Average Night in DC: The Cop Diaries

Merciless news weasel, with  ballistic vest, battening of human misery and degradation. Often mistaken  for Mike Hammer or Philip Marlowe, though    or Clark Kent  would be more accurate.

In the dog hours after two a.m., the empty time when the streets are dark and lifeless, a police car is an alien  bubble, a small moving world unconnected with the streets, not part of the neighborhood. Yet it has to be there. The city is dead. Blank windows, alley mouths leading into nowhere. Parked cars, grey in the wan light, like bloated ticks. There is no color. Nothing happens. Until it does.

Inside, dash lights, warmth in winter. And the redio. The radio, the soul of a cop car. Squawk, sssssss, crackle, laconic female voice, “Wreck on GW Parkway at Pentagon”  from a dispatcher sitting at her desk on Ninth Street. Laconic because she has heard it all, many times. Sometimes the radio traffic is downright weird. I have heard  “ADW weedwacker,” assault with a deadly weapon, weedwhacker. Who the hell at three a.m has a….. “Fourth and School, naked man climbing telephone pole.” Dispatchers has heard it all. Gunfire, fires, some homeless guy frozen to death under a bench in winter, or located by the smell in summer. The city late at night is an urban  coral reef. Strange life comes from who knows where. It isn’t the city normal people know. They are asleep.

The Parkway is on the other side of the river in Virginia, not DC’s problem, but I carry a scanner, a nice Bearcat, to listen to other districts.

The guy I’m riding with, I’ll call him Barnes. I have ridden with hundreds of Barneses.

The radio says there is a fire at such and such an address. It isn’t in our patrol district, but things are slow. When you see six squad cars together, two of them need to be there and the others wanted to see what was happening. We go.

Fire is already there, guys pulling hose, other cops, the engines, an ambulance, which is leaving. No one hurt.  Bar lights flashing red-blue-red-blue, reflecting from buildings and cars. A building of three floors is spitting flames. A burning insurance policy. Water runs in the street. There is a curious smell of wet ashes.

Barnes says, “Neighborhood’s going down. They’re burning them to try to get their money out.” Cops know it. They can’t prove it.

Fire departments have less and less to do. In a concrete high-rise with fire-proof steel doors, you can burn the furniture in one apartment. That’s about it. So the departments do medical calls. I once saw a fire engine sent to handle a miscarriage on a sidewalk.

The crash on the Parkway must be bad. Ambulance is there, but the paramedics are saying, “We need a chopper. Right now. This guy is bad….” Ambulance will have alerted shock-trauma, probably at MedStar but the guy has to get there alive. He probably won’t. Head injury. They don’t last well.

We chat with the fire guys a bit, shop talk. Heyjuh hear, think they’ll pass that pay raise? yeah, arson, had to be accelerant. There’s a camaraderie in the street trades. It makes the nights not so long. Then we head back to where we are supposed to be. To fill the hours we bullsht about things we have seen, about what is going on in the city.

It’s  funny. People often say to me, “I don’t see how anyone can stand to be a cop.” A cop’s response usually runs to something like,”I don’t see how anyone can spend thirty years in a goddam cubicle, shuffling papers about property taxes.” I don’t either.

Some of it is funny in an anthropological way. A black transvestite as big as  a running back in a thong bikini and size probably forty high heels. Harmless but…different. There was the guy–I swear it, I saw the security-camera photo–whose head was so narrow that he got out of his cell between the bars at Seven-D headquarters, on Alabama Avenue. The guy with those shoes with the colored lights in them that flash when you walk. He did something wrong one  night–I forget what, shoplifting maybe–and then ran into a patch of woods to hide.

Some isn’t funny. The guy killed by a loon who completely peeled his face, maybe with an Exacto knife. Kids, burned to death in a fire the color of roast ham with their bellies ruptured by expanding gases. The little girl of four years whose ghetto parents kept her, starving and tied, in a closet until she died, when they left her in a dumpster in a plastic bag. The street trades handle this stuff while the rest of us sleep or worry about the property taxes. Guess why cops get weird and cynical.

The crash on the Parkway is still unfolding. Virginia. We hear things like, “That chopper en route? He’s fading in and out.” I’m not sure why they need the whirlybird, but the paras know what they are doing. They do a lot of it.

An all-night convenience store, a blotch of light and life in the deadness. Several black guys–everybody in this part of the city is black–congregate with brown paper bags. Forties or maybe Cobra, fortified wine. Drinking in public. Not very public though, at this hour. Barnes ignormes them.  They’re not doing anything.

Race is huge in the city, not always for reasons imagined in the nice suburbs. Police tend to be lower middle class guys, black or white, blue collar, wanting to distance themselves from the lower orders. They brush their teeth, follow rules, comb their hair, wash their cars. They are intensely respectable. The black city is different. The young men dress in dumpster-chic, deliberately telling society to screw off. They don’t follow rules. They and cops wouldn’t like each other under any circumstances.

The laws make it worse. Blacks stand with a beer on the sidewalks in fron of their houses, talking to the neighbors. Some guys are shooting crps for quarters on the hod of a car. Bo0th are illega: gambling, drinking in public. The cops have to shut thise dangerous activites down. It’s part of the theory that if you crack cown on little stuff, big stuff won’t happen. It makes the people hate the cops. When a black officer is involved, people will mutter, loud enough for him to hear, “I can’t believe a black cop is doing this.” Neither can I. Any cop. Of course the laws are made  by a black government. No one thinks of this.

Two hours to quitting time. We search for coffee.

 

A lousy scan, but you get the idea.

Buy  Killer Kink, Fred’s novel of death and weirdness in DC, where you have to   be really weird to stand  out against the background. What the critics are saying– Psychology Today, “Fred is crazy. He deserves a category all to himself in the DSM-5.” New York Review of Books: “This is a truly great book. You can squash bugs with it. Glue several together to make a doorstop.” Fred himself says, “But twelve copies. We know where your kids go to school.”

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Absolute, Obvious, Unacknowledged Disaster: A Racial Snapshot of America

Let us look into the abyss. It will do no good.

First, another page in the sordid comic book of American race relations. In Beijing, three black basketball players from UCLA were arrested for shoplifting.  They faced jail time. Ten years, actually.

The theft was so stupid that it demands explanation. It was too stupid for stupidity to be responsible  They did not need to steal. They were  pampered babies of semi-pro basketball, infinitely privileged. They are not expected to meet academic standards, to study, or be able to read.  Something other than conventional stupidity must be involved. Is it that blacks, as various psychologists have said, lack impulse control, cannot readily envision the future?  I don’t know. It fits, though.

There is a curious pattern here. Scoreboard Baby is a book tracking the careers of black football players at the University of Washington. UW is a big-time football school and these players were on track  to be millionaires in the NFL. Yet their record in the university is one of rape, armed robbery, assault, wife-beating, endlessly repeated drunk driving, drug use, and parole violation.  Criminality is understandable: You want those tennis shoes, or your life is so screwed up that you just don’t give a damn. These guys, with everything going for them, apparently could not control themselves even in their own interest.

But, back to the basketball players: As they awaited a decade in a Chinese slam, Donald Trump–drum roll, trumpets—drops from the sky like a thunderbolt, weaning a red, white, and blue cape. He  intervenes to save three two-bit semi-literate boosters.  The President of the United States acting like a starveling PD, public defender, the bottom-rung lawyers who hang around court houses in cheap suits to keep bottom-feeding crooks on the street.

Possibly  I was wrong about the manner of Mr. Trump’s arrival. Anyway, I am thinking that when he leaves office, he could start a firm, Shoplifters Redemption International and get federal outreach money.

