Harvard’s discrimination against Asian-Americans

It was revealed last week or so that Harvard systematically rates Asian-Americans lower on personality, on subjective traits such as “positive personality,” likability, courage, kindness and being “widely respected.” I’m not surprised at all by this. Though they could have at least been a bit smarter about this by keeping this shit off the record. Now the investigators could actually reveal something about their process to the public that would undermine the institution’s credibility.

Though I am an Asian-American, I will not try to pretend. It’s so far for Harvard’s institutional interests more or less rational to do what they’re doing. Asian-Americans have very little power and influence over the institution. Sure, there is no shortage of prominent Asian-Americans professors at Harvard, mostly in STEM, but they don’t actually have all that much influence over the institution, and are mostly being used by the institution to advance its own academic reputation. The same goes for being an Asian academic undergrad admit (who can, say, win a high place for Harvard at the Putnam Contest). There is also the implicit assumption that because Asians face race-related disadvantages in the career game, especially in the corporate world, due to unconscious bias, lack of ethnic affinity networks, etc, they should be penalized, as future career success, of a form not perceived as too threatening to the current elite, is crudely what admissions is optimizing for. So, life is not fair, get used to it, and do the little that you can to try to make things more fair (or more in your favor).

I’ve actually seen some not actually very talented Asian-Americans without hooks who did make it to HYP under very striverish behavior. They played the game of try hard resume optimization, of appearing less Asian. The thing is that most of those people end up not well at all after graduation. Don’t think that HYP guarantees a good job. There is no guarantee is today’s world. Those people did too little in terms of developing actually employable skills. What they got by playing the college admissions game was essentially a pyrrhic victory. Actually competent state school kids do much better than them in the workplace. So, don’t be stupid like that.

Even many actually smart Asian-American HYP grads don’t do all that great. A common outcome is a merely solid engineer at a respected technology company. Some go to a top grad school, but success much depends on the field. Academia has very few openings nowadays, though for engineering, due to industrial demand, it is much less competitive than math or science. A common route of course for the really technically exceptional is quant finance, though those positions tend to be taken by immigrants, who generally undergo a much more rigorous STEM education with less distraction compared to what Asian-Americans receive. The thing is that so many people are irrationally desperate to attend an elite school. Some middle class parents will burn a fortune to send their kid to some fancy prep school full of rich kids, where they easily end up at the bottom half of the school’s social hierarchy, let alone for an elite university. They lose sight of the fact that in many if not most cases, major determines what you do much more than school. There are many cases of these try hards wasting much time, money, and stress for nothing.

Like it or not, America is still very much a white country. Asian-Americans can and should try, but they shouldn’t realistically expect equality. If Chinese parents really want their son to become a lawyer or politician, they should probably stay in China. It’ll be hard there as well, but your odds of success will be probably at least an order of magnitude higher than in America. Here, I use only the male qualification of child in light of how “on average, Asian American women received higher personal ratings and extracurricular ratings than Asian American men.”[3] This is, of course, consistent with what goes on in the real world as well. And it is expected, considering how historically, sexism and racism have always gone together.

A while ago, I wrote on here a rather cynical (or whatever you call it) piece in Chinese regarding elite US schools, which to my pleasant surprise a Chinese international of my acquaintance who attended Harvard commented on affirmatively. Its title has somewhat of a sensationalist provocative vibe to it, translated to English as “American elite universities as a political tool for brainwashing and uplifting (pseudo) elite of Chinese descent.” Of course, I have more or less the highest regard for the STEM being done at these top American institutions, though maybe it is a bit overrated. Much of the humanities and social science coming from those places I find quite questionable though, and that goes along with the cultural and political values fostered by these institutions. On that, I brought up how the former unsuccessful regime of China, the Republic of China, was led and run largely by Chinese graduates of Ivies of their time, who were but superficially Westernized and modernized Chinese. Despite their graduating from these elite schools, they lost the civil war and failed to modernize China, though perhaps that also had much to do with their being in the wrong time. Certainly though, many of the elite Chinese who played prominent roles in China’s modernization from the 50s on did advanced study in STEM in these top American schools. I’ll say that from my experience, it certainly does seem that these schools tend to select for Asians whose social and political viewpoints, often not very grounded on reality, tend to fit them into the aforementioned category, like Jeff Yang, with whom Steve Hsu had a debate. This is of course part of the pattern of American elites’ desire to bring elites of other countries into their circle, in a sufficiently subordinate position. On this, I’ll say how I’ve read comments on how over past half century or so, affirmative action by Harvard and other Ivies has won for American elites not only (a facade of) charity but also cultural and ethnic representatives to advance their interests in, say, African countries. For that, Harvard was useful as a binding force. Surely, Harvard has always played a quintessential role in persisting the rule and influence of the current American elite throughout the world, and like it or not, kissing the ruler’s ass is almost always the easiest way to rise up on the social ladder. In Chinese, to be America’s dog is spoken of as pejorative, but so what, there were and are too many small countries willing to do so, because it brings them, their elites in particular, much economic and political benefit.

Asians tend to be pretty obsessed with prestige. Chinese are very, and Koreans are especially so. In the 80s and 90s and 00s, a degree from a prestigious or good American school was much an upper mobility ticket in China. Now, this is much less so, because there are too many such Chinese now, and also maybe because people in China have increasingly realized that maybe these people aren’t actually all that good, in spite of their brand-name American school. A PhD from MIT from China once told me that now in China, companies are increasingly reluctant to hire “sea turtles;” you have to pay them more, when more often than not, you can find a local guy who can do the job as well or better for much less. This is a sign of devaluation of elite American institutions, and I believe this will continue, given the relatively low level of STEM education and preparation in America (which is impossible to hide to any actually smart, scientifically literate person) along with America’s overall decline.

