Best of the Roundup #51-60

I’ve been running this Link Roundup series for a long time, and every time I do ten of them, I like to group them in a summary of the “best of” that I like the most, re-ordered again by my personal preferences so you can see the links I like most.

When I did the best of #1-20, the winner was “The Twelve Virtues of Rationality”. From #21-30, the winner was “The Secret Joke of Kant’s Soul” [PDF]. Then for #31-40, the winner was Morality – From Heavens or From Nature? [YouTube]. #41-50 saw Fuel Efficiency Standards Have Costs of Their Own [NYTimes] take the top.

Now that #60 is finished, I’m here to recap the best from roundups #51-60:

  • The Power of Effective Activism: “The power of persuasion for making a difference is often underappreciated. If you can convince just one other person to care about a cause as much as you, then you’ve easily doubled your impact. But peoples’ efforts at influencing others often aren’t as efficient as they could be. Just as people tend to give to the charity that resonates with them most personally, they often spend years trying to convince friends or family of a cause they care about. What many people don’t realise is that by stepping outside your circle of personal contacts and choosing a strategic approach, your time and influence can go ten or even a hundred times further.”
  • If Republicans Were Really Surprised by the Election Result, We Should Worry About Their Policies: “John Dickerson has a great piece explaining how Team Romney ended up so surprised at their defeat even though national public opinion surveys showed he would probably lose and state polling showed that even more clearly. I don’t think we can completely rule out the story that GOP operatives are just engaging a massive campaign of post-election lying right now, but they probably aren’t. (Big conspiracies are hard to organize.) And if they’re not, it should give us some doubts about their party’s policy acumen. The key reason is that their misanalysis betrays a stunningly weak grasp of social science.”
  • How Much Direct Suffering Is Caused by Various Animal Foods?: “Consuming equal weights of different animal products may produce vastly different expected amounts of direct suffering. Farmed seafood may cause the most, followed by poultry products. Pork, beef, and especially milk produce considerably less suffering in comparison. As an extreme case, creating demand for a kg of farmed catfish meat is expected to cause 20,000 times as much suffering as creating demand for a kg of milk.”
  • Why I Defend Scoundrels, Part 2: “In other words, it doesn’t really matter whether we start with Bob bullying Susy, or Susy bullying Bob. The end result is everyone in the school standing in a circle laughing and Bob and Bob wishing he were dead. Only one of those two kinds of bullying consistently gets punished. Because the teacher is a human being and likes attractive popular people as much as everyone else, and because the popular kids are smart enough to hide what they’re doing and Bob isn’t, Bob is going to end up in detention for calling Susy ugly, and everything else is going to get dismissed as ‘that smelly kid complaining again’.”
  • The First Meditation on Privilege and The Fourth Meditation on Creepiness: “So either it is ‘Talk about creepiness and gender relations week’ and I was not invited, or just by a coincidence every blog I read and person I talk to has simultaneously decided to discuss issues of gender and creepiness and male privilege and female offendedness and so on. There is much I have to say on this topic, all of which would earn my coveted’”things i will regret writing’ tag, but for now I would like to assert a right to talk about the topic at all. That despite privilege it is not totally impossible for me to understand where women are coming from even in principle.”
  • Utilitarianism In Five Minutes: “The classic statement of utilitarianism is “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Let’s dig a little deeper (but not too much deeper). The single goal of utilitarian morality is to increase happiness and decrease suffering to the greatest extent possible. Any action in this direction is good, and should be encouraged; any action away from this direction is bad, and should be discouraged. All creatures that are sentient—that is, capable of happiness and suffering—are morally relevant, and their interests should be considered. Utilitarianism does not only concern itself with physical pleasure. Happiness can mean reading a great book, having a long conversation with a good friend, or making a new discovery. It includes the taste of a fatty meal, but it also allows for the pleasure of lasting health.”
  • How Personal Should Your Giving Be?: “A commonplace among fundraisers is that “people take action and give for deeply personal reasons.” This can mean many different things, but one of the implications is that people give to extremely specific, personal causes: diseases that loved ones have suffered from, local charities in areas where they live or grew up, charities that serve their particular ethnicity or nationality. There are obvious benefits to giving in this way, but I think the costs are underlooked.”
  • Are You as Busy As You Think?: “There was a time, not so long ago, when I was busy, busy, busy. At least I thought I was. I told people I worked 60 hours a week. I claimed to sleep six hours a night. As I lamented to anyone stuck next to me at parties, I was basically too busy to breathe. Me time? Ha! Now I work 45 hours a week and sleep close to eight hours a night. But I’m not getting any less done. My secret? I started keeping track of how I spent my time, logging how many hours and minutes I devoted to different activities such as work, sleep and chores. I soon realized I’d been lying to myself about where the time was going. I spent long stretches of time lost on the Internet or puttering around the house, unsure exactly what I was doing.”
  • Healing: “On Friday, when asked about the policy ramifications of that day’s elementary school shootings in Connecticut, White House spokesperson Jay Carney mentioned there would be ‘a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates, but I do not think today is that day.’ He was right. But, now, it is tomorrow.”
  • Medicaid on the Ballot [NYTimes]: “So this election is, to an important degree, really about Medicaid. And this, in turn, means that you need to know something more about the program. For while Medicaid is generally viewed as health care for the nonelderly poor, that’s only part of the story. And focusing solely on who Medicaid covers can obscure an equally important fact: Medicaid has been more successful at controlling costs than any other major part of the nation’s health care system.”


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On 17 Jan 2013 in All, Link Roundup. No Comments.

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