OK, next. Baltimore has passed three hundred murders for the year. The figure is so astonishing that one almost begins to see it as like a batting average: Can they make it to four hundred? Are we doing better than last year?

You will probably have assumed hat the killers were Chinese math majors from Johns Hopkins. Right? You racist dog.

In response to its Bizarro world chaos, the black government of Ballmer tears down Confederate statues. Yes. These cause crime. The correlation is undeniable: Japan has no Confederate statues, and no crime. See?

These offensive sculptures commemorate a war that Baltimore’s cadavers,  strewn  about like flower  petals in autumn,  couldn’t spell. Do you doubt this? Go into the schools of Baltimore and see how many can spell “Confederate.” Which brings us to:

Next: Another Baltimorean triumph:. Fox News:“Project Baltimore  analyzed 2017 state testing data and found one-third of High Schools in Baltimore, last year, had zero students proficient in math.”  In six other high schools, only 1 percent tested proficient in math.  Only 15 percent of Baltimore students passed the state’s English test.. 

Bear in mind that the  schools, and their policies, are entirely under control of a black government. 

It is hard to decide whether these revelations are astonishing or boring. Accustomed to such numbers by long exposure, we forget that  scholastic catastrophe of this magnitude would be unthinkable in any other civilized society. Can you imagine a Baltimore in Japan? Finland? South Korea? Germany before African immigration? Ah, but Baltimore is getting rid of those oppressive statues. That will fix things.

Absolute, obvious, unacknowledged disaster.

Next: More advances in the homicide competition: Chicago, the City that Works, has hit six hundred dead! Zingo! Those pikers in Ballmer don’t have a chance. There is good news, of a sort. There have been 2045 shootings in Chicago to the end of October. This comes 3.41  attempts per murder. Oh blessed inaccuracy. In poor marksmanship lies our hope. 

Chicago’s educational statistics do not differ markedly from those of Baltimore, Detroit, Newark, or New Orleans. All of these cities turn out young blacks who will have no chance at all in a techno-industrial society. Reckon this happens in Beijing?

Absolute, obvious, unacknowledged disaster.

And hopeless. Even if we believed that better schools would help, a proposition for winch there is no evidence, or earlier intervention, perhaps in the womb, or special tutoring, or tweaks to self-esteem, even free Air Jordans, it would take twelve years to have effect—the length of a high-school education. Politicians do not look beyond the next election.

Anyway, there is no point in talking about education. Blacks lack interest. Have you ever heard of a black school telling mothers—there apparently are no fathers in what seems to have become a sprawling parthenogenetic ecosystem—to help their kids with their homework? Of black Boards of Education asking for thicker textbooks with bigger words and smaller pictures? It is  semi-illiteracy by choice. We are doomed.

Absolute, obvious, unacknowledged disaster.

Next. The war goes on. We have black football players refusing to stand for the national anthem.  They think that young black males are being hunted down by cops. Actually of  course black males are hunting each other down in droves but black football players apparently have no objection to this. They do not themselves convincingly suffer discrimination. Where else can you get paid six million green ones a year for grabbing something and running? Maybe in a district of jewelers.

The non-standing is racial hostility to whites. The large drop in attendance of games, of television viewership, is racial blowback by whites. Millions of whites are thinking, that, if America doesn’t suit them, football players can afford a ticket to Kenya. While this line of reasoning is tempting, it doesn’t really address the problem and so would be a waste of time.

But what, really, is the problem?

It is one that dare not raise its head: that blacks cannot compete with whites, Asians, or Latin-Americans. Is there counter-evidence? This leaves them in an incurable state of resentment and thus hostility. I think we all know this: Blacks know it, whites know it, liberals know it, and conservatives know it. If any doubt this, the truth would be easy enough to determine with carefully done tests. The furious resistance to the very idea of measuring intelligence suggests awareness of the likely outcome. You don’t avoid a test if you expect good results.

So we do nothing while things worsen and the world looks on astounded. We have mob attacks by Black Lives Matter, the never-ending Knockout Game, flash mobs looting stores and subway trains, occasional burning cities, and we do nothing. Which makes sense, because there is nothing to be done short of restructuring the country. 

Absolute, obvious, unacknowledged disaster.

Regarding which: Do we really want, any of us, what we are doing? In particular, has anyone asked ordinary blacks, not black pols and race hustlers. “Do you really want to live among whites, or would you prefer a safe middle-class black neighborhood? Do your kids want to go to school with whites? If so, why? Do you want them to? Why? Would you prefer black schools to decide what and how to teach your children? Keeping whites out of it? Would you prefer having only black police in your neighborhood?”

And the big one: “Do you, and the people you actually know in your neighborhood, really want integration? Or is it something imposed on you by oreo pols and white ideologues?”

But these are things we must never think, never ask.

It isn’t working. Absolute, obvious, unacknowledged disaster.

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Fun with IQ: Deep Thought

Once upon a time in America the ruling  dwarves, mostly psychologists, sociologists, academics, and suchlike riffraff,  held that all people were equal in everything, that men and women were identical, as were all races, ethnic groups, and cultures. Criticizing any of this could, and did, lead to firing, ostracism, and having to suffer crowds of mental defectives waving placards.

Resistance arose, the resisters calling themselves Race Realists or adherents of the Human-Biodiversity movement, HBD. These were brave people who tried to deal in observation, measurement, and reality–at first. They noticed that groups who were supposed to be equal weren’t.  Actually, most people had probably noticed the same things, these being obvious, but the Race Realists actually said so. A great wrath fell upon them.

Two things happened. First, the intellectual equivalent of gas-station louts merged online with Race Realists. The louts had no interest in human biodiversity except insofar as it could be used to establish the inferiority of groups they didn’t like. These included all non-whites. When various Asian peoples proved awkwardly to be smarter than whites, the louts said, well, OK, but they can’t innovate.

Overlapping the louts and Race Realists in a complex Venn diagrams were ideological, and therefore slightly pathological, conservatives with their characteristic tribal hostility toward anyone different and nearby.

Second, the respectable Race Realists, under constant criticism as racists, frauds, and pseudoscientists–which they were not–became as rigidly ideological as their opponents. Herd-think settled in. Surprisingly, scientists proved as susceptible to herd-think as everyone else, and equally unaware of it. The whole cluster could no longer examine its ideas or tolerate questions.

Their chief beliefs are that everything came about through Darwinian evolution, probably to include sunspots, that everything is genetic in origin (presumably including their politics, a thought they overlook), and that IQ tests provide an infallible measure of intelligence.

These views came to constitute as hermetic a bubble as anything the Catholic Church or Communist Party ever came up with. And so, like their enemies the mental defectives with the placards, they fell into simply shouting down doubters as a form of CDA (Cognitive Dissonance Avoidance).

They became wonderfully like their enemies. In 1925, in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial, fundamentalist Christians tried to prevent the mention of evolution in the public schools. Recently in in court in Philadelphia, the evolutionists successfully outlawed the mention of Christian doctrine in the public schools. The psychologies were identical. Curiously, both faiths were tripartite. The Christians had Father, Son, and Holy, Ghost, and the opposition had Darwin,  IQ, and Genetics.

Their thinking, well, wasn’t. If you argued to a physicist that the acceleration of gravity changed with the seasons, he would either ignore you or ask for evidence. He would not endeavor to have you fired or hounded in the literature. These things have happened to those doubting the sanctity of Darwin.

