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Andreas Schou has been at 1 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
Nicholas Kristof1,405,911The issue of the moment is Syria, so I'm delighted to host a Google+ hangout in which we'll be able to pose questions to Secretary of State John Kerry about Syria policy. I'll be joined by +Lara Setrakian, a journalist whom I've long admired who specializes in Syria. Andrew Beiter, a social studies  teacher and a regional education coordinator for the Holocaust Memorial Museum, will also be in the Hangout. Most of all, we'll be joined by all of you--so jump into the conversation on this page and leave us your questions. In particular, with this Hangout we want to involve teachers and students, so spread the word in the schools, please, and student questions are particularly welcome! This kind of online interview is something of an experiment, and we're still figuring out how to make it work best. So we also welcome your suggestions and guidance before and criticisms after. Syria: Weighing the U.S. Response2013-09-10 20:00:006976  

Andreas Schou has been shared in 78 public circles

You can see here the 50 latest shared circles.
If this is your profile, you can check your dashboard to see all shared circles you have been included.

AuthorFollowersDateUsers in CircleCommentsReshares+1Links
Allan watson23,502If you received a notification, please reshare to your circlesIf you’d like to be added to the next circle share: • +1 this circle • Share this circle to PUBLIC • Include me in your circles • Comment on this post#awesomecircle #circleme #to #the #south #Asian #cultures #had #no #say #in #this #system #of #deing #the #imaginary #boundaries #separating #them #from #Europecitation #needed§Asia–Oceania #boundaryThe #geographers #have #rejected #the #threecontinent #system #Europe #Africa #Asia #on #the #grounds #that #there #is #no 2015-03-18 09:52:27407467
Ole Olson51,746This is my circle 2 of Google+ progressives2015-03-07 18:26:49266001
Eduard Dimitrov (Едуард Димитров)3,781Start of my "Google must be better place campaign". Week one: This post. People currently working for Google. 114 Google's Google+  profiles to add - people actually working for Google  company.Week 2: Shared circle two: More 100 Google employees next week.Week 3: I will show you how to work with google webspam team to aviod problems in Google Webmaster Tools - the right way, tools and tactics.Week 4: Ethics of non-natural links problems in GWT and communication with google webspam team  in Google Webmaster Tools.If you want to receive notifications from me, add me in separate circle and switch on notifications for this circle.Happy Holidays!  #worksatgoogle #googleteam #googleemployees2014-12-23 14:29:071146917
Sunny CT2,281Increase your following with our Amazing CirclesNext circles to include only those resharing thisEven if you are included in this circle,  Add me, +1 , comment and share this to be included in next 2 circles (after 12 Hours)Want to grow your follower list? Need more followers? Join my circles now To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps: 1 - include me in your circles 2 - Click add people and create your circle 3 - share the circle (include yourself) 4 - add +1 to the post(Comment on the original post so that I know you have shared)#powercircle #sharedcircle #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme #circlesharing #circleshare #circles #circleoftheday #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircles #share #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday #sharewithyou #followme #followers #followback #circle #googleplus #coolpeople #circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle #sharedcircles #sharedpubliccircles #circleshare #circlesharing #fullcircleshare #powercircle #sharedcircle 2014-09-15 09:05:4950111313
Sunny CT1,994Fresh AdditionIncrease your following with our Amazing CirclesNext circles to include only those resharing thisEven if you are included in this circle,  Add me, +1 , comment and share this to be included in next 2 circles (after 12 Hours)Want to grow your follower list? Need more followers? Join my circles now To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps: 1 - include me in your circles 2 - Click add people and create your circle 3 - share the circle (include yourself) 4 - add +1 to the post(Comment on the original post so that I know you have shared)#powercircle #sharedcircle #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme #circlesharing #circleshare #circles #circleoftheday #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircles #share #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday #sharewithyou #followme #followers #followback #circle #googleplus #coolpeople #circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle #sharedcircles #sharedpubliccircles #circleshare #circlesharing #fullcircleshare #powercircle #sha2014-09-12 13:14:5050111415
Sunny CT1,994Fresh AdditionIncrease your following with our Amazing CirclesNext circles to include only those resharing thisEven if you are included in this circle,  Add me, +1 , comment and share this to be included in next 2 circles (after 12 Hours)Want to grow your follower list? Need more followers? Join my circles now To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps: 1 - include me in your circles 2 - Click add people and create your circle 3 - share the circle (include yourself) 4 - add +1 to the post(Comment on the original post so that I know you have shared)#powercircle #sharedcircle #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme #circlesharing #circleshare #circles #circleoftheday #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircles #share #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday #sharewithyou #followme #followers #followback #circle #googleplus #coolpeople #circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle #sharedcircles #sharedpubliccircles #circleshare #circlesharing #fullcircleshare #powercircle #sha2014-09-12 07:07:225017313
Colin Wilson56Increase your following with our Amazing CirclesThis is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 2 - Share the circle (Publicly) 3 - Add +1 to the post #circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-09-08 06:25:20459111619
Becky Collins13,434Mobile Operator Circle:Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-07-24 05:16:124763112
Maria Morisot31,837Moan Lisa's All Kinds of People Shared Circle06 June, 2014RESHARE if you want to be includedmoanlisa.org2014-06-06 14:31:022928274100
Becky Collins10,282Mobile Circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia   #media   #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-05-28 05:03:174777219
Irina Sadokhina19,423Hello my dear friends!!!This is my weekly #mondaycircle   . This #circle    is very important for me because there are people who were with me last time, commented my funny pics, and just made me happy. Also, there are people who RE-shared my last #mondaycircle  . Thank you so much for this!!! And I would like to ask you Re-share this awesome circle  on your stream, please. If you wanna be included in my next #mondaycircle   . Apr. 21st, just:1) plus2)re-share!!!Thank you. You all have a wonderful week.Make sure you share the original version! #circle   #circles   #circlecirclecircle   #circlescirclescircles   #circleshare   #hyperball   #plusmastermind   #crazycircles   #circleoftheweek  2014-04-14 16:53:094558052121
Irina Sadokhina18,499Hello my dear friends!!!This is my weekly #mondaycircle  . This #circle is very important for me because there are people who were with me last time, commented my funny pics, and just made me happy. Also, there are people who RE-shared my last #mondaycircle  . Thank you so much for this!!! And I would like to ask you Re-share this awesome circle  on your stream, please. If you wanna be included in my next #mondaycircle   . Apr. 14th, just:1) plus2)re-share!!!Thank you. You all have a wonderful week.Make sure you share the original version! #circle   #circleshare   #circlescirclescircles   #circlecircle   #circlecirclecircle   #circles   #hyperball   #plusmastermind   #crazycircles  2014-04-08 12:47:424927248106
Irina Sadokhina17,311Hello my dear friends!!!This is my weekly #mondaycircle  . This #circle   is very important for me because there are people who were with me last time, commented my funny pics, and just made me happy. Also, there are people who RE-shared my last #mondaycircle  . Thank you so much for this!!! And I would like to ask you Re-share this awesome circle  on your stream, please. If you wanna be included in my next #mondaycircle . Apr. 7th, just:1) plus2)re-share!!!Thank you. You all have a wonderful week.Make sure you share the original version! #circle   #circlecirclecircle   #circles   #circlescirclescircles   #circleshared   #crazycircles   #hyperball   #plusmastermind   #circleoftheweek  2014-03-31 18:07:204536655108
Irina Sadokhina16,720Hello my dear friends!!! This is my weekly #mondaycircle  . This #circle   is very important for me because there are people who were with me last time, commented my funny pics, and just made me happy. Also, there are people who RE-shared my last mondaycircle . Thank you so much for this!!! And I would like to ask you Re-share this awesome circle    on your stream, please. If you wanna be included in my next  #mondaycircle   , March 31st. just:1) plus2)re-share!!!Thank you. You all have a wonderful week.Make sure you share the original version! #circle   #circles   #circlecirclecircle   #circlecirclecircle   #circlescirclescircles   #hyperball   #crazycircles   #plusmastermind   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circleoftheweek   #circleoftheday  2014-03-24 18:59:534707753123
Irina Sadokhina15,346Hello my dear friends!!!HELLO! This is my weekly  #mondaycircle . This  #circle   is very important for me because there are people who were with me last time, commented my funny pics, and just made me happy. Also, there are people who RE-shared my last  #mondaycircle . Thank you so much for this!!! And I would like to ask you Re-share this awesome  #circle   on your stream, please. If you wanna be included in my next  #mondaycircle   , March 17th just:1) plus2)re-share!!!Thank you. You all have a wonderful week.Make sure you share the original version! #circle   #circles   #circlecircle   #circlescirclescircles   #hyperball   #rustyball   #crazycircles   #plusmastermind  2014-03-11 16:53:09467664993
Константин Вишневский44,825Circle of the Most Active Users of Google+A Very Social CircleКруг наиболее активных пользователей Google+Если вы поделились этим кругом вчера, вы находитесь в нем сегодня. Если вы разделяете его с друзьями сегодня, вы будете в нем и завтра.If you shared this circle yesterday, you are in it today. If you share today, you'll be in tomorrow2014-02-12 15:12:36462483276
Mikhail Petrovsky64,592Good morning / evening to all.This is a Social Circle of interesting people with an active lifestyle in Google+Это социальный круг общения интересных людей с активной жизненной позицией в Google+You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!#EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2014-02-07 07:45:58497543383
Mikhail Petrovsky76,199Good morning / evening to all.This is a Social Circle of interesting people with an active lifestyle in Google+Это социальный круг общения интересных людей с активной жизненной позицией в Google+You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!#EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2014-01-15 08:21:34499531881
Mikhail Petrovsky61,999Good morning / evening to all.This is a Social Circle of interesting people with an active lifestyle in Google+Это социальный круг общения интересных людей с активной жизненной позицией в Google+You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!#EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2014-01-14 04:50:25498451577
Artur Mashnich43,991A Very Social CircleCircle of the Most Active Users of Google+Круг наиболее активных пользователей Google+Если вы поделились этим кругом вчера, вы находитесь в нем сегодня. Если вы разделяете его с друзьями сегодня, вы будете в нем и завтра.If you shared this circle yesterday, you are in it today. If you share today, you'll be in tomorrow.#Forfriends  2014-01-11 14:37:57478411671
Mikhail Petrovsky61,336Good morning / evening to all. You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!Это социальный круг / This social circle #EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2014-01-09 04:51:54498392268
Mikhail Petrovsky59,714This is a Social Circle of interesting people with an active lifestyle in Google+Это социальный круг общения интересных людей с активной жизненной позицией в Google+You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!#EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2013-12-29 11:29:4447830958
Mikhail Petrovsky73,777This is a Social Circle of interesting people with an active lifestyle in Google+Это социальный круг общения интересных людей с активной жизненной позицией в Google+You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!#EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2013-12-29 11:02:20500341261
Константин Вишневский39,554Circle of people, with active life position in Google+Simple To be added PLUS the post Share the post and Add the circle. Once you have done this let me know in the commentsКруг людей с активной жизненной позицией в Гугле+Просто быть добавлены PLUS сообщению Share пост и добавить круг. После того как вы сделали это, дайте мне знать в комментарияхIf you agree that this is a great circle, please re-share!2013-12-29 06:03:17464422473
Vladimir Samsonov23,289Good morning/evening to all. You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!Это социальный круг This is a Social Circle#ForFriends #photo #EarthMyMother2013-12-05 12:35:51501533078
Константин Вишневский35,785Circle of people, with active life position in Google+Simple To be added PLUS the post Share the post and Add the circle. Once you have done this let me know in the commentsКруг людей с активной жизненной позицией в Гугле+Просто быть добавлены PLUS сообщению Share пост и добавить круг. После того как вы сделали это, дайте мне знать в комментарияхIf you agree that this is a great circle, please re-share!#ForFriends #photo #EarthMyMother2013-11-24 15:07:31464412067
Jan Havrda20,092Deep Thinkers.2013-11-15 00:06:31141216
Matteo Pelucchi3,024Circle of #topengagers  1. Plus this post. (Original post)2. Comment on this post.3. Reshare this circle publically to your stream.4. Don’t be a blue head.Have a wonderful Wednesday increasing your #popularityTnks to +Alessandro Folghera and +Rusty Ferguson  #tuesdaysharedcircle   #topsharedcircle   #circleoftheday   #sharedcircle #trustinme  #circlesharing   #circleshare        #circles        #circleoftheday   #sharedpubliccircles     #sharedcircles    #share  #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday        #sharewithyou        #circlefriday   #circlethursday  #followme     #followers #followback#circle #googleplus    #coolpeople  #circleshare #sharedcircles     #sharedcircle  #sharedcircles       #sharedpubliccircles    #circleshare    2013-09-11 07:31:19397441745
Alessandro Folghera12,080Another special #sharedcircle  to be added among your circlesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircles), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest)      (ex: fashion, photography, seo, social media marketing)3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)If you come accross Google error messages, incorporating my circles, please provide me the error, I'm classifying these errors. Have a wonderful weekend and a better popularityKeep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104   #saturdaysharedcircle   #topsharedcircle   #circleoftheday   #sharedcircle #trustinme  #circlesharing   #circleshare        #circles        #circleoftheday   #sharedpubliccircles     #sharedcircles    #share  #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday        #sharewithyou         #followme     #followers #followback #circle #googleplus    #coolpeople  #circleshare #sharedcircles #afo #myseoissocial     #sharedcircle  #sharedcircles       #sharedpubliccircles    2013-09-07 15:52:43397351953
Richard Green25,294Engagers Showcase Circle, September 5 2013If you received a notification, it means that you are included in my Engagers Showcase Circle. “Showcase” means that you are invited to leave a comment (on the original post) with a link to one of your own posts, which ideally should be one of your best recent posts.This circle consists of people who have engaged with one of my recent posts in the form of +1s, comments and reshares. Because I ran out of room, some of the engagers on very recent posts will be included next time.As always, reshares are appreciated, and I look forward to seeing everyone's links. Thanks for reading my posts!2013-09-06 01:37:50501254124248
Brian Wolfe22,328I haven't shared a circle in a long time. Maybe too long.Anyways.. Here is the circle that my browser spends the most time on.   Just in case I become a petulant child and walk away (not that I'm planning on doing so , just in case.)2013-08-22 05:36:251941335
Daniel Mihai Popescu4,968A circle based on +Richard Green's last creation! Add it to yours, share it! They all have some wonderful spark in them!If you're notified, you're in! Sorry to disturb you with the notification! If you want out, just say so :)2013-06-19 09:59:4539032732
Steven Krohn1,616The Popular Choice Circle________________________Richard Green originally shared:Here's version 2 of my Popular Choice circle. The members of this circle were nominated for inclusion here (http://goo.gl/vY07d). Anecdotal evidence suggests that this circle is a pretty good one to add: after the last share, somebody that I follow made the comment:I have to admit I have never had so many people add me back so shortly after adding a shared circle.As guest members of the circle this time, I'm including everyone who has created a circle with me in it in the last four weeks, including +Chris Cota, +Steven Krohn, +Marlo Angelo Tito, +Leo Walsh, +Cesare Riccardo, +Michael Bennett, +1212Scenery, +Daniel Mihai Popescu, +Gai Xinh, +Mithu Hassan, +Daniel Stock, +Marino Puletti, +Christy Sandhoff, +Johnathan Yesson, +Roleta Anedotas, +Linda Dee, +Mariusz Zapart, +César Bustíos Benites, +Andrea Orselli, +Katherine Vucicevic, +Networx, +Rome Heels, +Thumb up your Followers ►, +AyJay Schibig, +Zbynek Kysela, +Ewart Corrigan, +Hamilton Carter, +Don Dobbie, +Brian Buckley, +Wajahat Khan, +Crazy Circles, +Laurent Jean Philippe, +Maria Leoni and +Wolfgang Wodeck.  I'd especially like to thank +Scott Buehler, +Ludovic Moreeuw and +Science on Google+: A Public Database for including me in some particularly exciting circles: the Hyperball, the VIIP Circle and the Smokin' Science Circle, respectively.And now the surprise feature: I invite everyone to leave a comment on (the original post of) this circle share containing a link to one of your own posts. Ideally, this should be something that you posted recently and that you are particularly pleased with. (Don't post spam though; I will delete it.)2013-06-18 14:06:1838425937
Daniel Mihai Popescu4,802I have added version 2 of +Richard Green's  Popular Choice, re-freshed with my nucleus of Invincible circle and brushed of inactive accounts :)If you are notified, you're in, of course :)Thank you for sharing!2013-06-17 10:29:4338923835
Richard Green16,268Here's version 2 of my Popular Choice circle. The members of this circle were nominated for inclusion here (http://goo.gl/vY07d). Anecdotal evidence suggests that this circle is a pretty good one to add: after the last share, somebody that I follow made the comment:I have to admit I have never had so many people add me back so shortly after adding a shared circle.As guest members of the circle this time, I'm including everyone who has created a circle with me in it in the last four weeks, including +Chris Cota, +Steven Krohn, +Marlo Angelo Tito, +Leo Walsh, +Cesare Riccardo, +Michael Bennett, +1212Scenery, +Daniel Mihai Popescu, +Gai Xinh, +Mithu Hassan, +Daniel Stock, +Marino Puletti, +Christy Sandhoff, +Johnathan Yesson, +Roleta Anedotas, +Linda Dee, +Mariusz Zapart, +2013-06-17 04:33:32384693082
Christy Sandhoff10,119Richard Green originally shared:Remember the Much Better than the Average Circle circles I used to share?  Well, this circle is much better even than those.  The people in this circle were recommended for inclusion in response to my call for nominations, and there are some really interesting profiles in here.  If you've never added a circle before, this one would make a good Starter Circle.I'd especially like to thank +Dirk Talamasca, +Ed Ross, +Korinne M Jackman, +Nina MJ and +Tim Utzig, each of whom suggested a large number of profiles for the circle.  I think I added everyone who was tagged in the nomination post; sorry if I missed anyone.And here's the circle.2013-06-04 04:14:1033821830
Richard Green15,407Remember the Much Better than the Average Circle circles I used to share?  Well, this circle is much better even than those.  The people in this circle were recommended for inclusion in response to my call for nominations, and there are some really interesting profiles in here.  If you've never added a circle before, this one would make a good Starter Circle.I'd especially like to thank +Dirk Talamasca, +Ed Ross, +Korinne M Jackman, +Nina MJ and +Tim Utzig, each of whom suggested a large number of profiles for the circle.  I think I added everyone who was tagged in the nomination post; sorry if I missed anyone.And here's the circle.2013-06-02 14:20:43338532176
AyJay Schibig16,440ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! Circles I am curating:21ST CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHERS (1&2), ALL KINDS, DISCOVERY, FULL CIRCLE,SOCIAL, ECLECTIC,ENGAGERS, AWESOME, NEW HORIZONS and BOOST#circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou     #ShareYourCircle2013-04-13 06:43:023024213
AyJay Schibig15,217ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! Circles I am curating:21ST CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHERS (1&2), ALL KINDS, DISCOVERY, FULL CIRCLE,SOCIAL, ECLECTIC,ENGAGERS, AWESOME, NEW HORIZONS and BOOST#circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou     #ShareYourCircle2013-03-02 11:23:44245206
Mohammad Rahimi2,027I would like to share this circle of people i follow their posts.2013-02-25 05:38:581061928
Ian Herndon8,223Shared Circle Time! - G+ Community Moderators (4 of x)Re-Share to help moderators easily connect with one another!Now that Google has launched Communities there has been a ton of activity by people to create communities relating to their interests, join ones created by others, and meet other creators in an effort to learn more and more new ways to build and contribute to G+ Communities. +Community Moderators is an example of a page/community dedicated specifically to having a single place where all moderators can join in discussion around just that.I have been hard at work creating Circles that consist of Community Moderators and Owners only. My hope is to be able to help others expand their network of friends to also include like minded people dabbling in the Community space too. In the near future I intend to eventually group these moderator circles into smaller more targeted ones tailored to specific interests. So with that said, here's our circles!G+ Community Moderators & Owners Circle (1 of x) - 12/31/2012https://plus.google.com/u/0/110099838681495349209/posts/ETe6deLAMq2G+ Community Moderators & Owners Circle (2 of x) - 12/31/2012https://plus.google.com/u/0/110099838681495349209/posts/7i2DXeQpknnG+ Community Moderators & Owners Circle (3 of x) - 12/31/2012https://plus.google.com/u/0/110099838681495349209/posts/j1rsi9YGGVgG+ Community Moderators & Owners Circle (4 of x) - 1/12/2013https://plus.google.com/u/0/110099838681495349209/posts/VFUjZcifXPQ#Community   #Moderators   #Owners   #Communities   #Circle   #SharedCircles   #CircleShare2013-01-12 15:28:345005210
AyJay Schibig13,588ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! #circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou 2013-01-10 07:15:50257003
Nils Tschampel2,828The Cream of the Crop of December 2012What's this?On +CircleCount everyday some very interesting persons are choosen and recommended. These are persons without hundreds of thousands of followers but with a lot of interesting content. You won't find silent people here leading the rankings, but interesting people that are worth to be followed.You can find the Cream of the Crop daily here:http://www.circlecount.com/daily/Past Cream of the Crop circles:November 2012: http://goo.gl/LSQjcOctober 2012: http://goo.gl/ohdceSeptember 2012: http://goo.gl/ie3VNAugust 2012: http://goo.gl/5vUUPJuly 2012: http://goo.gl/oAemEJune 2012: http://goo.gl/YZt1yMay 2012: http://goo.gl/4Tq43April 2012: http://goo.gl/NvbKjMarch 2012: http://goo.gl/3auLoFebruary 2012: http://goo.gl/TWYpKJanuary 2012: http://goo.gl/HBdHbDecember 2011: http://goo.gl/RBCpgNovember 2011: http://goo.gl/x6TJkOctober 2011: http://goo.gl/2xVn92013-01-08 19:52:4728412311
AyJay Schibig12,717ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! #circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou 2012-12-21 06:26:433277010
AyJay Schibig12,080ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! #circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou 2012-12-12 04:23:1442210216
Zbynek Kysela1,918BEST SHARED CIRCLE - Share, share, share!===================================HOW TO BE PART OF IT: 1) Add this circle to your circles -> Add circle2) Share added circle with option "include yourself in shared circle". Done. You're welcome :) ZbynekMy entire social presence:*****************************http://xeeme.com/bouchac*****************************2012-12-07 20:33:1441920625
Kurt Smith14,400Thought Provokers Circle Share - Who's Made You Think Lately?Who's Made You Think Lately? Are they in this circle? For me, +Dede Craig King had me really going last Monday, +Lacerant Plainer always gets me thinking, and just a few days ago it was +Randy Hilarski.Here's latest round of the Thought Provokers Circle. This is an #awesomesauce  circle of great plussers who will make you think (we're all trying anyway). The cool thing about this circle is that you had to be recommended by someone else to get in.Add & Reshare so others can discover these awesome people to follow. Current members please update your circle. If you'd like to join in, please suggest 3-5 people and tell why they make you think. #circleshare   #circles   #circlesharing   #circleoftheday   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharepubliccircle   #publiccircle   #publicsharedcircles  2012-12-04 15:53:26287653061
Brunner Nathan325Some people that comment and follow back.Don't forget to give a share and a plus one.#circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle #sharedpubliccircles #circlesharing #publiccircle #circles2012-11-29 18:03:5327516419
Mj Bedford0Shared Circle Saturday My #peace   #circle  Thank you allI circle people who circle meand I refresh this circle Peace2012-11-11 04:03:07258426
Kurt Smith6,542Thought Provokers Circle Share -- Plussers Who 'Make You Go Hmm...'Next round of the Thought Provokers Circle. An amazing circle of great plussers who will make you think, well maybe. Here's some of the people and wisdom inside:"And a few of us that make you go "HUH???" from +Bearman Cartoons. " Ummmm.... I suddenly feel like I'm back in grade school again and the entire class is giving me the look... You're going to get your arse kicked at recess!!!! said +Frank Garufi Jr.. Check out and discover some new people - I've met +Dede Craig King, +Susanne Ramharter, +MommyLovesTech.Add & Reshare so others can discover these awesome people to follow. Current members please update your circle. If you'd like to join in, please suggest 3-5 people and why they make you think.#circles   #circle   #circleshare   #circleoftheday   #circlesharing   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  +Full Circle +Circles +CIRCLES on Google+ 2012-10-31 14:11:37275922881

