Vannevar Bush on fear

Fear cannot be banished, but it can be calm and without panic; it can be mitigated by reason and evaluation. - Vannevar Bush

Random links

Memphis lawmakers want to charge officers with felony for turning off body cameras
Not ideal but probably necessary given that people departments have been encountering more of the sort of issues mentioned here. Probably need an exception whereby a member of the public might be able to request the cameras off though - though what happens if one party in a conflict requests this?
In 2017, the feds said Tesla Autopilot cut crashes 40%—that was bogus
"QCS highlights flaws in NHTSA's methodology that are serious enough to completely discredit the 40 percent figure, which Tesla has cited multiple times over the last two years. ... The majority of the vehicles in the Tesla data set suffered from missing data or other problems that made it impossible to say whether the activation of Autosteer increased or decreased the crash rate. But when QCS focused on 5,714 vehicles whose data didn't suffer from these problems, it found that the activation of Autosteer actually increased crash rates by 59 percent."
In the Fake News Era, Native Ads Are Muddying the Waters
"Online experiment finds that less than 1 in 10 people can tell sponsored content from an article"

Kahneman on overuse of "bias"

Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for his role in the development of behavioural economics -looking at how people can think in ways that we might not think of as rational in some sense. Despite this one thing I find interesting about him is that he now thinks that we overemphasize bias:

Mr. Kahneman: ... we very much overuse the term “bias.” When I started my career, you mentioned the word “error,” and the association would be “random” or “motivated” or “Freudian” error. 50, 60 years ago, that’s how people thought about error. Now you mention error, people are very likely to say, “What’s the bias that caused it?” But in fact, it need not be a bias. A lot of error is random, and there is a radical underestimation of the amount of random error in people’s thinking, and I would like to restore the balance because I think our work, Tversky’s and mine, was, in a sense, too influential. It led people to exaggerate the importance of bias in human affairs and in human thinking, but there are many other ways in which people go wrong than biases.

Ms. Tippett: And I suppose you’re suggesting, also, that if we took that in, that just that distinction would make us just that much — that “random” is not always motivated and malicious. Do you feel like the word “bias” is so much more charged, and that it charges things on top of…?

Mr. Kahneman: Certainly, that’s the case, but also, the fascinating thing about random error, what I call noise, is that it’s invisible, that we’re not aware of it.

Source: An interview for 'On Being'

Random links

Academic achievement across the day: Evidence from randomized class schedules
"Analyzing over 180,000 student-course outcomes, we find causal evidence of cognitive fatigue brought on by scheduling multiple courses in a row. The expected performance of two students in the same class may differ by as much as 0.15 standard deviations simply owing to their prior schedules. All else equal, students perform better in the afternoon than in the early morning."
Refugee Migration and Electoral Outcomes
"in all but the most urban municipalities - allocation of larger refugee shares between electoral cycles leads to an increase in the vote share not only for parties with an antiimmigration agenda but also for centre-right parties, while the vote share for centre-left parties decreases. However, in the largest and most urban municipalities refugee allocation has – if anything – the opposite effect on vote shares for anti-immigration parties. "
Would You Recognize a Dystopia If You Saw One?
"'Dystopia' is not just any bad situation; it is what results from an attempt to create a utopia. Dystopia is necessarily and specifically the consequence of utopianism (the pursuit of utopia in this world, as opposed to the great tradition of utopian speculation). It reflects someone’s program of social and political perfection. As Ursula K. LeGuin observed, 'Every utopia contains a dystopia; every dystopia contains a utopia.' Dystopia is not to be confused with just any awful situation."


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