Wednesday assorted links

by on January 10, 2018 at 2:11 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Markets in everything: Sol LeWitt sports bra.  And there is no great stagnation.

2. Canadian documentary about Jordan Peterson.  Covers gnosticism, the Heideggerian side, Jung, etc.  Not so much about the anti-PC stuff or the personality psychology.

3. Virtual reality gyms.

4. Chetty’s on-line Stanford class.

5. The drone wars heat up, this time in Syria and against Russia.

6. Dylan Matthews on Auten and Splinter and inequality debates.

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:

In essence, earmarks give congressional leaders more control over individual members. Recalcitrant representatives can be swayed by the promise of a perk for their district. That eases gridlock and gives extreme members of Congress something to pursue other than just ideology.

But is more legislation always a good result? Advocates of smaller government should keep in mind that reforming spending and regulation requires some activism from Congress. Gridlock today is not the friend of fiscal responsibility, coherent policy, or a free, well-functioning capitalist economy.

But what if you’re a Democrat? In these days of Republican rule, you might have discovered a newfound love for stasis. Still, earmarks make it harder for, say, far-right party members to hold legislation hostage to their demands. In other words, party leadership can put up a more centrist bill and then buy off the extremists with local benefits rather than policy concessions.

There is much more at the linkAddendum: I thank Garett Jones for spurring my interest in this topic.

Tuesday assorted links

by on January 9, 2018 at 11:42 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

…advocates of a new copyright term extension bill wouldn’t be able to steamroll opponents the way they did 20 years ago. Any term extension proposal would face a well-organized and well-funded opposition with significant grassroots support.

“After the SOPA fight, Hollywood likely knows that the public would fight back,” wrote Daniel Nazer, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an email to Ars. “I suspect that Big Content knows it would lose the battle and is smart enough not to fight.”

“I haven’t seen any evidence that Big Content companies plan to push for another term extension,” Nazer added. “This is an election year, so if they wanted to get a big ticket like that through Congress, you would expect to see them laying the groundwork with lobbying and op-eds.”

Of course, copyright interests might try to slip a copyright term extension into a must-pass bill in hopes opponents wouldn’t notice until it was too late. But Rose doesn’t think that would work.

Here is the full piece, via someone in my Twitter feed sorry I forget.

Monday assorted links

by on January 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. How emoji are born.

2. The fast book outliner.

3. Baffling bathrooms, I very much relate to this.

4. “the surprising positive genetic correlation between intelligence and autism…

5. “The project is intellectual, involving a change in beliefs, but it is not only intellectual — and its intellectual character is inseparable from its affective and motivational character.” Agnes Callard in the NYT.

6. Eli on Ethereum vs. Bitcoin.

7. India clings to cash? (NYT).

I added the question mark, the subtitle of that article is: “Fifty psychological and psychiatric terms to avoid: a list of inaccurate, misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused words and phrases.”  It is by Scott O. Lilienfeld, et.al.  Here is one excerpt:

(11) Gold standard. In the domains of psychological and psychiatric assessment, there are precious few, if any, genuine “gold standards.” Essentially all measures, even those with high levels of validity for their intended purposes, are necessarily fallible indicators of their respective constructs (). As a consequence, the widespread practice referring to even well-validated measures of personality or psychopathology, such as ) Psychopathy Checklist-Revised, as “gold standards” for their respective constructs () is misleading (see ). If authors intend to refer to measures as “extensively validated,” they should simply do so.

(14) Influence of gender (or social class, education, ethnicity, depression, extraversion, intelligence, etc.) on X. “Influence” and cognate terms, such as effect, are inherently causal in nature. Hence, they should be used extremely judiciously in reference to individual differences, such as personality traits (e.g., extraversion), or group differences (e.g., gender), which cannot be experimentally manipulated. This is not to say that individual or group differences cannot exert a causal influence on behavior (), only that research designs that examine these differences are virtually always (with the rare exception of “experiments of nature,” in which individual differences are altered by unusual events) correlation or quasi-experimental. Hence, researchers should be explicit that when using such phrases as “the influence of gender,” they are almost always proposing a hypothesis from the data, not drawing a logically justified conclusion from them. This inferential limitation notwithstanding, the phrase “the influence of gender” alone appears in over 45,000 manuscripts in the Google Scholar database (e.g., ).

It is difficult to use words properly, they don’t even want me to say “operational definition” again!

For the pointer I thank Denis Grosz.

Sunday assorted links

by on January 7, 2018 at 7:16 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. White noise video on YouTube hit by five copyright claims.

2. Charlie Stross’s update on the Charlie Stross view of the world and why we may be doomed.

3. Inside the Amish town that helps build rock and roll sets.

4. “However, another company, GenePeeks, Inc., was established precisely for the purpose of molecularly genotyping potential donors, though it is currently only aimed at predicting possible rare diseases in offspring between clients and donors. It seems a small step to include other non-medical traits of interest, however, especially if they can be accurately predicted from polygenic profiles. Currently, things like intelligence cannot be accurately predicted for an individual, but it may be possible to generate comparative scores that would influence donor selection. The new company Genomic Prediction, Inc., aims to use polygenic profiles to predict risk for complex disorders – the same approach could certainly be used for many non-medical traits.”  Link here.

