Sunday assorted links

by on January 17, 2016 at 11:47 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. The culture that is Dutch: “Militarism on rise in Netherlands! A full 24% of Dutch now say they’d fight to defend their country (up from 15%)”

2. Are liberals or conservatives more simple-minded?

3. Schelling conventions in the London Tube.

4. I thought The Revenant was mostly dull, and it reminded me too much of The Man in the Wilderness, which I saw when I was nine years old.  They even stole from Lucas and the ice planet Hoth cut the belly open scene.

5. “Interesting to see “The Social Network” movie in 2010 end with ‘ is now valued at $25 billion’. Today, market cap is $280b.”  Tweet here.

6. New York values, booth version.  They don’t do this in Iowa.

1 prior_test January 17, 2016 at 12:07 pm

‘A full 24% of Dutch now say they’d fight to defend their country’

As compared to using money to arrange affairs to their satisfaction? Every Dutch person I’ve known talks about how lazy the Dutch are, with all pointing to the advantages of being a trading nation that does not need to do the dirty work.

2 So Much For Subtlety January 17, 2016 at 4:55 pm

It is a pity for the people of Srebrenica that the Dutch continued to fool themselves into thinking they could do some dirty work. Perhaps if the Dutch had not been playing at being soldiers, the civilians in Bosnia would not have trusted them and more of them would be alive today.

Still, no one owes the Dutch anything. If they choose not to exist, if they choose to be exterminated the way the Bosnians were, history, I am sure, will oblige.

3 Gochujang January 17, 2016 at 12:11 pm

2. Of course. People who self-identify as liberal, or conservative, or any kind of *ist have adopted a mental shortcut. Being a ___ simplifies decision-making.

The tragedy in this kind of study is the false dichotomy. Researchers don’t seek the unaligned to see if rejection of identity reduces the use of such shortcuts.

I would think is would, because when you remind yourself that you are independent, you remind yourself that you have no cheat sheet.

4 Cassiodorus January 17, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Two types of false dichotomy in this study. The other is taking claims about quantifiable things and declaring that there is no difference between those sorts of claims and claims that are not empirically answerable.

5 Derek January 17, 2016 at 1:01 pm

My beliefs are quantifiable and true, yours aren’t.

6 Steve J January 17, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Are you saying religion is quantifiable and true? Not sure your point.

7 Jeff R. January 17, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Pretty much. Politics makes you stupid, news at 11.

That aside, I think all of these kinds of studies, regardless of who in particular they’re painting as stupid, suffer from relying on undergraduate psychology students as their subjects. College students lean left, of course, but they also have a bad habit, as young people do, of overrating their own knowledge and ability levels.

8 Sam Haysom January 17, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Politics is literally the only way for human beings to achieve things beyond the confines of the immediate family. You could maybe make the argument that kinship based clans could be arranged without resorting to politics but that would definitely not be an easy argument. If politics makes us stupid then it is because stupidity is required to drive group effort.

9 Adrian Ratnapala January 19, 2016 at 3:20 am

I work for a company, that contracts for other companies and that company’s customers are also companys. Both the companies themselves, and the overall network of trading entitities are counter-examples to your claim.

Unless of course you

(a) Use “politics” broadly to include the workings of such groups. A reasonable usage, but irrelevant to the debate at hand.

(b) Mean that all such interactions are happening within political societies. True enough, but that doesn’t make politics any more relevant than oxygen, gravity or any other aspect of the general environment.

10 jim jones January 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Most Social Science is actually false – the “replication crisis”

11 JWatts January 18, 2016 at 3:02 pm

“…suffer from relying on undergraduate psychology students as their subjects. ”

Yes, you are probably correct about that. A lot of these “studies” have a massive and obvious selection bias.

12 JWatts January 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm

“2. Of course. People who self-identify as liberal, or conservative, or any kind of *ist have adopted a mental shortcut. ”

You didn’t read the article. They didn’t rely on self-identification.

“Several hundred undergraduates (the traditional psych lab rats) filled out questionnaires that sorted them using a 7-point scale along the usual American bipolar liberal-conservative political continuum. “

13 BEly January 19, 2016 at 5:50 pm

It doesn’t necessarily matter since those people that were judged to be on the political fringes after having filled out the questionnaire are also more likely to have self-identified as a liberal or conservative as opposed to moderate.

