Polees is reel smart

Clearly the best and brightest are protecting and serving:

The Dayton Police Department is lowering its testing standards for recruits. It’s a move required by the U.S. Department of Justice after it says not enough African-Americans passed the exam. Dayton is in desperate need of officers to replace dozens of retirees. The hiring process was postponed for months because the D.O.J. rejected the original scores provided by the Dayton Civil Service Board, which administers the test.

Under the previous requirements, candidates had to get a 66% on part one of the exam and a 72% on part two. The D.O.J. approved new scoring policy only requires potential police officers to get a 58% and a 63%. That’s the equivalent of an ‘F’ and a ‘D’.

Why does Dayton need black police officers? Do they have a quota for Asian officers too? How about Turkish ones? Jews? And how is it worth hiring officers anyhow when you know before they’re even hired that they’re going to find the job too intellectualy challenging?

Never trust the experts

Zero Hedge underlines one of my personal maxims:

Confirming, yet again, that MIT Ph.D.’s (such as the FRBNY’s Brian Sack) are among the most dangerous around, a paper made the rounds yesterday by one Josef Oehmen titled: “Why I am not worried about Japan’s nuclear reactors.” In the ensuing 48 hours, anyone who listened to Josef’s advice (who incidentally is not a scientist) and was also “not worried about the reactors” has paid an exorbitant price, possibly up to and including their lives. We demand that MIT School of Nuclear Science and Engineering clarify their position on the matter, and make sure that incidents such as this, where Oehmen’s paper received top billing due to its perceived “endorsement” by MIT and has since been completely discredited, never recur.

Full paper as was originally posted:

I repeat, there was and will *not* be any significant release of radioactivity from the damaged Japanese reactors.

An expert is someone who is always correct when it doesn’t matter and usually wrong when it counts. This is one of the reasons why I never, ever, put any faith in credentials. Credentials are completely worthless, they’re not worth the paper on which they are printed. Experience is somewhat more useful, but when the experienced individual cannot provide clear and sensible answers to straightforward and logically sound questions, your BS radar should be sounding like a radiation alarm at a Fukushima nuclear plant.

How did that M.I.T. PhD-backed prediction hold up? “Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami. In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation had spread from the four stricken reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant along Japan’s northeastern coast.”

And now we know what an assurance from an M.I.T. PhD is worth. How much less, then, is a PhD from a lesser school or in a less rigorous discipline to be trusted? What must always be kept in mind is that the expert’s primary motivation is not what most people assume it to be. Their main motivation is to sound credible rather than make an accurate judgment so they will always play the probabilities and state the obvious because this a) allows them to be correct most of the time, and b) only be wrong when everyone else is wrong.

The divorce domino

I often find myself thinking that it would really behoove the chattering class to consider getting out of the large coastal cities before making grand, sweeping conclusions about modern society. It often appears to escape the mid-witted would-be intellectuals there that as large and influential as those cities might be, they only represent a small portion of the American population.

On Thanksgiving 2008, Dana Adam Shapiro, a few years removed from his Oscar nomination for directing the documentary “Murderball,” visited his childhood home in Boston to find that a good friend of his was divorcing. The friend had been married for three years and, like Shapiro, was in his mid-30s. (Shapiro is now 37.) This was the fourth divorce that Shapiro heard about just that month. In fact, after absorbing the news, he sat down to make a list of all the couples he knew, under the age of 40, whose marriages had already broken up. He came up with 14 names.

I am older than Shapiro. I am married. If I make a list of all the couples that I know whose marriages broke up before the age of 40, I can come up with a grand total of three. (I’m assuming the writer meant “couples” rather than “names of individuals in broken couples” here.) I can stretch that to seven if I include couples that I don’t know very well. That represents less than 10 percent of the married couples under 44 that I know. Regardless of whether I look at the Shoreview Bible Study, which has only seen one divorce out of 15+ couples, or simply look at the marriages of our closest friends, where six couples out of six remain married, it seems absurd to present what is a potentially useful documentary on why married couples who break up do so as if the number of couples doing so is unbelievably high.

This is not to say that all of those marriages are equally happy, that any of them are immune to the possibility of breakup, or that there is nothing to be learned from looking at the fate of failed marriages. I cannot sit and view the relationships of others as a “smug married” not when both my parents and Spacebunny’s parents are divorced. But we can either learn from the negative examples of others or repeat them, and I am optimistic that Spacebunny and I are intelligent and observant enough to successfully manage the former. And since I wouldn’t conclude, from the basis of my personal experience, that divorce is very unusual and rare, so why would someone from the opposite end of the spectrum do so?

There is some reason to believe that Shapiro’s perception of marriage is a warped one caused by his choice of the wrong friends. As with obesity, divorce appears to be somewhat contagious. If those you consider your peers divorce over what is not infrequently either blatant narcissism or petty issues, it is much easier for you to justify doing so. Whereas on the other hand, if you see your peers sticking together in spite of him being a fundamental pain in the ass or her being an irritating bitch, divorce over lesser quotidian offenses is all but unthinkable.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to know that grass is just grass, wherever you go. Unless you’re married to a genuine psycho bitch, a frigid woman, or an unfaithful one, the woman you know is always better than the one you don’t.

It’s not hard to see the common thread in the three examples of failed marriages provided. “It’s all about me.” If your feelings for someone else are predominantly shaped by how they feel about you or what they provide for you, you probably shouldn’t get married. You’re not fit for it.