Paper Writing Service You Can Trust. Custom Writing of the Highest Quality Only
From the department of unclear on the concept: "Write from scratch according to your instructions. Plagiarism free papers, 100% guarantee!"

--- I also like the bits about how customers are learning the arts of time management and delegation.
education  academia  plagiarism  things_that_make_me_want_to_bring_back_oral_exams  fraud  to:blog 
5 hours ago
Untangling the sources of racial wealth inequality in the United States - Equitable Growth Equitable Growth
Suppose --- work with me here --- that one of the things which makes it easier to buy a home is _having parents with wealth_, who can _pass along some of that wealth while they are alive_. (Hey, it's a hypothesis.) What, exactly, do you learn from the coefficient on "inheritance" in a regression which controls for "homeownership"? Similarly, suppose one of the things wealthier parents buy for their children is _access to education_, leading to job opportunities, and _direct access to job opportunities_. Again, what do you learn in a regression which "controls for" (I can't help the scare quotes) income?
economics  inequality  have_read  track_down_references  racism  the_american_dilemma  transmission_of_inequality  to_teach:mreg  to_teach:undergrad-ADA 
First, Let’s Get Rid of All the Bosses | The New Republic
When I say that this sounds almost Maoist, that has nothing to do with Hsieh's ethnic origins, and everything to do with the combination of an ideology of pushing power to the workers and dissolving bureaucratic structures ("bombard the headquarters!") in a permanent revolution, with, in practice, charismatic autocracy. (I note that nothing being proposed removes, or even limits, the CEO's rights to order people around in favor of whatever vision happens to grip him this week.)
corporations  management  re:democratic_cognition  via:henry_farrell  have_read  to:blog 
Why Washington Won't Work: Polarization, Political Trust, and the Governing Crisis, Hetherington, Rudolph
"Polarization is at an all-time high in the United States. But contrary to popular belief, Americans are polarized not so much in their policy preferences as in their feelings toward their political opponents: To an unprecedented degree, Republicans and Democrats simply do not like one another. No surprise that these deeply held negative feelings are central to the recent (also unprecedented) plunge in congressional productivity. The past three Congresses have gotten less done than any since scholars began measuring congressional productivity.
"In Why Washington Won’t Work, Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph argue that a contemporary crisis of trust—people whose party is out of power have almost no trust in a government run by the other side—has deadlocked Congress. On most issues, party leaders can convince their own party to support their positions. In order to pass legislation, however, they must also create consensus by persuading some portion of the opposing party to trust in their vision for the future. Without trust, consensus fails to develop and compromise does not occur. Up until recently, such trust could still usually be found among the opposition, but not anymore. Political trust, the authors show, is far from a stable characteristic. It’s actually highly variable and contingent on a variety of factors, including whether one’s party is in control, which part of the government one is dealing with, and which policies or events are most salient at the moment.
"Political trust increases, for example, when the public is concerned with foreign policy—as in times of war—and it decreases in periods of weak economic performance. Hetherington and Rudolph do offer some suggestions about steps politicians and the public might take to increase political trust. Ultimately, however, they conclude that it is unlikely levels of political trust will significantly increase unless foreign concerns come to dominate and the economy is consistently strong."

--- Well, if we had a majoritarian legislature, you wouldn't need to convince large chunks of the other party to pass bills... (IOW: the Senate must be destroyed.)
to:NB  books:noted  us_politics  political_science  democracy  re:democratic_cognition  our_decrepit_institutions 
4 days ago
Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story, Olson
"Ask a scientist about Hollywood, and you’ll probably get eye rolls. But ask someone in Hollywood about science, and they’ll see dollar signs: moviemakers know that science can be the source of great stories, with all the drama and action that blockbusters require.
"That’s a huge mistake, says Randy Olson: Hollywood has a lot to teach scientists about how to tell a story—and, ultimately, how to do science better. With Houston, We Have a Narrative, he lays out a stunningly simple method for turning the dull into the dramatic. Drawing on his unique background, which saw him leave his job as a working scientist to launch a career as a filmmaker, Olson first diagnoses the problem: When scientists tell us about their work, they pile one moment and one detail atop another moment and another detail—a stultifying procession of “and, and, and.” What we need instead is an understanding of the basic elements of story, the narrative structures that our brains are all but hardwired to look for—which Olson boils down, brilliantly, to “And, But, Therefore,” or ABT. At a stroke, the ABT approach introduces momentum (“And”), conflict (“But”), and resolution (“Therefore”)—the fundamental building blocks of story. As Olson has shown by leading countless workshops worldwide, when scientists’ eyes are opened to ABT, the effect is staggering: suddenly, they’re not just talking about their work—they’re telling stories about it. And audiences are captivated."
to:NB  books:noted  science  science_in_society  narrative  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial  rhetoric 
4 days ago
Nut Country: Right-Wing Dallas and the Birth of the Southern Strategy, Miller
"On the morning of November 22, 1963, President Kennedy told Jackie as they started for Dallas, “We’re heading into nut country today.” That day’s events ultimately obscured and revealed just how right he was: Oswald was a lone gunman, but the city that surrounded him was full of people who hated Kennedy and everything he stood for, led by a powerful group of ultraconservatives who would eventually remake the Republican party in their own image.
"In Nut Country, Edward H. Miller tells the story of that transformation, showing how a group of influential far-right businessmen, religious leaders, and political operatives developed a potent mix of hardline anticommunism, biblical literalism, and racism to generate a violent populism—and widespread power. Though those figures were seen as extreme in Texas and elsewhere, mainstream Republicans nonetheless found themselves forced to make alliances, or tack to the right on topics like segregation. As racial resentment came to fuel the national Republican party’s divisive but effective “Southern Strategy,” the power of the extreme conservatives rooted in Texas only grew.
"Drawing direct lines from Dallas to DC, Miller's captivating history offers a fresh understanding of the rise of the new Republican Party and the apocalyptic language, conspiracy theories, and ideological rigidity that remain potent features of our politics today."