The short-sighted and personally motivated decisions of the intellectually mediocre and politically delusional American elite over the past generation are, cumulatively, really taking its toll now, on the American economy and the credibility of its ruling class. Their elite institutions, nepotistic and corrupt in its admissions, are losing the public’s trust and alienating Asian-Americans especially, many of whom moved to a foreign country speaking little English with too much blind faith in the so-called American Dream that they sought for themselves and more so for their children. American elites may have thought that they themselves could neglect STEM, that there are plenty of talented foreigners, many of whom Asian, willing to do those jobs indefinitely, often grossly under-compensated and with their American-born, American-raised kids facing higher hurdles in education and at work. This might have been so decades ago, when in their home countries, there was still lack of economic opportunity for smart people. Nowadays, there is a booming and internationally competitive high technology sector in China, with India going that direction as well, in spite of brain drain into America. Collectively, the STEM expertise has over time not only grown itself but transformed into significant leverage for the group, so much that the elites running Harvard need to resort to rogue tactics to preserve themselves. I don’t exactly blame them. It’s just like how people who go the bullshit business and social climbing route do so largely to compensate for their inherent intellectual deficit; at least to me, that’s never a pleasant or honorable position to be in. But what else can you do, if not to accept defeat? I can already foresee such an entrenched group fighting desperately for its own survival. Harvard will do all that it can to get away with what it’s doing right now amidst much backlash. And it’s an extraordinary rich, powerful, well-connected institution, much able to manipulate the outcomes. Either they win, or they reform themselves accordingly, or they become slowly sidelined. We’ll see. I just hope they don’t resort to even nastier tactics. Though that tends to happen when power and survival is at serious risk.

References

[1] http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2018/06/harvard-office-of-institutional.html

[2] http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2018/06/harvard-office-of-institutional_21.html

[3] http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-lee-harvard-legacy-student-advantage-20180622-story.html

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gekcNqlHptM

More evidence for my hypothesis on South Asians vis-a-vis East Asians

Link to comment on Steve Hsu’s blog. The “my hypothesis” in the title is with reference to one of my previous blog posts. Content copy-pasted below.

https://www.imo-official.or…

In pure-visual ability, above data clearly indicated East Asian ability. Naturally they excel in STEM field.

But in silicon valley, South Asian engineers move up easily in corporate world. Advancing in corporate world is depending more on social skill than engineering skill. South Asian also display strong social skill as result of people from high density origin.

Some Chinese American engineers told me about their experience in silicon valley. They did most work while Indian colleagues seems not able to do much. But once the project is done, these Indian colleagues are fantastic at putting everybody’s work together and present to the superiors. These Indian American are natural conference presenters. Good social skill gets all credits for career advance.

Indeed, making other thinking you smart is more important than wether you are really smart in subjective world (social dependency world). This is so true for most part of world.

When objective measurement is criteria, you get totally different picture because God is judge here. Human opinion is meaningless.

 

Russian vs Jewish social skill

I just saw Steve Hsu’s latest blog post, on the revelations of penalization of Asian-Americans on subjective personality evaluation by Harvard admissions. Looking through the comments, the most memorable one was this:

In world war two, Jewish death was 6 millions; Soviet death was 26 millions.

But Jewish death seems to be major impression in people’s mind today. Russian? Who cares.

Simple, Jewish social skill and Russian social skill are at different levels. Social skill is most important factor in subjective/emotional control.

If you don’t believe me, here’s the link.

Of course, it’s not just that. There’s also that the Anglo world was and is so much stronger culturally. To the extent that this is quantifiable, based on media representation statistics, I would say at least an order of magnitude. And ever since the USSR fell, the Anglo media has basically been able to gloss over the critical if not decisive role of the Soviet side in WWII with impunity.

The Brahmins

The cognitive and personality profile, and overall achievement package, of Indians as a group is a rather interestingly unbalanced one. Sometimes they do spectacular things, like discovering the infinite series for trigonometric functions of sine, cosine, tangent, and arctangent as early as the 14th century, producing a good number of real geniuses like Ramanujan and Satyendra Nath Bose, and reaching Mars orbit on its first attempt, being the first Asian nation to do so, and doing so at a small fraction of the cost expended by NASA. An IMO gold medalist I talk to once said to me that there are probably more Indians than Chinese with IQ 160+ due to very high Brahmin IQ that has stabilized (meaning regression to a stable high Brahmin mean as opposed to the low Indian mean) over millennia of inbreeding within caste. I thought maybe. Certainly, I do sometimes get the impression that Indians, at least in science, are better than Chinese at breeding the type of genius with the right combination of technical ability and scientific discernment that manages to discover radically deep and groundbreaking science in a very independent and spectacular fashion. The Chinese have produced geniuses of the highest order (or close) in science the 20th century, like Chen Ning Yang in theoretical physics and Shing-Shen Chern in pure math, with Yang-Mills and Chern classes ubiquitous now in the literature of their respective fields, which are now very intertwined. However, they did so only after much training, exposure, and reinforcement based on the whole framework of modern science developed in the West over many centuries, and ancient China, on the other hand, did not produce in pure science anything near what Indians did, a sign of lack of genius and of poor taste, both in its rare individuals and at the collective societal level. On this, I like to think that Indians are Greeks and Chinese are Romans.

In sharp contrast to China, India in practical matters has been largely a complete fuckup, or at least vastly outmatched by China. It is well known that the ancient Chinese invented gunpowder and paper-making, whereas nothing of equal direct impact came out of ancient India. In modern times, China developed nuclear weapons way faster than India did, and even before that, defeated India in a war in 1962, which, even worse for India, was entirely her fault. Economically and infrastructurally, holistically speaking, India, exemplified by its frequent power outages and accident-prone train system, could be regarded as a few decades behind China, which is further confirmed by that India’s life expectancy and infant mortality rate is, today, where China had been at 20+ years ago. Given that the two had been around the same level in 1950, India’s development has unambiguously been a complete failure.

How to explain this? On this, I recall how my Chinese friend’s mom had said that it’s not because China’s elite is smarter than India’s elite, but because China’s grassroots is smarter than India’s grassroots. This is well-confirmed by international IQ studies which tend to put China’s average IQ at around 105 and India’s around 82, which is a 1.5 sigma difference. So even if India’s +3 sigma is as smart or smarter than China’s +3 sigma, there are too many dumb, dysfunctional people holding India back, from their needing to be fed while doing the routine work rather poorly. So, the smart, (usually) high caste Indians opt to go to America to escape India’s dysfunction, so ubiquitous that even the ultra-rich at home cannot immune itself. The best and brightest in that category tend to go through the IITs at home for undergrad, the most reliable ticket to a high paying tech job in the United States. That stratum of Indians has established by now quite a presence in top American tech companies and universities (just about every top STEM academic department in the US has several prominent Indian profs). For example, Microsoft and Google both have Indian CEOs, and plenty of Indian engineers and managers, with many of them in high ranking positions, especially at Google. In contrast, there are few Chinese in top leadership positions. When I learned that Google has several Indian SVPs but no Chinese, a guy from China responded with humorous ease followed by sarcastic insult: “不用担心,阿里巴巴的SVP全都是中国人,百度的SVP也全都是中国人,没有一个印度人。(In translation: Don’t worry, Alibaba’s SVPs are all Chinese, Baidu’s SVPs are all Chinese, not a single Indian) What does India have? Tata? Infosys?” This is, based on my experience, similar to how people react to the astronomical success of certain Indian academics, entrepreneurs, and business leaders in America. They will say: “Sure, an individual brilliant Indian does extremely well in America. But what does India as a nation get from that?”

