Saturday assorted links

by on March 5, 2016 at 11:32 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 widmerpool March 5, 2016 at 11:44 am

#2: Drum’s post is interesting, but clearly doesn’t make the broader point he’s reaching for. The debate is a bigger megaphone, certainly, but that’s about it. Whether it’s conducive to lying, telling the truth, being asked tendentious questions by moderators or other debate participants, is a separate issue. It is what it is.

2 Ordered March 5, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Can’t help but suggest the irony in Drum attributing the manipulation to politicians: “how politicians manipulate today’s media environment.” Audiences choose and they choose the least manipulated media. The great thing about a debate is you don’t have to listen to the smarty pants set tell you what you are supposed to think. The swarming of the smarty-pants seers around one holy catholic prophesy of the destruction of the universe via Donald Trump kinda makes me wish I had bothered to vote for him. Dear smarty pants set, no one needs you. And everybody is pretty much sick of your sense of being entitled to the role of sacred manipulators of public opinion. The funniest thing would be a Trump administration and the world not ending. The smarty pantses, like every other sect that cultivates the fear of apocalypse. will just set a new date for the end of times and continue to sell even fewer newspapers, magazines, and ads on cable.

3 Nathan W March 5, 2016 at 2:18 pm

” Audiences choose and they choose the least manipulated media.”

This is a rather naive perspective. People like you, or me, or in fact quite a lot of people on this blog, might like to do that. But I think the vast majority of people seek out media which confirms their prior views of the world. They seek affirmation, not information, but to the end of days would see it otherwise.

4 So Much For Subtlety March 5, 2016 at 8:37 pm

I prefer to think of it as Social Capital. News organizations build up a reputation. People then trust them and believe what they say. But what is happening is a massive bout of irresponsibility from the mainstream media. They have been burning up their social capital since they turned on the Vietnam War and caused the Killing Fields.

If people don’t trust them, people won’t believe them, or watch them, and they will seek out media they do trust.

It has got to the point that nothing CNN says can be remotely connected to the truth. The media lied about George Zimmerman. They lied about Romney. They are trying hard to smear Trump. No one in their right mind would bother believing a word they say. For instance, they are running a long campaign on ending slavery. In the course of which they routinely alleged that tens of thousands of children are bought and sold in the US. This is so absurdly untrue I wonder how they can say it with a straight face. If there is slavery in the world, it is in the more …. how does one put this? … multicultural parts of the world.

You are getting cause and effect backwards.

5 Nathan W March 6, 2016 at 4:40 am

Sex slavery and pimping is real in nearly every major city on the planet. Except for places where it’s basically legal. 20,000 under 18s being caught up in a relationship that is basically sexual slavery, in a country of 350 million? Why does this seem unlikely to you?

People will believe what they want to believe … the truth is not always comfortable.

6 So Much For Subtlety March 6, 2016 at 6:12 am

It is nice there are still True Believers.

If sexual slavery was so common, the police would catch them. All the time. There is sexual grooming for the purpose of prostitution. But that is not slavery. So why do you believe what you believe? Where is the evidence of these sex slaves?

7 Psmith March 6, 2016 at 8:54 am

The difference between “slavery” and “trafficking” is commonly elided, “trafficking”, of course, being a cacophemism for hiring someone to help you jump the border in order to work illegally.

8 Nathan W March 6, 2016 at 9:55 am

Call it what you want. If she feels trapped, she’s trapped. The chains are perhaps in her mind, after much careful manipulation and intimidation, but what’s the difference, for practical purposes? What would you rather call it? Sexual servitude, perhaps? The point, I think, is for people to understand that prostitutes are often underage girls who are thoroughly exploited, not independent women making an “honest” living selling their bodies.

And no, the police would not catch them all the time. That is not the world we live in. They have more important things to do, like chasing around people for small bags of marijuana or monitoring people’s social media accounts for hints of incorrect thoughts.

