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Category: Statistics

The general theory, methods, and philosophy of the Science of Guessing What Is.

January 2, 2018 | 6 Comments

How’d We Do On Our 2017 Predictions?

How’d we do? Not so hot. We missed big events; but then, 2017 was a screwy year with our continued slide into Insanity & Doom accelerating. As Yogi Berra may or may not have said, prediction is hard, especially about the future.

Here are the main predictions, in the order in which they were received. The best forecaster is noted below.

  • Michael Dowd had a simple one: “we will receive a clear message from God in this year of our Lady of Fatima’s 100th anniversary. As a result many will change their ways.” Individuals, yes; but all of us, no.
  • Jose Mir&oactue; said in Europe “three will be several days of open war between local citizens and immigrants.” Nailed it for Belgium and Sweden, which are all but war zones. He was right the clergy would say more about the dubia. Despite Trump “Abortion, LBGT, etc, will not advance but will not retreat either. The system always wins.” True, but too easy. Mir&oactue; also foresaw the retreat of ISIS.
  • Ye Old Scribe was right that the consecration of Russia would remain undone, but this was easy money. He was dead wrong a counsel would be “convened to try Pope Francis of the crime of heresy”. Wishcasting? About fake news and Russia he was right. Too easy. “Julian Assange will receive significant aid”. Didn’t happen.
  • Kent Clizbe expected a barrage of “‘Trump homeless’ tent cities” reports. Good guess, because the homeless are always rediscovered when Republicans hold office. But the media were too busy reporting on Trump’s pop preferences to get to this story (see LA). He said neocon media would focus on sharia and ignore Mexican and other terrorism on our borders (many beheadings). A good hit. Kent says FBI will boast of its victories that it itself creates, which is another hit, but a perpetual one.

    BLM will be treated by the media as if it were not a terrorist group. True, but easy. “Trump’s federal government will drastically alter the funding of ‘climate research'”. Sort of. Good EPA appointments and the Paris dumping but no real cuts in spending. Next, the media will daily feature “Israel”; WSJ’s Bret Stephens will be its champion. Yes, but Trump flummoxed them, because when he supports Israel,
    his many enemies who would support Israel too, don’t know what to do.

    “Neocon media and advisors will pressure Trump to go to war against Iran.” True, especially at the end of the year. Next, the intelligence agencies will be forced to re-org. Almost, almost. The FBI is still lighting itself on fire. Last, Kent predicted a trump assassination attempt. If there was one, we never heard about it.

  • Jim Fedako first said “Trump will issue a record number of executive orders for a first-year president.” I can’t verify this, but it does seem to be many, with a good chunk reversing his predecessor. Obamacare will remain intact. Check. Next: “at least three indictments of high-ranking officials in the Trump administrator”. Not three, but there was that effeminate “lying to the FBI nonsense.” Jim said bitcoin would hit a high, which it did with balls on.

    Jim thought “Germany will clamp down on anti-immigration dissent”, which was true, but a given, and he said France would ignite. Belgium did. Jim thought there’d be an “Internet Freedom of Truth Act”, which thankfully did not happen. Net “neutrality” is currently a corpse. Next up: Trump’s tweets will cause an “international crisis.” The closest we came is “rocket man”.

    “Civil war or coup in Venezuela”. Not yet. Jim predicts the war on cash will ramp up. His example was wrong, but the thought was not. Why not let the government track every purchase you make? Last, Jim thought the USA would move more nukes to Turkey and Romania. Didn’t happen (publicly).

    Jim nailed his last guess: “I predict with absolute certainty that I will not win this contest.” He didn’t!

  • DAV said no impeachment of Trump. Don’t wait up for it.
  • MattS thought driverless cars would not yet be approved, which is mostly true (there have been tests allowed). And, alas, there are not yet any flying cars, as Matt thought might now exist.
  • MikeW wins the Comedy Award for saying “William M. Briggs will receive government funding for climate-related research and/or consulting.” Better than a knock-knock joke, Mike.
  • Dan Diego says Trump will do “pretty good, actually”, and we agree. Dan said no wall. No surprise, that. He also predicted the sun would continue to rise in the east. I mean, that Islamic terrorism would increase.

    Dan saw globalization taking a hit, which it did. See inter alia Poland. But there was no specificity in the guess. He also saw a reduction in illegal entries into the States, which I believe happened.