Even such brilliance of these elite Indians is somewhat questionable. On TopCoder, which plenty of Indians obsess over on Quora, now infested by low status Indians, India is ranked, as I am currently writing this, only 11th out of the 31 countries on there, with only two red (the highest category) coders, despite having more than twice the number of members as China, the second most populous nation in this algorithmic coding contest. They’ve actually done better in recent years. I remember back years ago when I participated, I, having been on the lower side of yellow (the second highest category) coder, would have ranked close to the top among the Indians. Of course, one must not discount the possibility that the best Indians have better things to do than practice for a contest where one solves artificial algorithmic problems, which is consistent with my having seen and worked with many Indians who are very competent at real software engineering, with quite a strong sense for systems design and real world production code, which are rather orthogonal to, and much more consequential than, what one sees in those contrived coding contests and interviews. Still, the dismally low performance of Indians on TopCoder still raises suspicions, because TopCoder, like the International Math Olympiad, which India is complete garbage at, is a 100% objective and fair contest, whereas success in the real world software engineering, determined by promotions and professional level, has a political and context component. It’s not just the Indians at home; even in America, where the smartest Indians tend to go, the Chinese kids beat the Indian kids by a wide margin on the elite math, computing, and physics olympiads, even when the Indian kids seem to have improved a fair bit over the recent years. From this, one can only conclude that Indians are naturally not that strong in the abilities which these contests load on, though of course they may be relatively much more talented in research and engineering, for which these contests are very imperfect predictors.

You, the reader, have probably noticed that up to now, we’ve focused mostly on brains and technical ability. Yes, they are essential, but personality characteristics (both individual and collective) and “soft skills” also matter, especially if one wants to rise to a leadership position. From my personal observation, Indians are, in general, very good at projecting confidence and assertiveness from the way the talk and present themselves, much better than Chinese are, at least in the American cultural context, even when you discount the language barrier Chinese face relative to Indians. I’m talking not only about how one says things in terms of word choice, but the vocal tone and body language behind it. Sure, you can disdain this as superficial, but it matters. Perception matters as much, and in some cases, more, than substance. There is also that Indians seem to have a stronger network and help each out more in the career world. Collective intelligence or ethnic nepotism, you be the judge.

I have stories to tell on this. First of all, I remember vividly how when I interned at the place as an Indian schoolmate, he was the only one who scheduled, successfully in a few cases, coffee meetings with executives, as an intern (!!!!!), when it never would have occurred to me, or probably almost everyone else except him, to even try. One can sort of link this to collective intelligence, in that it is an indicator of discernment with regard to who matters (the executives) and who doesn’t (the engineer worker bees) within the political organization. And needless to say, you rise up in the organization by aligning yourself with the people who matter. Yes, my telling a full-time engineer this was met largely with a response in the likes of: “He knows who matters and who doesn’t. And even if he completely fucks up, he has nothing to lose, he’s only a 2nd year college intern. In any case, he gets good practice interacting with people who matter.” There is also that multiple people I know have complained about blatant Indian favoritism in interviews in the likes of what is described in this Quora answer. Yes, others have told me that when Indians interview other Indians, the bar is much lower. It’s not just in interviews. Another guy told me about how he once worked for a company that turned into ruins after Indian managers protected some Indian fuckups from getting fired. Personally, I have seen a case of Indians getting promoted way faster than those of other ethnic groups on a big team with an Indian director. So sometimes, I ask myself the verboten. Could it be that Indians really are far higher ranked in tech companies than their ability and contribution, because they are much more self-promoting and collectively nepotistic than those of other groups? Moreover, could it be that many people secretly think and resent this but are too afraid to say out of fear of being publicly vilified for “being racist” and having their careers ruined from alienating a national group increasingly powerful in corporate America? And that gradually, other groups, as they awake to the rigging of the game and get past, reluctantly, their moral objections, will quietly do the same, transforming tech companies and the American workplace at large into literal prison gangs contend, destroying whatever is left of the ideal of meritocracy and fair play in this country, ever more mired in identity politics?

Don’t get me wrong. There is much variance in personality and character and ability in those of any ethnic group, including for Indians, and much overlap between ethnic groups. Like, I know of this really brilliant Indian who donates most of his tech salary to very worthy causes, leaving little for himself, and he would be the last person I would expect, based on his characterized as autistic personality, to successfully climb the corporate ladder, though through sheer talent alone, he should do just fine in the appropriate position. Moreover, I have interacted with several Indians who had been very kind, tolerant, and helpful towards me. However, averages can differ by a standard deviation or more, with enormous social consequences.

I actually feel somewhat sympathetic for India and the Indians here. Somebody, on this, even said something along the lines of: “India is just such a shitty place that the Indians here have nothing to lose, so they play dirty political games and engage in the most spineless social climbing.” What can be done to resolve this? Immediately, I cannot think of anything other than drastically reducing the number of abjectly impoverished, low IQ Indians in India by simultaneously improving economic conditions and enforcing birth control on the poor and unable, so that less suffering and dysfunction is spread to the next generation. India could, instead of drinking the democracy Kool-Aid, learn from China, in a way compatible to its own culture and circumstances, just as China did from the West and the Soviet Union, to great success. Its elite needs to correct many of its deeply flawed social attitudes, and not only that, actually act accordingly with full force; otherwise, the excessive damage India does to itself, America, and the world at large with its internal dysfunction and exported corruption will always far outweigh what its elites contribute to science and technology. I can’t be optimistic on this though, barring some really radical change.

