Bend it Like Ronaldo

Fernando has asserted that Ronaldo wasn't good at bending balls over opponents, and in fact usually shot under jumping opponents.  Nope.  I've looked at all 60 Ronaldo free kick goals.  Most are over.  Many are around or through or off deflections.  Maybe five could be considered under, but make your own count: here they are.

Why Cops Shoot Unarmed Black People

It's a tragically familiar scenario: a policeman stops a black person, they reach for wallet and driver's licence, or for their cell phone, and get shot to death.  Why does that happen, and what can we do about it?

The policeman's best defense might be "my amygdala made me do it." The brain has at least two circuits for processing threats.  In the first, the information goes to the amygdala, a threat is registered, and sent to the prefrontal cortex for further processing.  There the threat is evaluated and instructions are sent to the motor neurons for a response.  In the second, the alarms that go off in the amygdala are so strong that prefrontal processing is skipped, and the motor neurons are activated immediately, saving roughly 700 milliseconds.  The penalty for speedy evaluation is loss of accuracy: that cell phone or wallet might be evaluated as a gun.  This kind of fatal error probably happens more to blacks because policemen - even black policemen - find…


The equilibrium or balance, so to speak, between his intellectual faculties and animal propensities, seems to have been destroyed. He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint or advice when it conflicts with his desires, at times pertinaciously obstinate, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operations, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible.  Sapolsky, Robert M.. Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (pp. 70-71). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.  Phineas Gage, after having a 13 pound iron tamping rod blown through his skull in a blasting accident.  What is DT's excuse?

The Child Psychopath

Psychopathy seems to manifest itself early in childhood - perhaps as early as two or three, according to this article in The Atlantic by Barbara Bradley Hagerty.  The term of art for these children is "callous and unemotional child," partly because nobody wants to label young children with such a sinister diagnosis and partly because some of them seem to grow out of it or at least become functional adults.  The cause is unknown but there are clear physical and physiological correlates to go along with the behavioral traits.
The first abnormality appears in the limbic system, the set of brain structures involved in, among other things, processing emotions. In a psychopath’s brain, this area contains less gray matter. “It’s like a weaker muscle,” Kiehl says. A psychopath may understand, intellectually, that what he is doing is wrong, but he doesn’t feel it. “Psychopaths know the words but not the music” is how Kiehl describes it. “They just don’t have the same circuitry.” They …

Property and Collectivism

Let me argue a couple of somewhat unpopular propositions.

1)Property is the greatest restriction on commerce ever invented.  Aside from spouses, children, and what a person could carry, property emerged with farming and agriculture.  It was a necessary invention, since without a claim on the produce of farming, no one could be persuaded to undertake the vast labor entailed in planting and tending animals.  It was also the foundation of inequality though, since ownership of land isn't infinitely divisible if farming is to be practical.  One probably can't say that war first occurred with farming, but it, with the increased fecundity it enabled, produced more mouths than could be fed, and made it urgent to get more land by stealing somebody else's.  Like other restrictions on commerce, property probably decreased net (biological) efficiency, but in this case reserved more of it for human consumption.

2)The corporation is one of the most successful collectivist inventions.  O…

Why Not Free Trade?

I previously mentioned the big reason for free trade: economic efficiency.  Let me mention some types of restriction and the reasons for them.  One obvious one is the protection of so-called intellectual property.  In truly free trade, pirated software (movies etc) would pass unrestricted through international barriers, and so would dangerous products like terrorist bombs, banned drugs and weapons, unsafe pharmaceuticals, and technologies crucial for dangerous weaponry.

Another big and important reason for justifying trade restrictions is promotion of domestic industries.  The so-called Asian Tigers, from Japan to China, all built their industrial and technological bases by restricting foreign imports.  So did the United States 200 years ago.  Tariffs can promote local capital accumulation at the cost of local consumption.

Most of these types of restrictions on trade are aimed at promoting the competitive position or safety of the nation and its population.  Economists, who naturally …

Time to Slam the Door on Cryptocurrencies?

The revelation that the GRU used cryptocurrencies to facilitate and hide their hacking into the US 2016 election is one more reason to consider shutting them down.  Cryptocurrencies exist because some clever computer guys figured out how to use cryptographic principles to hide transactions.  Unfortunately, the principle applications are criminal: money laundering, tax evasion, and financing illegal operations like spying, sabotage, and terrorism.

There are a variety of good reasons why governments seized control of money, and we now have some more.  Aside from the previously mentioned benefits, banning them would save hella electricity.