Monday assorted links

1. Is Finnish youth culture turning sour?

2. Do philosophers actually think better?

3. Cross-linguistic onomatopoeias.

4. “The algae is trapped,” Knudsen explained. “It has a lot of tubes going into it. It’s controlled by chemical signals … The first time I saw it under the microscope, I wanted to join the Algae Liberation Front. I mean, it looked bad.”  Link here.

5. Drinking doesn’t make you happier for long, a result from British people.

6. Attending the 2016 Esperanto conference.

7. By Jim Tankersley: recovery average is over.


"Drinking doesn't make you happier for long"

In an extremely shocking turn of events.

Exercise is better.

As an aside: city folk, if you are driving a straight two lane road, without traffic, and you overtake a pedestrian or a runner, you can use the other side. You don't have to just squeeze up to the center line.

It is a joy to walk or run in the country, where people know how to drive.

Unless there's an oncoming car, which there always is in the city.

Most drivers on (straight sections of) Mulholland don't know how to do it .

Either that or they are passive aggressive against hikers.

In the country, where people know how to drive?????????

Ah, really. You'll have to work on that to convince me. I'm currently living in a NE country location. At times it is more hazardous than city driving. Know how to drive? Oh, ya, sure, you betcha. Know how to drive 10-15 mph over the speed limit on rural roads. How to drive in the center of the road so you don't have to turn the steering wheel so much - until somebody else comes along. Then it's Chicken or Dodge. I've lived in rural locations in GA and CA, as well. I don't recall seeing anything better there. A few more beemers in CA, a few more trucks in GA. Whatever. All of 'em just as worried about getting somewhere fast now, instead of taking good care of the risk.

Yes, anyone who has had a hangover could have told them as much.

Yeah, no kidding. The finding seems to be: 1) drinking makes you briefly happy while you're doing it, and over time you either 2a) develop a drinking problem and your life gets worse, or 2b) don't develop a drinking problem and the alcohol use has no detectable effect on your quality of life one way or another.

Not a word about a retired economics professor winning the Austrian election to become president?

Wonder why that might be? The very first sentence might be a hint, admittedly.

Mr Koch doesn't permit Alex or Tyler to comment on Greens-supported economists who defeat the preferred candidates with the Neo-Nazi Seal of Approval (R)

Alex didn't mention when an economist won the premiership of his native land. In fact, he admitted to not even paying attention. Why would they care about this?

Perhaps it might have to do with the fact mentioned in the third paragraph that the office of president in Austria is largely ceremonial, or maybe he hadn't noticed the results yet, etc. Animus toward leftists (or you) doesn't explain very much.

Why is not the winning candidate referred to as far left?

Extreme anti capitalist environmental extremists good. Anti immigration bad.

In what sense "extreme"?

7. Obama's war on rural and suburban America keeps on collecting scalps. Lefties are ruthlessly abusing anyone who disagrees. Small business is just the next coal community, the next tea party non-profit, the next ex-seal defending the consulate.

More propagandist claptrap.

Less like propaganda, more like unhinged paranoia.

Propagandists can hold it together.

#1. " Mr Kurttila says well-off parents are renting flats near good schools and entering pupils for competitive music classes to game the system."

Game the system? You keep using that expression. I do not think it means what you think it means.

My guess is that if poor parents were renting flats near good schools the author wouldn't refer to it as "gaming" the system.

Tentative responses to #2.:

Philosophy: a muscular exercise of throat, jaw, tongue, and brain.

Brain: the large piece of wax between the ears.

Reason: the mental faculty that placates our separate volitions in order to confirm us in our common prejudices.

Rationalism: a domesticated carnivore with sharp gums.

Intellectual: one who deems hypertrophy of the mind just compensation for constipation of the soul.

2. "The conclusion, then, is that the present evidence offers prima facie reasons to ascribe a mitigated privilege to philosophers' ability to rationally arbitrate between intuitive and reflective responses." Huh? Wa, wa?

Is it your gut reaction or socially conditioned response ("intuitive") or have you actually thought it through, perhaps by reference to some specific method or thinking about things ("reflective")?

2) I'm not sure if this is "thinking better", but in philosophy classes I think there is a lot of room to consider serious debate of unlikely ideas, outside-the-box approaches to thinking, etc. It should be good for serious consideration of potential black swan events, openness to non-conformist thinking, etc., all of which is relevant in all sorts of things such as science and business.

There are also certain systematic ways for presenting ideas, means of argumentation, etc. But I'm not sure that it is of much relevance. Probably science and business courses are better at learning systematic ways of thinking. But through debate in philosophy, you are rather more likely to uncover (and thus be able to address) systematic flaws which might be associated with specific implementations of systematic thinking.

My general understanding is that philosophy and literature aren't very useful on their own, but that when combined with more practical fields, the ability to perform highly in those fields increases a lot (although selection bias and signalling theories probably explain part of this).

For example, I've never heard of such a thing as an intro to econ or intro to biology class where a lecture may be interrupted by 20 minutes of "here's an outlandish and unlikely situation where the logic fails". At most, you'll get "good point" or maybe just "sure, but that's not generally relevant" in the case that the student is actually correct, and then proceed with the lecture. There are reasons for that, namely expectations of a specific corpus of knowledge and methods to be learned, and you've gotta stick with the schedule. But there is a cost to that too.

Would it really be such a bad thing if you skipped a couple sections at the end of the course in order to make time for more debate? Both economics and science assume that you've already learned stuff in higher year courses, but at the same time the material is taught again and again at more complex levels, so if you miss a couple concepts the first time around, it's probably not a big deal.

7. I believe the loss of retail will have far worse long-term consequences than the loss of manufacturing, for retail (including retail services like insurance and local banking) has been the entry to business ownership, the source of confidence in capitalism as the engine of prosperity, and the path to broad distribution of the benefits of capitalism. In communities large and small, the small business owner is the strongest supporter of the local chamber of commerce and the most vocal cheerleader for the market economy. I've commented many times on the coming collapse of the higher education industry due to a combination of high costs and the absence of opportunities for the lower half, the much maligned underachievers who pay the tuition, attend athletic events, contribute to the foundation, and provide a steady flow of customers (i.e., their children and grandchildren). With lower level management jobs rapidly disappearing and the collapse of small business (e.g., the retail "family business") that has always served as a backstop for the lower half, it will soon be Goodbye, Columbus! When Cowen writes or says that average is over, I'm not sure he appreciates the full implications: America is not Lake Wobegon, where everyone is above average. No, not everyone can be a quant or start the next Google anymore than everyone can sell houses for a living; indeed, average is way underappreciated.

7. What is the economic effect of Google Fiber? Would data infrastructure reduce rural brain drain?

I'll admit that I hoped the first link was about yogurt or other similar milk products.

Five is a bit funny - did anyone think that drinking, itself, promoted long-term happiness? I mean, it promotes momentary happiness, and I suppose life is just one moment after another, but did anyone think that, say, drinking today would, by itself, make me happier tomorrow, or the day after? (It also wasn't so clear to me that they had properly screened out the likely case that people drinking a lot regularly have some things to feel bad about already.)

The British do not aim to be happy. They aim to be drunk, in part to cover up the dental pain.

Haha! Oh those Brits with their bad teeth....will it ever stop being funny to tease them about it?

#4 In contrast, the Slime Molds Democracy

"Oscillating between being a single creature and a democratic swarm the lowly but incredible slime mold can self-organize itself into a multitude of ultra-aesthetic globular geometries."

And the political scientist that study them

"Slimey politics: can democracy be saved by slime mould?"

A detailed discussion.

For somewhere in time democracy lost one of its traditions, part of its original mos maiorum, which is the ability for an entire people to rapidly communicate to one another the changing reality of their political environment. As journalist Chris Zappone recently opined, democracies have lost their narrative and consequently their ability to both recognize and act against their foes.

We can’t do what the slime mould does even though we produce our own types of networks that resemble mycelium (see Figure 2) – even though we have oral, written and embodied languages. We’re linked in diverse ways yet silent across borders, bus seats, and train aisles about the political ecosystem we share.

#2: So presumably some philosophers think more clearly than others, even beyond the philisopher vs non philosopher classification itself? This exercise lends itself to a discussion around skill, rather than a broad trained/not trained distinction.

Bruce Lee could wipe the floor with the average Wing Chun practictioner. The average Wing Chun martial artist may or may not be better at hand to hand combat than the average martial artist (who is in turn almost certainly better than the average joe). The discipline is however still valuable, it's just that some students aren't as good at executing it.

Rw: alcohol and happiness. I think it misses the point. There are three kinds of people in the world. Those who drink because they are alcoholics, those who drink socially and otherwise do not drink and those who never think of alcohol. The alcoholics don't drink to be happy they drink because they cannot not drink. Most social drinkers drink in situations where the happiness is a function of the setting and the alcohol is not the cause. Most non-drinkers are happy or unhappy depending on the particular circumstances they are experiencing. I think the author's premise is incorrect.

I've co-taught courses with philosophers. They believe they think and speak with more precision than the rest of us - and they're delusional. They think more carefully in their rigid categories - which exclude all sorts of things.

My favorite trap for philosophers is to ask WHY Plato is a better witness to the Historical Socrates than Xenophon. Then, if that hasn't fried enough synapses, get them going on why The Philosophers' God is better than anyone else's. I've had philosophers assert that there is no such thing as The Philosophers' God (as opposed to the God of Revelation). Fun times, if you can get it to happen in the classroom.

The best times of my life have all directly resulted from heavy drinking. It's probably 50x harder to meet a woman sober. How many relationships would never have gotten off the ground were it not for the standard drinks over happy hour 1st date?

#2 In the ball and bat example given by the author it seems that the author is arguing that they can think better after they have make mistake and reflectivily thinking about the so call criteria 1 and 2 afterwards.

To STEM students criteria 1 and 2 gives the equation b + b + 1 = 1.10, thus b=0.05 and they do not have to worry about criteria 1 and 2 afterwards.

Are they really better ??

#2 Do philosophers actually think better?

The reason Einstein did not win his Nobel Prize on Theory of Relativity.

Bergson (the philosopher) explores the subjective nature of
time—what it means to us as living beings, rather than as an abstract
concept external to our concerns. This is the notion of lived time.


Einstein, meanwhile, had other ideas ... The key sentence was something that Einstein said: “The time of the philosophers did not exist."


Bergson inflicted some return humiliation of his own. By casting doubt on Einstein’s theoretical trajectory, Bergson dissuaded the (Nobel) committee from awarding the prize for relativity.


Bergson’s decline was inevitable in the context of a technologically driven modernity. He fell precipitously from pre-eminence in the study of time to a fringe figure of continental thought. History has not been kind to him.

‘I was very shocked to go to the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy’s entry of time and see that Bergson was not even mentioned,’ says Canales. ‘It’s an incredible reversal. April 6, 1922 was the day that started that downward fall.’

The book:

"The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson, and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time" by Jimena Canales

The wording "the 2016 Esperanto conference" suggested the annual World Congress of Esperanto, but the article was about a British meeting.

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