Quotes & Links #63

1) marginalrevolution.com: Claims about embryos

2) induecourse.ca: Response to Tabarrok

American political theorists are basically fiddling while Rome burns, talking about pie-in-the-sky versions of democracy, when they can’t even figure out how to keep crazy people out of positions of significant power.

His post reminds me of the “vicious cycle” mentioned in “Why Nations Fail” and how hard it is to exit it once it has started. Maybe the US and many other European countries have moved to extractive institutions over the last three decades? Maybe it’s too late to stop it? Maybe it’s very hard to stop because most people won’t acknowledge it? Maybe it’s bullshit. Hard to judge.

To simplify greatly: IQ is basically about the quality of your hardware, while rationality is about the software you’re running. Too many people think that, because their hardware is so great, they don’t have to worry about what sort of software they’re running. Big mistake.

Hah, interesting analogy. Will buy the book as soon as possible (=I have money).

3) marginalrevolution.com: Is Capitalism Making Us Stupid?

4) vox.com: 2 political scientists have found the secret to partisanship, and it’s deeply depressing

It’s worth saying that a bit more clearly: you’re more likely to vote Democratic if you hate Republicans than if you love Democrats, and vice versa.

Kind of is depressing, but beware of the man with one study. ;)

5) npr.org: Thoughts Can Fuel Some Deadly Brain Cancers

Last year, Monje and a team of researchers showed that the cells responsible for myelination began to grow rapidly in response to high levels of brain activity. “That was an intriguing finding and it was consistent with our idea that activity in the brain, thinking, planning, using your brain, might be promoting the cancer arising within it,” she says.

The article is better than the headline.

6) overcomingbias.com: Financial Status

7) theguardian.com: As a German, I’m amazed at this election. You obsess over selfies but ignore big issues like Europe
An interesting perspective, although a bit too anecdotal for my taste.

8) thisisnthappiness.com/: Pruduce, Wright Kitchen

9) fivethirtyeight.com: Women’s College Basketball Is Better Than Men’s

While virtually all the best female players of college age are playing college basketball, only a fraction of the best male players are.

10) nature.com: Statistics: P values are just the tip of the iceberg
While I agree with the general sentiment of the story most students do learn how to look at many different numbers to assess the validity of the presented claims.

11) vox.com: How wedding dresses got so expensive and roast chickens got so cheap

12) fccj.or.jp: On My Watch

It could become a problem because Japan’s new elites have a hard time dealing with opposing views or criticism, which is very likely to continue in the foreign media.

A foreign correspondent talks about the (perceived) changes in Japan.

13) washingtonpost.com/monkey-cage: The solution to lobbying is more lobbying

The types of organized interests we might expect to provide a countervailing force to business — labor unions, groups representing diffuse publics like consumers or taxpayers – now spend $1 for every $34 business spends on lobbying, by my count. That’s up from a 1-to-22 ratio in 1998. Of the 100 organizations that spend the most on lobbying annually, consistently 95 represent business.

14) supplysideliberal.com: Teleotheism and the Purpose of Life

Traditional Christian theology, put into a hard science fiction straightjacket, is like the idea that we are all software programs inside a superbeing’s computer. […]
Mormon theology, put into a hard science fiction straightjacket, is reminiscent of the idea that we are watched over by benevolent aliens from an advanced civilization.

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