--- This hardly sounds _populist_. (Ressentiment on stilts, yes; populist, no.)
to:NB  books:noted  american_history  us_politics  vast_right-wing_conspiracy 
4 days ago
Legislating in the Dark: Information and Power in the House of Representatives, Curry
"The 2009 financial stimulus bill ran to more than 1,100 pages, yet it wasn’t even given to Congress in its final form until thirteen hours before debate was set to begin, and it was passed twenty-eight hours later. How are representatives expected to digest so much information in such a short time.
"The answer? They aren’t. With Legislating in the Dark, James M. Curry reveals that the availability of information about legislation is a key tool through which Congressional leadership exercises power. Through a deft mix of legislative analysis, interviews, and participant observation, Curry shows how congresspersons—lacking the time and resources to study bills deeply themselves—are forced to rely on information and cues from their leadership. By controlling their rank-and-file’s access to information, Congressional leaders are able to emphasize or bury particular items, exploiting their information advantage to push the legislative agenda in directions that they and their party prefer."

--- Isn't this also one of the channels by which lobbyists achieve influence? Curious that there's no mention of this in the book description.
to:NB  books:noted  congress  political_science  us_politics 
4 days ago
Ice Station: The Creation of Halley VI. Britain's Pioneering Antarctic Research Station, Slavid, Morris
"For more than fifty years, Halley Research Station—located on the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea—has collected a continuous stream of meteorological and atmospheric data critical to our understanding of polar atmospheric chemistry, rising sea levels, and the depletion of the ozone layer.  Since the station’s establishment in 1956, there have been six Halley stations, each designed to withstand the difficult climatic conditions. The first four stations were crushed by snow. The fifth featured a steel platform, allowing it to rise above snow cover, but it, too, had to be abandoned when it moved too far from the mainland, making its habitation precarious.
"Completed in 2012, Halley VI is the winning design from an international competition organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). It is the world’s first fully relocatable research station, comprising eight modules fitted with hydraulic legs and skis. This book tells the extraordinary story of this iconic piece of architecture’s design and creation and the challenge of building in an extreme environment, illustrated with drawings, sketches, and previously unpublished photographs."
to:NB  books:noted  antarctica  architecture 
4 days ago
The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries, Crispin
"When Jessa Crispin was thirty, she burned her settled Chicago life to the ground and took off for Berlin with a pair of suitcases and no plan beyond leaving. Half a decade later, she’s still on the road, in search not so much of a home as of understanding, a way of being in the world that demands neither constant struggle nor complete surrender.
"The Dead Ladies Project is an account of that journey—but it’s also much, much more. Fascinated by exile, Crispin travels an itinerary of key locations in its literary map, of places that have drawn writers who needed to break free from their origins and start afresh. As she reflects on William James struggling through despair in Berlin, Nora Barnacle dependant on and dependable for James Joyce in Trieste, Maud Gonne fomenting revolution and fostering myth in Dublin, or Igor Stravinsky starting over from nothing in Switzerland, Crispin interweaves biography, incisive literary analysis, and personal experience into a rich meditation on the complicated interactions of place, personality, and society that can make escape and reinvention such an attractive, even intoxicating proposition."
to:NB  books:noted  lives_of_the_artists  lives_of_the_scholars  moral_psychology  literary_criticism  rhetorical_self-fashioning  crispin.jessa  coveted 
4 days ago
Free Expression and Democracy in America: A History, Feldman
"From the 1798 Sedition Act to the war on terror, numerous presidents, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and local officials have endorsed the silencing of free expression.  If the connection between democracy and the freedom of speech is such a vital one, why would so many governmental leaders seek to quiet their citizens? Free Expression and Democracy in America traces two rival traditions in American culture—suppression of speech and dissent as a form of speech—to provide an unparalleled overview of the law, history, and politics of individual rights in the United States.
"Charting the course of free expression alongside the nation’s political evolution, from the birth of the Constitution to the quagmire of the Vietnam War, Stephen M. Feldman argues that our level of freedom is determined not only by the Supreme Court, but also by cultural, social, and economic forces. Along the way, he pinpoints the struggles of excluded groups—women, African Americans, and laborers—to participate in democratic government as pivotal to the development of free expression.  In an age when our freedom of speech is once again at risk, this momentous book will be essential reading for legal historians, political scientists, and history buffs alike."
to:NB  books:noted  american_history  freedom_of_expression 
4 days ago
The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens, Zucman, Fagan, Piketty
"We are well aware of the rise of the 1% as the rapid growth of economic inequality has put the majority of the world’s wealth in the pockets of fewer and fewer. One much-discussed solution to this imbalance is to significantly increase the rate at which we tax the wealthy. But with an enormous amount of the world’s wealth hidden in tax havens—in countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands—this wealth cannot be fully accounted for and taxed fairly. No one, from economists to bankers to politicians, has been able to quantify exactly how much of the world’s assets are currently hidden—until now. Gabriel Zucman is the first economist to offer reliable insight into the actual extent of the world’s money held in tax havens. And it’s staggering."
to:NB  books:noted  taxes  corruption  economics  political_economy  inequality  globalization 
4 days ago
Teaching critical thinking
"The ability to make decisions based on data, with its inherent uncertainties and variability, is a complex and vital skill in the modern world. The need for such quantitative critical thinking occurs in many different contexts, and although it is an important goal of education, that goal is seldom being achieved. We argue that the key element for developing this ability is repeated practice in making decisions based on data, with feedback on those decisions. We demonstrate a structure for providing suitable practice that can be applied in any instructional setting that involves the acquisition of data and relating that data to scientific models. This study reports the results of applying that structure in an introductory physics laboratory course. Students in an experimental condition were repeatedly instructed to make and act on quantitative comparisons between datasets, and between data and models, an approach that is common to all science disciplines. These instructions were slowly faded across the course. After the instructions had been removed, students in the experimental condition were 12 times more likely to spontaneously propose or make changes to improve their experimental methods than a control group, who performed traditional experimental activities. The students in the experimental condition were also four times more likely to identify and explain a limitation of a physical model using their data. Students in the experimental condition also showed much more sophisticated reasoning about their data. These differences between the groups were seen to persist into a subsequent course taken the following year."

--- I'm dubious that this is really "critical thinking", but it does sound, from the abstract, like something worth teaching.
to:NB  pedagogy  statistics  science 
6 days ago
A focused information criterion for graphical models - Springer
"A new method for model selection for Gaussian Bayesian networks and Markov networks, with extensions towards ancestral graphs, is constructed to have good mean squared error properties. The method is based on the focused information criterion, and offers the possibility of fitting individual-tailored models. The focus of the research, that is, the purpose of the model, directs the selection. It is shown that using the focused information criterion leads to a graph with small mean squared error. The low mean squared error ensures accurate estimation using a graphical model; here estimation rather than explanation is the main objective. Two situations that commonly occur in practice are treated: a data-driven estimation of a graphical model and the improvement of an already pre-specified feasible model. The search algorithms are illustrated by means of data examples and are compared with existing methods in a simulation study."
to:NB  graphical_models  model_selection  information_criteria  statistics 
7 days ago
Checklist for Search Committee Chairs
Since "O Lord, let the cup pass from me" didn't work...
8 days ago
The Other Big Brother: Why Workplace Surveillance Should Get More Scrutiny - The Atlantic
"Why has government surveillance become a major political issue, while workplace monitoring barely registers?"

Why is there no labor movement in the United States? This has been another edition of easy answers (in the form of questions) to easy questions. (The article is full of justified horror at horrifying practices, but suggesting that they can be remedied by an alliance of "activists" and law professors strikes me as, well, very law-professorish.)
surveillance  corporations  privacy  labor  the_corporation_as_command_economy  to:blog  have_read  via:? 
10 days ago
What Happens Next Will Amaze You
The whole thing is great, but I can't resist quoting one of the laugh lines:

"Or how about raising the Danish flag? You have a proud history of hegemony and are probably still very good at conquering.
"I would urge you to get back in touch with this side of yourselves, climb in the longboats, and impose modern, egalitarian, Scandinavian-style social democracy on the rest of us at the point of a sword."
networked_life  internet  advertising  privacy  surveillance  ceglowski.maciej  to:blog  have_read 
10 days ago
Eric Liu for Democracy Journal: How to Be American
I always thought Hirsch had something of a point (cf. Gellner's _Nations and Nationalism_), but I am not sure about any of the ways in which this goes beyond Hirsch are improvements (beyond the need to be up to date and inclusive); Liu strikes me as a writer whom we ought to read with a strong suspicion that there is a catch.
cultural_criticism  cultural_transmission_of_cognitive_tools  nationalism  liu.eric  hirsch.e.d.  something_about_america  us_politics 
10 days ago
Of drills and holes and Ronald Coase: the limits of sharing | ROUGH TYPE
In addition to making a shrewd point about why some types of shared-property ideas don't make much sense, this also opens with an excellent example of the epidemiology of a cliche.
(But consider as a counter-example to the transaction-cost story here the possibility of a tool _library_. You'd check out the tool and return it, there'd be fines if you returned it in bad order, the librarians would make sure it was cleaned and charged, a sensible library would have multiple copies of common tools --- and it would _not_ be a single national-scale institution, but one at the level of a city or even a neighborhood. Heck, consider the video rental store, which was a perfectly viable business until the bandwidth of home Internet exceeded the bandwidth of a tape or disc in a car.)
economics  transaction_costs  private_property  natural_history_of_truthiness  sharing_economy  epidemiology_of_representations  have_read  to:blog  via:whimsley 
10 days ago
Fox tossing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Fox tossing (German: Fuchsprellen) was a popular competitive blood sport in parts of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, which involved throwing live foxes and other animals high into the air. It was practiced by members of the aristocracy in an enclosed patch of ground or in a courtyard, using slings with a person on each end to catapult the fox upwards. It was particularly popular for mixed couples, though it was hazardous for both the tossed animals and the people launching them."
early_modern_european_history  the_nightmare_from_which_we_are_trying_to_awake  to:blog  via:maciej 
10 days ago
BLDGBLOG: Abandoned Mines, Slow Printing, and the Living Metal Residue of a Post-Human World
'"High in the Pyrenees Mountains," we read, "deep in abandoned mines, scientists discovered peculiar black shells that seem to crop up of their own accord on metal surfaces." '
geology  bacteria  biology  design  science_fiction  to:blog  have_read  via:? 
10 days ago
Philip Guo - Helping my students overcome command-line bullshittery
I dunno, there's a kind of deliberately-arcane beauty to the Unix command line
programming  pedagogy  to:blog  have_read 
10 days ago
The Growing Gap in Life Expectancy by Income: Implications for Federal Programs and Policy Responses | The National Academies Press
"The U.S. population is aging. Social Security projections suggest that between 2013 and 2050, the population aged 65 and over will almost double, from 45 million to 86 million. One key driver of population aging is ongoing increases in life expectancy. Average U.S. life expectancy was 67 years for males and 73 years for females five decades ago; the averages are now 76 and 81, respectively. It has long been the case that better-educated, higher-income people enjoy longer life expectancies than less-educated, lower-income people. The causes include early life conditions, behavioral factors (such as nutrition, exercise, and smoking behaviors), stress, and access to health care services, all of which can vary across education and income.
"Our major entitlement programs ? Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income ? have come to deliver disproportionately larger lifetime benefits to higher-income people because, on average, they are increasingly collecting those benefits over more years than others. This report studies the impact the growing gap in life expectancy has on the present value of lifetime benefits that people with higher or lower earnings will receive from major entitlement programs. The analysis presented in The Growing Gap in Life Expectancy by Income goes beyond an examination of the existing literature by providing the first comprehensive estimates of how lifetime benefits are affected by the changing distribution of life expectancy. The report also explores, from a lifetime benefit perspective, how the growing gap in longevity affects traditional policy analyses of reforms to the nation?s leading entitlement programs. This in-depth analysis of the economic impacts of the longevity gap will inform debate and assist decision makers, economists, and researchers."
to:NB  books:noted  demography  welfare_state  inequality  public_policy  aging  still_better_than_the_alternative 
15 days ago
A Note on Entropy Estimation
"We compare an entropy estimator recently discussed by Zhang (2012) with two estimators, and , introduced by Grassberger (2003) and Schürmann (2004). We prove the identity , which has not been taken into account by Zhang (2012). Then we prove that the systematic error (bias) of is less than or equal to the bias of the ordinary likelihood (or plug-in) estimator of entropy. Finally, by numerical simulation, we verify that for the most interesting regime of small sample estimation and large event spaces, the estimator has a significantly smaller statistical error than ."

