This got sustained, audible laughter from me. I was sold on "with Bic lighter." :-)
According to 538 (whom I regard as a good source for a meta-level look at political current events in the US), the Democrats have a 94% chance of retaining the House, an 84% chance of winning the White House, and a 66% chance of taking the Senate. Those are the best collective numbers overall. If the polls are right, and they can keep this going for another month, there's a good chance of a big ol' shakeup.
(The P, S, and H in the upper left corner are their Presidential, Senate, and House forecasts.)
Heyo Forest, how is everyone today?
First, some business: TSP is having our cabinet elections! And I'll let y'all know when that is over, who won what, etc.
With that out of the way, I just kinda want to share a little something that popped into my mind, especially as the weather becomes somewhat bearable here in Florida...
Autumn is a lot of fun, a season of change and death... with the promise of rest and rebirth. With this, plants get ready to hunker down for the winter, animals prepare however they prepare, the trees change color and fall on the ground... it's my favorite season.
With this, I guess I can kinda relate this sort of thing to the world we're living in now... COVID-19, The elections, climate change... all these things kinda arising all around and such, it feels like our world might be crumbling around us, and to be fair, it basically is. But, there is the promise of rest and rebirth later on.
Just me, dropping in foreign update and a little world affair kind of hopefully-inspirational thing. I hope, at least.
Not to be negative or anything, just a broken and hollowed out shell of a former human who took graduate poli "sci" stats and lived in the United States for the last 4 years. Even if Nate doesn't fall flat on his face this time around, the best outcome is a 2000-style judicial circus, if not an out-and-out wave of alt-right wing violence, so still hard to get excited.
edit: to be fair, their popular vote prediction was more or less accurate, but also mostly useless since the United States wasn't a functional democracy even before 2016.
Well 538 was closer than any of the other notable forecasts and had shifted quite fast towards Trump before election day, and the actual result was within the error range with the exception of the midwestern states which shifted hard to the right. People seem to forget or not care that they pretty much nailed the 2018 midterms as well, not to mention 2012 and 2008 which were nearly perfect.
While it's heartwarming to see people concerned about me, it would be remiss of me to accept it outright.
I decided a little over a month ago that I'd be retiring my nation permanently. I've tried multiple times to recapture the magic that I felt several years ago when I was the most active, however those attempts have always come up empty. I just can't justify the amount of time I put into NS when I'm actively playing when weighed against how little fun I'm actually having doing so.
I'm my own worst enemy at times. Too often, I put undue amounts of psychological pressure on myself because I feel like I constantly have to live up to my past accomplishments and awards. While I certainly earned them, sometimes it felt like I was no longer worthy. That's not a problem with other people though - that is squarely at my feet.
I realized that if I were to ever find enjoyment in NS again, it would have to be under a different name. I don't intend to immediately start over or anything, either. I'll be taking a nice long break and then deciding if I want to try something new on this site under a new name. If I do, I won't be in Forest and it won't be writing issues - that much I'm certain.
I didn't actually intend to CTE quite yet. I have a few things I need to take care of in-game with this nation. In a few days, I'm going to be scrambling the password to this nation and logging out for the very last time. It's time for Drasnia to be laid to rest.
If you ever need to contact me for whatever reason, my Discord DM's are open. I still have a few NS people on my friends list and I probably won't be purging my friends list any time in the near future.
I'd like to thank everybody in the region. I feel a little guilty for making you worry about me after I CTE'd. You have been great to be around and great to me, even when we've disagreed on contentious political issues. Forest really felt like a home these past few years. It's a very special region. Cherish it.
Ransium, Verdant Haven, Kawastyselir, Sacara, and 20 othersValentine Z, Jutsa, Mount Seymour, Atsvea, Ruinenlust, Noahs Second Country, Lord Dominator, Palos Heights, Hoochlandia, Honeydewistania, Turbeaux, Canaltia, Outer Bele Levy Epies, Terrabod, New Ladavia, Northern Wood, Lura, Middle Barael, Free Las Pinas, and Julunaphra
You were one of the people that helped me in GI early in my NS lifespan - you've definitely had a notable impact on this game and the community. It's sad to see you go but also completely understandable. Best of luck in the future.
