Tuesday assorted links

1. “Crowdfunding research flips science’s traditional reward model. Students and junior investigators are more likely than senior scientists to secure crowdfunding for their research.

2. “A row has broken out between the mayor of Rome and the Roman Catholic Church over what should happen to coins retrieved from the Trevi fountain.  Every year nearly €1.5m (£1.3m) is fished out of the famous landmark. It is traditionally given to a Catholic charity to help the destitute.  But now Mayor Virginia Raggi wants the money spent on the city’s crumbling infrastructure instead.”  Link here.

3. The Sex Raft no IRB for that one.

4. Agnes Callard Cato Unbound comment on Stubborn Attachments.  And Callard in The New Yorker.

5. Friday, January 25 I speak in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan, and January 31 at the University of Chicago.

6. Many attitudes are becoming more neutral, except toward the overweight.


Link for #6 broken, easy to fix. Also, for those of us without access to the gated paper, it would be nice to know whether attitudes are getting negatively or positively non-neutral.

If you believe this food and nutrition site, most Americans (70 percent) say they are concerned about their weight status, and an overwhelming majority (77 percent) is trying to lose or maintain their weight.

And so attitudes against overweight are going to be at least as much self-directed as other-directed.

I just finished "Blueprint" by the geneticist Robert Plomin. The latest GWAS studies show body weight as 70 percent heritable, more than most traits. Winding the environment back to 1980 may be the only solution.

I die ganze Zeiit verwendet esen Schriftstück inn Zeitungen, aber
jetzt, wie ich bin einn Benutzeer der net daher abb sofort Icch bin mit Netz für
Artikel dank Web.

Oh, and here is a cheery claim, that "Less Than 3 Percent of Americans Live a 'Healthy Lifestyle'" and "only 9.6 percent had what the study calls 'a normal body-fat percentage.'”

And yet when you exclude drug use and homicide the U.S. has the longest lifespan when compared with other countries.

What does IRB mean?

Institutional Review Board, part of the ethics process in human subject research

Institutional Review Board, also known as ethics review.

The board that is trying to get Peter Boghossian fired because he was involved in writing spoof academic papers to expose the social sciences as fraud. The allegation is that he used the people running the journals as human subjects of an experiment.

Although we are not sure that the people who manage these journals identify as human.


For context, one of the perpetrators of the "grievance studies" hoax papers, which exposed a bunch of bullshit disciplines, is being hauled before his school's IRB.

The original idea behind an IRB was to ensure researchers weren't traumatizing participants they included in research projects.

So, for example, nothing like the Sex Raft would ever get through an IRB today.

Of course, IRB's have metastasized into paralyzing monsters, as Scott Alexander relates:


Now, Portland State wants to protect its incompetent employees. Remember, these are supposedly scholars in the arena, not randos picked up for a research study.

So the IRB is going after Peter Bogosian on behalf of its own incompetent "scholars".

The appalling rot in areas of the universities is laid bare.

As I saw it explained, the original "Sokal Hoax" did not lie, it was just nonsense. Thus it passed IRB and skewered the gullible. The problem with "Sokal Squared" is that it made stuff up, which does not pass IRB.

Of course you'd be the one to step up for these cretins. Alas, you are hopelessly confused.

Any peer review process that raises no eyebrows over data claiming to have examined the testicles of almost 10,000 dogs from a single dog park and discussed the dogs sexual orientation with their owners is not worth its salt.

What happened? Reviewers wanted to believe this ridiculous data, based on the "may I believe it?" criterion we apply to things that we like.

There is zero place for this in science. Real science might be pithily boiled down to taking a "must I believe it?" attitude to EVERYTHING.

I'm not sure if these clowns could even get their head around this idea.

All I am defending is the idea that papers should not lie, which I don't think is a great break from science as practiced for the last few hundred years.

I don't defend institutional CYA, but I recognize it as a fear of lawsuits rather than secret agenda.

Expanding on my previous comment...

Scholarship built on lies is fundamentally an IRB violation. Sokal was a violation that should have resulted in at least the loss of tenure and defenestration. This is even worse. Journals took them at their word that they were being honest in their research papers, and somehow the journals are at fault? Liars condemn themselves, not the victims. Academia is not a fact finding or questioning enterprise. For shame, gullible professors and editors were taken advantage of a la pay day loans.

I’m a moderate republican. If evolution denying conservatives want to play at facts and the scientific method (for once) then they need to play by the rules. I don’t run into churches screaming about Darwin and finches. Facts should never be brought to a debate.

Gender, sexual, and racial studies can be discussed within their disciplines, using their terms and logic, playing by their scientific rules, adhering to the principles of their ethos, acknowledging their expertise, and taking into account the intersectionality consequences of who has the privilege to speak.

As a Republican who refuses Trumpism, these disciplines will police themselves. The important thing to realize is that a bunch of white people decided to question intersectionality. So they should be fired and defenstrated.

You're obviously a leftie since you think you can talk yourself out of anything.

If these children wanna pursue their stupidities on their own nickel, I'm all for it.

"I’m a moderate republican."

Who did vote for President in 2012? 2008? 2004? 2000? ....

That was another anonymous. Let me read it for content ..

I rule it kinda funny. But I think that question of how much you can lie while doing bad science to catch "bad people" is a real one.

Not least because the next crooked scientist can say "but I was just testing you!"

I think you should be charged for claiming you are a moderate republican when it is glaringly obvious that you are no such thing, and moreover that you claim this as an appeal to authority only.

"another anonymous"

But equally anonymous

Is that because you believe all Republicans value the truth as much as you? (meaning not at all)

"As I saw it explained, the original "Sokal Hoax" did not lie, it was just nonsense. Thus it passed IRB and skewered the gullible. The problem with "Sokal Squared" is that it made stuff up, which does not pass IRB."

The original Sokal Hoax clearly lied. The author of it specifically made the point that it was Not True and Not Accurate. You are showing the classic signs of rationalization, where when forced by bias to have two incoherent positions, the person finds any small or imaginary difference and attempts to claim it decisive.

Here's a direct quote from the author:

"Sokal said the editors' response illustrated the problem he highlighted. Social Text, as an academic journal, published the article not because it was faithful, true and accurate to its subject but because an "academic authority" had written it and because of the appearance of the obscure writing. "


As I understand it, the original claimed no false data, this recent batch did. That's what made the first more .. artistic.

Sokal did not fake data. And he picked a perfect case to demonstrate that peer review actually has value - 'At that time, the journal did not practice academic peer review and it did not submit the article for outside expert review by a physicist.'

One can argue about hoaxes as one wishes, but faking data is not a hoax, it is something that is considered utterly unacceptable, just like plagiarism.

You're desperate to rationalize this.

And Epstein's paper that preceeded the Sokal Affair absolutely faked data.

"This article reports the results of a study of confirmational response bias among social work journals. A contrived research paper with positive findings and its negative mirror image were submitted to two different groups of social work journals and to two comparison groups of journals outside social work."


As always JWatts you’re a rat stuck in Putin’s maze. Manchurian JWatts.

The professors decide what the truth is. That’s the truth. They get to decipher it for us, and then you can be an evil moron who refuses truth (heretic) or you can be a progressive.

You’re a monster.

'You're desperate to rationalize this.'

Rationalize what? Sokal committed a brilliant and amusing hoax, along with further demonstrating that peer review and calling in qualified experts to evaluate the quality of research is a solid principle that should be followed in science.

Faking data is precisely the same as plagiarism - there is no acceptable defense, and anyone who does it deserves whatever punishment is meted out for violating a bedrock principle.

Admittedly, I have no idea what Epstein's paper is supposed to be - any links? But if it involved faked data, then it too is just like plagiarized work - utterly unacceptable in any context.

Hoaxes, like Sokal's, can be valuable. Faking data is never valuable, and is actually fraud.

"Faking data is never valuable, and is actually fraud."

The IRB guidelines specifically allow for deception:

"I want to conduct a study that involves the use of deception. Is this allowed? What do I need to consider?

The use of deception in research is not prohibited by either the federal regulations or Cornell. However, because at some level the use of deception in research violates the trust that the participant puts in the researcher, this method should be considered carefully. Deliberate deception of participants may occur only in situations where withholding information about the nature of the study is necessary to ensure valid results, and never to get participants to do something that they would not do if the information was fully disclosed to them."


