facebook


(20) child poverty more than doubled between 2021 and 2022, jumping from 5.2 percent to 12.4 percent

for every dollar distributed through the ppp, 75 cents found its way into the hands of families in the top 20 percent of the income distribution

the american rescue plan..reduced child poverty to its lowest rate in us history, driving it down by 44 percent in six months



this week i

sent holiday cheer via reindeer charioteer. the crucial moments of our lives / innately come as a surprise. canadifferences: about, sorry, zed, quebec

when you think about it, giraffes are more impossible than unicorns

how many times do you check your work? // until it stops smelling like poop

that's a terrible photograph // well, you're in it, got to work with the material you've got

do you think i'll get more nice emails from people at nchs? // notice he didn't comment on the haikus

envision antony and cleopatra act 1, scene 5, line 25 o happy horse, to bear the weight of antony! plus three-letter arcade top scorers hdn, wam, lvb

credit rembrandt with invention of the non-player character (npc). anatomy lessons were a social event in the 17th century. check my mean baleen

danced to beach boys pet sounds, peak instrumental creativity. school of athens, four terrain home, lucas cranach the elder, punic war with dinosaur



(1) in guatemala..digging up mass graves

whenever you get into a confrontation with the police, the guy with the biggest badge wins

work in the day and cry at night 

(2) unlimited liability for trivial errors could return


(3) light as a spiritual phenomenon

vermeer's virtual disappearance from the record is usually explained by the small size of his corpus - modern scholars estimate that the entire oeuvre consisted of some forty-five to fifty works, as compared to more than 350 currently attributed to his great compatriot rembrandt


(4) banned in south africa

shoot a reel of film and fade away like a wraith

cole's ice-cool forays into dangerous territory often look poised and considered, as if he'd been assigned to shoot a commercial or a sports day prizegiving

on a hospital tv, a week before he died in february 1990, he watched mandela walk away from victor verster prison

one of the great witnesses to the apartheid years


(5) if you're in kyiv, and you only speak russian and english, it's politic to try english first

relief, perhaps, that it was someone else, putting a shiver of triumph in your own working limbs and heartbeat

volunteers gathered by a project called repair together, which combines reconstruction work with weekend rave parties

taboo on happiness..most people not on the front line had a feeling of guilt

half the windows in a nearby skyscraper were missing

even in wartime, flowers bloom


(6) child soldiers, bullet-riddled corpses and squalid refugee camps set in a candyfloss landscape

the deep greens of the congolese jungle as hot pinks and purples

the humans and their baleful work

the blazing, contaminated, violent frontier of a planetary-scale disaster

(7) the overkill hypothesis

mammals..began to fill the ecological niches that the asteroid emptied

homo sapiens giving the chicxulub asteroid a run for its ecocidal money in the twenty-first century

a mastodon roast in virginia


(8) improperly stored next to..twenty-three tons of fireworks and a thousand car tires

sahar fares, a twenty-seven-year-old firefighter whose smiling face, as she leaned out the window of a fire truck, became a national symbol..her body was identified by her engagement ring


(9) we might, in fact, be past it already, treading thin air like wile e. coyote before the fall

government reports from the 1970s and 1980s are eerily similar to climate projections today: 'nuclear smoke clouds generated by a relatively low level of explosions (e.g. a hundred megaton) could cool the earth's surface by 36° to 72° fahrenheit'

instead of trying to fabricate precision out of desperation, or calculating just because we can, we need to take stock of what we do not or cannot know

the shapes of many of the pdfs are pretty much unknown, even unknowable.  we could just assume everything is normally distributed, make an informed estimate of each pdf's centre (the mean) and standard deviation (the degree to which the distribution is spread out), and hope for the best.  this is in fact standard practice when modellers have nothing more to go on

computation, which is what modelling is all about, suggests precision, even when it shouldn't

(10) public-private partnerships have become the magic formula

for every persian gulf potentate or monroe doctrine satrap on whom the us lavished arms and accolades, there was a mohammad mosaddegh or jacobo arbenz or salvador allende who dared to threaten euro-american corporations' god-given right to these countries' resources


