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 kekulé'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 kekulé's question with something like: "kekulé, 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



this week i

published convey 1.0 and accompanying textbook, i'm still having a good time with ya'll.  i always thought seneca a cool word

published asdfree 1.0, so to speak, as well.  to paraphrase octavian: i found asdfree a city of bricks, and left it a city of marble

ate halloumi, drank a salt-rimmed pomegranate burp.  i had a strawberry two days ago, i was like how the fuck is this even possible.  it's december.  bee eff eff's jackson cannery: baby boss climbs up from his soapbox // great caesar's ghost knows what's best for me // he says stop the bus

slept midnight friday, woke at 4 with all the lights on.  we admired the geometries of this photo the living thing the glass thing the banner behind


calculated sum total net worth of the poorest 29% of the united states in 2022 is a negative number.  at 30%, the sum total crosses into the positive

pcts <- seq( 0.2 , 0.3 , 0.01 )
cutoffs <- scf_MIcombine( with( scf_design , svyquantile( ~ networth , pcts ) ) )
for( i in seq_along( pcts ) ){
    print( pcts[i] )
    print( scf_MIcombine( with( subset( scf_design , networth < coef( cutoffs )[i] ) , svytotal( ~ networth ) ) ) )

# closer to 29% than 30% in the 2022 dataset
print( scf_MIcombine( with( subset( scf_design , networth < coef( scf_MIcombine( with( scf_design , svyquantile( ~ networth , 0.295 ) ) ) ) ) , svytotal( ~ networth ) ) ) )


new year's resolve to stop alcoholic beverages that are not peak organic brewing co.'s fresh cut: a dry-hopped pilsner.  it's the right drink the way black coffee is the right drink.  rooibos >>> chamomile, tho maite recommends the latter in her pipe and smoked.  she pronounces exactly exactlery


watched all nine seasons of seinfeld, sharp enough color television to be plausibly present day sans smartphones

what do you want?
i don't care, whatever
i tell you what, why don't we get a couple of dishes and we'll just share them
what are you getting?
i think i'm going to get a chow fun
what's a chow fun?
it's a broad noodle
what do you mean a broad noodle?
it's a big flat noodle
well i don't want a big flat noodle
well what kind of noodle do you want?
well who says i want a noodle?
alright, look, i'm getting the chow fun, you don't have to have any
well i'll get the peapods and you can't have any of my peapods
get extra msg

i'm like a sexual camel

you know this is like that twilight zone where he wakes up and he's the same and everyone else is different
which one?
they were all like that

those aren't for new year's.  those are my everyday balloons

not on my watch!  i won't have you turning my office into a den of iniquity.  get your fix somewhere else

we made out at the table like our plane was going down

[ties yellow police caution tape to banana]  i'm going to eat this later

mister peterman, i, i can exp...
elaine, i have a question for you.  is the item still with you?
um, as far as i know...
do you know what happens to a butter-based frosting after six decades in a poorly ventilated english basement?
oh, i guess i hadn't...
well i have a feeling what you are about to go through is punishment enough.  dismissed

i would describe it as restrained jubilation


this week i

visited church of my parents' marriage before moon landing, tatiana saw us pulling against locked door, offered us a private tour.  my mom platinum blonde that day, but way back interwar, assunta wore a smart black dress to speak her vows with antonio.  her bedroom had three framed photographs, her husband, her son, me, lined up on her dresser.  "funny looking, good looking, funny looking," my father pointed his finger at each, one by one.  "good looking.  good looking.  good looking," assunta replied, sweeping her index finger behind his.  antonio decorated his nativity scene with lion and tiger figurines, sent emigration money to oskar's father (oskar the painter of the clown) but they stayed too long so became canadian a generation later.  ellis island would've rejected josephine, burnt sister, she cooked in a nunnery.  rosemarie likes neil diamond the most, cracklin' rosie especially.  she recalls after antonio died, my father enrolled at the boarding school and visited rosemarie and assunta at 1608 reed street on weekends and holidays but always slept at uncle rocco and aunt vincenzina's house at 1411 reed street till his teenage years when in 1956 joe and rosemarie married and 1608 reed street had a new older brother in law in the house as well.  rock and v were not pleased.  small dogs are muppets


wrapped momos with rupak.  i wondered will a candy-filled one steam sorta the same?  i didn't say anything out loud, skittle dumpling a decent secret service codename.  anyway good momos.  riya enjoyed a five dollar glass of water at john pierpont morgan's library's cafe (john travolta'd say that's not even milk and ice cream) but columbia credentials had admitted us free and we saw bull men contesting with lions mesopotamia, akkadian period (ca. 2334-2154 b.c.); marble inscription removed in antiquity, a couple rembrandts, a gutenberg bible, a snail jockey, so a good value overall



sold the last roccomobile after crossing the susquehanna one more time, learned about cross-dominance (kicking stronger with his left) and forehead palm vs facepalm and one sunny side up egg on top of other things.  another thought kept to self: connecticut looks like upside down gas canister



skimmed philadelphia: portrait of an american city by edwin wolf 2nd

watched i, claudius


now you may kiss me and take your leave.  remember my prophetic chickens and have patience, hmm?

they say a snake bit her once, and died

 at official banquets we were seated on the third couch

let the jackals howl

they say the men there are so savage that the women live in perpetual ecstasy


read the poverty line by stephen chow and huiyi lin


corn porridge is called ugali in kenya and tanzania, ogi in nigeria, mealie pap in south africa, polenta in italy and grits in the united states

per capita consumption is highest in korea, with an average of 75 servings eaten per person per year.  the leading manufacturer of instant noodles worldwide is the indonesian company indofood, which had a 15% market share in 2014.  indofood has 16 factories with a total annual production capacity of 16 billion packets, and sells to 50 countries.  besides the open market, instant noodles have also become a prison currency in the us, replacing cigarettes as the most traded item

a famous british example of an inquiry into dockworkers' pay in the 1920s, when "the union leader appeared in court with a plate bearing a few scraps of bacon, fish, and bread and asked the statistician (sir anthony bowley) whether this was sufficient breakfast"

for every urban poor person in india and china, there are four rural poor people

the different levels of inequality are recorded according to world regions.  in europe, the most egalitarian region in the world, the richest 10% receive about 35% of the total income today.  this is in stark contrast to the middle east, the least egalitarian region of the world, where the richest 10% receive 61% of the total income.  in china, the figure is 41%, while in north america, it is 47%, and in india it is brazil and in sub-saharan africa, the top decile receives about 55% of the total income


this week i

immortalized a game of jenga and other minor deities (then again isn't everyone?) sofonisba, banksy, vincent vega, lucy, magritte, william tell, and ai