Morning Ed: Person and Beyond Person

Body:

Health photo

Image by katerha

[B1] Please, please, pretty please let this work out!

[B2] If grotesque “plain” packaging doesn’t work, will they stop doing it? Haha no.

[B3] City Journal looks at a buffet model of healthcare delivery.

[B4] Man, even I don’t hate specialists this much. And frankly, this seems like a bit of a sop to primary care providers (though it’s not like they need the business). There is some truth to it, though!

[B5] Stanton Peele wonders if Trump would be a lot better if he just drank. While I do agree somewhat with Peele on the alcohol question, there are arguments in here that wouldn’t be accepted in any context other than as a knock against all the right targets (Trump, Bush, The South, religious conservatives, backwards Americans, etc.), from correlation/causation concerns to the notion that the willpower involved in moderate drinking (as opposed to abstineence or gluttony) is a mark of good character.

Mind:

[M1] Do you have nightmares? Maybe you’re just messed up in the head.

[M2] Neuroscientists found out that they don’t know what they thought they did about how memories work.

[M3] Your addiction to social media was well cultivated by social media.

[M4] I get what is being said here, but a culture needs its rituals.

[M5] Sometimes shaming is actually in the best interest of the shamed, and not just the product of the shamers’ whims.

[M6] We outsource our knowledge to the World Wide Webs, spiders outsource their thinking to literal webs.

Education:

Evergreen State College photo

Image by kelp

[E1] A lot of my views on this depend a lot on the specifics that the article doesn’t provide, but any sort of blanket ban or official and significant double standard would indeed be problematic.

[E2] Alan Jacobs says we need to get a grip about young people and colleges and so forth.

[E3] This makes a lot more sense to me than Missouri’s enrollment issues. Evergreen State is a niche product that relies on nigh-open enrollment with lots of other options.

[E4] I propose we just stop doing summer vacation.

[E5] Over Mom’s objections (and attempted bribes), I did prom dinner at a park with food from Wendy’s. This guy, though, took it to the next level.

Science:

ESP photo

Image by ark

[S1] I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

[S2] If ESP rules, then science drools.

[S3] The story of Clair Patterson’s war on lead.

[S4] Aaron Carroll says that science needs to stop incenting positive results. Scientists, it turns out, respond to incentives. This matters in other contexts, too.

[S5] From Greginak: A mix of romance and physics. No it’s not Neil DeGrasse Tyson slash fic.

Gender:

[G1] The patriarchy is falling down on the job.

[G2] Noah Berlatsky makes the case for the boring male romantic lead.

[G3] Jordan Breeding cracks a list of Six Backward Ideas Hollywood Still Has About Men.

[G4] Markets in everything, including sexual assault allegation insurance in Japan.

[G5] Well, which is it? Should we close women’s prisons or treat women more fairly?

Religion:

temple photo

Image by YLegrand

[R1] Does Marvel Universe have a god? I thought it was an interesting thing in the Wildstorm universe where they actually say definitively “No god.”

[R2] The secret wires over cities.

[R3] Calls for a secular Indonesia?

[R4] Stephanie Slade writes about the ACLU’s targeting of Catholic hospitals.

[R5] Helen Andrews puts Pontius Pilate in contest.


Editor-in-Chief
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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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39 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Person and Beyond Person

  1. [B1] Duh

    [B3] Duh. I’d actually prefer this.

    [B5] Meh, It’s not like this is a slow news time, an article about drinking and Trump? Yawn. Who cares.

    [M3] And people laugh at me when I say FB is the devil. I don’t understand this need for external validation.

    [M5] “Sometimes shaming is actually in the best interest of the shamed, and not just the product of the shamers’ whims.” That’s a value judgement that I reject. The only one qualified to determine what is is someone’s best interest is them.

    [E1] If you have protesters that get violent, deal with them. Don’t ban the speakers.

    [E4] Oh dear god. “They share concerns as to how much they will be judged by their parents for various things, they worry about restrictions imposed on their daily lives and they express concern that their parents could withhold certain things like tuition or spending money if they make decisions that are not in keeping with their parents’ wishes. ” Sorry, you’re not an “adult” if you’re living at home on summer break. And there’s a very easy clear way to spell out house rules. “If you’re not paying for anything, you don’t get to decide.” Agree or leave. For the “privilege” of staying at home during grad school, I was expected to contribute in some fashion and obey sensible rules.

    [S4] Like this should ever need reporting. OFC people respond to incentives.

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  2. M5; oh it might be true, but as I said before, figuring out when you go from “in your best interest” to “satisfies my interest” is next to impossible to objectively determine.

    Ergo we should avoid normalizing such things.

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  3. I don’t drink alcohol (never developed a taste for it, and am on a couple meds where drinking very much is a bad idea). But that Trump-and-drinking article is almost enough to make me START drinking.