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Most comments: 172

2015-03-24 19:35:16 (172 comments, 11 reshares, 56 +1s)Open 

Bad-Faith Good-Faith

I presume good faith almost unconditionally. And I've seen this criticized on the basis that it's not true, which ...

... well, of course it isn't true. Why would anyone expect it to be? Presumptions aren't truths about the world. In many cases, they are plainly untrue. Most people tried for crimes are, in fact, guilty of those crimes. Some people who make accusations are wrong. Most people in high-conflict interactions will eventually resort to bad faith. 

Rather, a presumption is an interpretive stance taken to achieve a particular result. The presumption of innocence creates a bias against false positives. The contradictory presumption in favor of victim narratives prevents us from inadvertently punishing someone for reporting someone else's misdeeds. The presumption of good faith creates a bias in favor of de-escalating,... more »

Most reshares: 12

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2015-04-15 18:16:09 (14 comments, 12 reshares, 39 +1s)Open 

I'm just going to leave this absolutely gobsmacking abstract here. It's always fascinating when some piece of neurological architecture has been clearly press-ganged into supporting some computationally related but conceptually dissimilar mechanism. 

In this case, it appears that the same architecture used for processing physical discomfort is also involved in processing violations of conceptual boundaries. From the abstract:

The meaning-maintenance model posits that any violation of expectations leads to an affective experience that motivates compensatory affirmation. We explore whether the neural mechanism that responds to meaning threats can be inhibited by acetaminophen, in the same way that acetaminophen inhibits physical pain or the distress caused by social rejection. In two studies, participants received either acetaminophen or a placebo and were provided with either... more »

Most plusones: 87

2015-03-30 23:35:37 (26 comments, 5 reshares, 87 +1s)Open 

The problem with being good in a crisis is the risk that you will allow normal, unexceptional problems to develop into crises simply so that you can be good at fixing them.

Latest 50 posts

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2015-04-28 03:43:39 (4 comments, 2 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

"The horror. The horror."

"The horror. The horror."___

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2015-04-27 21:58:55 (25 comments, 7 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

Some thoughts about legal system's behavior in extremely fraught corner cases like this:

(1) The likelihood that someone will be the target of a malicious false accusation of a crime is small. This likelihood is compounding: it is very unlikely that someone would be the target of multiple false accusations. It is reasonable for the general public, no matter their priors about false accusations, to believe that someone who has been accused by several people of several crimes is much more likely to be guilty.

Even when the accusations are not wholly independent.

(2) We can't use propensity evidence in an unrestricted way. There are a fair number of false convictions for sex offenses. They generally don't result from false accusations: they result from accusations directed at unknown parties, followed by police pattern-matching to a known criminal.... more »

Some thoughts about legal system's behavior in extremely fraught corner cases like this:

(1) The likelihood that someone will be the target of a malicious false accusation of a crime is small. This likelihood is compounding: it is very unlikely that someone would be the target of multiple false accusations. It is reasonable for the general public, no matter their priors about false accusations, to believe that someone who has been accused by several people of several crimes is much more likely to be guilty.

Even when the accusations are not wholly independent.

(2) We can't use propensity evidence in an unrestricted way. There are a fair number of false convictions for sex offenses. They generally don't result from false accusations: they result from accusations directed at unknown parties, followed by police pattern-matching to a known criminal. Which means that until the dam has been broken by a felony conviction of some sort, it is very hard to get around the lack of evidence in sexual assault proceedings.

(3) People behave strangely in the aftermath of trauma. People need to get on with their lives once immediate danger has passed, and they often try to get on with as much of their life as they can salvage. This often means pretending that whatever-it-was didn't actually happen, because the alternative is making your entire life, into the indefinite future, about the worst thing that happened to you.

(4) This strange behavior often includes changing stories. As stories become ever more public, people often find that they're not salvaging as much of their life as they thought they could. Sometimes, that means throwing away much of their credibility to protect their reputation, because neither justice nor revenge is, in the end, particularly satisfying. 

Changing stories means "reasonable doubt" does not necessarily mean that the accuser was lying, because there are plenty of cases where the accuser changes their story, and there is corroborating physical evidence, or the victim repudiates their story to stop a prosecution which has spiraled out of their control. 

(5) This is relevant to the general public, but not to the legal system. In cases where there is no corroborating evidence, changing stories create reasonable doubt. We can't get around that. This means that guilty people will go free because of something that traumatized people often do -- but we can't suspend the normal rules of evidence even if the behavior is understandable. The victim's story, in sexual assault cases, is a load-bearing structure: there's a burden of production with respect to lack of consent. 

There is no easy way around that without decreasing the reliability of the system. That convicts more innocent people, even where there is no false accusation.

(6) High-profile cases are inherently more likely to implode. Journalists need to do exactly what their feminist impulses tell them not to: aggressively fact-check, even when it doesn't seem like it would be good for your informant.

Why? Because talking to the media is extremely uncommon behavior for victims. However rare false reports are, approaching the media about your case is rarer: victims who are actively cooperating with police mostly want to get justice, stop others from being hurt, and quietly close the book on their trauma.

For people that aren't going to be re-traumatized by becoming the subject of national debate, because they haven't been traumatized to begin with, talking to the media is a much more reasonable choice. Why didn't I talk about the Rolling Stone article on the University of Virginia? Not because I actively disbelieved the story, but because victim-sources universally have unusual motives. 

(7) If you're an agent of the state, you're required to adhere by due process. If the process is right but you feel like the result was wrong, you're stuck: you can't just override your process and start pretending that you came to the opposite result.

You can fix your process, sure. You can look at the failures. But if you screwed up and came to the wrong result (and I don't necessarily think Columbia did), the best you can do is tell the person your process has hurt that the system has irrevocably failed them. This is the price we pay for the rule of law. 

(8) If you've been accused of something, and have been found innocent by some half-assed institutional process which falls substantially short of a real trial, you're definitely entitled not to be punished. You are not entitled to shut your accuser up unless you can prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the accuser is saying something intentionally or recklessly false. This is not the same thing as being found innocent, even if the standard of innocence was proof by preponderance.

(9) More particularly, you are probably not entitled to force nonjudicial agents of the state to shut your accuser up.  You might be entitled to compel agents of the state not to provide supererogatory support to your accuser's art project, but this is an extremely thin reed to walk out on, and I can't think of a bounding principle which would distinguish it from forcing nonjudicial agents of the state to shut up your accuser.___

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2015-04-27 16:55:17 (19 comments, 1 reshares, 24 +1s)Open 

Canine venereal tumor is a unicellular subspecies of Canis lupus. HeLa is a unicellular subspecies of Homo sapiens.

And this is actually not an uncommon pattern. Not that long ago, we believed myxozoans -- parasitic, only-slightly-multicellular critters -- were protozoans. It turns out they're not. They're jellyfish that decided to give up on the whole "free-living and multicellular" thing, and ended up as animals so small that there are actually intracellular myxozoans. 

Canine venereal tumor is a unicellular subspecies of Canis lupus. HeLa is a unicellular subspecies of Homo sapiens.

And this is actually not an uncommon pattern. Not that long ago, we believed myxozoans -- parasitic, only-slightly-multicellular critters -- were protozoans. It turns out they're not. They're jellyfish that decided to give up on the whole "free-living and multicellular" thing, and ended up as animals so small that there are actually intracellular myxozoans. ___

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2015-04-25 20:18:34 (5 comments, 4 reshares, 15 +1s)Open 

Yesterday, +Wil Wheaton's wife donated a dollar (up to $1000) to Anita Sarkesian's work for every angry GamerGate tweet directed at her. The limit was reached in minutes. +John Scalzi matched. (as apparently did others: http://www.themarysue.com/anne-wheaton-feminist-frequency/)

In retaliation, a GamerGater is donating $2000 to NAMBLA. No joke, GamerGaters are LITERALLY supporting pedophiles in their frothing rage.

