photo blog_head_zpsfscr4tie.jpg
More adventurous than the average bear

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Links - 3rd January 2018 (3)

Cities | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "Identifying vacancies in China is really really hard. In part because we don't always trust all the official statistics. I mean the usual number is about one fifth of the Chinese housing stock is empty... [In the US] one to two percent for single family detached housing, as much as ten percent for rentals. But those rentals are being flipped... In Shanghai and Beijing they are empty because people have bought them and left them empty. In many third and fourth tier cities they're empty because the developers have built them and they can't sell them and nobody is making them sell them. They are allowed to sit on them forever...
They they built the cities without any infrastructure so you've got housing but you don't have health care, you don't have education, you don't have transportation. So you basically are like you said putting people in prisons...
You've probably read in the news that bees are dying nationwide. That's because of agricultural chemicals, bee diseases and habitat loss. But bees are doing somewhat better in cities compared to the countryside especially. Urban behaves make more honey, they survive the year better and they're actually more biodiverse, meaning there's more species of bees in cities than their surrounding countryside... The pesticide levels found in beehives in cities and then all around Massachusetts... there were pesticides all over Massachusetts: in the city, in the countryside and in the suburbs. It wasn't less pesticides in the cities as we predicted...
City mayors when they flip just narrowly from Republican to Democrat and it turns out that they do exactly the same things and it comes down ultimately to this utter pragmatism which is required to lead a great city. There's this old story that Mayor, it was then it was Mayor Lindsey of New York with Mayor Daley of Chicago. They were talking about at this conference of mayors and Lindsey was giving an impassioned speech about how the Vietnam War was wrong and how it was terrible and was all about foreign policy and sits down and this gruff old big Chicago pol leans over and says: you do know your job is to take out the trash don't you?...
We look for the out houses when we take an archaeological site because that's where everyone threw their garbage and archaeology is essentially the study of trash... we actually have archaeological digs in Boston brothels and they're incredibly interesting... we found vaginal syringes... they were used to administer STD medication"

Family Matters | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "There are some countries where first cousin marriage is the norm in fact. In the United Arab Emirates or in Pakistan sixty percent or upwards of marriages are between first cousins...
'What is then the typical relatedness of American spouses?'
'Well for white non Hispanic couples they're as related as first cousins once removed... if you factor out shared ancestry like a tendency for Polish Americans to marry other Polish Americans and so forth then you get down to second cousin effect of similarity. So there's some je ne sais quoi that is drawing us to people who are genetically similar to each other, to us and when we look at specific genetic signatures like the genes for educational success or the genes for height, we're even more similar to our spouses so for education we're like first cousins and for height we're like half siblings'... For all the other phenotypes - outcomes we measure like how much schooling do you have or your level of depression or risk for Alzheimer's or diabetes. The similarity between spouses on the actual outcome is higher than the genetic similarity for that outcome... we're less correlated on our actual heights than we are on the genetics of height so obviously there's something else that's associated with height like general health status or something that we're sorting on more than the actual height itself...
I interviewed the head of Cousin Couples. This is a group that's lobbying to make first cousin marriage legal in all fifty states cos right now it's illegal in twenty four and they see it, is like marriage equality. Gay marriage fight part two... if you ban them from marriage because of genetic defect, what do you do about two people who are not related at all but who both have the Alzheimer's gene? How do you argue that that should be illegal?...
Who are the least helpful family members in a horror film?... because lots of horror films tend to be teen oriented the people who tend to be most helpful in terms of family members tend to be the family members who are closest in age to the protagonist. So it's usually brothers and sisters who can sort of band together and share the conflict and vanquish the aggressor... Grandparents can give advice provide some help in a limited way but they're usually too physically weak to make it through the whole ordeal... the least helpful family members - that is the parents... remarkably consistent in being either too little too late or just absent entirely...
Teen protagonists need to be able to prove themselves without their parents"

Extra 2: Meet the Senator Who Wants to Start an Evidence-Based Revolution | Tell Me Something I Don't Know - "I think that he went into a little bit of politician speak there... I heard Al Franken do an interview and he said that strategy of most politicians is to be as boring as possible, cos you don't want to be quoted. You don't want to be quoted except on your talking points"

