Attn fans of Research Agreements: China has reconstructed the Porcelain Tower
Wikipedia: symmetry-breaking of escaping ants
There is no increasing placebo effect in psychiatry: “Contrary to the widely held believe, the average placebo response rates in antidepressant trials have been stable for more than 25 years”
Major Airline Launches Child-Free Zones On Flights. Communists surrender, admit that invisible hand of the market really does guide businesses to the common good of all.
New brain structure study finds more evidence in favor of two “types” of trans women – an early-transitioning androphilic feminine-personality type and a late-transitioning gynophilic masculine-personality type (study, article). Another claim by the same site: even though the first group has normal IQ, the second group has IQ 128?!?!?! Suddenly all of this “how come there are so many transwomen in programming?” stuff starts to look incredibly interesting (note).
DEA decides not to ban kratom for now, marking rare victory for common sense and/or being really angry on the Internet.
Attitude toward school does not predict academic achievement: “This study, by analyzing the PISA 2003, 2009, and 2012 datasets, finds virtually no direct relationships between students’ general attitude toward school and their academic achievement in reading and mathematics.”
Do Youth Employment Programs Improve Labor Market Outcomes: “We identify 113 counterfactual impact evaluations…using met-analysis methods, we synthesize the evidence based on 2,259 effect sizes…overall we find that just more than one-third of evaluation results from youth employment programs implemented worldwide show a significant positive impact on labor market outcomes.” You can gauge your level of cynicism by whether you’re shocked by how low or how high that is.
Nick Land writes an article on fascism for the Daily Caller: “Fascism is therefore broadly identical with a normalization of war-powers in a modern state, that is: sustained social mobilization under central direction. Consequently, it involves, beside the centralization of political authority in a permanent war council, a tribal hystericization of social identity, and a considerable measure of economic pragmatism…Since fascism had entirely filled the Overton Window, it lost contour, and became invisible. The word persisted in public conversation only as an empty slur. Under this cover, and the absurdly misleading branding associated with it, American fascism ascended to a state of global hegemonic dominance.”
I used to think Mormonism must be some kind of amazing magic religion, since Mormons seemed to have better communities and outcomes in a lot of ways than the surrounding population. Razib Khan points out something I should have realized a long time ago – Mormons are just Puritans (in the Albion’s Seed sense) – they descend from Joseph Smith’s neighbors in New-England-settled upstate New York. Their tight-knit egalitarian communities aren’t much different from the tight-knit egalitarian communities of eg Vermont. And apparent Mormon exceptionalism is probably just perfectly normal deep population differences.
Ye Olde England had special corpse roads to transport coffins to cemeteries. Needless to say there are all sorts of associated weird superstitions.
Some Friends Of The Blog and other cool people will be at the Adam Smith Institute Forum in London on December 3.
People who film protests against the oil pipeline in North Dakota face prison under attempts to use laws against filming crimes to quash journalism.
Related to the perennial discussion over whether traditional or modern societies are happier – new study finds that Himba hunter-gatherer tribespeople report higher life satisfaction than urbanized Himba or modern Brits.
Do higher IQ presidents perform better? asks a Scientific American article which is better than you’d expect considering we have no obvious way to measure either presidential IQ or presidential performance.
The New Yorker: The Case Against Democracy. “Despite ample proof of the average American voter’s cluelessness, why do we still insist on voting rights for all?”
Paul Christiano is one of many people with so many interesting ideas that I wished he’d start a blog. Now: Paul Christiano starts a blog.
Speaking of Paul, he and housemates Steph and Katja have made reciprocity.io, a dating site for the rationalist community and rationalist-adjacent people. You sign up, check the names of everyone you want to date (or hang out with), and if they also checked your name you both get a notification. If not it remains a secret and they never have to know. Warning: nobody having to know only slightly dulls the pain of finding out that a bunch of people you have crushes on aren’t interested.
Park Geun-Hye was elected President of South Korea partly because, having no remaining family, it was assumed she wouldn’t be corrupt and nepotistic. Now the country is in an uproar as she is discovered to be funneling national power and resources to a shaman who claimed to be in contact with her dead mother.
r/tinder is an interesting combination of horror stories, overly aggressive horny jerks, and cheesy pickup lines based on awful puns on people’s names
Latest study to be called into question: the one showing that shark attacks swung a US presidential election. Mea culpa – I blogged about that one unskeptically a few years ago.
Washington Post: Germany Reunified 26 Years Ago But Some Divisions Are Still Strong. This is maybe the strongest evidence against HBD I know, since it shows how purely political and historical differences created persistently different cultures. And don’t tell me that the East/West split happened along existing ethnic lines; the boundaries are too perfect.
If you correct some simplifying but false assumptions used in many genetics papers, for a wide range of traits, common SNPs tag a greater fraction of causal variation than is commonly appreciated.
Jonathan Haidt’s Heterodox Academy publishes their ranking of colleges by tolerance for viewpoint diversity. If you’re going to college and you’re interested in being able to speak and think freely it is worth a look. Rankings like these are an obvious and extremely powerful strategic tool, and they confirm my impression that Haidt is almost the only person working effectively in this area.
New method is able to detect what parts of the genome have been subject to the most recent evolution in the past 2000 years – mostly genes for lactase, pigmentation, and immune response.