29 November 2018

Another Brick in The Wall

Yet another embedded R. When, oh when, will DB2 get it???
The interface is the same as for standalone SQL instances (with the exception that Python is not yet supported on Azure SQL Database), so the tutorials and guides there apply here as well.

First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And they they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And this is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.
-- Nicholas Klein/1918

23 November 2018

Silly Season

In the world of Formula One, from the last few races to the beginning of the calendar year, is Silly Season. AKA, when teams and drivers do-si-do to determine who will drive where. Much of the time the status of drivers and teams is 'secret', yet always seems to be in the press, thus Silly. Well, I have seen the future of golf and it is truly Silly.

Anyone with any interest in sport is aware that today is Tiger and Phil day. The match is PPV, and the earliest price I could find was to be about $30. Later reports put it at $25. Ultimately, $19.99. Or not. A few minutes ago I went surfing to see what the score was. While PPV, they can't stop media reporting how the match is going. Came across a page that said BleacherReport was openly streaming it. Really? Off to BleacherReport to see. Golly Gee... there it is. My machine only has DVI, so no sound (both are mic-ed up, and the 'banter' was said to be a large part of the draw...), but not a problem. I typically put something on the stereo for sports rather than listen to commentators commentate. Bill Frisell.

The main reason I wouldn't pay to watch two geezers play country club golf is that it must be lousy golf. So far, over these last few holes, so it is. Not to mention that each shot, from address to in the air, is no more than 10s of seconds. Not an action packed adventure. The result, of course, is that 99.44% of the video is two geezers walking to the next shot. Joyful.

Another puzzlement: this is a PPV event, but Capital One is a sponsor, and they've managed to insert commercials!! Of course, I've no idea whether that's a side-deal they made with BleacherReport to send the stream. If not, if I'd paid my $19.99 and I still got to watch Chuck and Sam in inane commercials (I assume, since I don't hear them), I'd be a tad pissed.

Some of the media speculated that PPV is the future of golf, and such. That assumes that the advert model is wasted, and that there're enough fat old white guys willing to drop $19.99/day to watch about the most boring, actionless sport there is. Sometimes progress isn't.

Back to watching the geezers. I'll let you look up who 'wins'. And, again, since this is a match play event twixt two geezers, it's dirt simple to arrange for it to end up even (aka, a tie) such that each pockets $4.5. Bet?

22 November 2018

Go Stuff Yourself

Well, happy Thanksgiving, a day when many utter those immortal words, "I guess I'll eat myself to death". Which words impel me to rant, not for the first time, about the most asinine bit of innumeracy. Not quite as stupid as believing that one can acquire syphilis from a public toilet seat, but real close.

So, in the last few days, whilst watching Pundit TeeVee, a talking head and some of the usual pundits were discussing The Manchurian President scandals. Along the way, one of the group said that the Founders couldn't have conceived of judges living as long as they do today, thus they wouldn't have made Federal judgeships lifetime appointments had they understood this. Well, it was fist-through-monitor time!!! This wasn't a bunch of Faux News propagandists! These were the usual gang of idiots from the Effete Eastern Intellectual Cabal! Gad.

I do acknowledge that innumeracy is rampant, and is one reason that The Manchurian President so easily gulls so many. But come on. The life span of a 65 year old in 1800 is not that much shorter than it is today. And much of today's longer life span after 65 is spent drugged up to the gills. We haven't cured any of the diseases of being old, have we? We can add a handful of months to cancer or cardiac patients, but these are merely delaying tactics. Diabetes and obesity, mark my words, will soon enough drive down lifespan, both measures, any day now.

What flummoxes civilians (those not of the demographer et al classes), is the simple statement that in year X lifespan was 45 years and today it's 75, or thereabouts. Civilians then jump to the conclusion that those "extra" 30 years have gotten tacked on at the end. Nope. More than once in these missives, I've dragged out the numbers (which I'm too full to do again; ok, here's a table), but the increased lifespan of a 65 year old from the start of Social Security to today is about 6 years, not 30. Fact is, from the beginning of time to the early 20th century, the lifespan of a 65 year old was pretty much static. It wasn't until then that medicine began to find methods to keep geezers alive a bit longer.

The answer to the question: "where, Dr. Robert, did those 30 years come from?" is simple. Almost entirely from massively reducing childhood mortality through vaccines, and adult mortality through antibiotics. The last couple of decades added some time from smoking reduction. But all of this just means that more folks get to 65 than in previous times. The average lifespan goes up just because lots and lots fewer folks are kicking the bucket by 40. That's it. That's just how average works.

Since there are age requirements for elected Federal positions, one might assume that there are for judges, well...
Believe it or not, the U.S. Constitution sets forth no specific requirements about who can become a federal judge.
A federal judge is not even required to possess a law degree!

Therefore, The Manchurian President could nominate Ivanka, aka The Pinhead, and get her appointed. If he found enough dirt on enough senators to coerce them to vote. Now go stuff yourself.

21 November 2018

Money For Nothing - part the third

One of the persistent themes in these endeavors: asserting continuity, especially over time, in a dataset is fraught with danger! Will Robinson! The sole situation where it makes sense, unambiguously, is when the data generation process is owned by God, which is to say the hard sciences: physics, chemistry, and in a pinch biology. God doesn't change his/her rule set on a whim to gain advantage over Man. Some religions posit that God rewards the loyal and destroys the disloyal, but that's bunk. God didn't flood the earth (well, the region over which each particular religion had hegemony) to punish non-believers. Jim Jones killed those folks. Just Jim Jones.

The last version of these missives had something to say about totally crackpot 'data analysis' in macro data. One of the pet exercises among the macro-analysts is predicting booms and busts. Buy at the bottom and ride the wave up. Sell/short at the top and make money (or, not lose any) on the way down. Money for nothing.

Today brings a trenchant condemnation of the financial industry. A writer after my own beating heart. If his text sounds a bit like, "house prices can't possibly continue to rocket into the sky forever"; well, yes it does. You have been warned. Whether there's as much moolah at risk of crashing the entire economy is the Big Question.

Each boom and each bust develops from specific actions/events. Some are repeated in later periods. Most not. Each boom or bust has had a unique driver. It ain't explained by Elliot or Kondratieva. Not that simple. Ya gotta look for the new scam. It's always a new scam, scurrying under the radar of regulators. Or, one might suspect, in cahoots with regulators. That way be dragons when Right Wingnuts 'regulate'.

20 November 2018

It Is Rocket Science

Happy birthday (40th) to the NYT 'Science Tuesday'. In my dead trees version are a bunch of ~half-page articles on science questions "still out there". Here are some excerpts.

Dennis Overbye on Einstein:
Dr. Hossenfelder argues that physicists have gone off course by exalting mathematical elegance. "They believed that Mother Nature was elegant, simple and kind about providing clues," she wrote. "They thought they could hear her whispering when they were talking to themselves."

Not just physicists. Here's a blog post I saw recently that takes econometrics into dragon country. There have been crackpot time-based notions of macro-economics for some decades. One is the Kondratiev waves. Another is the Elliot Wave, favored by the Gordon Gekko club. Those interested in how economic growth happens, and doesn't, read Solow for the mathy/technical analysis or Gordon with an historical argument.

Nicholas Bakalar on living forever:
Dr. Nir Barzilai, a professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, is planning a study of metformin, a drug that has been used for 60 years to treat diabetes and has been shown to be effective against several age-related diseases.

According to the Wiki, metformin was first isolated in 1922; wouldn't it be a kick in the pants of big PhARMA if a 2 cent pill keeps us upright forever?

Kenneth Chang on warp drive:
The key is that relativity does not impose a speed limit on the expansion of space. "Space can expand at any speed it wants," Dr. Alcubierre said.
Negative energy has the effect of antigravity, pushing space apart, which you would need for the aspect of the warp drive that expands space.

Well, The Manchurian President presents with an infinite amount of negative energy. Ship him off to Alpha Centauri.

Gina Kolata on the fattening of the American Herd:
In 1976, 15 percent of American adults were obese. Now the it's nearly 40 percent. No one really knows why bodies have changed so much.

Umm... too many RC and a Moon Pie for breakfast, lunch, and suppa?? Me thinks?

13 November 2018

The Amazing Spitting Man

OK. Let's bet how long The Manchurian President will take to trash Amazon for the disloyal act of putting the two new HQs dead center in the middle of Educated Coast Land. I don't twit, so it may have already happened. Certainly before the sun goes down. Go Blue!

12 November 2018

Whose Numbers Do You Believe?

One of the more interesting episodes in Pharma is whether Vascepa's brand new trial results would be positive or negative. And whether the share price would rocket up or plummet down respectively. Adam Feuerstein has been something of a skeptic on the fish oil, and now that the results of the trial have been made public over the weekend, great argument has ensued.

You can find all you want to know about Vascepa and Amarin, its maker, with a quick innterTubes search, so I won't go into all of that. But what is of interest here: being a blinded, placebo controlled trial, the efficacy numbers for the fish oil are measured relative to the patients getting the placebo. Almost all the time, there is no dispute over the placebo (the substance itself, not other factors such as administration or detection), but not this time. There's reasoned question whether the placebo used was really inert. When is the data just bad?

Here's a sample of the argument courtesy of Feuerstein. One might not be surprised to see battling forces. It's funny. And demonstrates that something as seemingly simple as testing a compound for efficacy most likely isn't. You would think that totally hiding which compound the patient gets is the first order of business, and that the placebo is truly inert (at least, for the indication under study). Guess not. The capsule used as placebo needed to look like Vascepa, so mineral oil was chosen. Turns out now that this is widely known, it is also widely known that mineral oil has been shown (in other studies) to be a bit of an anti-stain. Oops. Evidently, neither Amarin nor the FDA made the content of the placebo widely public, or all those who should know better ignored the issue. Let the jousting begin. Will FDA now change its mind?? Will the company go bankrupt?? And so on. All because the yardstick might be a foot short. Measure twice, cut once.

11 November 2018

Goodbye Tony

The mainstream pundits are finally figuring out that the issue driving the country into pieces is the urban/rural divide. The former is plastic, while the latter is concrete. Very white concrete. If you remembered to watch the very last "Parts Unknown", which ended a few minutes ago, about the Lower East Side of NYC, the divide is clear as day.

Bourdain spent the early part of his restaurant career there in the 70s and 80s. The episode interviewed people and places from that period. Nearly all those he talks with say, in one way or another, "if you can't stand change, you can't live here." Of course, in old, fat, white flyover country nothing changes. And they want it that way. Or, if possible, the way it was ante-bellum. If you know a way to get through to such folks, let me know.

New Gold - part the seventh

Yet another laggard in the mainstream media figuring out that the Buck's New Gold status has some implications. This piece deals with the Trumpian (lack of) intelligence manifest in tariffs and the like. Of major concern, although not the lede alas, is this:
In some ways, sanctions are the perfect American weapon. They are cheap, put no American lives at risk and elicit no equivalent response. Thanks to the centrality of the dollar to the global financial system, only the United States has the power to fully wield them.

In other words, if the US Buck were just another currency, Trump's sword would just be a wet noodle. Kind of like his dick.

08 November 2018

Quit Bitchin

Do you get sick and tired of the fat, uneducated, shitkickers in flyover country's continued whining about how unfair it is that the Coastal states get all the good jobs??? Do you?? White grievance manifest. When I've typed about that situation in the many times past, the conclusion is obvious: they're in the situation just because they have always in years past, and continue to, elect right wingnut politicians who see to it that the shitkickers remain uneducated, unhealthy and generally unemployable beyond "do you want fries with that" or lawn boy. At some point tough love has to tell them the truth: it's your own damn fault; don't blame the highly educated Coastal Cabal.

So, it was with a warm heart, that Emily Badger provides lots of meat on those bones in the context of Amazon headquarters 2/3. The lede:
In the end, even Amazon has behaved according to this rule: In the modern tech economy, cities that already have wealth, opportunity, highly educated workers and high salaries will just keep attracting more of them.

This situation mirrors the Red/Blue divide, which I (and an increasing number of Others) have been saying is really a Rural/Urban divide.
Between 2010 and 2017, according to Brookings, nearly half of the country's total employment growth occurred in just 20 large metro areas (places that are home to about a third of the population). The Washington and New York regions alone accounted for about half of the net increase in business establishments across the country between 2007 and 2016, according to the Economic Innovation Group, which tracks economic inequality across the country.

Keep in mind: the GOP's middle class tax cut (snark) doubly penalized Coastal Blue states by cutting the deduction of state taxes, which taxes are used, in large part, to support education and healthcare of the folks the likes of Amazon wants to find. You won't find many in flyover country, just because the flyover folks don't want to learn anything useful, but want a 90210 Lifestyle. They ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Numerous studies, here and here for example, have been driving a stake in the lie that small business drives job growth. Certainly not high-skill, high-education jobs. Nope.

Also, we see, again, the minority dictatorship by the shitkickers, in the person of The Manchurian President, who's convinced them that he's their savior. Yeah, right.

There is some hope that flyover folks are beginning to find some sense. Some Red state voters got Medicaid expansion and a raised minimum wage.

Get Me Cheap and Dirty! Now!

Some readers of history view human progress as accidental, in the sense that improvement in things don't mostly happen. What tends to be the case: some new innovation is an actual improvement over history, but then the capitalists debase it relentlessly. Herewith just the latest example. And y'all thought that SSD would lead to more intelligent data management?? Hah! The COBOL flat-file continues to reign supreme.

01 November 2018

The RCH Factor

So, for the last couple of weeks the Pundits of MSNBC have been HIGHsterical. It goes like this: "we blew it in 2016 by misjudging the polls"!! Well, no. As stated many times, and many places (here, certainly), the pollsters got the national vote dead on (you should read the whole thing).
But here's a stubborn and surprising fact — and one to keep in mind as midterm polls really start rolling in: Over the past two years — meaning in the 2016 general election and then in the various gubernatorial elections and special elections that have taken place in 2017 and 2018 — the accuracy of polls has been pretty much average by historical standards.

As also stated here many times, stratified random sampling is the toughest thing in all of quant. At the national level, it's quite a bit easier to say how the vote totals will go, but when you have something as biased as the electoral college getting in the way, making a presidential prediction gets to be problematic.

The number that matters to the 2016 experience is 79,000. That's the high end of various numbers that have been reported for PA, MI, WI margins for Trump. Turns out, while vote totals by state are readily available, number of precincts by state aren't so easy to find. I was able to find both numbers for MI. Here they are:
Trump margin: 10,704
precincts: 4,830

So, the margin is about 2 votes per precinct!!! There is no way on God's Green Earth that a national poll would find so few aberrant voters. The midterms aren't biased by the electoral college. Even so, MSNBC is showing as I type, and they've put up numbers for some interesting races, and the margins are running in the 4 to 6 point range. But... if you look at the fine print in the graphics, the MOE (that's what it says, rather than spelling out margin of error) runs to 3.5+ points! There's a reason that the House as been held by Democrats so much of the time: the mass of the voting public isn't Trumpian and never has been. It's essentially Liberal, even though many won't admit it.