As important as it is, science is nonetheless a long hallway filled with the detritus of models which were perfect right up until they were useless. It's already bad enough that homo sapiens is an irrational and random ape, but this time around one of the dependent variables absolutely revels in being so.
No breath holding will be occurring on this end.
Check your six, someone is catching up quickly: nation=nattily_dressed_anarchists_on_bicycles/detail=trend/censusid=60?add_nation2=0&add_region2=0&entity_name=Ruinenlust
Hot take: political science isn't a science.
EDIT: I don't mean to detract from the importance of political science as a very relevant and useful subject to study, so sorry if it comes across that way.
Aww, that's very sad. I entirely understand, though. My maxim has always been that playing NS must be enjoyable; if I came to dislike the experience, I would no longer be involved.
And in any event, you can always reappear as a new nation should you want to. My hope is that the Forest community continues to exist for years to come. Nothing is forever, but some things are for a long time.
You have been an integral part of the region, and it will be the poorer for having lost you.
All the best,
Probably physics is the only "scientific" discipline in the rigorous sense of being fully reproducible and falsifiable. Perhaps also chemistry, to the extent that it is applied physics. Biology and medicine (which is to say, applied chemistry) begins to get tricky, as the number of variations in cases introduces significant stochastic factors, whereby statistical modeling (and all the assumptions which may or may not actually hold) begins to rear its ugly head.
Of course, by the time we get to psychology and sociology, we cannot even know with any certainty the connection between motivation and action, as that connection exists completely inside the inaccessible mind of the subject, which can change more or less randomly at any moment. Statistical modeling (and their questionable assumptions) is all there is. Attempts at scientific rigor are commendable, but there are extremely serious "round pegs in square holes" problems.
Although I'm struggling to think of a political science hypothesis that doesn't ultimately boil down to a descriptive observation -- which is to say, I'm not sure I see the value in knowing to the p=0.005 level that gun owners who live in the woods vote tend to vote Republican. Besides being patently obvious, this doesn't really tell me anything about what gun owners who live in the woods should do. That should is a prescriptive statement, which political scientists (in my personal observation) are loathe to make for fear of being "biased" or otherwise useful.
By contrast, as messy as biology and medicine are, at least a physician can find that getting a flu vaccine reduces flu mortality by some good measure, and therefore you should get a flu vaccine. Or that there is no link between vaccination and CIA 5G Martian microchip teeth, so anti-vaxxers are idiots.
Knowledge is best when useful because it's normative and prescriptive, and I'm not sure political scientists can produce useful knowledge even if they wanted to.
I quit a graduate program after an adviser and I got into an argument over whether a p-level of 0.0501 was "good" enough. I wanted to conclude that the social program I was studying was effective, and advisor accused me of p-fishing. The ironically named Ronald Fisher, who, in addition to being a "scientific" racist and eugenicist, unleashed this p-bullshit onto an unsuspecting world in 1925, also said straight-up that he picked 0.05 as the All Holy Official Cutoff Point of Legitimate Knowledge (TM) simply because it amounted to a nearly two-standard deviation difference in a normal distribution. In other words, that's the official cut-off point because an English racist liked two. That's literally it. He basically rolled a die and by magick, it's a "rule."
My advisor's response was that publishers "require" p=0.05 and I'll never get anywhere otherwise.
I eventually had an epiphany: I don't give a f*ck about publishers and p-values. I give a f*ck about social programs, and I'll go down swinging while rigorous "scientists" who worship at the altar of a proto-Nazi can snuggle up to their thesis that maybe one other person will actually read as it decays in the basement of a library somewhere. Probably, ironically, complaining about having to toss publisher's salads the whole time.