14 Tom Hutchinson January 17, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Are liberals or conservatives more simpleminded?


15 T. Shaw January 17, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Liberals are deeper thinkers. However, both sides: it don’t take large masses of gray matter to shout that anyone that disagrees is an evil idiot.

16 Chip January 17, 2016 at 4:48 pm

Common sense is often scorned as simplistic thinking when it’s the product of tens of thousands of years of cultural – and possibly genetic – evolution.

Some elements of conservatism have a long pedigree.

Generally I’d consider myself a small l liberal, except when it comes to the U.S. constitution and traditional family unit. The former has created a remarkable run of freedom and well being, while the latter has done the same. The breakdown of the traditional family has been devastating.

17 Ricardo January 18, 2016 at 12:24 am

In evolutionary biology, there is the concept of vestigial organs and behaviors. They evolved under one set of conditions but are useless or even harmful for the current set of conditions a species finds itself in. Ideas and norms would seem to follow a similar pattern.

18 Philo January 17, 2016 at 12:45 pm

The Revenant’s acting and cinematography have been praised. Are they good enough to make the movie worth seeing (for those who haven’t seen The Man in the Wilderness)?

19 Regular guy January 17, 2016 at 9:23 pm

I wish the reviews were more positive, I enjoyed Manfred’s Lord Grizzly very much as a youth.

20 Hazel Meade January 18, 2016 at 12:05 pm

I found it very dull personally, and the cinematography didn’t really make up for it. And I love great cinematography.
It’s great that they shot it in the snow in winter, but it’s mostly under the trees, so you don’t get big sweeping vistas so much. Just lots and lots of wet, snowy pine trees.

21 The Other Jim January 17, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Are the other 76% of Dutch utterly spineless, or are they merely just as self-loathing as your typical USA Democrat?

22 yo January 17, 2016 at 2:07 pm

They know their country is indefensible and resistance would be futile

23 Moreno Klaus January 17, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Better than invading a random country every 5 years for “national security” 😉

24 Politique Potential January 17, 2016 at 11:40 pm

Worst commenter on marginal revolution.

25 Nathan W January 18, 2016 at 9:43 am

Randomly attacking countries will surely make things safer in the long run.

26 A Definite Beta Guy January 18, 2016 at 9:53 am

Fortunately no nations do that. They can’t afford it.

27 JWatts January 18, 2016 at 3:05 pm

“Are the other 76% of Dutch utterly spineless, or are they merely just as self-loathing as your typical USA Democrat?”

It’s the Netherlands. You need to include the “too stoned to care” & “I’m too busy watching football” demographic

28 Swedenborg January 17, 2016 at 1:44 pm

#6 The Hawkeye State has similar stress-relieving booths, but they are uncurtained and located at State Fairs:

29 Mark Thorson January 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Oh yeah, deep-fried sticks of butter! The only thing with more fat is fat.

30 Mike Brown January 17, 2016 at 2:42 pm

What ‘values’? Isn’t this just the free enterprise system at work?
The invisible hand?

31 Swedenborg January 17, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Oh @Mike Brown, you’re making this too easy: why a curtain, if the hand is invisible?

32 Donald Pretari January 17, 2016 at 1:57 pm

#4…Man in the Wilderness features a terrific acting job by John Huston, who wears this anomalous outfit for the west, which is cool. Plus, I’ve never forgotten, since I first watched it, that a boat is being dragged across the west, which is cool. It’s a terrific, and, considering it’s a left for dead revenge film, a very unique movie. I own it in my video library. I feel about The Revenant pretty much about how I feel concerning comparisons between A Man Called Horse and Dances with Wolves. One is great film, while the other…isn’t.

Richard Sarafian, the director of Man in the Wilderness, had an unreal year in 1971. He also directed another of my favorite films, Vanishing Point in 1971. I might well end up watching The Revenant, but I hear a voice in the back of my head telling me “Are we not men? We are devo.”

33 Chip January 17, 2016 at 4:53 pm

I’ve never been able to see DiCaprio as a hard man.

Too often these roles are played by effeminites or ridiculous muscle-bound narcissists like Stallone.

Where are the Bronsons and Eastwoods.

34 Hazel Meade January 18, 2016 at 12:15 pm

To be fair, I thought DiCaprio did a great acting job. He’s almost unrecognizable.

It’s not really DiCaprio’s fault that he’s super good looking and has a baby face. There’s a great actor under that.

35 rayward January 17, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Liberals are more dogmatic on environmental issues and conservatives are more dogmatic on religious issues. Let’s see: liberals are concerned about survival of the planet for environmental reasons, and conservatives are concerned about survival of the planet for apocalyptic reasons. Which is more simplistic?

36 mulp January 18, 2016 at 12:22 am

You are simply describing two kinds of conservatives.

As a liberal, I believe in paying people to work, and all idle labor should be employed building new capital assets, and destroying capital assets should be done only when labor is extremely scarce.

So, in a time of high unemployment, why would you destroy natural capital in order to not pay workers?

Why destroy a mountain that is 1) scenic and idle for recreation, hunting, housing, 2) productive, producing forest products, 3) holds and filters water from rain and snow? What is the conservative argument for mountaintop removal, valley fill beyond killing coal mining jobs and jobs building wind and solar harvesting capital assets, ie, being anti-capital building?

Coal mining since Reagan has been highly job killing and extremely devastating to the Appalachian coal region for quality of life. The best argument conservatives seem to make is Wall Street investors deserve to profit and those stupid enough to live where coal is deserve to suffer because they are worth less.

New Orleans might be swamped by sea level rise, but Katrina swamped it because of the delta being viewed as wasteland that can be sacrificed for Wall Street profit, because killing jobs by destroying the wetlands was more profitable. Restoring the delta is too expense because of the tens of thousands of workers who must be paid, and those responsible for the destruction do not want to suffer the loss of profits.

And as a liberal, the best thing to boost gdp growth is paying more workers more. After all, who pays for all the gdp but workers?

37 JWatts January 18, 2016 at 3:07 pm

“Which is more simplistic?”

I think you missed the whole point in a study on dogmatism.

38 RM January 17, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Standing on the right and walking on the left is counter-intuitive in countries that drive on the left hand side of the road. It is intuitive in countries that drive on the right hand side of the road: slower traffic stays in the right lane and faster traffic overtakes in the left lane.

The problem with Britain is that their car-driving convention contradicts their escalator-walking convention.

39 Moo cow January 17, 2016 at 3:12 pm

4 – Also, too, Jack London.

40 LR January 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Revenant = Grindingly Dull. It will win best movie.

41 Hoosier January 17, 2016 at 6:39 pm

I read a review that made me think of a grittier ‘Dances with Wolves’. The mysterious and beautiful native people contrasted with the course, violent and nasty westerners. I’m so tired of this trope. It’d be truly innovative to make a film in which both native americans and Europeans were shown to be equally brutal- which they were of course.

42 Hoosier January 17, 2016 at 6:40 pm


43 Dan Weber January 17, 2016 at 8:17 pm

Didn’t DWW have an Indian tomahawk a woman in the back? Or was that Last of the Mohicans?

44 Careless January 17, 2016 at 11:29 pm

I believe that was LOTM

45 Faze January 17, 2016 at 9:08 pm

“A film in which both native americans and Europeans were shown to be equally brutal- which they were of course.”

That film has been made. It’s called “Black Robe”. It’s really smart, and it takes place on the far frontier, in winter, and involves Jesuits, Indians, epidemics, and lots more. It shows how the Indians and Europeans as two different savage tribes, with the priests moving between them as vectors of mercy — and death.

46 Sam Haysom January 18, 2016 at 3:43 pm

Thanks for the recommendation Faze. Truly a great movie.

47 Todd K. January 17, 2016 at 7:01 pm

I wonder which book Tyler was reading in braille when watching Revenant…

48 Politique Potential January 17, 2016 at 11:42 pm

Exactly. Extremely boring beyond the first 30 minutes. Just because the director is Mexican he can get away with making manly movies about killing Indians as long as he throws in some vacuous subplot about “First Nations”

49 Hazel Meade January 18, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Personally, I hope it goes to ‘The Martian’.
‘Room’ was also good, but not really a Best Picture kind of film.

