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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Links - 27th June 2018 (1)

Relationship attachment style changes with age - "There’s a reason the majority of these survey-takers scored so high on the anxiety axis and generally seem to be insecure about their relationships: They’re young... Chopik argues that we can largely attribute these changes simply to people staying in serious relationships. As we age, we tend to more deeply invest in the roles of partnership—and that changes our interpersonal behaviors and personalities. The emotional bonds developed by maintaining a family make an individual feel more secure"

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever - "After the conference was over, APS was politely asked never to return—not just by the MGM Grand, but by the entire city of Las Vegas... the week of the '86 APS April meeting found the gaming floor almost completely empty, leaving the casino with its record-low take; in the (probably apocryphal) words of one casino waitress: "They each brought one shirt and a ten-dollar bill, and changed neither."... The MGM Grand learned a lesson the hard way that week: Physicists do not play dice."

Stephen King: The clowns ‘are pissed at me’ - "Edward C. Dugan, a Berkeley-based performer who, for more than 30 years, has donned colorful makeup and gone by the name Ollie the Clown, is also predicting a fresh wave of clown-related prejudice as the film’s release nears. “I definitely think it affects people, and I do, in fact, blame people who are involved with that culture,” he said. “It’s a cultural thing.”... Dugan said he’s sort of mentally preparing himself for the debut of “It”."

The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized - "the most talented individuals were rarely the most successful. In general, mediocre-but-lucky people were much more successful than more-talented-but-unlucky individuals. The most successful agents tended to be those who were only slightly above average in talent but with a lot of luck in their lives... "both in terms of the quantity of papers produced and of their scientific impact, the concentration of research funding in the hands of a so-called 'elite' of researchers generally produces diminishing marginal returns."

This innovative home chef made wine in his Instant Pot — seriously

San Francisco is losing more residents than any other city in the US, creating a shortage of U-Hauls that puts a rental at $2,000 just to move to Las Vegas - "it costs $2,000 to rent a truck from San Jose to Las Vegas – but only costs $100 the other way around, according to local news reporter Michelle Robertson from SFGate. In fact, it costs twice as much to rent a truck from San Jose to almost any other destination city than to rent the same vehicle in the opposite direction... the recent tax reform has made life even more expensive for residents, pushing entrepreneurs (and their ideas) towards fast-growing metros. Others, like Peter Thiel, who can afford the price to live there, have attributed their move to a more left-leaning and less tolerant cultural atmosphere that leaves little room for freedom of opinion."

Here is one correlation between state gun laws and mass shootings - "states that have enacted magazine restrictions are associated with fewer mass shooting events... Giffords' shooter had a high-capacity magazine clip that held at least 30 rounds. When he stopped to reload, he was tackled and stopped. Had he needed to stop shooting earlier, advocates argue, there may have been fewer victims... Experts in public health and gun violence say that while more research is needed, the data thus far suggests that high-capacity magazine regulations have the potential to be an effective deterrent to these types of violent events"

Anti-flash gear - Wikipedia - "The purpose of anti-flash gear is to provide protection to the head, neck, face and hands from short-duration flame exposure and heat. This equipment is donned by all shipboard personnel whenever a fire breaks out or during periods of heightened readiness"
Aka white masks worn by navy people

Objectivity and realms of explanation in academic journal articles concerning sex/gender: a comparison of Gender studies and the other social sciences - "Gender studies (GS) has been challenged on epistemological grounds. Here, we compare samples of peer-reviewed academic journal publications written by GS authors and authors from closely related disciplines in the social sciences... Statements in GS publications did to a greater extent express bias and normativity, but not political activism. They did also to a greater extent consider cultural, environmental, social, and societal realms of explanation, and to a lesser extent biological and individual differences explanations"