On Russia and Russians

I was told yesterday by that uber pro-American anti-communist American Jew that American liberals actually hate Russia more than they hate China. I was surprised. He said that this is seldom realized, and that

if you compared xi to putin people would consider that offensive even
people have a double standard against white countries when it comes to human rights

So, the logic is because Russia is white, they should be held to higher standards for human rights and democracy, and the extent to which Russia is “freer” (than China, which blocks Google and Facebook and is still a one-party totalitarian state) is not enough to offset the differentiated standard.

I don’t get it, why are Western liberals so intent on hating Russia, why why why? Because Russia is such a threat to their world domination? (The USSR is gone and there’s basically zero hope of Russia recovering to that level, but that’s apparently not enough.) I had also heard that in the UK it’s the Russians, not the Muslims, who are most resented, for being tall, blonde, and alpha and taking the tech jobs. It’s another one of those they’re hated for being too good. Russians being good attracts more resentment than admiration, they must have failed politically somewhere.

From my experience working, observing, reading, and interacting, it does seem like Russians are technically extremely powerful. Of course, the ones here in America are a select group. At a place where I worked, there was this big Russian guy who was quite an ubermensch programmer doing much of the technical heavy-lifting. He was also a higher up in the company, though not terribly high up, and it took him some time in officially low ranking positions (where I’m sure he contributed a ton) to get there. There is good reason to believe the pattern of Russians being ranked (much) lower in American tech companies relative to their ability and contribution, given how political promotion and performance reviews are, and the extent to which salary is determined by one’s “circumstances.” There seem to be very few Russians high up in corporate America, despite their ability. On this, I can’t help but think: could it be that the American elite only wants them to do the hard technical work (where they contribute much more than they get) and find them too threatening to allow into positions of power? It seems though that as a group, they’re more or less accepting of this treatment, content with a very intellectually stimulating job. My Russian friends tells me that very few go back due to lack of opportunity, notwithstanding that Russia has Yandex (which was, curiously, founded before Google) and vKontakte, and its own military ecosystem.

I know that there is the widely stereotype that Russians are smart and really creative, while Chinese are smart but lack spark. There is some truth to that as far as I can tell. On TopCoder and CodeForces and at the ACM ICPC, all of which I’ve participated in, with mixed success, the Chinese still cannot beat the Russians, even when they seem to try really hard. Petr was superhuman, and ACRush, while also an ubermensch, was still a notch below Petr. Though ACRush, with his Chinese connections, has started his own self-driving car company, while Petr is still working for Google. CodeForces, created by Russians, is now much better maintained and consequently more popular across the world to competitive programmers.

I’ve observed that Russians are not as obsessed about prestigious schools here in the US as Chinese are. Plenty of really smart ones only attend state schools, to save money, and also maybe because the elite schools discriminate against them too, because their being Russian and worse connected in American society would be a disadvantage for them in the career world.

From what I’ve seen, Russians are very well-rounded too, actually smart and capable in all respects. Even in athletics, they’re feared and targeted (with reference to the Olympic ban). This might mean that they’re not very good at putting on a stupid smile and going along with all the stupid bullshit that goes on in this society. If they’re this good, maybe they instead of being taken advantage of by American capitalists who only want to extract as much as they can out of them for as little as they can get away with should build their own technology and institutions in Russia, where they actually end up having ownership. They did that in the USSR days (but bad luck and stupid political decisions blew it all away), maybe they should continue to do so.

To conclude, I’ll say that I’ve heard that “Russians/Eastern Europeans get macho and that leads to individualism/isolation in the workplace.” Maybe because they’re pissed that they (the ones in America are some of the best and brightest) have to answer to idiots who they have a hard time pretending to respect.

On the Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore

I had the great pleasure of catching up in person with a friend doing math PhD in something algebraic geometry-ish at a top school. We had dinner at an Indian restaurant. He asked me what I thought of the upcoming meeting between Trump and Kim in Singapore. It’s something that I hadn’t been paying attention to really, though I was aware of it, and I didn’t really have any opinion.

As of today, the meeting is over. I saw an article about it from Washington Post. Apparently, Trump agreed to halt US-South Korea military exercises, exactly what the Chinese government proposed ahead of the summit, likely in the personal meeting between Xi and Kim well before that, wants to eventually pull out US troops from South Korea, and professes more of less the attitude that though China is violating sanctions on DPRK that it agreed to, there’s nothing that can really be done. It’s impressive that DPRK has manage to resist for so long. America with its might has done so much to try to bring it down with economic sanctions and exclusion from much of the international community, thereby rendering its reputation as a pariah state. The people running DPRK, like them or not, are survivors. They, as a puny little country, managed to develop nukes despite economic sanctions and the crisis resulting from the decline and ultimate collapse of their former puppet master or patron (or whatever you choose to call it), the USSR. Their having nukes (and also being next to China, which America dares not to mess with too much) allowed the Kim dynasty to not end up like Saddam or Gaddafi. They must have felt that with the USSR gone and China’s viewing them as an obstacle towards its international integration that they really needed the nukes to preserves themselves. Though people also say that their long range artillery, with Seoul, where like half of South Korea’s population and economy is, within reach, they have enough to deter a military attack against them. What did they really get from nukes? Some more bargaining chip, because they figure they can always get more by pretending to denuclearize. I can’t blame them really. Anyone will go to the extremes when it’s a matter of survival. If you try to starve a dog to death (but can’t, strictly speaking), he’ll just become a ferocious wild one in order to survive, and that’s exactly what DPRK has done.

