The Daily View 6/24/2023: OceanGate , Bitcoin, Putin,

1. From Arnold Kling How did my genes survive?

I am 5’3”. I wonder why I exist. If the preferences that women express on online dating sites are to be believed, then if I were young and single then my chances of reproducing would be close to zero. Working backwards, the genes that caused me to be almost two standard deviations below the mean for males should have been culled long ago.

I don’t claim to be an expert. I don’t have a degree in biology. But it seems obvious that phenotypic variance can explain the existence of very tall or very short people. Being short may be maladaptive in a social environment that favors tall people, but we should still expect a lot of short people anyway, similar to IQ or other normally distributed traits. Shortness is not so maladaptive that it should disappear altogether (not to mention, it’s relative, so as humans become taller there will always be short people again owing to the normal distribution).

2. OceanGate or HeavensGate?

The issue is not risk aversion or holding back scientific progress. The earliest manned exploration to the Titanic wreckage was in 1986, and there have been many subsequent trips, so it was already well understood how to do it safely. The main issue is the sub was a death trap because the CEO of OceanGate rebuked safety concerns, and just shoddy design of the sub overall.

3. Bitcoin is back above $30,000 on ETF hype. Anyone with a brain can see that the gains never hold. It will be below $25,000 again in no time. Bitcoin has a long history of not living up to hype. This is no different. Opened up a large short position yesterday above $30,500.

4. Interesting article by Noah Smith, Why it’s so hard to fix the information ecosystem. This passage stood out:

This result could mean that misinformation is becoming less common, or that its persuasive power is decreasing over time. Alternatively, misinformation might have increased but true information might have increased even more, overpowering the misinformation.

I think this is the most likely explanation, and agrees with what I wrote earlier. Before the advent of the World Wide Web, and especially forums and social media, ‘fake news’/misinformation was largely unopposed, because there was no easy or cost-effective way to dispel or counter it. Being a propogandist or a cult leader was way easier 80 years ago compared to today. Nowadays, thanks to Twitter, when any major politician does something or makes some proclamation, fact-checkers on the respective opposing side pounce (Twitter now has its own outsourced fact-checking system built in). The mainstream media is constantly having to correct itself due to fact-checking and being ‘called out’ for being wrong. It’s not uncommon for a developing or breaking story, such as the ongoing situation in Ukraine, to be updated in real-time as it’s unfolding.

5. U.S. House Price Index Reaches New High After Short Respite.

Wow I wonder whose blog predicted that would happen? it’s always the same pattern. prices fall, the media and pundits celebrate that it’s a new paradigm or era of lower prices, and then suddenly and without warning, prices go right back up. covid, inflation, stagflation, financial crisis, etc. It does not matter. Solutions to housing shortages and scarcity will keep coming up short. It’s one of those things in which everyone seems to be in agreement that there is a problem, but either no one knows what to do–or–the political will to implement such solutions is lacking. Rising home prices is seen as ‘good’, so there is not much impetus to change this.

6. Major setback for Putin: Rebel Russian mercenaries barrel towards Moscow. This just goes to show how and weak and ineffectual Putin is in terms of allowing this to happen and his response. It’s also why the war will drag out forever as I correctly predicted in Feb 2022 would happen. Putin lost the plot. He lost any opportunity to win and now is going to just twist and turn in the wind.