The Impact of Immigration

Here is a chart of the absolute number of immigrants admitted to the United States as permanent residents for the years 1820–2017 according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Yearbook of Immigration Statistics 2017.  (Click on these charts to expand to full resolution.)

U.S. Immigration: 1820–2017

I’m sure you’ve seen a chart like this before, which shows a series of waves of immigration punctuated by gaps due to insurrections, changes in policy, economic crises, and wars which allowed assimilation of immigrants and their offspring.

But one might argue that the impact of immigration on a society doesn’t depend so much upon the absolute numbers of immigrants as the fraction of immigrants admitted compared to the existing (presumed largely assimilated) population.

To explore this, I downloaded U.S. Census data for the U.S. population between the years 1820 and 2017 and, since these data are only available at ten year intervals, performed a linear interpolation between the decadal census data.  (It might have been better to use a power law model, but why complicate things?)  I then divided the immigration data by the extrapolated population to obtain the fraction of the existing population who were admitted as permanent resident immigrants in each year, expressed as a percentage of the population that year.

Immigration: Immigrants as a fraction of population

This is a very different picture.  There are clearly two different epochs.  In the first, between 1820 and 1930, the U.S. was “filling up the empty country” by admitting large numbers of immigrants.  Then, due to immigration restrictions in the Immigration Act of 1924 and the subsequent economic depression and war, immigration remained at low levels until 1946 when, in the immediate postwar period, it jumped.  In this view, the impact of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was not the discontinuous change some present it as (at least in terms of absolute numbers; it may have changed the composition of the immigrant population, which is not captured in these statistics).

Instead, the trend established after 1946 continued to rise continuously until 1989–1991 when it went all whacko.  These numbers, as a fraction of the population, haven’t been seen 1923 or since.  If you take out those crazy years, the overall trend of immigration as a fraction of the existing population continues to rise almost linearly since 1946.

As you may have observed, my essays are heavy on numbers and light on interpretation.  But I must ask, “Why?”

Why do the United States need more people?

Between the founding of the country and the closing of the frontier in 1912, the population was less than 95 million.  With a population of 142 million in 1945, the U.S. contributed mightily to the defeat of fascism in World War II.  With a population of 201 million in 1969, it landed two of its citizens on the Moon.  With a population of 252 million in 1991, it saw out the Soviet Union, ending the Cold War.  Its population is now around 323 million.  How many more does it need?  And where will it find immigrants who are better equipped to build its future than the people already within its borders?

Will the U.S. be richer, more powerful, and more influential on the world stage if, in 2050, its population is 500 million?  Will this be the case if a large fraction of that population consists of immigrants from countries with no history of self-governance or institutions of education?

You can download the raw data and chart definitions used to compose this post (radical transparency!) from this archive as a LibreOffice ODS file.


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Thanks, Google Chrome — I Wanted to Spend Friday Night Troubleshooting

I’ll just be brief here. I have had a recurring issue for a LONG time, wherein my wifi connection drops and will not come back. I am using time-honored troubleshooting methodology such as powering everything down from the keyboard to the wall, and then powering up from the wall to the keyboard; re-booting three times (language warning), and periodically staring at the resource monitor while swearing and pulping a potato in each hand.

First the web goes dark with sites not loading (not resolving, technically), and then the whole machine gets bogged down.  Even after shutting down Chrome, it still has tens of processes sucking up processor power, RAM, network, or a combination.  Sometimes quitting Chrome will help, but usually not.  I found a culprit that I’m not used to seeing, taking up fifteen percent of CPU while everything else (including habitual offenders like Skype, Chrome, and of course System, which pays its own way no problem) each had less than one percent.  This new thing is called “software_reporter_tool.exe”, and I smelled a rat!

Long story short — IT’S ALSO CHROME!  This unwanted, uninvited, inalterable and immortal piece of crapware is tool that Google uses to scan for any software issues which might jack with your Chrome install.  This is good and bad.  First off, we do not want major software providers to write and forget, to wipe their hands of the problems they cause.  This was Microsoft’s approach until the XP business got dastardly.  Windows XP SP2 and SP3 marked inadequate but well-intended efforts to in-house some responsibility, if not competence, for anti-malware and pro-security tasks.  So I get where Google is coming from with this — the software_reporter_tool (let’s just call it “stool” for short) looks for very bad problems indeed, like malware that hijacks your browser, grabs your credit card and login info, reads your mail steals your keystrokes, re-directs you to Chinese/Nigerian/Chicago scam sites, and so forth.  Google is doing the responsible thing here.  There is a problem, however.

