Model of the solution

MindMatters is worrying about hard-to-detect deepfakes in “scientific” research.

As with replication, this is not a serious problem, and doesn’t affect real research. The real problem is tenure and federal funding. Quantity, not quality.

The vast QUANTITY of low QUALITY papers is a direct result of tenure and grants.

These papers don’t matter because real labs DON’T READ THEM.

Everyone knows which papers are essentially resume enhancers and which papers are meaningful.

More to the point, serious labs are vertically integrated, with long-term projects based on earlier work in THIS LAB. We don’t need to read resume enhancers by someone else’s postdocs; we’re too busy churning out our own resume enhancers.

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We can see a nice model of the solution in the economic realm right now. For 14 years central banks have been pumping endless grants into the stock markets, with no regard for quality or profit or payback. The result is a huge QUANTITY of low QUALITY companies and fraud and deepfakes. Last year the central banks turned off the QE faucet and started to reabsorb some of the excess. The result is dramatic. The entirely fraudulent part of the fake economy (blockchain, NFT, DAO) is collapsing fast, and the semi-fraudulent tech IPOs are collapsing a bit less rapidly.

The same thing would happen in research if federal funding went away. Real labs would have to seek corporate funding or crowdfunding, and the payers would be demanding CORRECT ANSWERS TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS. Value for pay.

Tenure would still be creating resume enhancers, but with no surplus money universities would have to eliminate tenure, or at least disconnect it from publishing. This turnaround has already started to some extent, in smaller universities that depend more on tuition and less on grants and endowments.

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Important footnote: I was looking for ‘tenure’ on Youtube. Not much, mostly hints to grad students on improving your tenure chances. Very little description of the problem.

BUT: DeSantis has just signed a law decreasing the permanence of tenure, and decreasing the power of accrediting agencies!!!!!

DeSantis is the new FDR.

He’s aiming to solve ALL THE REAL PROBLEMS, and he’s not wasting effort on nonsense or fake problems.

More rambling on UATX

Most of our institutions are stuck in a Parkinsonian positive feedback loop, often without any real reason. Corporations and universities and media channels keep punching and torturing and strangling their customers, and then they wonder why their customers are running away.

Life is negative feedback. If the current path is leading to failure, try something different. This is the most basic fact of life, and the institutions can’t seem to figure it out.

Thinking about the Austin “free university” bait and switch again. Trying to be charitable this time, though I don’t really believe it.

Charitably: They’re stuck in the standard university path of accreditation and tenure. They don’t seem to realize that they CAN’T HAVE open discussion and standard university stuff at the same time. It’s just factually impossible and always has been factually impossible.

A university’s product is a credentialed student, and the credential is quality controlled by tyrants.

If the organizers really want an ‘academy’ that values free flow of ideas, they should set it up as a business with a real product. The students would be the makers, not the product.

I’m thinking of Bell Labs, but the same was true of every industrial research facility before the era of offshoring and Share Value. It’s probably still true in smaller companies.

Admittedly the ideas discussed in a glassware or wheat research facility are somewhat limited, but the process of productive discussion and the pleasure of creative discussion are the important learnings. The ideas are just the consumable lab equipment.

Above all, the students will get MORE EXPERIENCE and MORE MENTAL EXERCISE when working toward a physically achievable goal than they would get from the 136267th pointless rehashing of Plato or Nietzsche. Those “great ideas” were worn out a thousand years ago. A new variety of wheat, or a new way of refining oil, is GENUINELY NEW, and the students who help to create it will leave a GENUINE LEGACY.

Reprint on tenure

Looking for a href on tenure to reinforce previous item on UATX bait and switch, found this from 2020.

It’s a pretty good general roundup of the problem and the solution.

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Some people are starting to catch on to a chronic long-standing problem, which has become acute and GENOCIDAL in the current fake “emergency”. Retired officials and professors and doctors have been speaking truth openly on all the fake “emergencies” from “9/11” to “global warming” to “virus”. Employed officials and professors and doctors enthusiastically commit the wars and holocausts.

Simple equation:

Tenure + Debt = Holocaust.

Tenure has been a big problem since 1970. It was starting to show up in the ’50s, when my father saw it and warned me about it. I listened and learned.

