Random links

Heat and Learning
"We provide the first evidence that cumulative heat exposure inhibits cognitive skill development and that school air conditioning can mitigate this effect. Student fixed effects models using 10 million PSAT-takers show that hotter school days in the year prior to the test reduce learning, with extreme heat being particularly damaging and larger effects for low income and minority students. ... New data providing the first measures of school-level air conditioning penetration across the US suggest such infrastructure almost entirely offsets these effects."
Experiential or Material Purchases? Social Class Determines Purchase Happiness
"Across multiple studies using a range of methodologies, we found that individuals of higher social class, whose abundant resources make it possible to focus on self-development and self-expression, were made happier by experiential over material purchases. ... lower-class individuals were made happier from material purchases or were equally happy from experiential and material purchases."
Did Rwanda’s Paul Kagame trigger the genocide of his own people?
"Millions of lives were lost in the ethnic and political violence that embroiled Rwanda in the 1990s. Rwanda’s current president Paul Kagame was initially hailed as a hero for stopping the genocide, but, as Canadian journalist Judi Rever reveals in her new book, the truth is much darker". More from OpenCanada.

"Why Trump won and could win again"

Would recommend the following as a commentary on a lot of the research and analysis you'll find done by academics and promoted in the popular media on the subject of Trump and those who voted for him:

The above conversation is also available in MP3 format on the corresponding BloggingHeads page - which will allow you to focus in on particular parts of the discussion. You can find a summary of al-Gharbi's research "Race and the race for the White House: On social research in the age of Trump" here.

Too much of what passes for in-depth analysis on any issue with a "social justice" connection these days seems like the sort of thing done by "the hedgehog, who knows one big thing, toils devotedly within one tradition, and imposes formulaic solutions on ill-defined problems" (to quote the description of the 2nd edition of Philip Tetlock's book Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know?). That's precisely the sort of analysis which, based on Tetlock's analysis, you should expect to find with gaping holes and proving relatively unreliable.

G.K. Chesterton on the errors of the old and the young

I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid. - Gilbert K. Chesterton

Random links

Israeli Christians Think and Do Almost the Opposite of American Evangelicals
"in 2013, 82 percent of white evangelicals believed that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews. In contrast, only 19 percent of Christians actually born, raised, and living in Israel believe that God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people." Or "The vast majority of Israeli Christians (86%) believe the United States is too supportive of Israel. Just 6 percent said the American government wasn’t supportive enough, while 7 percent said the level of US support was just right." (Worth noting that the vast majority of Israeli Christians are Arab but still...).
Quantitative historical analysis uncovers a single dimension of complexity that structures global variation in human social organization
"we constructed a database of historical and archaeological information from 30 regions around the world over the last 10,000 years. Our analyses revealed that characteristics, such as social scale, economy, features of governance, and information systems, show strong evolutionary relationships with each other and that complexity of a society across different world regions can be meaningfully measured using a single principal component of variation."
Echo chamber and trench warfare dynamics in online debates
The article takes "issue with the claim by Sunstein and others that online discussion takes place in echo chambers, and suggest that the dynamics of online debates could be more aptly described by the logic of ‘trench warfare’, in which opinions are reinforced through contradiction as well as confirmation."


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