9 So Much For Subtlety March 6, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Nathan W March 6, 2016 at 9:55 am

Call it what you want. If she feels trapped, she’s trapped. The chains are perhaps in her mind, after much careful manipulation and intimidation, but what’s the difference, for practical purposes?

This is the problem. They are lying to us. Nathan believes. The difference is that if a woman can leave, she can leave. Whatever post facto rationalization she applies to her poor decision making is irrelevant to whether she can leave. Even if it was true that you and these women were not deluding themselves, there is a world of difference between real chains and imaginary ones.

The point, I think, is for people to understand that prostitutes are often underage girls who are thoroughly exploited, not independent women making an “honest” living selling their bodies.

Again you assume what you need to prove.

The police raid brothels all the time. They do not find sex slaves. Because in the West they do not exist. Or they exist in such small numbers they are irrelevant.

10 Nathan W March 6, 2016 at 11:54 pm

SMFS – Experienced manipulators can indeed trap women into sexual slavery without chains. The fact that these women can theoretically walk out the door and go to the police is irrelevant – they have been led into believing that they will go to jail for being a prostitute, or that the pimp will kill them or use violence against friends/family.

I wish the world were the way you see it. But it is not.

11 BC March 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm

Drum’s point is not just that the debates draw larger viewership but that the viewership is different, allowing different messages to be communicated to different audiences. He doesn’t state this explicitly at the start, but later he does: “For Trump, this is a double win. His base continues to think he’s a tough guy. Elites breathe a small sigh of relief and figure that maybe this means Trump will calm down and listen to his advisors if he wins the presidency.” Drum assumes that the 2-3M people reading about Trump’s walkback are “elites” who will find the change of heart comforting.

It’s a good point but doesn’t really explain why Trump’s supposed “manipulation” of the media environment has led to such high unfavorables even in his own party, so much so that it has given rise to the #NeverTrump movement. To understand media “manipulation”, to the extent it even exists, it would probably be more fruitful to ask why the Democratic Trump counterpart with disqualifying personal flaws, Hillary Clinton, has managed to avoid such virulent intra-party opposition. How has the media-political ecosystem managed to suppress a #NeverHillary movement?

12 widmerpool March 5, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Because no remotely electable a!ternative to Hillary tossed his or her hat into the ring.

13 So Much For Subtlety March 5, 2016 at 8:27 pm

Well it is true that Obama has gutted the Democratic party so badly that there is a massive shortage of talent. But it is also true that the Democratic party Establishment has worked hard to make sure no one else can or will stand. You only have to look how carefully they have protected Hillary from debates – holding few of them and hiding them at odd hours. As well as giving her all the Super-delegates. And somehow, magically, she wins every coin toss.

14 widmerpool March 5, 2016 at 11:49 am

I should also say that I think Trump and his handlers have decided that it is most effective for them for Trump to answer every question by saying, in so many words, “I will not be bullied.” This is particularly effective given how much voters hate the media and other politicians. The substance matters little. And pearl-clutching by Drum and others is actually a bonus.

15 anon March 5, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Apparently 3rd graders figure it out:

https://twitter.com/JustinWolfers/status/706143640595214337

16 widmerpool March 5, 2016 at 9:57 pm

Laughable. Yet more pearl-clutching.

17 Rock Lobster March 5, 2016 at 12:10 pm

#1:
“Ted, these are some of the hottest girls I’ve ever seen. There can only be one explanation for this. Ted, is Tiffany a…a…pharmaceutical sales rep?”

“Yeah, how did you know that?”

“AND YOU NEVER THOUGHT TO MENTION THAT?!”

18 Justin Kelly March 5, 2016 at 9:26 pm

Or rather, pharmaceutical companies are seeking out hot women to lobby male doctors to push their pills.