(11) if people are arguing about your numbers, you're winning

the word comes from the german: statistik, of or pertaining to the state or government

the winner in the no-census stakes is lebanon, which hasn't had one since 1932

the dry records of name and number give the faintest hints of the dramatic individual changes in circumstance they record.  frederick douglass appears in the 1830 census as a number: he is probably the '1' indicating a male slave aged between ten and 24 living in the baltimore household headed by hugh the 1840 census frederick douglas is listed as a head of household in new bedford, massachusetts

he was talking about market research, and when i said something sensitive and thoughtful about it being mostly bullocks, he replied: 'no, it can be very helpful, but the thing you have to remember is that it is delphic.  it answers the question you ask, but it doesn't tell you what to do

thatcher's conservative government changed the way unemployment was measured more than thirty times

goodhart's law: 'when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure' 


(12) scribblers, pirates and mystagogues wrote their prospectuses

franchising their sovereignty

the grand trunk pacific railway got federal guarantees and crown land to connect atlantic canada with a deepwater port on the closest ice-free harbour to asia, in remote british columbia 

(13) nantucket sleighride

orca communities are very conservative and tend not to mix with one another..some studies even call orcas 'xenophobic', so pronounced is their distaste for unrelated communities of their own kind

they would alert the whalers by breaching and lob-tailing (slapping their tail flukes on the water) before guiding the whaling crew to their prey and assisting in the kill, leaping on the backs of the stricken whales and trying to cover their blowholes.  their prize was delivered under what became known as 'the law of the tongue': the whalers would anchor down the carcass and leave it for a day or so to allow the orcas to prise open the whale's mouth to eat the tongue and lips (these are typically the only parts of a large whale that orcas consume, even in groups where baleen whales are their only prey; similarly, the south african pods that have recently been observed hunting fully grown great white sharks eat only the liver, which they extract with startling precision)

the appearance of orcas around ten million years ago correlates with the sudden and mysterious disappearance of more than half the known species of cetaceans, seals and sirenians (dugongs and manatees) from the fossil record.  as with the widespread extirpation of terrestrial megafaunt from areas colonised by humans during the pleistocene, one hypothesis is that orcas, as they expanded into new marine ecosystems, hunted many existing sea mammals to extinction.  it 'seems very likely..killer whales have eradicated whole species, perhaps many species' 


(14) early buddhist art is shot through with the cosmology of ancient animist cults that existed before the arrival of the new teachings

this forgotten world of the early deccan

hungry ghosts

nirvana, which means simply "a flame blown out by the wind"


(15) wage earners and their sympathizers

when the smith-connally act, passed over roosevelt's veto, banned union contributions in federal elections in 1943, the congress of industrial organizations (cio) got around it by inventing the political action committee

(16) the fungal pandemic

a cave near albany

hibernating bats are easy to census

their snouts were covered with a white powdery substance, as if they'd been snorting cocaine

like people and indeed like all animals - but unlike viruses or bacteria - fungi are eukaryotes, which is to say their cells contain a clearly defined nucleus.  the similarity in structure.."makes fungal cells difficult to target and kill without damaging our own cells"

(17) everyone now knows that corvids are intelligent and octopuses have brains in their arms

animals bred to have abnormally large appetites and which grow so fast that their legs cannot support their weight (in 1925, it would take a chicken sixteen weeks to reach 2.5 lb; today's 'broilers' reach 6.5 lb in the five to seven weeks they are allowed to live

insect sentience is a contested area

(18) what memory might struggle to retain

finger-counting, or dactylonomy, which assigns numbers to joints and hand positions, transforming multiplication and addition into a business of folding fingers and brushing knuckles..the english 'digit' derives from the latin digitus, finger or toe

the benefit of logarithms is that they allow you to transform multiplication and division into the simpler operations addition and subtraction.  imagine you want to multiply 8 by 16.  if you express these numbers as multiplications of two, it's the same as multiplying 2^3 by 2^4.  instead of doing that, however, you can just add together their logarithms, 3 and 4.  so 8 times 16 becomes the same as 2^7

 rare indeed was the kitchen drawer . . . that did not hide at least one broken calculator..its lcd display clouded or its battery compartment crusted with the lifeblood of exploded aaas

(19) roads with more than 10,000 vehicles per day should be considered absolute barriers to most wildlife

by 1995 deer were a factor in more than a million crashes a year, with two hundred human fatalities - making this gentle creature "north america's most dangerous animal"

the sole road in denali national park is now open only to buses carrying tourists, in part to reduce the noise of cars.  (evs will be scant help here - above thirty-five miles per hour, it turns out, tires produce more noise than engines)

