Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Quotes of the day

Imagine that the arguments triggered by the Hindenberg disaster were about the fire extinguishers and parachutes that airships should carry, rather than about the design flaws that might cause them to ignite. Unfortunately, today’s debates about banking reform have just this character.--Amar Bhidé

A new study by the Cultural Cognition Project, a team headed up by Yale law professor Dan Kahan, shows that people who are more science- and math-literate tend to be more skeptical about the consequences of climate change. Increased scientific literacy also leads to higher polarization on climate-change issues.--Freakonomics

Here is one of my first posts on global cooling, from 4 years ago.--Cav

I recently watched an overwhelmingly liberal audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival shift uncomfortably in its seats as Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia, offered his own explanation. For several years Professor Haidt has probed what he calls the moral intuitions of liberals and conservatives. I find his conclusions compelling. It has come to this: you need a psychologist to make sense of US fiscal policy. Prof Haidt finds that liberals are driven mainly by intuitions about fairness (who gets what) and harm to victims. Conservatives are guided by those intuitions too, but also by intuitions about loyalty, authority, and purity (including bodily purity). These are not views so much as deeply embedded moral impulses. They are often wrapped up in religion, or lack of it. Transgressing them is a kind of sacrilege. In the US, differences in these moral-psychological foundations are very marked. The more progressive you are, the harder you find it to understand the claims of loyalty, authority and purity. The more conservative you are, the more indispensable those claims appear to be. This matters because US politics, especially at the conservative end, is powered by the energy at the extremes. Why did the Aspen audience squirm? Because Prof Haidt also notes that the wider conservative spectrum of moral intuitions is the global norm. Those conservative impulses are nearly universal across world religions and cultures. Secular liberals are the anomaly.--Clive Crook

We have to tell people what is happening here. I’m frankly embarrassed to be a member of a community where 41 percent of pregnancies are terminated.--NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Doctors are silly.--Tim Harford's child

Statistics are like a bikini. What they present is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.--Aaron Levenstein

Is there a “shortage” of primary care physicians relative to “shortages” of specialists? I am doubtful for several reasons.--Gary Becker

Miss America is all finished product and no process, and contemporary viewers tend to crave the exact opposite. The pageant ethos of perfectibility seems as quaint, these days, as the “Miss” honorific.   ... for the most part, the young ladies of 2011 played it safe. Contestants barely speak for the first half of the show, and it’s hard to stand out when you’re one of several dozen women grinning silently in taffeta.  The exception was Miss Nebraska, who performed her piano glissandi with some violence, spoke forcefully about WikiLeaks (“When it came to that situation, it was actually based on espionage”), and shared her intention to be a Supreme Court justice. Watching the pageant, I was struck by her attractiveness, quotability, toughness, faith, and ambition. As weird and unfashionable as pageant standards may seem, Scanlan’s ruthless beauty-queen comportment feels immediately familiar in 2011, when political candidates are held to a standard of faultlessness that only a doll might plausibly meet (women candidates in particular). Transport Scanlan from her Miss America context into the political arena and the anachronistic pageant armor seems, suddenly, a shrewdly contemporary asset.--Molly Young

Last Sunday, in the Wimbledon final, the succession happened again. This time, Novak Djokovic did to Nadal what Nadal once did to Federer, taking the match, and the championship, 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. After a year of picking the Spaniard off in smaller tournaments1 while piling up an overall record of 47-1, Djokovic finally beat the king. As with Nadal-Federer, the key wasn't just that the younger guy won, but that the loser lost despite playing really good tennis. Over the first hour or so of the match, Nadal's first-serve rate was 91 percent. During the middle phase of the match, when Djokovic started dictating every rally, Nadal sometimes hit three or four shots in a row that could have been winners against any other player. Each time, Djokovic managed to keep the ball in play en route to a winner of his own. Because Nadal was so solid, all the pressure fell on the mind of Djokovic. Could the younger player hold up against the inevitable onslaught from the proven champ? Djokovic's win took tennis to a very high plane — someplace noticeably better than Nadal's near-best. It was as perfect a symbolic coup as you could stage. Not only will Djokovic be no. 1 when the new ATP rankings come out, he validated his astonishing year by seizing the crown from the (former) best player in tennis in the biggest match in the sport. ... the Federer-Nadal rivalry has confounded our normal assumption that greatness, wins, and dominance are all inextricably linked. ... We're looking at the possibility of a greatness equation in which, measured by overall results, Federer > Nadal > Djokovic, but measured by dominance, Djokovic > Nadal > Federer > Djokovic. It's as if math looked at all the talent at the top of the men's game right now and spontaneously burst into flames.--Brian Phillips

Whom do professional athletes deserve to date?--Carles

To me, [Peyton Manning]'s the greatest of all-time.--Tom Brady

Catching up to the reality already faced by many of its members, the nation’s largest teachers’ union on Monday affirmed for the first time that evidence of student learning must be considered in the evaluations of school teachers around the country. ... But blunting the policy’s potential impact, the union also made clear that it continued to oppose the use of existing standardized test scores to judge teachers, a core part of the federally backed teacher evaluation overhauls already under way in at least 15 states.--Sharon Otterman

Interestingly, New York City's per capita transportation emissions are remarkably low among American cities, largely because it has the lowest share of commuters in personal automobiles of any large American city. It would be possible to account for these pollution externalities, to some extent at least, by taxing them. But at the moment, fuel taxes are too low to cover road maintenance, to say nothing of the costs of automobile pollution. As a result, there are too many cars on New York's streets. ... Now, if drivers paid for all the costs they impose on others, then it might be worth asking what the optimal level of bike lanes to have is and discussing whether the lanes themselves are subject to rising congestion and need to be priced. Of course, if drivers paid for all the costs they impose on others, there would be fewer drivers complaining about bike lanes and more people using them. As things stand, given that cyclists help alleviate some of these externalities (a cyclist takes up dramatically less road space than a car, doesn't use on-street parking, does not emit ozone, and does not contribute to climate change) it seems quite sensible to allocate a larger share of New York's roadways to lanes for cyclists. From an economic perspective.--The Economist

Google is fighting a multi-front war with a host of tech giants for control over some of the most valuable pieces of real estate in technology. Whether it’s social, mobile, browsing, local, enterprise, or even search, Google is being attacked from all angles. And make no mistake about it, they are fighting back and fighting back, hard.--Semil Shah

A man and his mega receipt
Gave rumor mills all kinds of heat
Whose eight-figure sum?
He’s kept himself mum
But I think it’s Peterson, Pete.--Kevin Roose
Photo link here, here, here and here.

No comments:

Post a Comment