Links for 2012-05-18

  • The poor and their time are soon parted § Unqualified Offerings

    Why do I bring this up? I bring it up because I read this article about how the poor get trapped in a system that rains shit down on them. No, I’m not here to offer the poor advice on how to find good prices. They know far more about that than I do. Rather, I do this to point out that good decision-making depends in part on having the time and space to make a good decision, somethign that is harder if you are caught in Catch-22 situations, things that pile one nasty consequence after another onto the smallest of mistakes. Are there poor people who make cataclysmically dumb decisions without anybody getting in their way? Of course. I’m no dummie, I’ve worked in shelters, I know that some people are the authors of their own misery. But there are even more who make bad decisions because the world rains shit down on them.

  • Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn’s Quiet, Sweeping Influence – David A. Graham – Entertainment – The Atlantic

    The bassist usually doesn’t get much attention. Occasionally, a flashy player hogs the spotlight with slapping, popping, and soloing, but it’s usually just a quiet guy holding down the low end and staying out of the way. For many listeners, Duck Dunn probably seemed like the latter sort of rudimentary player. That’s probably the way he would have had it, too. But it would be a mistake to think of Dunn, who died in his sleep at 70 Sunday, as a background player. In fact, he is probably the most influential bassist of the last 50 years, with an impact in every pop genre save country.

  • – Cultural Cognition Blog – Wild wild horses couldn’t drag me away: four “principles” for science communication and policymaking

    After summarizing some illustrative findings (e.g., on the biasing impact of cultural outlooks on perceptions of scientific consensus; click on image for slides), I offered “four principles”: First, science communication is a science. Seems obvious–especially after someone walks you through 3 or 4 experiments — but in fact, the assumption that sound science communicates itself is the origin of messes like the one over climate change. As I said, NAS is now committed to remedying the destructive consquences of this attitude, but one can’t overemphasize how foolish it is to invest so much in policy-relevant science and then adopt a wholly ad hoc anti-scientific stance toward the dissemination of it.

  • 3 Ridiculous Popular Beliefs About Learning that Hold Us Back | Expert Enough

    Some ideas never die, no matter how little fact they’re based in. Popular misconceptions can be fairly harmless, like the belief that it’s dangerous to wake a sleepwalker (in fact it can be very dangerous not to wake a sleepwalker). In other cases misconceptions can be dangerous or limiting. False beliefs about how we learn can be the absolute worst, keeping people from trying to learn certain things because they’ve been told they’re not capable. Here are three of these ridiculous popular beliefs about learning:

  • How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit – Yoni Appelbaum – Technology – The Atlantic

    A woman opens an old steamer trunk and discovers tantalizing clues that a long-dead relative may actually have been a serial killer, stalking the streets of New York in the closing years of the nineteenth century. A beer enthusiast is presented by his neighbor with the original recipe for Brown’s Ale, salvaged decades before from the wreckage of the old brewery–the very building where the Star-Spangled Banner was sewn in 1813. A student buys a sandwich called the Last American Pirate and unearths the long-forgotten tale of Edward Owens, who terrorized the Chesapeake Bay in the 1870s. These stories have two things in common. They are all tailor-made for viral success on the internet. And they are all lies.