By 1970 it was well-established. Careers are fragile and instantly stoppable until you get tenure. The only way to get tenure is to conform RIGIDLY to current orthodoxy, and keep up with the Room 101 / Github switchbacks of current orthodoxy. This setup insures that the people with budgetary authority are rigidly orthodox, which self-sustains the setup.

Debt doubled the problem. Before 1990 you could get a college degree without incurring a heavy load of debt. Now most ‘prestigious’ degrees burden you for 10 or 20 years, so you HAVE to try for tenure. If you’re an MD working for a hospital or government, you HAVE to keep your job. You can’t test the limits of tolerance. Employers KNOW that the professionals are debt slaves, and use them accordingly.

In earlier centuries and decades a lot of scholars and inventors had secure incomes from inheritance or sinecures. They were free to pursue truth, no matter where it led. University employment was helpful but optional.

Returning to a Natural Law system would eliminate both problems. Natural Law FEROCIOUSLY forbids debt and STRONGLY incentivizes saving and thrift. Natural Law employment is secure for life, provided you are doing the job.

Before the breakup of ATT, Bell Labs exemplified a Natural Law research facility. Bell had vast resources because of its quasi-socialist position. Researchers were free to pursue all sorts of projects generally in line with Bell’s objectives. They weren’t forced to fudge their data or stay with current fashion or achieve instant half-baked results.

After the breakup and the later LBOs, research was a Negative Externality. Raising Share Value and paying off the unpayable debt to JPMorgan were the only objectives. Bell Labs disappeared.

Here’s the big point, which used to be obvious but now has disappeared in the chaos: When corporations AND governments AND individuals are running on savings, with deep reserves, everyone is VASTLY more free to do what’s needed. Governments can serve the poor better; corporations can serve employees and customers better; and individuals can save their souls. When everyone is running purely on debt, everyone is enslaved to the bankers.

Save your money and save your soul is a pretty decent motto.

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Parallax

This author looks at the new allegedly planned Austin “freedom university” from a Catholic perspective. It’s mostly outside of my secular understanding, but her suspicions end up pretty much the same as mine. We’re marking the same target from different angles.

The Catholic viewpoint: UATX is strictly within the Enlightenment framework, with no centerpoint of the universe. Pre-1700 scholars were seeking to understand the universe as God’s will. My viewpoint was the same, except that I emphasized Islamic scholars more than Christian.

I peeked at the UATX website just now, and my major suspicion is verified. The website has a crime-tape banner across the top:

UATX is seeking authorization as a private postsecondary educational institution from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and pursuing accreditation eligibility from an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Until it is accredited, UATX will not offer postsecondary degree programs.

My previous suspicions:

1. They’re seeking accreditation, which is a powerful force toward orthodoxy. The accrediting agencies expect maximum Wokitude. (New and perfect example.)

2. I don’t see a commitment to avoid tenure. After tenure gets up and running, there’s no escape from ever-narrowing orthodoxy.

3. I don’t see a Trinity House motivation loop. If they simply invite the right kind of students, the wrong kind of students WILL get in and ruin the setup. Stings and APs have plenty of Deepstate money, and know how to manipulate the system.

Maintaining an unorthodox purpose against the headwinds of Parkinson bureaucracy and accrediting agencies requires a more specific feedback loop of money for value. Trinity House, working for safe navigation, has been funded by ships safely reaching port, and it has maintained its purpose for 500 years. Funding for this university needs to depend on students safely reaching the port of independent thinking. How? I don’t know, but I’m sure the TWO-WAY OBLIGATION is necessary.

Analog people

Speaking of professional critics vs reality….

The Harris Poll shows about 2/3 of Americans approve Elon’s takeover of Twitter.

Sharp comments by the CEO of Harris:

It’s a reminder that the views of Twitter’s blue-checkmarked class, professional pundits, and journalists often diverge from the views of most Americans. Perhaps they should spend less time interacting with each other on Twitter and more time greeting analog people – or maybe Ice T was right when he tweeted “it would [be] kinda dope if Musk bought Twitter and just shut it off.”

ANALOG PEOPLE! The Harris Poll just won my undying support.