But the lies (or rather the journals, the editors, and the reviewers (lack of) response to the lies) caused actual harm to them (the journals, etc.). This is never acceptable without informed consent. At least, I hope it caused actual harm. So, they did a service but they also broke some serious rules of conduct. So, applaud them while drumming them out of academia. Let them write books.

'The IRB guidelines specifically allow for deception'

Now I see the distinction. You can deceive subjects, of course.

What you cannot do is make up what the subjects are supposed to have done and report that as data.

Sokal did not fake any data, though his hoax clearly deceived the people who published his work.

The other attempts at a similar hoax included faked data - that is never allowed.

"The other attempts at a similar hoax included faked data - that is never allowed."

Well I can understand your beliefs. But there's nothing illegal about what they did. Nor was there anything morally wrong. They revealed to the public that it was hoax and there was never any intent to commit fraud.

I see the Boghossian situation as analogous to all those economics studies where fake resumes are sent to thousands of job postings. In fact, I raised ethical concerns about such studies when I last saw one discussed at MR. (See the link.)

The answer to those concerns when I raised them with the author of such a study was "we checked with the IRB and they said it was fine."

Thus, although my ideological sympathies lie much closer to Boghossian than to the IRB, I do think there are technical grounds to say that he violated good human subjects research principles.

All of these fraud-based research studies degrade societal trust. You can't trust that a resume you get in response to a job posting is real; it might be fraudulent because someone else wants to use you as a research subject without your knowledge. And you can't trust that research manuscripts you get if you edit a journal are genuine either; it may be part of a fraud-based research project. It doesn't seem good.

The decision to move ahead with disciplinary action came after a group of faculty members published a letter in the student newspaper decrying the hoax as "lies peddled to journals, masquerading as articles." These "lies" are designed "not to critique, educate, or inspire change in flawed systems," they wrote, "but rather to humiliate entire fields while the authors gin up publicity for themselves without having made any scholarly contributions whatsoever." Such behavior, they wrote, hurts the reputations of the university as well as honest scholars who work there.

The whole thing was a critique! If they found it humiliating, that's their problem, is it not? The disciplinary action is PSU faculty and admin speaking power to truth.


This is a better criticism. There are certainly ways fake resumes could harm, from wasting time to skewing internal processes.

If I can make up a bunch of data for an absurd research project or put together some explicit nonsense like Sokal and have it pass the peer review process, what exactly is the peer review process for? What is it's scope?

No review of data, claims, or methodology? Just a political sniff? Cuz that seems closer to the truth.

Sokal's nonsense, as noted in the provided link and following citation, did not pass peer review, nor was it reviewed by an external expert.

It was a brilliant and amusing hoax, leading to fruitful discussion, such as the actual value of peer review and using external experts to verify claims.

It did not, at any point, fake data, nor commit any plagiarism. That should not be a hard distinction to make.

How was it fruitful? What changed? If anything standards are lower in postmodern influenced areas than they were before Sokal.

As usual the pedants cry out 'PROCESS' when faced with the uncomfortable situation where a valued and respected institution institutionalizes ridiculous nonsense.

I suppose they should have went to the IRB to ask permission to make fools of the whole academic structure. Sure. Maybe the IRB itself was to be a target of the study, showing how in the face of incompetence and deep rot they would make a firm stand in favor of incompetence and rottenness.

The publishing of papers in this field is simply making things up, couching it in the proper language, giving references to a long list of ridiculous statements, and then making it even more extreme to satisfy those reviewing the papers. These three did exactly what everyone else does, to the letter.

They seem to have created the desired reaction. The only thing that will keep a lid on this stupidity is if the money dries up. We will see how it goes. A good proportion of these Universities and Colleges will simply disappear over the next decade or so, and hopefully this being publicized and debates will hasten their demise.

"A good proportion of these Universities and Colleges will simply disappear over the next decade or so"


It is egregiously difficult to get rid of solitary charlatans (Lacan, eg) let alone departments, let alone faculties, let alone institutions.