  • Sander van der Wal saw Merkel losing the Bundestag elections in 2017. Didn’t happen. He did see AfD as the “big winner”, which was.
    Sander believed Geert Wilders would win his election. Nope, and wasn’t that close, either. Lastly,
    “ISIS won’t be defeated before the end of 2017.” Depends on what you mean by “defeated”. They are still with us, but greatly diminished.
  • BrianH saw a neocon “Gang of Eight”-like group of Republicans led by McCain rising to stymie Trump. Partial credit for this, because Pelosi and Schumer did not become “de facto legislative leaders”, but McCain remained a pain in the keister.

    Here’s a bold one: “majority-Muslim nation will attempt to initiate a reformation of the jihadist interpretation of Islam and will be assassinated for his efforts.” Didn’t happen, but we see where you came from.

    Brian also had my favorite prediction: “Kim Jong Un will die in a Chinese-orchestrated coup clumsily designed to appear as a natural death.”

    He also Japan rising again, militarily, which is true, but has been happening yearly incrementally. Lastly, he saw Obama remaining popular on the left—which is to say, the media. Too easy!

  • Gary in Erko thought Trump would announce a China visit. Yep. Gary thought we’d see another Brexit in, say, Hungary. Didn’t happen, but the wind blew that direction. Putin, he said, would further reduce Iran’s power in Iraq.
    Putin held sway the Mideast, all right. Gary also saw greater action from Israel’s military than happened.
  • Paul Murphy thought Trump on day one would “void most of Obama’s executive orders”. Some, not most. He saw the bill voiding Obamcare
    passing easily. We’ll try not to laugh, Paul. He saw Obama maintaining his authority, which was easy,
    but he said “Palin, Christie, and Rudy will constitute Trump’s political shock troops”. Who are these three people?

    Paul predicted a nuclear accident in Iran. Nope. On a keener note, he bet the House of Saud would fall.
    It didn’t, but there were major quakes. Paul saw the wall. Naw.

  • Michael Randolph thought Trump would be out of office. Not even close. Michael predicted one Trump judge, which happened. He said “Hillary does not get indicted”. Safe bet she’ll escape all but the Final Judgment.

    “Pope Francis officially permits inter-communion with non-Catholics” was Paul’s daring forecast. Didn’t happen, but we came close. He also thought the Pope would make celibacy optional. This and the previous guess may have been early, not wrong. Michael guessed (wishcasted?) we’d see a public formal correction of His Holiness by now.

    Two failed forecasts: a country would leave the EU and the DOW would fall below 15,000. Not even close.

  • Shaun thought Google would buy Twitter. Never reached beyond rumors. He saw Ted Cruz elevated to the Supreme Court. I was hoping Trump would save a slot for me. He said “Stephen Colbert gets cancelled”. Who?

    Shaun foresaw the tax reform, but not its timing. And he went out on a limb to predict “McRib becomes permanent part of McDonalds menu”. Did they? I have no idea.

  • Gary said Queen Elizabeth would be out. She may never leave. He saw the DOW ending the year higher, which happened, and he saw oil higher, which I believe was also so. He finally thought somebody in Hollywood would off themselves.
    Doesn’t that happen all the time?
  • Mike in KC, MO said blogger Mark Shea would flame out. He may or may not have. I confess to not having read him this year. Mike said no war with Russia. Thank God this was right. Like others, he saw another EU exit. But he correctly predicted more Islamic terrorism.

    Mike knew the wall would not be built, and that this would anger some. See Coulter, Ann, for verification. He said the Kansas City Chiefs would have a bad season. They might have. I watched no football this year. Lastly, he predicted Betty White would die. She didn’t.

  • Nate like others said the Wall would begin. Mosul would be liberated, he said, and it was. He too thought the Queen would die. Along with Jimmy Carter. He saw the S&P 500 over 2400, which was so. He forecasted “Oil Prices stubbornly refuse to rise above $70”, which they did not, but why the “stubbornly”? He had the Steelers win the Super bowl (did they?) and the Indians take the World Series (they didn’t).
  • N. Ominous said the UK Supreme Court would rule “Article 50 to initiate Brexit without a vote in parliament.” The opposite occurred.
    He thought Brexit negotiations would finish by year’s end, which appears to have happened, but in politics nothing is ever final.

