Assorted links

by on May 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Funny how people are defending MIT against someone who never criticized it, namely me.

2. Profile of Tolstoy, from the 1891 Atlantic Monthly.

3. Women don’t like it when men smile too much (pdf).

4. Levitt’s old paper on prison overcrowding litigation.

ad*m May 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm

@3
Clearly showing shame are more attractive than men showing happiness – but less than men showing pride. The authors conclude “It is also possible that the “troublemaker” message implied by a shame expression (i.e., shame informs observers that a transgression was committed) is less appealing to older women who have learned to distrust transgressors, despite the possible appeal of their trust-signaling appeasement displays.”

The more obvious conclusion of their results is that young women like assholes, who they interpret as showing smugness when displaying shame.

This would fit the anecdotal evidence better, but not ofcourse the politically correct narrative.

Miley_Cyrax May 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Right, smiling is associated with supplication in certain contexts, which goes against the female desire for dominant men.

mdb May 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Does anyone like someone that smiles too much?

Andrew' May 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Smiling Bob from Enzyte.

Careless May 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm

That depends on your definition of “too much”. The men didn’t have a problem with the women smiling in this study.

doctorpat May 25, 2011 at 10:42 pm

By definition, if you do anything “too much” then it’s a negative.

IT Guy May 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Is the fifth link, The game theory of Republicans and budget issues, supposed to go the Google reader page? Thanks.

RR May 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm

The missing link ? Republicans are the missing link of evolution?

Matt May 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm

You’ve _never_ criticized MIT? If so, you’ve probably just not thought about it enough. I mean, I’ve probably criticized MIT at some point, though I don’t know why or for what (ugly buildings, maybe? Not hiring a political philosopher to replace Josh Cohen? Surely some time there was something.) I’m sure you can think of some criticism. It will feel good to get it out of your system.

Millian May 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Surely the “new David Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research” is a good example of The Great Stagnation, in terms of both the fact that new resources are needed to generate the rate of innovation due to research that we have come to expect, and the shift towards medical aspects of healthcare.

Silas Barta May 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm

On 1), check out this quote from the article:

MIT has long made a habit of pushing its faculty to cross academic boundaries – or disregard boundaries entirely – in order to explore ideas and inventions that may, at first glance, seem hair-brained or useless. That’s how composer and inventor Tod Machover could spend years tinkering with a “hyperinstrument” for Yo-Yo Ma, developing technologies that two of his students would eventually use to build Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

ROFL! Yeah, no one ever would have come up with “DDR for your fingers” if MIT hadn’t spent lots of money on the hyper-ambitious “hyperinstrument”, whatever that is! *rolls eyes*

Dan Weber May 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm

This was news to me, and I worked on that project as an undergraduate. Now I need to find out who those guys were.

Andrew' May 25, 2011 at 9:09 am

I’ve said it before, but I was told twice in school (both before and after) that I would have to take a personality test to go to work at the company I worked at. Never took the test. Noone I knew took a test. Noone ever mentioned such a test. Lots of bushwa in academia.

GVi May 24, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I think that was a bad example, but she’s hitting on a good point and one that I noticed when I was in undergrad (at a school similar to MIT). When I talked about projects to people outside that community and it didn’t seem like the direct product would be something that is marketable or useful in everyday life to the average person, they’d get confused or think I was joking or criticize the project as not being worth pursuing. But cutting edge research is rarely directly applicable to everyday life and is usually something that seems silly or random but ends up teaching us a principle that has direct application or it inspires a project that does result in a product is marketable. Certain communities (particular universities, some tech companies from back in the day, etc) encourage that sort of “if you have a question you want to explore or if you have a product you want to build, go ahead no matter how silly it seems because that’s innovation” thinking.

Silas Barta May 25, 2011 at 11:58 am

I’m not criticizing long-term basic research. I’m criticizing the idea that such research was _necessary_ (as they seem to imply) to come up with Guitar Hero. That’s BS. It was possible with the technology that existed absent MIT’s help. It certainly took creativity, but it did not require any of the fruits of MIT’s research.

GVi May 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I wasn’t trying to say that you were arguing against basic research. I was just adding my $0.02 (do people still use that slang?) on what I believe to be the main point behind that section of the article. Like I said before, I think the example given was poorly chosen (for the reason you pointed out).

albert magnus May 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm

That is the worst defense of MIT ever.

subdee May 24, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Oh, non-heterosexual people were excluded from #3.

*loses interest*

Silas Barta May 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Oh, non-autistic neurotypes were excluded from [most of media].

*loses interest*

subdee May 25, 2011 at 9:47 am

LOL. I wanted to express my disappointment, but I actually did continue to read the study and commented on it below.

Dean Sayers May 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Philip Pilkington over at NakedCapitalism.com is proposing a “post growth” economic model:

“Japan then should be seen as entering – slowly, gradually and with great difficulty – a new type of economic maturity, where growth as an end in itself has been buried and living standards are becoming the main concern of public policymakers.

