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Claims of Afghan mineral riches could be exaggerated

From the economic pont of view, Afghanistan does not seem a country to fight for. According to the OEC website, currently “The top exports of Afghanistan are Gold ($968M), Grapes ($214M), Insect Resins ($129M), Other Nuts ($113M), and Tropical Fruits($97.4M), exporting mostly to United Arab Emirates ($1B), Pakistan ($544M), India ($485M), United States ($35.6M), and China ($29.1M).” This list does not includes the illegal Poppy trade, which is estimated by Forbes to be aboutContinue reading “Claims of Afghan mineral riches could be exaggerated”

Election results in Central Europe match some pre-WW1 borders

I have seen this image of Quora: Election results are arguably one of the most apparent and easy to measure effects of complicated cultural diffences (provided that the country is sufficiently diverse to make cultural differences relevant). After reading Albion’s seed, I think that I understand much better the origin of some of the culturalContinue reading “Election results in Central Europe match some pre-WW1 borders”

Progressive advant-gardes

In this post I will try to draw parallels between three very different intellectual communities: string theory, Marxist theory, and postmodernism. What do they have in common? Not very much indeed, but I have the impression that there are some analogies worth noticing. They represent an extrapolation of trends that had a very successful trackContinue reading “Progressive advant-gardes”

Pechiez tout au lonc de vos tristes vies

Bryan Caplan writes an argument against Universal Basic Income: To sum up, the majority of the people not in the labor force spend most of their time on screens, and this is bad for their health and their wellness. If more people were to exit the labor force, many of them would presumably behaveContinue reading “Pechiez tout au lonc de vos tristes vies”

Heliocentrism in the ancient era

Il se trouve toujours de petits compilateurs qui osent être ennemis de leur siècle […]. Ils se font les trompettes de la gloire des anciens. Ils prétendent que ces anciens ont tout dit, et ils sont assez imbéciles pour croire partager leur gloire, parce qu’ils la publient. […] Que ne disent-ils aussi que les GrecsContinue reading “Heliocentrism in the ancient era”

Against butterfly effect

It is known that, when you simulate a deterministic system described by nonlinear differential equations, small differences in the initial conditions can be exponentially amplified, resulting in huge differences in the final result. To describe this phenomenon Edward Lorentz famously said that “a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can produce a tornado in Texas”.Continue reading “Against butterfly effect”

My probability estimations on Metaculus

Will a new variant of SARS-COV-2 that, due to a mutation, can infect people who had immunity to a previous variant, cause more than 10M infections globally by the end of 2021? 65 % Will the Chancellor of Germany following the next election be from the CDU/CSU union? 80 % Will the subreddit /r/wallstreetbets beContinue reading “My probability estimations on Metaculus”

The maximally relativistic zeitgeist

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. -Philip Dick [epistemic status: personal impression on a topic on which I have no particular competence. Maybe somebody has already said this somewhere, or maybe the connection I am proposing does not stand up to a closer examination] In 1942, physiologists WalterContinue reading “The maximally relativistic zeitgeist”