--- LaTeX rendering FAIL.
to:NB  entropy_estimation  statistics 
17 days ago
[1406.7562] When none of us perform better than all of us together: the role of analogical decision rules in groups
"During social interactions, groups develop collective competencies that (ideally) should assist groups to outperform average standalone individual members (weak cognitive synergy) or the best performing member in the group (strong cognitive synergy). In two experimental studies we manipulate the type of decision rule used in group decision-making (identify the best vs. collaborative), and the way in which the decision rules are induced (direct vs. analogical) and we test the effect of these two manipulations on the emergence of strong and weak cognitive synergy. Our most important results indicate that an analogically induced decision rule (imitate-the-successful heuristic) in which groups have to identify the best member and build on his/her performance (take-the-best heuristic) is the most conducive for strong cognitive synergy. Our studies bring evidence for the role of analogy-making in groups as well as the role of fast-and-frugal heuristics for group decision-making."
to:NB  to_read  analogy  experimental_psychology  decision-making  heuristics  collective_cognition  re:democratic_cognition  via:vaguery 
21 days ago
Bhatia, R.: Positive Definite Matrices (eBook and Paperback).
"This book represents the first synthesis of the considerable body of new research into positive definite matrices. These matrices play the same role in noncommutative analysis as positive real numbers do in classical analysis. They have theoretical and computational uses across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including calculus, electrical engineering, statistics, physics, numerical analysis, quantum information theory, and geometry. Through detailed explanations and an authoritative and inspiring writing style, Rajendra Bhatia carefully develops general techniques that have wide applications in the study of such matrices.
"Bhatia introduces several key topics in functional analysis, operator theory, harmonic analysis, and differential geometry--all built around the central theme of positive definite matrices. He discusses positive and completely positive linear maps, and presents major theorems with simple and direct proofs. He examines matrix means and their applications, and shows how to use positive definite functions to derive operator inequalities that he and others proved in recent years. He guides the reader through the differential geometry of the manifold of positive definite matrices, and explains recent work on the geometric mean of several matrices."
to:NB  books:noted  mathematics  algebra  linear_regression  re:g_paper  statistics 
21 days ago
Interpreting Point Predictions: Some Logical Issues
"Forecasters regularly make point predictions of future events. Recipients of the predictions may use them to inform their own assessments and decisions. This paper integrates and extends my past analyses of several simple but inadequately appreciated logical issues that affect interpretation of point predictions. I explain the algebraic basis for a pervasive empirical finding that the cross-sectional mean or median of a set of point predictions is more accurate than the individual predictions used to form the mean or median, a phenomenon sometimes called the "wisdom of crowds." I call attention to difficulties in interpretation of point predictions expressed by forecasters who are uncertain about the future. I consider the connection between predictions and reality. In toto, the analysis questions prevalent prediction practices that use a single combined prediction to summarize the beliefs of multiple forecasters."

--- Shorter Manski: Jensen's inequality FTW.
to:NB  have_read  manski.charles  prediction  ensemble_methods  collective_cognition 
22 days ago
The Social Roots of Risk: Producing Disasters, Promoting Resilience | Kathleen Tierney
"The Social Roots of Risk argues against the widespread notion that cataclysmic occurrences are singular events, driven by forces beyond our control. Instead, Kathleen Tierney contends that disasters of all types—be they natural, technological, or economic—are rooted in common social and institutional sources. Put another way, risks and disasters are produced by the social order itself—by governing bodies, organizations, and groups that push for economic growth, oppose risk-reducing regulation, and escape responsibility for tremendous losses when they occur.
"Considering a wide range of historical and looming events—from a potential mega-earthquake in Tokyo that would cause devastation far greater than what we saw in 2011, to BP's accident history prior to the 2010 blowout—Tierney illustrates trends in our behavior, connecting what seem like one-off events to illuminate historical patterns.
"Like risk, human resilience also emerges from the social order, and this book makes a powerful case that we already have a significant capacity to reduce the losses that disasters produce. A provocative rethinking of the way that we approach and remedy disasters, The Social Roots of Risk leaves readers with a better understanding of how our own actions make us vulnerable to the next big crisis—and what we can do to prevent it."
to:NB  books:noted  institutions  organizations  disasters 
23 days ago
The Schooled Society: The Educational Transformation of Global Culture | David P. Baker
"Only 150 years ago, the majority of the world's population was largely illiterate. Today, not only do most people over fifteen have basic reading and writing skills, but 20 percent of the population attends some form of higher education. What are the effects of such radical, large-scale change? David Baker argues that the education revolution has transformed our world into a schooled society—that is, a society that is actively created and defined by education.
"Drawing on neo-institutionalism, The Schooled Society shows how mass education interjects itself and its ideologies into culture at large: from the dynamics of social mobility, to how we measure intelligence, to the values we promote. The proposition that education is a primary rather than a "reactive" institution is then tested by examining the degree to which education has influenced other large-scale social forces, such as the economy, politics, and religion. Rich, groundbreaking, and globally-oriented, The Schooled Society sheds light on how mass education has dramatically altered the face of society and human life."

--- Dr. Gellner, Dr. Ernest Gellner, please call your office.
to:NB  books:noted  education  modernity  the_great_transformation 
23 days ago
Connected: How Trains, Genes, Pineapples, Piano Keys, and a Few Disasters Transformed Americans at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century | Steven Cassedy
"Between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, Americans underwent a dramatic transformation in self-conception: having formerly lived as individuals or members of small communities, they now found themselves living in networks, which arose out of scientific and technological innovations. There were transportation and communication networks. There was the network of the globalized marketplace, which brought into the American home exotic goods previously affordable to only a few. There was the network of standard time, which bound together all but the most rural Americans. There was the public health movement, which joined individuals to their fellow citizens by making everyone responsible for the health of everyone else. There were social networks that joined individuals to their fellows at the municipal, state, national, and global levels. Previous histories of this era focus on alienation and dislocation that new technologies caused. This book shows that American individuals in this era were more connected to their fellow citizens than ever—but by bonds that were distinctly modern."

