Month: May 2018
Of the 877 men, only 27, or 3 percent, changed their name. Of those, 25 dropped their last name to take their wife’s and two hyphenated their last name. Among the 97 percent who kept their name, 87 percent said their wife took their last name, 4 percent said their wife hyphenated her surname while they made no change, and 6 percent said that neither changed their name. No respondents reported creating a new last name.
The study, published online in May in the Journal of Family Issues, looked at whether a man’s level of education—both his own and relative to his wife’s—influences the likelihood that he chooses a nontraditional surname in marriage.
It found that among men with less than a high school degree, 10.3 percent reported changing their surname. Among men with a high school degree but no college, it was 3.6 percent, and among men with any college, only 2 percent. None of the men surveyed who had an advanced degree changed their name.
Beginning today (May 10), Spotify users will no longer be able to find R. Kelly‘s music on any of the streaming service’s editorial or algorithmic playlists. Under the terms of a new public hate content and hateful conduct policy Spotify is putting into effect, the company will no longer promote the R&B singer’s music in any way, removing his songs from flagship playlists like RapCaviar, Discover Weekly or New Music Friday, for example, as well as its other genre- or mood-based playlists.
“We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly,” Spotify told Billboardin a statement. “His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
Over the past several years, Kelly has been accused by multiple women of sexual violence, coercion and running a “sex cult,” including two additional women who came forward to Buzzfeed this week. Though he has never been convicted of a crime, he has come under increasing scrutiny over the past several weeks, particularly with the launch of the #MuteRKelly movement at the end of April. Kelly has vociferously defended himself, saying those accusing him are an “attempt to distort my character and to destroy my legacy.” And while RCA Records has thus far not dropped Kelly from his recording contract, Spotify has distanced itself from promoting his music.
Here is the full article. Chuck Berry? John Lennon? Michael Jackson?
In 1974, near the peak of his fame, Paul Simon started taking music lessons.
The melody of “American Tune,” my favorite Paul Simon song, is taken from a Bach chorale from St. Matthew’s Passion.
Paul Simon originally was to have played guitar on “Rock Island Line” for the Nilsson/Lennon Pussy Cats album, but Lennon and Simon could not get along with each other and Lennon kept on putting his hand on Simon’s guitar strings to stop him from playing, eventually causing Simon to leave.
Art Garfunkel originally was slated to be dual vocalist on the Hearts and Bones album (TC’s favorite Paul Simon creation by the way), though Simon cut out the vocal tracks that Garfunkel had recorded.
Around 2012 Simon developed a strong interest in the music of American “hobo composer” Harry Partch.
Those are from the new Paul Simon biography by Robert Hilburn.
5. Arnold Kling on the intellectual dark web. I would suggest that the critical coverage of that Bari Weiss NYT piece has been weak, most of all under-informed and overly aggregative and showing relatively little familiarity with the people in question, some of whom are excellent and some of whom are not.
The poor mice!:
Scholars have been using hypothetical dilemmas to investigate moral decision making for decades. However, whether people’s responses to these dilemmas truly reflect the decisions they would make in real life is unclear. In the current study, participants had to make the real-life decision to administer an electroshock (that they did not know was bogus) to a single mouse or allow five other mice to receive the shock. Our results indicate that responses to hypothetical dilemmas are not predictive of real-life dilemma behavior, but they are predictive of affective and cognitive aspects of the real-life decision. Furthermore, participants were twice as likely to refrain from shocking the single mouse when confronted with a hypothetical versus the real version of the dilemma. We argue that hypothetical-dilemma research, while valuable for understanding moral cognition, has little predictive value for actual behavior and that future studies should investigate actual moral behavior along with the hypothetical scenarios dominating the field.
It seems to me that Kant lived a life in accord with his actual doctrines, as did Socrates. But most philosophers? Most economists for that matter? It would be interesting if there was an app that recorded your life, and then wrote up the corresponding moral doctrine in book form. Or in the case of the economists, it could write out your utility function and adherence to the principle of maximizing expected utility. Or not.
Hat tip goes to Dina Pomeranz.
The reason I think polygenicity is important in this case is that it means there is a huge mutational target that natural selection has to keep an eye on. The constant production of new mutations in sperm and egg cells, the fact that so many of them could affect intelligence, and the fact that they will tend to do so negatively, should, in my opinion, make it harder to push intelligence consistently upwards, when new mutations will constantly be pulling it back down.
Again, I would argue this is a different situation to many other traits. For any trait, new mutations are likely to degrade, rather than improve, the developmental program and biological pathways underlying it. But for some traits, the “goal” of that program is to hit a species-optimal set point. Mutations affecting that program could mean you miss high or miss low – there’s no reason to expect to go one way or the other, really (as far as I can see).
