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Somewhere

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  1. No where to Land

    It would be good to be more specific. That broad formulation is easy enough to falsify; unemployment rates are low, people with various levels of skill and education have jobs. But maybe we're talking about overproduction in higher education; for example rather few physics graduates actually end up working in physics, and that has always been the case. Or maybe it's something specific to you; finding a job is a very individual thing. What are your skills and education? Can you arrange work experience in the field you want, for example by volunteering? Whatever the universities would like you to think, skills in professional jobs are mostly learned on the job, not in a university classroom, so from an employer's point of view, recent graduates are typically low skilled.
  2. Young people tend to greatly overrate the significance of exam success in finding jobs. What an employer generally wants is somebody who can do the job, and for that, work experience counts for far more than exams. I work in IT with recent grads and my productivity is maybe 10 times higher than typical recent grads, and that's in tasks that they can actually do, because a lot of the things I do, they would not be able to do in any reasonable timeframe at all. A lot of firms will find it uneconomic to hire people like that. Even after 2-3 years of experience, they get to maybe 25-30% of my productivity. These are not stupid guys and they work for a well-known consulting firm. If they carry on with what they're doing, they will get there, but it takes time to become productive.
  3. Should I get Vaccinated?

    I'm not a medic but my impression is that things are a bit more nuanced than the orthodox "vaccination is perfectly safe". While I've not seen good arguments against the standard vaccinations in developed countries, there are a number of vaccines (yellow fever, oral polio vaccine, anthrax come to mind) that seem to be on the borderline between doing more harm than good, depending on context. The execution of some third world vaccination programmes is brutal, ignoring the contraindications that would be taken into account in developed countries, and those contraindications are much more common in resource-poor environments, so it's quite possible that those programmes do kill a significant number of children, while saving others of course. In the specific case of the trials of the largely ineffective new malaria vaccine, I wouldn't be surprised if they end up killing more African children than they save; on the face of it, it's strange that those trials are going ahead.
  4. Can information be Property?

    Another good book on the subject is Boldrin and Levine's "Against Intellectual Monopoly" although it mainly covers patents. http://www.micheleboldrin.com/research/aim.html You will learn about how Watt's patents held back the industrial revolution by decades, how his business flourished AFTER his patents expired, how Germany had a thriving pharma industry with no patents, how some Western countries did not adopt pharma patents till the 1970s, etc.
  5. The Bucharest Early Intervention Project was started in 2000 so a lot is known about the effects of institutional care versus family care in post-communist Romania. I've not read the detailed documentation but I'd expect that nutrition would be adequate in a controlled experiment on children. It's a project that was very influential in developing the "first 3 years are crucial" school of thought on parenting and child development, so it's likely to be the ultimate source for some of the ideas that Stefan discusses.
  6. Unfortunately, proper answers to questions like that do often require hours to days of patient desk research, following trails of citations from paper to paper, so your experience is not surprising. Having said that, the answer is likely to be found in material from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project. "When the researchers first visited Romania in the late 1990s, they saw teenagers the size of 8-year-olds, not because of poor nutrition, but because emotional and social deprivation inhibit growth." https://web.archive.org/web/20130309230946/http://www.childrenshospital.org/dream/spring2007/the_long_road_home.html Children adopted from East European orphanages do have very high levels of emotional disorders http://www.postadoptinfo.org/research/survey_results.php#table_11 The main effect found from the appalling conditions in these orphanages was substantial impairment of IQ. A followup study was planned and it will be interesting to know if the effect persists into adulthood when IQ stabilises. Something that's not well known to the general public is that there have been quite a few studies (I can supply refs if anyone cares) that have tried to reproduce these results for very low income countries where orphanages are common, but in the extreme conditions found in those countries, the studies were consistently unable to demonstrate benefits of being brought up in a family over being brought up in an institution. This hasn't stopped some authoritarian charities from implementing government-enforced programmes of orphanage closure, putting the welfare of seriously vulnerable children at risk. If you look at the Wikipedia "Orphanage" page, which is maintained by activists, you will see that there's a large number of citations of editorial from these activist charities and almost none of scientific papers, because in the lowest-income countries the science doesn't support what they're doing.
  7. How can I be successful, despite my Low IQ?

    I work in IT but if I had been given a more modest IQ, I reckon I'd be happy as a plumber. Both occupations are fairly well paid, very useful and not too crowded a career choice in developed countries. There's been a suggestion in this thread of moving to a less developed country; that might work if it's something you want to do anyway, but there are disadvantages too. A big reason why many of these countries remain poor is that although they have many tiny subsistence-level family businesses and some very large businesses, there's far less in between than you would see in a developed economy. That's because any smallish business that's reasonably successful becomes the target for predators, and the business won't usually have the deep pockets and massive time commitment that are needed to fight the predators through a thoroughly corrupt legal and law enforcement system. For example, the local person you brought in to manage the business claims that he, not you, owns the business, and he produces fake receipts to "prove" that he, not you, bought all your equipment; to complicate things further, he produces a doctor's report claiming he suffered permanent injury as a result of you supposedly assaulting him. The police back him up because they have been bribed. Or, the local police or tax inspectors ask you to sign over the business under threat of prosecution for something or other.
  8. Jordan Peterson's Self Authoring Suite may be a good, low-cost preparation for therapy or even a substitute for it. It has been scientifically validated and there is some discussion on YouTube. The Future Authoring component in particular is very much about establishing motivation.
  9. Is a degree worth it?