19 Ray Lopez March 5, 2016 at 12:23 pm

@#3 – plagiarism in crossword puzzles. The same thing happens in chess positions, so-called “chess puzzles” either contrived or, more likely, from actual games. Since nobody (sadly IMO) can copyright the chess moves played in a chess match, the actual positions themselves are also not copyrighted (compare to dance moves, which are copyright-able, strangely), so what some authors of chess puzzle books of the “mate-in-two” “mate in three”, etc variety do is take these games, strip out the names of the players, and pass off the puzzle as their own work. A certain US master Eric Shiller, English GM Raymond Keene and even a Greek Fide trainer, GM Efstratios Grivas, among many, have been found to have lifted the works of others and passed them off as their own. This is not legally bad, unless you also lift the so-called analysis (which Grivas did, as did Keene, details on Edward Winter’s site, Chess Notes), but it’s ethically challenged.

20 Nathan W March 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm

I’ve only ever read one chess book, and it referenced the origins of every puzzle from a real world game. I gather this is not normal then?

21 Ray Lopez March 6, 2016 at 12:01 am

No, it’s the norm. I’m talking the exceptions.

22 Ray Lopez March 5, 2016 at 12:35 pm

@#5 – booorrriiiinnnng. Only because these arguments are the EXACT same arguments made in chess back in the 1990s when I followed the state of AI and chess (I even wrote a chess playing software program). The only part of the article that was of interest to me was this: “In discussion, Fan thought he would
do better if the time limits were longer. In particular, AlphaGo was playing relatively quickly which further reduced the time available to Fan for thinking”

I don’t understand this statement: was the time control like in a chess simul, such that you must make a move within a set time the minute your opponent makes his move? Grandmasters playing weak patzers in a simul use this rule to their advantage by speeding up play if they happen to be in an inferior position vs their opponent, to rattle their opponent. Or, is it like normal chess with time control, in that you are only working against your own clock; e.g., if you have two hours to make forty moves and spend an hour on the first move (as has happened in an actual game, and the guy won anyway), that’s your problem, and goes against your clock, but is perfectly legal?

23 Bruce March 5, 2016 at 1:09 pm

How can it be the Economist doesn’t top the Tinder list.?

24 rayward March 5, 2016 at 1:13 pm

2. Different media have different filters is the point being made by Kevin Drum; hence, a politician can target different groups according to the medium she chooses for the message. Why do different media have different filters? On-line media lives and dies by page views, whereas print media lives and dies by sales of itself and advertising in itself, two very different business models. Drum suggests that choosing one medium, the print medium (the example given is the WSJ), will limit dissemination of the message because competitors don’t wish to credit a competitor. By contrast, with on-line media, competitors can generate page views (which cost nothing). Of course, that’s why aggregation sites like Huffington Post are so successful – successful to the owners if not the contributors according to what I have read about the enormous profit Ms. Huffington realized when she sold the Huffington Post, a profit she did not share with her (mostly unpaid) contributors. On-line media is the worst of the Uber Economy.

25 rayward March 5, 2016 at 2:28 pm

When I wrote my comment I didn’t know about Drum’s health and his public disclosure of the choice he intends to make. My dear friend also has multiple myeloma. As I’ve commented many times, we’ve made great strides in diagnosing diseases; unfortunately, we haven’t made the same strides in treating the diagnosed diseases. In my friend’s case, he is living decades in the few years he is likely to be with us. I’m not so sure if I could do the same. In the Uber Economy one is alone to deal with the challenges the economy presents; with the diagnosis of a disease like multiple myeloma, one is alone to deal with the challenges certain death presents.

26 rayward March 5, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Why no Saturday link to the latest Upshot column by Cowen? It’s a very good column, one which won’t get Cowen any invitations to Thanksgiving Dinner this year from his Silicon Valley friends.

27 prior_test2 March 5, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Probably because Prof. Cowen is a modest man, who prefers to keep his many accomplishments from being discussed too often. This is not the only web site his carefully curated work appears, after all, and too much self-linking is a google no-no.

