The weekly link roundup is where I list links for the links that I liked for the week. Remember that I don’t necessarily agree with everything stated in every article. Feel free to comment or ask. Lastly, it may be worth noting that I do try to sort these links in the order that I like them, descending. You can see the other roundups via the category page.
- Getting Rich: from Zero to Hero in One Blog Post: “For almost two years, I’ve been preaching a different brand of financial advice from what you see in the newspapers and magazines. The standard line is that life is hard and expensive, so you should keep your nose to the grindstone, clip coupons, save hard for your kids’ college educations, and save any tiny slice of your salary that remains into a 401(k) plan. [...] Mr. Money Mustache’s advice? Almost all of that is nonsense: Your current middle-class life is an Exploding Volcano of Wastefulness, and by learning to see the truth in this statement, you will easily be able to cut your expenses in half – leaving you saving half of your income. Or two thirds, or more.”
- Against Dystopias, Pt. 1: “The underlying moral of all dystopian fiction is that radical attempts to improve society using science and reason will in fact create horrible societies that lack everything good about being human. Anyone familiar with the Straw Vulcan trope – the idea that anyone who’s good at science or analytical thought must speak in a monotone all the time, condemn music and humor and love as “illogical”, and suggest improving efficiency 28% by killing puppies since they have no productive function – will recognize dystopian literature as basically Straw Vulcanism as applied to cultures rather than individuals.”
- America’s Flawed Election: “Joy over the election’s outcome, however, should not blind us to its failure to meet a series of ethical benchmarks for democratic choice. According to the US-based Center for Responsive Politics, spending on the election – for President and Congress, and including spending by outside groups as well as by the candidates and their political parties – is estimated to have exceeded $6 billion. That makes the 2012 US election the most expensive ever held.”
- The Meat Eaters: “Here, then, is where matters stand thus far. It would be good to prevent the vast suffering and countless violent deaths caused by predation. There is therefore one reason to think that it would be instrumentally good if predatory animal species were to become extinct and be replaced by new herbivorous species, provided that this could occur without ecological upheaval involving more harm than would be prevented by the end of predation. The claim that existing animal species are sacred or irreplaceable is subverted by the moral irrelevance of the criteria for individuating animal species. I am therefore inclined to embrace the heretical conclusion that we have reason to desire the extinction of all carnivorous species, and I await the usual fate of heretics when this article is opened to comment.”
- Does This Cartoon Offend You?: “Chris Hallquist on Uncredible Hallq recently made a post titled “Does This Cartoon Offend You?”, which I will not link to, because it – surprise! – contains a cartoon which may offend you. If you want to find it anyway, it should take about twenty seconds. [...] Gilbert from Last Conformer recently mentioned a strategy of his: whenever you can’t understand something the other side is doing, trying to find something isomorphic on your own side and see if it makes more sense. [...] So let’s use Gilbert’s idea. Religious people are inexplicably claiming to be offended by this perfectly good cartoon. Is there something similar that would offend atheists, and if so, can we figure out why?”
- An Analysis of the Formalist Account of Power Relations in Democratic Societies: “Sooooorta re-inventing the wheel here. Nevertheless, I feel I deserve tenure at a major university for managing to write an essay with this title. Somebody please make this happen. If Donald Trump and Rebecca Black got in a bar fight, who would win? Don’t just answer “society”. This is a serious question which will illuminate structures of dominance in modern culture. In the short-term, Donald Trump would easily beat up Rebecca Black. He’s bigger, manlier, and it should be pretty easy for him to overpower a teenage girl. In the medium-term, the ensuing media circus would be entirely in Rebecca’s favor. [...] In the long-term, the media circus would die down. Trump would still live in a gigantic mansion from which he controls large parts of the world economy, and Rebecca Black would still be a B- or C- list celebrity desperately trying to avoid having everyone forget her. So which of the two of them has more power?”
- Jerry Seinfeld’s Productivity Secret: “He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works. He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. ‘After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.’”
- What Are the Optimal Biases to Overcome?: “But if you look at the average person and ask why they aren’t getting what they want, very rarely do you conclude their biggest problem is that they’re suffering from anchoring, framing effects, the planning fallacy, commitment bias, or any of the other stuff in these tests. Usually their biggest problems are far more quotidian and commonsensical, like procrastination and fear.”
- Interview: Russel Blackford on Atheism, Philosophy, and Morality: “We are pleased to have Russell Blackford, eminent Australian philosopher and critic here on Rational Hub. Russell is the author of several books on fiction and non-fiction including the fine book – ‘Freedom of Religion and the Secular State’ – which we would recommend to all our readers.”
- How to Confuse a Moral Compass: “People can be tricked into reversing their opinions on moral issues, even to the point of constructing good arguments to support the opposite of their original positions, researchers report today in PLoS ONE. [...] The researchers [...] recruited 160 volunteers to fill out a 2-page survey on the extent to which they agreed with 12 statements[. ...] But [...w]hen participants turned the first page over to complete the second, the top set of statements would stick to the glue, exposing the hidden set but leaving the responses unchanged. [...] Two statements in every hidden set had been reworded to mean the opposite of the original statements. [...] About half of the participants did not detect the changes, and 69% accepted at least one of the altered statements.”
- The Gorilla in the Midst: “It’s no surprise that I’m a Democrat. I’m a gay man, I got married to my husband Brad, and I don’t particularly like being told my marriage should be invalidated because I don’t have the same rights as other people. But mind you, I don’t forget that it was a Democratic President (FDR) who abused his power 70 years ago and put my family and me in an internment camp without charge, trial or cause. Now that was Big Government at its very worst. So I am leery of excessive government power or control of any kind. That’s why I want to take a moment here to talk about the 800 pound gorilla in the room: To ask why the GOP has allowed itself to be hijacked by extremists who aren’t Republican at all.”
- The Ad Hominem Fallacy Fallacy: “One of the most widely misused terms on the Net is “ad hominem”. It is most often introduced into a discussion by certain delicate types, delicate of personality and mind, whenever their opponents resort to a bit of sarcasm. As soon as the suspicion of an insult appears, they summon the angels of ad hominem to smite down their foes, before ascending to argument heaven in a blaze of sanctimonious glory. They may not have much up top, but by God, they don’t need it when they’ve got ad hominem on their side. It’s the secret weapon that delivers them from any argument unscathed.”
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