"the story of the rainforest's unraveling is that of its highways, the 'lines of penetration' through which logs poured out and agriculture flooded in"

phoenix now has 12.2 million parking spaces, or three per person; des moines has twenty parking spaces per household.  little rock, newport news, buffalo, and topeka devote more land to parking lots than to buildings.  by square footage, there is more housing for each car in the us than there is housing for each person


(20) dole, then extolling viagra on television, contended that their legislation had never been intended to control drug prices

in 1847 the founders of what became the american medical association (ama) adopted a code of ethics that declared it "inconsistent with beneficence and professional liberality" to patent a medicine or prescribe a medicine that was patented


this week i

wonder if cia accountants lead interesting lives.  france without manche is a star.  you have a chef's kiss of a face.  i learned of the lion of venice


illustrated if carcinization expands beyond aquatic arthropods, with bonus oral view bobtail squid.  aren't all cetaceans cetaceans of paradise?


retold the late pleistocene extinctions with jacopo bassano's best.  if all crustaceans tend toward crabs, all my poetry tends toward casey at the bat

ark manifest enumerates two pigeons, passengers,
but rush to beat the rains, no time for fishing poles hooks lures
sabre tiger deathly rattle
woolly rhino spikes the punch
and all because poor noah has forgot to pack a lunch

could never tame hippocamps like oceanus, his beard effortlessly better than my dome. leaden pinky, but not pictured: lower back hair aka dorsal fin



(1) there has never been a comprehensive inventory of pre-columbian sites across the basin


machine learning techniques such as random forests have become popular for species distribution models

predictive probability function for the number of as yet undetected earthworks

our model predicts the number of as yet undiscovered pre-columbian structures at between 10,272 and 23,648 with 95% probability, giving an average of 16,187 sites..these estimates suggest that the earthworks already documented in the amazon to date account for a mere 4 to 9% of the total, and that 91 to 96% of amazonian earthworks remain undiscovered

(2) cbo's distribution of family wealth

concentration of wealth.  the growth of real wealth over the past three decades was not uniform: family wealth increased more in the top half of the distribution than in the bottom half.  families in the top 10 percent and in the top 1 percent of the distribution, in particular, saw their share of total wealth rise over the period.  in 2019, families in the top 10 percent of the distribution held 72 percent of total wealth, and families in the top 1 percent of the distribution held more than one-third; families in the bottom half of the distribution held only 2 percent of total wealth

how does cbo's estimate of the share of wealth held by the top 1 percent of the distribution compare with estimates from other studies?  cbo estimates that the share of wealth held by the top 1 percent of the wealth distribution increased by 7.4 percentage points over the period - from 26.6 percent in 1989 to 34.0 percent in 2019.  the agency's estimate of the share of all wealth held by the top 1 percent in 2019 is roughly in the middle of the other estimates, which range from 30.7 percent to 37.9 percent.  other studies' estimates of the increase in that share over the 1989-2019 period are similar to cbo's, ranging from 6.6 percentage points to 7.6 percentage points.  several factors explain the variation in those estimates, including differences in the data sources, unit of analysis, and definition of wealth used by the studies

median family wealth, by age group: thousands of 2019 dollars


various estimates of the share of wealth held by families in the top 1 percent of the wealth distribution

the forbes 400 although the scf covers nearly the full distribution of family wealth, by design it does not include information about the nation's 400 wealthiest people, as identified by forbes magazine.  cbo supplemented the scf data with the forbes data to identify the shares of wealth held by different groups and to calculate the percentiles of the full distribution of family wealth.  the forbes data lack information on portfolio allocations, so when calculating changes in categories of assets and debt for families in the top 10 percent of the wealth distribution, cbo approximated the forbes 400 families' composition of wealth by using that of other families in the top 0.1 percent of the distribution of net worth

financial accounts of the united states the faus are national accounts that measure total wealth by economic sector.  the data are released quarterly by the federal reserve board.  each release shows the assets and liabilities in each sector of the economy at the end of the period in question.  cbo supplemented the data on family wealth from the scf with information about total defined benefit wealth from the faus.  that information was taken from table l.117, "private and public pension funds," which includes total defined benefit liabilities of private, federal, and state and local funds

(3) anyone wondering what the future of space exploration might look like should pay attention to the governance of the high seas

bottom trawling alone releases as much carbon as the entire aviation industry

the governance of the giant bluefin tuna, for instance, has been a policy of 'managed extinction'

