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April 10, 2018 | 16 Comments

A Beats B Beats C Beats A

Thanks to Bruce Foutch who found the video above. Transitivity is familiar with ordinary numbers. If B > A and C > B and D > C, then D > A. But only if the numbers A, B, C and D behave themselves. They don’t always, as the video shows.

What’s nice about this demonstration is the probability and not expected value ordering. Hence the “10 gazillion” joke. “Expected” is not exactly a misnomer, but it does have two meanings. The plain English definition tells you an expected value is a value you’re probably going to see sometime or another. The probability definition doesn’t match that, or matches only sometimes.

Expected value is purely a mathematical formalism. You multiply the—conditional: all probability is conditional—probability of a possible outcome by the value of that possible outcome, and then sum them up. For an ordinary die, this is 1/6 x 1 + 1/6 x 2 + etc. which equals 3.5, a number nobody will ever see on a die, hence you cannot plain-English “expect” it.

It’s good homework to calculate the probability expected value for the dice in the video. It’s better homework to calculate the probabilities B > A and C > B and D > C, and D > A.

It’s not that expected values don’t have uses, but that they are sometimes put to the wrong use. The intransitive dice example illustrates this. If you’re in a game rolling against another playing and what counts is winning then you’ll want the probability ordering. If you’re in a game and what counts is some score based on the face of the dice, then you might want to use the expected value ordering, especially if you’re going to have a chance of winning 10 gazillion dollars. If you use the expected value ordering and what counts is winning, you will in general lose if you pick one die and your opponent is allowed to pick any of the remaining three.

Homework three: can you find a single change to the last die such that it’s now more likely to beat the first die?

There are some technical instances using “estimators” for parameters inside probability models which produce intransitivity and which I won’t discuss. As regular readers know I advocate eschewing parameter estimates altogether and moving to a strictly predictive approach in probability models (see other other posts in this class category for why).

Intransitivity shows up a lot when decisions must be made. Take the game rock-paper-scissors. What counts is winning. You can think of it in this sense: each “face” of this “three-sided die” has the same value. Rock beats scissors which beats paper which beats rock. There is no single best object in the trio.

Homework four: what is the probability of one R-P-S die beating another R-P-S die? Given that, why is it that some people are champions of this game?

R-P-S dice in effect are everywhere, and of course can have more than three sides. Voting provides prime cases. Even simple votes, like where to go to lunch. If you and your workmates are presented choices as comparisons, then you could end up with a suboptimal choice.

It can even lead to indecision. Suppose it’s you alone and you rated restaurants with “weights” the probability of the dice in the video (the weights aren’t necessary; it’s the ordering that counts). Which do you choose? You’d pick B over A, C over B, and D over C. But you’d also pick A over D. So you have to pick A. But then you’d have to pick B, because B is better than A. And so on.

People “break free” of these vicious circles by adding additional decision elements, which have the effect of changing the preference ordering (adding negative elements is possible, too). “Oh, just forget it. C is closest. Let’s go.” Tastiness and price, which might have been the drivers of the ordering before, are jettisoned in favor of distance, which for true distances provides a transitive ordering.

That maneuver is important. Without a change in premises, indecision results. Since a decision was made, the premises must have changed, too.

Voting is too large a topic to handle in one small post, so we’ll come back to it. It’s far from a simple subject. It’s also can be a depressing one, as we’ll see.

April 9, 2018 | 6 Comments

Hillary Clinton Visits Coven ‘The Wing’

Yes, you read the title right. It really happened. Here’s the headline: “Last Night, The Wing Welcomed Hillary Clinton Into Their Coven.”

She was awarded on 3 April “an honorary lifetime Wing membership”, which comes, we are told, with free cosmetics. It’s unclear whether Hillary viewed that as an insult. Most likely not. She tweeted of her time at the coven that she was “Inspired by [their] passion and commitment.”

The group is called The Wing. It was started by Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan in 2016. It is not a woman’s club. Gelman said, “We’re a coven, not a sorority.” Gelman’s mother is actress Lena Dunham’s therapist, and the younger Gelman was reportedly the inspiration for Dunham’s show Girls.

The Cut reported that “One of The Wing’s inaugural events was a festive Election Night party (attended by about 80 women) in anticipation of a Clinton victory. That night, of course, didn’t go as planned.”

The New York Times reported coven members hoped that night would be a “crowning event.”