"Worship at the altar of a proto-Nazi" is probably a bit strong. It's just, you know, we snicker at phrenology and other absurdities of the time now, while p=0.05 continues to be the gold standard for no particular reason. If anything, it probably remains the gold standard precisely because it allows social scientists an official finishing line where they can stop, artificial though it may be. Physics is nice because you can smash the two particle streams together and a Higgs Boson either does or does not plunk out. But with social science, you can sample repeatedly for all eternity and get different conclusions every time. I'd be desperate for a finishing line too, I suppose.
I might be bitter. Or not. Just my feels, YMMV. Į\_(ツ)_/Į
As Niks head to the polls there are a few things that will set this election apart from all others.
1. There will be more young voters. According to demographics Niks ages 18-30 make up 40% of the population thus having more of a say in the election.
2. The main issues are:
-Nationalism vs Globalism
3. Support for mainstream parties like the Conservatives and Liberals are at an all time low. Only 5% of young voters support the parties. Meanwhile parties like the Patriotic Alliance, Libertarian Movement, and Green Party are nearly polling at a tie.
4. Radical parties are gaining small traction. Fascist Dawn and the Communist Party have been clashing in the streets and both party leaders are being accused of advocating for violence against rival party members.
The outcome is up to the voters!
I mean, I would probably suggest the opposite to what you've said about the natural sciences, but we do agree in a general sense. Much of our current understanding of physics is based on supposition; it's a "scientific" subject to the extent that it's applied mathematics. Chemistry, and to a greater extent biology, I would consider to be more "scientific" in the sense that hypotheses in those subjects are deduced from real and reproducible observations which (if done properly) do not change based on the particular equation you choose. Biology is messy in the sense that the real world is often surprising and unexpected - but then, since the real world is unexpected, surely the best scientific method is able to deal with the unexpected instead of assuming that the unexpected will not occur.
Of course, such distinction is meaningless because none of those three subjects could exist without the others. From my personal experience, collaboration usually provides the best results possible (different methods, unique perspectives and all that) - and this extends to the social sciences too. The best research of modern psychology incorporates neuroscience, the best studies of history incorporate genetics, the best work in the field of anthropology incorporates zoology, the best work in archaeology incorporates organic chemistry etc.
That's real sh*t about your adviser - I know first hand that the person who supervises your research project can make or break the experience, and thankfully I've been more or less lucky so far. I'm sure you know that p-values are used outside of the social sciences and, while somewhat arbitrary, the line for statistical significance has to be drawn somewhere. However, any scientist worth their salt will tell you that a p-value of 0.0501 could fall either way - the answer is really to investigate further - and (although it would upset your advisor) p=0.0499 is exactly the same. But as you've already mentioned, f*ck your supervisor.
I am proud to announce that I have driven my average lifespan down below 18 years, currently at 17.99 years.
This is a great achievement of [insert species] will and dedication to self-destruction
Probably one of my favorite all-time lines from literature from the beginning of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:
"In the beginning, the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."
My question to you all: what are some memorable lines that you have read that still stick with you?
Sure, and mathematics is essentially applied philosophy, so ultimately all scientific endeavor and the Scientific Method itself is based on ultimately unknowable assumptions. Chief of them being that there is an objective reality out there to begin with. Personally, I think you're all figments of my demented imagination.
But yeah, I was thinking right after I posted and calmed down a bit that, say, quantum mechanics is a thing and so even something as "pure" as physics gets really weird. Or "non-linear" as I've heard it described. But even then, the distinction is whether reproducible observations can test hypotheses; as wholly bizarre as tensor fields seem to me, the hypothesis implies test conditions that a gigantic machine can actually consistently and accurately produce. At least once all the cables are screwed in properly.
What we need is a similar mechanism for people that doesn't instantly become some sort of Milgram Stanford horror machine.
