"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Links - 15th April 2019 (1)

More Gender Equality, Lower Fertility? - "In recent years, academics have posited an incredibly seductive theory: There's a “U-shaped curve” depicting the relationship between gender equality and fertility. As societies become more equal, fertility falls at first—presumably because women are no longer boxed into domestic roles. But eventually, the relationship turns around, and advances in gender equality actually boost fertility. This is presumably because women are willing to have more kids in a society that helps them out. In other words, at this point in the developed world's history, feminism is supposed to be the path to higher fertility.A new working paper from the sociologist Martin Kolk, published in the Stockholm Research Reports in Demography series, though, weakens this narrative considerably. The U-curve does appear in a simple comparison across countries. But a more complex analysis—looking at changes within countries over time—does not support the theory... Pretty much every country has seen fertility declines over the long term, and, at best, modest increases more recently, no matter how equal it’s become... When all the data are included, the analysis indicates a pretty simple relationship in which higher gender equality corresponds to lower fertility — albeit with a (statistically insignificant) rebound when countries hit the very highest category of the WPEI. Even this fades out when the data are limited to the years since 1990."

UC terminates subscriptions with world’s largest scientific publisher in push for open access to publicly funded research - "As a leader in the global movement toward open access to publicly funded research, the University of California is taking a firm stand by deciding not to renew its subscriptions with Elsevier. Despite months of contract negotiations, Elsevier was unwilling to meet UC’s key goal: securing universal open access to UC research while containing the rapidly escalating costs associated with for-profit journals.In negotiating with Elsevier, UC aimed to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery by ensuring that research produced by UC’s 10 campuses — which accounts for nearly 10 percent of all U.S. publishing output — would be immediately available to the world, without cost to the reader... “Make no mistake: The prices of scientific journals now are so high that not a single university in the U.S. — not the University of California, not Harvard, no institution — can afford to subscribe to them all”"

‘Emotional support animal’ mauls 5-year-old girl at Portland airport, $1.1 million lawsuit says - "The mother of a 5-year-old girl mauled in the face by a pit bull at Portland International Airport has filed a $1.1 million lawsuit against the Port of Portland for allegedly letting a dangerous “emotional support animal” into the airport without a carrier."
"Stereotypes"

Fake Black Voter Bots Could Sideline Real Black Voices In 2020 - "Black activists fear that their legitimate concerns about Democratic candidates for president in the 2020 primary are now being drowned out online by a spiraling argument about who is and isn’t fake.Activists trying to spread information or opinions on Twitter about specific candidates have been shouted down by other activists who say the hashtags they’re using are overrun by bots, Russians, or trolls... she’s concerned that hysteria over bots could push conversations spurred by real activists aside. “Everybody is a ‘bot’ now and no one can have a real conversation”
The logical end point of identity politics and all the poisoning the well that's been going on

Should America Be Run by … Trader Joe’s? (Ep. 359) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "The grocery business is famous for low profit margins, lots of competition — and, lately, an even bigger problem: for the first time in history, American consumers are spending more money in restaurants and bars than in grocery stores. Trader Joe’s seems to be bucking this downward trend. It doesn’t just have customers; it has fans...
a larger choice set generates more interest; the smaller choice set generates more action"

Is the Protestant Work Ethic Real? (Ep. 360) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "roughly 60 percent of American non-profits that work in international charity are religious.
KARLAN: And when I talked with some of these groups I would often hear claims made that they’re not doing the preaching just because they’re trying to spread their beliefs, but they actually believe that it’s changing economic outcomes... People, where religion is a bigger part of their life, tend to drink less, do fewer drugs, live longer, report higher levels of happiness, do less crime, things of this nature...
CHOI: What we found was that just being exposed to the religious curriculum increased income by 9 percent, relative to the control group.
KARLAN: And that’s actually pretty noticeable. That’s food. That’s food on the table, and this is a household that has children going to bed hungry...
SUTHERLAND: Those people live such depressing, fatalistic lives that they don’t take advantage of opportunities that are available to them. If we can inject hope into those people’s lives, then life can change. And we think that that happens by the secular things that we do but we also teach them that God loves them and God cares for them, and that aspect of reorienting your whole life around the love of your Creator and therefore the love of people around you — I think reorients their whole life, and it changes their approach to how they decide what they’re going to do the next day...
SPENKUCH: I find three things. One: yes, Protestantism increases labor income in modern-day Germany. Two: Protestants work longer hours than Catholics. And three: they don’t earn higher wages. Meaning yes, Protestants are a little bit more prosperous but because they work more."

Freakonomics Radio Live: “Jesus Could Have Been a Pigeon.” - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "we found that a third of guests who frequently stay at five-star hotels have cried because of a bad hotel experience. I think that probably says a lot more about the demanding, fragile, unresilient, non-gritty state of spoiled people than it does about anything else...
DUBNER: So a dove is all peace and purity, and a pigeon is a garbage eater.
JEROLMACK: That’s right. And there’s many languages that don’t even have a different word for pigeon and dove, and a lot of — if you’ve ever gone to a wedding or to the Olympics and they release doves, these are white homing pigeons that will leave and fly away and go back to the owner who’s bred them and trained them to fly. I argue that a lot of religious iconography of Jesus as the spirit descending — Jesus could have been a pigeon. We don’t actually know whether that was a pigeon or a dove...
the state where the most lottery tickets are bought is Massachusetts, my home state — a lot of very educated, wealthy people in Massachusetts. And it turns out, Gallup did a poll, 2016, so not that long ago, and people making more than $90,000 a year are actually likelier to buy lottery tickets than people making below $36,000 a year... people with bachelor’s degrees are actually likelier to play the lottery than people with no college education."

