Further assorted links


1. That isn't how I think of the unconscious mind. Instead, I believe it does its best work after consciously thinking about a problem and then backing away for awhile: overnight, after a few days, maybe a few months. The best strategy seems to bubble up.

That's probably more about memory consolidation than unconscious thinking.

David Rock has written some interesting things about these "moments of intuition" when things just bubble up:

>insights tend to involve connections between small numbers of neurons....Just as it is hard to hear a quiet cell phone at a loud party, it is difficult to notice signals that have less energy than the general energy level already present in the brain. Hence, we tend to notice insights when our overall activity level in the brain is low. This happens when we’re not putting in a lot of mental effort, when we’re focusing on something repetitive

Personally I have noticed this phenomenon during long walks or showers.

Funny you should mention showers - I have always had good thoughts in the shower. Walks, too. Tonight I took the dogs out and it is snowing - short, but excellent for rumination. I do not think the phenomenon that I am talking about is memory. You can overthink things and by letting them sit for a while, they sort themselves out and the right choice is clear. I think consciousness is an unblinking eye that is often obscured by conscious thoughts.

"The best strategy seems to bubble up"

I'd like to believe this. But is there any real test? Isn't it possible that that we just really want to believe that we're smarter than we are?

I was thinking along similar lines. For example, I love crossword puzzles, but on the difficult puzzles like the Sunday NYTimes I will often reach a point blockage where I can sit looking at it for 10 minutes or more and make no further progress. However, if I just lay the puzzle aside for 10 minutes or a day and start again, I suddenly have better insight. I doubt it is the interlude where my unconscious mind has been thinking about it- I don't think it was in my mind at all- just that the break in thinking about it stopped me from pursuing the dead ends, giving it a chance to initiate new ones.

Yes, and furthermore I think there are semi-conscious processes at work. So you think about a problem, then take a break for a few days, but it still pops up in your consciousness from time to time, and perhaps it morphs based on new information and experiences. Archimedes shouted "Eureka!" when he took a bath, not while doing a crossword puzzle.

“neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry" is just standard mouthfarting from anyone posing as an intellectual in NZ or many other places. It may mean "Give me a writer's grant, because you should, you just should". Or maybe it means "You should worship the very ground I tread on".

I note that neo-liberal has followed neo-conservative as an insult of choice. Is it because "neo" carries a hint of neo-Nazi?

Maybe it should be referred to as the "n prefix".

Maybe it suggests either a betrayal of the movement, or an inability to recognize the flaws in the old movement and an attempt to salvage it.

To an old-style leftist, a neo-liberal is just a plutocratic corporate sellout (Freddy Deboer comes to mind as someone who thinks this).

To a conservative, a neo-liberal is the same old commie instinct wrapped up in technocratic jargon.

To a leftist, neo-conservatism is just old conservatism wrapped up in militant nationalism.

To a paleo-conservative, neo-conservatism is a betrayal of the old isolationist ethos of old conservatism.

Just speculating though. I am sympathetic to the neoliberal ideal, in that I'd prefer, for example, wage subsidies for low-income workers rather than a friendlier union environment.

neoconservative = imperialist

neoliberal = classical liberal but with lots of extra bureaucracy

So they prefer labels that don't say much, and the labels over time have become perjorative.

To a paleo-conservative, neo-conservatism is a betrayal of the old isolationist ethos of old conservatism.

Isn't that cute? That 'isolationism' had completely evaporated by 1959 and you'd have been hard put to find one exponent in Congress during the succeeding 30-odd years other than Ron Paul. As of 2008, Dr. Paul's 'liberty caucus' had all of seven members, three of whom would not endorse his presidential campaign.

To a conservative, a neo-liberal is the same old commie instinct wrapped up in technocratic jargon. -

Uh, no. There was a strand of opinion journalism in the U.S. called 'neo-liberal' ca. 1987. It was an intramural dispute within the Democratic Party's well wishers and you'd be hard put to find evidence than anyone on the other side much cared. In our time, it is a polemical term used by academics (typically outside economics) to describe loci like Chile which scraped off the mercantilist, Beveridge, and union-boss barnacles on their economies.

