Random links

Grassland plants show surprising appetite for carbon dioxide
Are plants likely to respond differently to increased CO2 than previously expected?
Reputational and cooperative benefits of third-party compensation
"We find that compensating victims leads to greater reputational and cooperative benefits than punishing perpetrators. In fact, even people who themselves prefer to punish (vs. compensate) still prefer social partners who compensate (vs. punish). We also find that the signal that is sent via third-party compensating may be an honest signal of trustworthiness. Finally, we find that people accurately anticipate that observers would prefer them to compensate victims than to punish perpetrators and that participants personal decisions about whether to compensate or punish is based in part on the belief that the social norm is to compensate."
Dr. Peterson and the Reporters
"One ingredient in the astounding fame of Jordan Peterson is his capacity to show just how lazy, obtuse, unprepared, smug, knee-jerk, and prejudiced are many journalists at leading publications. ... Peterson fans like his interviews because they have experienced that smugness before. To watch someone stand up to it, to hear him cite clinical data and hold firmly against a party line they know is dishonest and coercive—that goes a long way to explaining the Peterson phenomenon."

Can Trump write correctly?

An excerpt from an otherwise-interesting interview with Trevor Noah:

we're not going to lose our minds over Trump's spelling in a tweet. We're not going to get angry because of his grammar in a speech. I'm like, guys, just imagine that Trump is a leader who doesn't speak English as his first language. Throw that out of your world, and immediately your life becomes a little less stressful. Because so many people will stress about that, you know? "How can we have a president who can't even spell? He can't even string a sentence together!" Yeah, but that's not really a big problem. The problem is what he's trying say to versus the mistake that he's making in saying it.

Is he making a mistake in saying things though. Compare, e.g., this Boston Globe article

West Wing employees who draft proposed tweets intentionally employ suspect grammar and staccato syntax in order to mimic the president’s style, according to two people familiar with the process. ... Some staff members even relish the scoldings Trump gets from elites shocked by the Trumpian language they strive to imitate, believing that debates over presidential typos fortify the belief within his base that he has the common touch. ... Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, said that the president’s disregard for standard English plays into the public persona he has created for himself that he’s a man of the people, despite his billions.

The later article specifically notes that:

“While staff members do consciously use poor grammar, they do not intentionally misspell words or names,” the Globe says.

That said, I wonder if Trump sometimes misspells intentionally.

History and its gaps

Bumped into this a while back:


Amazing how something like this can disappear from view yet such things happens all the time.

Taxation in ancient Athens

Here's a quote from the book Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society to ponder:

Most of us think of the liturgy as the words chanted by members of a religious community. But the term originated in ancient Athens where it meant roughly "public works" and referred to the responsibility of the roughly 1000 wealthiest citizens to fund the operations of the state, particular the army and navy. How did the Athenians determine which citizens were the wealthiest? According to Demosthenes, any member of the liturgical class could challenge any other citizen he believed was wealthier to antidosis or "exchange." The person being challenged would have to either assume the liturgical responsibility or exchange all possessions with the challenger. The system gives everyone an incentive to be honest despite the burdens of the liturgy. If you falsely claimed to be poorer than the top 1000 so as to avoid the liturgical burdens then you could end up being forced to exchange your possessions with someone who is poorer than you are.


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