Random links

Strikingly Low Agreement in the Appraisal of Motion Pictures
Movie watcher's "ratings correlate only weakly with the judgment of professional movie critics"
In Australia, a private prison company gets a bonus for every freed inmate who does not come back
This seems like an interesting incentive to get private prison operators to promote rehabilitation.
Why we need data on what the poorest think
"The World Bank recently ... asked their own staff to what extent they imagined poorer and richer people in three countries would agree with the statement: ‘What happens to me in the future mostly depends on me.’ Bank staff predicted that around 20 per cent of poor people would agree with the statement. In fact, more than 80 per cent of poor people felt that what happened to them in the future depended on their own efforts – four times as many as the World Bank staff had predicted, and about the same proportion as richer people. It’s worth letting that sink in. Here we have staff in one of the most powerful development agencies in the world, freely assuming that the people whom they are employed to work with, and for, feel passive and helpless when in fact the opposite is the case. These perceptions have consequences."

Other people think like you

I've been talking a lot lately about how other people often don't think like you. What I wanted to emphasize here instead are ways in which other people probably do think like you but which are often underestimated. Here are two examples:

Random links

Cheap illumination’s benefits in remote areas may be limited
"When it came to social benefits from the use of solar power, though, Dr Aklin and his colleagues found little or no evidence of their existence. People did not work longer hours, did not start new businesses and did not study more."
On Leaving the SJW Cult and Finding Myself
"How easy is it for ordinary humans to commit atrocious acts? History teaches us it’s pretty damn easy when you are blinded to your own hypocrisy. When you believe you are morally superior, when you have dehumanized those you disagree with, you can justify almost anything."
The Politics of the Gene: Social Status and Beliefs about Genetics for Individual Outcomes
"Contrary to expectations, however, we find little evidence that it is more common for whites, the socioeconomically advantaged, or political conservatives to believe that genetics are important for health and social outcomes."

An Indian-American philosopher on not quite fitting in

I found this interview with Bharath Vallabha at Free Range Philosophers rather interesting. The following section of it stuck out to me (highlights mine):

The professors as people were nice, but they were generally complicit in the deeply ingrained institutional arrogance of academia. It was as if my father as both a non-academic and an Indian philosopher had to bow to them without debate, as if debate itself – a rational dialogue – was only possible from within the Western texts I was being taught in classes.

Often in philosophy classes I would sit in the back rows, or in the corner in seminar rooms. During classes or talks I hesitated to speak out, unsure of how to participate. When I did participate, there was often a kind of frantic, desperate energy to talk about many things at once. All this my professors seemed to chalk up to my “personality”: that I could be withdrawn, combative, not fully at ease. But it was not a matter of personality, but of institutional structures. I was always trying to connect the philosophy I was doing at home with the philosophy in the classrooms, and in this the professors were no help at all. They were giving an ultimatum at every turn: our way or the highway. Most of the time in my classes I was trying to figure out how to respond to that ultimatum.

It seems to me that a lot of this parallels the rhetoric around political correctness, wherein certain activist academics insist that things can only be spoken about one certain way (with a lot of their most-vocal opponents doing the same but from the opposite side of the political spectrum).

I think that the pressures from such groups also lend themselves to the style of very verbose communication when aiming to speak out about sensitive topics - i.e. When I did participate, there was often a kind of frantic, desperate energy to talk about many things at once - as often the most sane positions require a lot of nuance. This, and my belief in inattentional blindness, are two of the key reasons why I look at denunciations of various forms of -splaining to be one of the most toxic movements in politics of the past few decades.

It feels like it's been a running refrain around here the past while but once again: not everyone thinks like you.


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