    Employers want to know that you can do the job. If a job requires no formal qualifications or licensing, it doesn't necessarily follow that just anybody can do it; not everybody can succeed at being a standup comedian, for example. So, if you have no work experience in the field, employers are going to fall back on degrees as some evidence of competence and conscientiousness, particularly if local minimum wage laws are high enough to make it uneconomic to take on, in effect, a trainee who, at least for a while may cost the organisation more than they deliver. Can you show them an impressive list of conflicts that you've resolved, maybe through volunteer work or freelancing? It's not my field at all but I'd guess that for some positions that might be enough. It might be good for you to find a mentor with a bit of imagination who knows the field well enough to suggest how you personally could enter it. In my own field I've acted as mentor for somebody who was assured by recruitment agencies that there was absolutely no way she could get a job without qualifications or experience, but by taking a particular approach, she did find a job, and with a good company too. Good luck!
  10. In this sort of discussion the age distribution of the wealth holders is typically not discussed but it is key to understanding it. People save for retirement and most wealth is held by old people. Also the "top x%" is highly fluid, which is not the impression that the left give when they talk about these things. As Thomas Sowell points out in his excellent book on inequality "Wealth, Poverty and Politics", 12% of Americans can expect to be in the top 1% by income at some point in their lives, and 56% of American households make it to the top 10% by income. The left encourages people to be envious of their future selves.
  11. These payments, where you are only paying an official to do their usual job and you are not for example paying them to overlook some irregularity, are known as facilitation payments. Many developed countries automatically treat facilitation payments as bribes, but some developed countries do allow their citizens to make facilitation payments when abroad. There's a list of those countries here that includes USA, Canada, Australia, Austria, Greece, South Korea, New Zealand, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland. Treat that list with caution because laws change. I'm not a lawyer, just somebody who took an interest in this subject. In the sub-Saharan African country that I'm familiar with, as I understand it there is no general local law preventing an official from asking for a facilitation payment. This must make it very hard for foreigners to do business there if their country of origin has signed the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. This in turn perhaps explains some of the relative success of Chinese businesspeople in Africa.
  12. Anyone familiar with the Landmark Forum?

    I once attended Insight, which is a cousin of Landmark with less aggressive marketing. These courses are collectively known as Large Group Awareness Trainings (LGATs). Attendees are supposed to keep the material secret but there is an accurate, detailed and entertaining account of the more traditional EST/Insight experience here: http://www.caic.org.au/psyther/lgat/lgat1.htm (for later pages, just edit that web address, changing the 1 to a 2 etc, because the links on the pages themselves don't work). The Landmark syllabus is apparently a little different, but similar. The emphasis, as others have mentioned, is on taking personal responsibility; to some that is a revelation, but if it's something you already do, then you will probably not benefit from the course, apart from the experience of a weird sleep-deprived weekend.
  13. Stefan on Climate Change

    The reasons that people usually "deny" catastrophic global warming are specific to that topic. There are real concerns about the science. Many climate sceptics are former environmentalists who actually looked at the science and were shocked at what they saw, Anthony Watts of wattsupwiththat.com being one example. Many supporters of climate change alarm are science groupies who don't actually look at the science themselves. Personally, the argument I find most compelling is: if the evidence for catastrophic CO2-induced climate change is overwhelming, why don't they just present a concise summary of that evidence? Instead over the years we've had a string of weak papers to try to convince the public that recent warming is something unusual, such as MBH 1998 (inappropriate statistical technique that creates hockey sticks, selective use of time series that happen to be hockey-stick-shaped) and Gergis et al (withdrawn just hours before they would have been independently found out for not having detrended their data as they claimed to have). Regarding other forms of pollution, one of the problems with climate change campaigning is that it diverts vast resources away from addressing real pollution problems. The climate change movement doesn't actually care very much about the environment (they don't mind if their policies such as biofuel mandates damage the environment), just as socialists don't care very much about the poor (they don't mind if their policies keep the poor that way).
  14. Brexit Election Video

    As a native speaker of British English (the target audience) I found the pace about right.
  15. Actuaries give men around 5 years' additional life expectancy just for being married. Even divorced, widowed and separated men have somewhat higher life expectancy than "never married" with otherwise identical profiles. That doesn't sit well with the idea that marriage is bad for men. The stats are similar for women, although married women only live around 3 years longer than otherwise identical "never married" women.
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