Permit me to give a few examples of Cognitive Dissonance Avoidance in the IQ racket . I will try to maintain the somber pretentiousness expected in such matters, but I apologize in advance in case I fall off the wagon.

Let us start here:

IQ 83. Meso-American Indians, more specifically purebred Mexican Indians, are said to have a mean IQ of 83. This is observationally plausible. Today they seem intellectually dormant. 

IQ 84. Colombia, mean  IQ 84, runs modern cities, airlines, telecommunications, and other trappings of modernity.

IQ 85. American blacks. They are thought in the hbd world to be unable to do things that Colombians do routinely, yet they have a higher IQ than Colombians..

IQ 86. Ireland was long said by IQists to have this intelligence, odd in a white European nation, but was later promoted to 100, with some authorities averaging the two to get 93.

It seems curious that such similar IQs would produce such disparate results.

Then we have this datum on the Meso-American Indians:

By around 300 BCE, these Indians had invented both writing and a positional-exponential number system complete with zero, probably the best in the world at the time. As linguists universally acknowledge, their writing  was  real writing, not proto-writing or funny scratches on bark. Writing has been invented perhaps three times in human history. Further, they did this with a quite small population.

Anybody but an IQist would think this remarkable and worthy of thought. Smart then, dumb now.Why and how did this happen? What mechanism can account for it? Is something wrong with the paradigm?

From the foregoing observations we conclude:

(1) A mean IQ of 83 is sufficient to invent writing and exponential-positional number systems.

This is not a theorem but an observation. They did it, so they must have been able to do it. The only ways to avoid this conclusion are either to accept that something is wrong with the numbers–an IQist would rather submit to bastinado–or to to posit powerful evolutionary pressures favoring stupidity following 1521, the last year when these two systems were widely used.

The latter expedient carries a whiff of desperation. Perhaps someone will explain this rush toward enstupidation. (Preferably without appealing to presumed evolutionary pressures not subject to measurement or even detection acting upon genes of presumed but unestablished existence to produce presumed results not correlatable with the selective pressures. This is science?)

Now, if a particular mean IQ is sufficient to do certain things, then a higher mean IQ must perforce be sufficient to do those same things. Thus we have:

(2) American blacks, mean IQ 85, are intelligent enough to invent writing and exponential-positional number systems.

The IQist position, that the Indians are stupid (as perhaps they are) leads to fascination conclusions.  We have:

Either (a) inventing sophisticated number systems does not require mathematical talent, or (b) mathematical talent does not require much intelligence.

Which?

Since, as established above, American blacks are capable of epochal mathematical leaps forward, their failure to make such leaps in the United States must be due to something other than low intelligence. Among the possibilities are culture, discrimination, racism, white privilege, transphobia, fat shaming, institutional racism, Islamophobia, low expectations, poverty. and something about LGBT.

Thus we see that IQ theory confirms the claims of Social Justice Warriors, a surprising but scientifically derived result.

But at this point I must retract my suggestion that the genetically determined Meso-American IQ cannot have fallen sharply. Observation demonstrates the contrary. Here we have a side-by-side comparison of mean IQs of nations, the first measured in taken in 2002 and and the second in 2006. One sees rapid changes in IQ over these four years. (The cognoscenti of IQ will attribute sudden rises of BMFE, Burst Mode Flynn Effect, but this is a very technical matter.) 

For example, Peru has fallen from 90 to 85, and Mexico has risen from 87 to 90. I find the case of Mexico particularly of note since I live there–here. With its genetically determined IQ rising at three points every four years, it follows that in the next century it may rise by 75 points unless something is done to halt this ominous trend.

We conclude:

A nation’s mean IQ can rise or fall by at least five points in four years.

This seems peculiar behavior for a genetically determined quantity. The most probable explanation is very rapid Punctuated Equilibrium, which we in psychometry refer to as an FGL (Frantic Genetic Lunge). Another explanation, which we will carefully avoid, is that IQ varies semi-independently of intelligence, and thus is an unreliable measure.

Perish forfend.

Next: There is said to be a positive correlation between a country’s mean IQ and its degree of economic prosperity. This is plausible and we will here accept it as true. Confirmatory examples abound: The Japanese are highly intelligent and highly prosperous; Equatorial Guineans are highly not intelligent and highly not prosperous. QED.

Thus:

Since IQ correlates positively with national prosperity, then, as prosperity rises, so must IQ.

Because genetic IQ cannot increase so rapidly in even the most lubricious of nations, we would almost have to suspect that prosperity raises IQ, not the other way around. Or else that IQ is only sometimes and unpredictably linked to intelligence. Both of these being unacceptable results, we will ignore them. CDA.

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Mexico, as It Is and Wasn’t:: Some Stuff Wroth Knowing

For Americans concerned about  Mexico and Mexicans, and what sort of wights they be, a little history may help. We seem to know almost nothing  about a bordering nation of 130 million. It is not what most of us think it is. It is certainly not what the Loon Right would have us believe.

For many years, until 1910, Mexico was run by Europeans, lastly under Porfirio Diaz, for the benefit of Europeans. Literacy was extremely low with economic conditions to match. The country was indeed, to borrow a favorite phrase of those hostile to Latin Americans, a Third-World hellhole. Many nations then were, to include China.

In 1910 the Revolution broke out. It was godawful, as civil wars usually are. It ended in 1921, followed shortly by the Cristero religious war until 1929. This had the usual hideousness favored by religious wars.

It left the country devastated. It hadn’t been much to start with, but now it was a wreck. Aldous Huxley, writing in 1934, saw no improvement. (Beyond the Mexique Bay) At least until 1940 much of Mexico was barely civilized, unlettered, lawless, and poor. Things were not all that swell in 1970.

Today, seventy-six years later (says the CIA Factbook), literacy is at 95%; the economy at $2.2 trillion, 12th  in the world in PPP; median age, 28; population growth rate, 1.12%; mother’s mean age at first birth, 21.3; total fertility, 2.24 children per woman; life expectancy at birth, 76 years.

Mexico today has a large number of universities (the Technológico of Monterrey, a premier engineering school, has some thirty campuses in as many cities: Is that one university or thirty?) Mexico graduates  well over 100,000 engineers a year, including 13,000 in software, and has a rapidly growing high-tech industry  with centers in Guadalajara and Mexico City. Major American firms, to include IBM, Oracle, and Intel, come here to hire them.

And of course there are internet, airlines, computerized everything, and teenagers pecking at smartphones.

This is a lot of change in less than a man’s lifetime. Those hostile to Latin Americans do not want to know this, and usually manage not to.

In many ways Mexico remains a mess, mostly because of organized crime and corruption. Distribution of wealth is badly unequal, being now what the US is becoming. Books could be written about what is wrong with the country. Finland it isn’t. But neither is ti remotely a “Third-World hell hole” despite the squalling of such authorities as Ann Coulter, Manhattan’s premier she-ass.

It would be a good idea to retire the phrase, “Third World.”  Any designation that includes both Buenos Aires and Haiti (I have spent time in the slums of Cite Soleil with the US Army) is so broad as to be without meaning. In 1930, China, Mexico, Thailand and so on could reasonably have been called hellholes. None of these even comes close today. The slums of India do, as does much of Africa, yes.