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Later, here’s a genuinely informative piece about Twitter, only partly about Elon.

Information = something surprising, something you didn’t know before.

I didn’t know that Twitter was essentially the tenure system for professional writers. They don’t make money on Twitter; they use it to compete with other writers, climb the status stack and impress the peer reviewers.

Explicit tag

I’ve been using the Entertainment tag on the UFO and Fortean items lately. I should make the connection more explicit.

The Forteans were trying to pull science back into the realm of entertainment and mystification and fascination. Their constant theme, starting with Charles Fort himself, was that Big Science is no longer observing Nature with fascination. Big Science is just being Big, serving government, serving the military, ignoring and censoring scientific facts, and killing millions of people.

The Forteans, from Hix to MacHarrie to Nesbitt to Edwards, were brilliant story tellers. They told about fascinating or peculiar incidents which were fairly well attested, and asked the listener to think about the incident scientifically. Unlike science teachers, the Forteans were not selecting and grooming the next generation of tenure-seekers.

Nesbitt called Fort the man who hated Science. Poor description. Fort loved science and hated scientists BECAUSE SCIENTISTS ARE RUINING SCIENCE.

The description wasn’t quite so obviously wrong in 1940 when Nesbitt was writing and narrating. FDR had ruthlessly constrained government-paid experts to STICK TO FACTS, just as he constrained government-licensed broadcasters to STICK TO FACTS, and constrained government-licensed bankers to STICK TO REAL FINANCE.

Now the constraint is gone in all of those spheres. All of the government-paid and government-licensed monsters have departed totally from Nature and facts and service and reality. All the demons are unleashed.

Media puzzle

Trying to sort out a meaningless puzzle. Part of the 1965 ‘banner year’ or Grand Finale for UFOs happened in Okla and Kansas. In August a chain of sightings ran from Chickasha to Wellington to Wichita to KC, including some radar readings at TV stations in Wichita and KC. If the group was seen in Wichita and KC, it probably passed over or near Manhattan.

I was 15 at the time, living in Manhattan. I was a total tech nerd, listening to SW, reading PopSci, and building electronic stuff that didn’t work. I wasn’t especially interested in astronomy or space, but you’d think that a major event like UFOs in the state would have been memorable.

Best conclusion: The local newspapers and radio stations simply weren’t mentioning the UFOs. The radio reports in the Connors archive are from big-city talk shows in Cleveland and NYC and Boston, not news items on local stations.

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Later after more memory searching, found the answer. I wasn’t IN Manhattan in August ’65. My father was trying to change jobs, and we spent that summer renting a house in Ohio while he taught a summer course at BGSU, ‘auditioning’ for a tenured position. We then returned to Manhattan for the next school year, and he got the BGSU job in the fall of ’66. It was a terrible mistake. He should have stayed at K-State.

It’s all about caste

Headline at MindMatters:

Unexplained — Maybe Unexplainable — Numbers Control the Universe


In Carl Sagan’s Contact, the extraterrestrials embedded a message in the irrational number pi (the circumference of a circle divided by its radius). But some other numbers are critical to the structure of our universe too — and why they are critical does not make obvious sense.

Laurence Eaves thinks the number 1/137 would be good for starting communication with intelligent aliens as they would be likely to know about it and to realize they were dealing with other intelligent entities.

NO. NO. NO. Even between humans of different cultures, abstraction is EXACTLY THE WRONG STARTING POINT for communication. You need to start with discussions of shared physical objects and physical skills.

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Lately I’ve been listening to selections from the huge Wendy Connors archive of UFO material at bedtime.

I already mentioned the openness of the ’50s, contrary to modern idiotic fake history.

The UFO groups also show another contrary fact:

Women played a major part in scientific inquiry.

Connors arrived on the scene after most of the ‘live action’ and did the hard work of gathering and organizing audio.

