Weekly Link Roundup #8

The Weekly Link Roundup is a collection of all the cool articles I read in the past week and feel like passing onto others. The links are also ordered so that the ones I like most are at the top, for those who don’t have time for all the links… but for those who do have time, I think all of them are worthwhile.

Previous weekly link roundups can be found here: 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Without further pomp or circumstance, here come the links:

  • The Fallacy of Gray: “Everything is shades of gray, but there are shades of gray so light as to be very nearly white, and shades of gray so dark as to be very nearly black. Or even if not, we can still compare shades, and say ‘it is darker’ or ‘it is lighter’.”
  • Generalizing From One Example: “Dr. Berman dubbed this the Typical Mind Fallacy: the human tendency to believe that one’s own mental structure can be generalized to apply to everyone else’s.”
  • Are You a Good Person? – Chick Tract Response: “Below is a closer look at a popular chick tract from Living Waters exposing their dishonest attempts to guilt you into following them.”
  • Businessmen and Macroeconomics: “Matt Yglesias is mildly upset over a report that Obama is turning to Warren Buffet and Alan Mulally for economic advice. It’s not clear how much to make of the report. But it’s always good to remember that businessmen — even great businessmen — don’t necessarily know much about how to make the macroeconomy work.”
  • To students, it’s all about the (boring) content: “For students, the problem is not that teachers are ineffective, that schools aren’t accountable or that the textbook is an inefficient technology for delivering content. Their problem is the content itself. Students are disengaged because they’re bored, and they’re bored because the material is often irrelevant and meaningless.”
  • The Crackpot Offer: “Whenever you are tempted to hold on to a thought you would never have thought if you had been wiser, you are being offered the opportunity to become a crackpot – even if you never write any angry letters in green ink. If no one bothers to argue with you, or if you never tell anyone your idea, you may still be a crackpot. It’s the clinging that defines it.”
  • Why We Can’t Take Expected Value Estimates Literally (Even When They’re Unbiased): “While some people feel that GiveWell puts too much emphasis on the measurable and quantifiable, there are others who go further than we do in quantification, and justify their giving (or other) decisions based on fully explicit expected-value formulas. The latter group tends to critique us – or at least disagree with us – based on our preference for strong evidence over high apparent “expected value,” and based on the heavy role of non-formalized intuition in our decisionmaking.”
  • Reversed Stupidity Is Not Intelligence: “If Stalin is evil, then everything he says should be false. You wouldn’t want to agree with Stalin, would you? Stalin also believed that 2 + 2 = 4. Yet if you defend any statement made by Stalin, even “2 + 2 = 4″, people will see only that you are ‘agreeing with Stalin’; you must be on his side.”
  • That’s So Mysto – What Makes Slang Stick: “There’s no grand unified theory for why some slang terms live and others die. In fact, it’s even worse than that: The very definition of slang is tenuous and clunky.”
  • Why I Am Not a Christian – The Emotional Argument: “Show us your evidence of God, which we can and will refute, or stop perpetuating the idea. This is, of course, a valid way to oppose religion. But it leaves out an emotional element; it leaves out the human experience and our search for meaning. I am not a Christian not just because their claims are without evidence, but for so much more.”
  • Learn You a Haskell For Great Good: “Hey yo! This is Learn You a Haskell, the funkiest way to learn Haskell, which is the best functional programming language around. You may have heard of it. This guide is meant for people who have programmed already, but have yet to try functional programming.”
  • Climate Change – The Tub Analogy: “A reader has posted a claim about climate change that I have responded to in the past, but would like to respond to again. It is a type of argument that, I hold, no rational person truly concerned with reaching a reasonable conclusion about climate change would offer.”
  • De Finetti’s Game – How to Quantify Belief: “What do people really mean when they say they’re “sure” of something? Everyday language is terrible at describing actual levels of confidence[...] Bruno de Finetti, a 20th-century Italian mathematician, came up with a creative idea called de Finetti’s Game to help connect the feeling of confidence to a percent”
  • Snake Oil Supplements Visualization: “This image is a “balloon race”. The higher a bubble, the greater the evidence for its effectiveness. But the supplements are only effective for the conditions listed inside the bubble.”
  • Stupid for President: “he point of the article is that intelligence should be considered a qualification for being President, and knowledge of evolution is a good litmus test for intelligence. On that test, certain candidates for office clearly come out as unqualified. They are the types of candidates for a position as important as President that should not even be on the list – let alone the short list – of possibilities.”


I now blog at EverydayUtilitarian.com. I hope you'll join me at my new blog! This page has been left as an archive.

On 5 Sep 2011 in All, Link Roundup. No Comments.

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