Assorted links

by on July 28, 2013 at 4:13 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Scout July 28, 2013 at 4:42 pm

2. Sprinting seems to be strongly determined by physiology. On the other hand I’m skeptical of innate differences in ‘smarts’. I assume intelligence is more influenced by early access to (good) reading material and active interest (it’s much harder to learn things when you aren’t interested). So mainly I think Intelligence the result of attitude and a privilege more than an ability.

2 P July 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm


3 Cliff July 28, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Why even bother to make a post about something you know nothing about?

4 Alexei Sadeski July 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Krugman has a whole blog!

5 Andrew_M_Garland July 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Many Liberals believe that all human activity is a social construct. People are directed by “society” to be a laborer, or a mathematician, or something else. Assuming this amazing irrationality, it then follows by pure reason (eyes closed) to require that the discriminatory institutions of society correct their unequal assignments. They need only the will to produce workers of all types and abilities in proportion to their numbers in the population.

Karl Marx on Social Identity
( )
=== ===
In a communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.
=== ===

The Solution Is Simple

Dunning-Kruger effect: The hubris of the incompetent
Quip: I could do that better than you, if I wanted to.

Wikipedia [edited]: The Dunning–Kruger effect is a bias in thinking. People may make bad choices, and be incompetent to realize it.
  The unskilled overrate their own ability as above average. The highly-skilled underrate their abilities, often below the self-rating of the unskilled.

6 Matt July 28, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I think in your Marx quote (from the German Ideology) he is talking about the possibility that specialization will no longer be important once capitalism is dissolved, rather than a blank slate anthropology or the idea that innate skill does not exist. The passage is describes how a mediocre hunter could become a mediocre hunter, fisherman, and herdsman under the communist utopia. The reference to “criticism after dinner,” for example, is an implicit jab at Young Hegelians who he thought were too stupid to be productively engaging in social criticism/philosophizing.

7 Scout July 28, 2013 at 11:24 pm

The proper interpretation of the so-called Dunning-Kruger effect is rather that most people will make a modest estimate of their ability, and in fact they will make the correct relative estimate (incompetent individuals perceive themselves as being less skilled than more competent individuals). This is not what hubris looks like.

8 Arjun July 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I’m having some extreme trouble making sense of this post. Are you trying to straw-man liberalism into the ideology that “punishes success?” Because I’ve always seen it as the ideology that seeks to create an equitable starting point for all members of society (equal access to good institutions during childhood, safety nets to catch people who inevitably screw up, etc). After all, if people are born into conditions that makes hierarchy inevitable, we can hardly argue that the hierarchies that exist today are reasonable or rational.

Also, pro-tip: your terminology will probably confuse non-US folk, since liberalism typically refers to pro-market/pro-capitalist ideologies, and is thus quite opposed by Marxists (not that Marxists don’t also sneer at American liberals…)

9 Andrew_M_Garland July 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Thanks for your advice. You seem to have a low opinion of “non-US folk”. You think that they will be confused by typical US usage. Oh well, I will have to consider posting one version for the US, and probably many versions for the others, to have the widest audience.

I don’t know where you see a criticism of liberals for “punishing success”. Offhand, I think they want to live off the success of others; the punishment is just collateral damage.

I can summarize what my post was about. Scout writes “I’m skeptical of innate differences in ‘smarts’”. In other words, no one is much smarter than another. Intelligence and ability are social constructs determined by privilege and access to resources.

That is silly except at the extremes of poverty. It is also Marxist.

10 Arjun July 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm

While I am inclined to believe that intelligence is produced more by social and environmental factors than “innate” ability, I do concede that I have not done any significant review of the scientific literature on the subject. Some studies however, do support the argument that intelligence is a social construct determined by access to resources, such as a recent study that found that living in poverty produced measurable deterioration of brain development in children (due to pollution, malnutrition, and even PTSD in violent neighborhoods). Another study (might have been the same study, actually) found that genes themselves can be transformed when an individual is exposed to violent or highly stressful environments, and that these genes can be passed on to offspring–implying that poverty (a function of social constructs) can actually become encoded within genes (something that peopel usually consider “innate”). All of this certainly implies a need for society to focus on diverting resources to alleviate poverty and create a more level “starting point” for individuals and communities.

Do you have any studies that support the notion that intelligence and ability aren’t functions of access to resources and network priviliges?

11 P July 30, 2013 at 3:09 am

Environmental deprivation can surely negatively affect intelligence (and many other traits like, say, stature), but that does not mean that genes do not contribute to intelligence differences. The fact that there are large differences in intelligence between members of the same family (e.g., siblings) belie any notion that the family or socioeconomic environment is a very important source of intelligence differences. There are hundreds of studies that show that cognitive abilities are highly heritable, some of them using the new-fangled method of estimating heritability directly from DNA sequences. Here’s one:

12 hans van deun July 28, 2013 at 4:43 pm

that first link would be a lot clearer if the author had included a one-sentence explanation of WMPs at the beginning.

13 Shane M July 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm

ha. agreed. according to google WMP = “Windows Media Player”

14 Enrique July 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm

The paper at link #2 is 69 pages long … hopefully, a shorter version will appear soon

15 Andrew' July 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Economics papers…how do they do it without including their data? Read the phonebook?

16 Chris Hansen July 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm

The thing about the scientific method and modern statistics is that people get the false impression that we learned nothing before. First order approximations are probably right more than they are wrong and it is only after the low hanging fruit is gone that we need double blind controlled blah blah blah. Everyone knows that you can’t learn speed and it is going to take a hell of a lot of evidence to flip that consensus.

17 Cliff July 28, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Didn’t read the article, but lots of athletes put a ton of time into speed work. I can’t believe they would do that if it didn’t help. I mean there’s some law of physics in there somewhere, right? Stronger muscles generate greater acceleration, and all that?

18 Matt July 28, 2013 at 10:25 pm

The authors are refuting the claim that talent is unimportant, not the claim that practice is unimportant. A necessary ingredient to get to the performance frontier for any human activity is extreme amounts of talent. Of course, when the 0.01% are trying to sort themselves into 0.001%, small differences in preparation become important. An example is that Kobe Bryant and Lebron James were both far better at basketball at age 16 than almost all people who have spent 10k+ hours playing the sport.

19 Peldrigal July 28, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Square cube law is a harsh mistress: your muscles grow in strenght with the square of their size, but increase in weight with its cube.

20 Andrew` July 29, 2013 at 4:59 am

Do NBA players do height training?

21 Jill July 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Deliberate practice is important yet it’s widely misunderstood. The book Talent is overrated has an excellent section on it. You can find a reasonable summary here:

22 Nathan W July 29, 2013 at 6:48 am

If you’re a little bit good you probably do more of it, because like to be good (especially better) at stuff.

Then you practice and become way better. imo

23 prior_approval July 29, 2013 at 12:23 am

The American national security state, keeping the nation’s capital safe from this –

‘They will provide a comforting amount of “minutes,” rather than the current “seconds” of time for U.S. forces to decide what to do with the threat of an antiship cruise missile.’

Just another warmed over news release posing as news.

24 this is the war room July 29, 2013 at 3:55 am

At least we won’t have to worry about terrorists sinking the White House.

25 Andrew' July 29, 2013 at 8:17 am

Who’s worried?

26 Seth July 29, 2013 at 8:51 am

Possible alternative title for #2: Sometimes deliberate practice in some things translate well into other things.

Though, that’s not to say that natural body mechanics and composition doesn’t give some people natural advantages in some physical activities. I do not seem to have as optimal of body mechanics for running as some of my friends, who can outpace be my 1 to 2 minutes per mile when we’re all in good shape. Some can beat me by a 30-60 seconds per mile when they’re not in good shape and I am.

When we climb on bicycles, the advantage seems to reverse.

27 Steve J July 29, 2013 at 11:19 am

#2 A much more interesting question is how far can hard work take a person with average talent? Of course at elite levels genetics is going to play a major role but do I need the right genes just to get a college scholarship (at any sport)? There seems to be a general lack of understanding of how genetics/talent impact future potential even outside of sports. “What color is your parachute?” needs to be updated with blood tests.

28 July 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming having
a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% positive.
Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

29 Charles July 30, 2013 at 11:28 am

Is Kenny Powers cited anywhere as a contributing source for link #2?

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