I don't understand how the IRB review of Boghossian's actions is germane to the ridiculous nonsense in the journals and papers he mocked. For example, if hypothetically Kurt G. hacked into the IRS to get Trump's tax records and then published them, revealing a massive tax fraud, I think most people would agree that both "Kurt G." and Trump would be criminals. The fact that Kurt G. is guilty wouldn't make tax fraud OK, and the fact that Trump is guilty wouldn't justify hacking into the IRS. Can't the same be true here?

By the way, the dog park paper concludes by suggesting that women train men like we train dogs, using a leash and pulling on it if they misbehave. The paper was commended as excellent scholarship and received a reward.

This stuff is coming to an hr department, social services agency, school near you.

I know the social justice folks really get on your nerves -- mine too. I just happen to believe that even wingnut social justice journal editors and peer reviewers have a fair expectation not to have their time fraudulently wasted as part of some kind of "sting" research project.
Now of course you can say that everything they do is a fraudulent waste of time, and you might be right. But so what? The us-vs-them binary thinking that you cling to -- "If someone is wrong, then their ideological adversary must be right!" -- simply isn't true and isn't a healthy attitude.

Can we change "social justice" to "human potential"? You can't dismiss individuals who are trying to balance the playing field and allow opportunity to be available to everyone, even if those fail, at least they had the opportunity to try.

On #2: The mayor has already caved.

#2 All of the other conundrums aside, as a question of pure utility, which is of higher value? The poor need help but will always need help and will always be there. Continued deterioration of municipal infrastructure may lead to reduced visitors, further reduced revenue, and reduced coins being thrown into the fountain, meaning reduced help or no help for the poor anyway. I find myself siding with Raggi, although €1.5m is probably not going to help much even when extended over several decades.

#3 "When Santiago Genovés set sail across the Atlantic with 10 attractive people..." Looks at photo of said people....

Well there's your problem!!!

Jesus said something along the same line in Matthew:

…10Aware of this, Jesus asked, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful deed to Me. 11The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have Me. 12By pouring this perfume on Me, she has prepared My body for burial.…

Poverty is a relative term that really just symbolizes the extreme tail of a distribution curve. Wealth is the same thing. There's a euphemism you hear a lot that we in the USA have "the richest poor people on Earth." I actually disagree with that as I've been to some countries where it seems like poor people have it better, even though they still have poor people.

The reason why the poor will always be with us is that the distribution curve regarding any asset (any thing really) will always be with us, so someone is always going to be at that end, even if it's all relative.

There are millions of millionaires in Zimbabwe, and they're starving.

Caveat emptor: #6 depends heavily on the IAT (Implicit Association Test) which may not be as valid a diagnostic tool as originally thought.

2: Crumbling infrastructure.... is there any other kind?

Given all capital assets are subject to entropy, accounted for by depreciation, that's true based on standard physics and economics.

However, economics of capitalism calls for constant reinvestment, paying workers to fight the natural decay.

I have see economics evolve to argue paying workers costs too much, so decay is preferred because less capital, capital scarcity, creates higher and hjgher rents which creates wealth, without cost. Free lunch economics. The dominant idea in the US: paying workers costs too much, kills jobs, and destroys jobs.

In China, paying workers, paying more workers more money is virtue, based on Keynesian zero sum economics: higher costs equal higher benefits. As Keynes argued, any idle labor should be directed to building capital, until capital is no longer scarce, no one has left over money to buy or use more capital.

One might argue China has too much capital because workers fear for their future, save heavily for emergeencies or not being able to work and earn income to pay living costs. Thus they invest in capital which results in returns to capital being less than the labor costs of building capital.

But China has past peak labor force, so fewer workers will result in less investment, and profitable decaying of infrastructure. Most decaying infrastructure performs as new: the decaying bridge keeps carrying 50,000 vehicles per day until decay reaches the bridge falling in the river.

Three coins in the fountain, each one seeking marginalness ...

#2. There's something about knowing the money is going to some sort of archaic Catholic institution like a leper colony or a home for the "destitute" that adds to the charm of tossing money in that fountain. Using it to fund the government would ruin the charm and thus reduce the amount of revenue generated. A net loss for society.