This has very wide implications for all of us. After all, what country are all the commentators comparing the US and Western Europe to at the moment? No, I’m not talking about the crazies who point to Zimbabwe, Weimar Germany, hyperinflation and apocalypse. That’s just a rude distraction from oddball hysterics and cranks with ‘end-of-the-world’ fantasies and an inflated sense of self-importance (note that apocalyptic nihilism is almost always accompanied by grandiose messianism). All the serious commentators are pointing to the similarities between the West today and Japan after their housing market collapsed in 1991.”

Philip Pilkington: Beyond growth – are we entering a new phase of economic maturity?

Rather interesting, I think because it invokes some of the issues you mentioned in the PBS interview – yet it seems to come from a very different model, up to and including contradictory policy proposals, as far as I can tell.

RR May 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm

4. Referncing your recent post on Crime reduction , is it possible that what Levitt wrote in 1996 may not be fully valid now ? Its hard to understand how reduction of 1 prisoners increases number of crimes by 15.
Also Increase in non-violent (drug-related) crimes etc.? In California sometimes trivial third-strike crimes that put away the person for life? Is having the highest percentage of prisoners and executions in the developed world what pushes us up the OECD quality of life graph?

subdee May 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Okay okay, so I read it anyway. Here’s the photos used for study #3:

http://www.ubc-emotionlab.ca/emotionattraction/

Does no one else see the problem with these photos? A lot of the smiling women pictures are professionally shot – well lit, good quality images of women wearing professional make up and nice clothes. In contrast, nearly all the smiling men pictures are casual shots. Image quality makes a huge difference to perceptions of attraction. That’s without even getting into whether it’s fair to compare average guys with women who are modeling (and therefore, models).

And then you get into things like 3/4 of the “prideful” women are professional athletes? Are you then judging pride, or extreme athleticism? Study could be right, but I don’t buy the method.

Charlie May 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Nice comment. The study needs to be done with the same people in the same clothes shot by the same person in different poses.

Check out this collection of regular looking dudes being happy. [Hey top right corner dude]

http://www.ubc-emotionlab.ca/emotionattraction/Sample%20B+C%20Male%20Happy.jpg

Here is five professional athletes and three guys in power suits looking pretty proud. I bet seeing someone win a professional sporting even is pretty hot, but I don’t think it tells us much about every day life.

http://www.ubc-emotionlab.ca/emotionattraction/Sample%20B+C%20Male%20Pride.jpg

Mo May 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm

The A pictures are worse. A bunch of athletic dudes, some without shirts and glistening in sweat. Gee, I wonder why people found the men in these pictures attractive.

http://www.ubc-emotionlab.ca/emotionattraction/Sample%20A%20Male%20Pride.jpg

Will Wilkinson May 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Also, the judgments of 189 Canadian undergraduate students is not very informative.

Max May 24, 2011 at 8:59 pm

As Chris Rock says, “If you come home with a smile on your face, and she didn’t put it there, you’re in trouble.”

willy wonka May 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm

What strikes me about the Leavitt paper is his facile comparison with the cost of incarceration. So it costs $30K to pay for someone’s food and guards while they’re incarcerated, but what share of the up front capital costs should be associated with any given prisoner’s upkeep? For California, clearly the marginal share of those expenditures is not zero. Average might be more appropriate than marginal since expenditures are chunky and short-term necessary. In its current state, the argument is similar to the argument Tyler debunks in talking about parking: the marginal upkeep cost is zero so we think it should be close to free, but in fact the creation costs are significant and so should the costs be.

scott cunningham May 24, 2011 at 11:57 pm

oops – see my reply below. Forgot how to use this.

GVi May 24, 2011 at 9:14 pm

In interest of making everything a little more reasonable, you’re text about the MIT article implies that the author was being defensive somehow, but I didn’t see that anywhere in the article. It came off more like whatever comments you made inspired a topic in her mind and that her article was a little more about innovation at MIT than about the validity of your comments or a defense for MIT. ::shrug:: I guess we’re all entitled to our interpretations and I don’t read her blog so I wouldn’t know what biases she’s bringing into the article, but I’m just pointing out that there are other ways to see her article than yours.

scott cunningham May 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Willy Wonka, “What strikes me about the Leavitt paper is his facile comparison with the cost of incarceration. So it costs $30K to pay for someone’s food and guards while they’re incarcerated, but what share of the up front capital costs should be associated with any given prisoner’s upkeep?”

The $30,000 number is something that I’d love to see carefully re-examined. There’s big fixed costs to imprisonment, and that $30,000 is probably “total costs/total population”. Which means it’s the average cost, if so, of imprisonment, not the marginal cost. What are the variable costs of imprisonment? Those are what we should be looking at for calculating the marginal opportunity cost of incapacitation.

Cyrus May 25, 2011 at 7:14 am

(3) shows no dislike of male smiling: happy faces are still more attractive than the neutral control. It’s that other emotions elicited greater attractiveness.

Andrew' May 25, 2011 at 9:06 am

MIT is not a plan. Neither is Mayo Clinic a verb.

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