The UFO movement was FOUNDED by Coral Lorenzen. Her story is inspiring and typical of great scholars and scientists. As usual, greatness started at 9:

On a sunny, warm day in the sum­mer of 1934, three little girls, Coral Lightner, Barbara Stringer and Dorothy Wethern, were playing hopscotch on the sidewalk at the Ward School in Barron, Wisconsin. Coral finished her turn and was facing west when a movement in the sky caught her eye. She looked up and saw what appeared to be a parachute moving into the north. When she called the attention of her playmates to the object, one of them said it looked like a parachute to her and went back to the game. “But it doesn’t have any strings,” Coral said, and watched the thing until it went over the horizon in the northwest.

Coral Lightner was puzzled and she didn’t let it rest there. That evening she told her father what she had seen and he was so impressed by her tale and her puzzlement that he made inquiries the next day. Was there a pilot down in Barron County? The answer was no.

Note her instant focus on Constants and Variables, and her persistent need to find the answer. She was lucky enough to have a father who wanted to help her learn. The rest of her life was devoted to the quest, sometimes in the background and sometimes as a sole obsession. She married Jim Lorenzen, an engineer who could handle the math side of the subject, and became a newspaper reporter and later a freelance writer. Coral and Jim founded and maintained APRO, one of the two or three strictly scientific UFO organizations. She defended objectivity against the opportunists and hustlers like Hubbard, and against the Deepstate censors.

Truly a heroic ‘life in science’.

But no Nobels or rewards or federal grants.

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Sagan wrote positively about CONTACTEES, the disreputable side of the subject, and was treated with respect. Other high-status professionals assume that aliens exist and assume that aliens would want to discuss 1/137 with us.

One of the 1947 contactees claimed to have discussed farming methods and fertilizer with a Venusian. This makes sense. An explorer and colonizer would want to ask the locals about farming methods. There’s no point in discussing math because math is the same everywhere. Math does not contain any INFORMATION.

As fucking always, caste correlates with abstraction.

You get ridicule and censorship for investigating Unidentified Flying Objects.

You get Nobels and tenure for investigating Unidentified Figuring Objects.

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Graphics sidenote: I made the UFO last week as a biological joke, after NASA’s new Venus probe reminded me of a polychaete larva. The actual probe is scheduled to fly in 2029. Not exactly speedy performance. We can’t do anything now. We’re totally paralyzed by bureaucratic compliance and political lunacy and offshoring of skills.

Since then I’ve been reading Coral Lorenzen’s 1966 book, packed with precisely reported descriptions. The NASA model fits the median description of the 1947-1965 UFOs quite nicely. Is NASA reverse-engineering captured technology, or were the earlier UFOs also made by NASA?

Coral was fully convinced that the aircraft were coming from elsewhere, but she was not fully convinced that they were piloted by humanoids. Based on where the discs appeared and how they moved, she guessed they were engaged in mapping the planet’s terrain and resources for possible colonization.

Outlaw intellectuals

Kirn’s latest pithy point:

My studied belief is that America’s greatest wealth is its oddballs, weirdos, seers, compulsives & autodidacts. They’ve transformed science, business, religion & the arts. Making more space, not less, for nonconformity & improvisation is the way of prosperous peaceful flourishing.

This wasn’t true of the whole country, and it’s no longer true at all. Some parts of America were more friendly to oddballs. At least in the West, it depends on how each town started.

Compare the two areas where I grew up: Northeast Kansas (Manhattan, Lawrence, KCK) vs Northern Okla (Enid, Ponca, Stillwater.)

Manhattan was settled in 1855 by one precise brand of ideological zealot, the very model of a modern Wokeite. No sex, no meat, no salt, no war… EXCEPT for the war they were sent to start.

Enid was settled in the 1893 Cherokee Strip Run, by a random collection of ambitious and desperate misfits.

Result after a few generations: Manhattan was rigidly orthodox. I often heard “You can’t say that!” from adults and teachers. Enid cherished its oddest oddballs.

You could see the same difference in university communities. K-State maintained the Goodnow tradition of integration by pigment. Students came in a wide variety of colors but a limited range of opinions. OU in Norman was less colorful at the level of pigment but vastly more colorful in thought. ‘Outlaw intellectuals’ clustered around the university, avoiding classes and tenure while doing real published scholarly work. These were Kirn’s autodidacts.

Sort of halfway self-solving

Wolf’s latest item about credit includes some disheartening stats. Earlier it appeared that Americans were taking advantage of the Federal blood money to reduce their credit card debt. Now they’re doing the opposite.

Wolf also includes a simple chart of college debt. Unlike most graphs that go exponential under the demonic influence of the exponential government, this one just goes up smoothly in a straight line from 2005 to present. Wolf mentions that college enrollment has been going down, which is generally known.

Well, how much and when? Stats from the Fed Dept of Ed:

I have zero Excel skills, so my graphs are crappy. This runs from 1995 to present, and the peak is 2010. Since 2010 more people have been figuring out that college is a total waste. Not nearly enough yet, but an encouraging trend of sanity. But debt is going up linearly, which means the shrinking college population is borrowing more per capita.

How about tenure? This one is more complicated. Percent of all colleges with tenure went down beautifully from ’93 to 2010, then rebounded partway. Dept of Ed says this is related to growth of profit-making useful colleges in the first half. The Dept cracked down on useful training schools in 2010, so the rigidly theoretical universities became a larger part of the total again. Though the Dept website doesn’t say so, the enrollment graph might reflect the same change because it has the same switch in 2010. If the increase was mainly in the useful training schools, the total would decline as those schools were closed.

This graph is percent of all faculty with tenure. Here we finally see a steadily positive trend, as even the theoretical universities are trying to reduce costs by hiring adjuncts and part-timers.

Supply and demand will solve many problems if the government doesn’t step in to UNsolve the problem.

Provocative but not quite true

Kirn’s latest Provocative Point:

Speech and expression are most suppressed and regulated in academia and the media, where you’d think they would be freest. The culture has basically seized up and died in those places. For a revival of the creative spirit we must look to bodegas, casinos, tire shops, and hair salons.

“You’d think”, but it’s certainly not true of academia. Academia has always been rigidly orthodox. Heresy has been punished harshly for at least 1000 years, and tenure insures that heretics never get into positions of power. Sometimes the standard doctrine inside academia disagrees with the elite view outside academia, which makes the academic world look “free” to outsiders. It’s not free, it’s just tyrannical in a different direction.

I haven’t been inside the media world, so can’t really judge. Still, it’s rare to find a “crusading newspaper” that crusades against the interests of its owner. Crusades are usually aimed at the opponents of the owner.

Real creativity has ALWAYS been found outside media and academia.

Still uneasy

Speaking of cancelling reminded me of the university now being organized by the Famous Cancelleds. When I looked at their website in November, it was all future plans, and felt like vaporware. Now there’s one class or seminar firmly scheduled:

Our Forbidden Courses summer program invites top students from other universities to join us for a spirited discussion about the most provocative questions that often lead to censorship or self-censorship in many universities. Students will become proficient and comfortable with productive disagreement. Instructors will range from top professors to accomplished business leaders, journalists, and artists.

Note the emphasis on TOP students and TOP leaders. This is not for the powerless. This is elites training elites as usual. Outsiders have no way of knowing whether the TOP students will be learning to tolerate and ignore disagreement, or just learning new tactics to censor and ruin the peasants.

Last month I was uneasy about the motives:

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I see three inadequate points in their FAQ.

1. They’re seeking accreditation, which is a powerful force toward orthodoxy. The accrediting agencies expect maximum Wokitude.

2. I don’t see a commitment to avoid tenure. After tenure gets up and running, there’s no escape from ever-narrowing orthodoxy.

3. I don’t see a Trinity House motivation loop. If they simply invite the right kind of students, the wrong kind of students WILL get in and ruin the setup. Stings and APs have plenty of Deepstate money, and know how to manipulate the system.

Maintaining an unorthodox purpose against the headwinds of Parkinson bureaucracy and accrediting agencies requires a more specific feedback loop of money for value. Trinity House, working for safe navigation, has been funded by ships safely reaching port, and it has maintained its purpose for 500 years. Funding for this university needs to depend on students safely reaching the port of independent thinking. How? I don’t know, but I’m sure the TWO-WAY OBLIGATION is necessary.

Also, there are some pure Deepstaters in the founding crowd, like Peter Singer and Larry Summers and Strossen of ACLU. The whole thing could be just another fake front.

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The seminar does nothing to relieve my uneasiness.