The problem is that this thing is set to run once a week (rumor has it), cannot be deleted, mutilated, or blocked* without just being replaced the very next time Chrome takes an update.  And it KILLS my system.  I don’t want *anything* to run whenever it wants, regardless of what I’m doing, which will absorb so much system resources that I get blasted off the web.  I have a theory as to why my internet connection dies and will not come back when this thing runs.  I think that even though Chrome has 52 threads running in one process and 40 running in another, and still requires another 50 threads to run The Stool, it locks up when I try to navigate to a URL that needs resolution.  I believe, with no particular tech savviness, that the browser offloads a DNS request to a WIndows subsystem somewhere, and that process hangs waiting for a response — it blocks everything else the process is doing.  And I think that the Stool process gets to block other Chrome processes, all 90-odd threads.  That’s a lot of junk halted on the way to the processor.  Annnnnd even if the response comes back from DNS, there’s now nobody home to process it.

My theory.


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The King is Probably Dead

The King is probably dead! Long live the King!

My beloved early 2013 HP Envy, which has literally been through a war zone, will give up the ghost at some point. I have already replaced it twice (three times if you count re-incarnation), once with an HP tablet-hinge-PC thing which black screens occasionally, so I never moved aboard, and once with this magnificent Microsoft Surface 5, which brings me to you today. I have run this machine as a power traveler, never intending for it to become the one-and-only. It is my main machine, but I don’t have any games or novelty software. This one hosts Scrivener writing, a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) version of Ubunyu (text-only, which is the goal), and some goodies such as PuTTY and FileZilla. The old HP has my Oracle VirtualBoxen, some DosBoxen, World of Tanks (a huge install with the potential to be full of whatever spyware or malware might come through), Audacity, a huge variety of toy-and-project software, and what seems like every browser known to man. It also hosts a ton of media.

The fan gets off-center sometimes, which can be re-centered with a single well-placed tap on the far right corner of the thing. The c key quit working reliably two years ago, and that machine has sat with an external kb and mouse (which I prefer anyway) since then. It never leaves home anymore.

I use VirtualBox to play with: DOS, CP/M-86, SLAX, Haiku, and various tiny/damned small distributions of Linux for experimenting.

INSPIRATION! Work experience meets home, and playing meets problems — I want to clone my old HP’s Windows7 system onto a virtual disk, and let the hardware go. This is called a physical-to-virtual (p2v) migration, and it worked miracles in the office several years ago.  I’ve been playing with the VirtualBox software again recently, and am now much smarter on the whole thing.  What I *think* I would like to do is archive a copy of the system, and run an active copy on a USB3/4 HDD, and see if the performance increase of the more modern systems can overcome the obvious penalties of 1) virtualization, and 2) running an OS from USB.

I have never used Windows’ Hyper-V (a virtualization host, similar to VirtualBox), which promises near-full-speed execution of virtual machines so long as the host and guest are both windows.   On the other hand, if I go with VirtualBox, I can set up on a Linux box and oh, finally get re-established with decent backups. Been running naked for a while, which is *not good*.

So I need to select a file format, and a virtualization system. Having done some reading, the speediness of Windows Hyper-V is not all that it’s cracked up to be *unless* you just need to run servers. Why would servers be more simple? Because servers typically run a limited number of applications, and support a limited set of hardware options. Ideally, each server should be a one-trick pony working in the self-described fashion of the immortal Doctor Charles Emerson Winchester (played by the late David Ogden Stiers on the TV series M*A*S*H) — “do one thing at a time, do it *very* well, and then move on”. Look at all the stuff that you have on your own PC. No server would ever have that much stuff on it. And so they are not prepared to handle that much by design — servers are *simple*, and so it’s easier to support them in much greater depth than a regular old Window10 PC. That’s what the Hyper-V is really designed for — so at any rate it has fallen from my list to things to consider. VMWare is good and free, VirtualBox is good and free, and I already know a thing or two about VirtualBox. Simple enough. And now I know the file format to use is either VHD or VDI. VHD is limited to 64GB, and is supported natively by the windows program Disk2VHD.exe, which will take my PC and slap it into the virtual afterlife. VDI is VirtualBox’s native format, but I’ve never used it, knowing absolutely nothing about these things until today’s reading. There are converters for the file formats, but that all remains to be seen. Therefore my strategy is to lighten the ship as much as possible, removing bulky media collections to attached media before virtualizing the old HP. Then see if maybe I should cross-install some application (like the bulky World of Tanks) to another partition, in order to set up virtualizing those partitions as separate (each one gets me another 64GB) disks for the virtual machine.

Yup. BUT FIRST: make backups of EVERYTHING involved. The last time I tried to rescue a system, a few years ago, the newer, more powerful machine DOING the rescue gave up the ghost. Someday I’ll get back to that — Heck, someday I’ll tell you the story — but for now I remain to disgusted by the whole thing to even unbox the whole mess. So step 1: make backups. And I already did Step 0 last night: bought storage for bulky media so it doesn’t clutter up my backups. Bulky media stuff, after all, belongs on a server.

If I meet with spectacular success, I will be able to play World of Tanks on my Windows10 Surface by running a VM on a USB drive with my old Window7 install on it. Moderate success will be getting the 7 system virtualized and the media collected elsewhere. The bare minimums will be a complete backup of the 7 system, and an updated backup of the Surface.

EOF


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How do we know Mitt Romney really lost the 2012 election?

I say that because watching the last few days I’ve noticed that the left has gotten really brazen about stuffing ballot boxes. Kind of like they’ve got a lot of practice at it, and they aren’t worried about getting caught or facing consequences if they do.

And why should they? The GOP candidate can be counted on to just go away quietly, conceding, and no one ever tells rank-and-file Republicans that election results might be phony.

But leftists are always alert to that idea- and always believe it when they lose. Why is that, exactly? What do they know that we don’t?

The Republican party should take note. It won’t of course, because competence is a job the GOP just won’t do.


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Why I am grateful for the Reformation and Martin Luther

We have just had a big thread about the Catholic Church and it has brought something into focus for me. I do not believe the modern world would have happened without the Reformation. The Catholic Church supported Monarchy, centralized control, and a few men accumulating power.

As conservatives we talk about Scottish and French Enlightenments. Well, one was in a Catholic country and one was not. We know how they turned out. Northern Europe, with its Protestant Work Ethic has long been less corrupt in function that Southern, Catholic, Europe. Capitalism as we understand it was born in Northern Europe, with the Dutch, and later spread to England. Would a Catholic England have taken it up?

Further, it was primarily Protestants who settled America at first. The idea of religious tolerance was born from the friction of different Protestant faiths. Granted, it was also born of that fact there was a Church of England, but the marriage of Church and State is something that Church inherited from the Catholic Church, and America continued the Protestant move away from it. I do not believe that any such thing would have happened in a Catholic dominated America. Indeed, since the Catholic Church supported the Divine Right of Kings, it is hard to imagine that America ditching Kings at all. Maybe, even, not to rebel, since no matter how bad the King, rebelling is in violation of God’s law. Then again, the Catholic French did rebel against their King, so maybe those Americans would have too. One hopes with better results. In England, of course, there was a civil war over that Right. Would that have happened if the nation was still Catholic?

The Reformation also put pressure on the Catholic Church to reform. They don’t engage in people buying their way into Heaven anymore (I know buying out of Purgatory, but since you exit into Heaven, it is still buying your way into Heaven). 1517 Luther posted Thesis. 1567 They were banned. Certainly, in matters of temporal corruption around Monarchy it is much better.

It is clear to me that the world in which we live, the one with America as the Shining City on the Hill would not exist without the Reformation. I do not think that capitalism would have flourished, and with it, all the innovations. We would not have gone to the Moon, or have instant communications around the Earth. Progress would have been slowed, weighted down by an organization more concerned with maintaining its temporal power than with saving souls, as indulgences indicated. Thesis 82:

Why does not the pope liberate everyone from purgatory for the sake of love (a most holy thing) and because of the supreme necessity of their souls? This would be morally the best of all reasons. Meanwhile he redeems innumerable souls for money, a most perishable thing, with which to build St. Peter’s church, a very minor purpose.

I Praise God, and I mean that honestly, that 500 years ago, God inspired Martin Luther to take a stand against the corruption of the Catholic Church, and it allowed the great flourishing of Christianity in the world. Without the Protestant Reformation, there would have been no Adam Smith, no capitalism, No Scottish Enlightenment, no British Empire, and no United States of America.

Thank God, for Martin Luther and his great and grand courage to stand up for what was right against a corrupt regime intent on its own glorification, rather than the glorification of God.


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Do Video Productions Give Flickering Insight into Modern Russia?

My wife, a great video fan, largely selects our programming from among DirecTV (soon to be shed due to high cost and emerging streaming alternatives), Netflix and Prime Video. For years, BBC has been a go-to source, usually via Prime. Alas, she is someone who usually multi-tasks with her laptop while watching TV, which has ruled out watching foreign language videos with English subtitles. Until about a week ago…

…when she discovered several Russian language video series, which came as an enormous surprise. Each consists of 8 – 10 episodes of around 50 minutes. First came Ekaterina: The Rise of Catherine the Great. Then we watched Rasputin. We are now into Sophia – the story Sophia Palaiologina, daughter of the brother of the last Byzantine emperor, who had been defeated by Ottoman Turks. Sophia was taken under Papal protection to Rome, where she was raised (ostensibly Catholic despite her having been Eastern Orthodox as a young child) and later offered by Pope Sixtus IV in marriage to Ivan III of Muscovy. This was a cynical attempt to capture the Orthodox Prince to Roman Catholicism, and much intrigue is on display in several dimensions.

All of which is outside the impressions I want to share here. When critiquing literature, we are used to reading “between the lines” as to the author and his/her times and culture. Here, I want to inquire as to the validity of searching “between the frames,” so to speak, of this near-infinite series of still images which combine through the human brain’s fortunate perceptual error, into often-stunning moving images. And they are indeed ‘moving’ in both senses of that word. What, then, can be inferred about the film’s creators and the country in which such movies are produced?

These are not your father’s Russian (or particularly Soviet) movies, and I found myself needing to challenge my own biases  (starting while I was still watching) when reflecting upon what these truly excellent productions imply about modern Russia. Had these videos emerged from my TV in English, I would have taken them for top-notch Hollywood productions, lacking only the coarse language, gratuitous nudity/sex, and wall-to-wall decadence. A certain forthrightness and innocence characteristic of pre-modern American filmmaking pervades these productions. They come from a place of quiet restraint and decency; they show nothing but respect for the majority Orthodox faith.

Technically, every component of film I can identify is extremely well-done. The story lines are credible and engaging, the characters, similarly, exude depth and texture written in screenplay fashion which is altogether polished, believable and professional. The settings are often breathtaking – some in recognizable lush historical places and buildings – all  perfectly restored. More rustic scenes show structures appropriate for the times. Costumes and implements (like weapons) in every one of these productions are unusually magnificent; fabrics are especially prominent and sumptuous.

The acting – across the board – is nothing short of superb, award-winning in its own right (and not even slightly dependent upon the actors’ having displayed the de rigeur political views du jour). The actress portraying Catherine the Great, Marina Aleksandrova was particularly striking and effective (although I cannot rule out some testosterone-weighted impression of her [pardon me while I catch my breath]). Other characters, even those evoking no humoral response in this writer, from major to minor, are uniformly excellent. The English subtitles are generally very good translations, with a few lapses in the form of modern colloquialisms inappropriate to the period.

These productions invoke in me a strong sense that the creators are intensely interested in showing the history of their nation and a desire to do so honestly, accurately and artfully. I believe it portrays a healthy nationalism – of pride in their nation’s emergence and existence – not superiority over anyone (why is nationalism such a dirty word for progressives?). Production generally appears to have taken place in an affluent country. Nowhere, even around the edges, does one see any shoddiness. Rustic homes of ordinary people appear clean and show real craftsmanship in their construction. Cinematography is just superb and scenes requiring computer graphics are every bit as good as what comes out of Hollywood.

Not usually a movie critic, I am surely leaving out many other identifiable aspects of movie-making which are amenable to description and critique. My overall impression of these films, however, has demolished whatever sense I had of Russia as a place somehow not measuring up to our “elevated” standards. I am not sure my inferences are completely valid, but suffice it to say that my opinion of Russia has markedly improved.

George Will used to say that the Soviet Union couldn’t produce poetry; that it was a third-world country with nuclear weapons. I remain unsure as to whether Vladimir Putin is really the dangerous autocrat our establishment and media insist he is. Seeing between the frames of these films this kind of creativity – which is usually upstream of politics – suggests some important, human, esthetic and ethical things are happening in a country which has only recently made itself able to afford these truly opulent productions. Considering where they came from, Russians have made obvious progress in many dimensions. Though they now even purport to possess hypersonic nuclear weapons, no third-world country can produce the poetry of these magnificent productions. 