5. Lauren Gunderson, an Atlantan living in San Francisco, is America’s most produced playwright.

6. “You’re Most Likely to Do Something Extreme Right Before You Turn 30… or 40, or 50, or 60 …”  Measured effects of that kind don’t always hold up, but fyi.  Addendum: Andrew Gelman says no.

Saturday assorted links

by on January 6, 2018 at 12:19 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

The author is Sam Rosenfeld and the subtitle is Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era.  Here is the bottom line:

Today’s pundits wring their hands about polarization and yearn for the halcyon days of bipartisan comity.  Yet pundits of the mid-twentieth century saw that very bipartisanship as the key problem in American politics.  They argued that the lack of clarity between the parties stifled progress while blurring accountability to the voters.  Polarization was their solution to this problem.  They thought making parties “real” in the sense that Roosevelt had meant — unified behind distinct policy agendas that were clear to voters — would invigorate democracy and improve policymaking.  Their ideas influenced the views of key political actors on both the left and right in the ensuing decades.

This book is the story of how that happened, and it is a useful corrective for those who thinks greater partisanship is something quite recent.

Assorted Friday links

by on January 5, 2018 at 11:36 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

This is really a paper about alcohol, and indeed “the a word” dominates the very first paragraph of the text, here is the abstract:

Jason M. Lindo, Peter Siminski and Isaac D. Swensen

This paper considers the degree to which events that intensify partying increase sexual assault. Estimates are based on panel data from campus and local law enforcement agencies and an identification strategy that exploits plausibly random variation in the timing of Division 1 football games. The estimates indicate that these events increase daily reports of rape with 17–24-year-old victims by 28 percent. The effects are driven largely by 17–24-year-old offenders and by offenders unknown to the victim, but we also find significant effects on incidents involving offenders of other ages and on incidents involving offenders known to the victim.

That is from American Economic Journal: Applied Economics; from that same issue we also learn that “…increases in [Russian] alcohol prices would yield significant reductions in mortality.”

Thursday assorted links

by on January 4, 2018 at 12:01 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Meltdownattack.  And more detail hereAn actual explanationNYT.  A tweetstorm.  Solve for the equilibrium.

2. The (new) largest known prime.

The movie centers around Daniel Ellsberg’s revelation of the Pentagon Papers and their publication in The New York Times and most of all The Washington Post, the center of the dramatic tension.  The courts rule for the newspapers (and ultimately Ellsberg) and Spielbergian triumphalism reigns.  Yet so many of those liberties have reverted to the state — had he stuck around, would Edward Snowden have received a public trial before a court of law?  You may believe Snowden is a different case (read Gladwell), but shouldn’t a public court be deciding that?  The feel-good tone of The Post also would not match a movie about a minor American military victory in the Vietnam of 1966, given what followed.  Does historical context matter so little?  Post-Obama, can newspapers protect their anonymous sources in matters of national security?

I usually don’t mind when movies play fast and loose with the truth, as is done in almost every biopic or history.  (They didn’t actually blow up that Death Star, they merely damaged it.)  But this case is different.  The whole theme of this film is about standing up for the truth even when commercial considerations dictate otherwise.  It then feels dishonest to give Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) a wildly overblown role, as this portrait does.  But it does make for a better story and presumably a higher-grossing movie.

For an artwork that pretends to defend freedom of the press, the underlying message is remarkably Trumpian in an almost Straussian manner.  The press collude, dine and party with leaders, and refuse to reveal their crimes and scandals, all to receive “access” and to be flattered.  Every now and then their need for reputation, and the desire for a broader national market, spurs them to “turn on” a president gone astray.  “The people” don’t have much of a say and fake news is everywhere.

The sadder commercial reality is that the first quarter to third of the movie is sophisticated and then it falls into good guys vs. bad guys.  It’s not smart enough to be Strauss.

It feels as if every actor or actress in the movie is a “grizzled veteran” of some kind or another.

The scenes of newspaper and print technology will go down as some of the finest cinema of our time.

Wednesday assorted links

by on January 3, 2018 at 12:49 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Carmen must not die.  And the great Barbara Adams Mowat (Folger editions editor) has passed away.

2. The culture that is Ann Arbor: “Sterilized Ann Arbor deer may get yoga mats to help with recovery.

3. Is the world running short of sand?

4. “Startups dedicated to untreated water are gaining steam. Zero Mass Water, which allows people to collect water from the atmosphere near their homes, has already raised $24 million in venture capital.

5. MIE: Slavoj Zizek mini-skirts.

6. “The agreement stipulated that after becoming dentists, her sons would pay her 60 percent of their net profits until the total amount paid reached 50 million new Taiwan dollars, or just under $1.7 million.”  Link here (NYT).

7. What are the five dimensions of curiosity?

Tuesday assorted links

by on January 2, 2018 at 2:31 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink