The Missing Links

I had a good week, got a lot done, read a lot, thought a lot. I like that a lot of my priors were confirmed this week. I have been thinking. Whenever we come across something that jives with our priors, there should be a mechanism in place to challenge it. Skepticism is good and healthy (obviously to a degree) but we so often let our guard down when we hear good news. Hearing bad news is so hard, seldom have the energy to really question the good stuff. I am going to come up with a process to verify if something that confirms my priors is really true, so I don’t get bamboozled.

Should We Audit the Fed?

Rand Paul has failed to get senators like Elizabeth Warren to support his bill to change the nature of congress’ oversight of the Fed. This article argues that the Fed is in face as transparent as it needs to be, and that further efforts will politicize the Fed. It is known that we want federal/central banks to be a-political, the more independent they are the better they do. I am for transparency, but I trust this congress less than I trust the Fed for sure.

Here is a place to judge body types

A meta-data study on what we find attractive. The bodies they use aren’t much more complex than the polygons from super smash bros. though.

SUGAR – a drug

We eat too much of it, it is addictive and you can get withdrawal from it. Our society is very unlikely to do much about this though. I only say this half jokingly, if black teens got really sugar high and then started killing people, then, and only then, could we see a change.

One of the great issues at hand when we talk about income inequality is ‘quality of life.’

While income inequality has been shown to negatively impact health, goods and services become cheaper, even relative to the shrinking bottom lines many americans deal with. This article takes on the complicated topic oh how quality of life has changed through time. I still reject the conservative notion that high levels of income inequality necessarily produce superior ‘goods and services’ outcomes, but just because income inequality increases does not mean quality of life must. (I think it just means quality of life will likely grow slower) Related IMF Paper

What does the brain on acid look like

For the first time in history, we are taking a journey to this part of knowledge. A british group is crowdfunding a mission to see how the brain changes on LSD while consciousness changes. People report transformative experiences under the influence of LSD, now we can know what those changes look like.

Menopause’s purpose is hinted at by whales

Female whales live longer than males, just like in humans. Unlike (some) human societies female whales run the social show. The children of long living, high status female whales have tangible advantages in fitness compared to whales without such an advantage. This shows that female whales can contribute to their own genes’ fitness level even after they cease to be able to give birth. I will be looking for this trait in my baby mamma(s?).

Britain better show some good work with LSD, because it has a lot of atoning to do

The brutal nature of Britain’s colonial administration is coming to light, despite the former empire’s best efforts. Even after the atrocities of the second world war made the west reevaluate the relationship between the occupier and the citizenry the UK killed, raped, and terrorized Kenyans and others on truly horrifying scales.

A useful cost of living tool for people moving to Dallas

I think others like this exist for other cities too! It shows you how much you could/should spend based on where you plan to live, and what you make.

New theory posits that dishonesty is passed down through generation

Morality is only so universal, one only needs to turn on the news for a brief moment to see that humans argue over right at wrong all the time. Honesty is usually held to be a constant, but lab testing has shown that even if we conceive of honesty as a good innately, practicing it is anther matter. Parents take care to be honest in front of kids, implying an awareness that this trait can be influenced by parental behavior, but researchers also found that boys experience more cheating from parents. It is theorized that this can explain differences in female and male behaviors.

Need a long term investment strategy?

This fund bought stocks once, 80 years ago, and hasn’t made a change. By buying a broad enough swath of the market, this fund has out performed the stock market even though certain buys have gone absolute bust. A very interesting read.

How life could exist without oxygen

Hugely important article. Scientists have theorized ways that life forms could develop in otherwise hostile environments here in our own solar system. Moons like Titan could be the home to life forms that exist in the paradigm described in the article above.

Humans are not perfect, stop expecting victims to be

Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner did not have to be perfect citizens to be victims of racist policing systems. This article explains why we can’t look to personal faults in victims to excuse the injustices of power structures; specifically through the campus rape lens.

An article in the SSRN claims that government spending does not decrease freedom

Looking at government spending as a portion of GDP, and using definitions of freedom from the Fraser Institute, ICRG, Heritage Foundation, and the World Bank, there is no relationship. Basically, the libertarian fear that big government = bad government isn’t true. It probably does increase the degree to which the state can misbehave, but it also increases the state’s ability to punish misbehavers.

Atheists stuck deep in theocracies

A poignant look at people who grow up in conservative religious communities and lose their faith. They are trapped in a world, even more insane than the general one, but tied down by their isolation from the rest of the world. The main focus is on those in the hasidic community, but this is applicable everywhere, and sheds insight in to the difficulty of policing these communities.

Regulation is not the cause of the decline in American dynamism

There is a lot to read in that post, but it turns out that the real cause was looked at in another paper by the same people.

Those last two studies relied on something one journal just banned

Significance testing, has been standard in the scientific community since about the 20s. Now, the journal, Basic and Applied Social Psychology (BASP) may be setting off a revolution that changes all of that. They haven’t embraced much, there is some acceptance to Bayesian methods, but this might be the first domino is either more rigorous testing in science, or more uncertainty (in a way). If we are lucky, both!

Arthur C. Clark summed up how I feel about ISIS destroying the precious ancient history of Iraq: “It was the mark of a barbarian to destroy something one could not understand.”

 

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One Response to The Missing Links

  1. robinwow says:

    Impressive set of links!

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