Sugar taxes are very effective at making people eat healthier. This mirrors similar work on cigarette taxes. A while ago I grudgingly admitted to Sarah that she was right and I was wrong and government interference in nutrition wasn’t a good idea, but I may have to change my mind again. Public health is awkward because it’s always about interventions that silently save tens of thousands of lives and I feel bad not jumping to support them full-throttle immediately.
Feinstein is a seller of fine stones – a jeweler. Wasserman is a water carrier. Shulman is the man who takes care of the shul (synagogue). Rothbard is a red-beared person. The origins of popular Jewish surnames are both unexpected and obvious in retrospect. Well, sometimes – still not sure what’s up with “Strauss” meaning “ostrich” (but see this correction of some egregious errors).
Could We Afford A Universal Basic Income? The article says if we scraped together money from all the benefits and tax breaks we have now, we might be able to afford a universal income of $5850 per person per year. I wouldn’t want to have to live on $5850 a year. Hmmmm, what about rich people? Don’t they have lots of money we can take?
Rimonabant, sometimes colloquially called anti-marijuana, is a drug that inverse agonizes the same receptors marijuana agonizes and so has effects which are opposite marijuana in almost every way. It is mostly used to reduce appetite and improve memory.
Why Olanzapine Beats Risperidone, Risperidone Beats Quetiapine, and Quetiapine Beats Olanzapine – why are there intransitive results for comparative antipsychotic drug effectiveness? Spoiler: it depends whose pharmaceutical company is funding the study.
The oft-cited rule not to talk to cops is good advice – but probably only if you’re middle class and well-educated, unlike most of the people police actually deal with.
The Economist comes out in favor of modern unemployment being technology-driven instead of cyclical. “Today’s governments would do well to start making the changes needed before their people get angry.”
Stranger than fiction – there is a 312 foot tall, $200 million, giant-gold-statue topped Neutrality Monument. “If I don’t survive, tell my wife hello”.
You can improve retention by practicing in random blocks instead of until you master a single skill.
I previously discussed the dangers of trolls on research surveys. Now news comes out that one of the data sources social scientists most rely upon to determine the demographics and opinions of gay teens may consist mostly of straight teens saying they were gay to troll researchers. Still too early to determine how much of what we know about homosexuality this changes. The authors say it debunks the claim that gay teens commit suicide more often than straight teens, but the authors have pushed that line for a while so not sure how much to believe them.
The Myth Of The Absent Black Father – CDC study finds that contrary to popular belief, black fathers are likely to spend more time with their children than fathers of other races, whether living with them or divorced. There might be a Simpson’s Paradox going on here.
I’ve previously dabbled in job advice, and one thing I forgot to mention but which I have since been thoroughly convinced of is if you want a PhD, get an economics PhD. It’s more humane than most others, has much better job prospects, and there’s such a wide range of economics that you can still study pretty much whatever you want.
Mimosa plants display learning, memory, reponse habituation, and other complex cognitive features generally thought to be restricted to animals – all without any neurons.
Julia on book recommendations in jail.
The Chinese are so advanced, they can encode ethnic slurs into subunits of a single character.
64% of Chinese millionaires have either emigrated from China or plan to emigrate.
I have been moderately skeptical of Penrose and Hameroff’s ORCH-OR theory (the one where consciousness is a quantum state sustained in microtubules) before, but credit where credit is due – several of the predictions they made when they developed the theory have since been confirmed. The latest of these is the discovery that microtubules do in fact sustain quantum vibrations. The article links this to brain waves, but I can’t tell whether they’ve found evidence for this or are wildly speculating – I suspect the latter since the former would be a Super Big Deal. Despite its outrageousness ORCH-OR was always the theory of consciousness I hated least because it made predictions and didn’t completely sidestep the question, so I will be interested in seeing where this goes.
The media coverage of the minimum wage issue recently has been startlingly good. This review of the evidence clarifies things especially well; its main conclusion is that “whether the sign is negative or positive, the impact of minimum wages on employment rates is small”, but it decreases turnover among teenagers, meaning those with jobs keep them longer but hiring rates decline. On the other hand, it’s possible that only 11% of workers who benefit from a minimum wage boost will live in poor households.
Gentrification actually helps the people already living in an area, decreasing their likelihood of moving away and improving their financial health. Article still shows picture of protesters with sign saying “GENTRIFICATION IS GENOCIDE”.
Glenn Greenwald points out that bloggers suggesting Iranian nuclear scientists be assassinated provoked outrage, yet actually assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists didn’t seem to bother anyone. Local conversations make better signaling opportunities than global events? Or assassinations being too deniable and time-spread to effectively coordinate anger?
A gift for my Reactionary readers: Democracy in the Third World found to be directly related to activity of Protestant missionaries, with the missions explaining half the variance in country outcomes. Gwern finds the original paper. But before you get too excited, the main proposed mechanism is missionaries increasing education and general social advancement. A friend adds a gay atheist who thinks “Africa needs God”
This is why I love Marginal Revolution: “You may have heard recently that the richest 85 people in the world have more wealth than the bottom 3.5 billion. Tim began by pointing out that his 2 year old also has more wealth than the bottom 2 billion since his 2-year old has no debt.”
People who believe they’ve slept better are more functional regardless of whether they have actually slept well. This reminds me of the genetic testing post from a few days ago and the whole vast category of things-sort-of-like-stereotype-threat.
Studies mentioned in TIME: People get angry at people who help themselves by helping charity, but not at people who help themselves by being selfish. Willing to sacrifice on average $173,000 of fundraising money to prevent the guy who ran the fundraiser from gaining any benefit. But weird preferences go away when people are made aware of them and asked to consciously compare the situations.
I always thought I could tell whether someone was trustworthy just by looking at them, but somehow I reached age 29 without knowing this is empirically validated. Men with higher face width-to-height ratio are more likely to exploit others for personal gain and deceive their counterparts in negotiation. They are also more likely to be racist. May I just say that the fact that there are genetic traits accurately reflected in a person’s outward appearance that you can use to stereotype them as racist is the most delicious thing I have heard all year?
Oh, almost forgot. The whole reason I was even getting into all that research was the discovery that brown-eyed people are more trustworthy and are accurately perceived as more trustworthy. The researchers investigated and found that it wasn’t brown eyes themselves that indicated trustworthiness, but facial structures that tended to cluster with brown eyes. My main takeaway from this is that the next time someone tells me about Jane Elliot’s experiment with telling a classroom that blue-eyed children are better, I’m going to respond “Well, that’s silly. All the evidence shows that brown-eyed people are the morally superior ones.