Is Singapore funding its rising social spending the right way? - "the IMF computed an overall Singapore government fiscal balance that was roughly four to seven percentage points of GDP higher than what the government presented. In other words, if the IMF’s approach is accepted, the Singapore government’s starting fiscal position is vastly stronger than the government suggests. Unlike most other countries, Singapore has the luxury of a massive hoard of savings, which yields a sizeable flow of investment income... is there anything inherently wrong about depending more on investment income as a source of revenue? Our view is that, so long as the source of the investment income is stable and secure, there is no reason not to use more of it — at a judicious pace so that our revenue sources remain quite diversified and we do not depend disproportionately on it. Moreover, it can also be argued that there are some advantages to using investment income instead of tax revenues to fund spending... nothing works better than diversification, transparency and a robust system of checks and balances. It is not clear that we have achieved this. It is probably advisable to have the reserves managed by a diverse set of managers rather than one — GIC... It is also vital to have substantial transparency in the management of the reserves as Norway does. It would be harder for any malfeasance to occur if key elements of the management of the reserves are constantly in the public domain and subject to independent investigation and verification. The current practice where citizens do not even know the size of the assets or the annual returns from those assets is highly inadvisable and almost an invitation to disaster in the long term... using more investment income might actually be superior to raising taxes. After all, taxes of any kind impose a deadweight loss on society. Most taxes, be they income- or consumption-based, cause losses. Income taxes reduce incentive to work and increase the incentive to find distorting ways to make the income less exposed to taxes. Consumption-based taxes reduce spending power and so depress consumer welfare. Worse still, consumption-based taxes tend to be regressive since the lower-income groups spend proportionately more of their incomes than richer ones. Of course, the Singapore government is right to say that this regressivity can be offset through schemes such as GST vouchers. But if we can achieve our revenue targets without having to resort to a regressive tax in the first place, would that not be preferable? Another argument for using investment income instead of GST to fund old age-related spending is that it is more equitable to use income from the accumulated savings of the older generation to pay for their expenditures than to tax the current generation. In addition, because Singapore has such an unusually high savings rate, it has massive current account surpluses, amounting to double-digit shares of GDP in the past decade. Given such high savings, it is not necessary for the government to pile on even more savings by conserving investment income while taxing Singaporeans. In Singapore’s case, there are -other reasons to avoid the GST: In the context of an economy where there is an extraordinarily high profit share of GDP, is it appropriate that households bear a higher proportion of taxation than corporates?... What is the optimal savings rate for a country like Singapore? Savings is not an end in itself; it is the welfare of the citizens that is the end. Simply accumulating savings continuously is not the right thing to do — the right approach is to look holistically at all the determinants of welfare and then decide an optimal savings rate. The thrust of the discussion above essentially leans to a view that Singapore is probably already saving enough and may even have exceeded the optimal savings rate"

Drivers now deployed on Singapore's driverless MRT trains to improve reliability - "NEL was the world's first driverless heavy-rail system when it opened in 2003... Observers said the manning of driverless trains was one reason why the NEL was the most reliable line in the first three quarters of last year, clocking nearly one million kilometres between technical problems. That is more than twice as reliable as the Circle Line. A driver on board a train will be able to, for instance, execute a push-out - using one train to push a disabled one out of the way - immediately. With a driverless system, a driver has to make his way to the unmanned train, which takes time... Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan had set a network-wide target of one million kilometres between problems by 2020 - more than double the current level of reliability. Mr Khaw had benchmarked this against Hong Kong's MTR system, which had over 600,000km between breakdowns. Then, he raised the target, by benchmarking it against the Taipei Metro, which achieved 800,000km between glitches. The metro systems in both countries are largely manned."

Intelligent people more at risk of mental illness, study finds - "A team of US researchers surveyed 3,715 members of American Mensa with an IQ higher than 130. An “average IQ score” or “normal IQ score” can be defined as a score between 85 and 115... While 10 per cent of the general population were diagnosed with anxiety disorder, that rose to 20 per cent among the Mensa community"

Is Yishun jinxed - or merely misunderstood? - "There are other neighbourhoods with a higher ratio of preventable crimes, specifically snatch theft, robbery, housebreaking, theft of motor vehicle and outrage of modesty. In 2015, Orchard’s crime rate was 11.7 percentage points higher than Yishun’s. And out of Singapore’s 28 estates, Yishun ranked 13th, behind the likes of Changi, Geylang, Rochor and Marine Parade...
“Yishun has one of the lower national income (profiles) compared to other housing estates. And in general, people tend to perceive lower-income neighbourhoods as associated with higher crime rates, for example”"

Weatherwatch: Estonia's ice roads break all normal safety rules - "While most roads have an upper speed limit, and some have a lower speed limit, there are some unusual roads in Estonia with a middle limit. You can only drive at less than 25kph or more than 40kph. Anything in between could be extremely dangerous. The speed limits apply on Estonia’s seasonal ice roads laid out across the frozen sea. For most of the year these routes are traversed by ferries. While the ice is normally thick enough to support vehicles, there is a particular danger between 25 and 40kph, because the motion of the car can produce a wave in the ice resembling the bow wave of a ship. Carry on for too long in this speed range, and the wave becomes powerful enough to crack the ice, with disastrous consequences. Other special safety rules are a mandatory separation of 250m between vehicles, and a prohibition on wearing seat belts. You may need to get out of the car quickly."

The False Flag Delusion - "While many people believe at least one conspiracy (42% of people without a high school education believe in at least one conspiracy theory, compared to 23% of people with a post-graduate degree), there is a minority of people who believe every conspiracy, even when they are mutually exclusive. For them, rejecting the mainstream explanation is the important thing, not the details of the conspiracy itself. Researchers have correlated certain psychological features with belief in many conspiracies, which gives some insight into the conspiracy phenomenon. People are more likely to believe in a conspiracy after they have suffered a loss. This suggests that conspiracy thinking is in part a defense mechanism, a way to perceive possible threats, or to relieve cognitive dissonance. We lost our job not because of some failure on our part or just bad luck, but because we are victims of a conspiracy. Another study finds that conspiracy theorists want to feel special – that they are part of a privileged elite group that have the ability to see through the veil and know the truth... The point is not that there are no conspiracies, but that conspiracy thinking is a pathological and often delusional process that leads to a false belief in bizarre and often grand conspiracies that are not supported by logic or evidence. The “grand conspiracy” is one that is so large it could not feasibly exist. It requires a level of coordination, sophistication, and control that is simply not possible. Such grand conspiracies would collapse under their own weight in a short amount of time. But most importantly, what needs to be recognized about conspiracy thinking is that it is logically pathological, because it is a way of assuming a conclusion, and then using belief in the conspiracy itself to rationalize all evidence or lack of evidence. Conspiracy thinking is confirmation bias on steroids... Any problems with their logic or evidence are then covered over with even more conspiracy thinking. The conspiracy, for this reason, tends to get deeper and wider over time, as more and more people have to be involved in order to maintain the conspiracy. Before long the conspiracy theorist believes in a world-wide shadow government that controls everything... some conspiracy theorists are part of the conspiracy – they put forward ridiculous and easily refuted conspiracies in order to make all conspiracy theorists look bad. These are the kinds of things that conspiracy theorists believe in order to fend off all attempts at reasoning with them. Conspiracy theorists see themselves as the only true skeptics, because they doubt everything. But it is a pathological form of skepticism, because they leave themselves no way to distinguish reality from fiction."