The solution is simple. Divide the fountain in two. Put up signs that anything tossed on the left side goes to the church and the right to the city. Let the donors decide where they want their money to go.

I approve.
They could paint different parts of the fountain bottom different colors to indicate where the money will be donated if your coin lands there.

And then make it like a checkerboard of different charities and you have to aim correctly to get the right one.

4. A fine essay on Cowen's book. As is my wont, here is Matthew 6:34: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Thinking of the future makes me think of the past. As any good historian will tell you, the past is inaccessible to us today. Sure, a good historian can give her account of the past, but it isn't the past. We even have a name for accounts of the past that are heterodox: historical revisionism. While the past is inaccessible to us, the future is not only inaccessible but unknowable. I agree that we should place more emphasis on the future. But the future in the abstract is little more than science fiction (not coincidentally a Cowen favorite). I would make a distinction between the future and the distant future. The future would include my children and grandchildren, for whom I would sacrifice today. The distant future would include descendants that have even less relevance to me than my ancestors in the 18th and early 19th centuries. At least the former I can identify as actual people. Okay, so Cowen makes an extreme case (descendants in the distant future are as relevant as descendants alive today) in the hopes that the cut-off between the future and the distant future is farther out into the future as though it's a negotiation. To make the issue concrete, how much in income or social security and Medicare benefits would you sacrifice today for descendants in the distant future?

Social Security and Medicare are drags on growth and inefficient.

Delete Social Security and Medicare.

Excluding Social Security unemployment, of course.

Old people are drags on growth and inefficient.

Delete old people.

Excluding Congress of course.

So, paying workers is a drag on growth?

You will provide more goods and services if not paid to work producing them?

Ie, as a doctor caring for many old people, you do less work because you re paid by Medicare, and your work out would increase if you were not paid for serving old people.

Or, the number of TSA screeners and their productivity and quality has increased since the GOP and Trump decided to not pay them?

But, not to worry, the oil companies will grow faster when unpaid workers take gasoline for free, forcing oil workers to not be paid, increasing oil production and refining to increase?

...I said nothing about paying or not paying workers.

And the opportunity cost of medicare clearly isn't 'not having services rendered at all'.

My issue with medicare is that it makes the wrong people pay the wrong amount for the wrong things.

For example, making the grandkids generation pay to put grandma on a ventilator so she can die in a hospital bead after being poked with two dozen tubes connected to half a dozen beeping machines after 45 days instead of 15 at home. That torture, of course, consuming a hospital bed and the time of dozens of doctors that could be better spent -- well, in almost any other way (including nose-picking and navel gazing).

TSA is security theater and a jobs program. I'm not sure why you're even bringing them or the GOP or Trump up. Or oil companies.

So ES wants death panels. I agree, we need 'em. But that's what we get called, death-panel-mongers.

There are only three kinds of people.

People who are doing the best they can (I have met one or two per year, at most, and I meet an awful lot of people).

People who believe they are doing the best they can.

And people who honestly say to themselves that they are not all that concerned about others.

This trilateral observation, when properly understood, simplifies most social account questions.

"here is Matthew 6:34": oh no it isn't. 'Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof': that's the real McCoy. You'll not convert many atheists with that dreary Town Council English. At least I hope you won't.

Atheists are converted by angels not by people like you and me.

Seen any angels lately? when your answer to that question changes you are no longer an atheist.

It is easier than you think to convert an atheist: some of us are trying our hardest, some of us believe we are doing our best, and others of us know that we are not all that concerned.

Bet you can't guess which of the three groups I belong to!

And, as usual, the question was too difficult to be answered.

Or was it?

Here is a hint - do you ever wonder why someone who could be doing better things with their life spends time writing eloquent anonymous replies on internet comment threads that, let us be honest, are akin to bulletin boards of old in the basement corridors at good but not great colleges? Those basement bulletin boards we all remember, just as we remember the janitorial staff and how well the buffed the linoleum, that was so clean all those nights when Nobody updated the bulletin boards, where we had hoped for so much information ..... under the fluorescent lights, pretending that we did not care, because after all who cares about someone who is interested in the basement bulletin boards of the social science building at even the best of universities, much less at the others ....?