50 JWatts January 18, 2016 at 3:20 pm

I just read “The Martian’ this weekend. Now it’s time for the movie. Did you read it? Does the movie live up to the book? Or is it good but different.

51 mkt42 January 19, 2016 at 3:05 am

The movie does its best to live up to the book but the book can go into deep explanations of the science and engineering behind the problems and solutions that the characters face, whereas the movie mainly can only show their surface actions.

If you can only choose between the book and the movie, choose the book. But I think seeing both is indeed worthwhile. And I think it’s better to read the book first (admittedly, I don’t know firsthand what it would be like to do them in opposite order).

52 gregor January 17, 2016 at 5:49 pm

I guess that you could call some of view as dogma: (a) conservatives are generally racists, anti-poor, anti-labor, pro-corporations, (b) they are for selective enforcement of laws in order to most harm the poor and the minority and women, and for opportunistic interpretation of law to hold the corporations and the rich not responsible for any illegal activity that they my engage in, and (c) use religion to advance their agenda etc..

53 JWatts January 18, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Now that’s certainly a dogmatic post. Bravo on the parody.

54 Ricardo January 17, 2016 at 10:14 pm

On #2, an important point to make about the research cited is that it was conducted on undergraduates like so much other research in psychology. It is entirely believable that 19-year-old college liberals come across as even more simple-minded than their conservative peers for the simple reason that they are in an environment where it is easy to avoid serious challenges to their belief system. But extrapolating from the very specific context of young people enrolled at North American universities to the broader general public isn’t justified.

55 Clc January 17, 2016 at 10:16 pm

2- Swap the tested subjects to the second half of the 2nd Amendment for the right and, say, cultural differences for the left. What results would one expect? Why didn’t they test religion vs religion or environmental beliefs vs environmental beliefs? Maybe then there would be something relevant to show…

56 ChrisA January 18, 2016 at 1:41 am

I am puzzled why more people don’t walk down the down escalators. It is pretty inefficient use of an escalator when only maybe one or two people are actually walking down, as opposed to all the standing people on the left.

Personally I enjoy the exercise and challenge of walking up the up escalator – so I would miss it if this were not longer allowed. What about providing a simple staircase for those with this preference? – in an age when rich people are excavating swimming pools under their houses, how difficult would it be to add an additional staircase at the busiest stations?

57 A Reader January 18, 2016 at 3:39 am

Two points.

If both sides walked up it could transport even more per hour.

Even though they disparage Russia in the article, Russians are by far the most skilled I have seen in using Metro escalators. First they also allow for walking on the left both up and down, and in Saint Petersburg they have some of the deepest metro stations in the world.. Many Russians take advantage of walking down. Russian teenagers (mostly boys) can jump down two steps at a time for over a hundred meters. I will say that walking down for so long is a bit terrifying as you get dizzy after a while.

58 Nathan W January 18, 2016 at 9:48 am

2) It’s hard to take a project seriously when it suggests that believing in AGW (pro-science crowd) is linked with dogmatism.

59 JWatts January 18, 2016 at 3:40 pm

From the article:

They note that liberals scored high for dogmatism in response to these three items:

9. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who are for the truth that the planet is warming and those who are against that obvious truth.

3. When it comes to stopping global warming, it is better to be a dead hero than a live coward.

10. A person who thinks primarily of his/her own happiness, and in so doing disregards the health of the environment (for example, trees and other animals), is beneath contempt.

Those all seem to be pretty dogmatic positions. You can believe in AGW without being dogmatic. This study measures (at least for college students) how dogmatic their positions are.

60 Urso January 19, 2016 at 3:16 pm

What weird questions. “dead hero” of global warming?

61 BEly January 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm

I think dogmatism should be defined by the absolute level of excess simplicity you ascribe to issues. So, to say that “water is wet” is controversial would be dogmatic since there is some dogma that bends your perception of truth (at least based on empiricism), as would the statement “we should all become vegan” (actually controversial). The difference between liberals and conservatives based on the strength of belief in the questions in the article seems to be in the level of trust in empiricism, with liberals generally being more accepting of it.

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