Wrong Word, Used Stupidly

I’ve come to the point where unless the word “equity” is used in a financial sense — e.g. the increase in your house’s value = higher equity in your personal financial value — I see the word (especially when applied in a social context) and just know what follows is going to be utter bullshit.

Hence this crappy piece of “research” at Tufts University which, as Glenn pointed out, loses me at the “health equity” phrase right there in its sub-head:

American Diets Have a Long Way To Go To Achieve Health Equity

Au fond, its underlying supposition is racist — i.e. that the underclass (specifically, the Black population) — is at greater risk because their diet choices are “bad”.

“Oh noes, Kim,”  you say, “that’s not what they’re implying at all!”

Really?  Here’s the pic at the top of the piece:

In an even bigger tell, note that the proffered plate of (yummy!) food is being held in a White hand, the implication being, of course, that Whitey is driving Blacks to make poor dietary choices.

As a piece of racial propaganda, I can hear Josef Goebbels applauding in the background.

If Black people want true “health equity” with White people — i.e. improve their mortality rate — they should ignore bullshit like this article, eat whatever they want to eat, and instead quit letting their kids kill each other in the inner cities.


Given the observation that all Internet surveys on the topics of politics and economics will inevitably prove that you’re a libertarian, I nevertheless took this test:

My problem with these kinds of surveys is that questions are often posed demanding an either/or response, or else the question steers you towards a choice that isn’t really a choice

Here’s one example, in fact the very first question:

If economic globalisation is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.

If economic globalization occurs, it will largely be brought about by government and transnational corporations.  Expecting either to protect or enhance the interests of “humanity” is naïve beyond belief, because globalization is sought either for control (government) or profit (corporations).  You can’t actually answer that question inside an Agree / Disagree matrix.  But because the role of governments is ignored in the question, you’re forced into supporting transnational corporations or opposing them — a false dichotomy because in some cases, a uniform model is good (banking) or terrible (gun control).  (I know:  gun control isn’t an economic issue, unless one ignores H.L. Menken’s observation that when politicians talk, regardless of topic, it’s always about money.)

Here’s another:

Our race has many superior qualities, compared with other races.

Define “race”.  Are we using the classical definitions (e.g. Western-European, Sino-Japanese, Middle-Eastern) or the modern one (Black / White / Yellow / Other)?  The White “race” is superior to the Black race when it comes to things like fine art, architecture or the rule of law, but are those even “qualities”?  Once again, the survey-taker is left to decide what we’re talking about here, but in this case you can’t combine disparate definitions and opinions when using vague terminology.

One more example:

Controlling inflation is more important than controlling unemployment.

Those are incomparable conditions, because neither is a cause or a consequence, nor are they relatable.  And “more important” to whom, exactly?

Having worked in the research business for over a quarter-century, I’ve designed literally hundreds of surveys, and found the “agree/disagree” format to be profoundly inferior to discrete / conjoint analysis — the latter involving a set of choices on the same topic, e.g.

Which do you prefer:

Option A or Option B?
Option B or Option C?
Option A or Option C?

The problem with conjoint methodology is that it’s more difficult to set up and to analyze, so lazy researchers (i.e. most of them) tend to go with the simpler binary structure.

Life, unfortunately, is seldom binary (unless you are a computer, totalitarian, religious zealot, libertarian or idiot — some overlap).  The real world is more complex than that, which is why setting economics and social issues on a simple XY axis will almost always lead you to discover that Aha! you too are a libertarian, or would be if you could.

In fact, I have found that I tend more to the authoritarian side of the scale because I have to acknowledge that some form of outside control is sometimes  necessary — protection of private property and streetlights being the simplest ones to imagine — but it can equally be deplorable (e.g. Judenfrei  Nazi Art).

Nuance:  we all have it, in varying degrees, except to most survey-takers.

Please note that I’ve erred on the side of simplicity in the above, because nothing causes a MEGO reaction like a discussion of statistical methodology.  (MEGO:  my eyes glaze over.)


…And For This One

Talking about the Huns fiddling with the numbers when the results aren’t to their liking:

The German army’s accuracy has again been mired in controversy as it was revealed in a classified report the testing for their latest rifle was lowered.

The G95A1 rifle failed to pass trials with military-standard ammunition so the Bundeswehr – the German army – lowered the standards of the test, the report stated.

The manufacturers of the rifle – Heckler and Koch – were allowed to test it with civilian ammunition and at room temperature rather than in extreme heat and cold.

The classified report read: ‘Current testing by the army in laboratory conditions shows that the weapon doesn’t meet army standards when loaded with combat ammunition.

‘The army requires an assault rifle that is sufficiently accurate under real conditions with its combat ammunition.’

The rifle was ordered to replace the G36 – also made by Heckler and Koch – which was dropped after it was found to become inaccurate after sustained firing. 

The G36’s inconsistency was down to a plastic channel that support the barrel would become soft when the gun heats in a quick succession of firing. 

The fault was first discovered when German soldiers serving in Afghanistan complained their guns were not shooting straight after a bout of heavy fire. 

As we all know, when the facts are uncomfortable and/or do not conform to the theory, they must be changed.  (I don’t know how that sounds in German, but I bet it’s lovely.)  Also:

Their 180,000-strong army is due to be receiving new weapons next year after it was reported that they only had enough ammunition to fight for two days.

However, the new gun’s accuracy is up to scratch according to Germany’s elite KSK troops who have been equipped with the G95A1. [as long as you only shoot it indoors — K.]

 A 2015 survey of German soldiers found that only 8 per cent of Bundeswehr soldiers trusted their weapons.

Somewhere out there, Paul Mauser is spinning in his grave.

I bet they’d even do better with one of these instead…

Looks like it’s not just German cars that are starting to suck.


Lies? Oh No!

Say it ain’t so:

Electric cars have up to a third less battery life than advertised when driven in real-life conditions, an investigation has found. 

The official figures provided by car manufacturers for how many miles an EV can drive on full charge are based on a standardised test done only in warm conditions. 

But an investigation by What Car magazine has found that when the cars are driven in the real-world, particularly in colder temperatures, their batteries go flat much faster. 

In other revelatory news, politicians’ promises aren’t to be trusted, he won’t call you next time he’s in town, and she does love you just for your money, Mr. Murdoch.

There’s A Smell In The Air

…and no, it’s not the smell of cooking vegan burgers:

Britons are turning away from meat with a majority backing subsidies for plant-based alternatives, according to the RSPCA.

New figures suggest a revolution in eating habits for a nation that was previously defined by its love of roast beef and a fry-ups, with their bacon, sausages and eggs.

A study sponsored by the animal charity found 58 per cent have taken steps to eliminate or reduce their own meat consumption.

Uh huh.  I bet the study was taken in Islington, among people seen leaving vegetarian and vegan restaurants, and duh!  it’s coming from the RSPCA, hardly an unbiased organization.

That smell?  Ah yes:  it’s non-vegan bullshit.

All this, among actual data showing that vegan (i.e. fake meat) food-producing companies are in financial difficulties if not going out of business altogether, ditto vegan restaurants and so on.

But if you repeat the lie often enough, it becomes the truth.  [cf. climate change, Josef Goebbels]