(4) i want them all to go, even if they go to the moon

a statement of approval by the israeli government for an operation to transfer sixty thousand palestinians from the gaza strip to paraguay

(5) europe in revolution at california's gold rush

from the beginning of march 1848, it becomes impossible to trace the revolutions as a linear sequence from one theatre of turbulence to the next.  we enter the fission phase, in which almost simultaneous detonations create complex feedback loops.  reports of political upheaval from cologne, mannheim, darmstadt, nassau, munich, dresden, vienna, pest, berlin.  milan and venice and elsewhere fuse into an all-engulfing crisis.  the narrative bursts its banks, the historian despairs and 'meanwhile' becomes the adverb of first resort

the departing world leaves behind it not an heir but a pregnant widow.  between the death of one and the birth of the other much water will flow by, a long night of chaos and desolation will pass

'we are not poles,' they told their masters.  'we are imperial peasants.'  then they turned on the szlachta with sharpened scythes and flails, chased them to their manor houses and began the massacre of thousands of landowners, their families and their stewards

"i see the people rise in tumult; i see kings grow pale beneath their diadems"


(6) the bts song 'not today' (571 million views on youtube) takes on police brutality; 'go go' and 'silver spoon' are concerned with income inequality

(7) it's not poverty we need to get rid of..but our judgment of poverty

the reign of domitian, who forced philosophy teachers out of the city on suspicion of anti-imperial sympathies

marcus aurelius'
meditations were written by a misanthropic, warmongering emperor for his own edification, but epictetus' kindness to his needy, self-pitying students is legible on the page

for a stoic, as for an epicurean or a cynic, well-being is not about feeling cheerful, but about control

epictetus' version of stoicism posed no threat to existing social norms.  diogenes the cynic had shown his contempt for convention by living in a barrel, wearing rags and defecating in public

the wise stoic never gives up his desire for power and possessions

the unmanliness of tweezing body hair


(8) the british understood that there was nothing organic about nigeria, the country they had fashioned in 1914 for the purpose of plunder

bola ahmed to be seventy but is at least ten years older


(9) stealand landford

in the summer of 1852 stanford's father disposed of his shiftless son by paying for his passage around cape horn to join his siblings.  (before the transcontinental railroad, the sea voyage was cheaper than the land route)

the university's current art museum still devotes a couple of rooms to reliquary items like leland jr.'s baby shoes, some of his toys, and his death mask

the classic posture of strychnine poisoning victims: knees widely separated, soles of the feet turned inward, insteps arched, toes pointed, eyeballs protruded, pupils dilated, jaws fixed, fingers contracted, thumbs digging into the palms of her hands


(10) in 1894 thomas edison's studio produced a brief film of two cats boxing with each other

we do not know how they conceived of larger, less competent cats?

cats galore encore!

the greeks and romans were familiar enough with cats (though much of their mousing was done by snakes and weasels).  but cats play almost no role in the greco-roman imagination

spinoza's idea of conatus ("the tendency of living things to preserve and enhance their activity in the world")

that cats have no use for philosophy is an indictment..not of cats, but of philosophy: "posing as a cure, philosophy is a symptom of the disorder it pretends to remedy"

as a harvard medical student, the future republican senate majority leader bill frist adopted cats from boston-area animal shelters, whisked them off to the lab, and dissected them, to provide data for experiments on cardiac muscles.  he had the grace to express some regret about this later



this week i

published health coverage by race and ethnicity, 2010-2022 and key facts about the uninsured population.  cinnamon looks like this rn


dined on cod curry.  i'm done with other beers, they've had their chance.  jeopardy round 4/20/23 ken: "and the final clue.."  contestant #3: "bring it"


wonder would dragon sneeze snot or fire? wmata ceilings look like tmnt breastplates. no no no here's all you have to do. type, "hey [colleague], {comical typing motion} describe problem describe problem describe problem" and hit send // if i just put a photo of you, i don't have to describe it


listened and read..