    (Honestly, when did we become a society that has to Gladys Kravitz everything about how people live their lives? At a toast, I’d raise my glass and then take a small sip but not consume the rest of the wine because wine always tastes like something died in it to me. If someone pointed out to me – as in that article – the superstition of “Oh, but if you don’t drink up, the marriage will fail” my response would be on the order of “You shouldn’t have invited me to the wedding, then.”)

    (And I get there’s a difference between a public figure/world leader and a shlub like me, but I HAVE had people want to know in detail why I do/don’t do X thing, when X thing is really none of their beeswax.)

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  4. B5: I do think that there is something said about being a moderate drinker as opposed to the other extremes. I drink almost everyday but it is only one drink. Sometimes two.

    E2: Yep.

    E3: I always thought of Evergreen State as a hippie and an art school. Famous alums or former attendees include Matt Goering and Carrie Brownstein.

    E5: Where do teenagers usually go for prom dinner? I didn’t go to Prom. The more important question is how did your date react to being taken to Wendy’s for dinner. Also what were your mom’s bribes?

    G2: Basically, nice guys win at the end. Sometimes. This is a strangely conservative piece coming from Bertlasky.

    R2: Judaism in practice is filled with these kind of walk-arounds to the strict commandments of the Torah (613 of them). Really religious Jews are also known for having to sets of housewares (one for diary, one for meat) or they use disposable plates. I’ve discovered that non-Jews react to these kind of things in two ways usually. They either admire the ingenuity or they think it is ridiculous and ask why Jews even practice religion if they always come up with work-arounds.

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  5. E3: I think it would be significant if Evergreen came up with a serious discipline policy regarding? disruptive student temper tantrums. As has been noted by commenters here before, start suspending or expelling a few of these troublemakers and you’ll see things get more… Polite

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  6. S2 is related to S4, of course. No journal wants to publish, for example, a paper accurately titled “87 Molecules That Have No Effect On Cancer Cells,” even though that list of 87 molecules is useful information. It’s been true for a long time. My masters thesis was accepted because it demonstrated mastery of the subject, proper use of the methodologies, and some insight in the sense of showing why the negative result occurred. But as my supervisor pointed out, it would have been inappropriate for a PhD dissertation because it wasn’t a positive result, so wouldn’t have led to published papers.

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    • — I guess one of the advantages of registered studies is, those failed results will at least be recorded somewhere, even if they don’t warrant publication. Plus, with the internet, one could still “publish” the results in a searchable form, thus other researches could, if they have some reason to care about those molecules and that cancer, deep-dive the relevant studies.

      I guess quality control would remain a problem.

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      • I’m really excited about the idea of registered studies and the wide availability of negative results. There’s the obvious publication bias problem that it’s meant to address, but even without that, the amount of duplicated effort by scientists around the world blundering around in areas whether other scientists have blundered must be incredible. Just seeing somebody else’s, “We tried that. It didn’t work,” is useful from a resource allocation perspective.

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        • This. Remember a few weeks back there was a link to an essay saying that scientific research should be centrally directed. Honestly, without some kind of results database that registered studies would provide, centrally directed research makes sense just from a resource allocation stance.

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            • Which plan? The centrally directed plan? Because yeah, I see oodles of flaws with that (and I commented as such at the time). But the question of resource allocation is a point in that plans favor.

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              • Exactly. That said, central registration might help, as you might that others are working on a similar problem. Of course, it may encourage races rather than reduce duplication. But then, competition has a certain value.

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                • A race in research generally implies that different approaches/methodology will be taken/used – which isn’t a bad thing.

                  As long as no one is having their lab vandalized, etc.

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                  • With the right people it can create a lot of good energy, assuming everyone has a sense of sportsmanship.

                    (I wish there was a gender neutral version of “sportsmanship.” Saying “sportspersonship” offends even my queer sensibilities.)

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        • From an applied science and/or bleeding-edge engineering perspective, yes to the database of negative results, no to advanced registration of research. Take, say, anodes for rechargeable batteries, registered as “investigation of some¹ type of nanostructure using some² class of materials in rechargeable battery anodes”. If the somes are vague, the registration isn’t useful. If the somes are specific enough, you’re potentially giving away the idea.

          I’m not an IP attorney, but had to deal with patent-related issues, so will at least raise the possibility here that if the registration is specific enough, it’s “prior art” and makes positive results unpatentable. Or sets up race conditions where a group that specializes in efficient fabrication of nanostructures reads the registrations and simply works on good ways to do fabrication without testing if the materials are useful for batteries. Then when a good material does show up, the people who did the battery work find themselves nearly shut out because someone else has patented a better fabrication technique.