Yesterday, +Wil Wheaton's wife donated a dollar (up to $1000) to Anita Sarkesian's work for every angry GamerGate tweet directed at her. The limit was reached in minutes. +John Scalzi matched. (as apparently did others: http://www.themarysue.com/anne-wheaton-feminist-frequency/)

In retaliation, a GamerGater is donating $2000 to NAMBLA. No joke, GamerGaters are LITERALLY supporting pedophiles in their frothing rage.___

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2015-04-24 21:58:17 (6 comments, 6 reshares, 36 +1s)Open 

Ex-Governor Bilbo: I Let Him Hang

Yesterday, an old cover from Startling Detective Adventures piqued my interest. It featured the tagline: I Let Him Hang, by ex-Governor Bilbo of Mississippi,  and apparently ran in October of 1933. And I'm pretty sure, after some archives work at lunch today, that I know what went on. So, some questions and answers, section by section:

What the hell is Startling Detective Adventures?

It was a scummy little pulp production, featuring crime-scene photos and true crime stories. From contemporaneous descriptions, it appears to have been the 1930s' rotten.com: an explicitly prurient source for pictures of dead bodies and descriptions of how the people in question died. It also contained serials, standalone detective stories, and interviews with people involved in true-crime stories. 

It wasn'ta... more »

Ex-Governor Bilbo: I Let Him Hang

Yesterday, an old cover from Startling Detective Adventures piqued my interest. It featured the tagline: I Let Him Hang, by ex-Governor Bilbo of Mississippi,  and apparently ran in October of 1933. And I'm pretty sure, after some archives work at lunch today, that I know what went on. So, some questions and answers, section by section:

What the hell is Startling Detective Adventures?

It was a scummy little pulp production, featuring crime-scene photos and true crime stories. From contemporaneous descriptions, it appears to have been the 1930s' rotten.com: an explicitly prurient source for pictures of dead bodies and descriptions of how the people in question died. It also contained serials, standalone detective stories, and interviews with people involved in true-crime stories. 

It wasn't a great place.

Who the hell is Theodore Bilbo?

Probably the worst human being ever to have held political office in the Untied States. He held two nonconsecutive terms as governor, once in the immediate aftermath of World War I, and once in the first days of the Great Depression. Later, he had two terms as Senator, during which he was mostly notable for filibustering explicitly in defense of lynching.

During both of his gubernatorial terms, he replaced establishment candidates who represented the delta planter class. His base of support lay instead in upland Mississippi, with smallholders, townsfolk, and the white poor. The former governors supported oppressive, economically productive racism. Bilbo, on the other hand, supported murderous, economically destructive racism. 

In his 1916 campaign, Bilbo supported extreme, punitive measures against returning black World War I veterans, who realized in the aftermath of their service that, yes, they could be treated like citizens rather than slaves. Though he doesn't seem to have been a direct cause of the explosive anti-black riots that consumed the South in the aftermath of WWI, he rode that wave to political victory. And he did so again when he returned to power, preaching ethnic cleansing as in the first days of the Great Depression.

He was also a Democrat, and -- later -- the respect he commanded in the South would be critical to passing the first of the New Deal programs. The price? Explicit exclusion of African-Americans from the benefits of the New Deal.

He was also 5'2" and his last name was "Bilbo." Which makes his exclusion from the McSweeney's quiz "U.S. Senator or Hobbit" one of the most baffling editorial omissions in history. (See http://goo.gl/O0M4Q.)

What the hell was going on in 1933?

When this was written, Bilbo was making a second return to politics after being ignominiously drummed out of office in 1932 for corruption, incompetence, and violent, economically destructive racism. After having been drummed out the first time for precisely the same reason.

However, in 1931, he'd done what he promised never to do when he took office: put together a security detail for a black suspect who had been threatened with lynching. By 1933, after failing at running for the House, he needed to reestablish his credentials as a monster. Strangely, however, he was working as an analyst for the Department of Agriculture, taking clippings from news stories about agricultural devastation -- a position in which he was derisively called the "Pastemaster General."

It seems unlikely that his position would have given him much room at all to brag about his support for extrajudicial murder by armed white paramilitaries. But maybe it did. 

What the hell. Did he let people hang?

Explicitly so. In 1919, he explicitly declined to intervene in the lynching of an African-American in Ellisville, Mississippi. 

This was not, at the time, particularly controversial in Mississippi. He ran on a publicly pro-lynching platform, a political position which caused enormous angst for the Senate when he first won his seat. The Senate attempted to refuse to seat him, but was blocked by the Southern Senate delegation. 

What was controversial was his decision, in 1931, to call out the National Guard to prevent a second lynching -- though don't give him too much credit. The lynch mob in that case was also burning down significant parts of the county. Humiliated, defeated, and relegated to an unimportant job in an unimportant agency, it is conceivable that Bilbo actually gave an interview here: he needed to rebuild his reputation as a monster in order to win back the support of the foaming-mad-genocidal-racist voting bloc in Mississippi.

What the hell do you think this is talking about?

The Ellisville lynching of John Hartfield, discussed in the Jackson Daily News story reprinted below.

Do I know this? Not without spending $138 dollars to buy a morally bankrupt magazine about one of the most depressing events in history. But it fits all of the facts we know about the parties. Startling Detective Stories was a photographic pulp magazine which relied heavily on gore to sell copies. Bilbo was well-known for not raising a finger to stop one particular hanging. 

And the photographs taken of the Ellisville mob and hanging? 

They were sold as postcards throughout the South. The images taken from that murder were some of the most iconic lynching postcards ever made, but they weren't well-known in the north, where people didn't take pictures of murders and try to sell them to children -- and where pulp magazines were mostly sold. Taking everything we know into account, there's plenty of reason to believe that Startling Detective Stories was reprinting those photos, accompanied by a new or old interview with ex-governor Bilbo.

Grim. ___

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2015-04-23 20:06:54 (15 comments, 0 reshares, 39 +1s)Open 

I don't usually post things on my Family Curse. But here's a pretty long-form piece on the nasty little neurological disorder that my family has to deal with.

I'm lucky, in that I'm mostly subclinical: I've got the gene, the gene is dominant, but I mostly just trip over things in the late afternoon, bang into doors, slur my words, and cramp up hard after exercise. Without drugs, I'm not confined to a wheelchair by dinner, as so many other people with DRD are.

The rest of my siblings? Not so much.

I don't usually post things on my Family Curse. But here's a pretty long-form piece on the nasty little neurological disorder that my family has to deal with.

I'm lucky, in that I'm mostly subclinical: I've got the gene, the gene is dominant, but I mostly just trip over things in the late afternoon, bang into doors, slur my words, and cramp up hard after exercise. Without drugs, I'm not confined to a wheelchair by dinner, as so many other people with DRD are.

The rest of my siblings? Not so much.___

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2015-04-23 19:46:15 (8 comments, 1 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

This is a surprising place to find a view into one of the darkest episodes into American political history.

In 1927, Dennis Murphree, the Democratic governor of Mississippi, did something that few prior Mississippi governors had done before: he called up the National Guard to defend the Jackson County jail and prevent a lynching. Though racial violence had declined precipitously under Murphree's governorship, Mississippi still had more lynchings per capita than any state in the union -- and all of those lynched were African-Americans.

The improbably-named Theodore Bilbo ran explicitly on a pro-lynching platform, declaring that no African-American*, whether innocent or guilty, deserved the protection of the state. And he won. In a landslide. Later, he was elected to the Senate, where he was reelected (and reelected, and reelected) on a platform of denying African-Americans any... more »

I Let Him Hang http://bit.ly/1OGxqu1___This is a surprising place to find a view into one of the darkest episodes into American political history.

In 1927, Dennis Murphree, the Democratic governor of Mississippi, did something that few prior Mississippi governors had done before: he called up the National Guard to defend the Jackson County jail and prevent a lynching. Though racial violence had declined precipitously under Murphree's governorship, Mississippi still had more lynchings per capita than any state in the union -- and all of those lynched were African-Americans.

The improbably-named Theodore Bilbo ran explicitly on a pro-lynching platform, declaring that no African-American*, whether innocent or guilty, deserved the protection of the state. And he won. In a landslide. Later, he was elected to the Senate, where he was reelected (and reelected, and reelected) on a platform of denying African-Americans any protection from white mobs and paramilitaries. 

And he was successful. The United States never passed anti-lynching legislation. 

Unsurprisingly, I Let Him Hang, published some time in the 1930s, is an explicit and triumphal defense of lynching. It's unusual to find it in a pulp "true crime" magazine, and my suspicion (not having access to the primary document) is that it's actually an unauthorized reprint of a Bilbo speech, not a unique work written explicitly for this venue. 

(1) Bilbo did not use the word "African-American."

2015-04-22 22:05:59 (13 comments, 2 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

"""
As Americans realize states don't need an income tax to fit their budgets, Norquist argues, people will start to question why the federal government needs one too. "For most of our country's history we didn't have an income tax," Norquist explains. "In our 50 states, nine don't have income taxes. I think in the next 15 years it will be 25 that don't have income taxes."
"""

Instead, we had the Tariff, at every moment the second most controversial government policy, and the excises. To remedy the crushing burden of the Tariff, Congress passed an income tax. That tax was declared unconstitutional -- on a reading which held that an in income tax is tantamount to a direct tax on property, so the decision is in obvious error -- so we passed the Sixteenth Amendment with broad support across the political spectrum.more »

"""
As Americans realize states don't need an income tax to fit their budgets, Norquist argues, people will start to question why the federal government needs one too. "For most of our country's history we didn't have an income tax," Norquist explains. "In our 50 states, nine don't have income taxes. I think in the next 15 years it will be 25 that don't have income taxes."
"""

Instead, we had the Tariff, at every moment the second most controversial government policy, and the excises. To remedy the crushing burden of the Tariff, Congress passed an income tax. That tax was declared unconstitutional -- on a reading which held that an in income tax is tantamount to a direct tax on property, so the decision is in obvious error -- so we passed the Sixteenth Amendment with broad support across the political spectrum.

Because, in all seriousness, the only people who supported the Tariff were factory owners who were greatly subsidized by it.

And so we had, by the end of World War I, taxation as we know it today. Not that Norquist would be aware or care, he's just a conservative media personality. Seriously, it would be as if Democrats really did let $movie_star write their platforms.___

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2015-04-22 18:12:09 (23 comments, 5 reshares, 30 +1s)Open 

No.

There are no proximate causes here. The market's behavior during the flash crash was caused by the intersection of HFT spoofing algorithms, some big, dumb manual spoofing, and a few large banks' quick-but-stupid automated sell triggers. This resulted in a purely automated feedback loop which was beyond the control of any particular market actor, however large. (Or, in this case, however small.)

The fact that an unusually dumb spoofing operation was part of the cause simply demonstrates the brittleness which occurs at the interface of complex systems which make different assumptions about market behavior, but -- most importantly -- do not assume each other's behavior. Because they cannot. Because the specifics of that behavior are trade secrets.

No.

There are no proximate causes here. The market's behavior during the flash crash was caused by the intersection of HFT spoofing algorithms, some big, dumb manual spoofing, and a few large banks' quick-but-stupid automated sell triggers. This resulted in a purely automated feedback loop which was beyond the control of any particular market actor, however large. (Or, in this case, however small.)

The fact that an unusually dumb spoofing operation was part of the cause simply demonstrates the brittleness which occurs at the interface of complex systems which make different assumptions about market behavior, but -- most importantly -- do not assume each other's behavior. Because they cannot. Because the specifics of that behavior are trade secrets.___

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2015-04-22 18:03:16 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

From +David Loring, a coda: "Callout culture has been a consistent challenge for communities of social justice since well before the current set of concerned articles about it. I remember a wave of articles about its risks within feminist blogs about four years ago, for instance. It mostly seems to stem from people who don't have the emotional resources to practice bad-faith good-faith, or who are primed to expect bad-faith because they receive dozens of messages in bad faith each day."

And there's been empirical research on this subject! It turns out that the less tolerant a community is to trolling, the more disruptive the trolls are in the long run. Worse, the higher the volume of trolls, the less tolerant a community becomes to dissent.

In the long run, this leads to escalating polarization of communities that need defense: defense of community boundaries becomes... more »

I see articles talking about the growth of "online authoritarianism" among liberals smitten with call-out culture, I've even posted a few.

But, in truth, I've never seen this directly. I always have it linked to me by someone else as an example of online authoritarianism. So why don't I ever see this?

I think Bryan Caplan is right here: I don't look for it, I'm not out following people for the sake of rage or, in this case, myötähäpeä. I use Tumblr, which seems to the epicenter, as a source for adorable hyenas* and precious little else.

But it's also hard for me to see once pointed out. My theories for it range from "holy shit, authoritarianism" to "people with borderline personality disorder latching onto something which creates constant opportunities for validation"** to... well... have you ever read a comments section? They're full of jackassery.†

Which is where I've landed tonight: if you think there's this overwhelming authoritarianism growing among Internet liberals, you haven't been on the Internet long. Not only do we get bumper crops of authoritarianism every year, we get it in all conditions and climates, with growing seasons so fast we'd solve world hunger if only sanctimony and censoriousness were edible.

That's what this post is really about: it's time that we have top men working on edible sanctimony and potable censoriousness. There are over seven billion people here now†† and if we're to maintain the quality of life we've come to expect while preventing environmental devastation, we'll need a richly abundant food source which requires little energy, land, or water as inputs.

*http://jaws-and-claws.tumblr.com/post/113873042780/addo-pe-63-by-thenunsofgaborone-on-flickr

**http://www.reddit.com/r/ShitTumblrSays

†And space babies.

††Also at least 400,000 illegal aliens from the Pleiades.___From +David Loring, a coda: "Callout culture has been a consistent challenge for communities of social justice since well before the current set of concerned articles about it. I remember a wave of articles about its risks within feminist blogs about four years ago, for instance. It mostly seems to stem from people who don't have the emotional resources to practice bad-faith good-faith, or who are primed to expect bad-faith because they receive dozens of messages in bad faith each day."

And there's been empirical research on this subject! It turns out that the less tolerant a community is to trolling, the more disruptive the trolls are in the long run. Worse, the higher the volume of trolls, the less tolerant a community becomes to dissent.

In the long run, this leads to escalating polarization of communities that need defense: defense of community boundaries becomes the key signifier of participation in the community. This attracts more trolls, which causes more polarization, and on and on and on. Until, eventually, you get the present state of affairs. 

2015-04-22 17:53:04 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

I would not call Bloodborne "difficult". There's a certain degree of rigor to it, but the game is designed around the assumption that you'll die several times an hour.* For instance, you retain all your items, even those you just found, and can regain the currency you lose. In addition, scaling in the game is really good, so even losing your chance to regain blood echoes (that currency) isn't a large setback.

Dying isn't much of a problem.

There are also always two routes if you have trouble. The first, you can simply keep trying the fight until you have it down, honing skill until it works. The second, you can simply farm mobs for blood echoes, upgrade items, and so on until you can be well-equipped. Either of these options seems to work out quite well and a mix of them is usually best. Moreover, the game doesn't set you up for failure: you can choose... more »

I would not call Bloodborne "difficult". There's a certain degree of rigor to it, but the game is designed around the assumption that you'll die several times an hour.* For instance, you retain all your items, even those you just found, and can regain the currency you lose. In addition, scaling in the game is really good, so even losing your chance to regain blood echoes (that currency) isn't a large setback.

Dying isn't much of a problem.

There are also always two routes if you have trouble. The first, you can simply keep trying the fight until you have it down, honing skill until it works. The second, you can simply farm mobs for blood echoes, upgrade items, and so on until you can be well-equipped. Either of these options seems to work out quite well and a mix of them is usually best. Moreover, the game doesn't set you up for failure: you can choose where you respawn, at no point is the player stuck in a hopeless battle because they lack the equipment and have respawned too deep in hostile territory to obtain remedy.

I've not seen any fights I've thought hopeless since I learned the full retinue of controls and this is the first console game I've played in about a decade, emulated 8- or 16-bit games withstanding. So it just doesn't feel difficult to me at all; there are no hopeless mysteries about it and no weirdly immense learning curves. I even managed to kill the Cleric Beast through patient dodging, without summoning Father Gascoigne.