BBC Radio 4 - Moral Maze, Political Discourse - "Insults are a very important part, a valuable part of British political tradition. I'm much more worried about the degradation of politics by things like shallow thinking and untruth...
'There are things that should not be said. Some phrases that should not be used. Some insults that should not be heard precisely when we most feel like using them. They're no good otherwise'
'I think the worst insults, the most toxic debate has actually come from the establishment itself. And if you look at the way in which Leave voters are talked about, it's absolutely horrific. In relation to Brexit. They are stupid, they are racist, they are xenophobes, they have lizard brains. I mean all of these things have been said in the mainstream establishment press. Similar things have been said about Trump supporters. They are obnoxious, they are fascists, they are unintelligent, they are low information - that's the PC phrase for stupid. That's where the most toxic terminology is coming from and if people respond in kind we cannot be surprised by that...
The people who shout loudest about toxicity in politics are as toxic in the way that they deal with their opponents...
Why is the focus on language? And so I'm asking myself what lies behind the focus on language. I'm not saying language isn't important. It's absolutely central to self expression and words really matter. No shrink is going to say words don't matter but what is going on at the moment is very curious indeed. I think there is something going on which is about control by the wretched elites that we're all thinking about or hearing talked about, about what is allowed and what is not allowed...
'When he said well I'm a bit perplexed about this question about whether or not violent discourse begets violent action, well just look at a history book... and you will see there is no particular, there is no question about this. It is pretty clear that violent discourse generally speaking is a precursor to violence'
'I think that is overly simplistic, you keep urging us to be nuanced and the idea that it's language that created fascism or indeed led to the Russian Revolution I think completely - I'd say read a history book.
'It misses the point of the, of ideas having traction rather than the language in which they're used. Again it's a confusion of the style and the substance''

2303 WW1 Artillery | The History Network on acast - "Artillery came of age during the First World War. Seventy five percent of the known casualties were caused by artillery fire. As a measure of its importance in nineteen fourteen, twenty percent of the French army were artilleryman. By nineteen eighteen this had risen to thirty eight percent"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Upper Crust? - "You have folks who would never at least not publicly use racial or class derogatory language, feel perfectly comfortable critiquing the behaviors of poor or people of color based on their dietary choices or their bodily shape. And there's a way in which that seems like it's okay to do because it's an objective scientific critique...
The whiter the bread is the more expensive it is until you get to the high socio economic level where then the brown bread becomes more expensive...
There is quite an history of a food punditry in the United States at least is a history of moralizing about individual food choices. And the idea that if we could only change what people eat we could somehow change society for the better. Typically though that moralizing about food choices doesn't end up making society better, in fact it ends up reinforcing hierarchies of difference"

Hardcore History 60 The Celtic Holocaust - "At one point Caesar says the men in the garrison decide they're going to try to slip out and get to Vercingetorix's army, live to fight another day. The problem is is that that town contains not just those warriors but their families too and Caesar says their attempt to sneak out you know without alerting the Romans was foiled when the women started screaming and crying. When they realized the men were leaving, begging and beseeching them not to leave them to the fate of falling into the hands of the Romans. Sort of screwed up their plan. They alerted the enemy because they were so loud... it's better to save at least the warriors than to have everyone die right?... out of a population of forty thousand Caesar says about eight hundred survived. The Romans killed everyone: man, woman, child, old, infirmed - everything"