The opening credits reveal that these films originated from Moskino Productions and, interestingly, state they were supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Could it be they are on to something? Maybe the best defense of a nation is maintenance of a coherent, self-respecting, self-restrained culture which knows and values its own history. By way of contrast, when people ask why I no longer attend Hollywood movies, I tell them I refuse to pay money to go into a dark room only to emerge feeling ashamed to be an American and a member of the human race (oh, how could I forget – now I would also have to be ashamed of my hypo-melaninemia).


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Sean Hannity and Busted at the Border

Caravan Update…..
Just in case you have not been aware….

Sean Hannity: An important reminder about why strong borders, the rule of law, and the wall are so important.

And just today….

More than a dozen members of the migrant caravan were arrested Wednesday night along U.S.-Tijuana border, a border patrol source in the San Diego sector told Fox News.

This don’t look good…..

New York Mag: break up the United States

Even lily white liberals of the blue check bubble cities are starting to notice that we’re not a country so much as countries bound together by current law. As the years have gone by, I’ve become more and more a believer in the idea that once a country gets too big, it simply cannot be unified, that factionalism will multiply to the point that the various peoples simply have nothing in common.  I think I have more in common with a rural shop worker in some Czech or Polish backwoods town than I do with a creepy porn lawyer working in Los Angeles. Even our cultural betters are starting to say that “this arranged marriage isn’t working anymore”.

Add to that the fact that, with the third world flooding into places like California, increasingly, we no longer even have language uniting us. New York and LA already look like UN refugee camps. Southern California, population, race, and language-wise will effectively be a colony of Mexico in my lifetime, with the American population pushed out in much the same way that Albanians poured into Serbia and took over a portion for the mother country (and once again, $#&% YOU, Dubya, for helping them). And I don’t feel much like picking up a rifle to “save” Cal either, because I’m pretty sure at this point, both white and black Californians would rally under the banner of Nueva Aztlan just to spite us red state rubes and our patriotism.

But who are we kidding? Lots of Goodwhites® in Blue Check cities would rather the US Army burn down our Red State towns and homes than let us go peacefully, simply out of progressive spite.

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Amy Wax on the State of the Academy

You may recall that Amy Wax, professor at U. Penn law school, got herself in some trouble last year for stating some hate facts. She brings us up to date on her interactions with the university administration and the academy in general. She concludes with an exhortation to “de-fund the Ivies.” She and Heather Mac Donald will be coauthoring an article on that subject.

An interesting sidenote about Professor Wax: she got her MD in neuroscience and practiced medicine before going to law school. Impressive.


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Gender-Queer Drag Queen Says Quantum Mechanics Explains Unlimited Genders

Reporter Megan Fox found an interesting hook for discussing my recent physics publication.

“Atomic physics kind of backed off from the Newtonian assumption of an objective reality to describe how atomic physics works,” said Schantz. “Physicists were operating under the assumption that there was no such thing as cause and effect. There is a strong desire in philosophy to undercut reality. Much like Plato’s allegory of the cave, they want to say all we have is a distorted version of reality and we cannot know what is real. You can see it in physics, that it has fallen out of favor to question how we know what we know. Instead we get propagandizing.”

Check out “Gender-Queer Drag Queen Says Quantum Mechanics Explains Unlimited Genders.”


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Knowledge Base: Verse, Line Breaks, and White Space

When including poetry or other kinds of text in which line breaks are significant, you’ll want to keep WordPress from flowing the text from line to line based upon the width of the window, but instead place the line breaks yourself.  Simply pressing the “Enter” key at the end of each line, however, makes each line its own paragraph, which adds white space between the lines and looks ugly.  For example, here is one of my favourite Dorothy Parker poems formatted this way.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,

A medley of extemporania;

And love is a thing that can never go wrong;

And I am Marie of Roumania.

— Dorothy Parker

Ugly, isn’t it?  To indicate a line break without starting a new paragraph, hold down the “Shift” key while you press “Enter”.  This will result in single-spaced text within a single paragraph.  Here is the poem re-set using Shift-Enter.

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporania;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Roumania.
— Dorothy Parker

Much better!  If a poem contains multiple stanzas, use Shift-Enter between lines of a stanza and the regular Enter between stanzas.

Now, how did I indent the poet’s name at the end?  This involves a somewhat sneakier bit of skulduggery.  When entering the poem, I switched to the “Text” editor tab in the composition window and entered the author’s name as:

<span style="margin-left: 6em;">— Dorothy Parker</span>

This inserts white space with a width of 6 “M” characters to the left of the text enclosed in the span.  You can use this gimmick anywhere you’d like to insert white space, for example in poems by E. E. Cummings that use eccentric spacing for effect.


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