Each objective might be reached only by careful planning or intense, perfect cowardice, but it never feels like the game is actually out to get you. While you need to accept a few deaths, it's not really a failure mode and the game takes pains to disabuse you of the notion. It's even part of the in-game world. Though this might seem a badge of difficulty, it's actually incredibly liberating: there's no reason not to try the head-on, kill-em-all, let eldritch horrors sort them out strategy. Or to take a chance at running for your life all the way to a gate you can open or ladder you can drop.

You stand a good chance of dying regardless, why not take some chances? It's not like you're going to see a game over screen. I feel that taking pressure off of dying, really abandoning the arcade model and developing the game mechanics around death being bad but not in any sense final, diminishes the difficulty. You're very free to practice an area, a move, an encounter, or a run. That ability and the option of doing a little farming relieves the intense pressure in earlier games in which mistakes had permanent costs, resetting the entire game or leaving a favorite save stuck, potionless, before the hardest boss.

Bloodborne doesn't provide difficulty, it demands rigor and attention. But there's nothing in it that any player could not achieve without taking advantage of what is described above: how frequent dying, the central badge of difficulty, liberates the player to practice and experiment.

#

I do have one other quibble with the received wisdom: the Threaded Cane is the best starting weapon, hands down. The cane form of the weapon is very fast and its slightly lower damage is a fast shrinking liability as you begin apply upgrades.** The whip form provides you with volume. This feature is absolutely amazing because it allows you to hit enemies in a fairly large cone in front of you; this means that variations in terrain, the jumping of crows, and the movement of enemies matters much less, simplifying combat in lazy moments and saving you in "oh fuck oh shit oh fuck" ones.

 *Almost. There's this huge caching issue which causes an interminable load screen every time. 

**Consider that if the cane does 85 damage and the axe does 93 damage, there's a ~10% disadvantage for the cane. But each upgrade narrows the gap because the difference after each remains only eight points.___

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2015-04-22 17:49:34 (7 comments, 1 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

"""
“Government must remain neutral to any viewpoint or idea, and allow the expression of ideas, even if the vast majority of the community considers the idea dangerous, offensive, wrong and evil,” attorney Nadine Strossen said.

Still, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department said the officer has been instructed not to drive the car to work anymore.

“Due to the fact that its presence at the NYPD facility may be considered offensive and/or inappropriate, the registered owner is being instructed that the car should not be parked on NYPD property,” the unnamed spokesman said.

So much for free speech.
"""

The rules work differently for public officials. The problem with a police officer driving a car to work which bears the Confederate flag should be obvious. It creates the appearance that they will notdischar... more »

"""
“Government must remain neutral to any viewpoint or idea, and allow the expression of ideas, even if the vast majority of the community considers the idea dangerous, offensive, wrong and evil,” attorney Nadine Strossen said.

Still, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department said the officer has been instructed not to drive the car to work anymore.

“Due to the fact that its presence at the NYPD facility may be considered offensive and/or inappropriate, the registered owner is being instructed that the car should not be parked on NYPD property,” the unnamed spokesman said.

So much for free speech.
"""

The rules work differently for public officials. The problem with a police officer driving a car to work which bears the Confederate flag should be obvious. It creates the appearance that they will not discharge their duties properly and, instead, act on an ideology proscribed by the constitution.*

Earlier I favored a law allowing guns into an employee parking lot, negating the right of the owner to ban them from their property.

While this seems a similar case, it isn't. The rules work differently for public officials. An appearance of racism at, f.ex., a car factory is not nearly so problematic as the appearance of racism at the police station, in the courthouse, or even at the DMV. If you can't accept that the government can place greater restrictions on its central representatives insofar as their use of public property, don't work for the government.

*This post isn't about "the law". In law, the rules work the same for public officials: the government can impose nearly any restriction on its employees any other employer could impose, including this one. Where it diverges is that I'm willing to accept "freedom culture" arguments for private parties I will not for public entities. There are a few provisos, but none significant here.___

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2015-04-21 20:05:26 (39 comments, 4 reshares, 17 +1s)Open 

""
Allies are important, except when they’re the worst. That is my takeaway from this current moment in man-feminist relations, but the idea is not new. [...] The central conflict is simple: Because men are “members of the dominant group, they have access to social and institutional power that women lack,” Macomber writes, and that makes them valuable to feminism—but it also makes them representatives of a culture feminists are working to change.

When it comes to day-to-day interactions between allies and feminists, the problem becomes a lot more complicated. [...] Male allies are encouraged to speak up against domestic violence because “men listen to other men,” Macomber found; then again, the idea that male voices are privileged over female ones is part of the problem. Men only seem to flock to feminist activism when the word men is coded into the event ororganizatio... more »

""
Allies are important, except when they’re the worst. That is my takeaway from this current moment in man-feminist relations, but the idea is not new. [...] The central conflict is simple: Because men are “members of the dominant group, they have access to social and institutional power that women lack,” Macomber writes, and that makes them valuable to feminism—but it also makes them representatives of a culture feminists are working to change.

When it comes to day-to-day interactions between allies and feminists, the problem becomes a lot more complicated. [...] Male allies are encouraged to speak up against domestic violence because “men listen to other men,” Macomber found; then again, the idea that male voices are privileged over female ones is part of the problem. Men only seem to flock to feminist activism when the word men is coded into the event or organization title (Men For Choice; Men Can Stop Rape). On the other hand, men who enter female spaces without an explicit invitation may intrude on feminists seeking “a break from their everyday encounters with men.” Men who style themselves as “experts” in feminism overstate their qualifications, but those who insist that their feminism is a “process” and that they will invariably “make mistakes” seem to be granting themselves a license to mess up. Some feminists applaud men just for speaking out; others resent the fact that men are idolized for saying, as one female activist told Macomber, “the same exact thing Ida B. Wells said back in like 1824.” Even if feminist men exclusively produced “Sensitive, Correct, Good Takes,” Kat Stoeffel argued in The Cut last week, they’d still be “taking up space that a woman might have otherwise occupied.”
""___

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2015-04-21 19:50:14 (31 comments, 10 reshares, 41 +1s)Open 

In Western intellectual histories, the Arabs are often identified as mere librarians: preservers who didn't substantially expand on the foundations they had inherited. 

This is untrue. 

By the time of Constantine, neoplatonist academies in the Greek-speaking world primarily operated on proceeds from divination, amulets, and basic literacy education for the children of the elites. As Christianity continued to spread, these funds dried up. And in 529, the academy in Athens closed, ending an intellectual tradition nearly a millennium old. 

In the Aramaic-speaking world -- Syria, eastern Anatolia, and northern Mesopotamia -- the neoplatonist tradition continued outside the close supervision of Byzantine administrative centers. When Arab armies finally took Syria and Mesopotamia from the Byzantines, they consolidated control of the Hellenic fringe only slowly, and neverqu... more »

In Western intellectual histories, the Arabs are often identified as mere librarians: preservers who didn't substantially expand on the foundations they had inherited. 

This is untrue. 

By the time of Constantine, neoplatonist academies in the Greek-speaking world primarily operated on proceeds from divination, amulets, and basic literacy education for the children of the elites. As Christianity continued to spread, these funds dried up. And in 529, the academy in Athens closed, ending an intellectual tradition nearly a millennium old. 

In the Aramaic-speaking world -- Syria, eastern Anatolia, and northern Mesopotamia -- the neoplatonist tradition continued outside the close supervision of Byzantine administrative centers. When Arab armies finally took Syria and Mesopotamia from the Byzantines, they consolidated control of the Hellenic fringe only slowly, and never quite managed to stamp out paganism. 

By the 9th century, neoplatonist-inflected Mesopotamian paganism had received some official sanction from the Caliphate, being falsely identified with the Sabian baptists of southern Iraq -- a group whom Mohammad had specifically tolerated. And by the 11th century, neoplatonism among Mesopotamian Persians -- likely the same people we now identify as Kurds -- was sufficiently widespread that it began to produce new works.  It continued to do so until the 13th. 

The Rasâ’il Ikhwân al-Safâ -- the Letters of the Brethren of Purity -- survived to the modern day. So did the Nabatean Agriculture, and the works of Thabit ibn Qurra, and the Kitab al-Jabr. We're fantastically lucky that even those survived.

But when the Mongols burned the House of Wisdom, and threw so many books in the Tigris that it ran black with char and ink, we didn't lose just the last commentaries on Democritus and a substantial number of Aristotle's works: we lost four centuries of philosophical inquiry which had been cultivated and allowed to flourish at the very center of the Islamic world. And that is almost as great a tragedy.___

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2015-04-21 06:36:28 (11 comments, 4 reshares, 59 +1s)Open 

From the bottom of my heart, I wish both ISIS and the Taliban profound success in their respective jihads.

From the bottom of my heart, I wish both ISIS and the Taliban profound success in their respective jihads.___

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2015-04-18 03:47:13 (15 comments, 3 reshares, 34 +1s)Open 

Woo hoo!  +TechCrunch article about my main project at work.  By June 30th, the ads that Google places on millions of web sites around the world will get to your browser securely, over HTTPS.

So why are we doing this?  Any number of news stories in the past year have made it clear that non-encrypted communication really is the target of both eavesdropping and tampering.  That would be reason enough.

But it's more than that.  Google is a big believer in "HTTPS Everywhere": the notion that all web sites should be encrypted; that if someone proposed unencrypted HTTP today, everyone would just laugh at the mistake and of course add encryption.  The privacy, integrity, and authentication benefits of encryption are hands-down winners.

But there's a catch.  If a web site owner wants the benefits HTTPS, then browsers demand that everything onthe pag... more »

Woo hoo!  +TechCrunch article about my main project at work.  By June 30th, the ads that Google places on millions of web sites around the world will get to your browser securely, over HTTPS.

So why are we doing this?  Any number of news stories in the past year have made it clear that non-encrypted communication really is the target of both eavesdropping and tampering.  That would be reason enough.

But it's more than that.  Google is a big believer in "HTTPS Everywhere": the notion that all web sites should be encrypted; that if someone proposed unencrypted HTTP today, everyone would just laugh at the mistake and of course add encryption.  The privacy, integrity, and authentication benefits of encryption are hands-down winners.

But there's a catch.  If a web site owner wants the benefits HTTPS, then browsers demand that everything on the page must be delivered secure — so as not to leave an unencrypted "weakest link" lying around.  Entirely reasonable.  And in particular, that means that any ads appearing on that page have to be served up on an encrypted channel too.

Well, not all of the ads in the world come in encrypted form.  (Yet!)  So when a web page is encrypted, the auction that picks the best ad to show you can only choose from among the ones fully deliverable over HTTPS... and that means the winning ad is sometimes a little less good.  And the owner of the web page sometimes gets paid a little less money.

People have known this for years.  Articles like "Google AdSense Earnings Drop With HTTPS Migrations" (https://www.seroundtable.com/https-google-adsense-19035.html) talk about how bad the revenue hit can be.

My launch, coming up by June 30th, will make that a thing of the past.  We will be serving all ads over HTTPS.  And that means that web sites moving to HTTPS won't lose money by doing so.

The threat of decreased ad revenue has been a barrier to HTTPS adoption — but for sites that ask Google to place ads on them, that barrier is about to come down.___

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2015-04-18 00:13:13 (4 comments, 3 reshares, 35 +1s)Open 

I have learned, over the course of some years, that there is endless virtue and goodness in simply making people comfortable. In being kind, and genuinely interested, and grateful as appropriate. (I have had some excellent tutors in this matter. Thank you, +Ahmed Amer along with many others who do not Plus.)

It is possible to memorize all of Emily Post and still be a jerk. And that happens when you forget that manners are about making people more comfortable. Not about being correct. 

I have learned, over the course of some years, that there is endless virtue and goodness in simply making people comfortable. In being kind, and genuinely interested, and grateful as appropriate. (I have had some excellent tutors in this matter. Thank you, +Ahmed Amer along with many others who do not Plus.)

It is possible to memorize all of Emily Post and still be a jerk. And that happens when you forget that manners are about making people more comfortable. Not about being correct. ___

2015-04-15 22:17:28 (28 comments, 9 reshares, 41 +1s)Open 

For those of you who are worried about creeping sharia law in the United States, here's a comprehensive list of places where it will ever show up:

(1) Wills, trusts, and other matters of estate law. The Koran includes some mandatory rules about inheritance. In a Muslim will, two-thirds of the estate is set aside for the dhawu al-farāʾḍ. The remainder is distributed as the testator prefers. Depending on the school of Islamic jurisprudence being followed, some of the remaining share can be dedicated to public use -- sharia law has its own equivalent of the common-law trust. 

How does someone end up with an Islamic will? Simple: they're a believing Muslim who writes a will, then specifies "sharia law" as an interpretive rule to resolve all ambiguities. The choice-of-laws rules governing wills are less powerful than those governing contracts, but many ofthese... more »

For those of you who are worried about creeping sharia law in the United States, here's a comprehensive list of places where it will ever show up:

(1) Wills, trusts, and other matters of estate law. The Koran includes some mandatory rules about inheritance. In a Muslim will, two-thirds of the estate is set aside for the dhawu al-farāʾḍ. The remainder is distributed as the testator prefers. Depending on the school of Islamic jurisprudence being followed, some of the remaining share can be dedicated to public use -- sharia law has its own equivalent of the common-law trust. 

How does someone end up with an Islamic will? Simple: they're a believing Muslim who writes a will, then specifies "sharia law" as an interpretive rule to resolve all ambiguities. The choice-of-laws rules governing wills are less powerful than those governing contracts, but many of these wills will end up valid. 

(2) Contract law. Most people who aren't attorneys don't know this, but if you look at any form contract you've signed, you'll find that it specifies the law of a specific state as the governing substantive law. This is pretty uncontroversial: the purpose of a contract, after all, is to memorialize the intents of the parties, and insofar as the intents are changed by the interpretive rules applied, choice of law can be pretty important.

This isn't limited to US law. Parties can agree to whichever sort of law they prefer, so long as it's sufficiently concrete that it can produce a ruling. French civil law? Sure. German law? Okay. Sharia law? Uh, that's weird, but, fine, I guess.

Why might people choose sharia law in their contract? Generally, it's because they're borrowing money at interest, which sharia forbids. Fortunately, you can do a collateralized sale and rent-back, which for all practical purposes is the same thing as a mortgage. If you specify sharia as a Muslim borrower, you get the increased consumer protections (and higher functional interest rate) which come along with a sharia contract.

(3) Binding arbitration. Occasionally, two parties might agree to bypass courts and attend binding arbitration with a religious figure. This is actually pretty common among Orthodox Jews, among Mormons, and among the Amish. Once you've gotten your binding arbitration, you take it to the court to be enforced; if you've agreed to it -- and what you've agreed to is basically a contract -- the court doesn't make substantial inquiries into the fairness of the arbitration you've engaged in.

This obviously can end up screwing one party or the other. It cannot, however, screw anyone who hasn't agreed to use sharia law as the interpretive framework from the moment the dispute arose.

(4) Prenuptial agreements. I've never seen this happen, or even heard of it happening, but there might potentially be an issue with prenuptial agreements -- which are, again, contracts -- drafted to include divorce terms congruent with sharia law. Hypothetically, this could actually be a problem.

In practice, however, prenuptial agreements are treated as a generally disreputable kind of contract, and interpreted according to a much lower unconscionability standard. Is it possible that someone could end up in a bad state this way? Sure. Is it different than any other kind of unconscionable prenuptial agreement? No.

That said, here's two places where it won't show up:

(1) Between two people who didn't agree, at some point, to resolve their dispute using sharia law. In every example discussed above, the way you end up in a US court, dealing with sharia law, is pretty simple: you agree to resolve your dispute according to sharia law. If you didn't agree to do that, then you don't end up in court, grappling with principles of Islamic law. Conditions would have to fundamentally change in order to subject anyone to sharia law who didn't want to be.

(2) In international child-custody cases. First: there are no Hague Convention signatories which operate under Islamic law. Even if we were required to send a child to another country to resolve a case under the appropriate local law, we wouldn't be sending them to a state under Sharia. Second: even if we did so, we'd be doing it because the child was a domiciliary of a state under sharia -- as in, they actually lived there. Third, Article 13(b) of the Hague Convention reads as follows:

Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding Article, the judicial or administrative authority of the requested State is not bound to order the return of the child if the person, institution or other body which opposes its return establishes that [...] there is a grave risk that [the child's] return would expose the child to physical or psychological harm or otherwise place the child in an intolerable situation.

And Article 20 goes on to say: 

The return of the child under the provisions of Article 12 may be refused if this would not be permitted by the fundamental principles of the requested State relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Assuming that ISIS took over Syria, then signed the Hague Convention, and then citizens of the Caliphate began requesting the return of refugee children, the law does not behave mechanically. If there's a chance of grave harm to the child in particular, or grave danger imposed by the law in question, then the US can simply give the other Hague Convention signatory the finger and deny the motion to send off the child.

There are, in other words, no dangers here. Sharia panic is wholly imaginary.___

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2015-04-15 21:16:10 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

CC: resident sloth bear expert +Sara Anderson.

Back in February, ZooBorns featured news of the birth of ‘Niko’, the Sloth Bear cub, at NaturZoo Rheine. 

The young guy is now on public display in the Zoo’s outdoor exhibit, and he is enjoying one of the perks of being a Sloth Bear cub---traveling, in style, on mom ‘Devi’s’ back! 

Mother bear will usually carry her young in this manner, to and from feeding areas, for about 6 months, until the cubs are almost one-third her size.

Follow the link, to ZooBorns, to learn more! http://bit.ly/1J388EH___CC: resident sloth bear expert +Sara Anderson.

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2015-04-15 18:16:09 (14 comments, 12 reshares, 39 +1s)Open 

I'm just going to leave this absolutely gobsmacking abstract here. It's always fascinating when some piece of neurological architecture has been clearly press-ganged into supporting some computationally related but conceptually dissimilar mechanism. 

In this case, it appears that the same architecture used for processing physical discomfort is also involved in processing violations of conceptual boundaries. From the abstract:

The meaning-maintenance model posits that any violation of expectations leads to an affective experience that motivates compensatory affirmation. We explore whether the neural mechanism that responds to meaning threats can be inhibited by acetaminophen, in the same way that acetaminophen inhibits physical pain or the distress caused by social rejection. In two studies, participants received either acetaminophen or a placebo and were provided with either... more »

I'm just going to leave this absolutely gobsmacking abstract here. It's always fascinating when some piece of neurological architecture has been clearly press-ganged into supporting some computationally related but conceptually dissimilar mechanism. 

In this case, it appears that the same architecture used for processing physical discomfort is also involved in processing violations of conceptual boundaries. From the abstract:

The meaning-maintenance model posits that any violation of expectations leads to an affective experience that motivates compensatory affirmation. We explore whether the neural mechanism that responds to meaning threats can be inhibited by acetaminophen, in the same way that acetaminophen inhibits physical pain or the distress caused by social rejection. In two studies, participants received either acetaminophen or a placebo and were provided with either an unsettling experience or a control experience. In Study 1, participants wrote about either their death or a control topic. In Study 2, participants watched either a surrealist film clip or a control film clip. In both studies, participants in the meaning-threat condition who had taken a placebo showed typical compensatory affirmations by becoming more punitive toward lawbreakers, whereas those who had taken acetaminophen, and those in the control conditions, did not.___

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2015-04-14 22:20:47 (15 comments, 4 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Back in the 1990s, Idaho had a relatively sane Republican party; one founded largely on stolid Mormon civic conservatism. 

Larry Craig, Mike Crapo, Butch Otter, Phil Batt, Randy Smith and Mike Simpson were all pragmatic conservatives who weren't dedicated to much that I agreed with, but they also weren't prone to self-destructive tantrums about imaginary issues. I wouldn't vote for them, but I didn't show up to the polls to vote against them, either.

Not so much, with the current batch of Republicans.

Back in the 1990s, Idaho had a relatively sane Republican party; one founded largely on stolid Mormon civic conservatism. 

Larry Craig, Mike Crapo, Butch Otter, Phil Batt, Randy Smith and Mike Simpson were all pragmatic conservatives who weren't dedicated to much that I agreed with, but they also weren't prone to self-destructive tantrums about imaginary issues. I wouldn't vote for them, but I didn't show up to the polls to vote against them, either.

Not so much, with the current batch of Republicans.___

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2015-04-14 21:30:11 (25 comments, 2 reshares, 52 +1s)Open 

Because of course there's a telepresence robot running around G+ HQ.

Because of course there's a telepresence robot running around G+ HQ.___

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2015-04-14 19:28:14 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

In comments to a post last week, +Nicholas Weininger pointed out a recent post by Julian Sanchez that, unlike most libertarian frameworks for antidiscrimination laws, actually grapples with the balance of harms. The nut of it is here:

Whether a prohibition is justifiable—and how stringent the limits should be—will depend on whether enough people are doing it that you have an appreciable aggregate harm. We don’t just deem carbon emission an intrinsic wrong and categorically ban it—we recognize that industrial smokestacks are probably worth regulating fairly strictly, while banning fireplaces would limit individuals freedom to use their property more severely than can be justified by the public interest in avoiding the marginal ecological harm imposed, given levels of fireplace usage observed in the real world.

As an abstract framework, this is actually pretty good. But thereare stil... more »

In comments to a post last week, +Nicholas Weininger pointed out a recent post by Julian Sanchez that, unlike most libertarian frameworks for antidiscrimination laws, actually grapples with the balance of harms. The nut of it is here:

Whether a prohibition is justifiable—and how stringent the limits should be—will depend on whether enough people are doing it that you have an appreciable aggregate harm. We don’t just deem carbon emission an intrinsic wrong and categorically ban it—we recognize that industrial smokestacks are probably worth regulating fairly strictly, while banning fireplaces would limit individuals freedom to use their property more severely than can be justified by the public interest in avoiding the marginal ecological harm imposed, given levels of fireplace usage observed in the real world.

As an abstract framework, this is actually pretty good. But there are still two problems:

(1) Most legal systems have a limited ability to aggregate.

The ultimate purpose of antidiscrimination law is to dismantle large patterns of coercion with no obvious wellspring. Corporate law, for all its failings, allows us to address legal conclusions to well-bounded groups of people. Partnership law, somewhat less elegantly, has an involuntary aggregation mechanism. But things really start to break down once you get into laws like RICO or federal conspiracy, where the aggregation mechanism is ill-defined and the potential scope of inclusion unlimited. 

So we have a choice between a bottom-up or top-down approach, each with its failings: a top-down approach requires a somewhat arbitrary aggregation mechanism, and a bottom-up approach is blind to the patterns which it ultimately seeks to address. 

(2) Legal systems are stateful. This makes it difficult to get out from under unnecessary antidiscrimination law, in the event that any such thing exists in the future.

Further legislation, of course, seems to be the way out. But this puts us in a difficult situation: in order to pass legislation revoking antidiscrimination laws, there has to be a majority in favor of revoking them. Unless there's a never-before-seen libertarian consensus about pursuing entirely abstract ideas about state power, the majority of that coalition comes from people seeking to discriminate, or at least aligned with them -- and this seems to be a sufficient condition, or an almost-sufficient condition, to demonstrate the necessity of such laws, 

So we end up in a state where no coalition which arguably ought to abolish antidiscrimination laws desires to, and no coalition which desires to abolish antidiscrimination laws ought to. There's no way out. We've hopefully got them for good.___

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2015-04-11 05:13:55 (16 comments, 4 reshares, 36 +1s)Open 

There is only room on the market for one Dr. Who-themed sex toy, and some jerk decided that "Tardis buttplug" was a better idea for a character whose primary portable, science-fictional device was literally called a "sonic screwdriver."

Seriously.

What the hell.

(cc: +A.V. Flox, the Doctor.)

There is only room on the market for one Dr. Who-themed sex toy, and some jerk decided that "Tardis buttplug" was a better idea for a character whose primary portable, science-fictional device was literally called a "sonic screwdriver."

Seriously.

What the hell.

(cc: +A.V. Flox, the Doctor.)___

2015-04-09 20:28:29 (17 comments, 6 reshares, 31 +1s)Open 

A couple days ago, in the comments to a +Steven Flaeck post, +Eric Duprey argued that nondiscrimination law was inherently coercive, and that surely voluntary arrangements would prevent discrimination from becoming a serious problem.  The first part is true: insofar as it's a law with penalties that cannot be circumvented by contract, it's "coercive" in a narrow sense. The latter part is significantly more complicated.

Getting to why is relatively complicated. Please bear with me as I go through some theory:

(1) As Julian Sanchez pointed out a few years ago, the non-aggression principle is either incoherent or trivial. Everyone agrees that people should not trespass against others' rights. The whole debate over what laws are legitimate occurs within a framework which can accommodate the non-aggression principle (or not) without substantially changing:th... more »

A couple days ago, in the comments to a +Steven Flaeck post, +Eric Duprey argued that nondiscrimination law was inherently coercive, and that surely voluntary arrangements would prevent discrimination from becoming a serious problem.  The first part is true: insofar as it's a law with penalties that cannot be circumvented by contract, it's "coercive" in a narrow sense. The latter part is significantly more complicated.

Getting to why is relatively complicated. Please bear with me as I go through some theory:

(1) As Julian Sanchez pointed out a few years ago, the non-aggression principle is either incoherent or trivial. Everyone agrees that people should not trespass against others' rights. The whole debate over what laws are legitimate occurs within a framework which can accommodate the non-aggression principle (or not) without substantially changing: the argument simply devolves to one over the definition of "aggression," which necessarily implicates the parties' theory of rights, harms, and the thresholds at which inchoate harms become justiciable. (See http://goo.gl/7iNmGY for more.)

"But what about non-aggression!", you might protest. Feel free to assume that framework or not; it doesn't matter either way to me.

(2) That objection aside, we can still take on a fully libertarian theory of justice and still find room to consider antidiscrimination laws. But we first have to throw away the idea that there is a single institution in every society with the characteristics of a government -- which is to say, an institution which is empowered, either formally or informally, to engage in acts which are prohibited to individuals, corporations, the Kiwanis Club, et cetera.

+Will Wilkinson calls this "neutral institutional monism," but institutions are not entirely neutral. We can divide institutions roughly in half: there are institutions which may invade rights in order to protect rights or privileges, and there are institutions that cannot. On one side, we have the medieval Church, the modern State, the Iranian basij, the Venezuelan colectivos, Boko Haram, the Islamic State, and large multinational corporations. On the other, we have the Kiwanis Club, family businesses, most political parties without private militias, et cetera. 

When considering institutions in the second category, it's often necessary to treat them like states rather than non-states.

(3) The power of non-state coercive actors, like the power of the state itself, often includes use of force. But violence is is merely the furthest frontier of coercive power: as the large number of countries without significant state violence demonstrate, states and statelike entities seldom have to resort to physical violence. Sufficient power rests in their ability to create intolerable conditions.

This can be done either through imposition on negative rights (by imprisonment, for instance) or withdrawal of institutional support. In most modern cases, withdrawal of institutional support is relatively mild: you see it in shunning among Orthodox Jews and the Amish, denial of communion in the Catholic Church, cancellation of drivers' licenses, and laws against harboring felons. But this has not always been the case: outlawry, from Roman times until the late medieval period, fell just short of the death penalty in seriousness, because it withdrew all state penalties for interfering with another's rights.

(4) So, what does this have to do with anti-discrimination laws? Weren't there explicit pro-discrimination laws before the Civil Rights Act?

Yes.

Those laws ratified, rather than created, an underlying pattern of nonstate coercion. In the aftermath of the disputed 1876 election, the end of Reconstruction withdrew state protection to black voters. That same year, U.S. v. Cruikshank outlawed federal government interference with private, collective violence against African-Americans. The Red Shirt Rifle Clubs, White League, and (later) the KKK and CCC, moved in to take over where the federal government had withdrawn. 

White paramilitary violence, tolerance of lynching, and white business organizations which actively enforced color lines were the predicate and sustaining force behind Jim Crow laws. They enforced both against African-Americans directly and against white business owners taking the economically rational course of serving black customers. They did this because Jim Crow laws were not load-bearing: long after Cruikshank, numerous state Jim Crow Laws had been relatively simply overturned. 

Only to be replaced with new ones.

(5) In a libertarian sense, this pattern of institutional violence and discrimination created by private actors was substantially statelike, in that it rendered African-Americans outlaws without recourse to institutional remedies. Individual actors could commit acts of violence against them without penalty. State courts declined to uphold their rights when infringed upon. Access to basic channels of trade were blocked by boycott. Hotel boycotts and "don't let the sun go down on you" warnings rendered travel unsafe or unreasonable. 

If imposed by a state without due process, we would recognize these as being intrinsically coercive acts. To their limited credit, libertarians generally do, whenever these patterns became institutionalized in law. But it bears repeating: the state was useful to racists as an instrument, but neither necessary nor sufficient. Private, organized racism, instituted at a sufficient scale, behaves precisely like a government. 

(6) In other words, the debate over the libertarian propriety of antidiscrimination law misses the point: its purpose is not to prevent individual acts of private discrimination, although "prevention of individual acts" is the means. The purpose is to prevent the reinstitution of a domain government: an institution capable of unrestricted coercion, but which is not subject to the controls we otherwise put on the government. 

Culture abhors a power vacuum. If there is common consent that an unmet need exists, and that coercion is justified in pursuing it, then a coercive institution will arise unless prevented. I'm not yet willing to believe that the risk of a racist domain government is so low that it justifies the minimal imposition on free association that preventing it requires. ___

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2015-04-07 21:39:24 (14 comments, 2 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Via Tyler Cowen, a post where Robin Hansen puzzles over the slow decoupling between firms' book values and the cost to rebuild their assets. 

Maybe it's not such a puzzle after all.

Over the past twenty years, we've seen a secular decline in interest rates, both in real and nominal terms. As it stands today, the price of prime sovereign debt hovers so close to zero that there's virtually no reason to differentiate. We can blame this partially on the secular slowdown in world economies, except for two things: (a) irresponsible behavior by prime debtors (like the US) doesn't cause blips in their credit ratings, and (b) this is true even when the economy is working as it ought to. 

The problem, at least in part, is one of demographics. The world is getting older, more unequal, and more financialized. There are a limited number of viablei... more »

Via Tyler Cowen, a post where Robin Hansen puzzles over the slow decoupling between firms' book values and the cost to rebuild their assets. 

Maybe it's not such a puzzle after all.

Over the past twenty years, we've seen a secular decline in interest rates, both in real and nominal terms. As it stands today, the price of prime sovereign debt hovers so close to zero that there's virtually no reason to differentiate. We can blame this partially on the secular slowdown in world economies, except for two things: (a) irresponsible behavior by prime debtors (like the US) doesn't cause blips in their credit ratings, and (b) this is true even when the economy is working as it ought to. 

The problem, at least in part, is one of demographics. The world is getting older, more unequal, and more financialized. There are a limited number of viable investment opportunities. There is an increasing amount of money to be invested. And investment preferences are ordinal, not cardinal: given a choice, an investor will park his money in the best possible investment rather than stuffing it in his mattress, because -- historically -- mattress-stuffing is the worst investment.

In the bond market, this causes a secular decline in interest rates: there are no relatively safe, relatively high-yielding bonds, so more money competes for the same investments. In the stock market, more money is competing to be invested in the same number of companies. As a matter of necessity, this means that investors must make compromises on systemic risk or mean-time-to-break-even. 

They are apparently doing both. 

Which means that we are either implicitly banking on a sharp exponential upswing in economic growth, are plowing too much money into too few opportunities, or have dramatically extended our financial planning horizon.___

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2015-04-07 20:31:17 (37 comments, 6 reshares, 48 +1s)Open 

Somebody's book of conservative-cant madlibs seems to have gone awry. Usually, if you tell an audience that $BAD THING is caused by liberal $CONSERVATIVE WORD USED AS EPITHET, you get a reliable applause line. 

This time, Carly Fiorina -- who doesn't speak conservative cant as her native tongue -- has simply gotten people tilting their heads like a confused dog. Really? Failure to build reservoirs caused the California drought?

For those of you with a third-grade education in climatology, the reason for the confusion should be obvious. For the rest of us, water comes from the sky. In the mountains, it falls in the form of snow. The snow melts. The water falls off the mountains, and travels through streams and rivers. If we've built a dam, the water stops, and we can divert it elsewhere. Like farms.

Building more grain silos doesn't create more wheat,b... more »

Somebody's book of conservative-cant madlibs seems to have gone awry. Usually, if you tell an audience that $BAD THING is caused by liberal $CONSERVATIVE WORD USED AS EPITHET, you get a reliable applause line. 

This time, Carly Fiorina -- who doesn't speak conservative cant as her native tongue -- has simply gotten people tilting their heads like a confused dog. Really? Failure to build reservoirs caused the California drought?

For those of you with a third-grade education in climatology, the reason for the confusion should be obvious. For the rest of us, water comes from the sky. In the mountains, it falls in the form of snow. The snow melts. The water falls off the mountains, and travels through streams and rivers. If we've built a dam, the water stops, and we can divert it elsewhere. Like farms.

Building more grain silos doesn't create more wheat, building more lumberyards doesn't create more trees, and building more reservoirs doesn't create more water. If there were still undammed rivers in California, she might have a point -- but virtually every ounce of moving water in California is already dammed and fed into the California aqueduct. If we build more reservoirs, we just increase the surface area of the water we already have. We don't magically get more water.___

2015-04-07 19:47:52 (14 comments, 10 reshares, 51 +1s)Open 

Questions and Answers About Iran and its Incentives

Yesterday, +Michael K Pate​ was arguing that it got everything that it wanted out of its negotiations with the United States. This is mostly untrue. A few notes:

Q: Does Iran really have a single set of incentives?

A: No, not really. It has two.

Iran is two countries that share the same territory. Those two countries are almost entirely disjoint: they have their own heads of government, their own armies, their own legitimizing narratives and mechanisms of political selection, and their own capacity to legislate. One is a moderately theocratic military dictatorship. One is an illiberal democracy.

We are negotiating primarily with the illiberal democracy. But both have good (although different) reasons to come to a deal.

Q: What are the clerical government'sin... more »

Questions and Answers About Iran and its Incentives

Yesterday, +Michael K Pate​ was arguing that it got everything that it wanted out of its negotiations with the United States. This is mostly untrue. A few notes:

Q: Does Iran really have a single set of incentives?

A: No, not really. It has two.

Iran is two countries that share the same territory. Those two countries are almost entirely disjoint: they have their own heads of government, their own armies, their own legitimizing narratives and mechanisms of political selection, and their own capacity to legislate. One is a moderately theocratic military dictatorship. One is an illiberal democracy.

We are negotiating primarily with the illiberal democracy. But both have good (although different) reasons to come to a deal.

Q: What are the clerical government's incentives?

The TL;DR version? Stability, security, corruption, hegemony, and the spread of Shi'a Islam. Probably in that order.

To understand how Iran works, you have to first understand that the clerical half of Iran's government is neither irrational nor strictly theocratic. When the Islamic Republic was founded, its initial constitutional idea was to always appoint an acclaimed jurist-theologian to the position of Supreme Leader. An ayatollah, in other words.

This worked exactly once: Khomeini was a theologically-justified ayatollah when he took office. Khameini, however, is an ayatollah in name only: he was only acclaimed as an ayatollah once he took office. This is largely because, from the beginning, the Revolutionary Guard has wielded disproportionate influence inside the clerical government. And although it's deeply and sincerely religious, it behaves much like the Egyptian military: it is largely concerned with national prestige, regional hegemony, freedom from foreign interference, dominance of the domestic economy, and social stability. 

Being a credible nuclear threat achieves almost all of these goals. This is complicated, however, by the fact that actually having a nuclear weapon compromises these goals: the only additional capability that a nuke offers is the ability to nuke Tel Aviv. Whereupon Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashhad, and Qom immediately go up in flames.

Bad plan, all told. Better to raise the stakes on nuclear development until you can get substantial concessions, then cash out.

Q: What are the civilian government's incentives?

Iran's civilian government wants what all civilian governments want: not to be voted out of power, and -- to a lesser degree -- everything that the clerical government wants as well. It's also in a medium-intensity conflict with the clerical government over the privileges of the secular state. 

At the moment, there's a deep divide among Iranian elites -- including the Iranian clerical establishment, which was deeply riven by Khameini's ascension to the position of Supreme Leader -- about the ultimate source of the legitimacy of the Iranian state. Does it come from the consent of the ummah or the (tenuous) religious acclamation of the Supreme Leader? 

These negotiations are immensely popular in Iran, and their success is largely being attributed to the conservative-reformist Rouhani. In the long-term, anything that increases the legitimacy of Iran's elected leaders vis-a-vis the clerical government serves America's interests.

Q: Did Iran get what it wanted?

Yes.

First, getting the United States to sit down at the negotiating table means that, in practice, Iran is already being treated as though it's a nuclear power. Furthermore, coming to a long-term nuclear agreement gives Iran some domestic breathing room, strains the relationship between Israel and the United States, improves the economy in ways that inure to important IRG commanders, and dials back the strain that sanctions were placing on domestic politics. 

(5) Did the US get what it wanted?

Yes.

We kick the can down the road another fifteen years. We get the ability to speak directly with Iran about areas of mutual interest -- particularly, the problem of radical Sunni insurgents in northern Mesopotamia and the Levant. We build the legitimacy of the civilian government against the clerical government. We take one more constraint off of our diplomatic relations with the more reluctant partners in sanctions.

(6) In fifteen years, are we back to the place where we were two weeks ago?

Probably not. 

First, Iran has been markedly unstable over the past decade. The disputed 2009 election aside, there have been escalating power struggles between the clerical and civilian Iranian governments. Ahmadinejad's appointees to military, intelligence, and vice presidential positions were overruled by Khomeini; the children and other relatives of high political officials were taken as hostages; military units were pulled back from crowd control because of fears that they would disobey orders to use violence against civilians. If I had to put money on it, I'd say the Islamic Republic would probably be around in another 15 years -- but the inability of the IRG to hold uncontested power domestically is another constraint on their ability to restart a nuclear weapons program.

Second, everyone involved in the 1979 revolution will be elderly or dead in fifteen years. This is critically important: Iran's revolutionary generation has had a monopoly on power since 1979. Khomeini, Khameini, Mousavi, Larijani, Rouhani, Kerroubi, Rafsanjani -- they were all active in the Revolution. Leaders who emerged after the Revolution, like Ahmadinejad, have traditionally had a tenuous grasp on power. 

There is every reason to believe that, in fifteen years, the situation in Iran will be substantially different: there will be a new Supreme Leader, a new President, a new Majlis, and a new set of IRG commanders. If the current trajectory continues, the metastable politics of the Iranian government will likely settle into one of three equalibria: IRG-theocratic dominance, with a vestigial democracy; a republican-clerical alliance against a fragmented IRG; or total collapse of what seems to be an inherently unstable form of government.

In any of the above cases, we won't be back to where we started: Iran's government will very likely be (a) completely unstable, and unable to tolerate the internal strife that further sanctions would cause; (b) somewhat more democratic, and unlikely to antagonize the international community just for the sake of antagonizing it; or (c) run by a fat, contented military kleptocracy funded by oil revenues. 

From an American diplomatic perspective, any of the three is more tolerable than the present state. From a moral perspective, (b) is extremely preferable.___

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2015-04-06 22:21:32 (22 comments, 3 reshares, 26 +1s)Open 

In general, you only get to set diplomatic conditions when you sit down to negotiate. No negotiation, no conditions. This is pretty trivial.

But, then again, Netanyahu seems not to grasp the basics of diplomacy.

In general, you only get to set diplomatic conditions when you sit down to negotiate. No negotiation, no conditions. This is pretty trivial.

But, then again, Netanyahu seems not to grasp the basics of diplomacy.___

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2015-04-02 19:30:34 (7 comments, 9 reshares, 42 +1s)Open 

"Sherman tried to tell these idiots, over and over, that they were stupid and deluded. He wasn’t even going to debate the non-existent justice of their cause like Grant, who rightly called the Confederacy “the worst cause for which men ever fought.” Sherman, who was a much more analytical, intellectual man than Grant, focused on the fact that the South—the white, wealthy South, that is; the only one that mattered—was wrong. About everything. Every damn thing in the world. But most of all about its childishly romantic notions about war."

[...]

"Sherman was trying, in everything he did, to wake these idiots from their delusion. That’s why they hate Sherman so much, 150 years after his campaign ended in total success: Because he interrupted their silly and sadistic dreams, humiliated them in the most vulnerable part of their weird anatomy, their sense ofvalorous su... more »

"Sherman tried to tell these idiots, over and over, that they were stupid and deluded. He wasn’t even going to debate the non-existent justice of their cause like Grant, who rightly called the Confederacy “the worst cause for which men ever fought.” Sherman, who was a much more analytical, intellectual man than Grant, focused on the fact that the South—the white, wealthy South, that is; the only one that mattered—was wrong. About everything. Every damn thing in the world. But most of all about its childishly romantic notions about war."

[...]

"Sherman was trying, in everything he did, to wake these idiots from their delusion. That’s why they hate Sherman so much, 150 years after his campaign ended in total success: Because he interrupted their silly and sadistic dreams, humiliated them in the most vulnerable part of their weird anatomy, their sense of valorous superiority. Sherman didn’t wipe out the white South, though he could easily have done so; he was, in fact, very mild toward a treasonous population that regularly sniped at and ambushed his troops. But what he did was demonstrate the impotence of the South’s Planter males."


I really wonder why I haven't started reading The War Nerd sooner.___

2015-04-02 19:25:49 (24 comments, 1 reshares, 21 +1s)Open 

Here are the highlights ofthe agreement between P5+1 and Iran today:
* Iran has agreed to reduce by approximately two-thirds its installed centrifuges
* Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium over 3.67 percent for at least 15 years
* Iran has agreed to reduce its current stockpile of about 10,000 kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to 300 kg of 3.67 percent LEU for 15 years
* Iran has agreed to not build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium for 15 years.
* Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium at its Fordow facility for at least 15 years
* Iran will not have any fissile material at Fordow for 15 years
* Almost two-thirds of Fordow’s centrifuges and infrastructure will be removed.
* Iran has agreed to only enrich uranium using its first generation ( IR-1 models) centrifuges at Natanz for ten years , removing its more advanced centrifuges.
* Iranw... more »

Here are the highlights ofthe agreement between P5+1 and Iran today:
* Iran has agreed to reduce by approximately two-thirds its installed centrifuges
* Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium over 3.67 percent for at least 15 years
* Iran has agreed to reduce its current stockpile of about 10,000 kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to 300 kg of 3.67 percent LEU for 15 years
* Iran has agreed to not build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium for 15 years.
* Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium at its Fordow facility for at least 15 years
* Iran will not have any fissile material at Fordow for 15 years
* Almost two-thirds of Fordow’s centrifuges and infrastructure will be removed.
* Iran has agreed to only enrich uranium using its first generation ( IR-1 models) centrifuges at Natanz for ten years , removing its more advanced centrifuges.
* Iran will remove the 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges currently installed at Natanz and place them in IAEA monitored storage for ten years
* Iran will not use its IR-2, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, or IR-8 models to produce enriched uranium for at least ten years.
* The IAEA will have regular access to all of Iran’s nuclear facilities
* Inspectors will have access to uranium mines and continuous surveillance at uranium mills, where Iran produces yellowcake, for 25 years.
* Iran has agreed to implement Modified Code 3.1 requiring early notification of construction of new facilities.
* Iran has agreed to redesign and rebuild a heavy water research reactor in Arak
* The original core of the reactor, will be destroyed or removed from the country.
* Iran will ship all of its spent fuel from the reactor out of the country for the reactor’s lifetime.
* Iran has committed indefinitely to not conduct reprocessing or reprocessing research and development on spent nuclear fuel.
* Iran will not accumulate heavy water in excess of the needs of the modified Arak reactor, and will sell any remaining heavy water on the international mark et for 15 years.
* Iran will not build any additional heavy water reactors for 15 years.
* Iran will receive sanctions relief, if it verifiably abides by its commitments.
* U.S. and E.U. nuclear-related sanctions will be suspended after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps.
* All past UN Security Council resolutions on the Iran nuclear issue will be lifted simultaneous with the completion, by Iran, of nuclear-related actions addressing all key concerns (enrichment, Fordow, Arak, PMD, and transparency).
* If an issue of significant non-performance cannot be resolved through that process, then all previous UN sanctions could be re-imposed.
#Irantalks #IAEA #UN #US #EU #Nucleartalks  ___

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2015-04-02 19:18:23 (2 comments, 3 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

Good. It looks like we've come down to a framework for Iranian nuclear disarmament. 

One of the questions I've persistently been asked is this: why would Iran agree to a nuclear disarmament deal if the Republicans are actively threatening to torpedo it? The answer is relatively simple: because we don't actually have sole control over the embargo. We've spent decades putting together a comprehensive framework to deny Iran access to international markets. Continued diplomatic pressure by the US props up that framework.

If we drop our support for the framework because we've gotten a deal with Iran, a future Republican administration can't simply resurrect it with a wave of its hand. It takes the remaining states that participate in the embargo, and considering that they weren't too happy to participate to begin with (France, especially), they're unlikely... more »

Good. It looks like we've come down to a framework for Iranian nuclear disarmament. 

One of the questions I've persistently been asked is this: why would Iran agree to a nuclear disarmament deal if the Republicans are actively threatening to torpedo it? The answer is relatively simple: because we don't actually have sole control over the embargo. We've spent decades putting together a comprehensive framework to deny Iran access to international markets. Continued diplomatic pressure by the US props up that framework.

If we drop our support for the framework because we've gotten a deal with Iran, a future Republican administration can't simply resurrect it with a wave of its hand. It takes the remaining states that participate in the embargo, and considering that they weren't too happy to participate to begin with (France, especially), they're unlikely to rejoin later. ___

2015-03-31 20:37:47 (13 comments, 1 reshares, 25 +1s)Open 

First, a trigger warning with respect to this link: clicking this will lead you to a page which contains ads served by a domain that also serves malware.

Second: no, Facebook did not censor this link. Rather, the link serves ads from pixel.mathtag.com, which also attempts to run a whole bunch of weird, unauthorized javascript to inject ads elsewhere? In any case, the problem is exactly what Facebook says it is: this page is attempting to load malware. 

Third: seriously, how bad is right-wing paranoia that, when told your site is serving malware, they seem to think that they've been censored. And how bad is the right-wing media ecosystem that they seem to get by largely on serving malware and ads for affinity fraud?

Link, intentionally malformed, is here: thefederalist.com/2015/03/26/facebook-doesnt-want-you-to-read-this-article/

First, a trigger warning with respect to this link: clicking this will lead you to a page which contains ads served by a domain that also serves malware.

Second: no, Facebook did not censor this link. Rather, the link serves ads from pixel.mathtag.com, which also attempts to run a whole bunch of weird, unauthorized javascript to inject ads elsewhere? In any case, the problem is exactly what Facebook says it is: this page is attempting to load malware. 

Third: seriously, how bad is right-wing paranoia that, when told your site is serving malware, they seem to think that they've been censored. And how bad is the right-wing media ecosystem that they seem to get by largely on serving malware and ads for affinity fraud?

Link, intentionally malformed, is here: thefederalist.com/2015/03/26/facebook-doesnt-want-you-to-read-this-article/___

2015-03-30 23:35:37 (26 comments, 5 reshares, 87 +1s)Open 

The problem with being good in a crisis is the risk that you will allow normal, unexceptional problems to develop into crises simply so that you can be good at fixing them.

The problem with being good in a crisis is the risk that you will allow normal, unexceptional problems to develop into crises simply so that you can be good at fixing them.___

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2015-03-29 00:23:06 (34 comments, 3 reshares, 30 +1s)Open 

The fundamental problem with the Confederate flag isn't, in fact, slavery or the Civil War. If history in itself was a real determinant, many many things would be different everywhere.