    Jeremy Corbyn did remain leader of the Labour Party. Ominous said there’d be no breakaway parties formed, which his true, but he like others saw Wilders winning, which he didn’t. He did guess correctly that Le Pen would fail in her presidential bid.

    He said something called Kraftwerk would release an album. Did they? His best prediction was that more scientists would come out of the closet as “climate change” skeptics. Some did, sort of. There has been a softening, thank God.

  • terry colon had the one prediction we all wanted to become true: “Yale will release Boolaboolean algebra based on the truth values of true, false, and fake but accurate”. He must also have been drinking because by the time he reached his eight prediction he said the Tigers would win the Series.
  • Bulldust revealed himself to be a raving Reality lover, bless him.
  • pouncer, perhaps looking too far ahead, saw the implementation of a remittance tax between USA and Mexico. He nailed the nonsense about sea-level rise. And he knew—somehow—that my hometown Detroit would continue to fester. He also correctly foresaw that a potentially destructive “near Earth object” would not be detected until it passed. Look for more of these, I say.

    He thought there’d be no resolution in physics re the EM Drive. I say it’s almost certainly a bust. N. Ominous bit on Pouncer’s claim and jokingly said somebody would invent a “cold fusion powered EmDrive.” Pouncer thought some claims of extra-solar planets would be retracted. This was so in previous years, but I’m sure it happened this one.

    Lastly, he saw some professors would be FOIAed by SJWs. This happened to a friend of mine.

  • I. J. Kennedy knew donations to the Clinton Foundation would decrease. He thought the Feds would lift bans on on-line gambling. Nope. He said Paul Krugman would leave the NYT. Didn’t happen. He foresaw Trump’s SCOTUS pick, but was wrong, but not far wrong, when he said there’s be more Democrat than Republican votes for him. He said Milo would be back on Twitter. He may be, but not under his name.
  • Yawrate thought Hillary would be indicted but that Trump would pardon her. Nope. And she’d have to be convicted before being pardoned. Indicted is only to officially accuse.

And the winner is—drum-roll, please—Kent Clizbe for having the most boldest and accurate guesses.

Kent, you win official recognition of being 2017’s Best Guesser from WMBriggs.com! Simply print out this page, which you may consider an Official Certificate, and bring it with you wherever you go and show it to people. Don’t be shy about this. Impress people with your qualifications. Wow them with your abilities! Boast of your skills!

That’s it until next year, friends. Polish up those crystal balls and enter your guesses for 2018 before the end of next week.

December 23, 2017 | 2 Comments

In A Democracy, Everything Is Political. Even Science.

Stream: On the Left, Bad Politics Leads to Bad Science

(Insanity & Doom updates resume after Christmas.)

“All I Want For Christmas Is Full Communism Now”.

Not I. It is the desire of BuzzFeed’s UK science editor Kelly Oakes. The verified user tweeted out that sentiment to her many followers.

She soon thought better of it and locked her account because of the reaction from readers who reminded Oakes of communism’s tens and tens of millions of victims.

[…]

Victims of Trumpenpanick

Another BuzzFeed reporter and verified Twitter user, Blake Montgomery, earlier tweeted “‘Victims of Communism’ is a white nationalist talking point. Trump just made Nov 7 Natl Day for vics of Communism.” He later apologized.

[…]

Not-so-banned words

Trumpenpanick accounts for the mini-frenzy caused by the Washington Post. Last week, it reported that the Trump administration “banned” the Center for Disease Control from using certain science words.

With a face as straight as poker legend Nick the Greek’s, the paper said […]

Fake news

Turns out it’s fake news.

Responding to the flap, CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald tweeted “I want to assure you there are no banned words at CDC. We will continue to talk about all our important public health programs.”

She also had to write, “As part of our commitment to provide for the common defense of the country against health threats, science is and will remain the foundation of our work”, and she called the Post’s report “a complete mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process.”

Incidentally, you might ask yourself why there would a revolt over terms like “evidence-based” or “science-based”. That’s because these have specific meanings within science, and relate to a devotion to a certain method of analyzing data and communicating results, a devotion many scientists find annoying (and not particularly compelling).