How Big is My Penis? (And Other Things We Ask Google) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "The top search that starts [with] “my husband wants” in India is “my husband wants me to breastfeed him.”...
I did a couple of studies. I said, “Does anxiety rise after terrorist attacks?” You could see Google searches for anxiety in places after a terrorist attack. They don’t seem to rise. You could say like, “Does anxiety rise when Donald Trump is elected?” Everyone’s saying they’re anxious. There’s no rise in anxiety there, so that changes how we think about society...
STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: With African-Americans, there’s pretty much one word that is searched more than every other potentially racist word.
DUBNER: I can think of one word that Hillary has been called a lot. That would probably get you fairly far. No?
STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: The issue with sexism is that a lot of the negative words are also porn searches...
DUBNER: If we asked people how frequently they have sex, what do you think they would say?
STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ: Men will say about one-and-a-half times a week. And women will say about once a week... They’ll be exaggerating how often they’re having sex... I did this comparison The General Social Survey asks men and women how frequently they have sex and whether they use a condom. If you do the math on that, then American men say they use 1.6 billion condoms in heterosexual sexual encounters. American women use 1.1 billion condoms in heterosexual sexual encounters. Obviously, those — by definition — have to be the same, right? You know already that someone’s lying. But then I got data from Nielsen on how many condoms are sold every year in the United States and only 600 million condoms are sold every year. That doesn’t mean that they’re lying about how much how much sex they’re having. That might just be having more unprotected sex. But if you actually look at the best math on how frequently people get pregnant, if people are having as much unprotected sex as they say they’re having, there would be more pregnancies every year in the United States... [the rate of exaggeration is] Three to one for men, and two to one for women...
The top three Googled complaints about male partners are that he talks, twitches, and jerks in his sleep. The top three Googled complaints about female partners are that she talks, farts, and masturbates in her sleep."

The Fracking Boom, a Baby Boom, and the Retreat From Marriage - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "I am perfectly comfortable saying that it looks like being born to two, or living with two married parents is beneficial for kids. I know a lot of academics, they don’t want to say that, right? Because it sounds really socially conservative and preachy. But what’s really interesting is if you think of how higher-educated, higher-income parents are behaving, they are still almost entirely having children inside of marriage. Both parents are investing an extraordinary amount of financial resources, time and energy into their kids. In some sense, it’s a luxury to be able to say, “I don’t want to make social commentary like that.” Well, that’s because the kids of higher-educated, higher-income parents — they’re doing extremely well. But the kids who are being born to less-educated single moms, they are falling farther and farther behind. To not be honest about that — I don’t think that’s doing anybody any favors, even if it’s politically more comfortable...
DUBNER: Wow. So a coal boom produced more marriage, more kids and fewer kids born to unmarried moms; whereas a fracking boom produced more kids, but no more marriage and a lot more kids born to unmarried moms?
KEARNEY: Yeah. Equal proportion increase in married and nonmarried births in the fracking boom. We speculate that this suggests that social context is really important to determining the response to economic changes... As an economist when I’ve been asked, in policy contexts in the past few years, “What would it take to halt the retreat of marriage among less-educated populations?” My answer’s always been, “We need to see the economic situation of less educated men improve.” Now when I’m asked, “What’s going to help?” Now I have no idea. If it’s not just about economics, but if it’s about quote-unquote ‘culture’ or ‘social norms,’ that’s a lot harder to deal with...
Now there’s been two schools of thought on that. One is, “The marriage ship has sailed. Now we need to adjust to this new reality that many kids in this country — in particular many low-income or minority children — are going to grow up without the benefit of living in a two-parent household. What is our social contract going to be? We need to potentially increase safety-net resources or just make sure that those kids have more resources”... all of our tax and transfer programs actually explicitly financially penalize marriage. At the very least, we could make our tax and transfer system marriage-neutral.
The reluctance to talk about the worse outcomes, and the promotion of single parent families - more examples of how being politically correct hurts people
If you need to direct more resources towards children in single parent families, one can see that as a cost to society - and thus something that a responsible government should avoid - unless you think you'll never run out of other people's money and that other people will always be happy to pay
Though much maligned, Singapore's approach of not making single parenthood a cultural norm has merits