RuPaul compares transgender drag queens to doping athletes, doubles down on Drag Race ‘ban’ - "RuPaul has doubled down on controversial comments suggesting he would not allow transgender women on RuPaul’s Drag Race... The 57-year-old took to Twitter to respond to the backlash, comparing transgender drag queens to athletes on steroids. He said: “You can take performance enhancing drugs and still be an athlete, just not in the Olympics.”... "You can identify as a woman and say you’re transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body. It takes on a different thing; it changes the whole concept of what we’re doing.”"
You might as well have biological women doing drag since not allowing that is sexism

Redcar roadside burger flipper reveals he manages £9m stock market fortune on the side

X-ray vision: Chinese woman crawls through railway security scanner to keep an eye on her handbag - "Passengers behaving oddly at railway stations is nothing new in China"

Check your Progressive Privilege: John Rawls vs Moral Relativism - "Rawls’ original position thought experiment is ultimately about checking privilege, of course, and it should therefore teach moral and cultural relativists who value it most to check theirs"

The Poor in the US Are Richer than the Middle Class in Much of Europe - "UNICEF (and many other organizations) measure the poverty rate as a percentage of the national median household income... income is higher for US hous.. Despite having his passport revoked by the Home Office, he continued to work at the Lantern of Knowledgeeholds than most of the other countries. What about that high poverty rate, though? Well, we find that the poverty level in the US is still higher than numerous countries' median income level... being poor in the US is similar to (at least in terms of income) being a median household in many other countries, including the UK and Japan."
The way to end poverty is to make everyone equally miserable

Singapore’s butterfly children, born with ‘the worst disease you’ve never heard of’ - "This inherited genetic condition known as Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) has also been called “the worst disease you’ve never heard of”, and there are about 80 to 100 individuals in Singapore living with it. Patients with very severe forms of EB can die in infancy or early childhood. Or as their skin – unable to withstand normal wear and tear – gets wounded over and over again, the cells can eventually become cancerous."

Teacher tried to raise army of jihadist children at school rated as outstanding - "Umar Haque, 25, has been convicted of plotting to attack iconic British landmarks such as Big Ben and Heathrow Airport... Nobody at any of the institutions raised the alarm and Mr Haydon also suggested they had failed to cooperate fully with the investigation... Haque had access to 250 children aged between 11 and 14 and tried to radicalise more than 100 of them by showing extremist videos including beheadings. Haque warned the children they would meet a similar fate if they told anyone about his plans as he prepared them for "martyrdom"... an Ofsted inspection, which took place when Haque was working there, heaped praise on the Lantern of Knowledge, which charges fees of £3,000 a year. The report stated: "Pupils speak with pride about their faith and are accepting and understanding of those with other beliefs and lifestyles, even when they are at odds with the central teachings of their own faith." But while the Ofsted report from the period Haque was teaching there was 'Outstanding', a subsequent emergency inspection that took place in December 2017, after he had been charged and was awaiting trial, described it needing improvement in every area. Mr Haydon said: "He was a very dangerous man. It is a concern what he was doing. He is radicalising children. “He shouldn’t have been teaching – he’s not a qualified teacher, that’s a concern in the first place.”"

Yes, Oxfam, the Richest 1% Have Most of the Wealth. But That Means Less Than You Think - "Consider that U.S. adults under 35 have a negative household savings rate of 2% and you can see how, according to Oxfam, the U.S. has more citizens in the bottom 10% of worldwide wealth than China does. (It places about 7% of Americans in the bottom decile of wealth, and fewer than 0.1% of Chinese citizens.) Only India is said by Oxfam to have more people in this poorest group than the United States... well-being and wealth can be mutually exclusive. Consider the average American worker. Like many people in highly developed countries, she has a relatively high income (on the global scale) and therefore good access to credit. So she tends to borrow against this income to buys things she wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. If this person had the same access to credit as a Chinese farmer, i.e. almost none, she would be much wealthier in the eyes of Oxfam, but her quality of life might decline as a result... Another issue with Oxfam’s figures is they don’t include what’s known as “public wealth”—the many entitlements citizens of developed nations can depend on. An American with zero net assets might be poor by Oxfam standards, but he becomes a rich man (by international standards) once he turns 65 and starts receiving Social Security benefits... “It’s strange that we’re going to emphasize the gap between the world’s richest person and people in lowest income distribution given the fact that the person in the middle has actually seen a faster progress in his or her living standards since the mid to late 1970s than at any point in human history,” says Brookings’ Burtless. “There’s a certain irony.”"
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