To grasp the degree of educational advance between the Mexico as it was as  of 1940 and today, look at what is visible on the ground:

Go into an ordinary bank, with which Mexico is littered. The clerks have to understand exchange rates, intermediate banks, SWIFT codes. They sit at computers, which are networked within the bank and with national headquarters, requiring network engineers and software weenies. Multitudinous ATMs require network people and maintainers. Telmex, the quite good telephone monopoly, needs people to program and maintain  switches and associated software. So do TelCel and ATT, cell-phone providers. Airlines need pilots and trainers of pilots, people to run and maintain high-bypass turbofans and avionics, the instrument-landing systems (ILS). The internet needs software people, router techs, help-line techs when someone’s modem fails (the techs are good). Also doctors and dentists, universities to train them, people who understand and maintain MRI gear, the usual elaborate diagnostic instrumentation, mechanics to run the diagnostic computers at car dealerships and understand what lurks under the hoods of today’s cars (which would baffle Stephen Hawking). And so on at great length. Similar observations could be made of many Latin American and Asian countries. Mexico managed this, starting from roughly zero a few decades ago.

Anyone who actually lives here can see that the country continues to change at a high rate. The middle class grows. Internet speeds keep going up. Despite the ardent hopes of many web sites of the Loon Right, you do not come down with exotic diseases, or any diseases, by eating in restaurants. Schooling increases. Common is a mother, age forty with ten siblings, who has two children, both in university or tech schools. None of this is universal, but increasingly common. This in not up there with, say, a manned landing on Mars, but it is hardly consistent with stone-age hell-holedom.

What Mexican are not, yet anyway, is driven in the sense that Americans often are. Young Mexican engineers are more so , but not the general population. A Mexican girl–to use an example I know–will go to dental school and then stay in her home town, however small, marry, fix teeth, and raise children. Mexicans seem less entrepreneurial than Americans. They tend to regard a job as a way of supporting a family instead of the other way around.

There is considerable social mobility, at least around the cities. Women start businesses here, often restaurants , stores, bars, or maybe assisted-care homes in regions favored by retired Americans (e.g., Lakeside Care, down the street), but seem content with enough. “Enough” means something to them that it often does not to Americans. Whether this is good or bad can be debated. It makes for contentedness but not commercial empires.

How will the new Mexican -American population adapt to the United States? I don’t know. Neither does anyone else, though many who know nothing about it have firm opinions. Will the government turn them into a sprawling class of welfare dependents? Doubtless if it can. Will furiously hostile anti-immigrant lobbies make them into internal enemies? They want to, and it would be the end of the US.

Or will they clamber, rapidly or otherwise, into the middle class and cease to be of much interest? The latter, I think. An intelligent policy would be to encourage them, but we can do it anyway. They are pretty good people, not given to terrorism or mutilating their daughters or the knockout game,  and they burn a minimum of cities. Everywhere I have been–LA, San Fran, DC, Huston, San Antonio, Pilsen and Berwyn in Chicago–they have seemed to be settling peacefully in. They have the potential to make it. We had better hope they get there.

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Kidporn, and a Suggestion: For Which I Will Probably Be Lynched

The other night we watched a documenatary ,The Dark Net ,on Netflix on child pornography. Dim as I am, I  didn’t realize that there was such a huge amount of it, mostly on the Darknet. This refers to transmission of material by layered encryption and quickly becomes technical: TOR, asymmetric encryption, IP packets, session keys, and so on. The upshot is that a staggering swamp of kid porn is out there, and it is almost impossible to eliminate.

The stuff is nasty. Children of eight or nine, mostly girls, forced to do naked live-cam chat with strange men on other continents, to engage in all the sexual behavior you can think of. No equipment is needed beyond a laptop and a webcam. In interviews, pedophiles say that they know it is wrong, but cannot keep themselves from consuming the stuff. Whether you buy this or not, they obviously will watch  when they know there is no danger of being caught. Which means that children will continue being forced to make it.

It tends to come from poor countries where children are easily exploited. In the bush world, corruption, official inattention, and lack of resources mean that nothing much will be done, no matter the level of Western indignation.

And it becomes morally tricky. What to do if you catch those making child porn? Simply drowning them, despite its appeal, doesn’t always work. Lawyers,  trials, appeals, delays, bribes. According to the documentary, in poor countries like the Philippines, the child’s parents are often the ones putting the kid in front of the camera, and they do it because the family has to eat. However one might regard this, putting mommy and daddy in slam doesn’t do much for the kid and, since in much of the world there are many hungry families, the jailed would just be replaced by others.

So what to do?

A supply-side solution seems impossible in the face of  an untraceable Dark Web containing lots of kid porn from many poor countries that can’t or won’t do much about it. That leaves demand side.

Some law-enforcement outfit came up with a convincing digital child, a brown little girl  Philippine or Thai. She moved and talked realistically   on a bogus porn site used as bait for pedophiles. If memory serves she got something like 25,000 responses in a day or two. In a big world, there are a lot of pedophiles. Pretty clearly, that many  are not going to be prosecuted, especially since their identities and locations cannot be determined.

Now what?

An interesting question. If the objection to child pornagraphy is that it involves abuse of children, why should it be illegal to look at a digital, nonexistent child? Who is harmed?

If on the other hand the intention is to prevent viewing by the public of things many find abhorrent, would this not also justify banning, say, movies in which nonexistent people are shot, garroted, blown up, and tortured? In which evil-doers engage in terrorism, in the bombing of city streets? 

The argument will be maide that kid porn encourages  the molestation of genuine children. Does it? Or does it allow those with pedophile inclinations to satisfy their urges through fantasy? This is the crucial question.

The answer is not obvious. When a captured molester is found to have pedophilic pornography in his home, a causal link is often assumed.  But of course a pedophile would be likely to own such material. This hardly establishes that he was made a pedophile by its possession. Adolescent boys of my generation once read Playboy. Did the magazine cause our interest in girls, or did we get the magazine because we were already interested?

It may be that legal kid porn would absorb molestational energies and thus protect real children. Might it be worth while to find out?

We swim today in sexually uncharted waters. One may read of virtual-reality goggles that provide increasingly realistic sexual video. On this I am  no authority but clearly this can provide  an intriguing variety of partners of every color, shape, race,  body style, and age (how do you check the age of a digital girl?) as well as personality and kink. Streaming concubines, digital Turkish harems, Asian fleshpots on demand, magically compliant and available to boys of fifteen and oldsters of ninety. This may have a future.

And of course a great many more women that will admit it go to porn sites on the web.  

The complaint is .made that men sometimes become so used to the variety and accessibility of such cyberseraglios that that they lose interest in real women. This is usually presented as symptomatic of some psychic inadequacy, but is it?

Dating is expensive in both time and money, involves serial break-ups and relationship talk. Careerists may not have time for dating. It can lead to marriage that,  in an age of feminism and feminist judges, is not a bright idea. As men ask each other, Do you want to eat at the same restaurant every day?

(Parenthetically, there seems to be a substantial desire among men to circumvent the monopoly economy in sex now held, falteringly, by real women. Brothels report that growing numbers of men pop for sex robots, which improve rapidly. I think this is nuts, but I am just me. You can download different personalities. Realistic sex dolls enjoy brisk sales, or so I read.)

If digiporn causes at least some heterosexual men to avoid the disadvantages of the real thing, might not digital kid porn have an identical effect  on pedophiles?

The question is worth asking. The costs to men of dating real women are relatively minor (unless they marry in which case child support, divorce, and so on can be burdensome). For the pedophile the costs of being caught are serious: many years in prison, loss of job, being put on watch lists. If penalties for possession of porn involving real children were extremely severe, and realistic digiporn both legal and available, the market for the real stuff might dry up considerably up. Perhaps a pedophile cannot control his interests, but he can control how he satisfies them.