(1) hallelujah, i love her so


(2) christine lagarde also


(3) the national experimental wellbeing statistics

we address biases from (1) unit nonresponse through improved weights, (2) missing income information in both survey and administrative data through improved imputation, and (3) misreporting by combining or replacing survey responses with administrative information.  reducing survey error substantially affects key measures of wellbeing: we estimate median household income is 6.3 percent higher than in survey estimates, and poverty is 1.1 percentage points lower.  these changes are driven by subpopulations for which survey error is particularly relevant.  for householders aged 65 and over, median household income is 27.3 percent higher than in survey estimates.  for people 65 and over, poverty is 3.3 percentage points lower than the survey estimate.  we do not find a significant impact on median household income for householders under 65 or on child poverty

transparency about our methods, code, and estimates is required for an outsider to understand the implications of those kind of detailed data choices 


(4) irony punctuation

the modern question mark (? u+003f) is descended from the "punctus interrogativus" (described as "a lightning flash, striking from right to left"), but unlike the modern question mark, the punctus interrogativus may be contrasted with the punctus percontativus - the former marking questions that require an answer while the latter marks rhetorical questions

ironic statements..printed in italics that lean the other way from conventional italics, also called sartalics

scare quotes..placed around a word or phrase to indicate that it is not used in the fashion that the writer would personally use it  


(5) einstein's why socialism

the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product

how is it possible, in view of the far-reaching centralization of political and economic power, to prevent bureaucracy from becoming all-powerful and overweening?



(6) david foster wallace's laughing with kafka

it's not for nothing that kafka spoke of literature as "a hatchet with which we chop at the frozen seas inside us"

the really central kafka joke - that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle.  that our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our can tell them that maybe it's good they don't "get" kafka.  you can ask them to imagine his art as a kind of door.  to envision us readers coming up and pounding on this door, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it, we don't know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and pushing and kicking, etc.  that, finally, the door opens...and it opens outward: we've been inside what we wanted all along.  das ist komisch

(7) cormac mccarthy's the kekulé problem

 trying to arrive at the configuration of the benzene molecule and not making much progress when he fell asleep in front of the fire and had his famous dream of a snake coiled in a hoop with its tail in its mouth - the ouroboros of mythology - and woke up exclaiming to himself: "it's a ring.  the molecule is in the form of a ring."  well.  the problem of course - not kekulĂ©'s but ours - is that since the unconscious understands language perfectly well or it would not understand the problem in the first place, why doesnt it simply answer kekulĂ©'s question with something like: "kekulĂ©, it's a bloody ring."  to which our scientist might respond: "okay.  got it.  thanks."

 the unconscious is a machine for operating an animal

breathing, for instance, is not controlled by the unconscious but by the pons and the medulla oblongata, two systems located in the brainstem.  except of course in the case of cetaceans, who have to breathe when they come up for air..the first dolphin anesthetized on an operating table simply died

i've pointed out to some of my mathematical friends that the unconscious appears to be better at math than they are.  my friend george zweig calls this the night shift

the unconscious is a biological operative and language is not.  or not yet.  you have to be careful about inviting descartes to the table

the unconscious is just not used to giving verbal instructions and is not happy doing so.  habits of two million years duration are hard to break


(8) sec chair gary gensler's concerns about artificial intelligence crashing markets

financial crises often arise in one sector, region, or market.  history is replete with shocks emanating from one corner of finance in which the pulling of one thread undoes the financial knitting across an economy.  consider the 2008 financial crisis, the epicenter of which was the u.s. subprime mortgage market

early stage technologies often outpace the development of requisite monitoring capabilities leading to periods of regulation gaps

history and economics have shown that following early phases of competitive diversity, finance often recedes to a more technological uniformity with concentrated actors and interconnected systems

mark carney highlights the likelihood of increased procyclicality in the financial sector due to uniformity.  larry wall and the world economic forum raise the risk that economies of scale in data aggregation will concentrate data sources, perhaps also leading to additional herding behavior

 reinforcement learning helps solve problems that can be modeled as games with rules and incentive structures.  the human-beating chess machines and google deepmind's alpha-go rely on reinforcement learning models.  reinforcement learning may have particular usefulness for capital market trading and investing.  after all, there may be no bigger multi-party competition in the world than the global stock and debt markets

a simple multiple linear model with three input variables will have four parameters - one for each explanatory variable and one for the y-intercept constant.  the neural network shown in figure 1 despite also having three input variables has 37 parameters.  gpt-3, the natural language generator engine of openai, has 175 billion parameters.  the cutting edge of finance neural networks are not as deep as gpt-3, but can still have thousands to millions of parameters.  more modeling parameters increases the likelihood that a model overfits, especially when there are orders of magnitude more parameters than input data points to train on

