Random links

Drunk People Are Better at Creative Problem Solving
"Not only did those who imbibed give more correct answers than a sober control group performing the same task, but they also arrived at solutions more quickly."
Tesla battery degradation at less than 10% after over 160,000 miles, according to latest data
"The trend line currently suggests that the average battery pack could cycle through over 300,000 km (186,000) before coming close to 90% capacity."
Misperceptions of Relative Affluence and Support for International Redistribution
"participants underestimate their percentile rank in the global income distribution by twenty-seven percentage points on average, and overestimate the global median income by a factor of ten. Respondents who were randomly assigned to information on the global income distribution supported higher spending on foreign aid"

Hate speech laws and Hitler's rise

From The New Yorker's Copenhagen, Speech, and Violence:

Researching my book, I looked into what actually happened in the Weimar Republic. I found that, contrary to what most people think, Weimar Germany did have hate-speech laws, and they were applied quite frequently. The assertion that Nazi propaganda played a significant role in mobilizing anti-Jewish sentiment is, of course, irrefutable. But to claim that the Holocaust could have been prevented if only anti-Semitic speech and Nazi propaganda had been banned has little basis in reality. Leading Nazis such as Joseph Goebbels, Theodor Fritsch, and Julius Streicher were all prosecuted for anti-Semitic speech. Streicher served two prison sentences. Rather than deterring the Nazis and countering anti-Semitism, the many court cases served as effective public-relations machinery, affording Streicher the kind of attention he would never have found in a climate of a free and open debate. In the years from 1923 to 1933, Der Stürmer [Streicher's newspaper] was either confiscated or editors taken to court on no fewer than thirty-six occasions. The more charges Streicher faced, the greater became the admiration of his supporters. The courts became an important platform for Streicher's campaign against the Jews. In the words of a present-day civil-rights campaigner, pre-Hitler Germany had laws very much like the anti-hate laws of today, and they were enforced with some vigor. As history so painfully testifies, this type of legislation proved ineffectual on the one occasion when there was a real argument for it.

Rosa Luxemburg on impossibility and inevitability

Before a revolution happens, it is perceived as impossible; after it happens, it is seen as having been inevitable. - Rosa Luxemburg

Random links

Tulip mania: the classic story of a Dutch financial bubble is mostly wrong
"Tulip mania was irrational, the story goes. Tulip mania was a frenzy. Everyone in the Netherlands was involved, from chimney-sweeps to aristocrats. The same tulip bulb, or rather tulip future, was traded sometimes 10 times a day. No one wanted the bulbs, only the profits – it was a phenomenon of pure greed. Tulips were sold for crazy prices – the price of houses – and fortunes were won and lost. ... Yes, it makes an exciting story. The trouble is, most of it is untrue."
Don’t jump to conclusions about climate change and civil conflict
"The study, published in Nature Climate Change, states what critics have long suspected: conclusions that climate change is triggering violent conflict cannot be generalized, and are hard to substantiate even in individual cases"
In Sudan, Rediscovering Ancient Nubia Before It's Too Late
"According to an assessment by Sudan’s National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums, the reservoir created by one planned dam would flood more than 500 archeological sites. ... Nature is a destructive force as well. Since the 1980s, sand storms have increasingly eroded the intricately carved walls of 43 decorative Kushite pyramids and a dozen chapels at a UNESCO World Heritage site named Meroe. With funding from Qatar, archaeologists have attempted to remove sand accumulating in the necropolis. But a 2016 report on the effort reads, “the volume of the sand dunes by far exceeds all removal capacities.”"


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