This must be quite a blow to the neocons and American supremacists who are so keen on American world domination. Hate to tell them that by now, they’ve probably missed their chance. The way things are going right now, in a decade, South Korea could even become a PRC ally; they will once it’s in the interests of those in positions of power there to do so. What can America provide them? A guarantee that those people currently on top can stay on top. They do that foremost by providing defense against a possible DPRK invasion. I’m skeptical still that US will actually move forward with pulling troops out of South Korea; the ROK elite probably won’t like that, unless those with conciliatory attitudes towards their northern counterparts take over, which could happen. I know little about what the popular opinion is there. I do have Korean friends who tell me that there, if you actually sing a DPRK song in public, you will definitely be arrested, because there really is something to fear. There is quite a history of that there. It is well-established that during the Korean War, after the DPRK first invaded, Syngman Rhee ordered massacres of those perceived as disloyal to his regime. Even in the 80s, when the ROK was already doing much better than the DPRK, there was the Gwangju Uprising, which is like a South Korean Tiananmen Square. Of course, to justify its suppression, it was easy for the government to label the protesters as agent of the enemy regime. Contrary to impressions given by the American media, the South Korean position has been somewhat precarious too, and America has been willing to really invest there. There are even nuclear weapons deployed in South Korea, not just American soldiers stationed there. It’s an ally that is seen as vulnerable and too valuable to lose. Over the years, people have always been asking how long the DPRK can hold on. Now could it be that it is the ROK that will struggle to hold on, at least if remaining a staunch American ally is an absolute must? In some being ROK has being an American lapdog almost as a definitive characteristic, more so than on the other side, with the DPRK’s having had two larger powers bid for its loyalty during the Cold War, and with its more being on its own afterwards. The ROK leadership is seen as more spineless (or less able to hold on their own) than the DPRK leadership, having had America’s military presence directly at home with themselves in the subordinate position ever since the Korean War, whereas the Chinese People Volunteer Army, that basically saved the DPRK regime, left not long after the armistice was signed, though it still maintains a defense treaty that guarantees military protection. Much of that is because China, being so poor and backwards at that time, had scarce resources and enough to deal with at home, while America was, and still is, a very rich country plentiful in resources. Of course, there is also that the American elite seems so much delusional with regard to their own exceptionalism and fanatic about their domination of the world. Unfortunately for them, their efforts have been really backfiring in recent years, with the rest of world’s having caught up and increasingly reluctant to take their orders, which they are now much more capable of resisting. The British Empire possessed the same attitude, and one, from this, gets the feeling that this intent for world domination is much more in the Anglo-Saxon genes. Saxon has association with German, and yes, the Germans produced a Hitler, but it’s reasonable to say he was mostly a reactive force, with Germany’s having been shamed in the Versailles Treaty. The Brits were the pioneers of industrialization, and also the pioneers of colonialism and imperialism (if one discounts the earlier Spanish). The British Empire and its derivative America are arguably also the most fervent about spreading their religious and ideological faith. God, freedom, and democracy. They are also arguably the most delusional there.

The reality with the British Empire and with America is that they were pioneers in many ways, giving them the first mover advantage, but eventually had difficulties competing with the latecomers, who were in many ways more competent. Though economically and technologically, the Anglos may have fallen behind their competitors in certain aspects, the cultural presence established by their earlier victories last much longer. Like it or not, they have been relatively successful at getting the rest of the world to accept and embrace their so called cultural values, through a combination of merit, trickery, and intimidation. They are also arguably the most narcissistic, domineering, and historically scurrilous. They led in terms of their science and technology, with that the merit side. In terms of the lengths to which one deceives and coerces, they led much more. People observes how obscenely rich and powerful individuals, in their business, are cutthroat to the extremes. They will screw over another when it is in their interest to do, meaning of course that they can get away with it. They will engage hypocritically in philanthropy and whatnot to buy their reputations and establish a facade of charity. Analogously, the Anglo world has done this massively with its cultural imperialism of which blatant historical falsification and political deception in the media are the essential ingredient. Some other countries wanted to and tried, to some degree or another, to stop them, but lack the aggressive disposition and material power to do so. Economically and militarily, the Anglo world is of course guilty of displacement of the natives in America and Australia, and even to this day, the UK holds on to the Falkland Islands. Culturally they have been successful; this, along with America’s worldwide network of military bases, which America is increasingly lacking in its ability to economically sustain, are held as socially acceptable, the social norm. This might change though, but it will take a while.

America’s main competitors are China and Russia. Of the two, China is much more threatening. These are countries which have resisted the Anglo political and cultural system to this day, especially China, which is much harder to conquer, out of a combination of its size, competence, and alienness of culture, as a civilization that developed more or less independently from the rest of the world over millennia. The elites of the USSR basically sold out their country to America, whereas the Chinese communist elites managed to resist that. America and Britain had other competitors too, most of all Japan, but Japan was mostly tamed after WWII, and even with its economic and technological rise afterward, it could not escape the confines of the war legacy that it refuses to face. Germany is similar, but its attitude towards its war crimes is the antithesis of Japan’s. This is largely because the countries and peoples which suffered most from Nazism, where the ones to destroy it. On the other hand, Japan was defeated by America and the Soviet Union, not by China, who was too weak at the time, though China did play a major role in sinking more of their resources, particularly human resources, which were the main bottleneck, quantitatively, for Japan, as a small nation that had tried very hard and only half-succeeded at playing the game of world imperialism that it entered in too late.

As much as I respect the accomplishments of the Anglo world, I much dislike the what I would call the domineering hypocritical sore loser mentality that this culture tends to channel and accept into their elites. When they are winning, they are arrogant and nasty. When they lose, they tend to do so in a very pathetic way. They are utterly lacking in self-critique and try to force blame on their adversaries. They have plenty of really talented, good people, but they are not very good at letting those people have a say on the important decisions. Since the title of this article is about the Trump-Kim summit, I’ll certainly say that America was quite a sore loser during the Korean War, which I won’t explain, because it is too obvious. This is objective reality; I’m not saying this because I am Chinese. Those anti-communist Chinese in Taiwan and Hong Kong who deny this are ridiculous, and the Anglo world world is just so keen on using such people as tools for sabotage against the real Chinese, except they keep on failing so miserably at it, making a fool of themselves. They are increasingly losing credibility.

Those in HBD will point out differences in temperament between East Asians and whites, which explain differences in social outcomes in individuals and the collective societies of which the individuals are constituents. There is the perception that East Asians are far less aggressive, which is a negative for maverick creativity, enough to offset the IQ advantage enjoyed by East Asians. There are of course some who claim that East Asians have lower variance in IQ explains the putative dearth of East Asian geniuses, though there is hardly any real evidence for this. This is exemplified by how the Chinese historically have been a relatively inward looking people. They made plenty of practical inventions, most notable of them papermaking and gunpowder that were transmitted to the West via the Silk Road, but were grossly lacking in fundamental theoretical contributions to science. Even now, China in foreign policy is relatively passive. There were plenty of crazy Chinese communist radicals, but that was a reactive mechanism of a society under crisis. I don’t see this changing much soon, though as China becomes more powerful and advanced, she will become more confident and care less about what the rest of the world, especially America, thinks. She may even go all out to change international norms to its liking, maybe in another generation. I myself am somewhat of a meek person by nature, but I can also be quite aggressive in certain ways. Like, I don’t uphold any fake ideal of freedom and human rights that Anglo culture so unabashedly and delusionally (perhaps with ulterior motives) promotes; discipline and “totalitarianism” (also call in a lack of American-style PC) certainly are very useful and necessary when defined appropriately in the right context. I am aggressive enough to not buy into much of the BS America sells, culturally and ideologically. If certain groups do a lot of damage, objectively, then it’s definitely a very good idea for them to be rendered irrelevant, by force if necessary. If certain objectively flawed ideas are promoted for the interests for some scumbags, then people absolutely SHOULD organize to resist them instead of standing idly. To me, a malicious person feigning charity is much worse than a very self-interested person who is open about what he wants.

I actually feel like China and Chinese in general could be, and probably should be, much more aggressive at getting their voice out and calling out the BS aspects of America. They shouldn’t be so accepting of it. They need a little more arrogance. And the more economically and technologically powerful and advanced China becomes, the more justification there would be for doing that. Before, China was so far behind that it could not claim much credibility, but that has changed vastly, especially over the past five years, with the trend being much on China’s side. If people don’t feel comfortable doing that, maybe they should work out more to increase their testosterone and confidence. Maybe they can find the genes for that and select for it to remedy the natural ethnic defect. Is this justified? Of course. Even many actually smart white Americans believe this would be better for the world. Quoting someone else, and not to be taken too literally,

A world run by Chinese or Japanese is one where they’d be rich and on top but mostly leave others alone, except to get money from them.

A world run by whites is one where half want to conquer and half want to help.

A world run by Jews is one where they’d systematically extinguish any hope of ending it.

Corresponding with me, Ron Unz concurred, without ever seeing this statement to my knowledge. His words are the following:

Naturally, the Verbal skew among Jews is a significant factor. But personally, I think a much bigger, relatively ignored factor would be what might be called the “Fervency/Fanaticism/Aggressiveness Quotient,” and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Jewish mean were something like 115 or even 120. Meanwhile, the East Asian mean might be down around 85 or 90, which has major social impacts.

Fun with Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer is an epitome of all that’s wrong with Silicon Valley, and the world at large, increasingly influenced by it, culturally, in quite an undesirable way. She is an obvious pseudo-nerd (where here, nerd = really smart talented honest technical person) posing as one for marketing, like much of the SillyCon Valley elite. I’m not being “sexist,” for all that James Damore has triggered. There are women who are genuinely technically competent with good character, and Marissa does not seem to belong in that category. I had to be reminded of her again. How?

Well, I talk frequently with this girl who did undergrad (in CS and math) at MIT, who is now at Uber. She’s not that nerdy though.

In a group chat, she was like:
sigh it makes me worried about planning on staying at uber for 4 years
An uber (no-pun intended) nerd guy responds:
it’s ok to stay at one company if your career is actually progressing
if not then you should leave
Her:
i just wanna get promoted and then leave
but it’ll probably take all 4 years
Me (tongue-in-cheek, for those too autistic to detect sarcasm):
Her name why don’t you become the Marissa Mayer of Uber instead
The same uber nerd:
nobody likes Marissa Mayer
Another guy:
i think my name just noticed that they’re both female
with his superior pattern-matching mind
Me:

Uber nerd’s name, if you could, would you do Marissa Mayer

Him:
idk, she’s old
The other guy:
uber nerd’s name needs someone to intellectually stimulate him

Setup github.io page with Jekyll

Now that I am blogging about programming, I’ve figured that I should start a separate blog just for that, which I can showcase to others without the risk of political incorrectness (which of course requires I keep it strictly technical). I had thought of blogspot, but the pros use github.io. So I naturally looked into that. And I’ve decided that I’m going to document the process as I go.

First, I found that the version of ruby on my mac was not to date, so I used rbenv to install a sufficiently up to date version. However,

ruby -v

did not change though almost certainly, the later version was installed. Annoying, it meant that I had to point the ruby bash command to the newly installed executable either directly or indirectly. I had done this shit quite a while ago, and now it recycles, just like every time you start a new tech job, you have to go through a not terribly fun setup process. Fortunately, switching to rvm did the trick.

See, I had created on my github a repository for my github.io page, selected a theme (kind of like a WordPress theme), and git cloned that to my local machine. But when I, per instructions here, run

bundle exec jekyll serve

it complains

jekyll 3.8.3 | Error:  The jekyll-theme-cayman theme could not be found.

So I decide to start all over with

jekyll new . --force

Now when I ls the directory, I get

404.html	Gemfile		Gemfile.lock	_config.yml	_posts		about.md	index.md

Running again

bundle exec jekyll serve

gives me

Configuration file: cwdir/_config.yml
            Source: cwdir/me.github.io
       Destination: cwdir/_site
 Incremental build: disabled. Enable with --incremental
      Generating... 
                    done in 1.555 seconds.
 Auto-regeneration: enabled for me.github.io'
    Server address: http://127.0.0.1:4000/
  Server running... press ctrl-c to stop.

Going there gives me

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 6.03.38 PM
And now I git commit and push to GitHub and see it at the actual hosted page!

Bubble sort using IORef

I started learning Haskell around summer of 2015, and to be honest, I found it very difficult. It, as a representative of functional programming, requires a very different mode of reasoning, one that I had not really exposed myself to before. I used very light features of Haskell at a real job for testing purposes. With “very light,” IORef is obviously disqualified. I haven’t touched it for over a year, and I am quite rusty on it. Though I expect, since I had diligently worked through example code of various Haskell constructs and patterns, to the point where I could follow what was going on without much difficulty, I can retrain up to the level I had previously been at without too much difficulty.