like forrest gump reaching into his box of chocolates, each time a neural network is trained, the developer does not know what they are going to get

this lack of traditional explainability poses diverse challenges at various levels within organizations and regulatory bodies

the financial system as a complex, adaptive network with similarities to both tropical rainforests and populations during the spread of disease

obscuring risks

multiple sectors deploying deep learning have already seen a coalescence around large, critical datasets.  imagenet is a dominant dataset for academic research in the field of vision recognition research.  google maps, google earth and their affiliate waze dominate the route optimization business and related traffic datasets.  in the field of autonomous vehicles there are the waymo and level 5 datasets, among others.  breast cancer researchers often use the breast cancer wisconsin (diagnostic) data set.  nlp models for text processing and generation commonly use common crawl, a dataset with snapshots of all websites from the last 20 years - effectively representing all of the text on the internet

the inherent characteristics of deep learning, including the challenges of explainability, complexity, and robustness would leave significant gaps for regulators using insufficient tools - akin to using foggy wave glasses - to supervise these models' behavior

existing financial sector regulatory regimes - built in an era of data analytics technology - are likely to fall short in addressing the risks posed by deep learning 


(9) weights in statistics

there are roughly three and a half distinct uses of the term weights in statistical methodology, and it's a problem for software documentation and software development

what's different is variance estimation

only ratios of precision weights matter

with frequency weights..having ten copies of each observation is different from having one copy of each observation

with sampling weights, the randomness is in the sampling..the mean is more precisely estimated when the weights are all similar and less precisely estimated when the weights vary a lot 

(10) retrieval augmented generation

give users insight into llms' generative process

"think of the model as an overager junior employee that blurts out an answer before checking the facts," said lastras.  "experience teaches us to stop and say when we don't know something.  but llms need to be explicitly trained to recognize questions they can't answer"

(11) where did other human species go

they also had chins; something that no other homo species has had (although we don't know why only h sapiens has the protuberance)

at their most abundant there were about 52,000 neanderthals in eurasia before they began to decline

(12) mountain girl

she quickly joined the inner circle of pranksters and became romantically involved with kesey, having a daughter by him named sunshine..she took up with jerry garcia, but they did not marry for many years after.  while living together over the next decade, they raised sunshine along with their two daughters


(13) approximating the size of your social network

there are more than three million americans named michael, around 1% of the population, according to the social security administration, so michaels should also make up 1% of your acquaintances.  if you know eight michaels, you probably know about 800 people

(14) crime statistics

this rate is back to its prepandemic level, which itself came near the end of a multidecade decline.  from 1991 until 2014 violent crime in the u.s., like much of the world, fell sharply, from 783 incidents per 100,000 people to 362.."one of the least remarked upon but most important social phenonema of our lifetimes"

the september national crime victimization survey showed only about 40% of violent crimes were reported to the police in 2022


(15) van gogh's publicist

the key player in the growth of vincent's posthumous fame

the amsterdam social-democratic women's propaganda club

wikipedia for the stage

(16) the latest pisa

globally, students lost the equivalent of three-quarters of a year of learning in math, which was the primary focus of the 2022 test

(17) the excel olympics

the lebron james of excel

the dreaded #ref error

to the uninitiated, the event was a little like watching people sweat while taking the sats 


(18) the economic census of william the conqueror

the king sent his agents to survey every shire in england, to list his holdings and dues owed to him

under the feudal system, the king was the only true "owner" of land in england, by virtue of his allodial title

tenant (from the latin verb
tenere, "to hold")

in total, 268,984 people are tallied in the domesday book, each of whom was the head of a household

the crown was entitled to archaic dues in kind, such as honey

a descriptio (enrolling)

from it, as from the last judgement, there is no further appeal

(19) the prussian officer by d. h. lawrence

and from that time an undiscovered feeling had held between the two men

what cattle were you bred by, that you can't keep straight eyes?

once he flung a heavy military glove into the young soldier's face.  then he had the satisfaction of seeing the black eyes flare up into his own, like a blaze when straw is thrown on a fire.  and he had laughed with a little tremor and a sneer

his blood seemed to be corroding

"yes, sir," he replied, between shut teeth

the bodies of the two men lay together, side by side, in the mortuary

(20) r studio community feels about code written by artificial intelligence same way ronald reagan felt about negotiating with the soviet union