From the Department of Omens: Why is everyone having weird dreams about Jeremy Corbyn?
Myths and facts about medieval fighting, mostly good for ruining your enjoyment of things: “Spears were the medieval and ancient weapon. Swords are always a secondary or tertiary weapon for warriors, meaning that you would only use your sword if your main weapon was lost/broken/inappropriate. If you are not wearing armour or have no shield, once they commence sword fights end in about 1 second.”
If Avatar: The Last Airbender had a Game of Thrones-style introduction.
Most of the Japanese Parliament, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, are members of Nippon Kaigi, a nationalist organization dedicated to reviving the Japanese Empire, “breaking away from the post-war regime”, and restoring the status of the Emperor as a living god. (h/t Noah Smith)
Chomsky would have a field day with this headline: Jewish Man Dies As Rocks Pelt His Car In East Jerusalem. I think this is one case where the passive voice would actually be less weaselly.
To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. Creating a sandwich from scratch, on the other hand, only takes 6 months and $1500.
Emmanuel Nwude was a Union Bank of Nigeria director who made $242 million by pulling the greatest Nigerian scam of all time.
Carly Fiorina demands to know what Hillary has done during her 20 years in politics. Democrats step up to the challenge and list a bunch of her greatest accomplishments.
200 proofs that the Earth is flat, in case you need to prove whatever philosophical point might be proven by somebody making a site with 200 proofs that the Earth is flat.
A few weeks ago I mentioned some problems with Chomsky’s Cambodian genocide scholarship. Jim has a whole well-cited list.
Popehat scoops me on something I’ve always thought was a good idea: given that some people want “safe” colleges with trigger warnings on everything, and other people want “free speech” colleges where they are confronted with disquieting new ideas, why aren’t different colleges drifting to one side or the other and letting the market decide?
Otto von Bismarck’s grandson Gottfried von Bismarck also made history books – by dying with “the highest [blood] level of cocaine that [his doctors] had ever seen.”
Troll Research Station in Antarctica.
Did US news deregulation cause the recent increase in political polarization?
Latest campus free speech problem: threats to expel students who criticize Israel, courtesy of Dianne Feinstein.
Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to fix the Newark school system. It mostly failed. Some speculation about why. One example where donations without systemic change didn’t do any good.
Gwern asks any modafinil users reading this to take a survey about their response to the medication for his research. Participants will be entered into a drawing to win extremely predictable prize. Related: is President Obama using modafinil?
Shaven chimps look kind of like a really buff Gollum.
Is Milo Yiannopoulos The Only Responsible Tech Journalist Left On The Planet?, asks Milo Yiannopoulos.
The full chemical name of the protein titin is the longest word in the English language at 189,819 letters. If you want, learn it at home with Mavis Beacon Teaches Titin
Why is China, which has a billion people and lots of money, so terrible at soccer? One interesting theory – the government bans all small gatherings that aren’t pre-approved, putting a big regulatory hassle in the way of people who might otherwise start random back-alley soccer games, and maybe this sort of grassroots-level introduction to the sport is important enough that even throwing money at big gleaming stadiums can’t make up for it. Somebody should study countries that over/under-perform their fundamentals in sports versus countries that over/under-perform their fundamentals in academia/science and see what the correlations are.
1960s: “You can’t fight here, this is the war room!”. 2010s: Brawl breaks out in Japanese Parliament during debate over pacifism
“Good morning, Mr. Machiavelli. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to prevent Cesare Borgia from conquering Florence. You will serve as our official ambassador to his court. You will shadow the Duke-Cardinal as closely as possible, report to us about his character and tactics, and develop a strategy to keep him from adding Tuscany to his expanding kingdom. While at his court, you will need to maintain yourself and your team with grandeur sufficient to make him take us seriously as a political force, but we can’t send you any funds to pay for this, since Borgia has so completely destroyed peace and order in the region that bandits are rampaging through the countryside robbing and murdering all our couriers. This message will self-destruct in a few weeks when your office is inevitably looted and burned, but if you throw it in the fire that will speed things up.” Somebody linked me to Ex Urbe a few weeks back, and now I am passing on the favor. Read the one about the Borgias first, but the whole Machiavelli series is superb.
Does the season in which you were born affect your skill at chess? Also, “a similar pattern has been found with schizophrenia, and the possible link between these two phenomena is discussed.”
Between-populations factors explain 24% genetic differences in height and 8% of genetic differences in BMI across Europe. Now that the only two massively polygenic traits that might vary among national populations have been successfully studied, I look forward to never having to read any further research of this sort ever again.
“Contrary to popular perceptions, today both property and violent crimes (with the exception of homicides) are more widespread in Europe than in the United States”. What caused the ‘Reversal Of Misfortunes’?
There are probably lots of Barack Obama lookalikes making some money as impersonators, but only one who is a Han Chinese man in Guangzhou. Also, holy @#$%, that Chinese guy looks exactly like Barack Obama.
Computational linguistics: where king – man + woman = queen
This creepy Bay Area kidnapping case was so bizarre that the police said it was a hoax until the kidnapper wrote in to complain that this was unfair to the victim. Also: gangs of gentlemen-thieves flying crime-drones.
What did the Chinese think of the most recent Republican primary debate? Apparently “Jeb” sounds like “penis” in Chinese.
People were pretty nasty to Vox when they rejected that article on negative utilitarianism for political/PR reasons. But they have redeemed themselves by publishing The Case Against Equality Of Opportunity and it’s pretty good. I broadly agree with it although I think it requires a much broader rejection of philosophical paradigms and reorganization about how we think of things than could be included even in an article of this length. Also: Vox reinvents the concept of anarcho-tyranny without noticing. Also also: don’t miss Eight times politicians fired actual guns at abstract concepts.
Dutch study shows rampant sexism in scientific community. Dutch establishment promises reforms, says they will push “gender awareness” on everyone involved. Outside observers point out basic statistical error, actual results show no gender bias at all. Original authors say it doesn’t matter and the Dutch scientific community is still sexist because grant review forms use “gendered language” like the word “excellent” which is apparently “male-coded”. Dutch establishment says reform and gender awareness programs are “still a good idea, regardless of the paper’s quality”, and vow to push ahead. Why are we even bothering to do science anymore? Why don’t we just write the only acceptable conclusion on a piece of paper beforehand and save however much it cost to do the study?
Maybe the most Chinese paragraph ever: “Khorgos, on the border with Kazakhstan, serves as a cautionary example: two years after the go-ahead China has built a city consisting of a number of multi-story shopping centers in the desert. In one of those buildings, for example, there are roughly one hundred shops, each one of them selling exactly the same product: fur coats. By way of contrast, on the Kazak side stands only a yurt and a couple of plastic camels”
If there were some kind of EA bingo card, I think I could win the game just with this sentence: Chris Blattman says that an African program to encourage entrepreneurship with direct cash grants might be the most effective development program in history.
Corporate prediction markets tested at Ford and Google found to be 25% more accurate than traditional expert forecasts.
Tumblr user kontextmachine on the First Servile War.
Noahpinion on Whig history vs. Malthusian history vs. Haan history. Whig history is “We’re doing better because progress is the natural state of the world”. Malthusian history is “We’re doing better because we’re in the boom part of an endless inescapable boom-bust cycle.” Haan history is “We’re doing better but who cares, everything is fundamentally flawed in a way no material progress can fix.
Robin Hanson’s book The Age of Em is available for pre-order, by which I mean “available for gaping at the neat spherical city picture on the cover”.