--- (1) I liked his book on literary modernism. (2) Is that Penn Station in downtown Pittsburgh on the cover?
to:NB  books:noted  american_history  modernity  social_networks  the_present_before_it_was_widely_distributed 
23 days ago
[1508.06675] Consistent nonparametric estimation for heavy-tailed sparse graphs
"We study graphons as a non-parametric generalization of stochastic block models, and show how to obtain compactly represented estimators for sparse networks in this framework. Our algorithms and analysis go beyond previous work in several ways. First, we relax the usual boundedness assumption for the generating graphon and instead treat arbitrary integrable graphons, so that we can handle networks with long tails in their degree distributions. Second, again motivated by real-world applications, we relax the usual assumption that the graphon is defined on the unit interval, to allow latent position graphs where the latent positions live in a more general space, and we characterize identifiability for these graphons and their underlying position spaces.
"We analyze three algorithms. The first is a least squares algorithm, which gives an approximation we prove to be consistent for all square-integrable graphons, with errors expressed in terms of the best possible stochastic block model approximation to the generating graphon. Next, we analyze a generalization based on the cut norm, which works for any integrable graphon (not necessarily square-integrable). Finally, we show that clustering based on degrees works whenever the underlying degree distribution is absolutely continuous with respect to Lebesgue measure. Unlike the previous two algorithms, this third one runs in polynomial time."
to:NB  to_read  graph_limits  network_data_analysis  re:smoothing_adjacency_matrices  cohn.henry  chayes.jennifer  borgs.christian  heard_the_talk 
23 days ago
Why trigger warnings are really so controversial, explained - Vox
"Trigger warnings are just a more overt example of a trend faculty members already fear: that making students uncomfortable is a route to student complaints, and student complaints have more power than they used to.
"A college education isn't supposed to be a movie you can walk out of if you don't enjoy it, or a cruise ship you can get off if you're not having a good time. But colleges depend on students' tuition to keep their doors open. An increasing share of faculty members are adjuncts without the protection of tenure.
"Anxiety about trigger warnings isn't always only trauma or sensitivity. It's about the power that comes with being a consumer, and how students are using it."

--- Plausible, but not exactly established (and hence not really explained).
academia  cultural_criticism 
23 days ago
[1503.01678] Prediction in Projection
"Prediction models that capture and use the structure of state-space dynamics can be very effective. In practice, however, one rarely has access to full information about that structure, and accurate reconstruction of the dynamics from scalar time-series data---e.g., via delay-coordinate embedding---can be a real challenge. In this paper, we show that forecast models that employ incomplete embeddings of the dynamics can produce surprisingly accurate predictions of the state of a dynamical system. In particular, we demonstrate the effectiveness of a simple near-neighbor forecast technique that works with a two-dimensional embedding. Even though correctness of the topology is not guaranteed for incomplete reconstructions like this, the dynamical structure that they capture allows for accurate predictions---in many cases, even more accurate than predictions generated using a full embedding. This could be very useful in the context of real-time forecasting, where the human effort required to produce a correct delay-coordinate embedding is prohibitive."
to:NB  prediction  state-space_reconstruction  dynamical_systems  time_series  statistics  bradley.elizabeth  via:vaguery 
23 days ago
AEAweb: JEL (53,3) p. 631 - Communicating Uncertainty in Official Economic Statistics: An Appraisal Fifty Years after Morgenstern
"Federal statistical agencies in the United States and analogous agencies elsewhere commonly report official economic statistics as point estimates, without accompanying measures of error. Users of the statistics may incorrectly view them as error free or may incorrectly conjecture error magnitudes. This paper discusses strategies to mitigate misinterpretation of official statistics by communicating uncertainty to the public. Sampling error can be measured using established statistical principles. The challenge is to satisfactorily measure the various forms of nonsampling error. I find it useful to distinguish transitory statistical uncertainty, permanent statistical uncertainty, and conceptual uncertainty. I illustrate how each arises as the Bureau of Economic Analysis periodically revises GDP estimates, the Census Bureau generates household income statistics from surveys with nonresponse, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics seasonally adjusts employment statistics. I anchor my discussion of communication of uncertainty in the contribution of Oskar Morgenstern (1963a), who argued forcefully for agency publication of error estimates for official economic statistics."
to:NB  to_read  statistics  economics  on_the_accuracy_of_economic_observations  manski.charles  estimation 
24 days ago
The Book of the Great Sea-Dragons (1840)
WITH 30 PLates

--- This is apparently one of the books which introduced these creatures to both the scientific and the popular mind, and it is absolutely mad, even by the standards of the 1800s, with many long, poetic passages about how ichthyosaurs were _literally_ creations of Satan, interspersed with run-of-the-mill anatomical descriptions of the fossils, and passing thanks to the woman (Mary Anning) who actually found many of the fossils and recognized what they were.
books:noted  have_read  psychoceramica  paleontology  to:blog  via:felix_gilman 
24 days ago
Six of One
"I am insanely pleased to announce that I’ve sold six new books, three each to two different publishers."

--- Happy happy happy, joy joy joy.

(But I am selfish enough to have a small part of me disappointed that not one of these books will be the completion of _Metropolitan_ and _City on Fire_.)
williams.walter_jon  science_fiction  fantasy 
24 days ago
Reviews Too Late: The Bone Clocks
_Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet_ has given me an aversion to Mitchell, but this is the first review of _Bone Clocks_ which might lead me to try it.
book_reviews  fantasy  mitchell.david  williams.walter_jon 
24 days ago
Understanding the Historic Divergence Between Productivity and a Typical Worker’s Pay: Why It Matters and Why It’s Real | Economic Policy Institute
"Wage stagnation experienced by the vast majority of American workers has emerged as a central issue in economic policy debates, with candidates and leaders of both parties noting its importance. This is a welcome development because it means that economic inequality has become a focus of attention and that policymakers are seeing the connection between wage stagnation and inequality. Put simply, wage stagnation is how the rise in inequality has damaged the vast majority of American workers.
"This paper ... explains the implications of the central component of the wage stagnation story: the growing gap between overall productivity growth and the pay of the vast majority of workers since the 1970s. A careful analysis of this gap between pay and productivity provides several important insights for the ongoing debate about how to address wage stagnation and rising inequality. First, wages did not stagnate for the vast majority because growth in productivity (or income and wealth creation) collapsed. Yes, the policy shifts that led to rising inequality were also associated with a slowdown in productivity growth, but even with this slowdown, productivity still managed to rise substantially in recent decades. But essentially none of this productivity growth flowed into the paychecks of typical American workers. Second, pay failed to track productivity primarily due to two key dynamics representing rising inequality: the rising inequality of compensation (more wage and salary income accumulating at the very top of the pay scale) and the shift in the share of overall national income going to owners of capital and away from the pay of employees. Third, although boosting productivity growth is an important long-run goal, this will not lead to broad-based wage gains unless we pursue policies that reconnect productivity growth and the pay of the vast majority."