Besides, the time that the libertarian Prof. Cowen talked in an Upshot column about the advantages of military spending and government concentrating on war preparation (though as Prof. Cowen carefully noted, not war itself, heaven forfend) for economic growth, the result was bit less than optimal. Though one can safely assume that Prof. Cowen is not necessarily the person that wrote this screaminly libertarian headline – ‘The Lack of Major Wars May Be Hurting Economic Growth’

28 Donald Pretari March 5, 2016 at 2:02 pm

I guess Ordered is right. Smarty Pants didn’t make the Tinder List.

29 Joe March 5, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Most right swiped jobs like as percentage of total jobs on tinder? or most right swiped jobs as in most numbers of right swipes?

30 So Much For Subtlety March 5, 2016 at 8:42 pm

I think that misses the interesting point. Which is this simply proves the socio-biologists right. Men and women do pretty much exactly what evolutionary psychology would predict. Women mainly want men who can wrestle a saber toothed tiger and win. Failing that being rich or famous would do. Men want home makers.

The Straussian interesting point would be – if a finding so confirms what is obvious and is in line with every sensible person’s prejudices, how much more likely is it to be wrong?

31 Nathan W March 5, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Most of the women I’ve met are looking for a good father and a kind man, not a warrior. But yeah, some are drawn to the macho types. And, personally speaking, I want a woman who can bring in some bread of her own, an increasingly common outlook. What you say is partially true, especially sometimes, but I think this relates more to gender stereotypes than biology. The biological roles have been exaggerated to the extreme due to cultural gender expectations.

32 So Much For Subtlety March 5, 2016 at 9:20 pm

Oddly enough Nathan you do not equal all men. Nor do you speak for women. Tinder’s results show you are an outlier.

To claim biological roles have been exaggerated due to cultural gender expectations is to assume what you need to prove.

33 Nathan W March 5, 2016 at 10:26 pm

Perhaps Tinder is the outlier? And anyways, we’re talking swipes, not reproductive decisions.

Yes, I’m sort of assuming things. But so are you. The theory that gender roles have not been shaped by culture is hard to stand on – something in society that is not shaped by society? No likely. I do not deny the role of biology, just that culture also matters, a virtually certain hypothesis, and wonder to what extent culture has exaggerated the natural differences (perhaps a lot).

Are men natural bread winners and women natural home-makers? In the days of hunting and gathering, women were the reliable calorie providers (were breadwinners), while men brought in the trophies (signalling genetic quality?). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_division_of_labour

Anyways, consistent with your way of thinking, is the common view that, since women are certain that offspring is theirs, they have a stronger evolutionary interest in child rearing, whereas men, who can never be certain of paternity, should be expected to seek more sex and be less interested in child rearing.

34 So Much For Subtlety March 6, 2016 at 6:17 am

Nathan W March 5, 2016 at 10:26 pm

A swipe is a standing in for a reproductive decision.

I did not say that gender roles have not been shaped by society. Yet again you claim something stupid and then back off when challenged to a much weaker claim you think you can defend. You did not wonder. You stated what you claimed was a fact.

The studies of the Khoi-San that showed women reliably provided more calories were massively faked. As the women doing it later admitted, they drove the women to the collection sites in their cars.

35 Nathan W March 6, 2016 at 10:11 am

SMFS – The conversation is something like this. I propose something, you propose a counterargument, I weaken the statement because you said something sensible.

This is what sensible people do. Stupid people refuse to do such things. You routinely refuse to do such things. For example, assuming that swiping right is a stand-in for reproductive decisions. Consider that I explicitly frame my position in terms of anecdote and make use of much limiting language in order to NOT make strong claims. But then you claim that I obstinately make unproven and strong claims, whereas this is precisely what you do, without ever acknowledging anecdote or making use of limiting language in your claims. As usual, you are the hypocrite who does precisely what you charge other people of doing, most often things which in fact they are not doing. It’s annoying, to say the least, but then again, it seems to me that this probably puts a smile on your face.

36 Ronald Brak March 5, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Human sexual dimorphism is about 15%, chimpanzees about 30%, and among gorillas and orangutans about 50% or more. Clearly human males are no where close to living up to their giant cat wrestling potential.

37 John March 5, 2016 at 11:58 pm

>> Women mainly want men who can wrestle a saber toothed tiger and win. Failing that being rich or famous would do.

Did you even click the link before deciding it confirms your biases? Firefighter (#4), Personal Trainer (#12), Police (#14), Military (#15) arguably meet your criteria, though I’ve seen plenty of fat slob policemen. Teacher, which meets neither of your criteria, comes in at #6 above all but one of those.

38 So Much For Subtlety March 6, 2016 at 6:29 am

The jobs that will get you swiped are:

1. Pilot, 2. Founder/Entrepreneur, 3. Firefighter, 4. Doctor, 5. TV/Radio Personality, 6. Teacher, 7. Engineer, 8. Model, 9. Paramedic, 10. College Student, 11. Lawyer, 12. Personal Trainer, 13. Financial Adviser, 14. Police Officer, 15. Military

The tiger wrestlers are 1, 3, 9, 12, 14 and 15. But I also said rich and famous. Which would be 2, 4, 5, 7, 11 and 13.

Which only leaves 6 teacher, 8 model, 10 college student. The college student is obvious – other college students looking for hook ups. The model speaks for itself and may well fall into the tiger wrestlers.

So we are with, as you say, teachers. I am sure that evolutionary psychology has nothing to say about men who order girls around, tell them to sit down, be quiet and otherwise what to do, and if they are naughty, put them over their knee and spank them. Nothing at all.

39 Ricardo March 6, 2016 at 7:51 am

The less careful versions of evolutionary psychology can fit just about any observation which makes it pseudo-science.

If you want to say there are deep-seated biological reasons for women not being attracted to men who seem wimpy or submissive, I don’t think you will get too much of an argument around here. But otherwise you are trying to hard to come up with biological explanations for things that have rather obvious, common sense explanations. Women sometimes like to travel or go to nice restaurants with their partners and, eventually, might want someone who can afford to take care of kids and send them to a nice school and partnering with someone on this list makes some of those things more likely. Average female wages are still below average male wages so the average woman dates and “marries up” simply by the nature of how labor markets in the U.S. work.

40 John March 6, 2016 at 8:26 am

Don’t know many pilots do you? Or engineers? Or financial planners? Or founders?

41 So Much For Subtlety March 6, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Ricardo March 6, 2016 at 7:51 am

The less careful versions of evolutionary psychology can fit just about any observation which makes it pseudo-science.

The same is true for evolution. Which is replete with Just So stories. Or economics.

If you want to say there are deep-seated biological reasons for women not being attracted to men who seem wimpy or submissive, I don’t think you will get too much of an argument around here.

That is what I did say and an argument is precisely what I got. But not, as you say, much of one.

Women sometimes like to travel or go to nice restaurants with their partners and, eventually, might want someone who can afford to take care of kids and send them to a nice school and partnering with someone on this list makes some of those things more likely.

So do men. Yet they are much less interested in women who make a lot of money. Not uninterested but much less interested.

Average female wages are still below average male wages so the average woman dates and “marries up” simply by the nature of how labor markets in the U.S. work.

Chicken and egg again. Men make themselves more attractive by studying engineering. Women do not. The labor market is more likely to reflect our biology.

42 Artimus March 6, 2016 at 1:24 am

Being a pilot I can’t say that I surprised that my occupation comes in at Number 1.

43 Ricardo March 6, 2016 at 5:16 am

But can you wrestle a saber toothed tiger and win?

44 Artimus March 6, 2016 at 5:30 am

No. You got me on that one…

45 So Much For Subtlety March 6, 2016 at 6:39 am

Really? I can. With one arm tied behind my back.

If you don’t believe me, just bring me a saber toothed tiger and I will show you.

46 J1 March 7, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Money. Most women (and men) know a pilot for a major airline is paid pretty well; they tend to be unaware the guy mowing that 777 captain’s lawn makes more money than a regional FO.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: