Random links

Bias and ignorance in demographic perception
"But if we zoom out ... instead of focusing only on a limited sample of hot-button topics within the U.S., a systematic pattern is glaringly obvious: small values are overestimated and large values are underestimated, regardless of topic."
Culture and National Well-Being: Should Societies Emphasize Freedom or Constraint?
"Contrary to proponents who tout the benefits of one over the other, we demonstrate across 32 nations that both freedom and constraint exhibit a curvilinear relationship with many indicators of societal well-being. Relative to moderate nations, very permissive and very constrained nations exhibit worse psychosocial outcomes ... worse health outcomes ... and poorer economic and political outcomes"
To please your friends, tell them what they already know
"both speakers and listeners expect novel stories to be bigger crowd pleasers, but ... listeners end up enjoying familiar stories more." This seems like a very dangerous strategy to follow in certain "social justice" oriented circles these days.

On bombing Nazis

Been reading Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School, what I'd describe as a non-polemical group biography of the set of philosophers likely to attract labels like "cultural marxists". Here's how the book described what they thought of the Allied bombing of Germany cities during World War 2:

They doubted, too, the Allied strategy of bombing the Germans into submission. In June 1944, Neumann wrote a paper criticising the bombing of German cities, not because it was inhumane, but because it was counterproductive. ‘Manifold as the effects of the air raids on the German population may be, they have one common characteristic’, he wrote, ‘they tend to absorb all political issues into personal issues, on the national as well as the individual level.’ This was, effectively, a Marxist analysis of the utility of bombing: Neumann was arguing that bombed-out German civilians would put their immediate survival above their class interests or the imperative to topple Nazism. Bombing German cities risked extending the Third Reich’s lifespan rather than killing it off. Only many decades later with books such as Jörg Friedrich’s The Fire: The Bombing of Germany 1940–45 and W. G. Sebald’s On the Natural History of Destruction, that broke the near silence about how 635,000 Germans, mostly civilians, died and 7.5 million were made homeless when British and US bombs were dropped on 131 cities and towns, might one realise the prescience of Neumann’s argument – how, in the rubble of Hamburg or Dresden, it was scarcely possible to think about organising resistance to Nazism.

Random links

A 911 plea for help, a Taser shot, a death - and the mounting toll of stun guns
"Reuters documented 1,005 incidents in the United States in which people died after police stunned them with Tasers, nearly all since the early 2000s"
Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner Won an Acting Job ‘Because I Had More Followers’
"the 21-yer-old X-Men: Apocalypse star said, 'I auditioned for a project and it was between me and another girl who is a far better actress than I am, far better, but I had the followers, so I got the job,' according to The Telegraph. 'It’s not right, but it is part of the movie industry now.'"
The Geography of Innovation
"The suburbs generate more patents, but cities generate more unconventional innovations, a recent study finds."

Paul Krugman on open-mindedness

From Ideology and Integrity (back in May 2015):

Times like these call for a combination of open-mindedness — willingness to entertain different ideas — and determination to do the best you can. ... Everyone has an ideology, a view about how the world does and should work. Indeed, the most reckless and dangerous ideologues are often those who imagine themselves ideology-free ... and are, therefore, unaware of their own biases. What you should seek, in yourself and others, is not an absence of ideology but an open mind, willing to consider the possibility that parts of the ideology may be wrong.

I've been quite critical of Krugman's writing in this regard before - its not clear to me that he lives up particularly well to what he claims above. However, in what he says above I think he's right.

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