(try and write like that, and you can)

(and if I had not, again and again, been insulted in these comment threads, I would write a few hundred words about the disconnection between the beautiful reality of truth, as found in the world of truth, as compared to discussions thereof, without any recognition of what poor little truth, unloved by most but sweeter than sunset and sunrise and the recognition that all of us can have millions of descendants .... and should have millions of descendants ..... well, maybe I could write hundreds of words, maybe not, but I could at least write ten or twenty words about what TRUTH and reality are actually all about, discussions similar to (but of course limited discussions, this is not a revival meeting - or is it) that type of discussion at the best schools ever - FFS I could talk for 20 minutes on the errors of the Sorbonne in its first century when confronted with the reality of the world as created by the God they believed in so correctly but so unartfully, I could enchant you for an hour on a subway from Harlem to Coney Beach, discussing everything that the "greats" like Nabokov and Bellow misunderstood about this wonderful country in which they were only guests, I could convince you that the pursuit of a degree in philosophy was beneath you EVEN IF you had access to the best recommendations from the best of the best in ANY COUNTRY except, say, Poland, or some similar country, and probably even Poland .....)
but Plamus thinks I am stupid, and nobody stepped up to defend me, so Plamus thinks he won the argument, and those thousands of insightful words will not appear here.

It is no small thing to be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world.

God loves us, and there are not that many of us I did not know that before I studied math and prime numbers and so on , but I understand it now.

Guess again - which group do I belong to?

Seen any angels lately?

I have.

try and write like that and you can

If you read this before the barbarian interns deleted it consider yourself lucky.

If you think anybody but Joyce, who was not all that brilliant, was brilliant , read all the second-rate pastiches of Finnegans Wake, not a single one of them worth your time. Nobody who really cares about words and about reality would have embarrassed themselves that badly (as those people who wrote lousy pastiches of FInnegans Wake) : there is so much mediocrity in this world, the trick is to see the moments when mediocrity shifts, unaware of itself, into genius.

Or: the passages in the Bible you once read and which once seemed to make sense

actually made sense

it is your fault that you forgot

to love your friends as much as God loves them.

If you read this before the barbarian interns deleted it consider yourself lucky.

I am not brilliant but I always say what I mean, so there's that.

I always say what I mean

and I mean this

you never forgot to try and care about those you love as much as God does

I remember. I was the same way too when I was young, and I never forgot.

delete away young barbarians

Seen any angels lately ?

I have

in Fairfax County alone, a few dozen

tell yourself "that was a bot"

or exclaim to yourself "wow dude what in the world was that"

embrace mediocrity

remember this is 2018 and there is no way eternity matters

this is 2018 and there is no way eternity matters!

(just kidding, this is not 2018 and eternity matters and, in fact, when you think about it, only in light of eternity does what I have said make sense ---
and it does make sense, my young friends (every single one of you is younger than me, even the emeritus professors ---- trust me)

3. The 70s were just about the most awesome period in history. Sigh.

Is it the ubiquitous second-hand smoke, the terrible dentistry, or the rampant sexual harassment that appeals to you the most?

if I have to choose I'll go with rampant sexual harassment. Sometimes that's the only way to let an autistic person know that you're interested.

She misses the 88% Whiteness.

I think a TV aficionado such as yourself would find the 70s trying, actually. Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart amounted to less than an hour. People filled a lot of time with something called "variety shows."

Mother doesn't throw much away. A little questionnaire, circa first grade. In response to 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' I wrote: "I want to be a superstar like Carol Burnett."

OT- did you see Carol Burnett at the Golden Globes? She was never an attractive woman, but she looks amazing at 85, especially compared to some of those freaks.

I didn't see that show, but I think she's marvelous. Her life is one of those many useful exhibits (if only for the maintenance of one's own sanity) when celebrities talk about how very, very hard things are for them just at present.

Carol Burnett was totally hot in her 40s.

I remember.

You see, she had good hygiene, she could laugh, she could dance, and she looked like she would enjoy a good meal, and looked like she would be a good mother.

What, for God's sake, what more could you want to be if you are a woman, or what more could you want in a wife if you are a man?