Warning to readers: do not rely on the coven’s spells in presidential elections.

When is a Coven not a Coven?

The Wing operates several covens around the country. That is, they called them covens until news that Hillary attended a meeting came out. Then they switched the names of their meeting places to “spaces”.

They did call them covens, however. The New York Times remembers. The Wayback Machine dating from as late as 4 April still lists the spaces as “covens” (though because of difficulties displaying the archive, the source code of the page has to be viewed).

The Wing’s web people didn’t do a perfect job of scrubbing mentions of covens, at least not yet. Because the URL of the application to join a once-coven-now-space is “” (“witches” can also be seen in the archive source code). The old default error page was a still from the film The Witch, a movie with the “happy” ending of a little girl turned witch running off with a demon to see the world.

Get Shopping, Ladies

Or maybe they weren’t trying to scrub the word after all. Because on the Shopping section of the site, you can buy all kinds of coven-branded merchandise. Such as the “Web Coven Beanie.” The beanie features a badge with the slogan “Incantations, Shouts & Chants” and has the words “wing spells” right below the sigil of a half moon over a “W”. The buyer is advised the been will “Keep your magic warm.”

The beanie is a perfect match for the “Wing Coven Longsleeve Tee.” This has the words “Wing Coven Member” encircling a pentagram, a design long the favorite of witches and satanists everywhere. Unexplained under the order button are the words “Move witch, get out the way.”

If pentagrams aren’t your thing, you should click here to read the rest.

April 8, 2018 | 5 Comments

Summary Against Modern Thought: Become More Godlike

Previous post.

Review! We skipped a week because of Easter, and memories are short.

That things naturally tend to become like God inasmuch as He is a cause

1 As a result, it is evident that things also tend toward the divine likeness by the fact that they are the cause of other things.

2 In fact, a created thing tends toward the divine likeness through its operation. Now, through its operation, one thing becomes the cause of another. Therefore, in this way, also, do things tend toward the divine likeness, in that they are the causes of other things.

Notes Don’t get cocky. You become “like” God because you can cause things, and God is cause itself. But animals also cause things, and so do bags of rocks.

3 Again, things tend toward the divine likeness inasmuch as He is good, as we said above. Now, it is as a result of the goodness of God that He confers being on all things, for a being acts by virtue of the fact that it is actually perfect. So, things generally desire to become like God in this respect, by being the causes of other things.

4 Besides, an orderly relation toward the good has the formal character of a good thing, as is clear from what we have said. Now, by the fact that it is the cause of another, a thing is ordered toward the good, for only the good is directly caused in itself; evil is merely caused accidentally, as we have shown. Therefore, to be the cause of other things is good. Now, a thing tends toward the divine likeness according to each good to which it inclines, since any created thing is good through participation in divine goodness. And so, things tend toward the divine likeness by the fact that they are causes of others.

5 Moreover, it is for the same reason that the effect tends to the likeness of the agent, and that the agent makes the effect like to itself, for the effect tends toward the end to which it is directed by the agent.

The agent tends to make the patient like the agent, not only in regard to its act of being, but also in regard to causality. For instance, just as the principles by which a natural agent subsists are conferred by the agent, so are the principles by which the effect is the cause of others. Thus, an animal receives from the generating agent, at the time of its generation, the nutritive power and also the generative power.

So, the effect does tend to be like the agent, not only in its species, but also in this characteristic of being the cause of others. Now, things tend to the likeness of God in the same way that effects tend to the likeness of the agent, as we have shown. Therefore, things naturally tend to become like God by the fact that they are the causes of others.

6 Furthermore, everything is at its peak perfection when it is able to make another thing like itself; thus, a thing is a perfect source of light when it can enlighten other things. Now, everything tending to its own perfection tends toward the divine likeness. So, a thing tends to the divine likeness by tending to be the cause of other things.

Notes And this is why our saint can teach us so well.

7 And since a cause, as such, is superior to the thing caused, it is evident that to tend toward the divine likeness in the manner of something that causes others is appropriate to higher types of beings.

8 Again, a thing must first be perfect in itself before it can cause another thing, as we have said already. So, this final perfection comes to a thing in order that it may exist as the cause of others. Therefore, since a created thing tends to the divine likeness in many ways, this one whereby it seeks the divine likeness by being the cause of others takes the ultimate place. Hence Dionysius says, in the third chapter of On the Celestial Hierarchy, that “of all things, it is more divine to become a co-worker with God”; in accord with the statement of the Apostle: “we are God’s coadjutors” (1 Cor, 3:9).