Necessity of politics

Now there is little point to complaining about the politicization of science. Ever since governments became its main financial support, science has been political. (The National Science Foundation dates only to 1950.)

It is not wrong per se that science is political. Politics, after all, can at least in theory be a force for good. It was politics that decided it would be nifty to toodle off to the moon.

[…]

Diversity

As an example of the intrusion of bad politics, take the recent report in “prestigious” Nature magazine, “Five priorities for weather and climate research” at the World Meteorological Organization.

You might think one of these priorities would be education on the (severe) limitation of climate models, since the ones they have stink at predicting the future. But, no. The real problem, they say, is—wait for it—the lack of diversity.

“Female scientists,” they say, “and those in developing countries need support.” By “support” they mean […]

Be scientific. Explore the remainder of the post!

December 21, 2017 | 5 Comments

Update: That Silly Asylum Applications & Temperature Fluctuations Paper

Update at bottom. I was asked by Axel Bojanowski, Science Editor at Der Spiegel to examine the Science paper “Asylum applications respond to temperature fluctuations” by Anouch Missirian and Wolfram Schlenker.

Here is what I said (regular readers will recall that ever since the Willie Soon affair, I fully and publicly document all my replies to reporters, who cannot in any way be trusted):

It is the dumbest, most idiotic use of statistics I have seen in over a decade. (And I have seen a lot.)

You have to possess a near-miraculous view of statistics, and a complete ignorance of politics, to have suggested or believe in this model. How come asylum applications aren’t swelling in chilly Chili [sic!]? They had, say, 6,000 years of history to draw upon yet they chose only the last fifteen? And they believe the hideously complex political relationship between Europe and (largely) the Levant can be described by quantifying each country’s “corruption index”? I despair.

It’s difficult, really, to blame the authors, God bless them, for it appears they were responding in the way they were taught. Statistical models cannot discern cause, though many believe that they can. I don’t have the space here to explain this, but I wrote a book on the subject, linked here:

I will write an article responding in detail to this paper, and post it to (at least) my website:

Books & Free Class

Best,

William M. Briggs

Bojanowski later asked about my dumb typo and pressed me for further details. I replied:

Yes, an idiotic typo on my part (typos will be the death of me).

The whole study is so silly. Do we really suppose it’s because of larger *increases* in temperature that Kuwait had more applications than Peru?

Physically the study makes no sense, either. A handful of minor temperature changes is not what is driving asylum applications, as even a cursory reading of the daily headlines shows. To claim one has found a “non-linear” *causative* relationship in so short of record is absurd. These fellows ought to crack open a history book or two (written before this century).

I don’t have time for more in-depth commentary before the embargo is lifted. But see my site.

Briggs

My interest in dissecting these (increasingly ridiculous) studies wanes. They are endless. And they will remain that way as long as governments, with their limitless ability to print money, fund them. Meanwhile, I’m just one guy, with no support. Every time I critique one of these sillinesses (you heard me: sillinesses) it causes me nothing but grief.

Nevertheless…

Headline: French Mayors Panic As Migrants Overwhelm Cities, Beg Macron For Help.

Mayors from seven major French cities overwhelmed by the flow of migrants, have written a joint letter to Paris published in LeMonde on Saturday, begging the government to step in and help.

According to the letter, the cities of Lille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Grenoble, Rennes, Toulousa and Nantes are taking in “several thousand” refugees per month, which the mayors say is causing a social emergency as they are “backed up against a wall” and “completely saturated” by a seemingly endless flood of asylum seekers.

The article mentions Afghanistan and Syria.

Headline: Commission: EU Too White, Mass Third World Migration Must Be ‘New Norm’

Brussels has said that Europeans must accept mass migration from the third world as the “new norm”, warning that neither walls nor policies will allow any part of the EU to remain “homogenous and migration-free”.

“It’s time to face the truth. We cannot and will never be able to stop migration,” writes EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, in a piece for POLITICO, published Monday entitled, “Europe’s Migrants Are Here to Stay”.

Now quoting the “science” in the paper:

Here we examine how, in the recent past (2000–2014), weather variations in 103 source countries translated into asylum applications to the European Union, which averaged 351,000 per year in our sample. We find that temperatures that deviated from the moderate optimum (~20oC) increased asylum applications in a nonlinear fashion, which implies an accelerated increase under continued future warming. Holding everything else constant…

So in 15 years of data, they hope to discover a non-linear response in asylum applications caused by tenth-of-a-degree changes in temperature, where they can “hold everything else”, like the politics, “constant.”

My favorite three lines from the paper is this wild insinuation:

Previous studies had found a relationship between weather variations and migration (4, 5, 6), but ours is the first to focus on distress-driven migration (as measured by asylum applications) on a global scale. Two centuries ago, the “year without a summer” (1816), following the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, saw massive crop failures throughout the Northern Hemisphere, caused by the aerosol-obscured atmosphere and unseasonal climate. It triggered sizeable migrations as peasants
deserted their fruitless farms.

Climate change caused major grief before, therefore minor fluctuations in temperature, which by hint are given to be unique to our times, cause migration.

The authors don’t say economics doesn’t play. “Migration’s response to income or
wealth corresponds in an inverted U shape”. No word on what kind of shape it is that corresponds to the EU’s progressive policies. Call it the Merkel Rocket Slide.

There appears in this paper to be no recognition that politics inside the EU plays any role. Instead, it’s to the regressions and wee p-values!

Our baseline regression links annual asylum applications from each source country outside the OECD to any EU member state. We use a panel analysis with source-country and year fixed effects, which is equivalent to a joint demeaning of all variables and accounting for common annual shocks. In other words, we link anomalies in log applications to weather anomalies once common annual shocks are absorbed (e.g., the global financial crisis in 2008).

Regression, log applications, weather anomalies, common annual shocks. Whoever taught economists how to use statistical software has a lot of explaining to do. (For why statistics can’t discover cause, and all the other failings of statistical methods, see the links at this page.)

It’s not only global warming causing Iraqis to want to move to France and Germany, folks. Global cooling, too.

We find a statistically significant relationship between fluctuations in asylum applications and weather anomalies: Applications are lowest for average temperatures around 20oC and increase if the weather is too cold or too hot.

I like a 25oC day myself, and find that extra 5o makes all the differences. Anyway (the reader can guess I am straining hard to take this seriously), their Figure 1 (that blob above) shows the regression “coefficients on temperature”.

China, we discover, because of its lovely weather, has fewer asylum applications than frigid Mongolia. The weather accounts for the difference, mind. Toasty Iraq has bunches compared to citizens of the Great White North, who mysteriously do not appear on the figure. Golly.

Yes, temperature. That’s what accounts for asylum differences. Wee p-values confirmed it! “We find a highly significant relationship (P < 0.01 for joint significance)…”

Finally the predictions of increasing migration come, after “holding everything else constant”, from climate models predicting ever-warming temperatures. This approach is not wrong per se. You feed one model into another. Fine. But then you must carry the uncertainty from the first model through the second. Otherwise, you wildly exaggerate the certainty of your predictions.

This never happens, or not that I have seen, in climatology.

People are also far too excited to see predictions which confirm their worst “fears”, so they never bother to check the predictions against reality. One claim is that “aggressive behavior, which increases with temperatures”. Does it indeed. This is why the Singaporean military is so feared. And what countries, hot or cold, have launched the bigger wars this past century?

I’ll let the authors have the last word. But I want to tell you I wept when I read the following. “Both colder and hotter temperatures increase migration flows.”

Update The Times (UK) ran an uncritical piece on the paper here. And Der Spiegel quoted me here.

Wissenschaftler klingen anders: “Die dümmste, idiotischste Anwendung von Statistik, die ich seit Langem gesehen habe”, wundert sich der Statistiker William Briggs von der Eliteuniversität Cornell in den USA…

“Die ‘Science’-Autoren nehmen die Literatur zum Thema überhaupt nicht zur Kenntnis”, ärgert sich Fröhlich. Sie ignorierten gar 6000 Jahre Menschheitsgeschichte, bezögen sich stattdessen auf 15 Jahre in nur einer Weltregion, sagt Briggs.

“Warum”, fragt Christiane Fröhlich, “berufen sich die Autoren auf Zahlen aus der EU, wo doch ein Großteil der internationalen Migration woanders stattfindet?”

Wie wichtig Daten anderer Regionen wären, macht Briggs anhand einer provokanten Frage deutlich: “Warum nehmen denn nicht im kühlen Chile die Asylanträge rasant zu nach Hitzewellen in den warmen Nachbarländern?”

