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merjet last won the day on July 16

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About merjet

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  • Birthday November 10

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  • Full Name
    Merlin Jetton
  • Description
    retired actuary (Fellow of the Society of Actuaries), Chartered Financial Analyst
  • Articles
    Objectivity ; Journal of Ayn Rand Studies V7N2, V11N2, V13N2, V17N1, V18N1, more to come; My blog:
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  1. Attention intruders Nobody asks Bernie Sanders these questions
  2. Crystal Fire #1 Crystal Fire #2 Crystal Fire #3
  3. Democratic demagogues about health insurance My review of a book about math
  4. If you had lived when Aristotle did, do you believe you would have gotten it as right as Newton did? 😄 “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” - Atticus Finch
  5. Physics Needs Philosophy / Philosophy Needs Physics Scientific American, July 18, 2018
  6. Spheres of Justice #13 Spheres of Justice #14 Mathematician solves computer science conjecture in two pages
  7. Spheres of Justice #11 Spheres of Justice #12
  8. "I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity," Trump tweeted Thursday night. President Trump probably did not intend this to be ironic or humorous, but it is.
  9. The Objective Standard: "First, to criticize a private college for accepting students’ funds that come from government loans and grants is almost as absurd as criticizing a private supermarket for accepting customers’ funds that come from government welfare programs" (link). Biddle flippantly implies they are near equivalent. But are they? Let's compare them. 1. I calculated that during Walmart's latest fiscal year about 2.5% of it's revenues come from food stamps. I don't know of any Walmart that assists its customers in applying for food stamps. Most large grocery stores would have a lower percent than Walmart. 2. I don't know what percent of Barney's for-profit colleges' revenues are attributable to government-backed student loans. But suppose it's 50%. I also assume that, like most colleges, they have a financial aid unit that is very actively involved in helping its students obtain government-backed student loans. Are #1 and #2 anywhere near equivalent?
  10. AOC strikes out ProPublica Targets TurboTax Again #3 Spheres of Justice #10
  11. Vox tries to explain how 4 congresswomen came to be called “the Squad”. One meaning of "quad" is "a rectangular area surrounded on all sides by buildings." Of course, a rectangle has 4 sides. Another meaning is "one of 4 children born at the same time from the same pregnancy". That doesn't hold strictly for "the Squad," but the 4 are much alike. Here's another possibility. "Squad" is a compression of "socialist quad." 😊 Hmm. That reminds me of The Gang of Four.
  12. 😄 😃 What evidence do you have that I am not trying to understand what Gilder says? On the other hand, there is you calling me a shill for Big Brother, making inuendos about government surveillance, Google and Facebook wanting to "rule the world" and "conspiring with government", despite the government starting to investigate Big Tech for anti-trust violations. In addition, you used Gilder's book to try to justify your inuendos, despite Gilder's book providing no support for you.
  13. Does that mean Gilder is obligated to use it? Not to me. Advertisers are customers per the common usage definition I cited earlier. "In sales, commerce and economics, a customer (sometimes known as a client, buyer, or purchaser) is the recipient of a goods, service, product or an idea - obtained from a seller, vendor, or supplier via a financial transaction or exchange for money or some other valuable consideration." From a finance and accounting perspective, the justification for calling Google’s advertisers “customers” is even stronger – they provide Google with revenues. The falsified prediction I referred to was in the first paragraph of Gilder’s that I quoted. He expected that the balance of power would shift from advertisers to customers (users). That has not happened. In fact, the opposite has.
  14. I'm reading Gilder's book, Life After Google. His not regarding advertisers as customers of Google, Facebook, etc. weakens his analysis in several places and resulted in a falsified prediction. Following is one example on page 182. Regardless, he has a good grasp of the current situation with help from Brave, the browser that I mainly use now. "When I wrote Life After Television, I expected that the inefficiencies of an interactive Internet would lead to a more targeted and effective advertising system that would deliver only the ads the viewer wanted. I thought the balance of power would shift from the advertisers to customers." "Brave's compendiously cogent and scrupulously documented white paper from March 2017 details this crisis of Internet advertising. The situation is winner-take-all. Ninety-nine percent of the growth goes to Google and Facebook. Publishers – whether of websites, books, games, or music – are left with the final 1%. It is fraught with fraud. In 2016, fake ad demand generated by Internet bots cost advertisers some $7.2 billion, with ad malware to trick users rising 132 percent since 2015. The advertising catastrophe is most acute in the fastest-growing and most inviting market in the industry – smartphones. Customers increasingly are paying their bandwidth suppliers not for the content they seek but for the noise of ad delivery overhead. At popular publisher's sites, as much as 79% of the mobile data are ads. On average, smartphone users pay twenty-three dollars per month for ads, trackers, scripts, and other diversionary chaff that bears malware, slows load-times, piles on data-plan costs, depletes battery life, and tramples privacy and property rights." Like I said before, money talks. There is a difference between paying customers and window-shoppers. To support the above a little I did a test to get some numbers using Google Chrome. I went to some sites with Adblock Plus on, which tells how many ads are blocked. NY Times – 16. – 24. Wall Street Journal home page – 59. Objectivist Living – 3.
  15. Today's Wall Street Journal opinion section includes Can Ilhan Omar Overcome Her Prejudice? The author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, was born in Somali. The article is pay-walled, but here are some excerpts: "Muslim anti-Semitism ... is anti-Semitism’s most zealous, most potent and most underestimated form." "The problem of Muslim anti-Semitism is much bigger than Ilhan Omar. Condemning her, expelling her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, or defeating her in 2020 won’t make the problem go away. Islamists have understood well how to couple Muslim anti-Semitism with the American left’s vague notion of “social justice.” They have succeeded in couching their agenda in the progressive framework of the oppressed versus the oppressor. Identity politics and victimhood culture also provide Islamists with the vocabulary to deflect their critics with accusations of “Islamophobia,” “white privilege” and “insensitivity.” A perfect illustration was the way Ms. Omar and her allies were able to turn a House resolution condemning her anti-Semitism into a garbled “intersectional” rant in which Muslims emerged as the most vulnerable minority in the league table of victimhood."