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Showing posts from March, 2017

The Forgotten Man

In 2015, the Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton’s groundbreaking paper reported that mortality was only rising in a certain group of Americans: middle-aged Whites. It paints a grim picture of an America that consists of families who were previously able to get by with jobs not requiring college degrees. The disappearance of those jobs has been accompanied by an alarming rate of suicides, overdoses, and diseases caused by drugs and alcohol. Case and Deaton call these “deaths of despair” and argue they have recently reached disturbing levels. They also claim that the recent decline in incomes does not completely explain this rise only among Whites and that they also face a cumulative disadvantage over the course of their lives. [ The Guardian (2017)] The Forgotten Man (2010), Jon McNaughton

Engineering Notebook

Unlike today, there was no Google, no Stackoverflow, no open source at your fingertips, rarely even someone to email to ask for help. You were basically programming on an island, and anything you needed to figure out or solve, you had to do it yourself. What you need today is searching, understanding and evaluation. You have access to the world's smartest (and sometimes dumbest) people. The chances that something you need hasn't been done elsewhere is rare and the real skill is in finding it, relating it to what you need, deciding if it is useful or adaptable, and if it is of a decent quality. [ Andrew Wulf ] One of Mr Dennett's key slogans is "competence without comprehension". Just as computers can perform complex calculations without understanding arithmetic, so creatures can display finely tuned behaviour without understanding why they do so. The mental items that populate human consciousness are more like fictions than accurate representations of internal r

The Cuckoo’s Nest

The argument is that diversity leads to racism, which leads to lower support for the welfare state. What follows from this particular argument is pretty clear: you can have diversity or you can have economic justice, but you can’t have both. Not keeping diversity down and different groups separated from one another, conservatives maintain, will destabilize society, turn politics into a dangerous racialized contest for political power, and immiserate people in all sorts of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. More and more, it seems like liberals agree with this basic conservative assessment of how diversity affects society. But, despite that underlying agreement, they somewhat bizarrely resist the conservative conclusion. Conservatives are very clear: diversity has all these problems and so it should be restricted. But the liberal view,  that diversity has all these problems and yet it should be expanded without restraint ,  is just incoherent on its face. -