Monday, 3 September 2018

What I've Been Reading, August 2018

This note started out saying that the links below appear in the order I read them and was meant imply that they were more or less random in their subject matter, other than being of interest to me. During the last few months, I added a few new categories at the bottom of the links section on subjects that are of particular interest to me. This month the first few links are in a "Miscellaneous" section, and it contains only a minority of the links. If you're reading this blog for information on collapse you may wonder how relevant some of the categories are, but it seems to me that whatever insight I have on the subject of collapse is informed by what I know about everything else that I am interested in.



  • How to Spot a Fake Friend Request, by Andy O'Donnell, Lifewire
    I've cut down my time on Facebook during the last few months, but I still occasionally get friend requests from attractive young women who I don't know. As this article says, probably spam. I frequently notice, though, that some of my male friends have sign up as friends with these "girls"—they are getting fooled again and again. Read the article and wise up, guys.
  • How to Tell Stories About Complex Issues , by Annie Neimand, Stanford Social Innovation Review.
    Stories are the most powerful tool we have for increasing understanding and building engagement with complex issues. Telling them well can drive belief and behavior change.


Agriculture and Food

Peak Oil

Climate Change

Economic Contraction

  • The revenge of the spider—economic recklessness and GFC II, by Tim Morgan, Surplus Energy Economic
    "But the escalation in debt alone gives the lie to any claim that this “growth” has been genuine or sustainable. Between 2000 and 2007, growth of $25.5 trillion (at 2017 values) was accompanied by a $52tn increase in debt, meaning that just over $2 was borrowed for each $1 of “growth”. Since 2007, the ratio has worsened markedly, with “growth” of $29.8tn accompanied by $99tn in borrowing, a ratio of $3.30 of new debt for each growth dollar."
    GFC I = Global Financial Crash One (2008), GFC II = Global Financial Crash Two, coming soon.
  • Argentine peso and Turkish lira crash, putting pressure on emerging markets worldwide, by Weizhen Tan, CNBC Markets

The Scientific Consensus

Lacking an Owner's Manual

The human body/mind/spirit doesn't come with an owner's manual, and we continually struggle to figure out how best to operate them.

There is No God, and Thou Shall Have No Other Gods

Puerto Rico

Poverty, Homelessness, Minimum Wage, UBI

Autonomous Vehicles and Artificial Intelligence


Early in the history of these monthly "What I've Been Reading" posts, Liam Scheff (since deceased, sadly) suggested I include some humour. I did once or twice, but it soon fell by the wayside. This month I've stumbled upon a couple of humourous items, so there may be hope for reviving this section on an ongoing basis.




Finally I finished The Bell Curve, and no longer can anyone say that my comments about it are made without having read the book.

In short, Murray plays fast and loose with the scientific consensus on the heritability of IQ in order to further his ideological (Libertarian) goals. To put it bluntly, he doesn't think we should be wasting money on dumb poor people, since (according to him) it will do little good in any case and more likely make things worse. He also has quite a lot to say about the inferior IQ test results of blacks and Latins in the U.S.

I don't agree with this. I got into the discussion because of a podcast where Sam Harris played "softball" with Charles Murray, essentially accepting what Murray had to say as the unfortunate truth. Fortunately, it's not. Here are some links that support my position on the subject.

  • Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ, by Eric Turkheimer, Kathryn Paige Harden, and Richard E. Nisbett, Vox
    Podcaster and author Sam Harris is the latest to fall for it.
  • Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns, by Ulric Neisser et al, February 1996, American Psychologist
    This is a "Report of a Task Force Established by the American Psychological Association.", in response to The Bell Curve, and it presents what is essentially the scientific consensus on intelligence, as of 1996, which is rather different from what Murray and Hernnstein report that consensus to be in their book.
  •, by Richard E. Nisbett et all, February–March 2012, American Psychologist
    This report also presents the scientific consensus on intelligence, this time as of 2012.
    "We review new findings and new theoretical developments in the field of intelligence.
    New findings include the following:
    (a) Heritability of IQ varies significantly by social class.
    (b) Almost no genetic polymorphisms have been discovered that are consistently associated with variation in IQ in the normal range. (c) Much has been learned about the biological underpinnings of intelligence.
    (d) “Crystallized” and “fluid” IQ are quite different aspects of intelligence at both the behavioral and biological levels.
    (e) The importance of the environment for IQ is established by the 12-point to 18-point increase in IQ when children are adopted from working-class to middle-class homes.
    (f) Even when improvements in IQ produced by the most effective early childhood interventions fail to persist, there can be very marked effects on academic achievement and life outcomes.
    (g) In most developed countries studied, gains on IQ tests have continued, and they are beginning in the developing world. (h) Sex differences in aspects of intelligence are due partly to identifiable biological factors and partly to socialization factors.
    (i) The IQ gap between Blacks and Whites has been reduced by 0.33 SD in recent years.
    We report theorizing concerning
    (a) the relationship between working memory and intelligence,
    (b) the apparent contradiction between strong heritability effects on IQ and strong secular effects on IQ,
    (c) whether a general intelligence factor could arise from initially largely independent cognitive skills,
    (d) the relation between self-regulation and cognitive skills, and
    (e) the effects of stress on intelligence."
  • Searching for Justice—The Discovery of IQ Gains Over Time, by James R. Flynn, University of Otago

1 comment:

Mr 10 said...

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Just 5 years ago the filthy rich were 388.

As of January 2016 there’s only 62 people who own

HALF the world!

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The economy stalls.

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Are you prepared to be broke…




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[Mr Mark Fidelman]