Not a bad rendering of what I said. Bojanowski did not ask and I did not say I was from Cornell, though, and he must have assumed that old affiliation using outdated information. I am a nobody from nowhere.

Update More press. New Study Linking Global Warming To Refugees Is ‘Most Idiotic Use Of Statistics’ This Expert Has Seen In A Long Time

December 20, 2017 | 5 Comments

Cliodynamics And The Lack Of A Hari Seldon

There will be no Hari Seldon. But there will be prophets.

If there is no Seldon, there will be no psychohistory, the fictional astonishingly accurate mathematical science predicting gross human movements Isaac Asimov created for his Foundation novels.

Seldon and his followers were supposed to have discovered mathematical tricks that turned history into a science. Input certain measures and out come trajectories which are not certain but close to it, especially as the number of people increase.

These same occult magic tricks are searched for in reality by any number of folks with access to a computer. On the one hand are the “artificial intelligence” set who believe, falsely, that human intelligence “has” an equation. These people confess not knowing Seldon’s equations, but are sure their well greased abacuses will find them once the number of wooden rods and beads become sufficiently dense. For a comparison of wooden abacus to electronic computer, see this series.

On the other hand are those who might be classed as analytic historians. They’ve invented for themselves “cliodynamics” which is, according to Wikipedia, “a transdisciplinary area of research integrating cultural evolution, economic history/cliometrics, macrosociology, the mathematical modeling of historical processes during the longue durée, and the construction and analysis of historical databases.” Nice boast!

One cliodynamiticist is Peter Turchin, “an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Connecticut and Vice President of the Evolution Institute”, who input the article “Entering the Age of Instability after Trump: Why social instability and political violence is predicted to peak in the 2020s.”

Turchin predicts a coming doom, a not unfamiliar theme to regular readers. He says he’s tracking “40 seemingly disparate…social indicators” which are “leading indicators of political turmoil”. He predicts peak turmoil in the 2020s. Which is close.

Some of his indicators: “growing income and wealth inequality, stagnating and even declining well-being of most Americans, growing political fragmentation and governmental dysfunction”, all well known, too, as Turchin admits. He pegs “elite overproduction” as the unsung measure of doom.

Elite overproduction generally leads to more intra-elite competition that gradually undermines the spirit of cooperation, which is followed by ideological polarization and fragmentation of the political class. This happens because the more contenders there are, the more of them end up on the losing side. A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions.

This exists, but its importance is unknown. That we have lost the story and have turned inward and truly self-centered might have more destructive force. That, and our elites have largely lost their minds. All crises are spiritual crises. Whoever wins this coming war will be the greater spiritual force.

Turchin’s language is saturated in Seldonism.

I find myself in the shoes of Hari Seldon, a fictional character in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, whose science of history (which he called psychohistory) predicted the decline and fall of his own society. Should we follow Seldon’s lead and establish a Cliodynamic Foundation somewhere in the remote deserts of Australia?

This would be precisely the wrong thing to do. It didn’t work even in Isaac Asimov’s fictional universe. The problem with secretive cabals is that they quickly become self-serving, and then mire themselves in internecine conflict. Asimov came up with the Second Foundation to watch over the First. But who watches the watchers? In the end it all came down to a uniquely powerful and uniquely benevolent super-robot, R. Daneel Olivaw.

Don’t wait up for telepathic robots to save civilization (as the abacus article argues).

Another important consideration is that in Foundation Seldon’s equations told him that it would be impossible to stop the decline of the Galactic Empire—Trantor must fall. In real life, thankfully, things are different. And this is another way in which the forecasts of cliodynamics differ from prophecies of doom. They give us tools not only to understand the problem, but also potentially to fix it.

But to do it, we need to develop much better science. What we need is a nonpolitical, indeed a fiercely non-partisan, center/institute/think tank that would develop and refine a better scientific understanding of how we got into this mess; and then translate that science into policy to help us get out of it.

Brother Turchin, it ain’t gonna happen. Empires fall. None yet has found the solution to eternal life. I don’t usually say this, but, Brother, trust your equations. Creating yet another think tank that issues policy reports is foredoomed. Save your time and money.

If there is any hope, and there always is, it is in a spiritual regeneration. Making that happen is not so easy.