BBC World Service - The Documentary, The Origins of the American Dream, The Origins of the American Dream - "In nineteen fourteen a journalist named Walter Lippmann wrote a book called Drift and Mastery. It's virtually forgotten now but it contains within it the earliest known use of the phrase 'the American dream' to mean a general collective American ideal. Lippmann described what he called America's fear economy of unbridled capitalism suggesting that America's dream of endless progress would need to be restrained because it was a fantasy and a distraction:
'The American temperament leans generally to a kind of mystical anarchism, in which the natural humanity in each man is adored as the savior of society. If only you let men alone they'll be good a typical American reformer said to me the other day. He believed as most Americans do in the unsophisticated man. In his basic kindliness and his instinctive practical sense. A critical outlook seemed to the reformer an inhuman one; he distrusted the appearance of the expert; he believed that whatever faults the common man might show were due to some kind of Machiavellian corruption. He had the American dream, which may be summed up, I think, in the statement that the undisciplined man is the salt of the earth'...
The KKK had completely died out by the turn of the twentieth century. But in nineteen fifteen everything changed when a film was released called Birth of a Nation as Kevin Cruz explains. "It tells a story that is largely false, one in which northern white and southern whites come together to believe that they have a common enemy now. And the common enemy are freed blacks in the south. That they're out of control and that these whites need to put aside their differences from the Civil War and come to make common cause to put down this new internal threat. And in this story the Ku Klux Klan is the hero"...
It was screened at the White House by President Woodrow Wilson, a segregationist who had first campaigned under the slogan America First. Before long the KKK had adopted that phrase as well as many photos of Klan rallies from the nineteen twenties attest...
Calvin Coolidge famously says that the chief business of America is business and he elevates business essentially to the status of a religion. He says in one address that the man who builds a factory builds a temple. The man who works there worships there and he and other leaders of the country at the time really do make businessmen out to be a set of messiahs who will deliver all that Americans need
If compulsory education had racist roots maybe some people would be opposing it today

Replace Christopher Columbus With The Artist Formerly Known As Prince? - "Maybe Columbus was an innocent immigrant, who came here for opportunity and freedom, fleeing an oppressive monarchy and aggressively religious theocracy back home. When he got here, the evil nativist, nationalist Indians tried to close their borders to him, and deport him with violence. Who were they to create borders from thin air, and claim people shouldn’t cross them? Red-skinned fascists, are what they were."

Half of Swedish police trainees are women - "The autumn term at the Swedish National Police Academy has begun and more women than ever before are are starting their training to be police officers. This year, 44% of the new intake are female... "We've had a steady increase in the number applying to the police course," said Marie Andersson, who is the head of recruitment at the National Police Board. "In January 2002, 3,300 applied, of which 34% were women. In August this year, the applications had almost doubled and the number of women had increased to 36%.""
If a larger proportion of trainees are female than those who apply...

3 Swedish police officers (all women) unable to detain lone refugee - YouTube

Arabs Are Prominent in Israel’s Government
- "“I am Israeli,” says Issawi Frej, an Arab member of the Knesset (MK). “I am a citizen here. I want to be here.” The Meretz-party representative also tells me: “The American people don’t understand that there are 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs who live inside Israel, and who are Israelis with rights. Americans think about the Palestinian Authority only, and no one thinks about us.”... Frej, the eldest of a dozen children and father of seven, is one of twelve Arab MKs. They and other Arabs hold prominent posts in Israel’s courts, diplomatic corps, and armed forces... While these Arab MKs’ comments may rankle most Israelis and their American friends, such dissent confirms Israel’s status as an open and vibrant constitutional republic, unlike so many closed dictatorships in this chronically diseased neighborhood... Arabs excel in Israel’s military, some even as generals. Lieutenant Colonel Magdi Mazarib is an Islamic member of Israel’s 260,000-strong Bedouin Arab minority. He also is the Israel Defense Force’s top-ranking tracker. Many of the IDF’s 1,655 Bedouins use their nomadic skills to detect infiltrators along Israel’s borders, especially in the north. They can inspect rocks and sand and determine where and when a foe has trespassed... Though Israel’s Jews and Arabs clash, they also cooperate far more than most journalists admit. In his Ramadan greetings last July, Prime Minister Netanyahu described his country’s Muslim citizens as an “integral part of Israeli society.” He also said he attaches ”great importance” to their “role and contribution to the economy and in all aspects of life in Israel.”"
If Israel is doing ethnic cleansing, it's failing miserably at it
blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes