Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

Education:

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Image by cogdogblog Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[E1] On the one hand, I do see what Michael Godsey is saying here about how the classroom environment is suboptimal for introverts. On the other hand, the office environment often works the same way.

[E2] The university professoriat is not actually getting more liberal except in the Northeast. The northeast, however, is a rather large and extremely important exception.

[E3] Unlike football and basketball, college baseball players don’t all (or mostly) get full scholarships, and it can leave them in a world of debt.

[E4] We’ll have to pass the bill before we know what’s in it, of course, but some are concerned that Hillary Clinton’s tuition plan may backfire.

[E5] Take some free classes from Yale!

Science:

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Image by GoToVan Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[S1] I barely understand it, to be honest, but for you folks who speak science: Has Physics Gotten Something Really Important Really Wrong?

[S2] Less fundamental, maybe (or maybe even more), but something’s up with gravity and quantum mechanics.

[S3] According to a new book, addiction may not be what we think it is.

[S4] Wormholes!

[S5] Yoshitaka Fujii is responsible for one of every seven retracted papers in a 30 year span.

[S6] Vox has a roundup of opinions on what’s gone wrong with science. Joe Duarte has a paper on the subject, and Jesse Singal discussed a recent flap that I’d talked about over at Hit Coffee.

Psychology:

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Image by alaspoorwho Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[P1] Sadie Stein says that growing up means retiring your shyness. Maybe? It seems to me that the costs of my on asociality have been declining over the years, and not solely because I’m a SAHD.

[P2] Tim Harford explains the ubiquity of bias and how none of us are as objective as we think we are. The same applies to everyone else, even if they’re trying! Examples include journalists, editors, researchers, scientists, studio executives, and link aggregators.

[P3] The visions of the blind dreamer.

[P4] Clancy loves coffee, and loves naps, so this is right up her alley and she reported that it actually kind of works.

[P5] Sometimes, what appears to be random chance is actually our minds quietly at work.

[P6] Want to pump yourself up? Pronouns!

Technology:

prosthetics photo

Image by Marc Poppleton Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[T1] Ahhh, but can we put a bomb on it?

[T2] How facial recognition may introduce us to our doppelgangers.

[T3] Well, this is a long-time coming!

[T4] Felipe Fernandes Cruz looks at “The Golden Age of Tinkering” and how it tickled the imagination of transportation.

[T5] How World War I gave birth to the wristwatch.

[T6] I could definitely have used one of these when I was in school.

History:

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Image by madmrmox Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[H1] Rachel Ahrnsen explains why nine is the worst number.

[H2] I’m such a sucker for this stuff: What 2000 was supposed to look like in 1900. {More}

[H3] The violent displacement that created our National Park system.

[H4] Until recently I’d never heard of the MOVE bombing. Had you?

[H5] The story of Ota Benga, a young African displayed in a cage in the Bronx Zoo. “We do not quite understand all the emotion which others are expressing in the matter.” -NY Times, 1906

[H6] Blue, Gray, and Glow: The mystery of the glowing Civil War soldiers.

[H7] A cool collection of prints showing how the Japanese saw western inventors, artists, and scholars.

Academica:

psychology photo

Image by h.koppdelaney Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

[A1] Prime numbers have an “anti-sameness” bias.

[A2] Have lemon, will make fire.

[A3] Van Gogh? Here you go.

[A4] Mark Carrigan discusses asexuality.

[A5] The end of a period. Well, the period.

[A6] It’s true! Never trust statisticians.


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134 thoughts on “Linky Friday #176: Eggheadery

  1. Couldn’t help rolling my eyes at Doc Saunders’ retweet of Bernie Sanders in the sidebar:

    Those who voted for me will not support Trump who has made bigotry and divisiveness the cornerstone of his campaign.

    I mean, he’s not wrong about Donald “The Kettle” Trump, but it’s pretty rich coming from Bernie “The Pot” Sanders.

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  2. [E4]: Duh. That’s what happened last time. Christ, NOT EVERYONE needs to go to college to have a decent life, income, etc.

    [T5] It may have given birth to the wrist watch, but that doesn’t mean is was still widely acceptable. Case in point. My grandfather was a pilot. Back in the early years of the mail wing, he posed for some photos in National Geographic, standing next to his plane and sacks of airmail “looking at his wrist watch”. That photo was for an ad for Hamilton watches IIRC. My grandfather told me that back then, circa 1918-20 ish. that wrist watches weren’t common and the perception was that only “sissies” wore them. That’s why “rugged pilots” were in the ads. You wouldn’t believe some of the stories he told me of flying dead reckoning at night. :)

    [H3] I don’t see any difference between the examples there and what’s been done recently in the West, just the race of those being pushed off. http://www.newstatelands.org/2014/01/20/continental-divide/

    [H4] Yes, I watched it real time.

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    • E4: It depends on how you define decent life and income. In the United States, a lot of the well-paying career paths are reserved for college graduates. This becomes more true as automation and other things kill off a decent paying jobs where you don’t need a college education.

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      • You don’t need a college education to be a car mechanic. Nor a plumber, HVAC guy, electrician, landscaper (NPR last night talking about the shortage of landscapers and the difficulty in getting foreigners in on visas)

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        • Indeed. Leaving aside the trades, which have their own (often demanding) paths to qualification, there are lots of jobs that just do not need all that much formal schooling, especially for autodidacts.

          Heck, the wisest person at our academic library only has a high school degree (she doesn’t have a master’s-degree requiring job, but she is DAMN good at all the things she’d have to do if she did, other than writing academic-ese, and has a lot of other more practical skills beside). I didn’t have a college degree until I’d been in the workforce (working FT at a bookstore) for 3 years, and gone back to school while working PT, and then finishing the thing. I never suffered from my lack of a degree while working (even when helping the most erudite customers), though there were a million jobs (including the one I was hired for here) that I couldn’t have gotten, no matter how qualified.

          A few years back we rewrote the job descriptions for our non-master’s-degree-requiring-but-previously-officially-college-degree-requiring team (which includes her), and I got the college degree modified with “or equivalent work experience” for all of them. It pleased me. (In practice, the other 3 of us have not just undergrad degrees, but master’s degrees… but that’s more to do with our own quirks than with needing those degrees for our jobs.)

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          • My wife hits this every once in a while, where she has a co-worker who is very, very good, but can’t be promoted and has limited lateral move options because they don’t have a degree. What winds up happening is that management has to get involved and actively go to bat for the person, to get them pushed through the filter.

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            • My old manager asked me about hiring a person from inside the company, that I hard worked with quite a bit, and wondered if I would have an issue with her being hired on the team even though she didn’t have a college degree. My response was, “*Colleague* is awesome, I don’t care if she doesn’t have a college degree, she can clearly do the job.” He said, “Good, I feel that way and *Our Executive* feels the same, we need as many people on board to push HR.”

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            • That is usually what works.

              I used to work for a firm that required clerks and paralegals to work 75 hours a week and attorneys to work 80-85 hours a week before I got there. A clerk sued for overtime pay and the firm switched to putting non-lawyers on an hourly basis and they work 40 hours a week. Lawyers went down to 65-75 hours a week.

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              • Clerks? They were claiming that the people doing the filing and putting letters in envelopes were exempt employees? Amazing. It was my understanding going on twenty years ago that paralegals weren’t exempt, though some places were still trying to play that game.

                Edit: Or did you mean law clerks. That is a lot more plausible.

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                • Law clerks, sorry.

                  Paralegals and Law Clerks are an interesting weird area. I have seen firms claim that they are non-exempt and keep them on a rigorous 40 hours. I have seen firms that claim they are exempt and keep them working all hours.

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                  • I have never looked into it, and employment law isn’t my area, but my understanding is that claims that paralegals are exempt hasn’t help up, when tested. It also seems more likely that some firms are trying to get away with something than that other firms are leaving something on the table.

                    I wonder how paralegal compensation is reflected in the different policies. The cynic in me says “not at all” and be sure to discuss this in the hiring process. I certainly have never seen it discussed in job listings. The thing is, if I were in my twenties and single, working all hours might be a reasonable choice, if I were compensated for it. I just have a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn’t be.

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            • First you would need to add an education discrimination rule to the Civil Rights Act.

              I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

              The UK prohibits employment discrimination based on education achievement though largely. I met a woman my age at a party who was living in the States and attending school at Cal. She said that in the UK she was a white-collar professional but here all her experience meant nothing without a degree so she had to go to college.

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  3. E1: I generally agree. Workplaces generally seem designed to reward people who put in appearances of hard work (longhours, complaining about how busy you are, etc) than people who do their work quietly and then go home. Plus after-hours socialization is a big deal. Are there any studies breaking down introverts and extroverts?

    E2: Damn right the Northeast should be a big exception :)

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  4. E1: Nearly everything in life favors extroverts over introverts so this really should be a no brainer.

    S6: It turns out that most scientists are human and prone to human failures.

    H2: I used to like the comedic Warner Brothers home of the future cartoons from the 1940s and 1950s as a kid. Most people imagine the future like their time period only with flashier technology. The French cartoon about the modern kitchen did kind of get how science would treat food right but didn’t predict a backlash. Sometimes, in my nerdier moments, I wonder how people from the turn of the 20th century would react to the actual early 21st century both in technologically wise and society wise. None of them predicted the great in-formalization of clothing after World War II in the West or the Internet.

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  5. “When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s gonna burn your house down! With the lemons! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!”

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  6. S1: The critique is not so much that physics has gotten something wrong (e.g. ‘It turns out an electron’s charge is actually +1.3.’) but rather that theoretical physics has gotten too far ahead of experimental physics.

    For a long time, the experimental side led the theoretical side. They knew about magnetism for millennia before the theory crowd had any substantive to say on the subject. Later on, you see people stumbling into stuff like x-rays: obviously something interesting, but they didn’t know what, until the theory side caught up.

    This has mostly changed over the last century. There was a revolution in theoretical physics in the early 20th century. The theoreticians started making predictions based on this revolution, with the experimental side catching up to test them. The thing is, these predictions generally have some squishiness in them. Slam two given particles together at some minimum energy, and the prediction is that some new particle will be the product. But the precise properties such as its mass of this new particle were only predicted within a range, because the prediction included informed guesswork. Once the experimentalists created this new particle, they would go on to measure its properties. These measurements in turn would inform the next round of theoretical work.

    The low-hanging fruit is all long-since taken. We are far past the days when a physicist who was handy with tools could build a cyclotron on his work bench and do any new research with it. Now we are looking at massively expensive installations funded by multi-national consortia. The theoreticians keep pushing forward because that’s what theoretical physicists do. That’s the whole point of having theoretical physicists, rather than engineers. But what happens when the experimental side of things reaches its practical limit?

    The critique is that the theorists, by continuing to push forward, have become unmoored from any confirmable reality, making their discussions essentially no different from debates over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. FWIW, this critique is not new. I have been reading it in the context of string theory since roughly the time string theory worked its way down to popular discussions of physics.

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      • I know about the “physics envy” critique of economics. “Economics envy” in physics is a thing?

        Well, there’s the old joke about the physics prof and economics prof eating lunch together near the end of the semester. The physics prof says, “I hate this time of year. I have to put together a whole new set of questions for the final exams. Do you have the same problem in economics?” The econ prof answers, “Oh, no. I use the same questions every year, and just change the answers.”

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        • A physicist, a chemist, and an economist are shipwrecked on a desert island. There is nothing to eat there, but several cans that were stashed aboard their ship wash up on the shore.

          The chemist makes an intricate survey of all the natural products on the island and concocts a potent corrosive acid from some marine plants and seashells, but, alas, the chemist is unable to melt through the can.

          Next, the physicist devises an intricate network of wedges and pulleys using rocks and jungle vines in order to force the can open, but, alas, after several trials the physicist too is also unable to break into the can.

          Meanwhile the economist is sitting there watching the whole thing with his arms crossed and a smug grin on his face. “What? Do you think you have a better idea for getting this food out of these cans?” the chemist and physicist ask.

          “Yes, let’s simply assume we have a can-opener,” says the economist.

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    • “The critique is that the theorists, by continuing to push forward, have become unmoored from any confirmable reality…”

      Of course, it’s not like the rest of the crowd is in any hurry to fix that. Some folks I work with are still salty about Gravity Probe B even though it actually did confirm frame-dragging and the geodetic effect (which were, previously, purely theoretical.)

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    • The [s1] argument looks like a couple of ninnies trying to apply warmed-over Kant to modern science. Which fine, whatevs. They can certainly work and publish as they see fit. The question is, why should we treat time as primary?

      I don’t know if we should treat time that way. I don’t know if we should not treat time that way.

      I’ll admit, I’d like to see more focus on what experiment has confirmed. Which is to say, I like towering theories with much math. I love math. Something like “monstrous moonshine” — which to be clear, I lack the physics knowledge to fully appreciate, but I have sufficient math knowledge to see as “Wow, wouldn’t it be neat if the really huge simple groups played some essential role in the shape of reality.”

      After all, such a notion is as close to (the idea of) God as someone like me will ever get. I long ago concluded that “e^(pi * i) + 1 == 0” has no religious significance, despite the insistence of Gauss.

      But anyway! Sure. We should love to see experiment “catch up” (without accidentally plunging the Earth into some manufactured black hole or whatevs). I am all for that. Is anyone against that?

      But still, Kant was an intellectual dead-end, and it is to the discredit of philosophy as a subject that they cannot see that.

      On their third point, I myself am completely befuddled regarded the “reality” of math. Which is fine. Furthermore, I have no idea if The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics will continue unbounded. That said, I see no reason that physicists as a whole should chart a new course.

      Speaking as a mathematical finitist, I’m down with heterodoxy. I’m fine with a small group pushing in a new direction, operating under different constraints, exploring rarified regions in the big “search space of knowledge.” Who knows. Perhaps they will achieve a breakthrough somehow. I dunno.

      I suspect that they won’t. I suspect they are a couple of oddballs with oddball ideas that will provide nothing. If I am wrong, then I am wrong.

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        • I’m pretty sure mathematicians aren’t gods.

          I mean, I know plenty of them. I kinda-sorta am a mathematician, inasmuch as the kind of compsci I do is very much on the “mathy” side, although in recent years I’ve been doing less of the type-theory/semantics stuff, which is a straight-up continuation of Russell-Godel-Chuch-etc., applied to modern software. That is as “pure math” as pure math can be. Recently I’m more in an “applied math” space, much linear algebra, much optimization theory, with an eye to machine intelligence applications.

          It’s a fuckton of math.

          Surely there is something that feels profound in higher math. There are these weird connections, like when I first noticed that Fourier analysis simply was the same thing as spectral analysis of a vector space, just over a very particular infinite basis. Soon after that I figured out “the point” of an abstract Hilbert space. With that little piece, many vistas opened before me.

          I still don’t know shit about algebraic topology, which I think is what separates me for “really a real mathematician” as opposed to whatever I am. (I mean, I get the basic idea of homological algebra, but not in any deep sense. It’s like, it’s imprinted in a light way on the surface of my “math knowledge,” but it hasn’t sunk down into deep veins of insight, the way I understand “tensor spaces” or whatever.)

          But we are not gods.

          The LW crowd thinks we might build a god. Myself, I’m skeptical.

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          • Passing the Turing Test is one thing. Actually being smarter than humans — in most respects — is far more difficult.

            But I’d guess it’s a hell of a thrill watching something you’ve created talk back at you and actually have something to say (never having done it myself, of course).

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        • I dunno. I’ve learned a bit of Clifford algebra, mostly in terms of wedge products and such, but I do find the notion of large, tricky, highly-weird-structured noncommutative algebras deeply fascinating, in the same sense that finite vectors spaces are kinda boring. It’s these singular objects of extreme intricacy, but that are still mathematically — I don’t really have the word here, perhaps “primary,” perhaps “structured.”

          For example, the exceptional Lie groups fascinate me in ways the “regular” Lie groups do not. In the case of the Monster Group, we have simply turned this knob beyond the human capacity to fully perceive.

          I cannot explain why I feel this way. I dunno. It seems deep.

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    • I remember seeing sample ballots for both parties from various states where you elect the delegate by name, for the explicit offices ‘Male Delegate to the Convention’ and ‘Female Delegate to the Convention’

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  7. E3: There are a whole raft of fairly bizarre, albeit common, assumptions built into that piece. The poster child is a guy who didn’t get an athletic scholarship to play baseball, so he had to actually pay to attend just like the rest of us. Things got so desperate that he even had to resort to studying, to get an academic scholarship. Oh, the humanity!

    Why was he going to college? Obviously not to get an education. Apparently not even to get an academic credential to assist in future employment. He was going to play baseball with an eye to jumping to the pros. It was a job training program. So why should he be paid for this? If the school were making money off his efforts, that would be a good answer. At that point he is a de facto employee of a commercial enterprise, and should be paid. But college baseball doesn’t make a profit. In general, football and men’s basketball are the only sports that bring in the big bucks.

    What has happened is that people think that football and college basketball are normal: that an ostensibly non-profit institution of higher learning will operate a quasi-professional sports team, and indeed these sports teams will dominate the institution’s culture. So when they see an institution of higher learning treating a sports team as a mere adjunct, it seems weird and even just plain wrong.

    The kicker is that baseball is unusual in that it has alternative career avenues. Presumably this guy was only pretty good in high school, or he would have gotten a scholarship, or even been drafted. If he thinks that he just hasn’t reached his full development yet and needs a couple of years to physically mature, he can go play at a junior college and a summer wood bat league. If he does indeed develop, he can get that scholarship in another two years, or if he shines in that wood bat league some scout will spot him and he has a shot at being drafted. Heck, he can go play in the Frontier League for his development years. They will even pay him, if only in hot dogs and peanuts.

    A related topic is how much athletic scholarships suck. My wife the high school teacher has former students on athletic scholarships. Even when we are talking the non-money sports, the demands on the kids with scholarships are not entirely consistent with obtaining the benefits of a college education, and there is a lot of pressure to fulfill these demands in order to keep the scholarship. Even for the non-money sports, the combination of academics and athletics is not entirely happy.

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  8. [S1] Sounds like the Time Cube.

    A few students at our most recent student-outreach meeting decided to grill me on the whole “higher dimensions” thing. One kid had clearly blown his own mind trying to figure the business out, and kept saying “well where are these higher dimensions? They say that they’re rolled up really small, how do they know that?”

    The explanation I came up with is that he’s too used to the popular sci-fi concept of “dimension” as being a place you go to, like you’d go to the house next door and call it “another dimension”. Really, though, “dimension” is just a characteristic of a particular piece of space. Like, every point is distinct from every other point in the three dimensions of left-right, up-down, forward-back. Also, every point is distinct from every other point in time–as we know from relativity theory, not everywhere in the universe is at the same time simultaneously. Further, there’s energy state–temperature, you could say. Some places have more energy than others, and that’s a fifth dimension.

    To back it off a bit, imagine drawing a square on a sheet of paper using a blue pen. Your square has length and width; two dimensions.

    Now let’s imagine that we draw a diagonal line across the square with a green pen. There is now a third dimension in our paper universe–the dimension of “what color are you”. Most of the universe is at the same place in that dimension, the “blue” place. But a very thin line is in the “green” place. This is what physicists mean when they say that a dimension is “rolled up really tight”–they mean that only very small parts of the universe are at a different place in that other dimension.

    And that’s what “cosmic strings” are; they’re regions of our universe where, maybe, the universal gravitational constant is a different (and much higher) value.

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    • Well, thank you & for saving me all the effort.

      What they said.

      BTW, the ‘schism’, if you will, in theoretical physics is largely born out of the quest for a grand unifying theory. General relativity couldn’t get it done, so quantum mechanics was thought up. QM is having a rough go of getting us to the GUT, so theoretical physicists started kicking around other ideas (string theory, etc.) to see if they offered any insights that could help move things forward. The article kinda acts as if these alternative theories were the brain children of impetuous post docs after a night of dropping acid, and now they won’t let them go, rather than serious minds trying to figure out functional models of the universe.

      Also:

      But what happens when the experimental side of things reaches its practical limit?

      Well, until the engineers push the practical limit further out. Honestly, there are lots of things that are bumping up against the current limits of material science & other technologies such that I’m wondering if we (as a species) need to focus a bit more on pushing those limits, and a bit less on the latest iPhone app or other gizmo.

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      • It *is* worth remembering the example of Galileo, Copernicus, and Ptolemaic Epicycles. PE was a theory developed to fit observed scientific facts, and it was able to accurately predict future phenomena; accuracy considered state-of-the-art at the time, of course, and it only worked for things that were then being observed (i.e. none of the outer planets or dark asteroids). And it needed a lot of complicated correction factors that nobody had a really good explanation for other than “when you do this, it works”. But it *did* work.

        Heliocentrism, at the time, probably looked pretty much like the article in S1: A refusal to accept reality, an insistence on irrational simplicity, and the whole thing delivered with stunning arrogance.

        What did for the epicycles was mostly improved observations; improved in both quantity and accuracy. Oh, and also Isaac Newton invented calculus. So maybe the issue is that we just have not yet reached a level of mathematical technology that permits us to properly describe what’s going on in the universe.

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        • We have math that lets us properly describe a lot of what’s going on.
          It’s stupid and cumbersome, but it mostly works.

          It needs reformulation. Perhaps then things that are completely convoluted today will become obvious and separable.

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        • “So maybe the issue is that we just have not yet reached a level of mathematical technology that permits us to properly describe what’s going on in the universe.”

          But the problem is that physics is trying to describe what happens outside the universe, in other universes. No technological upgrade will make that testable.

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  9. [E1]: I don’t buy it. There’s to much in this article that cutely massages the definition of introvert into whatever it needs to be in each particular paragraph. In one section it’s kids with ADD (which, mind you, are not necessarily well served by the group approach, but I think they’re equally under-served by the traditional lecture approach that the article is nostalgic for). In another section it’s kids that want low lighting (hint: if the kids in the classroom want the lights off, it’s not so they can read peacefully. It’s so they can nap).

    And it scares me that the definition of introvert seems to be, both here and elsewhere, extending to the kind of people that would be happy to develop interpersonal connections but lack the skills to do so. Those are the kinds of skills that grade school informally and imperfectly teaches, and group activities help improve and formalize the way those skills are taught. Because when a person graduates from school without the ability to develop interpersonal connections with their peers, then we wind up with the situation described in [S3]

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    • Additional note on [E1]:
      The charter school mentioned, Grizzly Youth Academy, is in my own back yard. The article fails to note its most important trait: It’s a Military Academy, a boarding school on a National Guard base.

      I don’t doubt that certain kids whose traditional schooling was more chaotic do well at Grizzly, but it’s not the quiet solitude that does it. In fact, the program’s webpage calls out lots of explicitly interpersonal activities, and highlights group activities–which makes sense, as it’s patterned on military training, and the military is nothing if not a team sport.

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  10. A5 demonstrates why it’s false. The author had to break up his article into one-sentence paragraphs or it would have been unreadable. Sure, the period isn’t as necessary on tweets and the like, but then again we’ve all struggled trying to understand non-punctuated shorthand, suggesting that punctuation has value even there.

    That said, the overpunctuated text has. to. stop. It’s a one-gag joke that’s already spent.

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  11. P2: The key to being objective is to stop trying. Don’t try to be objective. Try to be right. If you are really interested in getting things right, the first thing that you do is accept that you cannot be truly objective and figure out how to deal with your inherently subjective position.

    Sports makes a good example. I’m a Yankee fan. When I watch a game, I’m not trying to be objective. I’m trying to be a good fan. If you pulled me out of the stands and asked me to be an umpire, and whether or not I got it right decided whether I got paid, then I’d figure out a way to stop acting like a fan and start acting like an umpire.

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        • I’m processing this and it’s a good, solid move.

          If this were Clinton vs. Bush III, I’d sit here and wonder if this weren’t a master stroke against Bush.

          But I’m not certain that Kaine gives Clinton anything that Pence doesn’t give Trump.

          Kaine speaks Spanish, I guess.

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          • Both Virginia Senators and the Virginia governor represent a bridge in the Democratic Party from the DLC era of triangulation to the progressive ideology of this century – without being full Bernie (or Elizabeth Warren)

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            • Please elaborate with respect to McAuliffe (and for that matter Kaine and Warner too if you feel generous, but more McAuliffe). In what way is he a bridge to anything? I mean, if I were a Virginia resident I’d have voted for him in an instant over Cuccinelli, but the best case I can make for your thesis would rest on two things:

              1) The first thing in office executive order making orientation and gender identity protected classes for most state anti-discrimination purposes – certainly for employment: I’ve forgotten the fine print; and

              2) The recent executive order restoring the voting rights of felons.

              I can buy the latter as being pretty out front; the former would have been out front in the early 2000s but in 2014? Not so sure. And I can’t think of anything in his DNC tenure that seems especially bridge-like, as opposed to being pretty purely on the DLC side of the river. Yeah, he frobbed the primary schedule to move up states with somewhat higher average melanin content in their respective democratic primaries, but I didn’t and don’t buy that as especially 21st C progressive – rather as a preemptive/proleptic strike against the wine/latte/collegiate track, e.g. the Bradley – Dean tendency. Full disclosure: I was a Deaniac, so may not be too objective there :)

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              • Your examples are exactly what I mean as a bridge. (Esp McA). They all had reputations as the centrist’s centrist, and leaned on that in reputation and election.

                But they have actually voted/governed in ways that heretofore had always been considered political poison for a statewide Virginia Dem.

                Some of these policy shifts are changes the the state population (and the state GOP taking a turn for terrible), but still, it’s a pivot, and a poltically sustainable one that can play nationwide.

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                • Thanks for the response. I think I get your point. I suppose I interpreted “DLC triangulation” as a bit further left than you meant, and you’re quite right that I should have interpreted it relative to Virginia-level politics rather than national level politics (also I suspect I interpret “progressive ideology of this century” as further left than you do).

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          • I dunno, it’s solid I agree. I don’t know if it’s good or not. I’m not wowed. Then again do I need to be wowed? No. People to my left sure as hell won’t be wowed. People to my right though? I think this could appeal to the center pretty well.

            Certainly on the “Do no Harm” scale this fits the bill firmly.

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  12. A5 [asexuality article]: I wish the article had been more substantive because the subject seems interesting. I’ve already requested the book from my library. Quoting Rachel Hills, the author of the book he’s riffing off of, he say,

    “The Sex Myth fades into the background when we are secure in our choices” but “It is when our footing is less solid that it is most powerful”. The uncertainties and stumblings, the private anxieties and unspoken agonies, so often attached to a part of life which is publicly proclaimed to be an unparalleled locus of human fulfilment [sic].

    That makes a lot of sense to me.

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      • maybe they should send an air craft carrier to the ME to decrease our bomb stocks on isis. how about we have a marine arty FOB to support the attacks on isis, or maybe a couple hundred SF to back up the attacks on isis or give aid and support to the kurds. should we try those things?

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          • I believe actions far more then speeches. Our actions show we are supporting the forces that are pushing daesh back. In fact we have two carriers striking them and the Truman just did its 1000th strike a few days ago i believe. Our actions show we are taking them plenty seriously and having an effect. AGW and daesh are completely different kinds of challenges. We are doing a hellva lot more and being more effective on daesh.

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              • Different challenges. Are you really this into such a trivial point? Why do you care other than ultra partisan point scoring? We are taking solid, explosive and effective action against daesh. You like that right?

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                • It truly concerns me to see our Sec State say such things. It really makes me wonder what he really believes to be true or what his priorities/judgement are if he is seriously going to compare HVAC systems with terrorist organizations that have killed and want to kill more people. I find that to be an appalling lack of common sense/judgement/intelligence, etc.

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                  • Well you should pay far more attention to actions than speechs. Pols give all sorts of speeches, sometimes they say dumb things or things or disagree with. But what are the actions? What is the concrete part? I’ve listed all sorts of things we are openly doing to help our allies push back daesh and we are also certainly sharing all sorts of recon and intell info. I hear all this whining for R’s about doing something about daesh and i wonder if any of them are actually paying attention. It’s not like i’m privy to any secrets.

                    Is this kind of thing covered on fox or rush?

                    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/4231/new-highway-of-death-in-iraq-as-isis-convoy-gets-annihilated-from-the-air?iid=sr-link1

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                    • That’s really your best defense for John Kerry? If that is it I really feel sorry you. Sure the Obama admin has finally started dealing with ISIS in the last year but where where they the rest of the time he’s been in office?

                      I compare this to Gerald Ford’s statement that, “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” A statement that is indefensible and makes you wonder about the person’s competence.

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                      • You are obsessed with trivialities and ignore actions. They wisely weren’t going to put thousands of troops into the area so that always limited our options. We’ve been taking action and the bad guys are being pushed back and you are picking out lines from speeches to complain about. What to do about daesh was always a buffet of bad choices. What we are doing now is working and all you want to do is partisan point scoring.

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                    • How many terrorists did we create by killing the brothers and fathers of people that were just expecting them to return home?

                      How many terrorists did we create in the other similar bombing in Syria that killed children?

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    • Conservatives think that ISIS has the power to raise sea levels. HAW HAW HAW!

      No, seriously, thats exactly what they think, when they say that ISIS is more dangerous than global warming.

      Silly conservatives! HAW HAW HAW!

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