I believe I first learned of functional programming a few years before when I started with Haskell, with, memorable, the introduction of the two line quicksort. See, at that time, I basically didn’t have a clue how programming really worked, and so I actually might have believed that it was the real quicksort. Maybe I wasn’t even fully aware of quicksort’s important in place distinction, which is what renders it superior to mergesort, which is also O(n \log n). It’s pretty non-trivial to implement the actual quicksort in Haskell, because Haskell, as a functional (non-mutable state) programming language, is such that mutable arrays are somewhat difficult to work with. Of course, this no mutable state associated with functional programming is an ideal that is too good to be true. What happens, roughly, is that mutation of memory, which is necessary for any program to run, is done under the hood; it is the higher level language that protects against dangerous mutation of memory. Though I have read the code for it, long ago, I still cannot say that I actually ever understood how real quicksort is implemented in Haskell. Even now, given how rusty I am, I feel like it might be a bit too much to put on my place. So instead, I’ll go over bubble-sort, with the hope that quicksort will be elaborated on this blog not long after. The resource I am basing off of is from another blog.

We start by introducing IORef, which gives us a mutable reference to a type. It is not a pure operation, with every operation on it involving the IO monad.

The functions involved for manipulating IORef are:

data IORef a

newIORef    :: a -> IO (IORef a)
readIORef   :: IORef a -> IO a
writeIORef  :: IORef a -> a -> IO ()
modifyIORef :: IORef a -> (a -> a) -> IO ()

I will assume the reader if aware how bubble sort works. Now let’s brainstorm how we would, using IORef, implement it. First of all, what is its type. It should be

bubbleSort :: [Int] -> IO [Int]

From this, we can easily guess that we ought to transform the input [Int] into a IORef [Int]. A difficulty here is that the constructor for IORef, newIORef wraps the IORef inside IO. Applying map would thus give us a list of IO, the results of which we wish to collect. For this, we use mapM.

So in our code will have something like

xs <- mapM newIORef input

Now, we want to n-1 times, where n is the length of the input, the number of passthroughs needed to complete bubble-sort with guarantee, perform the passthrough swap adjacent elements (if not in order) operation. The passthrough swap operation is an action to be completed n-1 times. How do we characterize this action, in code? It consists of pass through and maybe swap on each index. Each index maps to an operation, and these operations can be collected in a sequential fashion. In code, this would along the lines of

\j -> do
    let ix = xs !! j
    let iy = xs !! (j + 1)

    x <- readIORef ix
    y <- readIORef iy     when (x > y) $ do
        writeIORef ix y
        writeIORef iy x

For this we can use mapM again, but better can be done stylistically. There is the output of the operation, which is IO () , or when combined IO [()] contains no information, so it can be discarded. There is a variant of mapM for that, mapM_. Since an anonymous function (that in this case maps an index to a do statement) is somewhat bulky, we’d like to have it as the latter argument, and forM_ is mapM_ with the arguments swapped.

Finally, we pull out the values from the IORef with

mapM readIORef xs

Putting all this together gives us

bubbleSort :: [Int] -> IO [Int]
bubbleSort input = do
    let ln = length input

    xs <- mapM newIORef input
    forM_ [0..ln - 1] $ \_ -> do
        forM_ [0..ln - 2] $ \j -> do
            let ix = xs !! j
            let iy = xs !! (j + 1)

            x <- readIORef ix
            y <- readIORef iy

            when (x > y) $ do
                writeIORef ix y
                writeIORef iy x

    mapM readIORef xs

Finally, we note that there is an issue ignored for the sake of simplicity since it is not the focus of this article. One might have noticed the !!. What is that?

Prelude> :t (!!)
(!!) :: [a] -> Int -> a

It’s the list accessor function, which is linear time, unlike constant time array access. I will, hopefully, dive into how arrays with constant time reads and writes are implemented in Haskell in some detail. For a high level explanation, see this answer on StackOverflow. Basically, there is a Haskell runtime system with primitive operations for memory reads and writes (that is linked with a Haskell program as part of the compilation process for production of the executable). See here for a manual of the runtime system, with all the runtime system options one can set for the executable.

Tech industry, an interview question, and tail recursion

I have written on here before that I sort of disliked the tech industry. Why? Because I felt many of the people there are kind of boring and not that smart, and much of the work is quite mundane, though of course there are some extremely good ones who do the bulk of the technical heavy lifting (I’m not, though maybe I could become one), who are grossly under compensated relative to their actual contribution. Of course, my standards must be way too high, or I must be way too weird or non-conformist, or too spoiled. At the very least, the tech industry pays quite well, especially the big companies which offer bonus and equity. Of course, plenty of 150+ IQ people will go into grad school in math or physics or computer science, doing some much more academically involved work, often with contempt for the intellectual lightweights in the tech industry. I plead guilty to having had that sort of attitude as well, and maybe I still do. Related to that is how I found the whole artificial marketing and inflation of achievement in tech kind of disingenuous. However, I’ve figured out by now that one only has much to lose from not playing along in that game. I’ve been paying more attention to LinkedIn recently. It’s literally a credentialist cesspool of professional posturing, full of mediocrities who put on there literally every detail of their professional and extracurricular life. My having become more accepting of that indicates somewhat that I’ve improved attitude-wise. I feel like I talk to some non-techs too now, in a normal way, without expressing any sign of contempt, because what’s the point? My next step would probably be to shut down this socially unacceptably nerdy and elitist and non-PC blog, but unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable dulling myself out like that. Of course, it might just be that the whole career game more or less compels me to do so sooner or later. When I say this, I have in mind the following from Michael O Church’s essay Does Genius Exist:

Most gifted children seem like they might achieve creative excellence in adulthood; very few actually do. I’ve observed the careers of extremely intelligent (i.e., IQ 160+) people and the results are, at best, disappointing. About half go to graduate school; the other half go to Wall Street or Silicon Valley straight out of college. Either way, they expect to defeat the morons in business handily, retire within ten years, and dedicate the remainders of their lives to intellectual pursuits. It almost never works out that way. It’s not uncommon for highly intelligent people to be mobbed and bullied in their corporate jobs by resentful mediocrities, although even more common is for them to disappear into the bland, beige fog, and to lose every element of originality they once had. Most often, they disappear somewhere in the folds of middle management, and do what they can to hide what they once were.

I already feel more comfortable doing what, according to this, is most often done by the gifted later in life, not that I am +4 sigma above the mean, which is evident from my credentials, though +3 sigma sounds about right. Surely, success in the corporate world relies much on being liked by those in power which requires being conformist, loyal (or at least appearing so), dependable, and not threatening to the interests above. You get promoted by becoming the manager’s favorite, which is done by being the one who supports the career of the manager the most in an indispensable way.