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            • The rot appears to spread farther than that. Amgen I know, and Bayer I think, have published papers indicating how few of the academic results on the efficacy of potential drug molecules they are able to reproduce. As far as I’m concerned, those fall into the hard science category. Statistics seems to be the common factor.

              I’m not completely disparaging subtle statistical tests, since sometimes that’s the only way to account for assorted uncontrolled factors. But I am inclined to think that results found that way are a starting point for further work, not an end point.

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  7. G3: When it got to:
    Mr. Spock uses his Vulcan logic to form plans like “Hold my beer, I’m going to go fuck that guy up.”
    I was hooked.

    When I got to the part about prison rape and violence against men, it floored me.
    So true.

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    • You’d probable enjoy this: Star Trek Mad Science

      Klingons: Okay we don’t get it
      Vulcan Science Academy: Get what

      Klingons: You Vulcans are a bunch of stuffy prisses but you’re also tougher, stronger, and smarter than Humans in every single way

      Klingons: Why do you let them run your Federation

      Vulcan Science Academy: Look

      Vulcan Science Academy: This is a species where if you give them two warp cores they don’t do experiments on one and save the other for if the first one blows up

      Vulcan Science Academy: This is a species where if you give them two warp cores, they will ask for a third one, immediately plug all three into each other, punch a hole into an alternate universe where humans subscribe to an even more destructive ideological system, fight everyone in it because they’re offended by that, steal their warp cores, plug those together, punch their way back here, then try to turn a nearby sun into a torus because that was what their initial scientific experiment was for and they didn’t want to waste a trip.

      Vulcan Science Academy: They did that last week. We have the write-up right here. it’s getting published in about six hundred scientific journals across two hundred different disciplines because of how many established theories their ridiculous little expedition has just called into question. Also, they did turn that sun into a torus, and no one actually knows how.

      Vulcan Science Academy: This is why we let them do whatever the hell they want.

      (It started on Tumblr, but the gist is that it’s very clear Humans in Star Trek are, basically, all Doc Brown. Which is why they’re so efficient against the Borg. The Borg have no defense against someone whose brilliant idea is “Lure them into a noir novel and shoot them with bullets made of hard light”. No sane species would think of that.)

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  8. [G1] If this continues for 30 years, then dudes get to complain. For now, I’m glad we’ve had a little blip in history with plenty of cool female leads. It puts the lie to the notion that diversity won’t sell. (Which seems to be a hobby horse of at least one poster here.)

    I doubt we’ve seen the end of white/str8/cis dudes being big-time movie heroes.

    [G2] blah blah blah Nice Guys fucking barf.

    [G3] This on the other hand seems basically on point. Hollywood follows some pretty narrow models of masculinity and femininity. Things are somewhat better (as [G1] illustrates), but only by degrees.

    [G5] We should end the war on drugs and find better ways to handle minor property crimes other than mass incarceration. If we do that, it appears we won’t need many women’s prisons. That seems like a win.

    [R5] I’ve never understood Christians on this. If Jesus was incarnated as human for the purpose of dying, then those who killed him were doing precisely God’s will. This includes Judas, Pilate, the various Jewish authorities, etc. How can you hold people guilty for doing precisely what needed to be done?

    The question is, if Judas/Pilate/Herod/the Jewish authorities/etc. had true free will, was Jesus’s execution a matter of chance? That seems odd. Is there an alternate version of reality where Jesus was not executed, and thus we still live without grace? Huh?

    Christians, they’re an odd bunch.

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    • “[G2] blah blah blah Nice Guys fucking barf.”

      That’s not actually what the article is about, but given your stimulus-response thinking I can see why you’d come to that conclusion.

      “[G3] This on the other hand seems basically on point.”

      Which makes me wonder whether you actually read the article, because it’s calling for movies to present us with the kind of Nice Guys you just described as “fucking barf”.

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  9. B5: There was a Spider-Man comic where Robbie and Jonah were fighting with each other over some issue where Jonah was “obviously” wrong (this was under Joe Q’s watchful eye to give you an idea of how many thumbs were on the scale) and Robbie finished the fight by saying something to the effect of “I preferred you when you drank.”

    And I remembered thinking “this is in the top ten effed up things of effed up things I’ve seen in comic books.”

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  10. M1 – I wonder if the relationship between sleep issues, mood disorders, and suicide could be stronger in Finland. (checks map)

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  11. G5: Gender immunity certainly would never have nasty consequences… Gotta start a crime ring where I hire only women. Easy money, no consequences, no benefit to ratting me out.

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    • Reminds me of a book I had to read in high school about three fourteen year olds who plan a murder because they know if they do it before a certain age, they can’t be punished harshly, and they want to know what it feels like to kill a person. (I do not remember title/author, but the book was set in Japan, and I think it was a Japanese author in translation.)

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