Notes Do God’s will.

April 7, 2018 | 7 Comments

Insanity & Doom Update XXVIII

Item City Council wants new schools chancellor to ‘take bold action’

City lawmakers are demanding that incoming schools chief Richard Carranza bring his focus on ethnic and LGBTQ studies with him from Houston to new York.

Joining activists at City Hall, City Council members called on Mayor de Blasio to give Carranza full authority to promote “bold” changes to city curriculums that emphasize “culturally responsive education.”…

The group demanded a new focus on the history and culture of African, Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern and Native American communities in city schools.

They also called on a focus on their “intersections with gender, LGBTQ and religious diversity.”

Not only are colleges and universities beyond hope, so too are high schools. Home school before it is made illegal.

Item Liberals to revamp ‘discriminatory’ age law for anal intercourse

Change comes as Justin Trudeau appoints new adviser to advance equality agenda

The Liberal government is repealing what it calls a “discriminatory” law that makes it illegal to have anal sex under the age of 18, unless it is between a husband and wife.

Right now, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 but the Criminal Code prohibits anal intercourse for people under the age 18 unless they are husband and wife, a discrepancy many have denounced as unconstitutional.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced the change today, saying the “outdated” law violates equality rights.

“This section of the Criminal Code is discriminatory and the LGBTQ2 community has rightfully called for its repeal,” she said.

“Our society has evolved over the last few decades and our criminal justice system needs to evolve as well. This legislation will help ensure that the system is keeping pace with societal change and continuing to meet expectations of Canadians.”

Some like ’em young, which is, of course, how some of ’em are made. It’s also well to point out evolution, as all good scientists tell us, is not always in a direction of improvement.

Item Catholic Church ‘an empire of misogyny’ – Mary McAleese

A former president of Ireland has criticised the Catholic Church as “an empire of misogyny”…

“The Catholic Church is one of the last great bastions of misogyny,” said Mrs McAleese. “It’s an empire of misogyny.

“There are so few leadership roles currently available to women.

Mrs McAleese said women do not have strong role models in the Church they can look up to.

A Church hierarchy that is “homophobic and anti-abortion is not the Church of the future”, she added.

Mary is an inapt name for this poor soul as can be imagined. Next thing you know the poor dear will be complaining the Church still doesn’t all men to become nuns.

Item University of Texas students launch ‘No Whites Allowed’ magazine

Students at the University of Texas, San Antonio are launching a new magazine called “No Whites Allowed.”

A Facebook event announcing Thursday’s launch says the magazine will “create a space” for “black and brown people, especially those who are queer,” who have been “told that they don’t have a space” or a “voice or a say.”

“The [magazine] specifically features and promotes black and brown lgbtqa creatives,” a description of the event reads. “We hope to showcase our talent and create an open space for our voices to be heard.”

White people are welcome to attend the launch party.

How big of them.

But since the mag is only for people “who have been ‘told that they don’t have a space'”, and this includes zero actual “black and brown people, especially those who are queer,” the magazine will have no possible readers except for whites. Ought to be a short run.

Item A Good Gay Myth is a Terrible Thing to Waste

To this day, gay elites dine out on the grisly murder of Matthew Shepard who they falsely claim was murdered by strangers because he was gay. In fact, according to voluminous research by award-winning gay journalist Stephen Jimenez–who spent months on the ground in Laramie, Wyoming–Shephard was murdered by a fellow drug dealer who was also his occasional gay sex partner…

In much the same way, the mass murder at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub has come to occupy the same emotional, political, and financial space. Recall that Muslim Omar Mateen invaded the gay-themed nightclub in Orlando, Florida and killed 49 mostly gay men. Ask practically anyone and they will tell you the killer was motivated by “homophobia.”…

A lengthy and explosive story in The Intercept by investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald shows that Mateen “went to Pulse only after having scouted other venues that night that were wholly unrelated to the LGBT community, only to find that they too were defended by armed guards and police, and ultimately chose Pulse after a generic Google search for ‘Orlando nightclubs’—not ‘gay clubs’—produced Pulse as the first search result.” [etc. etc. etc.]

Lies make for good fund raising points, though.