Freakonomics Radio Live: “We Thought of a Way to Manipulate Your Perception of Time.” - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "DUBNER: Overall what share of the collective missions would you say are driven by scientific concerns, and not political or economic concerns?
NOSANOV: Well, formally the answer is about 10 percent, which is the Science Mission Directorate of NASA that sends out these robotic spacecraft. If a human spaceflight expert were here, they would probably point out the tremendous advancements that come sending humans into space, and those are all true. But the human side of NASA has from the beginning been associated with political gamesmanship. And that doesn’t take away anything from it, but the pure science, the “What are the rocks on Mars made of,” that’s only about 10 percent...
HIGHHOUSE: Yes, my area is industrial organizational psychology and I’m interested specifically in hiring and interviewing. We know that intuition is a derailer. We knew way back that admissions officers for universities who knew the G.P.A. and the S.A.T. score, screwed things up when they added their holistic judgment about the students. And we find the same thing with job interviews. Expert interviewers, experienced interviewers in H.R. are actually worse than a layperson who uses structured questions that are job related and behavioral in nature."

Freakonomics Radio Live: “Where Does Fear Live in the Brain?” - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "[On people being ideologically motivated in reasoning] HALLSWORTH: Pre-mortem is all about the idea that you have post-mortems when something has gone wrong, and you work out why it happened. The idea of a pre-mortem is you do it before it goes wrong and try and stop it. So you ask a team to sort of imagine the future when your policy has been a disaster, it’s been a failure. Why did it happen? You work back from that failure to come up with the reasons why might have happened.
DUBNER: So you’re saying if you sit down a bunch of policymakers, some of whom may like or not like something you’re trying to accomplish, and you do a pre-mortem with them collectively, and you say, “Imagine this project has failed. Why do you think it would have failed?” That makes them more likely to accept or to figure out the math properly, or look at the evidence properly?
HALLSWORTH: Actually, we have a few solutions for that, one of them is consider the opposite, which is where you take a piece of evidence that goes along with what you’re thinking. The idea is you say, “Well what if the same thing, the same study had given the opposite answer?” And that allows you to understand better the quality of it and put aside the conclusion. This pre-mortem idea is just basically, we’re over-optimistic when we make plans, and how do we adjust for that? So it’s a different solution for a different problem...
DUPREE: So this person thinks that some racial groups are worse than others, and he doesn’t think that racial equality is needed. The other isn’t a bigot. In fact, he considers himself an ally. He thinks that racial groups should be on equal footing and he wants to help our society get there. Then a black person walks into the bar, sits next to them both, and strikes up a conversation. Which white person is more likely to talk down to the newcomer by using words or phrases that signal low status?... liberals are actually more likely to talk down to black people in this way. This is a phenomenon that I call the competence downshift in which white liberals, presumably trying to get along with racial minorities, actually end up being patronizing towards them, by presenting themselves as less competent to black people relative to other white people."

Why Is This Man Running for President? (Ep. 362) - Freakonomics Freakonomics - "We’re blasting away hundreds of thousands of retail jobs, call-center jobs, food-service jobs, eventually truck-driving jobs. And so my army of entrepreneurs, doing incredible work, starting companies that might employ 20, 30, 40 people, was not going to be a difference-maker in the context where that community was going to lose 20, 30, 40,000 retail jobs, call-center jobs, transportation jobs, etc. And I was horrified. I was flying back and forth being like, “What the hell are we doing? We are blasting communities to dust and then pretending like we’re not and pretending like it’s their fault, and pretending that somehow it’s unreasonable to be upset about your way of life getting destroyed.”... if you look at government-funded retraining programs, the efficacy level, according to independent studies, is between 0 and 15 percent. And only 10 percent of workers would even qualify for these programs anyway. So we’re talking about a solution that will apply to between 1 and 2 percent of displaced workers...
jobs aren’t purely income. They are part of identity. They structure people’s lives. They give them a purpose and a social community and a sense of relevance in the world. And I think that is a lot of the frustration that we see in manufacturing-intensive areas. And I think that that’s costly even beyond the direct financial costs...
“Okay, what actually happened to these four million manufacturing workers?” And it turns out that almost half of them left the workforce and never worked again. And then half of those that left the workforce then filed for disability, where there are now more Americans on disability than work in construction, over 20 percent of working-age adults in some parts of the country... People are not infinitely adaptable or resilient or eager to become software engineers, or whatever ridiculous solution is being proposed...
The economist Evelyn Forget studied the effects of a small Canadian experiment that paid out a universal income. Her finding?
FORGET: The finding was that primary earners really don’t reduce the number of hours they work very much when you offer a guaranteed annual income.
YANG: A neuroscientist in Seattle said something to me that really stuck with me. He said, “The enemy of universal basic income is the human mind.” And what he meant by that is that people are programmed for resource scarcity. They think, “Hey, there is not enough to go around. If you get it, I don’t get it. And then if we all get it, it’s somehow going to harm us.”"
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