And yet whether the approach would work probably doesn’t matter. Legalizing kid porn is not a winning political platform. Sexual exploitation of children is nauseating, and most people would probably see legalization as pandering to people they would rather throw from helicopters. But leaving things as they are will, well, leave things as they are, with wretchedly bad treatment of a lot of children. Anyone have a better idea?

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Diving Days: No vast political importance

The  Atlantic waters off Snead’s Ferry in North Carolina are shallow, maybe 125 feet to the continental shelf. Several  wrecks lie on the bottom, mostly in advanced stages of disintegration, sunk by U-boats in the early years of the war. I know them well as for years I was a member of Capital Divers, out of DC, of which there is now no trace on the web. We often rented boats and dived the remains.

Cap Divers was a cowboy outfit. The members were engineers, bureaucrats from State, employees of Beltway Bandit operations like CACI, maybe a third women, but all were experienced divers and possessed of what might be called strong personalities. They didn’t follow rules, such as never dive in waves over two feet high. Yo  pays yo money and takes yo chances. But it was a hoot.

With five-foot waves many miles out out sea we would find ourselves going back aboard in bright blue water with the dive ladder on the stern of the boat rising high and then slicing back down like a guillotine. The trick was to wait until it was at its low, grab the highest rung you could, put your fins quickly below, and hold on as the stern rose. When it halter at its highest point, you grabbed a higher run and moved up, to hold on for dear life as it came down.

Sometimes we rented a live-aboard for a week–see below–and there would be uproarious merriment in the bar after chow. The women were hardy types, delicate flowers not being much for night diving on deep canyons. There was not a single infuriated sociology major among them airing her grievances. The guys accepted them completely because they were completely good divers. You could kid around with them. After most of Washington, it was a whole different take on the fair sex.

The leader was Dale Fox, a big former Navy diver who liked practical jokes. Such as: About once a year we rented one of those nice specialized dive boats, as for exam the Belize Aggressor, for a week. On one such trip Dale, a NAUI instructor, gave everybody a PADI Basic temporary card, the kind new divers get before the plastic card arrives. It means your total experience is diving in a swimming pool at a dive shop.

Belize Aggressor. A serviceable substitute for heaven. This may be a later version than the one I knew, which I heard sank. The crew filled tanks with the on-board fast compressor, you jumped in, came back ate, geared up….

As the boat put out to sea the crew checked out everyone’s diving credentials, as required by law. Their faces turned pale green. You could hear their thoughts: “Oh God. These loons don’t remotely belong on an open-ocean dive boat. They’ll drown. Law suits. Poverty. Maybe jail time. Oh god, oh God.” Then they noticed that the piled dive gear had the marks of use since the Crimean War. They were so releaved that they didn’t kill us.

It is a curious fact, or was with Cap Divers, that you get bored near the surface. The fish are pretty but after a couple of days the deep walls and dark water below begin to pull. I  forget where we were but it was one of those below-100 walls probably in the Caribbean, dark, the light purple-blue and below, black for maybe thousands of feet. We were buddied up and in a line, two by two, in the funny privacy of a dive. No sound but sssssssss-wubbawubbawubba of air flowing in and out of your reg, maybe that explosive high-pitched clicking of shrimp that you couldn’t localize because sound travels too  fast under water.

The wall was a nightmare of grey twisted cords, branched growths, cups of barrel sponges, ugly. This because deep water filters out everything but blue light. But where our dive lights hit them they burst into wild reds and oranges and greens, lovely, garish, otherworldly.

And then, I will never forget, three big eagle rays, flying in formation, flapped past us and disappeared into the murk. What they thought we wre, I do not know, but they belonged where they were, and we didn’t, and they had more important things in mind than bubbly intruders.

It was aboard the Aggressor that one year we went to the Blue Hole of Belize, famous among divers. The ocean there was land in geologically remote time, a cave system formed, then caved in leaving the hole, and the entire thing sank beneath the waves. When you dive it you go down and down and down along sheer rock walls until at about 130 until the walls open out into the ancient cave system and you see stalactites that it would take five people to encircle

I went a bit further down in the  murk to look but stopped at 140 because below that on air things get iffy and your dive computer squeaks in alarm and you can get bent. It was strange to see maybe twenty people from inside the DC Beltway ssss-wubbling around  in what may have been the last place short of Alpha Centaurs where they–we–had any business being. I think we all felt it.

The U352, a German submarine, early Forties. These men, or parts of them, are probably still aboard.

The U352 made the mistake in 1942 of being caught by the Coast Guard cutter Icarus, not a good plan if you are a U-boat. She went down with over thirty of her crew aboard. They could have made an easy ascent with scuba gear, but it hadn’t been invented, so they drowned in darkness and lay undisturbed for decades.

The U-352. She crumbles now.

On my first dive on her it was a sunny day and your eyes adjust on the way down so it isn’t as dark as the photos make it seem. The water was clear and blue and the hull was visible from considerably above. The water is  cool at depth and there was no sound but one’s breathing. It was eerey to float slowly down onto the conning tower and sit, three-foot amberjacks circling curiously.

I floated off and exhaled to drift down and lie on my back in the sand and watch my bubbles rising, wobbling, breaking into new bubbles as they expanded in decreasing pressure. If memory serves, my depth gauge said 115 feet. The last time I saw her she was considerably more decayed. Soon she will be gone. Sic transit….

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Anti-togetherness: The Virtues of Disunity

A Truth Not Welcome: People do not like being with those different from themselves . Sometimes, briefly, we find it interesting, as in traveling, but for extended periods, no. This distaste pervades society, often unnoticed, with consequences. 

Instances of untogetherness:

People cluster by intelligence. With high consistency, we choose mates of intelligence close to our own. Likewise with friends: If you have an IQ of 100, or 150, you are unlikely to have friends of 150, or 100. Bright people join Mensa not from snobbery but because they want to be around people like themselves. On the internet this takes the form of distributed cognitive stratification in which people from around the globe congregate by intelligence.

A woman I knew while living in the Heart of Darkness once said, “In Washington, you assume that everyone is in the ninety-ninth percentile.” She herself was, and her friends were chemists, high-end journalists, authors, and so on.  She meant her remark as shorthand for a common sort of clustering.

People associate by age. We rarely have close friends who differ from us by more than ten years. People of fifty shrink in horror at the thought of being trapped in a bar full of screaming twenty-year-olds–and vice versa. Teenagers suffer their parents because they have to, and escape at every opportunity–to the relief of the parents. It isn’t  dislike, just a lack of much in common.

Men and women would rather not be with each other too much. In social and domestic settings, yes. Men would prefer to work with other men had they the choice. Men do not want to go fishing with women, or drink beer and argue politics, and when it comes to talking about their feelings, most men would rather die. Women presumably prefer their own.

Male and female homosexuals choose to associate with each other, thus gay bars.

We prefer to spend time with people of our own level of education. If you  have a doctorate, you probably have no friends who are graduates only of high school–and vice versa. The same goes for white-collar  and blue-collar people. Few bus drivers socialize with lawyers.

We prefer to be with our own race. Look at what people do, not what they say. Blacks do not find the company of white people compelling, and the most liberal of whites spend ninety-five percent of discretionary time with other whites. If whites do spend time with blacks, those will be of their own age, educational level, accent and, except in couples, sex. They will probably feel self-conscious anyway.

The cultures of blacks and whites differ starkly and any association occurs only to the extent that the blacks simulate the culture of whites. Distance is proportional to difference. Whites and Asians socialize more easily than blacks and whites because they have more in common:

We spend our time with people of our own culture. Jews flock together. We have Chinatown, Little Saigon, Little Italy. Good ol’ boys and Boston Brahmins do not party  together.

