Putting these three together you can make a continuous formula approximating the median. Just subtract off the ends until you get to the middle.
It’s ugly. But, now you have a way to view the sort operation—which is discontinuous—in a “smooth” way, even if the smudging/blurring is totally fabricated. You can take derivatives, if that’s something you want to do. I see it as being like q-series: wriggling out from the strictures so the fixed becomes fluid.
“A broader tax base, it is thought, will insure that wealthy suburbanites pay for essential services needed by the poor. No evidence is available to indicate that this actually happens in large cities.
Poor neighborhoods receiving ”services” which are not tailored to their needs may not be better off when increased resources are allocated to their neighborhood. In large collective consumption units, residents of poor neighborhoods may have even less voice about levels and types of services desired than they do in smaller-sized collective consumption units. Increasing the size of the smallest collective consumption unit to which citizens belong may not help solve problems of redistribution.”—Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom, Public Goods and Public Choices
“The less you eat, drink and buy books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorise, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save – the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor rust will devour – your capital. The less you are, the less you express your own life, the more you have, i.e., the greater is your alienated life, the greater is the store of your estranged being.”—
I have two problems with this argument. It’s at once consumerist/materialistic and self-centred.
Consumerist: Of course it f―ing sucks to not be able to buy anything, to not be able to go out eat at a restaurant or have drinks with your friends.
But part of the reason it sucks so much is because of consumerism and marketing itself. To the degree that the marketing-images of happy couples, vacationers, successful rappers, roulette winners, delicious food, beautiful travel pictures, and so on make us desire and even, feel empty without those material goods, yes you may feel miserable without them. But the royal treatment lavished upon customers is technically something one needn’t buy into; buying into that salespitch is buying into consumerism. Part of what f―ing sucks about not having “enough” money is actually not having enough. Part of it is not having the things you see others around you having.
Is your fullest expression of yourself really the external attendance at paid events? Is it necessary to take an economic transaction (concert, food, drink, film) to go out and have friends? Part of that is due to lack of public spaces.—each parcel of land is owned by someone, perhaps the government, and the owner(s) may or may not permit you to be there. Another part is due to people believing, as Marx implies above, that being alive and vibrant necessitates buying things.
In the show Downton Abbey there’s one person whose function is to make food
and one person whose function is to eat it.
Is that really your expression of liveliness and bon vivance?
Self-centred. Only by being unaware of the server’s and cook’s role in the transaction—only by putting the experience of the hot kitchen, the lecherous eyes of patrons, the down-talk one receives introducing oneself by profession as food service, and so on—does the consumer relax into Bourdain-esque nirvana.
I don’t think the waitstaff or cooks are doing this for their own fun. Everyone needs to work some amount to be happy, but the low pay for them which causes low prices for me, is not a plus to any server or cook.
In the case of the thespians—well, somebody has to compensate them for their performance, unless you’re saying they should do it for you for free. Actors, dancers, and musicians do perform for free sometimes, but I don’t see it as a good thing, because they still need to work 40–60 hours a week additionally, serving tables and whatnot. Or it could be worse if they need to pay as well for the performance or practice spaces; instead we the audience should be at least defraying those costs for them, if not paying them a net positive.
The two groups who I think see through this are: a) anarchists and b) those who believe their standard-issue economics instruction. The anarchists I know are quite happy to make up games and play them, for free, in a public space which costs nothing. Participating less in the economic system—buying less, at least—tautologically reduces the demands on the people who are working. Economists preach that every transaction is two-sided, so you can’t think of only the buyer (as Marx is doing here, with himself as egoistic entertained) without considering the seller. Where I think the econ’s fall down on the job is if they take Walter Q Server’s low wages as an optimal outcome, rather than asking what might raise his earning/producing power, without incurring other negatives to himself or others.
Theoretically Marx’s observation is a “nifty” one—saving sucks, is f―ing annoying, and so on. But that’s only from an egotistical perspective. I never want to imply that others should be doing services for me unremunerated, so that I can “just be free to be myself” or some b―sh―.
Asking people to bargain or work for others’ IOU’s before having the right to request services of a third party, is much more communal and respectful than “I should just get to have stuff”—in what context-free vacuum is that happening? It’s also fully reasonable to say things like “A car can cost many multiples of a beer and therefore require not-buying many beers”. Or, you know, buy neither car nor beer.
“An astounding 26 percent of black males in the United States report seeing someone shot before turning 12.
Conditional on reported exposure to violence, black and white young males are equally likely to engage in violent behavior.”—Aliprantis, Dionissi, 2014. “Human Capital in the Inner City,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, working paper no. 13-02R.
“McKinsey is nothing more than thousands of people who are either the most knowledgeable at what they do, or learning to become the most knowledgeable. Except many people go into consulting for the variety. Pretty early you have to focus and decide your specialty. Could be industry or function area, but the goal is to become the world’s expert so you can travel to different clients and help them with your expertise And a lot of times, that focus is based on the random projects you’ve had so far (and which you didn’t give much thought to). I know someone who ended up “focusing” on airline maintenance because his first project was 9 months with airlines.”—Ellen Vrana
“Standard histories saw the nineteenth-century medical treatment of madness … as an enlightened liberation of the mad from the ignorance and brutality of preceding ages.
But, according to Foucault, the new idea that the mad were merely sick (“mentally” ill) and in need of medical treatment was not at all a clear improvement on earlier conceptions (e.g., the Renaissance idea that the mad were in contact with the mysterious forces of cosmic tragedy or the 17th–18th-century view of madness as a renouncing of reason).”—Gary Gutting
The $400 billion US retail grocery industry includes about 40,000 companies that operate 70,000 grocery stores (excluding convenience stores).
About 50 large national and regional chains like Kroger, Albertsons, Ahold, and Safeway hold more than 60 percent of the market. The industry is highly concentrated: 500 companies that own more than five stores control 80 percent of the market.
“For what is the theory of determinants? It is an algebra upon algebra; a calculus which enables us to combine and foretell the results of algebraical operations, in the same way as algebra itself enables us to dispense with the performance of the special operations of arithmetic. All analysis must ultimately clothe itself under this form.
I have in previous papers defined a ‘Matrix' as a rectangular array of terms, out of which different systems of determinants may be engendered, as from the womb of a common parent; these cognate determinants being by no means isolated in their relations to one another , but subject to certain simple laws of mutual dependence and simultaneous deperition.”—
from the same source, quoting Sylvester’s Apotheosis of Algebraical Quantity (1884):
A matrix … regarded apart from the determinant … becomes an empty schema of operation, … only for a moment looses the attribute of quantity to emerge again as quantity, … of a higher and unthought-of kind, … in a glorified shape-as an organism composed of discrete parts, but having an essential and undivisible unity as a whole of its own .… The conception of multiple quantity thus rises on the field of vision.
adults, unlike children, rarely cry in public. They wait until they’re in the privacy of their homes—when they are alone or, at most, in the company of one other adult. On the face of it, the “crying-as-communication” hypothesis does not fully hold up, and it certainly doesn’t explain why we cry when we’re alone, or in an airplane surrounded by strangers we have no connection to…
In the same 2000 study, Vingerhoet’s team also discovered that, in adults, crying is most likely to follow a few specific antecedents. When asked to choose from a wide range of reasons for recent spells of crying, participants in the study chose “separation” or “rejection” far more often than other options, which included things like “pain and injury” and “criticism.”
“yes trees opening up like a scream yes the wolves moving their bodies before their own shadows yes claws falling in love with the air yes smoke always moving in the direction opposite of our bodies yes down yes a tearing in the ground yes a dream of a throne of birds yes throwing our bones upward saying yes that is my shape yes that is my dream yes stepping out of the fire with a mouth full of snow yes angels building houses in the screams yes a goodness yes oh my god yes my spine yes i think my spine is more of a spine and less of a shiver yes less of a fire more of a flowering yes less of a knife more of a knife yes raising a body like a sharp deliberate thing yes towards the sky yes delighting in whatever falls from it like a rain yes like a fire yes like a frost yes whatever falls it will not be me yes it will not be the trees yes it will not be the fur yes it will not be you yes i am more of an opening more of a deliberate thing”—aheartlikea-socket, via tiny ghost hands
[F]or leaders, it’s important that people know you are consistent and fair in how you think about making decisions and that there’s an element of predictability. If a leader is consistent, people on their teams experience tremendous freedom, because then they know that within certain parameters, they can do whatever they want. If your manager is all over the place, you’re never going to know what you can do, and you’re going to experience it as very restrictive.
[Employees should be saying that] the manager treats me with respect, the manager gives me clear goals, the manager shares information, the manager treats the entire team fairly.
or other things in other “smooth” categories; here I mean again the pre-atomic vision of gas: in some sense it has constant mass, but it might be so de-pressurised that there’s not much in some sub-chamber, and the mass might even be so dispersed not only can you not pick out atoms and expect them to have a size (so each point of probability density has “zero” chance of happening), but you might need a “significant pocket” of gas before you get the volume—and unlike liquid, the gas’ volume might confuse you without some “pressure”-like concept “squeezing” the stuff to constrain the notion of volume.
“Every year, wealthy countries spend billions of dollars to help the world’s poor, paying for cows, goats, seeds, beans, textbooks, business training, microloans, and much more…. Much of this aid … works. But [such aid is] expensive….
Part of [the expense] is due to overhead, but overhead [gets too much] attention…. [Worse] is the [cost] of procuring and giving away goats, textbooks, sacks of beans, and the like.
…the nonprofit Bandhan spends $331 to get $166 worth of local livestock and other assets to the [recipients]”—
“For as well as complaining about the “piracy” of mechanical music, Sousa also complained about the cultural emptiness that mechanical music would create. As he testified: When I was a boy … in front of every house in the summer evenings you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or the old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal cord left. The vocal cords will be eliminated by a process of evolution, as was the tail of man when he came from the ape.”—Worx:
The entrepreneurial class, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature’s forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, … — what earlier century had even a presentiment [of] such productive forces…?
The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases businesspeople over the entire surface of the globe. They must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.
Business has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life.
Entrepreneurs, wherever they have got the upper hand, have put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. They have pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”….
Entrepreneurs cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby … the whole relations of society.
Charles Marx, 1848
(I just changed all reference to “the bourgeoisie”, which has an archaic or leftist ring to it, to “entrepreneurs”, which sounds more contemporary. Eat your heart out, Thomas Friedman.)
@tdhopper posted his self-measurements of weight loss
a few months back. I recently decided also that I wanted to lose fat-weight—the infamous “I could stand to be a few kilos lighter”—and I think I came up with a more productive way of thinking about my progress: I’m not going to look at the scale at all. I’m just going to count calorie estimates from the treadmill estimator or use online calculators for how much is burned by running / swimming — and calories burned is the only thing I will use: no attempts at eating less.
Also, instead of thinking in terms of weight I’m going to think in terms of volume. Here are some pictures of people holding 5 pounds of fat (2¼ kilos):
As you can see this is a large fraction of a person’s flesh, if their BMI is in the healthy range.
I’m not so fat that I have tens of litres of fat making up my body. Rather if I look at myself and visually “remove 2 litres” that “looks” like it would be very substantial—such a huge volume that, of course it would take weeks of diligent exercise!
But as we know from Mr Hopper’s posts (or I know it from my own experience of weighing myself), the noise is louder than the signal.
The magnitude of daily variation swamps the magnitude of “fundamental” progress.
The goal of counting kcal burned and thinking in terms of volume is to make both the goals and the progress feel more visceral. Everybody knows how to lose weight, the problem is just that one doesn’t do it. Other than simply increasing self-discipline or increasing the mental energy I put towards this goal (neither of which I want to do).
More accurate measurement of my small-scale progress and
Choosing meaningful goals in the first place—not a number grabbed out of the air (“five kilos”—why five?), but rather imagine how much volume has left my muffin-top and how much volume is left—whilst still carrying with me the “larger numbers” associated with kcal fat-loss, than the “small numbers” which characterise litres (gallons ~ 8 lbs) of fat loss.
Here’s my mathematical model of why this is hard in the first place:
I take about 100 measurements at roughly the same time but not exactlytimepoints <- 1:1e2 + rnorm(1e2,sd=1)
the natural variation in weight, in the unit scale of [kcal stored by fat] is on the order of kilos daily.variation <- 1e5 * sin( runif(1,min=-pi/2,max=pi/2) + timepoints)
even if I subtracted off my daily fluctuation pattern (Mr Hopper does this by weighing himself at the same time every day), there are apparently other noise factors on the order of half a kilo or perhaps .1 kilo other.variation <- 1e4 * sin( runif(1,min=-pi/2,max=pi/2) + timepoints)
the “underlying phenomenon” I’m trying to measure is perhaps on the order of .01 kilos lost per day. Let’s say I lose 1 kilo in 3 weeks, that would be 8000 kcal if I’m good. (i.e., I actually do my workouts and I don’t eat a compensatory extra 8000± kcal). I could model the underlying fat loss as a step function to be more truthful but I’ll use a linear model, saying I lose 100 kcal per measurement (supposing I measure 3 times a day) rather than 700 kcal every time I work out, which is not once a day (that would be the step function). But the catch is, I’m not sure if I’m compensating by eating more. My statistical task is to estimate B, in other words to distinguish if I’m losing weight or not, and how fast I’m losing it (in kcal units, leaving the conversion 8000 kcal ~ 1 kilo as an afterthought), from the signal-swamped data. B<-rnorm(1,mean=100,sd=50); trend<-−B*timepoints
Now my job is to estimate B. Is it even positive? (i.e. am I actually losing weight?) In R I just made the variable so I could print(B) but the point is to model why it’s hard to do this from my real data, which is the sum data <- daily.variation + other.variation - B*timepoints
This is why I like my idea: measurements of kcal burned on the treadmill is 1000 times more precise than measurements of my bodyweight.
So my overall system is to do “chunks” of 7000 kcal = 1 kilo of fat or 3500 kcal =1 pound of fat. I can stand to do 500–700 kcal per cardio session—about an hour. (I also do an extra +1 kcal for every minute it took me to penalise for low speed: exercise crowds out normal metabolism.) Then it becomes a “long count” up to 3500 or up to 7000. That means 5 cardio sessions (of 770 kcal each) to get up to 1 pound of fat-loss, 7 wimped-out cardio sessions (of 550 kcal each) to reach a pound, and so on. It’s easy enough to “count to 5”. This system makes each one of the 5 be significantly large at the order of magnitude appropriate to convert kcal of exercise to litres of body volume.