Monday, May 15, 2017

Gabbie's Generation: Recognise what everyone’s talking about

Happy Birthday Gabbie Quater of a Century ...

“What interests me most are stories about survivors…people who escape with their lives from dangerous situations in the Icelandic wilderness. How do they cope? Why do some live while others don’t, though the circumstances are similar? Why do some get into trouble and others not? ….[And I wonder about] the people left behind, left to struggle with the questions raised by the events…those left behind to cope with the grief and loss.”
—Erlendur, detective with the State Criminal Investigation Department, Iceland  Indridason–INTO OBLIVION

“Literature, I tell aspiring writers, is a mug’s game. The author of Moby Dick died in his seventies utterly forgotten…Not one newspaper obituary noted his passing. Some thirty years after he died…the academic field of American literature was swamped by a tsunami of second thoughts about Melville…[who now is] right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Tolstoy in the University of Chicago’s Great Books of the Western World, #48 out of 54….A mug’s game, I say, a crapshoot, the stakes one’s heart’s blood.

More than half of young people in Europe would join a “large-scale uprising” WSWS

A Middle Class Which Aligns with the Rich Cuts Its Own Throat Ian Welsh
The Economics of Trust IMF. I’d normally write this up, but the underlying paper is from August. The thesis:
In surveys over the past 40 years, the share of Americans who say that most people can be trusted has fallen to 33 percent from about 50 percent. The erosion of trust coincides with widening disparities in incomes.
But does inequality reduce trust? There is evidence that it does…
Amazon creating a place for hundreds of homeless on its shiny new Seattle campus Seattle Time
Ransomware First Aussie business attacked
Children of the Great Recession: Are Millennials Ready to Start the Class Struggle America Needs? John Laurtis 

What is human capital? aeon

Coming from the wrong person and delivered at the wrong time in the wrong tone, rah-rah morale-boosting can be soul-killingly depressing. Nothing so fuels murderous rage as one who unmindfully proselytizes for good cheer. Better to be cheerful than to implore cheerfulness, and let it go at that. No one knew this better than the author of the passage quoted above, William Cowper, in a letter written on this date, May 8, in 1784, to his friend the Rev. William Unwin. Cowper was a veteran of multiple suicide attempts and confinements in asylums. On occasion, he was quite mad. During one such spell Cowper wrote a poem in which he likened insanity to being “buried above ground.” This lends his advice to Unwin a credibility lacking in the congenitally well-balanced.

The militantly cheerful remain oblivious to the impact they have on others, and, in fact, are themselves often quite mad. Even Cowper lets go of his urging after one paragraph. Most of the rest of his letter is taken up with literary and publishing matters. He has almost completed his masterwork The Task, which would be published the following year. But a subsequent sentence is of more general application:

“There is a sting in verse, that prose neither has, nor can have.”

Giving the Behemoths a Leg Up on the Little Guy NYT. On Net Neutrality

Concrete, or beaches? World’s sand running out as global construction booms The Ecologist

Have you terminated your land line to end unwanted spam calls only to have them move to your cell phone? Some good ideas to help you minimize the invasion of robocals Via 24/7 Wall St:  “According to the Federal Communications Commission, 2.4 billion automated marketing calls are made every month, the equivalent of the more than seven for every American ...
Click here to see nine ways to deal with robocalls

Matt Hudson – Science – May 2, 2017: “…A new study shows that computers can do a better job than legal scholars at predicting Supreme Court decisions, even with less information. Several other studies have guessed at justices’ behavior with algorithms. A 2011 project, for example, used the votes of any eight justices from 1953 to 2004 to predict the vote of the ninth in those same cases, with 83% accuracy. A 2004 paper tried seeing into the future, by using decisions from the nine justices who’d been on the court since 1994 to predict the outcomes of cases in the 2002 term. That method had an accuracy of 75%. The new study draws on a much richer set of data to predict the behavior of any set of justices at any time. Researchers used the Supreme Court Database, which contains information on cases dating back to 1791, to build a general algorithm for predicting any justice’s vote at any time. They drew on 16 features of each vote, including the justice, the term, the issue, and the court of origin. Researchers also added other factors, such as whether oral arguments were heard…From 1816 until 2015, the algorithm correctly predicted 70.2% of the court’s 28,000 decisions and 71.9% of the justices’ 240,000 votes, the authors report in PLOS ONE…”

Don’t Let Facebook Make You Miserable – Raw Google search data proves that we are not who we say we are on social media by Tim Lahan
“It is now official. Scholars have analyzed the data and confirmed what we already knew in our hearts. Social media is making us miserable. We are all dimly aware that everybody else can’t possibly be as successful, rich, attractive, relaxed, intellectual and joyous as they appear to be on Facebook. Yet we can’t help comparing our inner lives with the curated lives of our friends. Just how different is the real world from the world on social media? In the real world, The National Enquirer, a weekly, sells nearly three times as many copies as The Atlantic, a monthly, every year. On Facebook, The Atlantic is 45 times more popular. Americans spend about six times as much of their time cleaning dishes as they do golfing. But there are roughly twice as many tweets reporting golfing as there are tweets reporting doing the dishes…The search for online status takes some peculiar twists…Sufferers of various illnesses are increasingly using social media to connect with others and to raise awareness about their diseases. But if a condition is considered embarrassing, people are less likely to publicly associate themselves with it…I have actually spent the past five years peeking into people’s insides. I have been studying aggregate Google search data. Alone with a screen and anonymous, people tend to tell Google things they don’t reveal to social media; they even tell Google things they don’t tell to anybody else. Google offers digital truth serum. The words we type there are more honest than the pictures we present on Facebook or Instagram…As our lives increasingly move online, I propose a new self-help mantra for the 21st century, courtesy of big data: Don’t compare your Google searches with other people’s Facebook posts.”