The problem with the Confederate flag is the period after the Civil War and extending into today. That period has been characterized by terror, murder, re-enslavement, simple racism, complex racialist ideologies, corruption, disenfranchisement, abuse, fucking pogroms, and pretty much every other evil thing one can list including puppy murder.*

Had Reconstruction succeeded, things might be different. The sort of "home and han" feeling that plenty of ignorant Southerners** feel for that flag might be widely shared because the evil legacies of the South would have grown so distant from our reality that we'd characterize, as you see in other countries regarding, f.ex., Roman campaigns, the... more »

The fundamental problem with the Confederate flag isn't, in fact, slavery or the Civil War. If history in itself was a real determinant, many many things would be different everywhere.

The problem with the Confederate flag is the period after the Civil War and extending into today. That period has been characterized by terror, murder, re-enslavement, simple racism, complex racialist ideologies, corruption, disenfranchisement, abuse, fucking pogroms, and pretty much every other evil thing one can list including puppy murder.*

Had Reconstruction succeeded, things might be different. The sort of "home and han" feeling that plenty of ignorant Southerners** feel for that flag might be widely shared because the evil legacies of the South would have grown so distant from our reality that we'd characterize, as you see in other countries regarding, f.ex., Roman campaigns, the whole affair as a cause for drinking and dress-up, the brutality and evil and insanity of it all lost to a weirdly inclusive pageantry.

But that's not the legacy the South sought to assure. It instead enshrined a legacy so terrible that I, scion of faded Southern gentry, find regular occasion to preach black nationalism. It's a sad thing, but it's the thing that actually occurred.

*Standard operating procedure for SWAT teams.

**The Civil War, in the South, is often taught as having complex roots or the importance of slavery is downplayed. Gelernter mentions some of those arguments in his article, rejecting them all. Thus, in the South, it can take a bit more than average initiative to get an accurate picture of history.___

2015-03-28 04:43:07 (15 comments, 2 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

The sentence for desertion is not "permanent consignment to the custody of the Taliban, without due process." The fact that this has not occurred to conservatives is amazing.

"""
I’m honestly surprised, not because the evidence against him is thin — ask any of the guys in his unit — but because this is so humiliating for the White House. Five Taliban degenerates in exchange for a guy who wandered away from the safety of his base, huh?
"""

Presumably we're supposed to become a nation which leaves its soldiers to die. Next time we end a military campaign, why not just leave the troops stranded there? It'll save untold billions in future medical and pension benefits.

And this sort of thing is why you can't vote for conservatives. Deep down, in their heart of hearts, they're people without the slightest inkling of principle or patriotism.___The sentence for desertion is not "permanent consignment to the custody of the Taliban, without due process." The fact that this has not occurred to conservatives is amazing.

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2015-03-27 03:34:42 (6 comments, 0 reshares, 35 +1s)Open 

My daughter ran out of the livingroom, to her bedroom, announcing that she needed to make Totem

My daughter ran out of the livingroom, to her bedroom, announcing that she needed to make Totem___

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2015-03-27 02:55:33 (15 comments, 6 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

In news which should be unsurprising if you're aware of real life, being forced by circumstance into using a disadvantaged race as your avatar can be upsetting.

"People have a strange need to play someone similar to themselves in games," said Newman, mulling over the consequences of the update in response to Kotaku's line of questioning. "That's not something I understand...but maybe the curse of being a white 32 year-old male is not seeing these problems." ___In news which should be unsurprising if you're aware of real life, being forced by circumstance into using a disadvantaged race as your avatar can be upsetting.

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2015-03-26 19:30:42 (5 comments, 0 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

Finally, some good news: pandas are finally coming back from the brink. From the article:

“My father died 15 years ago,” he says. “And ever since then, I’ve missed him very much. Then one day last week, the panda gave birth to a full-grown human man. It was my dead father. He put his hand on the glass of the enclosure, looked me in the eyes, and said, ‘I love you son.’ Then five baby pandas burst out of his stomach and his empty skin fell to the ground like a deflated balloon.”

Yay pandas!

Finally, some good news: pandas are finally coming back from the brink. From the article:

“My father died 15 years ago,” he says. “And ever since then, I’ve missed him very much. Then one day last week, the panda gave birth to a full-grown human man. It was my dead father. He put his hand on the glass of the enclosure, looked me in the eyes, and said, ‘I love you son.’ Then five baby pandas burst out of his stomach and his empty skin fell to the ground like a deflated balloon.”

Yay pandas!___

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2015-03-26 17:33:48 (13 comments, 1 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

This is, and should remain, unsurprising. 

The central, load-bearing pillar of Israeli foreign policy is its relationship with the United States. Without the explicit backing of a state willing to sell it arms and back its plays, Israel is in an uncomfortable place. And this is true of any Israeli administration, not just the particularly noxious one that happens to be in place today.

It is impolite to spy on us, obviously. But it would be boneheaded not to: diplomatic and military intelligence about their sole stable ally is more critical (and more pointedly, easier to get) than information about Israel's enemies. Basic respect for Israel's realpolitik concerns simply means that we can, and ought to, spy on them as well.

This is, and should remain, unsurprising. 

The central, load-bearing pillar of Israeli foreign policy is its relationship with the United States. Without the explicit backing of a state willing to sell it arms and back its plays, Israel is in an uncomfortable place. And this is true of any Israeli administration, not just the particularly noxious one that happens to be in place today.

It is impolite to spy on us, obviously. But it would be boneheaded not to: diplomatic and military intelligence about their sole stable ally is more critical (and more pointedly, easier to get) than information about Israel's enemies. Basic respect for Israel's realpolitik concerns simply means that we can, and ought to, spy on them as well.___

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2015-03-25 22:26:25 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Basically, this. But not just this.

Mismanagement of Venezuela's state-run oil industry is so extraordinary that oil output has dropped despite dramatic increases in proven reserves. There's sufficient easy oil in Venezuela that its industry should be viable at levels comparable to, say, Nigeria's break-even price. Certainly, they should be a more viable petrostate than the US or Canada, both of which rely heavily on difficult oil.

Unfortunately, Maduro, like Chavez, relies on oil-industry corruption to maintain patronage networks and ties to colectivos. This means, ultimately, that political and economic constraints are bottling him into standing pat until the price of oil rises. It is unclear, given the rise in protest, that this is sustainable.

A tragedy is unfolding in Venezuela

The country's energy-dependent economy requires oil prices above $100 per barrel in order to sustain itself. Oil accounts for 95 percent of the country's export earnings, and combined with gas, it's 25 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Meanwhile, a combination of inflation and currency controls have generated scarcity of basic needs such as flour, toilet paper and medicine. Venezuelans stand in lines for hours waiting to buy whatever may be available. Shortages have even diminished the country's ability to provide medical care.___Basically, this. But not just this.

Mismanagement of Venezuela's state-run oil industry is so extraordinary that oil output has dropped despite dramatic increases in proven reserves. There's sufficient easy oil in Venezuela that its industry should be viable at levels comparable to, say, Nigeria's break-even price. Certainly, they should be a more viable petrostate than the US or Canada, both of which rely heavily on difficult oil.

Unfortunately, Maduro, like Chavez, relies on oil-industry corruption to maintain patronage networks and ties to colectivos. This means, ultimately, that political and economic constraints are bottling him into standing pat until the price of oil rises. It is unclear, given the rise in protest, that this is sustainable.

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2015-03-25 18:55:50 (16 comments, 5 reshares, 24 +1s)Open 

The beam in thine own eye

Jesus famously railed against the “Pharisees”, who impose high moral standards, but privately do not follow those. According to new research from the field of psychology, we all have a hypocritical streak, but we are unable to recognize it in ourselves, due to a “visual impairment” in our mind’s eye. And we are more eager to apply double standards to people who are psychologically far away from ourselves than to those nearby.
 
As many psychological studies demonstrated in the last years, evolution has instilled in us an irresistible urge to evaluate our own behavior and that of other people according to moral criteria. With the same instinctive naturalness with which we breathe and eat, we flatly refuse certain practices as “evil”. This basic trend, claims psychologist Benoit Monin from Stanford University, is counteracted by two otherdeep-seated dr... more »

The beam in thine own eye

Jesus famously railed against the “Pharisees”, who impose high moral standards, but privately do not follow those. According to new research from the field of psychology, we all have a hypocritical streak, but we are unable to recognize it in ourselves, due to a “visual impairment” in our mind’s eye. And we are more eager to apply double standards to people who are psychologically far away from ourselves than to those nearby.
 
As many psychological studies demonstrated in the last years, evolution has instilled in us an irresistible urge to evaluate our own behavior and that of other people according to moral criteria. With the same instinctive naturalness with which we breathe and eat, we flatly refuse certain practices as “evil”. This basic trend, claims psychologist Benoit Monin from Stanford University, is counteracted by two other deep-seated driving forces, the desire to make a good impression on others and the desire to see ourselves in a positive light. In everyday life, these conflicting motives seduce us repeatedly to advocate high moral claims that we have a blithe disregard for in private. On a more general level, this means that we tend to criticize others for the same behavior that we condone in ourselves. And since this hypocrisy is going on in a blind spot of our mind, we see the moral failings of others magnified like under an electron microscope, while we gloze over own ethical breaches. 

These “double standards” have already been revealed in representative surveys, Monin points out. Most respondents are convinced that they contribute more to the common good and make fairer decisions than the their fellow humans. 86 percent of all managers are certain that their own ethical standards are above those of their colleagues. This may be due to the fact that when we judge ourselves, we put more weight on our intentions, while when judging others,  we more strongly take account of the actual behavior. In one study, subjects were given the opportunity to make a donation for charitable cause by dipping their hands into painfully cold water. Most subjects backtracked faster than they had predicted. However, they linked their own “goodness” more strongly to their previous intentions, while they measured the others strictly by the by minutes they persevered. 

In a particularly meaningful experiment, American psychologists Piercarlo Valdesolo and David DeSteno gave their participants the option to take part in one out by two trials. One was short and interesting, the other almost an hour long and boring. The remaining task would be allocated to the next subject. The subjects were allowed to have their choice be made by a random generator – which they thought to be “fair” - or to make sure that they got what they wanted. They were also held in the belief that neither the investigator nor the subsequent subject would learn how they made their choice. 

92 percent of the subjects cheated and opted for the more lucrative task. Afterwards they had to indicate how fair they found the task allocation. Those who had cheated thought the allocation was “medium fair”. They could see nothing indecent in their own behavior. It was a different matter when they could watch a video of the behavior of other trial participants who also had tricked. Now asked to judge the fairness of the allocation, they deemed the same behavior that they themselves had shown as  “extremely unfair”. Preach water and drink wine! 

Initially, the cheating participants had felt remorse, but then they rationalized their behavior and made it appear acceptable. The researchers demonstrated this by blocking the ability to rationalize. Before they assessed the fairness of the allocation, this time the subjects were asked to memorize numbers, which would be later queried. Memorizing takes away cognitive resources we need for self-deception. Result: In this condition, the subjects made clear that any cheating - by themselves and by others – was extremely unfair. 

A special case of applying double standards is so called “action hypocrisy”, whereby people make recommendations for others’ behavior that they personally are unwilling to follow. For instance, in 2006, Al Gore released the film “An Inconvenient Truth”, which discussed the perils of excessive consumption of energy. The Washington Post later reported that Gore’s home used close to 12 times the national average in electricity that same year. It appears that Gore’s recommendations to the public were inconsistent with his personal actions.

But as previous research has shown, this two-faced stance is anything but unique to Al Gore. For example, despite recommending exercise to their patients, between 35% and 50% of physicians do not have a regular exercise routine. Further, a study of treatment decisions found that a majority of healthcare providers would choose a different course of treatment for themselves than they would recommend to a patient. There is an underlying principle at work here, claims a team of psychologists lead by Jennifer L. Howell from University of Florida: “In diverse contexts ranging from religious organizations to physicians’ behavioral prescriptions, people lean toward recommendations for others that match their perception of ideal behavior.” When we give advice to others, we are more concerned with ideal standards than when we advise ourselves.

In order to pinpoint the strength of this effect, the psychologists conducted a series of studies that involved a couple of hundred participants. In one study, students read that the Office of Academic Affairs at their university was considering implementing new exams for graduation that were framed in a way that they appeared unfair and excessive. Then they were presented a summary of actions they could take, like signing a petition. In another version of the experiment, participants were asked which action a student from a nearby university should take when confronted with the same challenge.

The results leave no doubt that people apply double standards to their own actions and the actions of others: 66 percent of the participants recommended the student from the nearby university to take direct action, while only 18 percent indicated that they themselves would do likewise. Most preferred to take a wait-and-see approach. The same trend emerged in another study in which tax payers read about a fictional piece of legislation that would impose a new tax on either all Americans or only on the citizens of Louisiana to pay for the cleaning of the BP oil spill. 87 percent of the participants recommended that citizens of Louisiana write their representative immediately, whereas only 20 percent opted to write to their representative when they were hit by the legislation that was considered unfair.

According to the researchers, there are indications that we are more eager to apply double standards to others who are psychologically distant from ourselves. In a certain way, this seems obvious. Al Gore may demand energy restrictions from “the Americans” that he is not ready to implement himself, but clearly he is not imposing these standards upon his family. In order to examine the effect of psychological distance, the psychologist repeated the first study where the university was considering aggravated exams. But this time, the persons affected were either themselves, a student from a nearby university or a student from a university far away.

As expected, the participants recommended more immediate action for a student at a distant university than from a student at a nearby university.  Of course, they recommended the least immediate action for themselves. The same picture emerged when psychological distance was appraised in a completely different way – visually. This time, the participants could view a picture of the students that were affected by the new exams that were either taken from a distance of three feet or of fifteen feet. And lo and behold, the greater the (psychological) distance, the more immediate action the participants recommended for the other students.

These findings have implications for advice-givers, the researchers emphasize. “Research shows that people tend to undervalue the advice of others when advice-givers do not follow their own advice. For instance, patients are disinclined to heed the health advice of unhealthy physicians. Our results suggest that prompting advice-givers to anchor their perspective on themselves when giving advice would help them to traverse the psychological distance between self and other and to recommend realistic action to others in which they would personally engage. Doing so would improve the likelihood that advisees would see the advice as credible and adhere to it.” Go and tell that to Mr. Gore!

One strategy that helps us to close our eyes to our own hypocrisy is “moral licensing”, a kind of moral sale of indulgences. It refers to our increased tendency to act immorally if we have already displayed our moral righteousness. In essence, it means, that after you have done something nice, you think you have the license to do something not so nice, as if these things balance each other. 

Psychologist Sonya Sachdeva from Northwestern University instructed volunteers to write a self-presentation, which contained either the pleasant or unpleasant personality traits of the writer. They were also awarded a fee for this job, part of which they could donate for a good cause. Just those who had revealed their nicest features in the end made the least generous contributions. Those, who on the other hand, had been busy with their dark sides, reestablished their moral balance by a very generous donation, five times as high as in the other group. 

Psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong of the University of Toronto wanted to know: how do we really behave, if we just bought a “green” product – does it make us socially better people? Surprising conclusion: Just when participants had bought something that gave them a good conscience, they behaved especially selfish in a cooperative game. The latest research indicates that even the announcement that one will do some good deed makes people behave more antisocially. https://plus.google.com/101046916407340625977/posts/gzhk98bw89z

“We do not want to claim that people have no moral integrity at  all,” psychologist C. Daniel Batson and Elizabeth R. Thompson of the University of Kansas assess the state of knowledge, “but appearances can be very deceptive, and the power of moral integrity is probably overestimated.” The function of moral principles therefore often does not consist in acting morally, but primarily in appearing morally. Whenever it is possible to indulge in self-interest, without jeopardizing the moral facade, the hypocrite answers the call of selfishness. This is why we find the fall and public exposure of the self-righteous so funny. Millions laughed when fundamentalist American preacher Ted Haggard, who publicly thundered against gays, was picked up in a clinch with a male prostitute. We sense that our own moral standards are fragile, and so we rejoice at the humiliation of those who claim the moral high  ground.___

2015-03-24 19:35:16 (172 comments, 11 reshares, 56 +1s)Open 

Bad-Faith Good-Faith

I presume good faith almost unconditionally. And I've seen this criticized on the basis that it's not true, which ...

