Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tusday Links


  • The New York Times has an article on auto-correct software and makes an ass of itself. People make mistakes, software makes mistakes, but people and software make different sorts of mistakes. Not only do (most) auto-correct problems solve orders of magnitude more problems than they create, they also tend to fail in comical or otherwise obvious ways, meaning that you can pick up on their failures pretty easily most of the time. Added bonus, when a person misspells a word, they look dumb. When auto-correct picks the wrong word, it looks dumb and you look fine. Moral: the augmented brain is smarter than the un-augmented brain (and if it isn't, don't whine about it, just stop using it).
  • Must read. I still think status quo bias is very strong, but this coming from a person who has never been especially good at signaling.
  • Brian Caplan notes that for most Americans, learning languages is a waste of time. For people who enjoy languages it can be enjoyable, but the usual justifications are simply wrong for most Americans, most of the time. I strongly agree, but I have some serious ex-post rationalizing going on, so I may not be reliable on this topic.
  • Children are not people (another fine topic for a future post). For most people this means that children are excused from many adult responsibilities and deserve extra protection. For other people this means you can do whatever the hell you want with them.
  • I have always found the complaint that "people who agree with me agree with me defend themselves poorly" to be a fairly arrogant complaint. This post by Robin Hanson possesses that arrogance, but also seems to defend itself fairly well.
  • This is neither the first nor last time Mr. Krugman will do this. A good post for reasons beyond Mr. Krugman's poor writing skills.
  • This farmer sounds like a good citizen. Laws in this country, however, are neither enforced nor written with the interests or liberty of good, non violent, hardworking citizens in mind. I smell some crony capitalism here.
  • A consequence of the militarization of the police. If you have never heard of Insane Clown Posse, consider yourself fortunate. Context (warning; profanity and charming stupidity). The rappers in the context video have built up a huge following of stupid, yet harmless, fans. To be called a gang affiliation is middle-class paranoia of the worst sort.
  • Gibson guitar ends their legal saga. They paid more in legal fees than they did in fines, and it sounds like they only paid the fine to avoid paying more in legal fees. Just one more way the justice system punishes the innocent.
  • Mark Perry misses the point. Yes, supply and demand are hard and fast truths, but while the government cannot legislate natural truths, they most certainly can legislate human behavior. The problem with minimum wage laws is not that they are impossible, it is that they have a host of unpleasant side effects. Also, racism (1, 2, 3, 4)
  • I think the reason that people don't pay attention to this policy is that while there is a growing recognition that homosexuals can be good people, biblically rooted people have very good reasons to think that atheists are inherently bad people. After all, if I can stand up and claim that half of the ten commandments are not cornerstones of my morality, then how could I possibly be a good person?
  • BONUS LINK: 419 economists support Romney's plan, 5 Nobel laureates. Does anyone seriously think that Obama could not find 419 economists and 5 Nobel winners? And remember Obama's economic team back in 2008? Some super awesome names there, and not one of them got Obama to follow through with any of his good proposals after being elected (remember the net spending cut?). In what way does this constrain Romney's post election options?

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