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Putin’s Agents

Corbyn’s advisor Andrew Murray has been officially banned from visiting Ukraine. He is such an open agent of Putin that he was aiding terrorists in the Donbass region without even trying to be secretive about it. The list of the horrible things this fellow has committed – with complete knowledge and support from Corbyn – is from here to the Moon. There is ample evidence that the two of them get orders directly from the Kremlin.

People keep looking for Putin’s agents. Well, here are two very clear ones.

3,000

The discussion of whether it’s true that 3,000 people were killed by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico hinges on how much you trust statistical models created by university professors.

Obviously, there is no list of specific 3,000 people who died because of the hurricane, and it’s impossible to make such a list. I hope at least here on the blog we all understand why it’s not how such estimates are made.

The 3,000 dead (and previously 5,000 dead) was a provisional number created by using a statistical model. There were actually two different models applied. The first one produced the number of 5,000 victims. It was later discredited and a clearer model was created. Based on the newer model, the result is 3,000.

When you actually look at the model closely, I’d say that 1,000 deaths are pretty much indisputable. Another thousand can be disputed but not very fruitfully. The last thousand is maybe a bit more doubtful. I’ve read that the authors of the model might have assumed that the people who evacuated from the island before the hurricane were less healthy than those who stayed. And we all understand that it was probably the other way round. Those who evacuate tend to be richer.

So I’d say the death toll is definitely over 2,000 but if you don’t understand the basic functioning of statistical models, you won’t get it. To me, the model used by the scholars at George Washington U to arrive at this number looks very convincing.

A Great Quote on Teaching

Any teacher who is reasonably alert can tell when a lesson is clicking. The students are hopping, excited, engaged. They make that face– the “I am learning a cool thing” face is unlike any other face humans make. They’re energized. You’re energized. You feel like you’re the cable and a million volts of electricity are flowing right through you.

Likewise, you know when it’s not clicking. Even if your relationship with the students is so good that they will humor you out of sheer affection, you can recognize that face, too– the “You’re a great person, but right now this is the pits” face. Or that moment when you are trying to get a discussion started and everything you toss out thuds to the floor like lumps of elephant poop.

This. Is. So. True.

And the funniest part is when the same you teaches the same material on the same day in the same way but in two different classrooms. And you get these two opposite reactions. Because who knows why. And you are like, “Can somebody explain to me how this is possible?!?!?!?” But nobody knows because it’s like dancing, or cooking, or sex. Or literature. All of the ingredients are the same, the process is identical and the result is. . . an excursion to paradise. Or, just as likely, a plunge into a dung heap.

Worldly

And it’s the same with hotel reviews. A tiny little place in a historic building in Prague. Maybe half a dozen rooms total. The guests are complaining that there is no swimming pool and no gym. There are tons of big hotels around that offer all these amenities and more. But no, they will find a small hostel or a B&B that, by definition, doesn’t have anything like this (but has many completely different things for another kind of experience) and will complain, bitch, and moan.

And it’s not like we are living in pre-internet times when it’s hard to know beforehand. It takes all of 3 minutes to find out in advance if the place you are going has a Michelin-star menu or an Olympic-size pool.

It’s like people are almost proud or something of not having a good time on their trip. It’s as if it made them feel more worldly or chic to find things to complain about.

Choosy

People are funny. In the town I’m going in Germany, there is this tiny hole-in-the-wall place that claims to have existed in the same spot for centuries and that sells wurst and sauerkraut for 3 euro. A typical tourist attraction, like a hot dog cart in New York. But you should see the online reviews.

“We stood there for 40 minutes, and nobody came up to offer us a menu or greet us.”

“We asked them to describe their vegan options, and they gave us a nasty look.”

“We asked if they had porkless sausage, and they glared at us and said they don’t serve an Islamic menu.”

“We asked if the food is gluten-free, and they pretended not to understand.”

People expect a maitre d’ and a menu catering to varied dietary preferences at an equivalent of a food truck.