History and its gaps

Bumped into this a while back:

xkcd.

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.

Random links

The effect of comment moderation on perceived bias in science news
"Participants exposed to uncivil comments that appear in a moderated environment were less likely to perceive bias in the news article itself. Importantly, perceptions of bias among respondents exposed to the uncivil, moderated stimulus were comparable to those of respondents who viewed both moderated and unmoderated civil comments."
People who use homeopathy and alternative remedies for cancer treatment are twice as likely to die from disease
"Studies have shown some alternative therapies, including massage and acupuncture, can improve quality of life and wellbeing while patients are coping with conventional treatment side effects, and also help patients relax or feel in control. Between 48 and 88 per cent of patients are thought to use complementary therapy as an element of their treatment. However studies have also suggested many patients believe such alternative treatments will also help their survival prospects."
Do Equal Employment Opportunity Statements Backfire? Evidence From A Natural Field Experiment On Job-Entry Decisions
"we find considerable policy effects, but in an unexpected direction: the presence of an EEO statement dampens rather than encourages racial minorities’ willingness to apply for jobs. Importantly, the effects are particularly pronounced for educated job seekers and in cities with white majority populations. Complementary survey evidence suggests the underlying mechanism at work is “tokenism”, revealing that EEO statements backfire because racial minorities avoid environments in which they are perceived as regulatory, or symbolic, hires rather than being hired on their own merits." See commentary in The Economist.

On nonconformists

Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity. - Eric Hoffer

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