The question answers itself.

I have no doubt that television sucked in the 1970s. However, TV back then was pretty heavily regulated by the government to excise all the crazy, fun, innovative, social experimentation that was going on - of which this raft trip is an example. The 1970s was a time of tremendous innovation and creativity, including in film, but you wouldn't know it from watching 1970s TV.

Incidentally I finally got around to watching 'The Holy Mountain' (1973) and I loved it. It actually has a counter-intuitively level-headed message which an atheist libertarian would approve of.

Come now, the 70's had some awesome moments. Star Wars, disco, the Mars Landers, the eradification of small pox, microwave ovens, VCRs, the birth of the PC, calculators, the Atari 2600, video arcades.

"Is it the ubiquitous second-hand smoke"

That's not the way I remember it. Smoking was so prevalent that everyone was a smoker, some of us were just freeloading.

The sexual revolution. Dramatically increased tolerance of gays. Punk rock. Funk.

Miniskirts. Platform shoes. Lava Lamps.


That was the 80s. AIDS killed the sexual revolution and made sex scary again.

We don't... do the same drugs no more...

What society really needs today is a few gallons of LSD in the water supply.

LSD should definitely be high on the list of next drugs to be legalized.

70s is mostly interlude between the awesomeness of the 80s and the not too shabby late 60s. Check out any list of musical or cinematic innovation - the genres invented in the 60s (and funk is one) and 80s will make your pulse pop, and the 70s not so much. Same thing for clothes and music (with an honorable pass to a very few late 70s that really feel like they should be in the 80s).

Another win for moderate Republicans today.

Thanks to the courts it is now illegal to include a citizenship question on the US census.

The liberal battlecry "Less information is more"

I don't really understand. Isn't that "moderate" Bret Stephens' mantra - immigrants and their children are the real Americans, native-born are the undeserving scum? So it seems like they'd welcome the question so as to begin getting a count of real Americans, and where they live, for the purpose of crafting policy.

#6: is it because obesity has become a class marker?

I thank you President Captain Bolsonaro for having delivered us from Marxism-Leninism.

#1 Kids propose moonshots because they don't know better. Senior scientists are more measured because they have a reputation to protect. The unwashed masses are impressed by moonshots.

#3... "He had been researching the connection between violence and sexuality in monkeys. “Most conflicts,” he noted, “are about sexual access to ovulating females.”

How romantic. The Sex Raft. Another excellent idea that turned sour in the execution. He could have just watched The Love Boat.

#4...The tone of the review was uncalled for. It's a version of "British Smarty Pants." Let's hope Cato issues an apology forthwith.

#6, sadly, implicit association is kind of garbage tho.

I read her "Straussian reading" of the book (maybe this week "Straussian" means - "we're acquaintances, so my review isn't actually as dismissive as it appears"?:

"So much for premises. Now let us look at Cowen’s conclusions. What does he think we ought to do, given that the most important practical considerations are profoundly inaccessible to us? The answer is to follow common sense morality, be loyal to your friends and family, stay healthy, guard against nuclear war, work to preserve currently existing social and political institutions, respect human rights, protect the environment, be a productive member of society, use leisure time to enjoy cultural pursuits or intellectual endeavors or sports or travel—he is a pluralist about value. So, roughly speaking: as you were!"

Even after all this time of reading his blog, I am unclear whether Tyler believes the listed prescriptions for maximizing the good are on such firm ground that they can indeed be effectively summarized with "as you were."

I HATE the way this website *marginalizes* anyone in the social service sector. Get over yourself, people!!!

4: While it is correct to observe that human decision-making is often arbitrary, confused, and done under uncertainty, i.e. not using good principles of "decision science", I'm unimpressed with the Vegemite Principle at least as described in the article.

Sure, we can't in advance know with certainty if we'll like something like Vegemite or not. But we're not in a state of total ignorance as the Vegemite Principle seems to claim. And despite the barriers to good decision-making, we can make pretty decently informed and sometimes even rational decisions about whether we'll like the Vegemite-smeared toast or the mushroom omelet better. And maybe even decisions whether to have a child or not.

You could come and talk at UIUC as well!

Comments for this post are closed