See, that's exactly the thing. If p-value is the probability of an observation at least as extreme assuming the null hypothesis, then there is essentially no difference between p=0.0499 and p=0.0501. Or, rather, the difference is so vanishingly tiny that who gives a f*ck for any practical purpose? But no. Elsevier says that any p>0.05 means you found absolutely nothing and your research is shi*ty garbage that wasted some faceless editors time.
And I question whether a line or cutoff point needs to be drawn anywhere. All that is really needed is a nice table that reports observed effect, said effect's magnitude (which is way more important than "statistical significance" anyway, since it's possible to find a vanishingly tiny effect at the p=0.0000000000000000000000001 level; again, who gives a f*ck?), and p-level.
Then in the next paragraph, I explain why I think it's important ("This was so damned close to p=0.05 that this BEGS for more study with more/better data, so GO!") followed by an invitation to the reader to decide.
But, of course, the problems are two fold: 1) I'd be expressing my personal opinion which is "biased" and "not objective," and 2) Elsevier says p=0.05 is the magick number.
I won't bother explaining why 1) is complete bullsh*t (cause I'd be repeating myself) and I assume the problems with scientific publishing are already well known. :)
I really need to stop cursing so much. I'm sitting here trying to hunt down all the "naughty" words in this post so the RMB will let me post, and I'm beginning to get annoyed. o_0
Not to botch the quote, but my favorite quote is possibly from the Hitchhikers Guide regarding the Vogon deconstructer ships: "They hung in the sky exactly the way that bricks don't."
If that's not the best metaphor of all time I don't know what is.
Yeah, I guess my main gripe there is that, while it's bad scientific practice, some social scientists - and some natural scientists - think that by adding a p-value to qualitative results that they then magically becomes quantitative. Uh no, that's not how it works. But as you say the publishers are the main antagonists here because they're so out of touch as to what constitutes good science and high quality research.
With regards to the problem (1) you discuss, that's a perfectly reasonable conclusion to come to and a big thing in STEM (but maybe not social science) at the moment is that you should be publishing work that either (a) doesn't support your hypothesis or (b) doesn't allow you to come to any conclusion so long as your methodology wasn't flawed. In the past research that came to a neatly predicted conclusion was prioritised, but in many cases this is less informative, and leaves substantial gaps in our scientific knowledge, compared to results that are a little bit 'messier'. If this recent drive doesn't translate to social science, well, it's their loss.
Qualitative vs. Quantitative is a different beast, although there is a popular current in social science that things have to be numbery in order to be "science." Numberiness doesn't make it "science" any more than lack of numberiness makes it not.
The Scientific Method itself is a qualitative work; at least, I'm not aware of any statistical study or controlled experiment that demonstrates its validity to p<0.05.
Of course. If proper scientific method is to disprove one's own cherished hypothesis, then the journals should be filled with studies that found nothing and can draw no conclusions. Unfortunately, "we don't know yet, and all conclusions are always contingent on future data" doesn't sell copy.
I think what I was more getting at though (and didn't convey well) is the normative conclusions that follow any legitimate study; those are the bias that are supposedly "bad," even though all scientific study is, ultimately, normatively loaded. If only because individual scientists ultimately decide by some subjective critera what they are interested in studying to begin with. I refuse to believe that anyone studies anything because they don't anticipate some sort of prescriptive and normative action down the line. That is what needs to come out into the open because there isn't anything wrong with it to begin with, and also precisely because it is likely to affect the planning and execution of scientific study.
Pretending we're all norm-free robots implementing a perfectly objective Method with a perfectly objective and precise decision point is precisely how we get to the noted publication nonsense.
edit: for instance, according to Wikipedia:
In the applied sciences, normative science is a type of information that is developed, presented, or interpreted based on an assumed, usually unstated, preference for a particular outcome, policy or class of policies or outcomes. Regular or traditional science does not presuppose a policy preference, but normative science, by definition, does.
I would challenge in the strongest terms the notion that "traditional science does not presuppose a policy preference" because of course it does, and it needs to stop pretending otherwise. Although, to be fair, I would also challenge "normative science" to state it assumed preferences openly and with gusto.