... well, of course it isn't true. Why would anyone expect it to be? Presumptions aren't truths about the world. In many cases, they are plainly untrue. Most people tried for crimes are, in fact, guilty of those crimes. Some people who make accusations are wrong. Most people in high-conflict interactions will eventually resort to bad faith. 

Rather, a presumption is an interpretive stance taken to achieve a particular result. The presumption of innocence creates a bias against false positives. The contradictory presumption in favor of victim narratives prevents us from inadvertently punishing someone for reporting someone else's misdeeds. The presumption of good faith creates a bias in favor of de-escalating,... more »

Bad-Faith Good-Faith

I presume good faith almost unconditionally. And I've seen this criticized on the basis that it's not true, which ...

... well, of course it isn't true. Why would anyone expect it to be? Presumptions aren't truths about the world. In many cases, they are plainly untrue. Most people tried for crimes are, in fact, guilty of those crimes. Some people who make accusations are wrong. Most people in high-conflict interactions will eventually resort to bad faith. 

Rather, a presumption is an interpretive stance taken to achieve a particular result. The presumption of innocence creates a bias against false positives. The contradictory presumption in favor of victim narratives prevents us from inadvertently punishing someone for reporting someone else's misdeeds. The presumption of good faith creates a bias in favor of de-escalating, rather than escalating, interpersonal conflicts.

Which is why I'm unwilling to deploy an accusation of bad faith unless it's clear that the person that I'm talking to is using bad faith as an explicit strategy, rather than just a defensive reaction to a high-conflict situation: once I've made that conclusion, the only safe response is to wall off their criticisms of my position, and not take them seriously. And that makes me vulnerable to going the same way.

Which would be pretty much the most disastrous thing I can think of.___

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2015-03-23 23:05:04 (3 comments, 2 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

"""
The left’s gradual devolution from political dissenters to morality police have given the right the opportunity portray itself as the new champion of the old leftist values: of individual liberty, of free thinking and speaking in opposition to conformity-demanding dogmatism.
"""

Except that anyone who actually reads right-wing media knows that they're not only awash in purity crusades of this same type, the behaviors liberal and leftist authors rail against are mostly part of conservative purity crusades. The reason there's so much discussion of racial stereotypes isn't because of liberal navel-gazing, it's because those stereotypes are part of shaming minorities for being insufficiently like their vision of the majority. Which is, you may guess, inaccurate enough that there are purity crusades against its members for similarr... more »

"""
The left’s gradual devolution from political dissenters to morality police have given the right the opportunity portray itself as the new champion of the old leftist values: of individual liberty, of free thinking and speaking in opposition to conformity-demanding dogmatism.
"""

Except that anyone who actually reads right-wing media knows that they're not only awash in purity crusades of this same type, the behaviors liberal and leftist authors rail against are mostly part of conservative purity crusades. The reason there's so much discussion of racial stereotypes isn't because of liberal navel-gazing, it's because those stereotypes are part of shaming minorities for being insufficiently like their vision of the majority. Which is, you may guess, inaccurate enough that there are purity crusades against its members for similar reasons.

This isn't some left-right issue, it's simply what our politics has mostly become in general. My suspicion is that it's a reflection of the two-party system, which prevents minor parties from forming and policing purity internally while violating their ideals a bit in coalitions. That sense of sharing a tribe with traitors probably washes down into everything else.___

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2015-03-23 19:56:06 (13 comments, 2 reshares, 15 +1s)Open 

After looking at this in detail, I suspect it boils down to a conjunction of three factors:

(1) Polygyny: Polygyny is common. Polyandry is exceptionally rare, occurring only in Nepal and a few other scattered places. Because there's a 50/50 split in human sex selection, this means that some men will reproduce late or not at all.

For this reason alone, we should expect more female ancestors than male. But there is no place on earth where there's a 17-to-1 polygyny is the norm, much less "everywhere on earth."

(2) Status stratification: Prior to the 20th century, status and birth order were deeply influential on chance of survival and reproduction. The first sons of high-status families were almost guaranteed to reproduce.  In cultures with polygyny, status also conferred the right (and often the obligation) to take additional wives or... more »

There's a new paper out in Genome Research which shows something rather fascinating that seems to have happened in human history, right after the agricultural revolution. The two graphs below show the number of men (left) and women (right) alive at various times in history whose genes are still around today. (We can measure this separately because Y-chromosome DNA is transmitted only through men, and mitochondrial DNA only through women) 

There are lots of reasons that you would expect this curve to increase as you move forward in time. The simplest part of this is the "common ancestor" effect. If someone is your ancestor, then all of their ancestors are your ancestors, too. This means that, as you go farther back in time, anyone who's along your family tree is an ancestor of a bigger and bigger chunk of people. In fact, once you go far enough back, you'll encounter a person who is a common ancestor for everyone in your population group, or even in the world -- and once you've encountered this first common ancestor, every one of their ancestors is a common ancestor, too! This means that a bit further back in time, you suddenly pass a second threshold: at that point, everyone who was alive then is either a common ancestor of everyone alive today, or of nobody alive today. (If you're curious about this, there are a few famous papers by +Douglas Rohde and a few others on this subject, where with a combination of historical population data and computer simulations, they managed to show that the most recent common ancestor of all humanity probably lived only a few thousand years ago, and in either southeast or northeast Asia: http://tedlab.mit.edu/~dr/Papers/Rohde-MRCA-two.pdf)

So because of this effect, you would expect that as you go far back in time, the number of people who are ancestors of people alive today would end up being a roughly fixed fraction of the population: everyone's either a common ancestor, or not an ancestor at all.

Now, the other important thing about the agricultural revolution is that it made the population boom: grain fields can support orders of magnitude more people than hunting and gathering or nomadic herding. (This is also why the agricultural revolution leads to the original rise of cities)

If you look at the curve on the right -- estimated number of women who are ancestors of living humans today, as a function of time -- you see exactly that. Right around 15,000 years ago (15kya), the number of women skyrockets, and starts to level off around 10,000 years ago. This is exactly what you would expect if nutrition suddenly improved by a lot, and it suggest that it was the early agricultural revolution -- that first cultivation of crops, rather than the rise of effective mass agriculture and the rise of early cities -- that had the biggest effect.

But the plot for men is bizarrely different. At 15kya, the gauge for men doesn't move. And then at 10kya, when the "big" agricultural revolution hits and cities start to emerge, the number for men plummets, only to recover and show the giant population-related spike around 5,000 years ago. At its most extreme, the ratio of female to male ancestors was 17:1!

What happened here? The authors suggest that this was most likely a cultural effect, rather than a mysterious plague which only affected men. My own quick summary of thoughts:

(1) The effects which created the initial surge in female long-term reproduction, around 15kya, don't seem to have affected men much at all. This suggests that we're seeing a huge nutritional effect on the success rate of pregnancies.

(2) The crash in male reproduction around 10kya suggests that most men were suddenly unable to reproduce, even as lots of women were doing so. This means that small numbers of men were having lots of children, and most weren't having any at all, or at least none which appear to have survived. Since you would suspect that most men might object to this, that suggests rather extraordinary application of force: i.e., the rise of the agricultural state brought with it tremendous power asymmetries and the rise of very wide polygyny. 

(3) Around 5kya, this effect seems to have vanished even more quickly than it appeared. If anything, that's more fascinating, because 5kya is already within visibility of the literary record. (The story of the marriage of Inanna, for example, contains some fairly clear allusions to the tension between nomadism and agriculture) A change this rapid, from extremely concentrated harems to some kind of more level marriage system, would seem to require a tremendous social event going with it, something big enough that I'm surprised that we don't see at least allusions to it in a wide range of early literary records.

In fact, this third point is enough to make me actively suspicious: this is a huge effect, something which would have defined human society for hundreds of generations and the response to which would likely have had effects for hundreds of generations to come. Its uniformity across geographic regions (colors in the graph) is similarly surprising: cultural shifts affecting the entire world don't Just Happen.

So I'm going to take this result with a great deal of caution until there's further confirmation, but the questions which it poses are fascinating, and this is clearly a direction worth more research.___After looking at this in detail, I suspect it boils down to a conjunction of three factors:

(1) Polygyny: Polygyny is common. Polyandry is exceptionally rare, occurring only in Nepal and a few other scattered places. Because there's a 50/50 split in human sex selection, this means that some men will reproduce late or not at all.

For this reason alone, we should expect more female ancestors than male. But there is no place on earth where there's a 17-to-1 polygyny is the norm, much less "everywhere on earth."

(2) Status stratification: Prior to the 20th century, status and birth order were deeply influential on chance of survival and reproduction. The first sons of high-status families were almost guaranteed to reproduce.  In cultures with polygyny, status also conferred the right (and often the obligation) to take additional wives or concubines.

In Europe, the second son of a high-status family often joined the Church, and did not reproduce. The third son often joined the military, and stood a substantial risk of not surviving to adulthood. In most agricultural civilizations worldwide, "what to do with excess fighting-age males" was the central problem of civilization -- especially in high-status groups. 

(3) Patrilineal Descent: In premodern agricultural societies, the basic economic unit was the family, which -- in most cultures -- was traced patrilineally. 

This created a bias toward patriarchy, but also gave women far more status mobility than men. It was difficult for a second son to inherit even his father's position. Women, however, took on the status of the patriline they married into.

Insofar as status or patriline membership could confer a survival benefit, women were more positioned to take advantage. Men who belonged to cadet branches of their patriline were at substantial disadvantage even if they survived to adulthood. Women, however, were not.

2015-03-23 19:35:23 (30 comments, 1 reshares, 60 +1s)Open 

A Not Entirely Serious Complaint, Because I Know What Statistical Inference Is And Can't Think Of A Way To Do This Better:

If you are wondering why my profile says I went to Awesome Skeleton Hell University and majored in Extreme Death, it's because the automated microaggression of the popup that kept asking me whether I went to CMU, Stanford, or Harvard (rather than my tiny rural state school) was finally driving me crazy.

A Not Entirely Serious Complaint, Because I Know What Statistical Inference Is And Can't Think Of A Way To Do This Better:

If you are wondering why my profile says I went to Awesome Skeleton Hell University and majored in Extreme Death, it's because the automated microaggression of the popup that kept asking me whether I went to CMU, Stanford, or Harvard (rather than my tiny rural state school) was finally driving me crazy.___

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2015-03-23 17:39:04 (1 comments, 2 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

There are some valid points in this article, but it's also myopic in several ways. [ObDisclaimer: I'm obviously a beneficiary of this class system.] (HT +Adam Smith for the pointer)

If the author had at least once used the word "South", I'd feel like he'd spoken for "India". His words betray his perspective: it's an article of, by, and for the North. "Language of the northern oppressors" is how many jokingly refer to Hindi, but it's only a half-joke.

The other bit of myopia is about writers. Writers like RK Narayan didn't "come" to India. But it is true that Indian native prose can be dreadful. That has nothing to do with English per se. It has to do with how we're taught to write. I can sum it up with one anecdote: in 7th or 8th grade English, my teacher instructed the class about good writing: "Why write... more »

There are some valid points in this article, but it's also myopic in several ways. [ObDisclaimer: I'm obviously a beneficiary of this class system.] (HT +Adam Smith for the pointer)

If the author had at least once used the word "South", I'd feel like he'd spoken for "India". His words betray his perspective: it's an article of, by, and for the North. "Language of the northern oppressors" is how many jokingly refer to Hindi, but it's only a half-joke.

The other bit of myopia is about writers. Writers like RK Narayan didn't "come" to India. But it is true that Indian native prose can be dreadful. That has nothing to do with English per se. It has to do with how we're taught to write. I can sum it up with one anecdote: in 7th or 8th grade English, my teacher instructed the class about good writing: "Why write ‘first’ when you can write ‘second to none’?" 

Perhaps this isn't even just because of teaching. Exuberance is in the air. Have you heard the dialog of a Hindi or Tamil film? Have you seen the way plants, flowers, and fruit grow? Have you seen our names? If our languages lack an equivalent of "sesquipedalian", it's because we have no need to call attention to an everyday event.

There is also a dark side to this lament. Those who drive out language will gladly also drive out religion, culture, and everything else that they oppose. Cleverly, they will use one—safer, more acceptable, worthy of an NYT OpEd that gets sympathetic head nods—prejudice as a proxy for another, less acceptable one.But in the wrong hands, they are part of the same parcel. The beauty of my India is its openness to language, religion, and other ways in which humans classify themselves. The great shame is that instead of increasing this openness, it reduces it.___

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2015-03-20 20:23:10 (24 comments, 0 reshares, 37 +1s)Open 

Exactly right. Netanyahu's hard swing to the right was not an idiosyncratic personal reaction, but one which was structurally dictated by the rise of radical ethnic nationalist parties. Unless Likud could reclaim the ground it has been progressively losing to parties running openly on a policy of ethnic cleansing, the largely moribund left would win. Having failed at making a case for more moderate revanchism, Likud has decided to make its case by promising precisely the same thing that YB has been.

From the outside, we can do very little to influence the deepening dysfunction in Israeli politics. But we can withdraw our Security Council veto and allow international politics to go on as usual, making it very clear that we will not waste our diplomatic capital protecting Netanyahu from the dire consequences of his own policies.

Exactly right. Netanyahu's hard swing to the right was not an idiosyncratic personal reaction, but one which was structurally dictated by the rise of radical ethnic nationalist parties. Unless Likud could reclaim the ground it has been progressively losing to parties running openly on a policy of ethnic cleansing, the largely moribund left would win. Having failed at making a case for more moderate revanchism, Likud has decided to make its case by promising precisely the same thing that YB has been.

From the outside, we can do very little to influence the deepening dysfunction in Israeli politics. But we can withdraw our Security Council veto and allow international politics to go on as usual, making it very clear that we will not waste our diplomatic capital protecting Netanyahu from the dire consequences of his own policies.___

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2015-03-19 21:15:37 (4 comments, 7 reshares, 41 +1s)Open 

"""
I took the time over the weekend to read the entirety of the 102-page Department of Justice report on the Ferguson PD (“FPD”). I cannot recommend highly enough that you do the same. During the course of this reading, I intentionally read it with as jaundiced of an eye towards the Department of Justice as possible. I intentionally disregarded all commentary regarding what the DOJ investigators reported that they saw, and also all of their reported interviews of the citizens of Ferguson and FPD officers. I decided to say to myself, let’s assume that everything DOJ says is a lie, and also that everyone who was willing to talk to the DOJ during the course of their investigation either lied or shaded the truth. What remained astounded me.

Even if you read only the parts of the Ferguson DOJ report that come directly from the files of the FPD (which is to say, files thatwould... more »

"""
I took the time over the weekend to read the entirety of the 102-page Department of Justice report on the Ferguson PD (“FPD”). I cannot recommend highly enough that you do the same. During the course of this reading, I intentionally read it with as jaundiced of an eye towards the Department of Justice as possible. I intentionally disregarded all commentary regarding what the DOJ investigators reported that they saw, and also all of their reported interviews of the citizens of Ferguson and FPD officers. I decided to say to myself, let’s assume that everything DOJ says is a lie, and also that everyone who was willing to talk to the DOJ during the course of their investigation either lied or shaded the truth. What remained astounded me.

Even if you read only the parts of the Ferguson DOJ report that come directly from the files of the FPD (which is to say, files that would be most favorable to the Department), the report paints an incredibly damning picture of the Ferguson Police Department. No conservative on earth should feel comfortable with the way the Ferguson PD has been operating for years, even according to their own documents.
"""___

2015-03-19 20:57:19 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

Without the premier, the Cultural Revolution would have been much worse. And without the premier, the Cultural Revolution wouldn't have dragged on for such a long time.

-- Deng Xiaoping, referring to Zhou Enlai

This is the dilemma posed to anyone considering their complicity in an unjustifiable system. 

Without the premier, the Cultural Revolution would have been much worse. And without the premier, the Cultural Revolution wouldn't have dragged on for such a long time.

-- Deng Xiaoping, referring to Zhou Enlai

This is the dilemma posed to anyone considering their complicity in an unjustifiable system. ___

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