For intelligence, following my argument above, the goal is to hit the maximal level possible. New mutations will thus not just replenish genetic variation affecting the trait (in either direction, as in standard models of stabilising selection); they will tend to push it downwards.
Now, maybe someone will tell me why that actually doesn’t matter, but it seems to me that this will tend to oppose any efforts of directional selection to push intelligence upwards in any given population. Whether that is true or not (or the size of the effect it could have) may depend on how much the trait is dominated by the effects of rare mutations. Various lines of evidence suggest that the collective influence of such mutations on intelligence is very substantial.
That is from Kevin Mitchell. I do not feel qualified to judge his claims, but nonetheless found the discussion of interest.
Noted UC Berkeley energy economist Severein Borenstein writes against the proposal to make solar required on all new residential construction:
Dear Commissioner Weisenmiller:
I just became aware in the last few days of the proposal in the new building energy efficiency standards rule making to mandate rooftop solar on all new residential buildings. I want to urge you not to adopt the standard. I, along with the vast majority of energy economist, believe that residential rooftop solar is a much more expensive way to move towards renewable energy than larger solar and wind installations. The savings calculated for the households are based on residential electricity rates that are far above the actual cost of providing incremental energy, so embody a large cross subsidy from other ratepayers. This would be a very expensive way to expand renewables and would not be a cost-effective practice that other states and countries could adopt to reduce their own greenhouse gas footprints.
Because I, and most other economists studying California’s energy policy, just became aware of this proposal, we have not had time to participate in the policy process or write public documents on the subject. At the least, I would urge you to delay adopting such a rule until independent analysis from energy experts can be made part of the record.
I will add that I have no financial interest in any energy company. I am expr essing my views purely in the interestof moving forward with California’s fight against climate change in a cost-effective way that can be exported to other states and countries.
Sincerely, Severin Borenstein
I agree and would add that allowing more building near transit and other hubs as with California’s rejected SB827 would not only lower housing prices, rather than raise them as with this proposal, it would also be a much better way of reducing carbon emissions and saving energy.
Bryan was in top form, I can’t recall hearing him being more interesting or persuasive. Here is the audio and text. We talked about whether any single paper is good enough, the autodidact’s curse, the philosopher who most influenced Bryan, the case against education, the Straussian reading of Bryan, effective altruism, Socrates, Larry David, where to live in 527 A.D., the charm of Richard Wagner, and much more. Here is one excerpt:
COWEN: You love Tolstoy, right?
CAPLAN: Yeah. You love Tolstoy because here’s a guy who not only has this encyclopedic knowledge of human beings — you say he knows human nature. Tolstoy knows human natures. He realizes that there are hundreds of kinds of people, and like an entomologist, he has the patience to study each kind on its own terms.
Tolstoy, you read it: “There are 17 kinds of little old ladies. This was the 13th kind. This was the kind that’s very interested in what you’re eating but doesn’t wish to hear about your romance, which will be contrasted with the seventh kind which has exactly the opposite preferences.” That’s what’s to me so great about Tolstoy.
Here is one of my questions:
What’s the fundamental feature in Bryan Caplan–think that has made you, unlike most other nerds, so much more interested in Stalin than science fiction?
Here is another exchange:
COWEN: You think, in our society in general, this action bias infests everything? Or is there some reason why it’s drawn like a magnet to education?
CAPLAN: Action bias primarily drives government. For individuals, I think even there there’s some action bias. But nevertheless, for the individual, there is the cost of just going and trying something that’s not very likely to succeed, and the connection with the failure and disappointment, and a lot of things don’t work out.
There’s a lot of people who would like to start their own business, but they don’t try because they have some sense that it’s really hard.
What I see in government is, there isn’t the same kind of filter, which is a big part of my work in general in politics. You don’t have the same kind of personal disincentives against doing things that sound good but actually don’t work out very well in practice.
Probably even bigger than action bias is actually what psychologists call social desirability bias: just doing things that sound good whether or not they actually work very well and not really asking hard questions about whether things that sound good will work out very well in practice.
I also present what I think are the three strongest arguments against Bryan’s “education is mostly signaling” argument — decide for yourself how good his answers are.
COWEN: …Parenting and schooling in your take don’t matter so much. Something is changing these [norms] that is mostly not parenting and not schooling. And they are changing quite a bit, right?
COWEN: Is it like all technology? Is the secret reading of Bryan Caplan that you’re a technological determinist?
CAPLAN: I don’t think so. In general, not a determinist of any kind.
COWEN: I was teasing about that.
And last but not least:
CAPLAN: …When someone gets angry at Robin, this is what actually outrages me. I just want to say, “Look, to get angry at Robin is like getting angry at baby Jesus.” He’s just a symbol and embodiment of innocence and decency. For someone to get angry at someone who just wants to learn . . .
COWEN: And when they get mad at me?
CAPLAN: Eh, I understand that.
Donald Trump won the American presidency in 2016 by overperforming expectations in upper Midwest states, surprising even Republican political elites. We argue that attitudes toward social change were an underappreciated dividing line between supporters of Trump and Hillary Clinton as well as between Republicans at the mass and elite levels. We introduce a concept and measure of aversion to (or acceptance of) social diversification and value change, assess the prevalence of these attitudes in the mass public and among political elites, and demonstrate its effects on support for Trump. Our research uses paired surveys of Michigan’s adult population and community of political elites in the Fall of 2016. Aversion to social change is strongly predictive of support for Trump at the mass level, even among racial minorities. But attitudes are far more accepting of social change among elites than the public and aversion to social change is not a factor explaining elite Trump support. If elites were as averse to social change as the electorate—and if that attitude mattered to their vote choice—they might have been as supportive of Trump. Views of social change were not as strongly related to congressional voting choices.
That is from Matt Grossman and Daniel Thaler.
My latest Bloomberg column is on that topic, here is one bit:
…these days more and more economists, especially those with Keynesian sympathies, are insisting that higher legal minimum wages don’t lower employment much, if at all. If higher real wages don’t much hurt employment, we shouldn’t expect lower real wages to much boost employment. This “new wisdom” on minimum wages contradicts Keynesian labor economics and implies inflation won’t much boost employment, if at all.
One thing we do know about inflation is that voters hate it. Economists sometimes treat this belief as irrational, assuming that workers in aggregate will get raises to compensate for the higher prices. This is true for many top performers, whose income growth would exceed inflation regardless. But a lot of other workers are concentrated in somewhat bureaucratic service-sector jobs, they have weak bargaining power, and their pay is not indexed to inflation. If the rate of price inflation is 4 percent rather than 2 percent, for many people that means their take-home pay is worth 2 percentage points less than it would have been under modest inflation.
Most discussions about monetary policy aren’t about economic theory (properly understood) at all. Rather they are about blaming the system, as people feel a sense of outrage that somehow someone isn’t trying hard enough to fix basic problems. Most of the claims out there, when put under the microscope of reason, dissolve into a beautiful, brilliant agnosticism.
Here is the full column. Note that Bloomberg now has a paywall, with I believe ten free articles per month. Here is information on subscription offers, I urge you all to increase the velocity of money.
Germany recorded an almost 10 per cent drop in crime last year to its lowest level since the early 1990s despite perceptions that the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers would lead to a rise in offences.
…Overall, violent crime was down by 1.7 per cent last year, the Interior Ministry said, although refugees and asylum seekers were proportionately over-represented in sexual assault cases.
Here is the (gated) Times of London piece. Ahem…
For the pointer I thank a loyal MR reader.
5. David Brooks on Stewart Brand (NYT).
6. The renegades of the intellectual dark web (NYT). Not the ideal title from my point of view, but an interesting piece.
Notably, almost all the foreign programs that American social democrats envy were enacted during Europe’s long post-war economic and demographic boom. That meant that the initial cost of these systems was fairly low — young people don’t need much in the way of health care or pensions, and economies at full employment don’t spend a lot on unemployment insurance or job retraining. As incomes soared, it was comparatively easy for government to skim some of the surplus for their new social insurance schemes, because even as their taxes went up, workers still got to take more money home every week. Governments ran into problems when the boom stopped, of course, but by then, political sentiment had cemented those programs in place.
What was easy in 1960 looks herculean as 2020 approaches. Economic growth has slowed, and populations are aging, which raises the cost of any proposed program and requires you to fund heavy losses on someone to fund it, either workers in those industries, or taxpayers. As psychologists tell us, people are “loss averse” — they care much more about losing something they have than about equivalent potential gains. Given the mammoth cost of socializing the U.S. economy now, and the huge number of people who face substantial losses, I’d argue that we should probably change “herculean” to “impossible.”
By comparing Poets and Talkers along these lines, the researchers were able to draw two overall conclusions. First, when compared to the Talkers, the poets tended to speak more slowly and stay within a narrower pitch range. Second, very few Talkers indulged in long pauses, but plenty of poets—33 percent—had no trouble leaving their listeners hanging for two seconds or more…
This is also, perhaps, why it can seem grating or detached: “In a more natural conversational intonation pattern, you vary your pitch for emphasis depending on how you feel about something,” says MacArthur. “In this style of poetry reading, those idiosyncrasies … get subordinated to this repetitive cadence. It doesn’t matter what you’re saying, you just say it in the same way.” Overall, the researchers write, “from this small sample, we would conclude that perhaps when some listeners hear poets read with one or more of these characteristics—slow pitch speed, slow pitch acceleration, narrow pitch range, low rhythmic complexity, and/or slow speaking rate—they hear Poet Voice.”