They didn’t control for the scientists

Well this is pretty fascinating:

Years ago, before this type of activity was frowned upon, scientists sent 2 groups of 11 and 12 year-old boys to live in separate sections of an Eastern Oklahoma camp. The boys didn’t know about each other at first, and they quickly developed independent social hierarchies and social codes. One group named themselves the Rattlers. The other group didn’t pick a name until after the groups discovered each other. They chose the Eagles, an animal that eats snakes. The scientists ratcheted up the competition between the two groups, eventually losing control of the experiment as the boys were executing violent raids on each others’ camps. The scientists finally separated the camps before someone got killed, but not before documenting some interesting concepts of how groups form social norms and how they react to others they perceive as different.

More here.

Quote of the day

“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.” ~ from a pledge signed by Michele Bachmann

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes:

We could parse the facts here, or discuss the implicit racism in the notion that by sheer dint of skin color, Barack Obama is responsible for the fate of the black family. We could also interrogate the meaning of "two-parent household" when you, your parents and their home are all property.

We could also note that a slave born into the 1820s had a thirty percent chance of being parted from his parents, not by divorce, but by the auction block. Or we could have a hearty existential debate on the complex interplay of liberty, freedom and happiness in an era of original light.

But it seems to me that we should be compassionate and put this in a dialect which the white populists of America might, if haltingly, understand: Jazz was a lot better under Jim Crow, and before women could vote no one worried about Michelle Bachmann.

To hell with people writing pledges to ‘protect family’ and to hell with people who use slavery for political gain. And to hell with any stupid politician who has the gall to sign something like this. And to hell with pledges in general. There’s one damn pledge that each of our politicians takes and that’s a pledge of allegiance. We don’t need anti-tax pledges, racist pledges, or anti-gay pledges. We will know you by your deeds.

Further thoughts on DSK

Maybe I’m not up-to-date enough on the whole DSK story, but I find myself increasingly uncomfortable with the new consensus that just because the ‘accuser’ (now it is accuser, rather than ‘victim’) is unreliable or a bad person that she could not have been raped. Or just because she turned tricks she could not have been raped (as though prostitutes are never raped!). We are conducting a trial of the woman in the court of public opinion that may result in no trial at all for the man who may have raped her. There is a lesson in this for rapists: so long as you rape those on the margins of society – immigrants and prostitutes and other people with shady backgrounds or connections – you will get away with it. Maybe he didn’t do it, maybe he did. I don’t know. I just don’t like the way that one set of assumptions have replaced another.

The Star Wars Extended Universe

Unlike Alyssa, I have not delved into the Star Wars expanded universe. Should I?

Also, did anyone watch the new Clone Wars animated series?

P.S. This is the extra-expanded Star Wars universe:

I never had any Star Wars Legos. Thankfully I have children who will someday have Star Wars Legos so that I can play with them.