--- I find it convincing, but then, I would. Criticisms: (1) They should give citations to their critics. (2) I'd have liked to see more "sensitivity analysis" --- how far off would they have to be, e.g., in estimating total compensation from pay to make a serious difference?
to:NB  have_read  inequality  whats_gone_wrong_with_america  economics  political_economy  via:krugman 
4 weeks ago
Elephants and Kings: An Environmental History, Trautmann
"Because of their enormous size, elephants have long been irresistible for kings as symbols of their eminence. In early civilizations—such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Civilization, and China—kings used elephants for royal sacrifice, spectacular hunts, public display of live captives, or the conspicuous consumption of ivory—all of them tending toward the elephant’s extinction. The kings of India, however, as Thomas R. Trautmann shows in this study, found a use for elephants that actually helped preserve their habitat and numbers in the wild: war.
"Trautmann traces the history of the war elephant in India and the spread of the institution to the west—where elephants took part in some of the greatest wars of antiquity—and Southeast Asia (but not China, significantly), a history that spans 3,000 years and a considerable part of the globe, from Spain to Java. He shows that because elephants eat such massive quantities of food, it was uneconomic to raise them from birth. Rather, in a unique form of domestication, Indian kings captured wild adults and trained them, one by one, through millennia. Kings were thus compelled to protect wild elephants from hunters and elephant forests from being cut down. By taking a wide-angle view of human-elephant relations, Trautmann throws into relief the structure of India’s environmental history and the reasons for the persistence of wild elephants in its forests."
to:NB  books:noted  elephants  ancient_history  india  war 
5 weeks ago
The Science Of Grading Teachers Gets High Marks | FiveThirtyEight
Errr, if there's a _systematic_ flaw in the research design, which is what the critics are saying, then it's not surprising that applying the same design to a different data set gives similar results! (That's pretty much what it means for the flaw to be systematic.)
track_down_references  value-added_measurement_in_education  econometrics  via:jbdelong  have_read 
5 weeks ago
Mellars, P.A.: The Neanderthal Legacy: An Archaeological Perspective from Western Europe. (eBook and Paperback)
"The Neanderthals populated western Europe from nearly 250,000 to 30,000 years ago when they disappeared from the archaeological record. In turn, populations of anatomically modern humans, Homo sapiens, came to dominate the area. Seeking to understand the nature of this replacement, which has become a hotly debated issue, Paul Mellars brings together an unprecedented amount of information on the behavior of Neanderthals. His comprehensive overview ranges from the evidence of tool manufacture and related patterns of lithic technology, through the issues of subsistence and settlement patterns, to the more controversial evidence for social organization, cognition, and intelligence. Mellars argues that previous attempts to characterize Neanderthal behavior as either "modern" or "ape-like" are both overstatements. We can better comprehend the replacement of Neanderthals, he maintains, by concentrating on the social and demographic structure of Neanderthal populations and on their specific adaptations to the harsh ecological conditions of the last glaciation.
"Mellars's approach to these issues is grounded firmly in his archaeological evidence. He illustrates the implications of these findings by drawing from the methods of comparative socioecology, primate studies, and Pleistocene paleoecology. The book provides a detailed review of the climatic and environmental background to Neanderthal occupation in Europe, and of the currently topical issues of the behavioral and biological transition from Neanderthal to fully "modern" populations."
to:NB  books:noted  human_evolution 
5 weeks ago
The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons from San Francisco and Los Angeles | Michael Storper, Thomas Kemeny, Naji Makarem, and Taner Osman
"Today, the Bay Area is home to the most successful knowledge economy in America, while Los Angeles has fallen progressively farther behind its neighbor to the north and a number of other American metropolises. Yet, in 1970, experts would have predicted that L.A. would outpace San Francisco in population, income, economic power, and influence. The usual factors used to explain urban growth—luck, immigration, local economic policies, and the pool of skilled labor—do not account for the contrast between the two cities and their fates. So what does?
"The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies challenges many of the conventional notions about economic development and sheds new light on its workings. The authors argue that it is essential to understand the interactions of three major components—economic specialization, human capital formation, and institutional factors—to determine how well a regional economy will cope with new opportunities and challenges. Drawing on economics, sociology, political science, and geography, they argue that the economic development of metropolitan regions hinges on previously underexplored capacities for organizational change in firms, networks of people, and networks of leaders. By studying San Francisco and Los Angeles in unprecedented levels of depth, this book extracts lessons for the field of economic development studies and urban regions around the world."

--- I'd be interested to see how they argue that "luck" can't account for the difference. (Also,despite its "fall", the Los Angeles metro area has per-capita incomes higher than at least 90% of the country...)
to:NB  books:noted  economics  cities  san_francisco  los_angeles 
5 weeks ago
From Uniform Laws of Large Numbers to Uniform Ergodic Theorems
"The purpose of these lectures is to present three different approaches with their own methods for establishing uniform laws of large numbers and uni- form ergodic theorems for dynamical systems. The presentation follows the principle according to which the i.i.d. case is considered first in great de- tail, and then attempts are made to extend these results to the case of more general dependence structures. The lectures begin (Chapter 1) with a re- view and description of classic laws of large numbers and ergodic theorems, their connection and interplay, and their infinite dimensional extensions to- wards uniform theorems with applications to dynamical systems. The first approach (Chapter 2) is of metric entropy with bracketing which relies upon the Blum-DeHardt law of large numbers and Hoffmann-Jørgensen’s exten- sion of it. The result extends to general dynamical systems using the uniform ergodic lemma (or Kingman’s subadditive ergodic theorem). In this context metric entropy and majorizing measure type conditions are also considered. The second approach (Chapter 3) is of Vapnik and Chervonenkis. It relies upon Rademacher randomization (subgaussian inequality) and Gaussian ran- domization (Sudakov’s minoration) and offers conditions in terms of random entropy numbers. Absolutely regular dynamical systems are shown to sup- port the VC theory using a blocking technique and Eberlein’s lemma. The third approach (Chapter 4) is aimed to cover the wide sense stationary case which is not accessible by the previous two methods. This approach relies upon the spectral representation theorem and offers conditions in terms of the orthogonal stochastic measures which are associated with the underlying dynamical system by means of this theorem. The case of bounded variation is covered, while the case of unbounded variation is left as an open question. The lectures finish with a supplement in which the role of uniform conver- gence of reversed martingales towards consistency of statistical models is explained via the concept of Hardy’s regular convergence."

--- I got a glance at this once a decade ago in a library, and have been looking for a copy for years.
in_NB  ergodic_theory  vc-dimension  learning_theory  stochastic_processes  to_read  empirical_processes 
5 weeks ago
globalinequality: Did socialism keep capitalism equal?
Some econometric evidence for one of my pet-crank notions. The regression specifications look dubious, however.
cold_war  political_economy  socialism  economics  inequality  to:blog  to_teach:modern_regression  track_down_references  to_teach:undergrad-ADA 
6 weeks ago
Project MUSE - Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance
"In the Renaissance, Epicureanism and other heterodox scientific theories were strongly associated with heresy and atheism, and frequently condemned. Yet, when Lucretius’s Epicurean poem De Rerum Natura reappeared in 1417, these associations did not prevent the poem’s broad circulation. A survey of marginalia in Lucretius manuscripts reveals a characteristic humanist reading agenda, focused on philology and moral philosophy, which facilitated the circulation of such heterodox texts among an audience still largely indifferent to their radical content. Notes in later sixteenth century print copies reveal a transformation in reading methods, and an audience more receptive to heterodox science."

--- Condensation of her forthcoming book (or vice versa).
--- Shorter AP: Sure, experimenting with Lucretius seems harmless enough at the beginning, just philological interest and elegant verse, but all it takes is some cleaned up editions for minds to be warped forever.
in_NB  have_read  lucretius  history_of_ideas  renaissance_history  reception_history  epidemiology_of_representations  palmer.ada  blogged 
6 weeks ago
Goodbye to the genius who changed the way we think (and you didn’t even know it) - The Washington Post
Scott Page's memorial notice for the late, lamented John Holland. (I am morally certain Scott did not write the headline.)
I was never close to Holland, but he was an inspiration: a figure from the mad old days when things were still so new and formless that no one could tell the difference between genius and inanity, who'd come out of them with genuinely great contributions and an oddly innocent indifference to disciplinary boundaries. I remember how reading and working my way through his _Adaptation in Natural and Artificial Systems_ seemed to open up new worlds...
holland.john  obituaries  cellular_automata  adaptive_behavior  genetic_algorithms  page.scott  cognitive_science  agent-based_models  complexity  to:blog 
6 weeks ago
The Creative Apocalypse That Wasn’t - The New York Times
I'd like to believe this is all right, but there are some points where doubt worries at me. (1) SJ keeps talking about "average" incomes - presumably these are _mean_ incomes, which are going to be very misleading in winner-take-all industries. Median would be much better. (2) This also doesn't speak to the volatility of incomes, which is a huge part of the issue. (3) I also worry about selection bias by just looking at those who in a given year manage to make enough money in the arts to be classified as working artists...

--- ETA: some critique here https://pinboard.in/u:cshalizi/b:837728ae56ab
have_read  networked_life  culture_industires  the_work_of_art_in_the_age_of_mechanical_reproduction  johnson.steven  to:blog  intellectual_property 
6 weeks ago
Expectations and Investment
"Using micro data from ... quarterly survey of Chief Financial Officers, we show that corporate investment plans as well as actual investment are well explained by CFOs’ expectations of earnings growth. The information in expectations data is not subsumed by traditional variables, such as Tobin’s Q or discount rates. We also show that errors in CFO expectations of earnings growth are predictable from past earnings and other data, pointing to extrapolative structure of expectations and suggesting that expectations may not be rational. This evidence, like earlier findings in finance, points to the usefulness of data on actual expectations for understanding economic behavior."
to:NB  economics  decision-making  via:jbdelong 
6 weeks ago
Media, markets and institutional change: Evidence from the Protestant Reformation | VOX, CEPR’s Policy Portal
"Internet-based communications technologies appear to be integral to the diffusion of social movements today. This column looks back at the Protestant Reformation – the first mass movement to use the new technology of the printing press to drive social change. It argues that diffusion of the Reformation was not driven by technology alone. Competition and openness in the media were also crucial, and delivered their biggest effects in cities where political freedom was most limited."

--- Looks promising, but needs careful examination
track_down_references  the_printing_press_as_an_agent_of_change  epidemiology_of_representations  reformation  early_modern_european_history  via:henry_farrell 
6 weeks ago
Extracting Low-Dimensional Latent Structure from Time Series in the Presence of Delays
"Noisy, high-dimensional time series observations can often be described by a set of low-dimensional latent variables. Commonly used methods to extract these latent variables typically assume instantaneous relationships between the latent and observed variables. In many physical systems, changes in the latent variables manifest as changes in the observed variables after time delays. Techniques that do not account for these delays can recover a larger number of latent variables than are present in the system, thereby making the latent representation more difficult to interpret. In this work, we introduce a novel probabilistic technique, time-delay gaussian-process factor analysis (TD-GPFA), that performs dimensionality reduction in the presence of a different time delay between each pair of latent and observed variables. We demonstrate how using a gaussian process to model the evolution of each latent variable allows us to tractably learn these delays over a continuous domain. Additionally, we show how TD-GPFA combines temporal smoothing and dimensionality reduction into a common probabilistic framework. We present an expectation/conditional maximization either (ECME) algorithm to learn the model parameters. Our simulations demonstrate that when time delays are present, TD-GPFA is able to correctly identify these delays and recover the latent space. We then applied TD-GPFA to the activity of tens of neurons recorded simultaneously in the macaque motor cortex during a reaching task. TD-GPFA is able to better describe the neural activity using a more parsimonious latent space than GPFA, a method that has been used to interpret motor cortex data but does not account for time delays. More broadly, TD-GPFA can help to unravel the mechanisms underlying high-dimensional time series data by taking into account physical delays in the system."
to:NB  to_read  inference_to_latent_objects  dimension_reduction  neural_data_analysis  nonparametrics  time_series  yu.byron 
6 weeks ago
Science Isn’t Broken | FiveThirtyEight
I like the idea of having researchers compete to throw all sorts of different modeling choices at the same data, and the initial example is cool.
science  science_as_a_social_process  have_read  to_teach:undergrad-ADA 
7 weeks ago
This is a perfectly nice example. So how sexist am I that I am not going to swap out the cars-and-trucks one in my chapter on PCA for this? (I guess I should at least mention it.)
data_mining  principal_components  fashion  have_read  to:blog  to_teach:data-mining  re:ADAfaEPoV  via:absfac 
7 weeks ago
Purchasing Whiteness: Pardos, Mulattos, and the Quest for Social Mobility in the Spanish Indies | Ann Twinam
"The colonization of Spanish America resulted in the mixing of Natives, Europeans, and Africans and the subsequent creation of a casta system that discriminated against them. Members of mixed races could, however, free themselves from such burdensome restrictions through the purchase of a gracias al sacar—a royal exemption that provided the privileges of Whiteness. For more than a century, the whitening gracias al sacar has fascinated historians. Even while the documents remained elusive, scholars continually mentioned the potential to acquire Whiteness as a provocative marker of the historic differences between Anglo and Latin American treatments of race. Purchasing Whiteness explores the fascinating details of 40 cases of whitening petitions, tracking thousands of pages of ensuing conversations as petitioners, royal officials, and local elites disputed not only whether the state should grant full whiteness to deserving individuals, but whether selective prejudices against the castas should cease."

--- Surely it is only a matter of time before a libertarian proposes reviving this custom for the US.
to:NB  books:noted  race  racism  early_modern_world_history 
7 weeks ago
The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute by Zac Bissonnette - Powell's Books
"There has never been a craze like Beanie Babies. The $5 beanbag animals with names like Seaweed the Otter and Gigi the Poodle drove millions of Americans into a greed-fueled frenzy as they chased the rarest Beanie Babies, whose values escalated weekly in the late 1990s. 
"A single Beanie Baby sold for $10,000, and on eBay the animals comprised 10 percent of all sales. Suburban moms stalked UPS trucks to get the latest models, a retired soap opera star lost his kids’ six-figure college funds investing in them, and a New Jersey father sold three million copies of a self-published price guide that predicted what each animal would be worth in ten years. More than any other consumer good in history, Beanie Babies were carried to the height of success by a collective belief that their values would always rise.
"Just as strange as the mass hysteria was the man behind it. From the day he started in the toy industry, after dropping out of college, Ty Warner devoted all his energy to creating what he hoped would be the most perfect stuffed animals the world had ever seen. Sometimes called the "Steve Jobs of plush" by his employees, he obsessed over every detail of every animal. He had no marketing budget and no connections, but he had something more valuable — an intuitive grasp of human psychology that would make him the richest man in the history of toys. 
"Through first-ever interviews with former Ty Inc. employees, Warner’s sister, and the two ex-girlfriends who were by his side as he achieved the American dream, The Great Beanie Baby Bubble tells the inspiring yet tragic story of one of America’s most enigmatic self-made tycoons. Bestselling author Zac Bissonnette uncovers Warner’s highly original approach to product development, sales, and marketing that enabled the acquisition of plush animals to activate the same endorphins chased by stock speculators and gamblers.
"Starting with a few Beanie-crazed housewives on a cul-de-sac in Naperville, Illinois, Beanie Babies became the first viral craze of the Internet era. Bissonnette traces their rise from the beginning of the official website — one of the first corporate websites to aggressively engage consumers — to the day when "rare" models became worthless as quickly as they’d once been deemed priceless. He also explores the big questions: Why did grown men and women lose their minds over stuffed animals? Was it something unique about the last years of the American century — or just the weirdest version of the irrational episodes that have happened periodically ever since the Dutch tulip mania of the 1630s?"

--- Permit me to doubt the "genius" bits.
to:NB  books:noted  coveted  market_failures_in_everything  market_bubbles  finance  economics  via:pinboard 
7 weeks ago
Learning by Doing: The Real Connection between Innovation, Wages, and Wealth - James Bessen
"Today’s great paradox is that we feel the impact of technology everywhere—in our cars, our phones, the supermarket, the doctor’s office—but not in our paychecks. In the past, technological advancements dramatically increased wages, but for three decades now, the median wage has remained stagnant. Machines have taken over much of the work of humans, destroying old jobs while increasing profits for business owners. The threat of ever-widening economic inequality looms, but in Learning by Doing, James Bessen argues that increased inequality is not inevitable.
"Workers can benefit by acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to implement rapidly evolving technologies; unfortunately, this can take years, even decades. Technical knowledge is mostly unstandardized and difficult to acquire, learned through job experience rather than in the classroom. As Bessen explains, the right policies are necessary to provide strong incentives for learning on the job. Politically influential interests have moved policy in the wrong direction recently. Based on economic history as well as analysis of today’s labor markets, his book shows a way to restore broadly shared prosperity."
in_NB  books:noted  economics  class_struggles_in_america  inequality  productivity  computers  innovation  tacit_knowledge  technological_change 
7 weeks ago
The Weekly Ansible, 50 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Works Every Socialist Should...
I am struck by how many of the books are praised for undermining the fantasy genre. I could see recommending them to a comrade if you (1) thought they un-self-consciously enjoyed genre fantasy, and (2) that enjoyment/acceptance hurt the development of their political awareness, but Mieville doesn't really say why should "every socialist" read them. An uncharitable critic could suggest that Mieville is here elevating a personal ambivalence to a universal standard of taste --- but honestly I have no idea _why_ he made such odd suggestions.
literary_criticism  fantasy  science_fiction  mieville.china  via:james-nicoll  socialism 
7 weeks ago
Ancestry - Ann Leckie
I am enough of a Cherryh admirer to have written about it (http://bactra.org/notebooks/cherryh.html), but I have to say that it had never occurred to me that the _Ancillary_ books, which I like very much, were in the same lineage. Perhaps this calls for a re-read.
science_fiction  leckie.anne  cherryh.c.j. 
7 weeks ago
The Business of War | Cambridge University Press
"This is a major new approach to the military revolution and the relationship between warfare and the power of the state in early modern Europe. Whereas previous accounts have emphasised the growth of state-run armies during this period, David Parrott argues instead that the delegation of military responsibility to sophisticated and extensive networks of private enterprise reached unprecedented levels. This included not only the hiring of troops but their equipping, the supply of food and munitions, and the financing of their operations. The book reveals the extraordinary prevalence and capability of private networks of commanders, suppliers, merchants and financiers who managed the conduct of war on land and at sea, challenging the traditional assumption that reliance on mercenaries and the private sector results in corrupt and inefficient military force. In so doing, the book provides essential historical context to contemporary debates about the role of the private sector in warfare."
in_NB  books:noted  early_modern_european_history  mother_courage_raises_the_west  war 
7 weeks ago
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