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

Random links

Geography and Agricultural Productivity: Cross-Country Evidence from Micro Plot-Level Data
"If countries produced current crops in each cell according to potential yields, the rich-poor agricultural yield gap would virtually disappear, from more than 200 percent to less than 5 percent."
What Do We Measure When We Measure Affective Partisanship?
"when answering questions about the other party, individuals think about elites more than voters, and express more animus when the questions focus on elites. This suggests that increased affective polarization reflects, to some extent, growing animus towards politicians more than ordinary voters."
How many transgender inmates are there?
In the UK it seems as though close to half of prisoners who identified as transgender on a survey had been convicted of sex offenses. What might you expect to happen behind bars?
Who Pays for Government? Descriptive Representation and Exploitative Revenue Sources
" Using data on over 9,000 cities, we show that the use of fines as revenue is common and that it is robustly related to the share of city residents who are black. We also find that black representation on city councils diminishes the connection between black population and fines revenue."

On evidence that doesn't fit your narrative

Not too long ago the New York Times published Anti-Vaccine Activists Have Taken Vaccine Science Hostage. To offer up a representative sample of the article's argument:

When I tried to report on unexpected or controversial aspects of vaccine efficacy or safety, scientists often didn’t want to talk with me. When I did get them on the phone, a worrying theme emerged: Scientists are so terrified of the public’s vaccine hesitancy that they are censoring themselves, playing down undesirable findings and perhaps even avoiding undertaking studies that could show unwanted effects. Those who break these unwritten rules are criticized.

It doesn't seem to me to be all that surprising that people might opt for differing narratives fed to them by grifters or others with dubious agendas if the above is what they pick up on hints of in the media. Politics has a lot of damned-if-you-do-/-damned-if-you-don't terrain. One element of that I think is that the "pro-science" crowd may in some instances be as big a threat to science as the "anti-science" appears, due to the extent to which its use of propaganda and political pressure seems to increase the vulnerability of the population to false narratives.

Kahneman on complex language

If you care about being thought credible and intelligent, do not use complex language where simpler language will do. - Daniel Kahneman


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