I don’t like much the whole interview process in tech. It’s like the problems are so trivial (they are artificial and all that related to real engineering) and some of the interviewers are nowhere near as smart as me, IQ-wise. Well, it doesn’t matter, because one has to adapt to one’s world instead of the other way round. And like it or not, for those on the tail end, the distribution of IQ/ability in the world is what it is today.

Speaking of tech interviews, I was asked this question in a recent interview.

Flatten a list. The list, of course, can have list elements. So something like
flatten([1,2,3,[10,30]]) => [1,2,3,10,30]

I had done this problem before. There is the brute force recursion solution. In Python, which is a dynamically typed language (which is more or less necessary for this problem (because otherwise, one would have to impose some type constraints and on top of that find a way to make nested lists work within a static type system, which as far as I can tell, would require defining some generic sum type of primitive types and the list type of that generic sum type itself), this would be, in functional style

def flatten(l):
  return [l] if type(l) != list else sum(map(flatten, l), [])

Of course, in the actual interview, I wrote it imperative style, to increase my chance of passing it. 😉

This is of course actually inefficient, in that there will be a copy made at each level of the recursion. To avoid that, we employ a helper function.

def traverse(acc, l):
  if type(l) != list:
    acc.append(l)
  else:
    for e in l:
      traverse(acc, e)

The flatten function itself would be

def flatten(l):
  acc = []
  traverse(acc, l)
  return acc

By essentially preallocating the space for the output flattened list and appending to it via traversal, we use constant memory aside from the linear for the returned flattened list itself.

What did this problem remind me of? Tail recursion. Functional languages support it to avoid adding a new stack frame on each recursive call, which would be very handy for this problem. In fact, the traverse function, in its pattern of implementation can be translated to a tail recursive one in a functional language. We’ll leave that for later.

To start, we’ll present a canonical example of tail recursion, the factorial function. In Haskell, the immediate implementation it would be

factorial :: Int -> Int
factorial n = if n <= 0 then 1 else n * factorial (n-1)

In assembly, we would have something like

_Z9factoriali:
        # create new stack frame
        pushq   %rbp
        movq    %rsp, %rbp
        subq    $16, %rsp
        # copy parameter to stack
        movl    %edi, -4(%rbp)
        # compare parameter with 0
        cmpl    $0, -4(%rbp)
        # the recursive case
        jg      .L2
        # the base case, set 1 as return value and return
        movl    $1, %eax
        jmp     .L3
.L2:
        # set argument in recursive call to current argument minus one
        movl    -4(%rbp), %eax
        subl    $1, %eax
        movl    %eax, %edi
        call    _Z9factoriali
        # set return value to n * factorial(n-1)
        imull   -4(%rbp), %eax
.L3:
        leave
        ret

One can see explicitly in the assembly the adding of a new stack frame for the recursive call. To avoid that, we employ tail recursion as follows.

factorialTail :: Int -> Int -> Int
factorialTail acc n = if n <= 0 then acc
                      else factorialTail (acc*n) (n-1)
factorial = factorialTail 1

In assembly, this would be

_Z13factorialTailii:
        # move acc to %edi
        movl    %edi, %eax
        # bitwise AND of %esi with %esi itself is %esi, set SF, ZF, PF flags accordingly
        testl   %esi, %esi
        # return if sign flag (SF) or zero flag (ZF) are on
        jle     .L5
.L2:
        # acc *= n
        imull   %esi, %eax
        # n -= 1, subl also sets zero flag 
        subl    $1, %esi
        # loop back if zero flag is not set, return once n == 0
        jne     .L2
.L5:
        ret

Notice how this is essentially a for loop, with no recursive calls. With the -O2 flag set on x86-64 gcc 8.1, which I used to generate the above assembly code, with my own comments later added, the tail recursion compiler optimization was implemented, as evidenced by the assembly produced. I ran this not on my own machine, but on the cloud via the handy godbolt.org compiler explorer I found, the code of which happens to be on GitHub. And I can only say that the guy who created this tool looks like another one of those uber prolific programmers blessed with tremendous instinct and power for building software systems. You might think that my writing a blog post with Haskell and x86 leans me towards this category as well. Oppositely, I actually think that I’m quite pathetically weak at computer stuff (and started off very unnatural at it), though I also believe that with some dedicated practice I can become good. I would say that I was natural with mathematics and algorithms but not with engineering or systems, though surely, with quite a lot of exposure, I developed, slowly, a sense for the latter as well, gradually steering what had been a horrendously off intuition towards the right direction, and concurrently, reducing, stage by stage, the sense of awe and intimidation I had felt with respect to the actual natural hackers. I can at least console myself by thinking that much of my awe’s having transformed into some sense of normalized (mentally) understanding is an indicator of rapid progress. Yes, there are still plenty of people way better than I am, but I no longer feel like what they are doing, their thought progress, cannot even be understood by my weakling brain, that once perceived it as some form of otherworldly wizardry beyond my comprehension, and of course, its actor some form of higher being.

On quite another domain, I felt somewhat similarly with regard to those at the top of the socioeconomic and political hierarchy. The default for corporate executives and those officially at the top is one of reverence. People assume that because they are on the top, they must be inherently superior in some way or another in their ability. Programmers, as status-insensitive, socially clueless aspies, are supposed to be largely oblivious to the political machinations orchestrated by those on top, to what is the reality of their (subordinate) position within the whole hierarchy. In any case, those people felt to me to be in a whole other world, similar to the impression I had of these elite programmers; I was much oblivious to that world and also could care less about it. Until I more or less developed, as far as I tell, a more accurate intuition for how that world works as well, much aided, of course, by experience, mostly indirect, but enough for me to, with my intelligence and independent judgment, construct what I believe is a reasonable picture or model for what actually goes on, one which I expect to be enhanced over time with more data collected. I’ve increasingly grown to realize, over time, that people are very much naturally psychologically chained to the reality of their official position, their formal credentials, which are correlated very imperfectly with actual ability, or in some cases loaded on (largely born) social position and artificial perception, even nil or negatively correlated; it takes an independent mind, a revolutionary mind to break free from that by disentangling the real and the artificial. And becoming mentally free is the first step towards becoming actually free.