Friday assorted links


2: Isn't the psychotic trait the desire to characterize people you disagree with as ill or mentally deficient?

The cliche is that the Left thinks their opponents are evil, the Right thinks they are stupid. It is normal to support your team and sneer at the Other.

The question really is who made use of this older finding and are they going to retract? Which pundits quoted it? I expect that a lot of Thanksgiving dinners are going to be fun this year.

OK, but supporting and sneering aside, how probable is it that political opinions have nothing to do with character traits?

But is that controversial? We know that political opinions have something to do with character traits - Leftists are psychopaths and the Right is made up of nice people who like to get along with others.

Or so Science says. I f**king love Science. I would normally say that I doubt this result, but that is something a Hater and a Denier would do. And I like to get on with people. So reluctantly I will have to agree with it.

The cliche is the other way around: left thinks right is stupid (because religion), and the right thinks the left is evil (because they have no religion).

No, SMFS is right.

The old saying is if you aren't a liberal when young you have no heart, and a conservative when old you have no brain.

The whole thing about liberals being smarter is very very recent and has to do with popular opinions on global warming, vaccines, Monsanto, and all that. The old version had more to do with foreign policy and economics.

There's also a recent trend to think that if you don't live in the downtown of a coastal city, you're stupid. That one is extremely new.

There is also a cultural element, with liberals more likely to enjoy "refined" SWPL like soccer, opera, and French Wine (which is terribly overrated) while conservatives are more likely to enjoy crude things like hunting, fishing, and Bud LIght.

I do love me a Cote du Rhone. Tastes like dirt, but in a good way!

French wine is perfectly good, but I've had Spanish, Italian, and Californians of the same varietals that are just as good for a fraction of the price. One of my favorites is a Spanish Garnacha-Syrah blend that costs just $15.

+1 for cost and quality not being closely related in wine.

Honestly. I'm not sophisticated enough to distinguish between "great" wines.

I've worked in the wine industry, and although you can see improvements up to about the $15 level, past that, it's all minor adjustments. There's also plenty of bad wine bottled at higher prices.

And heck, much of the time, a $5-$8 bottle gets you the same level of enjoyment you're looking for at the moment.

I don't think I've ever paid more than ~$30 for a bottle that I didn't get a chance to taste first (with the exception of gifts where I know the recipient happens to like the bottle), and I don't ever intend to. Paying for a "nice" bottle and then discovering it's garbage is agonizing.

Acton is right about the wine. A French girl in at a bottlo once convinced me to try various reds from Bordeaux. She said they were "complex".

She was right. They all tasted like mud. But mud is complex, rich, and well, earthy. It still tastes like mud though.

It's not even clear that, in either direction, the finding is hugely relevant. Are people answering something like "compared to the status quo, 0.1% more discipline would be nice" or "I prefer Stalin to Nelson Mandela"?

I don't think we should shy away from asking the kinds of questions they asked, but should be exceedingly careful in how the results are interpreted. Those on the lookout for cheap political points to score cannot be expected to use such findings responsibly.

My well-educated, country club member, Fox News-watching, WSJ-reading aunt in North Carolina told me point blank that she believes Obama is evil. I wish she were an outlier but that sentiment is common among my southern friends and relatives.

Maybe you and her simply have different views of "evil", It is a subjective word after all. Would you second guess someone saying "That cheese cake is evil"?

Yes, anyone anthropomorphizing an inanimate object clearly has one or more conditions specified in the DSM-V.

My former boss, a full professor (in a scientific area) opined that Mitt Romney was evil. It just shows that no matter how educated, many people have a very Manichean outlook.

There is nothing in a scientific education that makes your judgements about politics better than than it was when you got out of High school. I know several people with advanced degrees in physics that are full blown conspiracy theorist.

I think the bigger conspiracy is the view that believing that there might be a conspiracy is viewed as a likely sign of mental illness.

Since when in the history of the planet have there been no conspiracies? Considering that there always have been, I'd guess that the people responsible for making "conspiracy minded thinking" a sign of mental illness are almost certainly heavily involved in the whole situation. Whatever situation that might be.

Obama is evil. I wish she were an outlier but that sentiment is common among my southern friends and relatives.

And completely absent among my Southern connections. Hmmm.

A more precise way of putting it would be that BO is casually unscrupulous, all the time and about everything. He's a man too shallow to have a conscience. HRC actually is evil. There's been a secular though not monotonic decline in the moral quality of Democratic presidential candidates

Which candidate said "kill their families," and in what universe is that not evil?

Most "evil" references are fringed with irony, but maybe not that one.

Obama is known as the Drone President.

"Obama’s Embrace of Drone Strikes Will Be a Lasting Legacy"

There has been plenty of collateral damage.

"The following day, Obama authorized two Central Intelligence Agency drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, which, combined, killed an estimated one militant and 10 civilians, including between four and five children."

So which person is more evil, a person that talks about potentially doing an evil act in the future or one who has done the very same evil act multiple times in the past?

JWatts, did you just force moral equivalence on "minimum civilian casualties" and "kill their families?"

"JWatts, did you just force moral equivalence on “minimum civilian casualties” and “kill their families?”"

Absolutely not.

There's no moral equivalence between a comment about killing families and ordering an operation resulting in the killing of children. There's a vast gap between those two actions.

The difference seems pretty clear. It is "war" vs "war crimes."

JWatts - I think we should be openly critical about the drone policies, but personally I find them much better than the policy of invading entire countries (although the risk for slippery slopes is very troublesome). Which doesn't mean that I support the present use of drones - among other things, I simply don't have the kind of information to know how many mistakes are likely to be being made in their use, never mind that due process is not followed in these assassinations.

There is a powerful feedback when one decides to think like a moderate, a pragmatist.

You don't get to go by what you feel anymore, or what you think your tribe believes, you have to think it through.

Could groups who do go by "feels" be sorted by them? It doesn't seem a huge jump. And yes I think people far from moderation are rationalizing "feels" more often than being led, by reason, to an extreme position.

People who think they are thinking for themselves are actually only fooling themselves. They are just leftists. Anyone who thinks they are "moderate" simply thinks whatever everyone else says or rather what everyone else says they think. They believe whatever CNN tells them.

Whatever else you can say about Sanders, he has thought about these things himself. A moderate he is not.

The straightforward way to read that is that you are afraid of rational introspection.

It could be, but that would be wrong. Someone who genuinely thinks about issues is going to realize that a lot of people are wrong at least some of the time. They will hold positions that are extreme. Someone who thinks they think for themselves invariably out sources their thinking to Whoopie Goldberg and thinks the same cr@p everyone else does.

Take Peter Singer for instance. Clearly he thinks for himself. He thinks that children should be killed after birth in some cases. He thinks the Great Apes should have the vote. A nut but original. Someone like Colin McGinn can write a book on morality and produce a work of mind numbing banality where he simply rationalizes his way to everything that every right minded middle aged, middle class, academic believes. Not thinking for himself.

The last half way decent British philosopher was Elizabeth Anscombe. Who was, of course, an extremist. But one who actually thought for herself and so was usually a minority of one. Or two when she opposed giving Truman an honorary degree.

"Someone who thinks they think for themselves invariably out sources their thinking to Whoopie Goldberg and thinks the same cr@p everyone else does."


100% agree. Today's sensible, independent-thinking moderate is yesterday's radical revolutionary socialist ideologue.

Who thinks Sanders is a moderate? Certainly not moderates.

Maybe a Cuban Marxist like Fidel Castro? Or Chavez? What would Stalin think?

I knew Republicans in Indiana back in the 60s who would not consider Sanders extreme, but instead speaking common sense.

I don't think Nixon would consider Sanders extreme and would probably consider including him in his policy making staff.

To quote:
But, Frank argues, we could decrease the inequality driven by sheer luck by adopting simple, unintrusive policies that would free up trillions of dollars each year—more than enough to fix our crumbling infrastructure, expand healthcare coverage, fight global warming, and reduce poverty, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. If this sounds implausible, you'll be surprised to discover that the solution requires only a few, noncontroversial steps.

Is it 'unintrusive' to take their money away? Free up trillions of dollars? Free up from whom? Kinda like Oklahoma Highway Patrol?

It's called an ERAD, or Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machine, and OHP began using 16 of them last month.

Here's how it works. If a trooper suspects a person may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan and seize money from prepaid cards. OHP stresses troopers do not do this during all traffic stops, only situations where they believe there is probable cause.

Probable cause now can mean that someone thinks you are lucky and happen to believe that their pension is underfunded.

What I got from that article is that there would be significant positive externalities generated if we scheduled ambulances optimally.

Side note: same thing happened to someone I was playing squash with, he was back on the court within 3 months. Amazing and terrifying.

We were reminded yesterday on Twitter that Alex wrote Average Stock Market Returns Aren’t Average. Reading the comments, I don't think most people got the importance of that result. (Did Alex? More at the bottom.)

The cite was in response to this new, more general talk, Time to revisit how we calculate expectations? This is very worth watching.

It is deeply important to understand that uniform odds, the same odds, can produce radically different outcomes: winners and losers.

I have long had this intuition. In fact, in response to an argument about commercial fishing I once said that "fishing to a limit always crashes a species." I produced a little model that showed that. For a population x, a growth of y, if you fished every year to y +/- 5% error, the population crashed over time, in every run.

What I didn't get was that my fish model could be generalized. Even if I thought the world worked that way, I didn't get that it was the same as Ole's experiment, as Alex's experiment.

Chance matters. And as Ole says, only redistribution can recover what we really think of as "fair" outcomes.

(Frank hits a lot of points which I agree with, but let's clear away the idea that level playing fields to start with produce a field of virtuous winners.)

This is just the random walk with a limit, think the sidewalk from the bar. The drunks obviously end up in the gutter because their random walk against the walk keeps them upright but stepping off the curb drops them into the gutter.

You can look at the diversity of life and think "life can be easily created" but that ignores the millions, billions, more? that ended up in the gutter. 4 billion years on a large planet with lots of water allows lots of random walks that end in failure.

We are familiar with random walk stories, but not with the idea that successive coin flips, even with positive expected return (heads you win 50%, tails you lose 40%) lead to ruin. 2nd link above.

Learned a new word, Tinderella.

6. It's fun to see the implicit categorizations people give to Alexa. Some treat her as an appliance, others as a retail worker, others as a slave.

2. That's a relief.

Thankfully, no has described Trump as conservative.

Trump describes himself as a conservative.

And you can't prove he's wrong because you can't provide the universal definition of a conservative. For example, Trump holds pretty much the same position as Reagan held, so if Trump isn't a conservative, then Reagan wasn't a conservative.

Trump opposes Ryan on Social Security and Trump would happily paraphrase Reagan, or read Reagan from a teleprompter without going off script because he disagreed.

"So, today we see an issue that once divided and frightened so many people now uniting us. Our elderly need no longer fear that the checks they depend on will be stopped or reduced. These amendments protect them. Americans of middle age need no longer worry whether their career-long investment will pay off. These amendments guarantee it. And younger people can feel confident that social security will still be around when they need it to cushion their retirement.

These amendments reaffirm the commitment of our government to the performance and stability of social security. It was nearly 50 years ago when, under the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the American people reached a great turning point, setting up the social security system. F. D. R. spoke then of an era of startling industrial changes that tended more and more to make life insecure. It was his belief that the system can furnish only a base upon which each one of our citizens may build his individual security through his own individual efforts. Today we reaffirm Franklin Roosevelt's commitment that social security must always provide a secure and stable base so that older Americans may live in dignity."

Reagan, April 20, 1983.

#2 It's a bit more then that, isn't it, though? Turns out its the "liberal" side that is more authoritarian: "As one of the notices specifies, now it appears that liberal political beliefs are linked with psychoticism."

How hard should I fault the underlying philosophy of this paper, before we even reach results?

By many measures most people are not ideologues, far out on right or left, but people who are far out want to argue about a world with their own framing.

If most people are moderate, and you argue who is crazier, the left or the right, I think you might be missing the big picture.

Yep, the point of the story wasn't that conservative are no longer psychotic, but that the study flipped the results. It's actually liberals who display more psychotic tendencies.

This would seem to be self-evident when looking at colleges today.

#3: I laughed hard with this: "Cocktails and casual, inexpensive dates are in." Cocktails are not inexpensive, anywhere.

In contrast, I'm not sure if this article from the Guardian is just an anecdote posing as as mainstream trend, but it's very interesting when compared with the WP article

Compared to a full course dinner with a nice bottle of wine, one or two cocktails is quite cheap.

Cowen already covered this in his book. If you want to get a good deal, just don't consume any alcohol. After all you have to eat anyway, and if you have dinner you can assign the cost to your restaurant survey budget. It basically doesn't matter what the other person does you are going to have an even better time than if you went there by yourself. I would still get a lot of food even if I knew I would never see the person I was with again.

There is no such thing as a nice bottle of wine, it all tastes like grape juice and if you like that so much why not buy an actual bunch of grapes. Cocktails might taste OK, but if you drink to much you will get drunk so it is too inefficient to conduct an alcoholic beverage survey at a remote location. So basically, I would never want to date any of the people in that article.

"There's no such thing as a nice bottle of wine" - you lost me with that one. De gustibus non est disputandum.

2. As Cowen likes to remind readers, correlation isn't causation. And I will remind Cowen that psychoticism isn't psychotic. Are conservatives more likely to be authoritarian? I suppose it depends on the meaning of conservative. When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.

>As Cowen likes to remind readers, correlation isn’t causation.

Well, it depends on the topic now, doesn't it?

When we're talking climate change, correlation is 100% ironclad proof of causation.

You--you mean--AI has not been writing screenplays for Hollywood for years? for decades?

I am too lazy to do it myself, so I hired a million monkeys with keyboards.

I tried to watch a little of Whispering Pines, season 2, last night. I really don't want to bore you with nerdy details, but I will: They had to harvest the food, but the mutants were hiding in the cornfields, so they had to fight the mutants to get the corn. Someone wrote that who didn't think mutants would eat the corn. Obviously a faulty AI.

No odder than humans growing thousands of acres of corn to feed to pigs, then eating the pigs. Would be simpler to just eat the corn.

Your plan involves a drastic reduction in bacon. So, Fail.

Is it so difficult to believe that the mutants are biologically carnivorous? Or that they eat corn for sustenance but prefer the taste of human flesh whenever the latter comes out for harvest?

Whole thing was weirder than I described. They were afraid of the mutants that came out at night. so they decided to harvest at night. In combat gear, for some reason wearing gas masks. They had no gas.

Re: #2, folks need to just man up and drink as much as they feel like drinking. Anyone who is going to decline a second date because you had 3-4 cocktails in 2 hours isn't worth going on a second date with to begin with.

I don't see it that way, fetal alcohol syndrome has serious consequences for the victim, and it doesn't make sense to say you can drink as much as you want but not for the next five years while you have kids. Basically anyone who drinks at all is probably an alcoholic, or at least fiscally irresponsible. Gatorade is a clearly superior beverage in any case, and if you are going to contemplate something as unpleasant as dating, you might as well do it stone cold sober.

Just what this place needed, another troll account

#2 Well I've been cured, hallelujah!

#2, the flipside is that now:

"That paper also swapped ideologies when reporting on people higher in neuroticism and social desirability (falsely claiming that you have socially desirable qualities); the original paper said those traits are linked with liberal beliefs, but they are more common among people with conservative values."

So you could believe that - that Conservatives are the delicate little neurotic flowers who adjust their viewpoint to the status quo (conform to what the politically correct mainstream is). But I don't really believe that. It's no more a good characterisation than the converse would've been, really. (Besides which, what makes that study better than all the umpteen others with opposite correlations is still unclear.)

1. "They're questioning the environment, questioning what’s in front of them. There's a pattern in sci-fi movies of characters trying to understand the environment."

Well duh, that's why it's SCIENCE fiction. Science is the quest to understand our environment.

A romance AI would have characters looking for romance.
A mystery AI would have characters solving mysterious deaths.

Fiction always follows formulas just like stories told around campfires thousands of years ago.

The question is whether an AI can write a story that delights another AI with a surprise like our favorite authors and directors can delight us with an old familiar story told slightly differently.

What could be more formulaic than any Shakespeare play?

re 5 - assuming the rest of Bob Frank's very wordy book is more "progressive consumption tax" theory, my take is that it would be doomed to failure.

Everything of his I've seen and read - albeit not the rest of the current book - misses the huge premiums to looks, gender, and so forth. Things that really cannot be "taxed away".

In any case the "resolution of inequality" would be doomed to failure because even if it collected huge money, a very likely outcome would be middle class and even poor folks paying huge amounts of the tax. Why? They would be in a desperate debt driven mode to LOOK LIKE THE RICH even while the truly rich would be much more likely to simply not bother.

It also misses that many of the pressures people seem to respond to today are tournaments of one kind or another - the house in the best school district (or near the train or near the best roads) - the best sort of spouse, the best sort of job.

In short, the most comfortable outcome, the best outcome for children, or the highest status. Since ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE RELATIVE TO THE POPULATION the various pressures they create will NEVER GO AWAY.

They might be contested with political intrique, standing in the communist party, violence, various sorts of gangs, or relatively civily with money. But ANY scheme that claims to remove these pressures by some act of government is simply doomed.

Spot on. So spot on, I'd not be surprised if the author didn't really even believe what he was advocating, but rather, merely employing it as a means of attempting to lower the status of successful businessmen. Hmmmm....wonder why someone would want to do that?

Much like a sin tax, the goal is to simultaneously raise money and discourage certain activities at the margin, not eliminate them entirely. It isn't an argument to say that people will still engage in status competition even if there is a luxury goods tax of some sort. If it discourages some of this status-seeking behavior at the margin and raises money to fund socially useful things, it will have accomplished both of its goals.

We could start with a big sin tax on publications by scribblers like Frank in order to discourage their pernicious status competition to develop and promote ever more ways to redistribute wealth and status to their leftist pet causes.

#2 A research article from Stefan Pfattheicher, a psychologist at the University of Ulm, and Simon Schindler of the psychology department at Kassel University:

"Misperceiving B*llsh*t as Profound Is Associated with Favorable Views of *, *, * and Conservatism"



You might believe such a guy as who wrote that study is an honest, unbiased, interlocutor of whether that's true, and thus his analysis will be solid, stable and veridical.

Although I think personally, that if you did (if you were this generous to this kraut), that's a level of gullibility that goes beyond agreeing with cod-profound babble.

But even asusming this, bullshit is a speciously large category. Does anyone really believe that the *specific* bullshit that goes beyond the cod-profound, and I'm talking about the bullshit that is "kumbaya", and I'm talking about the bullshit that is actually people agreeing to superficial analyses that harm their own people's interests, and I'm talking about the bullshit that is "White Guilt" and "White Privilege", that all that is specifically more going to be agreed to by conservatives? That's what actually matters and that is harmful, ;)

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