We tend to spend our time with others of our own level of wealth. If you drive a Lexus, you likely do not have friends with second-hand clunkers.

There is worse than lack of socializing. Diversity is not a strength but, when separation is not possible,  perhaps the planet’s chief cause of butchery and hatred. Think for example Sunnis and Shias, Tamils and Sinhalese, Jews and Moslems in Palestine, Kurds and Turks, Turks and Armenians, blacks and whites in America, Catalans and Spaniards, Basques and Spaniards, Tutsis and Hutus in Burundi, Francophones and Anglophones in Canada, Moslems and Hindus in Kashmir, Russians and Chechens, Mexicans and Anglos in Arizona, Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, and so on.

For that matter, Trump’s supporters and haters cannot stand each other’s company. In general, liberals and conservatives coexist at best uneasily in social situations.

Clearly the domestic tranquility would better be served by letting people and peoples associate as they chose, and in some cases taking measure to ensure separation.

Instead we have elevated almost to the status of religion the idea that people are indistinguishable, or should be, and must be forced into association. This is said to be the natural or at least desirable state of humanity, even though it clearly is not what we really want. On ideological grounds we imagine a world that  cannot exist, and try to move  into it. When it doesn’t work, we try to force it. This causes endless resentment and unhappiness and sometimes hatred. Yet any who openly do not want to be with those unlike themselves are called racists, sexists, Islamophobes, homophobes, snobs, and so on.

If a group of men are sitting around shooting the breeze and a woman shows up, the conversational dynamics change. The men will speak differently, talk of different things, be wary. Yet heaven help them if they say  that sometimes they don’t want female company.

In the military the consequences of forced togetherness are grave, and not just in that women can’t do many of the things required of soldiers. Thirteen men in a squad will work easily together to get a job done. Add a woman and all the men will compete for her sexual favors, even if she isn’t using them, which is possible. 

If we permitted freedom of association, we would have bars and clubs for men only, and for women only, as well as for both as people chose. Men would not care if women had segregated bars for themselves, but, what with feminism,  women feel compelled to force themselves on men.

In universities we equally see natural human resistance to mandated association. In particular blacks increasingly demand their own fraternities, student centers, graduation ceremonies, and departments of Black Studies. Thus we have the silly spectacle of universities struggling to recruit diversity which, once recruited, struggles to segregate itself.

As noted, ease of association is inversely proportional to difference, and difference is a sort of vector sum of many things: social and economic status, skin  color, native fluency in English, sex and sexual orientation, and so on. 

Our current policy of compulsory amalgamation is fueled both by resentment and ideology. Women and blacks think they endure discrimination by men and whites and so insist on inclusion they really do not much want. The result is lawsuits, and sometimes far worse. Cities burn because we insist on employing white policemen in black regions.

Much of today’s anger would diminish if we allowed people to live in neighborhoods of their own kind, and study in schools of their own kind, and be policed by their own kind, and to establish clubs as they like. We could call this something like, oh, say, “freedom.”

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The Military instinct: The Human Race as Feral Dogs

As Washington bombs Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria, militarily threatens Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, and China, sanctions Cuba, North Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Iran..one may wonder: Why?

Are wars about anything, or just wars? In modern times, a reason of sorts is thought decorous,  yes: Ruritania is threatening us, or  might, or does something wrong, or Ruritanians don’t think rightly about the gods. We must kill them. And yet everywhere in all times, almost miraculously, some reason for a war is found. It would seem that wars are not about anything, but just what we do.

Recently the collapse of the Soviet Union appeared to offer a prospect of extended peace. There seemed nothing left to fight about, at least on any scale.  Yet the United States quickly launched a half dozen wars of no necessity and threatened others. Why?

Because wars are what we do.

It may surprise many people to learn of evidence for a genetic foundation of human behavior. This should not be surprising. Dogs form packs, mark territory, and bark furiously at strange dogs. So, it seems, do people. An empire is just the result of these canine instincts..

Consider conservatives, as they are more relevant to the fighting of wars. (Liberals appear as genetically determined,)

Conservatives tend to be tribal, intensely loyal to their group–race, country, ethnicity, religious faith–which in national terms becomes patriotism.  They lack empathy. They see the world in terms of threats, conflict, and dominance. They favor capitalism and the Second Amendment, revere the military, speak of blood and soil, oppose taxation of themselves to give to the less fortunate.

An important point here is that these traits clump together, although there is no logical connection. For example, one might rationally favor ownership of guns as necessary to self-defense yet oppose having a large military as unnecessary. One might favor a large military in what appeared a dangerous world, yet favor extensive governmental charity as what one might see as common decency.

Yet this almost never happens. If you tell me that you oppose abortion, with confidence I can predict that you fit the description above of a conservative. If you tell me that you oppose the Second Amendment, I can be pretty sure that you favor abortion, acceptance of immigrants, marriage of homosexuals, and so on.

We all have access to the same information about the world, to the internet, the same books and newspapers, and we all live in very much the same society. Yet liberals and conservatives arrive at sharply differing conclusions from identical evidence. This suggests an innate predisposition.  

Soldiers invariably fit the conservative pattern, prizing loyalty to their units and to their country, seeing threats everywhere, and becoming alarmed easily. For example, if an ancient Russian prop-driven recon plane, technically a bomber in the Fifties, flies near England, fighters will leap into the air to intercept it, grrr, woof, though the idea that the Russians would send one ancient bird to bomb Britain is lunatic. It is very like dogs barking frantically at a passing pedestrian.

People in general seem designed to think about small groups, not countries of millions of people. It is impossible to think of, say, Russia as millions of individuals, especially when we have never seen even a single Russian. The almost invariable response is to compress a whole nation mentally into a sort of aggregate person. As I write, America is barking at North Korea, said to be a rogue state threatening several other countries. Countless men from the President through Congress to growling patriots in bars are saying angrily that “We can wipe North Korea of the face of the earth.” We’ll  show the bastards.

North Korea consists of twenty-five million people of whom perhaps fifty might want to attack anybody at all. The let’s-nukem men–almost always men, who are genetically more truculent than women, which is also true of dogs–think of the whole country as one pudgy man with a bad haircut. “We must punish North Korea” makes sense to them in these terms. Exactly why several million children in kindergarten need to be burned to death does not enter their minds.

A great deal of international behavior makes sense, or at least makes no sense but does it in a consistent manner, if you look at the history of empire. This too appears to be instinctive, and therefore presumably genetic. Throughout history men–again, always men–have formed armies and set out to conquer, usually at the price of unspeakable bloodshed, lands they didn’t need. Sometimes the plunder brought a degree of benefit, seldom commensurate with the cost, but often not.

Over and over and over,  one country conquers its neighbors, sometimes forming large empires but often small ones almost lost to history. Then a new one arises and bursts the bubble of the first. This is instinctual as a dog peeing on a hydrant. 

We see this now. The United States has no need for an empire of perhaps eight hundred military bases around the globe or to fight constant and exhausting wars for places it doesn’t need or even like. America has no need of Afghanistan, for example, and is there only to keep China out–that is, from the instinct for empire. Again, peeing on hydrants.

The lack of empathy usual in conservatives, in soldiers, appears all through military history, from the practice of putting cities to the sword to today’s indiscriminate bombing. It results from the tribal instinct. A fighter pilot will in time of peace be a good citizen, perhaps a good father, obey the laws and, should an earthquake occur, work tirelessly to save the trapped. Yet order him to bomb a crowded city in a country that has done nothing to deserve it–Baghdad, for example–and he will do it and pride himself on having done it.

The behavior is innate and immutable, unchanged over the millennia, but today we seem to need to pretend to decency. Militaries and “intelligence” agencies, the chief vessels of brutal behavior, have become very sensitive to revelations of what we now call “atrocities.” Actually atrocities are what militaries normally do. The norm now is to employ euphemistms–collateral damage-and to insist that atrocities are “isolated incidents.” Today governments, to maintain public support for the wars, or as least to discourage attention, carefully censors photos of disemboweled children or the CIA’s torture chambers. But the butchery continues as it did among stone-age savages. Pilots still bomb cities. The CIA tortures and probably enjoys it. Plus ca change, plus ca doesn’t.

There is a slight difference.  Militaries now know they are doing wrong, This is why soldiers become furious when persistently asked about atrocities. They would rather you not know. Yet the bombing continues and from the less politically careful conservatives come cries of, “Untie the hands of our soldiers,” and “Let the military do its job.”

It is innate. We do what we do because it is how we are.

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From Tex Mex to Mex Tech: A Study of Northern Inattention

In America two narratives about Mexico dominate. First, chiefly emanating from anti-immigrant ideologues who usually have never been here, holds that Mexicans have low IQs and cannot function at other than a primitive level. Breitbart News and something called Vdare are chief among these. They don’t quite expect to find all Mexicans either robbing banks or sleeping at the foot of cactuses win big hats and a burro, but they come close.

A Mexican software-engineering firm as conceived by Breitbart News The donkey is the brains of the operation as Mexicans do not have brains. Sigh. Some people need to get out more.

In stark contrast is what one hears from companies involved in high-tech fields. They speak of a large pool of Mexican engineers of high quality in everything from software to robotics. They hire them in droves. These are not assembly-line workers or even manufacturing engineers in traditional industries, such as cars. They are either in tech start-ups like Wizeline,below, or in software-development for big outfits like IBM, Intel, and Oracle, which have a large presence in Guadalajara. More on these in a later column.

The other day I want to Guadalajara to talk to Matt Pasarienski of Wizeline, a software-services outfit based in San Francisco but with large and growing presence in Mexico. (Wizeline: “Intelligent Solutions, PPM Software, Services, and Chatbots”)

Pasarienski is a wiry, high-energy guy. One can imagine him as a kid in a garage in Silicon Valley, living on Cheetos and Jolt Cola and writing code for days without sleep. Undergrad at Berkeley, PhD in physics, University of Illinois.

Wizeline has two big buildings in the old Kodak facility on Mariana Otero, vast open rooms with rows of desks with screens, lots of young techy-looking people, cafeterias. The atmosphere reminded me of the SpaceX assembly floor in Hawthorne  but without the rockets.

Some Wizeliners. The formal dress is characteristic of techies everywhere.

Pasarienski speaks fast and cogently. “We have 200 (software) engineers and want to hire 1000 more. We now hire about 15-20 a month. They are good, speak English, and learn fast. Definitely good for a world-class enterprise.”

He mentions that Mexico graduates 13,000 software engineers a year, and sees the country as fertile ground for IT start-ups, for which Guadalajara is becoming a hub.

(Interstitial tidbit: Tesla recruiting Mexican robotics engineers.)

Among many other things, Wizeline builds chatbots, roughly software that can intelligently answer questions, either by classic keyboard chat or voice, about products and services. These might, for example, replace the customer-service operators in Mumbai whose accent you cannot understand. This is definitely artificial intelligence, which means that you need real intelligence to figure out how to do it.  

Wizeline is not close to unique in hiring local engineers. Bloomberg:As global automakers pour billions of dollars into their Mexican factories, Marcos Perez is trying to make sure the nation’s future goes beyond assembly lines. The head of product development at Ford Motor’s Mexico unit, Perez has helped the company almost triple its local engineering staff, to nearly 1,000, since 2010. “

Says Pasarienski, “There is a fundamental difference between tech–what we are doing–and traditional manufacturing. To manufacture cars you need a billion-dollar factory, and engineers with a lot of experience. The factory belongs to a company outside of Mexico, which repatriates the profits.

“In what we are doing, AI, nobody has twenty years of experience because the field hasn’t existed that long. We can jump to the head of the line.”

Many tech-oriented people see things this way.  I talked to Andreas Kraemer  of MItaventures, a venture-capital firm looking to fund start-ups in Mexico.  He too wants to tap into local talent. From the website: “Cross-border tech innovation: We see Mexico as the innovation bridge between Latin America and Silicon Valley. We believe there are emerging opportunities for tech startup successes between these regions”

The foregoing is corporate-speak, yes, but bear in mind that these men and countless others are hard-headed, very savvy tech-and-finance guys. They don’t do racial ideology. They do can-we-do-it and will-it-work. And what’s the bottom line.

Pasarienski gives an interesting rationale for Mexico as start-up territory. “It used to be that kids doing a startup lived in a house and built the start-up in the garage. Today things are so expensive in California that they would have to live in the garage. The cost of living eats up more capital than most people have. Mexico is much cheaper, both for rent and paying engineers,”

Actually, technical talent is visible to anyone who lives here in all manner of things. But the ideologues saying how stupid Mexicans are don’t live here. The leaders tend to be talking heads of the Manhattan-DC corridor and, to my certain knowledge, many have written for years of this country’s hopeless primitivism without bothering to visit. I think we call this “fake news.”

The Chiapas, Mexican Navy

Jane’s: “While designated as Oaxaca-class vessels, a type designed by the Mexican Navy, the new OPVs are actually improved derivatives of this class, featuring several modifications, including a bulbous bow and a BAE Systems Bofors Mk.3 57 mm main gun.”  Jane is not a girl. Jane’s is probably the world’s leading military magazine.

Further saith Jane’s: “Constructed at the Naval Shipyard (ASTIMAR) N°20 in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas is the first of four OPVs that were ordered as part of the SEMAR 2013-2018 plan. The second, ARM Hidalgo (PO 166), has already been launched and is expected to be commissioned in 2017, while construction of the third ship has already started in Salina Cruz.”

Finally–this has nothing to do with startups in Mexico, but I find it irresistible:

Wired.  HOW 4 MEXICAN IMMIGRANT KIDS AND THEIR CHEAP ROBOT BEAT MIT

The robot. a tethered underwater manipulator. Built  on a very low budget and a lot of spare parts. Ugly as refried sin. Worked.

Interesting story, this, from 2004with here a gee-whizzy slightly lengthy video. Interpret it as you will.  In short, four illegals in a lousy high school in Phoenix entered a university-level contest to build an underwater robot. They won. I won’t recap it lengthily here, but follow the links if interested. This was not a softball contest.  The judges were heavyweights in submersible design from the US Navy and the petroleum industry.

The team. I am often told buy the racialists that anything intelligent done by Mexicans is done only by the white ones. Well, I concede. These kids do look positively Nordic. Swedes is my guess. When they won, the MIT team had the grace to give them a standing ovation. (The book on the contest, Spare Parts, is a good read.)

 The Mastretta MXT, designed and built entirely in Mexico. 0-60 mph, 4.9 sec, tops out at 150, sort of $60K.  The company then died in some corporate dispute.

The British automotive show Top Gear, having made snotty remarks about the very idea of the Mexicans making a sports car, received a great deal of flack,  and so a staffer to test drive it in Mexico. He noted that first cars in a country were usually cheap family boxes and that it was unusual to go straight to a sports car. He concluded that it was  a decent enough car despite some fixable teething problems.

Aaagh. Enough. The point here for anyone interested in the United States and its neighbor is that a lot of growth in tech ffelds is going on here which businessmen have most assuredly noticed. This has not gotten through to the recorded messages who write for Breitbart and its metastases.

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A Vet Remembers: A Bad Mood, a Six-Pack, and a Typewriter

This column is on lactation and isn’t going to write a damned word until half-October. People are talking about some Vietnam series by Ken Burns, I think it is .I saw the original, so I’ll pass. But if we want opinions, I’ll contribute from long ago.

Harper’s, December, 1980

I begin to weary of the stories about veterans that are now in vogue with the newspapers, the stories that dissect the veteran’s psyche as if prying apart a laboratory frog — patronizing stories written by style-section reporters who know all there is to know about chocolate mousse, ladies’ fashions, and the wonderful desserts that can be made with simple jello. I weary of seeing veterans analyzed and diagnosed and explained by people who share nothing with veterans, by people who, one feels intuitively, would regard it as a harrowing experience to be alone in a backyard. Week after week the mousse authorities tell us what is wrong with the veteran. The veteran is badly in need of adjustment, they say — lacks balance, needs fine tuning to whatever it is in society that one should be attuned to. What we have here, all agree, with omniscience and veiled condescension, is a victim: The press loves a victim. The veteran has bad dreams, say the jello writers, is alienated, may be hostile, doesn’t socialize well — isn’t, to be frank, quite right in the head.

But perhaps it is the veteran’s head to be right or wrong in, and maybe it makes a difference what memories are in the head. For the jello writers the war was a moral fable on Channel Four, a struggle hinging on Nixon and Joan Baez and the inequities of this or that. I can’t be sure. The veterans seem to have missed the war by having been away in Vietnam at the time and do not understand the combat as it raged in the internecine cocktail parties of Georgetown.

Still, to me Vietnam was not what it was to the jello writers, not a ventilation of pious simplisms, not the latest literary interpretation of the domino theory. It left me memories the fashion writers can’t imagine. It was the slums of Truong Minh Ky, where dogs’ heads floated in pools of green water and three-inch roaches droned in sweltering back-alley rooms and I was happy. Washington knows nothing of hot, whore-rich, beery Truong Minh Ky. I remember riding the bomb boats up the Mekong to Phnom Penh, with the devilish brown river closing in like a vise and rockets shrieking from the dim jungle to burst against the sandbagged wheelhouse, and crouching below the waterline between the diesel tanks. The mousse authorities do not remember this. I remember the villa on Monivong in Phnom Penh, with Sedlacek, the balding Australian hippie, and Naoki, the crazy freelance combat photographer, and Zoco, the Frenchman, when the night jumped and flickered with the boom of artillery and we listened to Mancini on shortwave and watched Nara dance. Washington’s elite do not know Nara. They know much of politicians and of furniture.

If I try to explain what Vietnam meant to me — I haven’t for years, and never will again — they grow uneasy at my intensity. “My God,” their eyes say, “he sounds as though he liked it over there. Something in the experience clearly snapped an anchoring ligament in his mind and left him with odd cravings, a perverse view of life — nothing dangerous, of course, but… The war did that to them,” they say. “War is hell.”

Well, yes, they may have something there. When you have seen a peasant mother screaming over several pounds of bright red mush that, thanks to God and a Chicom 107, is no longer precisely herchild, you see that Sherman may have been on to something. When you have eaten fish with Khmer troops in charred Cambodian battlefields, where the heat beats down like a soft rubber truncheon and a wretched stink comes from shallow graves, no particular leap of imagination is necessary to notice that war is no paradise. I cannot say that the jello writers are wrong in their understanding of war. But somehow I don’t like hearing pieties about the war from these sleek, wise people who never saw it.

There were, of course, veterans and veterans. Some hated the war, some didn’t. Some went around the bend down in IV Corps, where leeches dropped softly down collars like green sausages and death erupted unexpected from the ungodly foliage. To men in the elite groups — the Seals, Special Forces, Recondos, and Lurps who spent years in the Khmer bush, low to the ground where the ants bit hard — the war was a game with stakes high enough to engage their attention. They liked to play.

To many of us there, the war was the best time of our lives, almost the only time. We loved it because in those days we were alive, life was intense, the pungent hours passed fast over the central event of the age and the howling jets appeased the terrible boredom of existence. Psychologists, high priests of the mean, say that boredom is a symptom of maladjustment; maybe, but boredom has been around longer than psychologists have.

The jello writers would say we are mad to remember fondly anything about Nixon’s war that Kennedy started. They do not remember the shuddering flight of a helicopter high over glowing green jungle that spread beneath us like a frozen sea. They never made the low runs a foot above treetops along paths that led like rivers through branches clawing at the skids, never peered down into murky clearings and bubbling swamps of sucking snake-ridden muck. They do not remember monsoon mornings in the highlands where dragons of mist twisted in the valleys, coiling lazily on themselves, puffing up and swallowing whole villages in their dank breath. The mousse men do not remember driving before dawn to Red Beach, when the headlights in the blackness caught ghostly shapes, maybe VC, thin yellow men mushroom-headed in the night, bicycling along the alien roads. As nearly as I can tell, jello writers do not remember anything.

Then it was over. The veterans came home. Suddenly the world seemed to stop dead in the water. Suddenly the slant-eyed hookers were gone, and the gunships and the wild drunken nights in places that the jello writers can’t imagine. Suddenly the veterans were among soft, proper people who knew nothing of what they had done and what they had seen, and who, truth be told, didn’t much like them.

Nor did some of us much like the people at home — though it was not at first a conscious distaste. Men came home with wounds and terrible memories and dead friends to be greeted by that squalling she-ass of Tom Hayden’s, to find a country that, having sent them to Viet Nam, now viewed them as criminals for having been there. Slowly, to more men than will admit to it, the thought came: “These are the people I fought for?” And so we lost a country.

We looked around us with new eyes and saw that, in a sense the mousse people could never understand, we had lost even our dignity. I remember a marine corporal at Bethesda Naval Hospital who, while his wounds healed, had to run errands for the nurses, last year’s co-eds. “A hell of a bust,” he said with the military’s sardonic economy of language. “Machine gunner to messenger boy.”

It wasn’t exactly that we didn’t fit. Rather, we saw what there was to fit with — and recoiled. We sought jobs, but found offices where countless bureaucrats shuffled papers at long rows of desks, like battery hens awaiting the laying urge, their bellies billowing over their belts. Some of us joined them but some, in different ways, fled. A gunship pilot of my acquaintance took to the law, and to drink, and spent five years discovering that he really wanted to be in Rhodesia. Others went back into the death-in-the-bushes outfits, where the hard old rules still held. I drifted across Asia, Mexico, Wyoming, hitchhiking and sleeping in ditches until I learned that aberrant behavior, when written about, is literature.

The jello writers were quickly upon us. We were morose, they said, sullen. We acted strangely at parties, sat silently in corners and watched with noncommittal stares. Mentally, said the fashion experts, we hadn’t made the trip home.

It didn’t occur to them that we just had nothing to say about jello. Desserts mean little to men who have lain in dark rifle pits over Happy Valley in rainy season, watching mortar flares tremble in low-lying clouds that flickered like the face of God, while in the nervous evening safeties clicked off along the wire and amtracs rumbled into alert idles, coughing and waiting.

Once, after the GIs had left Saigon, I came out of a bar on Cach Mang and saw a veteran with a sign on his jacket: VIET NAM: IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN THERE, SHUT THE FUCK UP. Maybe, just maybe, he had something.

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