My perception and memory is similar to that. I remember first seeing the term "neo-liberal" in the 1980s, with pretty much the meaning that you give it, although I'd say that in political terms, non-Democrats would've or should've cared about that dispute as well -- it's what moved the Democrats' presidential candidates from the likes of Mondale to Dukakis to Clinton, with attendant changes in electability.

And then in the 1990s the term seemed to disappear, only to reappear in the last maybe three or four years. As you say, it seems to mainly be used by (leftish, non-economics) academics, although I'd give it a broader meaning: they seem to apply the term neo-liberal to any market-oriented policy or situation.

But the word "liberal" had also undergone a major change in meaning, so there's precedent.

it has become pejorative to some degree, but it don't think it has anything to do with nazism.

I think "neoliberal" just means "classical liberal" except that it is pejorative. The substantive meanings of the two are the same, except to the extent that it shifts merely by being pejorative. I don't think it has any hint of leftism at all, although an American conservative might be forgiven for getting confused.

No, it has not followed it. They've been used contemporaneously in different settings. It is just that 'neo-liberal' refers to a policy mix and 'neo-conservative' is local to the United States (originally referring to a specific coterie of academics and opinion journalists) and has been a nonsense term for a generation.

Neoliberal seems to be the bugbear of choice in places that aren't the US. Possibly related to the conservative stance of the liberal parties of Canada, Australia, etc.

What she says is totally true, unfortunately not only in New Zealand...

What she said was adolescent, and not just in New Zealand.

So all of the sexy findings of the last 20 years of psychology are starting to unravel? Next thing you know someone is going to find out that people are pretty rational after all.

Re #3, I especially liked the "hua" bit. We need some insults like that here.

“hua” is a shortened version of “upoko kohua,” which means “may your head be boiled and eaten”

Oh come on. Who seriously think he did not mean whore, only for his press agent to back track and spin it?

Does it even exist as an insult in New Zealand? Has anyone used it outside of the classroom on extinct Maori linguistics?

Yes it exists as an insult in NZ although not a common one - a bit old, like calling someone a patu, which is like calling someone as thick as two short planks

Usually "hua" means large and monolithic

Usually “hua” means large and monolithic

A twenty-nine year old bird who has made some callow remarks would seem a suboptimal candidate for that insult.

Yes, everyone I went to school with would recognise it.

I would have thought it was nearly universally known, but maybe that’s just because of where I have lived and who I have known. It is much more likely he really meant hua than that he called her a whore.

I didn't know that New Zealand was part of New Jersey!


Which economy right now is not over-rated? So far I have heard Chile (former underrated), Sweden, and Nigeria are over-rated. I am guessing you not going to put Italy, the US, Egypt, Japan, Australia (I guess next week you call them over-rated), Brazil, Cuba, or Canada as underrated. So with the global economy down, I don't see an under-rated one.

Also I have noticed most over-rated economies were underrated 10 years before. Why does this happen?

How about Mongolia for an overrated economy?

Everything is tied to exporting raw materials to China. Commodities prices are tumbling and if investment dives, GDP growth will collapse.

On the other side of the spectrum, Malaysia rates very highly on the Doing Business index and no one talks about it other than to mention its unlucky airlines.

I would place Italy in the "underrated" category. Northern Italy is quite industrious and wealthier than all of France save Paris, not really terribly far behind the West German regions. Italy briefly was larger than the UK, IIRC. This is not to say Italy is an awesome economic super power, but given that it's lumped in with Greece and Portugal, I'd say Italy does not earn enough respect.

But Italy still has lousy institutions, high debt levels, poor demographics, high unit labor costs (low productive and high wages), etc.

It shouldn't be lumped in with Greece but it's also not really comparable to Germany or France.

"Unconscious thought not so smart after all"

A dumb statement by a pharmacist.

Here is some accuracy from a cognitive scientist:
"Probably 98 percent of your reasoning is unconscious - what your brain is doing behind the scenes. Reason is inherently emotional. You can't even choose a goal, much less form a plan and carry it out, without a sense that it will satisfy you, not dis­gust you. Fear and anxiety will affect your plans and your ac­tions. You act differently, and plan differently, out of hope and joy than out of fear and anxiety.

Thought is physical. Learning requires a physical brain change: Receptors for neurotransmitters change at the synapses, which changes neural circuitry. Since thinking is the activation of such circuitry, somewhat different thinking re­quires a somewhat different brain. Brains change as you use them-even unconsciously. It's as if your car changed as you drove it, say from a stick shift gradually to an automatic.
the amygdala gets sensory information directly from the various sensory systems that process the external world. So the visual system, the auditory system, olfactory, touch, pain, and so forth. All of these kind of come together, or converge, in the amygdala.

(On The Memorial Daze - 4).

Great post [amygdala], thanks for sharing

As article implies, the Mexican plan seems to be a copy of a Soviet^H^H^H I mean Russian scheme that Putin brought in back in 2013. It is an interesting commentary on the contempt that our rulers have for the mass of the population. Can anyone imagine George Washington doing this? Pitt the Younger?

Increasingly they seem to be taking traditional rhetoric about being "shepherds" a little too seriously. Why do they want their population to be lean? I wonder if at Davos they all hand out books entitled "To Serve Man".

“Unconscious thought not so smart after all”

Then I realized: it was conscious thought telling me that.

Mood affiliation if I've ever seen it!

"Is Nigeria also an overrated economy?"

Doesn't the Efficient Markets Hypothesis imply that the a priori odds for any country, whether Nigeria or Sweden, is fifty-fifty?

No, because the EMH is about large liquid stock markets, and probably only applies in the weak form, and then only to markets as big as NYC or London or Tokyo.

What does the EMH have to do with 'a priori odds' for countries? One of the worst aspects of the EMH is how folks take it from its true meaning to apply to all sorts of ridiculous things.

The idea that carbon tax as an alternative to carbon emission limiting regulation is "new" is quite odd. Maybe it is new new to the WSJ, but the whole point of a carbon tax is that it is the least cost way to limit CO2 emissions. Good luck for the Niskanen Center trying to get a Republican in Congress to vote for a transparent "tax" even if it is paired with business tax reduction.

Well the actual phrasing is:

"advocates a tax on carbon emissions that would replace existing environmental regulations. Prominent conservatives have long advocated a carbon tax as a way to let the market determine the cost of burning fossil fuels, but using it as a bargaining chip to limit environmental regulators is relatively new."

It sounds like they are saying we'll agree to a carbon tax for a reduction in other environmental regulations. The previous debates have primarily been a debate between a carbon tax and a carbon trading market.

# No doubt about it.

Unconscious wisdom:

That summertime it doesn't with is commonly agreed.
The paper however argues:
1) they "did it perfectly", hence it is a good piece of lack of evidence fur the phenomenon.
2) they did a honest and good quality analysis of earlier research, and found no effect.

Both claims are not convincing.
In the past two years most "replications" about the unconscious, were faulty and gave no convincing evidence.

Whether those folks choose the "correct" subset fur their "meta analysis" is in doubt until proven otherwise

#1 occam's razor? It seems we humans are quick to accept a diagnosis that is more to out liking.


Cannot say she hadn't earned insults. She needs to learn to appreciate the world around her.

#6: More Spicolis pushing open borders. What fun.

The unconscious mind can be harnessed, but it requires verification from the conscious mind, since we are prone to suggestion and connect dots where there are none. That's useful to avoid getting eaten, even if you jump 100,000 times from a fly and avoid getting eaten by a tiger just once, but when you want good logic for modern empirics and innovation, the subconscious is little other than a useful tool to help ruminate on things, and all the more so if some careful cues are left around (like study cards, lectures in the background or during sleep, say, if you're a student).

But it can also be used against you! Just consider how subliminal messaging was outlawed after Coke ads were found to be recruiting for the war in WWI!

Why does Chicago call microeconomics price theory?

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